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Kitty Genovese and the Bystander Effect in 1964 and 2018

Kitty G
Note: We ran this two part post by Adriana in April of 2011.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Kitty Genovese story, she is a young woman who was stabbed, left for dead, her screams unanswered, her attacker returned, she was raped and finally stabbed to death in Queens, New York in 1964. Bystanders who heard her screams did nothing.  Did. Nothing. Sound familiar? Her death coined the phrase, "the bystander effect," whereby good people.... do nothing. To read more about her legacy click here.  We bring the post back today because of the current climate of sociopolitics. At Age of Autism and elsewhere, we live the Bystander Effect every single day. Our cries for our children fall on indifferent ears. Part 2 will run tomorrow. Thank you to Adriana for her brilliant essay.

April 4, 2011
By Adriana Gamondes

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. ~Albert Einstein

“’I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,’ said cunning old Fury: ‘I’ll try the whole cause and condemn you to death.’ ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Exactly a year ago in March I heard on National Public Radio that the Center for Disease Control had given a million dollar grant to the University of New Hampshire to start a program called “Bringing in the Bystanders”. The program was intended to combat sexual assault on campus by eliciting the intervention of witnesses to potentially high risk situations.  If the CDC threw a campaign like that for autism and a host of other childhood disorders which have hit epidemic proportions in the past two decades, the agency would have to bring itself in. 

That “good people do nothing” is a documented component of many categories of traumatic experience, whether the trauma is wartime atrocity, political captivity, torture, etc. According to many trauma experts, the very depth of psychic injury in trauma often hinges on the existence of inactive or negative bystanders. In his 1986 memoir, Survival in Auschwitz, Holocaust survivor Primo Levi described a common, recurring nightmare he experienced along with fellow death camp survivors. In the dream, the survivor had somehow escaped the camp and had gotten home to his or her family. They would find themselves surrounded by loved ones and would begin to tell of their ordeal, only to endure crushing grief as the others turned away as if deaf or indifferent to the horror. Survivors of other atrocities describe very similar dreams.
I’ve had my own version of this dream going on six years now. It started before I was even consciously aware that something was going seriously wrong with my children’s health or had even conceived of the possibility that vaccines weren’t safe for all children. Of course I didn’t base my understanding of what happened to my twins on a dream; the dream was just added data. And now I can’t seem to wake up from it and I’m not speaking figuratively. In the recurring dream, I’m at a party in a strange mansion surrounded by a spooky, aloof crowd. I want to leave, but suddenly realize my children aren’t with me and panic.
Finally, I find my son in a strange bedroom, tucked into an enormous, carved bed as if someone had made it around him with hospital corners. The room is from another century and there’s no phone. I go to lift him up and there’s something warm and wet on the back of his head: it’s blood. He’s still breathing but has what looks like an icepick wound to the back of his skull. People are gathering around the door of the bedroom and I shriek at them for help and to find whoever did this. They stare at their shoes and at their fingernails and do nothing. I know I can’t leave my son with these zombies, so I cradle him and rush to the door to seek medical attention and find my daughter, who I know is in danger. I shout at the bystanders to move aside. I plead, I spit abuse at them, scream like an animal, but they continue to stand there, forming a wall.   

And when I wake up, nothing’s really changed. The dream is essentially real life romance. Every time I turn on the radio in the car, scan the news on the web or television, I hear not just the strains of indifference about what’s happened to my children and more than a million others, but a systematic campaign to render the listener deaf and disinterested. It’s precisely what Noam Chomsky refers to as “manufacturing consent”—i.e., bystander training. Not only has it not eased off as the evidence mounts that there may indeed be something in the environment—and something in the exponentially increased number of childhood vaccines—that is causing 1 in 91 children in the US (and rising) to regress into lifelong disability, the policy of censure has been officially decreed and we’ve now moved into an era of monumental disinformation.

The aims behind the barrage of disinformation are becoming more explicit. “Vaccine Epidemic” (HERE ), edited by Louise Habakus and Mary Holland, lays the warnings out plainly: potential legislation for vaccine mandates, removal of exemptions, more shots added to the schedule. More legal harassment of independent scientists and practitioners. More legal harassment and isolation for families who stray from conventional treatments. More children spuriously snatched by autism-illiterate child welfare agencies who will remain autism-illiterate because of the lack of funding for internal education and an increase in internal bigotry arising from denial of an epidemic and its cause. More profits, more control, more autism.

The hypocrisy of the media and medical authorities is sometimes staggering. The New York Times may, for instance, occasionally play hero and unleash idealistic reporters on the issue of institutional abuse (HERE ), or report on the dangers of drugging granny and typical children to gain a “credence balance” for fair reporting which it then blows on its policy of omitting or distorting evidence based correlations between vaccines, pollution and the exploding rate of disability. The paper’s omissions of conflicts of vaccine promoters, attacks on consumer safety advocacy and prevention and recovery methods virtually feed the modern snake pits and the $3.5 billion and growing “autism drug profits”, so the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare unions can hardly complain about the “little slap” of occasional criticism because it comes with a great big kiss of a growth market.   

As levels of fear and desperation rise, we may hear louder denials from certain corners of the autism community that vaccines or toxic environment played any role in their children’s or their own disability. It will be tantamount to futile groveling for amnesty from a virtual purge because, ultimately, it’s not just inconvenient theory of cause for the epidemic which is the enemy but the epidemic itself, a wave of which is coming of age into a system that has never seen so many adults on the spectrum and can’t support the weight. The sheer numbers are inconvenient evidence of the man-made nature of the disorder, not to mention the fact that it’s becoming horrendously expensive to manage. Whether effected families or individuals believe autism is environmental or vaccine-mediated or not, they will see services, programs, support and compassion cut to the bone, then cut again and again. That is, unless the public or key members of government can be made to truly heed the warnings that the nightmare is already here.  

When I occasionally rouse from it, I think of my old life, back when I volunteered as an advocate for domestic violence survivors and back when I thought about something other than autism and toxic assault. I’m no longer involved in that line of advocacy, but it’s not like the issue no longer needs attention: recently in Georgia, legislators proposed altering the official definition of victims of rape, stalking and domestic violence to “accuser”—while victims of other crimes would still be referred to as “victim”. Victims frequently lose custody of their children on the charge that they “let themselves be abused” in front of children (HERE ). Victims who try to take custody from convicted abusers can now be charged with “parental alienation” if they mention the abuse in custody proceedings. In 2007, police forces in many states announced that they would no longer seek criminal prosecution of domestic abusers, despite the unchanging fact that three quarters of emergency room visits by women are due to injuries from domestic abuse.

That’s another tragedy of the epidemic—parents who might at one time have directed their energy to countless other gaping problems in the world have now had their focus sucked into the autism vortex as their children become ill. It’s not like the other issues go away— they may be growing in the gap. But when I could afford to involve myself in other causes, I thought domestic abuse was one of the root problems in human civilization. I still do, though now I believe it manifests in many forms. In fact, switching from advocacy for victims of violence to advocacy for children with autism was a seamless transfer.

The single most potent similarity is that vaccine injuries and domestic violence both happen under the guise of things which are supposed to be good and safe: preventive medicine and intimate human relationships. But excessive and excessively toxic products made by companies with vast tract records of corruption, regulatory capture, falsification of data and intimidation of critics resemble the true spirit of preventive medicine—what vaccination purports to be and should be—as little as rape and battery resemble love. 

