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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | NOVEMBER 29, 2011 7:20 AM

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Beat the Bystander Effect

When people hear about situations in which tragic events happen in public and all witnesses seize to help, many assume they would act differently. The truth is that almost everybody would not help if put into the same situation. This concept is referred to as the Bystander Effect. According to this effect, people witnessing a tragedy are far more likely to watch and not help the situation.

I believe that this is unfortunate for the victims as well as the bystanders. If people knew more about this effect, perhaps they will be more inclined to help. Far too often, the same situations are repeated, leaving the victims stranded while among watching citizens. If only these people knew that no one else would step up, numerous incidents could have been resolved successfully.

Perhaps the worst part of the situation is most people have the power, ability, and motive to help. For some odd reason, they believe that they do not need to apply themselves, that some other force will soon help the victim, and thus, they should not try to get involved.

Next time people see a tragedy taking place, hopefully, they will be able to remember the Bystander Effect and help out. Even if the help is minimal, it will go a long way. Not only will this first person help, but it will also break the notion that witness should just stand by, and others will soon help out as well. Let's learn from repeated mistakes, and make a difference next time a person is in need.

Christopher Wall
UI student

Students must take responsibility for debt

Students and all citizens should be concerned about the rise in the cost of tuition at the University of Iowa and should take appropriate political action to reverse the trend.

Complaints about student debt, however, are misguided. In the recent article"UI students voice tuition concerns at Occupy walkout," Zach Carter stated that debt equals slavery. No one forced individuals in shackles to take out loans. This statement was simply another example of the lack of understanding of history and absence of individual responsibility in our culture today. Community colleges offer a less-expensive alternative for the first two years of study. All people with student debt must be honest with themselves. Did they spend some of that money on beer, gasoline, restaurant dinners, mobile phones, new clothes? While attending the university, I worked, shared living with many roommates far from campus, walked to campus (yes even in the winter), bought clothes at the Salvation Army, and wasn't able to go to the movies or games.

I am very happy in life. My happiness doesn't depend on things I can not afford. If people live beyond their means and then are stuck in debt, it is not slavery — it was free choice. There was a contract signed that stated the terms of payment. They should take responsibility.

Bob Martin
Iowa City resident


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