Harambe Should Bring Out the Lin Hao in All of Us

Academic News & Updates
lin haoAs a new father I was struck with the recent tragedy at the Cincinnati Zoo where a boy found his way into a Silverback gorilla enclosure for 10 minutes prior to the gorilla being killed.  And while focus can be directed to the insufficient guard rails around the exhibit or seemingly inattentive mother, this incident reminds me of the bystander effect.

The bystander effect is the phenomenon that the probability of receiving help is inversely related to the number of bystanders.  If it were just one other person that saw the boy fall in the gorilla enclosure, would they have intervened rather than waiting for someone else to help? The phenomenon was first identified through the Kitty Genovese murder in 1964 where many people heard her call for help but no one responded. 

This brings me to Lin Hao.  He was a nine-year-old boy in 2nd grade sitting in his classroom when an earthquake hit and collapsed the entire building.  He was the first one out, yet at risk to his own life, he went back into the building to pull out two classmates.  He could have easily stood by and waited for someone else to help, but he decided not to be a bystander. When asked why he risked his own life, he said, “I was the hall monitor, it was my job to look after my classmates.”

In thinking about the three examples above I want to remind all of you not to go through your life as a bystander, waiting for someone else to react. This is applicable in all aspects of our lives. If you want something, work for it, don’t wait for it to be handed to you. If you know something can be improved in your life, work, school, speak up and say so. I invite you all to be the change that you want to see in the world. If you want to graduate this year, take action to do so. Set your own timelines, and make it happen.   Keep your eye out too: there may be big and small emergencies along the way that require the Lin Hao in us.

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