For another overlap, I remember how victims of battering who stood up for themselves were often accused of being “man-haters” by various bystanders. As if all men were batterers (or even that all batterers are men, though statistically and traditionally, over 90% of injurious assaults are on women). All men are not batterers; many men are at the forefront of combating abuse and, furthermore, when domestic abusers turn abuse on children, the majority of assaults and most severe injuries are perpetrated on male children. Abusers are statistically more likely to attack their pregnant partners when the gender of the fetus is known to be male. It’s not just a “women’s issue”. But bystanders who charge survivors and advocates with being “anti-male” seem to be confessing that, in their world, being against domestic abuse is tantamount to being against men themselves, as if all the men in their sphere are abusers. 

I don’t think the first person who launched the “anti-vaccine” (or “anti-science” or “anti-preventive medicine”) epithet in front of me had any idea why I was smirking. Hark, how familiar. As if vaccination were only defined as the more than 30 vaccines required by age two in the US; are only those made by Merck, Glaxo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Wyeth, etc.; as if every other country in the world had the same schedule, uses the same manufacturing methods, uses the same four dozen chemicals known to be neurotoxic or carcinogenic; has the same mandates and the same autism rates—which is simply not true. But maybe in the world of the accusing bystander, all science and scientists are corrupt, so that to be against corruption is to be against science and vaccines themselves. I thank my lucky stars I have more optimism on the matter and hope for the day when a firewall between safety monitoring and industry is created, when safer products are available, when those susceptible to vaccine injury can be detected before the fact, when individual lives matter more than the bottom line. 

A further similarity is that there’s no more dangerous activity than attempting to intervene on a domestic violence situation and most line-of-duty deaths to police occur in the course of domestic violence calls. According to clinical profiles, domestic abusers universally demand that victims receive no help other than from the abuser themselves, creating a “protection racket” construct of alternately injuring, isolating and terrorizing and then playing “hero” to their victims. The form of “help” offered by abusers is, as would be expected, typically disastrous.

In the arena of professional science, there is no more dangerous activity than attempting to come to the aid of vaccine injury victims—as the wreckage of many careers attests.  For the families of vaccine injury victims, there may be no more dangerous activity than attempting to seek help from a source other than the system which caused the injuries in the first place—as the wreckage of many families attest (The Godboldos HERE ; The Arizona Five HERE ). And of course the forms of help foisted by the source of injury are frequently disastrous (HERE ; HERE).
For yet another overlap, autism is a crime as much as it’s a disease in the sense that injuries from a crime are not spontaneous events but have human “facilitation”. It’s a crime which remains generally unpunished and for which victims are systematically silenced. It’s a crime that involves hordes of bystanders. And there are perpetrators. Other things struck me as similar:

•    40,000+ serious injuries a year and many more unidentified.

•    When children are caught in the fray, far more male than female children are seriously injured or killed.

•    Vulnerability and susceptibility to a crime are not causes.

•    Victims can be vulnerable and susceptible because of positive or neutral aspects of their make-up, not necessarily weaknesses, “defects” or negatives (i.e., a victim may be trusting; weak mitochondria may come with high intelligence, etc.).

•    The term “Victim” is a neutral identifier which says nothing about the person it refers to and is relative only to the existence of a victimizer or victimizing force.

•    Turning the term “victim” into a shameful identifier which people might avoid being labeled with—even to the point of not pursuing justice— is a chief pastime of perpetrators.

•    The only individuals who “act like victims” or “play the victim” tend to be perpetrators; perpetrators often play victim to their own victims if accused. 

•    Quarantining the cause of victimization to the victim, smearing them or even the term “victim” with the taint of the crime itself and generalizing some special inherent weakness or negative trait (“low self-esteem”, “masochism”, “bad genes”) to victims which “caused” the crime is how perpetrators cast off responsibility and how bystanders justify inaction or negative response.

•    Misconstruing the victim’s post-crime injured, confused or even aggressive/traumatized state as a “precondition” or “cause” of the injured state or the crime itself is a primary error known as “misapplication of contingency”(victims of domestic violence, like prisoners of war, may display loyalty to abusers as a successful survival strategy, not as an indication of masochism; children with autism may self-injure or tantrum due to pain from injury, not as a genetically based tendency towards violence, etc.)

•    Stubborn foisting of misapplication of contingency even in the face of contrary evidence is framing.

•    There is almost nothing worse than framing a victim for their own injuries.

•    Many survivors of crime list misapplication of contingency and other blaming, negative  responses on the part of bystanders or helping professions to their predicament as the most frequent direct obstacle to accessing resources, a primary cause of revictimization, and a direct threat to survival itself. The impact of this negative bystander response is sometimes called the “second injury of trauma”.

•    Putting victims and survivors under a scientific microscope for any reason other than to learn how to better heal and support them or to prevent a similar fate for others induces secondary injury.

•    Perpetrators were frequently once victims in some way and will often defend their own perpetrators.

•    Generating sympathy for perpetrators feeds social denial.

•     Mistaking a victims’ passivity or seeming complacency as proof that a crime did not occur is social denial.

•    Social denial enables crime.  

•    Any entity which supports itself through services to the fallout of a crime and is not in some way dedicated to or open to investigating any means to put an end to it—and an end to the need for their services—is corrupt and enables crime.

•    Many perpetrators play rescuer to some degree and can be found in high concentrations in “helping professions” or professions in which might endow them with shallow hero status or authority. Rarely will abusive personalities endure real controversy in the course of playing hero, preferring approved causes and factoring the personal cost of their actions above impact or ethical considerations.    

•    Perpetrators who adopt a public stance of rescuer for victims of a particular crime, especially in a professional capacity, are often part of creating a protection racket and frequently have an alacrity for destroying, corrupting or blocking access to actual forms of help and actual helpers.

•    There is no more dangerous activity than attempting to protect victims from their perpetrators or daring to imply that what the perpetrator offers is not aid and comfort but control, abuse and harm. 

•    It’s easy to get into a vulnerable situation but murder to get out.

•    All of the above applies to autism.

•    All of the above applies to domestic violence.

•    Most cases of autism are crimes.

•     If the rate of a crime can be reduced by improved social response, then the crime is a social problem.

•    The epidemic is a social problem.

The first thing I thought of when I began noting the similarities was the case of Kitty Genovese. For those who haven’t heard of the case and the person, Katherine Susan Genovese was a twenty-eight-year-old New York woman who was stabbed to death and raped in the foyer of her own apartment building in the Kew Garden section of Queens in the sixties. I’ve known about her most of my life because she was killed about seven miles as the crow flies from where my family lived some years after the murder. Because many neighbors heard and saw parts of the protracted assaults, Kitty Genovese’s murder has become famously synonymous with negative bystanderism. What may be less understood about Genovese’s death is that it may have been facilitated by traditional bystander attitudes to a far more common type of assault, domestic violence.

The crime received no special attention in the press at first, but a few weeks after Kitty Genovese’s murder, a story came out in the New York Times (HERE) reporting the fact that Kitty had been stabbed seventeen times over the course of half an hour before anyone made a serious effort to reach police.
It’s become fashionable these days to dispute the number of bystanders in the Genovese case, to dispute which neighbor did or didn’t call the police or had been rebuffed and didn’t try again. The police did come at one point between assaults, circled the block and drove away. I’m not sure what’s being disputed exactly—maybe the phenomenon of bystanderism itself, but the dispute has gotten play in the media in recent years (hHERE ). It’s as if there’s something in the air which makes the media wish to downplay a sense of collective responsibility these days, except in the ways that authority dictates we act collectively. In any case, too many people heard Kitty’s screams and did nothing. I lived in Hell’s Kitchen back in the day and it’s laughable to say that apartment dwellers can’t tell the difference between screams of agony—even if faint as some claimed—and “caterwauling from a bar crowd”, which was the excuse of one witness. I broke my own window to stop an assault—people know.

