Jender has a great post up on Feminist Philosophies (Why Don't They Call The Police?) that reminded me of this post from Ann at Feministing.
Whenever stories like that turn up, there are almost always a few people who chime in with "well, why didn't the call the police?! Why didn't they do something?!"
And, I can understand where that comes from. We all want to believe that we would do something if it were us. This, despite the evidence to the contrary.
I know that I've been guilty of the "but, calling the police is easy!" sort of comments, though. It can be tough to directly intervene, but just alerting the authorities doesn't seem like it should be that hard, right?
Then I see a story like this or I read about someone like Kathryn Johnston, or the Jena 6, or the Newark case, or the Tampa Bay rape case, or the Megan Williams case...
And it drives home a point: for an awful lot of people living in our country, the authorities do not represent a friendly force.
When you've got story after story of people in authority positions who are flat-out bigots... when you've got EMS and 911 workers who refuse to lift a finger to help a woman bleeding and crying in the ER lobby, right up until the police come and arrest her, and she dies as they drag her away... when the police arrest a woman on her way to the hospital because she's having a miscarriage, and refuse to help her...
If we want a society where people will turn to the authorities in times of need and when people need help, we need to create a society where we can trust that those authorities will actually help us in times of need, and not further victimize us.