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Bad Samaritans: Witnesses Stand By as Elderly Man Hit by Car

A graphic and shocking surveillance video shows a 78-year-old man struck by a hit-and-run driver in Hartford, Connecticut. In the minute and a half that followed, before the police passed by, witnesses refused to come to the man's aid.

The video shows cars passing, and dodging the motionless body. A scooter circles the body, and then drives off. Those on the sidewalk continue about their business, or eventually join a circle of gawkers, standing feet from the man but refusing to do anything but stare. Officials did say that four people called 911.

Other countries, aware that common decency is apparently not enough to help a fellow human in need, impose criminal penalties for failing to reasonably help a person in danger.

How would you react in this situation? Should the United States adopt a duty to rescue, holding uninvolved by-passers liable for not helping a person in danger if they are not at risk themselves? Or do citizens have a right to be a Good Samaritan only if they want to? Does dialing 911 count?

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