As the story was pieced together from witness accounts and the killer’s own testimony, Kitty Genovese had driven home from her job as a bar manager a little after 3AM on March 13th, forty-seven years ago. Wynton Mosely, her attacker, had cruised the neighborhood in his car and then had followed Genovese on foot. In full view of the windows of her own building, Mosely stabbed Genovese twice, knocked her to the ground and stabbed her. Kitty’s screams of “Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!” and the sight of her lying on the ground in mid-assault were corroborated by several residents. Mosely fled to his car and drove off after one neighbor shouted from an upper story window. In the meantime, the one call to police was not taken seriously and, bleeding profusely, Kitty dragged herself to the rear door of the building, made her way inside, called out, “I’m dying” and collapsed in a first floor corridor.

After initially fleeing the scene, Mosely again circled the neighborhood in his car and returned, following Kitty’s blood trail and finding her nearly unconscious in the foyer. After an interval of about fifteen minutes since the first attack, Mosely raped the injured woman, stabbing her until she was dead. While other neighbors reportedly heard the dying woman cry out, one man had even opened his entryway door to directly witness the second attack from a floor above. Finally someone called the police and must have conveyed a sense of actual alarm.

The syndrome named after the crime—the “bystander effect” or “Kitty Genovese syndrome” (here )—was partly covered in a behaviorism course in my first year of college. Apparently, scores of researchers descended on New York over the years, experiments were set up in universities and on the streets to study the effect. Various observations were made and conclusions drawn. It was found that bystanders were less likely to call the police or attempt to help in a crisis if they assumed there to be many other witnesses who might have already done so or who could do so—something called “diffused responsibility”. It was surmised that city life caused desensitization. It was remarked that New York police tended to respond to reports with hostility and that there was no “911” emergency line at the time: witnesses might have to open a phone book and dial seven digits.

To my knowledge, no one has ever made a major correlative investigation of the one consistent reason given by witnesses as to why they didn’t take action: that they thought the attack was a “lover’s quarrel”, that era’s vernacular for a domestic violence situation. The connection might have been made in a few women’s studies courses, but I’ve seen no mention of it.

There’s something about autism that seems to produce a similar kind of bystanderism, at least relative to the sheer numbers of children and families impacted and the fact that everyone now knows at least one family affected by the disorder.  What’s the similarity? 

It may be decades before we see a chapter in some tome on sociology or criminology which compares the epidemic to other mass atrocities and investigates any overlapping social mechanisms which brought each about.  We could wait for the voice of authority to speak, of course. But in a world where a Special Master in vaccine court denies a child compensation by quoting Lewis Carroll (HERE ); where a tax judge without so much as a degree in biology can invoke the Daubert ruling to effectively dismiss expert witnesses providing evidence of vaccine injury merely because they’re deemed to represent “minority science”; and in a world where majority science is determined by who can pay for it, I’m not clear on whether we’re living in the same reality as certain “voices of authority”.

Authority on which planet? In our reality, children are dying and being injured in front of our eyes and it’s as if the majority isn’t speaking to the evidence or to us. The resources which do speak to us are the ones which mesh with experience.  I wonder whether, from that wacky minority realm of firsthand experience, I could bring up at least six impossible things which, after all the scholarly divisions of specialized knowledge have finished dickering over the next forty years, may turn out to be true. In any case, waking or sleeping, social abandonment and the bystander nightmare seem to be universal themes in our part of the universe. 

The “Vaccine Court” decisions against Michelle Cedillo, Yates Hazlehurst and Colten Snyder—and then the disclosure that Bailey Banks, Hannah Poling and many others among more than 1,300 children whose cases were won or conceded were awarded compensation by the same court and on nearly the same grounds by which Michelle, Yates and Colten were denied (HERE)-- seems to have stunned the entire vaccine safety/autism movement into an eerie silence for a spell a few years back. By the time the Supreme Court announced its ruling in Bruesewitz v. Pfizer, many in the movement were hardly surprised. But at the time the appeals were lost, the community still suffered the dashing of hope for justice in the near future.

After learning that a number of the compensated cases had taken the tact of excising the word “autism” from complaints, I thought again of the unstudied aspects of the Kitty Genovese syndrome. What came to mind specifically was something I’d frequently heard out of the mouths of survivors when I’d worked as a DV advocate: many felt they would have gotten more help from police, the courts, medical personnel and bystanders had they claimed they’d been attacked by a stranger. Meaning that, to see justice or receive humane intervention in either situation, one would have to present a case with a controversial buzz-concept removed. In the case of violence, the idea that the victim had known the perpetrator biases onlookers into blaming the victim. In the case of vaccine injuries, “autism” carries the same taint. 

What’s the common denominator here that turned Elias Tembenis—who at last received a wisp of justice but too little and too late (HERE) — George Fisher, Michelle Cedillo, Yates Hazlehurst, Colten Snyder and all our injured or departed children into Kitty Genoveses?  What’s continuously transforming the public, the press, and the less directly guilty members of the medical profession and members of government into Kew Gardens bystanders? What’s allowing the crime to go on and on when it could have been stopped at countless junctures? I personally think that both issues are festering in the same underbelly region of reality which, for many reasons, triggers a very similar mechanism of bystander denial. I suspect this denial stems from who the perpetrators tend to be, what power they tend to wield, how dangerous it might be to go against them—how much less dangerous it seems to go against the victims— and the mentality that fuels the continuing suppression of real investigation of cause. But the epidemic still lives and dies by bystanders and denial. The denial feeds misinformation and misidentification—often willfully—and this, in turn, leads to inaction or worse, a need to find fault with victims. People fear that to admit to the reality threatens being invaded by it. Of course the truth is the reverse—the denial of this reality is actually its passport. 89% of the public may currently suspect that vaccines are unsafe, but why don’t they speak up, even for their own sakes? 

Another terrifying question—what turned some members of the medical establishment, government and pharmaceutical industry into Kew Gardens perpetrators? I’m trying to avoid flogging the comparison, but there are some stray bits of trivia about the perpetrator mentality and the systems they create and rely on which apply. I promise that, in the end, it all relates disturbingly well.

The differences between intimate violence and iatrogenic injuries are pretty obvious: in the case of vaccine injuries, almost no one involved in promoting vaccine market expansion or administering vaccines ever witness the direct harm they contribute to. Instead their consciences are buffered by the mostly delayed response to vaccine injuries, since only a minority are actually “table injuries” which occur directly after administration. Almost no one involved in defending or administering vaccines commits direct, hands-on aggression— except perhaps in the growing number of cases of schools or child welfare acting as an enforcement arms to pharmaceutical interests by removing children from the home for “medical neglect”. This would only increase in the case vaccines are made compulsory; but for the time being, the aggression involved in marketing, mandates, media attacks and cover ups is mostly oblique and the power and control are mostly inferred. Few who perpetuate the epidemic of vaccine injuries have to get their hands directly dirty.  But the pointed cover-up, the promotion of blatantly bad science in defense of products, the distortions of and false attacks on consumer advocates and their positions hint that some involved in vaccine promotion know the truth. The epidemic may have started out as an epic failure of oversight, but the cover ups and rationalizations themselves have become criminal; from there on out, comparisons to other crimes can’t exactly be dismissed as hyperbole.

