Saturday, April 27, 2013
ABC 20-20: "In an Instant"
On Friday, August 26, 2003, ABC 20-20 aired the episode “In an Instant”, covering the way people respond to life-threatening dangers instantly. Many of the dangers covered in the episode come from the wrongful activities of others.
I remember that in my own Army Basic Combat Training in 1968 – the importance of “muscle memory” --- and the objection that the cadre had to my pleading “Let me think.”
One of the segments covered the pile-up crash on Interstate 10 near Houston, Texas on Thanksgiving Day. It also covered the collapse of an outdoor stage in Indianapolis on
But most of the episode dealt with crime or terror. The situations included the carjacking after the Boston Marathon bombings, and the reactions to patrons in the theater in Aurora, CO in July.
Some people are hardwired to “flee” and some to “fight”. But some people have a basic ability to ignore “basic instinct”.
The show posed the question as to whether people needed "gun drills" as well as "fire drills". But that seems to go along with the thinking of the NRA.
But there is a tendency for people to blend together and flee. There was a controlled experiment where a female job applicant doesn’t leave a room with smoke when others stay, as if nothing is wrong.
In the case of the carjacking in Boston, the Tsarnaev brothers knocked on the window why a man (Chinese) was texting. He opened the door – which sounds like a mistake. Later, he was told not to speak Chinese when taking a call. The brothers “bragged” that they had done it. The man escaped when the Mercedes ran low on fuel and stopped in a gas station, and the younger brother had to go into the gas station to pay cash (when money that had been withdrawn by force from an ATM).
I have been approached twice in my car in recent years, and both times I drove off quickly, to call police later. One of these incidents was in 2010 in a service area on the Ohio Turnpike. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reports that this happened to him right after moving to California at age 20 or so to start the company, and he simply sped off. In one of these incidents, the perpetrator seemed so stoned or out of it that I don’t think he could have done anything.