Tributes to Sheldon Seevak

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The 36 bus begins its route at the Forest Hills MBTA station every half-hour with a cloud of exhaust fumes and the rhythmic sounds of a revving engine. Last Wednesday night, it made a journey into the depths of hell. The night wasn't just cold, but frigid. About half a dozen tired, shivering people climbed the steps and paid their fare - a bespectacled man in a suit, a pair of women, a male cancer researcher, a nondescript younger man. It was 10:30. The bus rattled down Washington Street. About 10 minutes out, at a stop in Roslindale Square, a »

For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens. Twice their chatter and the sudden glow of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened him off. Each time he returned, sought her out, and stabbed her again. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead. That was two weeks ago today. Still shocked is Assistant Chief Inspector Frederick M. Lussen, in charge of the borough's detectives and a veteran of 25 years »

It flashes through Margaret Swinchoski's mind, each time she walks past the Kew Gardens, Queens, train station: This was where Kitty Genovese met her killer. Even in the small town in Vermont where Miss Swinchoski grew up, Catherine Genovese's case became a shocking symbol of apathy. Now Miss Swinchoski lives in the same quiet, middle-class neighborhood where Miss Genovese was slain 20 years ago as she tried to make her way from her car, parked in the train station lot, to her apartment on Austin Street. 'What Might Happen' For more than half an hour that night, Miss Genovese's killer »

THE punch that ended Rob Viscome's life has now been called a crime. Ten days ago, Patrick Rukaj, 16, was charged with misdemeanor assault in the death of the 17-year-old Westchester football player whom he tangled with at an impromptu and parentless beer party in April. Mr. Rukaj's punch leveled Mr. Viscome. His head hit a stone patio, and he died seven days later. But a thornier question is what happened after the punch, with more than a dozen teenagers suddenly caught between the unimaginable prospect of a friend dying and the utterly imaginable adolescent anxiety of being caught partying. »

One evening last month a wholesome-looking college student with long, straight hair took the floor of the UC-Berkeley Student Senate and began speaking as if she were delivering a sixth-grade book report. She had been researching one of her fellow students, David Cash, for two whole weeks, and it was finally time to present the facts to the student senate and answer any questions posed to her. Her descriptions were, at times, speculative, recounted as if she were both an eyewitness to the events in question and inside Cash's mind during the crime. She even subtly mimed a scene from »

The long overdue sight of Radovan Karadzic in The Hague facing trial for genocide is a useful reminder of wars past. In 1995, after three and a half years of killing, an American-led NATO bombing campaign helped stop Karadzic’s atrocities and turned the Bosnian Serb leader into a fugitive. But do the humanitarian interventions typified by America’s interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo have a future? Even as Darfur bleeds, Iraq has become a grim object lesson in the dangers of foreign adventures. The former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright recently wrote that “many of the world’s necessary interventions in »

A 13-year-old Boston Latin School student was terrorized on the T this week when four male classmates allegedly sexually assaulted her on a Green Line transit car on her way home from school, police said. Shortly after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, police said, the four boys allegedly cornered the girl in the back of a subway headed downtown from the Fenway and tied the cords of her backpack to a pole. Then, police said, they attacked: taunting and touching her, fondling her breasts and buttocks. They allegedly tried to tear her top off. Frantically, the girl tried to flee, said »

In the past few weeks, tens of thousands of young men and women have begun their college careers. They have worked hard to get there. A letter of admission to one of the country's selective colleges or universities has become the most sought-after prize in America. The students who have won this prize are about to enter an academic environment richer than any they have known. They will find courses devoted to every question under the sun. But there is one question for which most of them will search their catalogs in vain: The question of the meaning of life, »

"If I look at the mass I will never act": Psychic numbing and genocide Paul Slovic1 Decision Research and University of Oregon Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 2, no. 2, April 2007, pp. 1-17. Abstract Most people are caring and will exert great effort to rescue individual victims whose needy plight comes to their attention. These same good people, however, often become numbly indifferent to the plight of individuals who are "one of many" in a much greater problem. Why does this occur? The answer to this question will help us answer a related question that is the topic of »

Who Can You Count On? Looks, Race, Even Weather May Play Role in Whether You’ll Get a Helping Hand from 20/20, ABC News Aug. 29, 2003— Often, we rely on the kindness of strangers to help us out in an emergency. But in what circumstances would you help someone, and in what circumstances would you be helped if you were the victim? It seems race, crowds, even whether or not people have exchanged pleasantries can play into how and why people help each other. Ultimately, experts say whether or not someone helps does not depend so much on their personality »

Rogue Soldiers or Following Orders at Abu Ghraib? Lynndie England's Sentencing Puts End to Prison Scandal Sep. 27, 2005 - Pfc. Lynndie England, the small-town girl whose smiling face sparked anger at the U.S. military around the world, is about to learn her fate. The tomboyish American soldier who once posed for a photograph holding a leash tied to a hooded Iraqi prisoner quickly became the most recognizable figure in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. It's been almost three years since the U.S. soldiers snapped those photos and England is the last of the nine convicted Army reservists to be »

Excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell, chapter 1 from The Tipping Point (2000) Even the smallest and subtlest and most unexpected of factors can affect the way we act. One of the most infamous incidents in New York City history, for example, was the 1964 stabbing death of a young Queens woman by the name of Kitty Genovese. Genovese was chased by her assailant and attacked three times on the street, over the course of half an hour, as thirty-eight of her neighbors watched from their windows. During that time, however, none of the thirty-eight witnesses called the police. The case provoked »

Hidden Camera Experiment: What Would You Do? 'Primetime' Explores How People React to -- or Ignore -- Threats and Thievery Sep. 22, 2005 - What if you were walking through a park and you saw a couple get into a heated argument? The man didn't hit the woman, but seemed to be on the edge of physical violence and pushed her. Or, imagine if you were in your neighborhood convenience store, and you saw a brazen shoplifter at work. The shop owner's not a friend, but she's always been friendly to you. What would you do? Would you think you »

Who Can You Count On? Looks, Race, Even Weather May Play Role in Whether Youll Get a Helping Hand from 20/20, ABC News Aug. 29, 2003 Often, we rely on the kindness of strangers to help us out in an emergency. But in what circumstances would you help someone, and in what circumstances would you be helped if you were the victim? It seems race, crowds, even whether or not people have exchanged pleasantries can play into how and why people help each other. Ultimately, experts say whether or not someone helps does not depend so much on their personality »

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People The indifference demonstrated by bystanders in the face of other people's suffering has been widely studied, particularly since the murder of twenty-eight-year-old Kitty Genovese on March 13, 1964, in Queens, New York. The murder was witnessed by thirty-eight of the victim's neighbors. During the thirty minutes that it took the killer to complete his act, not one of those thirty-eight people called the police or came to the young woman's aid. In considering that incident, psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latane wondered if Genovese might have fared better had there been fewer onlookers. The two psychologists »

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