Criminologists and domestic violence specialists like Donald Dutton (HERE ) and the late Neil Jacobson  (HERE ) discuss learned mechanisms and systems of rationalization which disable empathy and enable an individual to commit gratuitous harm to others. Both argue that these things could only be acquired through role modeling in early life.
I don’t know how far that comparison can be drawn in the case of the system which created the epidemic of vaccine injuries—that even if the notion that autism itself was caused by the “bad childhoods” of victims has been completely debunked, is it still possible that the epidemic might have been caused by the “bad childhoods” of perpetrators? Why do moral relativism and propaganda come so naturally to some?

There are a few views on systematic evil, several of which formed around the Holocaust. It’s not surprising: after a mass atrocity is at last recognized—and this is always after a great struggle— science and humanity develop great interest in the psychology, modus operandi and cognitive workings of its purveyors. Geneticists and neuroanatomists insisted on preserving the brain of a nazi leader Robert Ley, who committed suicide at Nuremberg, in the hopes of finding the key to sadism in brain structure (HERE). In the case of Ley, I’m not sure they found anything other than evidence of alcohol abuse and a brain injury from a known plane crash corresponding to a visible dent in his forehead—though researchers at the time failed to mention this and instead crowed excitedly about the “evil brain” discovery. Though closed head injuries can cause behavior disorders, Ley’s dented skull was an isolated sample. On the side of psychology and mass atrocity, there is Hannah Arendt’s theory of the “banality of evil” or “normalization of evil” which Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted discussed in a presentation (HERE)—the idea that, like frogs slowly cooking in water, people become desensitized to the significance of their participation in systematic evil. Then there are studies of traditionally brutal childrearing practices in pre-nazi Central Europe which argue that mass desensitization to evil may have started in the cradle (HERE ) and resulted in extreme conformity and its “flip side”— sporadic psychosis. There are many accounts that the economic elite in the US were so impressed with German conformity, particularly evident in military drills and grand marching formations, that German nannies—and their reputedly brutal disciplinary methods—were in high demand in the Lindbergh era. Brutal rearing may have been particularly true of the engineers of the Holocaust, who, when observed by researchers Gilbert and Miale at Nuremberg prison, seemed unable to so much as use the toilet independently of orders and were deemed “psychologically abnormal”. Hitler was known to have been abused by his father as a child and several Nazi leaders were reputed to have been violent in their private lives (before his full rise to power, Hitler may have murdered a young niece whom he kept virtually imprisoned for several years and for whom he reportedly had an obsession; Goebel’s final victims were his own wife and children—murdered as the Allies advanced at the end of the war). 

I suspect both psychological views have some bearing on both intimate violence and systematized medical abuse. I suspect that the genetic violence theory does not: despite occasional media claims to the contrary, all genetic violence theories have been repeatedly debunked and all have racist, eugenic or pharmaceutical industry (“there’s a drug for that”) origins.

In any case, domestic abusers have been clinically noted as being very sensitive to social response and clearly depend on different tiers of social capitulation from enablers and bystanders, as does medical abuse or any kind of subjugation. Is every participant “genetically aberrant” in comparison to a healthy population? It’s unlikely. And then how guilty are the various “tiers”? Most people peripherally involved in vaccine production, administration and policy-making are just trying to advance or protect their careers; most conform to peers and norms; most believe they are serving the “greater good”. Most probably personally abhor violence, are merely half bystanders.

 In terms of speculating on the MO’s of those more deeply involved in forcing inadequately tested products onto the market, engineering public submission and suppression of independent science, silencing opposing views, pressuring media outlets to censure reports, etc., unless we see some explicit Wikileaks exposing motives or psychology, it’s guesswork. Plus, asking the question before an atrocity is universally recognized is viewed as ad hominem attack. Wait a few years after recognition or at least 50 years from the event and the question becomes “social science” or legitimate “historical profile”. For the moment, it’s only possible to look at the similar mechanisms of rationalization between one type of perpetrator (or perpetrating system) and the other, the end result of what they do and the means by which they do it.

One theoretical learned system by which perpetrators rationalize committing harm is called “Reduction of Self Punishment”, a cognitive process by which abusers simultaneously ease their consciences and contrive to turn the social context against their own victims by retroactively and proactively justifying the abuse. The system serves to convince abusers (and credulous bystanders) that the victim/abuser roles are actually reversed, that the abuser is the victim of their own victim. To paraphrase:

1)    Collects palliative comparisons which shed flattering associations on their own actions (“John Wayne pushed women around in movies while playing the good guy, which means I’m not the bad guy”; “Maurice Hilleman was a heroic vaccinologist”).

2)    Alters the identity of the victim in such a way that victim/perpetrator roles are reversed (the abuser surmises the victim secretly wants to do harm, is a bad person, was a manipulator, deserved it. Corporate defenders declare that consumer advocates only pretend to be calling for vaccine safety but are actually “antivaccine” and will infect the public with vaccine preventable diseases).

3)    Cognitively fabricates or alters the order or nature of events to effectively shed blame on/split blame with the victim (“She threatened to take the children first and that’s why I assaulted her”; “The child was born this way”).

When this is done on a mass scale via the media, it’s called propaganda or cover-up, but the structure is the same.

Social psychologists also describe abusers as channeling an inordinate amount of psychic energy into something called “image management”. An acquired faculty which is not limited to violent crime, image management seems to be an intense focus of perpetrators on manipulating how other people perceive them, which might explain why many apparently show an extraordinary ability to “morph” in their self-presentation and to disarm. They “spend” a lot more on PR than content in other words.

If a perpetrator is going to manipulate image, they’re going to try to ensure that others see them positively, whether by creating a mystique, casting themselves in the hero role or showing an alacrity for the interests of their victims in order to gather “intel”—all the better to seduce, exert control, blackmail, coerce, gaslight, etc. (Bernard Madoff culled the trust of Holocaust survivor and Ponzi scheme victim, Eli Wiesel, with discussions of ethics and education; the AAP urges pediatricians to get “into the minds” of parents to overcome jaundice towards vaccination).

The system of rationalization, image management and manipulation expose certain conduct as learned and willfully undertaken. Many criminologists disagree on whether the battering mentality is mental illness or learned criminality or something in between. The distinction may never be resolved but most agree that, in otherwise functional adults, it’s a matter of choice. Eli Wiesel seemed particularly clear on this point when he summed up Madoff’s character: “’Sociopath’, ‘psychopath’, it means there is a sickness, a pathology. This man knew what he was doing. I would simply call him a thief, scoundrel, criminal”.

Though I’m torn about the point Wiesel makes (he would know what he’s talking about more than most) because I suspect sociopaths and psychopaths know right from wrong and are responsible, at the same time that many may be products of disastrous rearing. Maybe the danger is that this becomes an argument for pity in the minds of some; though I can imagine sympathizing with who the criminal was as a child—enough to be driven to prevent child abuse—without sympathizing with them in their adult state as criminals. To illustrate the issue of willfulness, another theory which Dutton presents attempts to demonstrate how the crime of battering is in direct concert with social capitulation and, one might conclude, a matter of choice. From what I understood, Dutton argues that the overwhelming rage associated with domestic abusers is a “gratifying” altered state which entered into voluntarily, something known as “deindividuation” or “infantile depersonalization”. This is why he proposes that perpetrators drink or use drugs in order to facilitate the gratifying violent state, not the other way around.

Evidence that battering is a crime and that it hinges on perceived social acceptance might also be found in this: deindividuation is apparently in the similar vein to “mob mentality”—the mindset that people enter into voluntarily when they choose to, for example, join a lynch mob. Some theories have it that lynch mob behavior arises because a sense of group consensus and assured anonymity (impunity) within the group creates an opportunity for mindless, gratifying catharsis. This would again support the idea that the mindset is voluntary, evident in the fact that the vast majority of abusers (this is probably true for members of lynch mobs for that matter) aren’t generally prone to spontaneously beating the crap out of their bosses or randomly running down cops who just gave them a ticket. They may commit other crimes, but perpetrators typically factor the costs of their actions (wear masks during a robbery; bury the evidence of the failed pharmaceutical trial or data from an inconvenient epidemiological study). Another key to the fact that battering is crime, not so much pathology, is what it takes to stop it. According to some studies, jail time tends to have the highest impact on recidivism if accompanied by anger management therapy.

What this might have to do with the epidemic should be pretty clear: people are still responsible for their actions even if they commit them collectively, but to the degree that a sense of collective impunity—which might be somewhat similar to a gratifying state of deindividuation entered into voluntarily— is seductive, prosecution/delivering justice is a message that society (the mob, the bystanders) does not approve and will deliver consequences.

Unfortunately, in the absence of the message that the majority does not approve of a crime—in the event that injurious conduct is not deemed criminal or, say, the Supreme Court bars lawsuits for both unavoidable and avoidable defects of a product— once victimized, survivors have a statistically elevated risk of being targeted for further abuse in various capacities because the low risk of perpetration has already been established—the equivalent of announcing open season. And again, according to some clinical views, abusive entities often disguise themselves as “rescuers” and lay “helping” traps for the vulnerable—a ruse which is made easier by the fact that bystanders, in contrast, refuse to get involved.

Though corporate defenders have doubled back this charge, claiming that Defeat Autism Now! and other alternative practitioners are “preying on” autism families, it’s not DAN! lobbying to make treatments compulsory or capturing regulatory agencies to ensure captive consumers. Integrative practitioners don’t utilize child welfare agencies as enforcers to ram down doors and whisk children away to treatment centers for forced medication. There’s a general lack of guns and dogs, power, control and coercion among the alternative scientists studying and treating vaccine and environmental injuries.

But the projection of sinister motives fits perfectly within the classic “protection racket” construct of intimate abuse: again, abusers go to enormous lengths to ensure that the only form of “help” their victims receive comes solely from the abuser. As many autism families discover, accepting assistance from the state, mainstream medical or helping professions—or even simply sending a child with autism to school— can often lead to a variety of entrapments.

Has anyone lost track of whether I’m writing about interpersonal violence or vaccine injuries at this point?  When I think of the epidemic of abuse raging around autism—medical neglect, judicial abuse, attacks on victim advocates, institutional harassment and brutality towards victims, cuts in service, minimization of harm and death, the incremental steps towards wielding the ultimate power and control in vaccine enforcement, the bystanders to all of it and the endless rationalizations— I’m not even sure myself. Again—seamless transfer.

Adriana Gamondes is a Contributor to Age of Autism and one of our FaceBook admins.



@autism uncle I certainly believe reporting on Wakefield and vaccines in general has been appalling although I have not followed the Washington Post specifically on it. That said, just because the press may be misguided on this issue does not seem to be a reason to not believe any reporting or get all my news from the ranting and documented history of lying of Orangeman and his truth defying boot-licking legislators. By the way, I don't see a corporate court as a boon for autism families or anyone frankly except a few, already wealthy people. As for fairness, ever heard if Merrick Garland, a centrist denied a hearing for a year? Yet a week's delay was evidence of the diabolical democrats. Get real!
Cheering this appointment is great until your relatives get thrown off their health insurance for having a preexisting condition. Or you get cancer from all the crap that it becomes legal to dump. Or Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are cut or privatized to either pay for tax cuts for the wealthy or make a profit for some corporations.
A far right corporate court does not represent the American population and will certainly not serve the interests of most of this community.

cia parker


I don't think that anyone had the moral obligation to follow the line of blood but the police. Bystanders don't have to put their own lives on the line, although those who did would be acting heroically, but optionally.

I just read more about the crime I described. Those interested could put what I wrote in their search engines to find the reports. The pretty young woman was 28, a receptionist, with two small children at home. The man was just turning 35, also the father of young children. They had no connection to the murderer who tied them up and murdered them, and then shot the woman who ran in to help when she heard their screams. I should have said we should pray for all three of the victims, and for their families.



If Mosely was able to follow the blood trail and find where Genovese collapsed, someone else could have as well. Mosely knew more than anyone that no one would bother. He was trained from birth to calculate the risk. No one helped his mother or him for all the years that his own father assaulted them.

Clearly part of this story was police inaction on top of the bystander effect On the assumption that the attack was domestic violence related, noninterventionism was the standard cultural response on top of the fact that police would know their own risk of injury or death would be higher for stepping in.

cia parker


What I read indicated that the woman rushed into the office because she heard them screaming as they were tied up and murdered. It wasn't unawares. I think her instinct was to rush to help, without considering that she might be attacked by the murderer as well. And she was. We should pray for her recovery. I just wanted to say that probably the people who heard Genovese screaming were worried about the criminal attacking them as well if they got involved. As they probably would have been unless they were strong, armed men who rushed in as a group, and even then the criminal might very likely have wounded or killed one or two of them as well. I'm thinking of several recent cases in which that happened.

Just to say that it wasn't heinous to not personally try to help Kitty, although it was a terrible thing if they could have called the police, but didn't. Several said they called the police, the police said they didn't, but the police after this long may not know exactly what happened, or may want to deny its own negligence. Evidently some policeman went to look, but Kitty was in an out-of-the-way place which he didn't see.


Cia-- I'm not sure if the story you quoted was a case of heroism or wandering into the fray unawares. I think this is why it's suggested in self defense classes that people shout "fire" when under violent attack rather than, say, suggesting people install apps on their phone that automatically blast ice cream truck music if they're facing a knife-wielding assailant. "Fire" would trigger people to call 911 and otherwise be on their guard instead of innocently ambling into the street with their wallets out.

cia parker

I just saw a report on two people being murdered in the office where they worked, and another woman hearing them shout or scream and she ran in to see if she could help. She was shot and is now in critical condition.

I admire heroes, but I don't think it's fair to criticize those who don't act heroically. Heroes often get killed. And of course everyone who heard Kitty's screams should have called the police. I don't know how to explain several people saying they did, but the police say they have no record of it.

"A third victim, a 58-year-old woman, was seriously injured with a gunshot wound in the stomach. She had heard noise coming from the office and went to check what was happening. She was shot as she entered the room."

At roller skating yesterday, a man who works at the rink asked me what I was reading. Vaccines: A Reappraisal, by Dr. Richard Moskowitz. again. I told him about vaccine reactions in my family. He said he had a grandson with autism, but he was born with it, it wasn't from a vaccine. I asked, as smiling and polite as I could be, Are you sure? It's usually caused by vaccines, and they get so many now. He eventually said Well, it's too bad that some people are susceptible to reactions, but luckily, most of us aren't. So he can feel happy and relaxed in the strong arms of science, since he's not one of those of us who react. Even though his grandson did, regardless of his denial.

I told him what a great book Vaccines was, just published last year. I didn't add that Dr. Moskowitz presents a lot of evidence for EVERYONE reacting, that the autoimmune process is something that all vaccines always cause. But it might be years before a fever or vaccine triggers whatever symptoms your body is programmed to react with.


Four bystanders did "something" in the Kitty Genovese case but so little and so late that it hardly corrects the record and as another commenter put it, Genovese is still dead. But as a native New Yorker, I was able to watch how the collective shame generated by that story caused a shift in how many New Yorkers responded to crises. There's been research to this effect and I also saw it happening. In situations where strangers stepped in to help others, at some point someone-- whether the would-be victims or the helpers-- would typically refer to "Genovese." Because of how common and intense this consciousness has been in New York City, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it had some impact on how people on the ground responded during the 9-11 attacks. That's "something." But what it may have taken to do that was a harsh collective glimpse of human behavior that came in the right moment.

What I think is really at issue here is an interpretation of human nature. Several studies have caused uproars because they dampened people's idealism about the goodness of our fellow man and the myth of moral progress-- something many cling to in order to maintain optimism. The Milgram experiment is probably the most notable and its conclusions closely match what was observed in the Genovese case: not that many people are all that heroic when left to their own devices. Certain atrocities like the Holocaust also highlight a darker view of humanity. Primo Levi quotes a camp survivor in the book The Drowned and the Saved who stated that "10% of people are always merciful; 10% are always cruel, and the other 80% can go either way." Milgram recorded about the same proportions regarding "agentic" personalities and the numbers in the Genovese case work out to be about the same.

But I think it's out of optimism that individuals like Levi take a hard, bleak look at the reality of human beings in the hopes that realism is the best starting point in order to generate strategies to change social response. That was measurable in the Genovese case, most likely because it echoed what everyone knows deep down to be true about our species. To quote Thomas Hardy, "If a way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst."

A certain periods in history, populations aren't ready for that harsh glimpse but those trying to change things have to start from a point of realism all the same. If you see the film "No" by Pablo Larrain about the shockingly successful use of a happy, peppy ad campaign to end the murderous dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile, even in that case the engineer of the campaign began with a pretty bleak, realistic view of average Chileans and surrounding world politics.


Adriana, I guess I would agree that nobody did enough, but a lot of people did something. Maybe the makers/marketers of the movie are trying to correct the record.

I've been thinking about the idea that people won't bother to call the police if they think that others are going to. I'm wondering if that's the case generally. To take an extreme example, a nearby shopping area decided to have a fireworks display to celebrate some remodeling. The neighbors didn't get an alert, presidential or otherwise. It sounded like WW III. I couldn't see any fireworks, just smoke. If I didn't call 911, it's because I was calling my family telling them not to come home. The 911 switchboard was swamped even though, we can assume, people knew that everybody and his brother was calling.

On the other hand, a neighbor watched a stranger (who turned out to be GSK) walk into the backyard of a woman in the middle of the night and didn't call 911. It wasn't that he didn't want to get involved; he didn't have to tell the cops he saw that happen. I'm sure it's because he had doubt. He probably came up with a lot of explanations of what might be going on. Perhaps he didn't want to be the only one calling the cops and be wrong.

Jenny Allan

Thank you greyone.
Obviously, procedures across the Atlantic in the US are very different from those in Scotland, but Professor Blasey Ford's filmed testimony was news headlines all around the world; the intention was plainly to prevent Kavanaugh's appointment. Personally, I found this media circus repugnant. Surely this matter could have been dealt with behind the scenes?

autism uncle

@ Someone,
Since you rely on the Washington Post, do you accept their relentless assaults on Andrew Wakefield, and anybody else questioning the incredible toxics in all the vaccines?

The Washington Post, the NY Times, et al. are totally in the pocket of Pharma via their hundreds of millions of dollars for their endless promos of Pharma Ads.

Have you, Someone, have ever reviewed the literally hundreds of toxic "excipients" that are listed in all the vaccines?



The segment in the film with Mike Wallace was painful to watch as he makes a big thing out of what are essentially minor discrepancies in reporting that in no way change the ramifications of events. Ear witnesses, eye witnesses... 38 or 24... no one did enough. And Wallace's gaspy hyper-dramatic mea culpa rings false. Would that Wallace would mea culpa and retract his vaccine promotions.

What I sense from producers is that they're marketing the film to those who regret that "Kitty Genovese" has been a powerful buzz term for 50 years instead of the "four or five years" of attention they think (or wish, it is repeatedly implied) it should have gotten.

Those who regret cultural concepts like this are often the ones with the money to back film projects. If you read "Weaponizing Anthropology," "Manufacturing Consent" and other tomes on industrial manipulation of media and culture, it's clear that certain industries leave no stone unturned to "reverse culture jam" a range of popular concepts or social studies that, in a collective and compounded sense, discomfit and plague the current business model. The "frivolous lawsuit" buzz from years back that stemmed from a spilled cup of coffee is a perfect example. Never mind that the woman had to have skin grafts and nearly died, spilled coffee became a punchline for years. No accident. Sometimes it's surprising how much resources corporations will pour into redirecting seemingly obscure cultural or social science conception.

The biotech front group the Skeptics is another case in point. The group specialize in nitpicking any popular tenet, term, study or assumption that inconvenience their sponsors. No target is too obscure. Two founding fathers of the astroturf "movement" concocted a pretty fascist-sounding theory (similar to Stalin's and Franco's form of eugenics) that "memes" or cultural conceptions literally breed in people's minds, can be contracted like viruses and can change DNA, ergo it may be, as Skeptic icon Sam Harris argues, acceptable to "kill people for their beliefs" (and, presumably, drone their children who are merely little meme-carrying demon seeds). There's a book on the subject by Chris Hedges which describes the totalitarian roots of this kind of painstaking cultural pruning.

In any case, coining this theory was a successful marketing ploy and the corporate sponsorship obviously rolled in for the Skeptics-- all hidden in loopholes reserved for "education" nonprofits. The group now has fingers in multiple science and media departments in universities across several English speaking countries, are heavily represented in the "science press" and in mainstream and alternative media, run a mafia that controls relevant Wikipedia entries to prevent anti-corporate edits from metastasizing, etc. Most of the defenses of vaccine mandates that are parroted by the public and by health departments were generated by this front group. It goes to show you that words are powerful, concepts are powerful and CEOs of global corporations that hire reverse culture=jamming front groups aren't paid billions for being idiots.

It's also clear that Genovese's brother was not promoting a particular message though he does appear to be relieved by disclosures that might finally bring some peace.


Re: allegations about Kavanaugh. At least a couple of his still good friends put in print next to their yearbook pictures references to Killer Q's (and 151). Killer Q's are quaaludes and 151 is a super-potent Bacardi rum which is no longer made. That's independent corroboration of Swetnick's claims. We'll be hearing more about that down the road.

Either that or Killer Q's and 151 is a drinking game with the glasses put in the shape of a "Q" while the participants take turns composing verses for a hundred fifty-first psalm.


Adriana, I don't think I ever read the original NYT story, but my notion of the Kitty Genovese story was that 30+ people stood around watching Genovese being murdered for half an hour and didn't call the police because they thought other people were doing it, didn't want to be involved or couldn't be bothered. The movie showed that not to be the case: the original encounter was brief and probably appeared to be over to the ear witnesses (and the fewer eye witnesses). I'm not sure anyone knew she was being stabbed. Many people probably called the police. The police, I imagine, did a drive-by and didn't see anything, Kitty being around the corner in an enclosed stairwell.

I agree that the bystander effect is alive and well, especially when danger is involved. Now that I have a child, I'm definitely fray-adjacent. I don't want to put my body at risk if someone else is willing to do it. I don't have any trouble dialing 911, however.

What's more difficult to understand is why people in the middle of a crime wave, seeing extremely suspicious behavior, wouldn't bother to call 911. There are a few instances of that in Hunting a Psychopath, a book about the Golden State Killer by one of the original investigators.


dear science is pure,
I agree with not making conclusions based on media sound bites which is why I linked to the direct testimony of Dr Ford.
And there was nothing more destructive to the cause of justice for the vaccine injured and safer health policies than the decision of a conservative Republican Supreme Court in Bruesewitz v Wyeth.

Science is pure.  People are corrupt.

With regard to forming conclusions from a quasijudicial procedure in the media spotlight in lieu of a full legal hearing, I venture the names Dr. Wakefield, Prof. Walker-Smith and Prof. Murch, and the entire VICP.

The divisive comments being posted by some on here are counterproductive to the cause.


dear Jenny,
There was more than an allegation.
there was testimony before the Judiciary Committee.

This appointment to the Supreme Court creates another Scalia court, which birthed the Bruesewitz v Wyeth decision.
the dissenters on the Bruesewitz v Wyeth case were justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by Clinton, and Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by Obama.

Jenny Allan

@Someone "Three of Kavanaugh's drinking buddies have published a Washington Post piece saying he lied under oath. No irony there. He lies, period"

As I stated on a previous AoA thread, it is all too easy to destroy a person's career and reputation, just by making 'allegations' Without proof, we will never know the truth about those 35 year old 'allegations' against Kavanaugh. Hearsay from 'drinking buddies' is particularly repugnant.

Strangely, here in Scotland very similar allegations have recently been made against a former SNP First Minister. This man, voted out of parliament at the last election, has become a bit of a loose cannon in politics. The publicity has forced him to resign from the SNP political party, but he has protested his innocence throughout. Now it turns out the matter was apparently 'resolved' informally 5 years ago, with the woman accepting an apology for the 'misunderstanding'.

The former First Minister is a 'canny' Scot, and is taking the Scottish Government to the civil Court of Session, to sue them for their 'handling' of the complaint against him, which should not have been regurgitated in the full glare of publicity, apparently, like Kavanaugh, this is an attempt to discredit the former First Minister publicly, although the women in this case have retained anonymity. £100,000 was raised via 'Crowdfunding' to fund the Court case.

This says a lot about what the Scottish Public think about what is effectively 'Trial by Media'. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is presently dissembling all over the place, claiming she knew nothing about the previous handling of these 'allegations'. The police have now become involved, but there have been no resulting criminal charges. Of course, if this was considered 'criminal' at the time of the complaints, 5 years ago, the police should have been notified then. A proper Court of Law is the ONLY place for such serious allegations.

Those good honest doctors and researchers, who have raised concerns about vaccines and medicines have had their careers and reputations trashed, by allegations. I am personally sick and tired of being 'classed' by the press and media as an 'anti-vaxxer', when I am actually pro safety and pro choice.


I could not agree more. I think you misunderstood me. No one’s brain trauma should be ignored, is simply what I meant.


Carol-- thanks for commenting and it brings up some really interesting issues.

I thought about this before republishing since obviously the film came out after the series was originally posted. But in the end I don't believe the film dispelled the notion of the bystander effect at all. It also didn't change my sense that the later New York Times denial of the original conclusions went overboard and smacked of trying to stuff the inconvenient genie it unleashed with the original coverage of the murder back in the bottle. They exaggerated their own initial exaggeration.

The "genie" was turning the Genovese murder into an eternal buzz term that has continuously triggered consciousness of the shame of standing idle while terrible things happen. If considering simply the consistently documented inaction of only a handful of witnesses, this kind of public reaction to the story and the way the story has endured is not exaggerated but apt. But it's pretty evident from decades of the Times' disinformative (and still unretracted) coverage of a wide range of subjects from war crimes to economic abuses to vaccine injury why the paper of record would regret opening that can of worms. Especially now the Times seems to specialize in entreating the public to sit on their hands and shut their eyes.

Most of what Genovese's brother covered wasn't new information-- the number of witnesses had been disputed for a long time as well as other details from the original story. It was genuinely new information that a lone woman risked her own safety and tried to come to Kitty's aid at the end of the half hour struggle. But clearly none of it was enough. Furthermore, the film drummed up even darker revelations about public inaction. We can imagine that there are good citizens who might, for instance, try to comfort an individual with autism moments before they die of a final seizure or from any of the multiple causes of premature death that people with ASD are statistically prone to. But preventing the injuries that caused the condition that comes in tow with so much suffering and risks of early mortality would have taken collective and official actions that have not been taken. Too little, too late.

I think the film's producer James Solomon's misleading summary of the film is a message that many in our society anxiously welcome and which the corporate media is more than happy to promote. We live in a time of Calvinist rationalizations for public inaction in the face of so many terrible things and the media has a full time job to assuage consciences for bystanderism by bolstering up rationalizations for it.


@ Annie. Three of Kavanaugh's drinking buddies have published a Washington Post piece saying he lied under oath. No irony there. He lies, period. Small and large. We weren't even allowed to see 90 percent of his court record. If there aren't enough red flags for you then stay with the irony and just remember it when preexisting conditions are suddenly able to deny medical treatment to millions, and our environment is suddenly up for grabs by large corporations and glycophospate is in your every meal. The court will be a corporate court that doesn't give a damn about disabled kids and will do everything they can to chip away at protections for them. Glad you see irony.


“Indelible in the hippocampus”
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Truer irony has never been spoke.


I watched the Genovese documentary The Witness, and couldn’t discern how much was truth or revisionism. One man yelled. One woman found her, bleeding. The victim died. So much for “helping.”

If the attack happened today, we’d have cell phone videos to analyze. And Genovese would probably still be dead — because everyone was recording the attack, instead of helping. Why has another person’s suffering become video entertainment for others?

To whit: “A Frenchwoman who is taking legal action against Ryder Cup organisers after she was left blind in one eye after being hit by a golf ball has told how fellow fans took photographs and videos of her immediately after she was struck, rather than come to her aid.”

First television facilitated passive voyeurism, with glass screens as walls distancing viewers from the images’ reality. Now cell phone technology encourages owners to record as their initial reflexive impulse. Lifting one’s phone between viewer and object recreates that separating TV wall.

Combine that with social media that conditions users to instantly react emotionally to audiovisuals, over and over. The information overload and flight-or-fight overstimulation is exhausting and dehumanizing us.

Grace Green

Dr. Paul Thomas.
You're an inspiration, and I for one appreciate how you and the few others are sticking your necks out for the cause. As the daughter of a pharmacologist who I believe was a whistle-blower, I've come under a lot of pressure myself, but I'm standing my ground. We are collectively getting them surrounded!

cia parker

I just read a review of The Witness, made by Genovese's brother. Two people said they called the police when they heard her screams, though the police say they have no record of the calls. One neighbor went flying down the steps when she heard them, and burst in not knowing what she would find, ready to confront the murderer, and held Kitty as she died. The review said the movie wasn't so much about the truth, which will probably never be fully known, but about the stories people told themselves to justify their actions.

A couple of years ago I gave donations twice to the UNRWA refugee camp outside of Raqqa while the US was destroying ISIS (yay, USA!). I also gave twice to Solidarity with the Persecuted Church. I told my neighbor about the horrific suffering of these people, thinking that maybe as a devout Catholic she would want to make a donation as well, but she said there were just too many worthy causes and she couldn't give to all of them. She gives to schools for orphaned Indian children. I don't, although I have sympathy for these children.

I think that's key. You can't get involved with every cause, or even inform yourself well about more than a few of them. My neighbor is a good person, but she's made up her mind that Science has spoken, and has told me several times that thank Heavens our government and hundreds of qualified scientists are even now working tirelessly to find the cause of autism. But that all of her great grandchildren have gotten every single last one of the recommended vaccines, which is what she'd do if she were in charge of a young child now. And nothing I say or do, and nothing my autistic daughter (not) says or does, makes a particle of difference to her beliefs.

We're flooded by information, causes, and issues, 24/7. On most issues we decide to trust the experts. We trust that the food we buy has been hygienically handled, that when we get the car repaired it's now safe to drive. That the heat will work in the winter. That if someone tries to break into our house, that the police will be there shortly after being called. I can see how my 90-year old neighbor, who lived through the polio era, has an absolute trust in vaccines, doctors, and scientists. But I feel betrayed nonetheless. I understand that it would mean to ask her to believe that the earth is not really firm beneath our feet, when it seems to her that it is. She gets the flu shot every year without fail, as she feels that it's part of her civic duty to others as well as for herself. I've told her the flu shot paralyzed my father for the last three years of his life, but you can tell she doesn't register it at all. It contradicts her worldview.

And that's true for everyone I know. No one I know in the off-line world believes in vaccine damage. They've all gotten many vaccines and believe that they are fine, but would have been dead by now without vaccines.

It will be interesting to see how many of the propagandists turn out to have sincerely believed in their narrative and how many are cynical manipulators. I think that most of them sincerely believe in it. I hope they will be devastated when they learn what they have protected and enabled, and are good sports about eventually having to give trillions of their tax dollars to those they have injured by their willful blindness.

I don't think that most of those clinging to the fantasy are bad people, though. And they don't think of themselves as ignoring the plight of the vaccine-injured, but rather congratulate themselves for living in an era in which no child dies of measles, even the 450 out of four million cases a year in the US in 1960. No. Cancer by the millions, yes, largely from an immune system deprived of developing efficiently through exposure to feverish childhood diseases. But most people know nothing about that connection.

And I don't know how many journalists are playing along and how many are sincere. But we are lucky to have a press as free as it is, I can access dozens of websites very critical of vaccines and probably have a hundred books on the subject. But you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Most people will not believe in vaccine damage until they are personally affected by it. I don't think you can force them to believe. And their narrative is very self-flattering.

Donna L.

I was just thinking about this article the other day. So happy to see it posted here again!
Of all the AofA gems, this one has always been my favorite. Brilliant, Adriana.


I am uncomfortable with the idea of the free press as a bad thing. A free press is very important to a democracy and without it we would be in much more trouble than we are in.
The press reports on the news. Medical leadership leads, so why don't they speak out? It would certainly be reported. Too bought and too cowardly. Why doesn't the President? He loves, loves, loves to attack the media like any despot 101. But who is stopping him at his well attended and filmed rallies from speaking up about the vaccine swamp issue? Not the press. Easy to give him a pass which he does not deserve. He has power but just appoints unqualified cronies. Not the fault of the press.
That said, the press is doing a dismal job of reporting in this area but the solution is not to get rid of the free press. Do you want To go around poisoning reporters like Putin?
There is a huge amount of power concentrated in Trump and his followers but it is being used to gut the EPA--more mercury and lead please! You wouldn't even know about it if it wasn't for the press. The press needs to do much better on the vaccine issue but parroting Trumps attacks on it without mentioning the failure of those in power to being about meaningful change which they are capable of is just a way to deflect responsibility and not have to see the truth in front of your own eyes. Stop blaming Only the press!! Put blame where it is mostly due. Start with Trump, the CDC, pharma and so forth. Using the press as a scapegoat is cowardly, Get real.

Jeannette Bishop

In case this is news to anyone here, this post seems to me to tie in well with a discussion I listened to last night involving attorney Alan Phillips (links for his petitions here also) and what is happening with him and potentially his clients:

Paul Thomas

Thanks for bringing this back. I missed it the first time. To do something, we have to wake up the masses to the truth of what is really going on. It begins with refusing to be a bystander, insisting on freedom to choose our medical care and waking up to the tsunami of chronic health conditions crushing our nation and the world that is iatrogenic ... caused by pharma, doctors, and by what we are doing.

Doing nothing about this makes me part of the problem.

Since I am a pediatrician, I find myself under constant pressure from the government agencies, health care plans, and peers to get in line and support the "vaccines are safe and effective" - do the CDC schedule mandates. To question this is "unscientific" and makes us a threat to society.

Well, sorry - we have far too much data - despite that fact that most studies are paid for by those in power who want to maintain the profits of the pharmaceutical industry and big business who fund almost everything in medicine, our government, and control the messages in the press.


Wow! Powerfully written. Thank you Adriana.
Can anyone provide an update on the Hazelhurst case?


A 2015 film, The Witness, made by Kitty's brother dispelled the myth that people did nothing. If memory serves, "Nobody did anything" was the product of a particular NYT reporter. The story, too good to check, became too big to correct.

bob moffit

"Has anyone lost track of whether I’m writing about interpersonal violence or vaccine injuries at this point? When I think of the epidemic of abuse raging around autism—medical neglect, judicial abuse, attacks on victim advocates, institutional harassment and brutality towards victims, cuts in service, minimization of harm and death, the incremental steps towards wielding the ultimate power and control in vaccine enforcement, the bystanders to all of it and the endless rationalizations— I’m not even sure myself. Again—seamless transfer."

I think the single institution that can be legitimately savaged for being a "bystander" in the many examples given by Adrianna is our Constitutionally guaranteed FREE PRESS meant to provide free, fair and independent information to the people. Unfortunately … on too many occasions and too many subjects .. as Adrianna informs .. we have learned that the REAL POWER of the press .. has always been .. will always be .. THEIR POWER TO IGNORE.

Not too long ago I viewed a supposed "documentary" on Netflix .. titled "Witness" .. that re-examined the phenomenon of indifferent citizens ignoring the cries for help of Kitty Genovese .. produced by Kitty's brother .. who wanted to learn why so many of the reported "eye-ear witnesses to his sister's savage attack .. remained silent. As I remember the film .. he was stunned to learn the NY Times article that went 'GLOBAL" on the 'bystanders stay silent" narrative may have been greatly exaggerated. In any event .. the film can be accessed here:

I only mention this 'documentary" to make another point about the dangers of a FREE PRESS that on far too many occasions .. runs rampant with a narrative that accuses and convicts someone in the COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION .. while the FACTS .. when the falsely accused eventually receives his/her Constitutional Right to 'due process" to defend themselves … in a COURT OF LAW .. proves the media's "narrative" was nothing more than a 'rush to judgement of an innocent man/woman".

So .. I greatly agree with Adrianna's justified anger and frustration when otherwise good people remain BYSTANDERS as they witness first hand the devastating consequences being imposed on generations of our precious, most vulnerable .. children. I would only add .. in my opinion .. it would be impossible to remain a BYSTANDER in all those professions involved .. absent the main BYSTANDERS IN THE MEDIA .. WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO IGNORE RATHER THAN INFORM THE PEOPLE ON THE SCIENTIFIC IMPOSSIBILITY OF MANUFACTURING A 'ONE SIZE FITS ALL VACCINE" WHERE THE BENEFITS OF SAME ALWAYS OUTWEIGHS THE RISKS.

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