The article in question deals with the murder of Kitty Genovese, which occurred on March 13, 1964, in the Queens area of New York City. It is one of the most famous murders ever to take place in New York, mostly because of the amount of onlookers who did nothing to assist Genovese when she was attacked and then killed. A simple anonymous phone call to the police would have brought help almost immediately. Instead, the people watching from apartment windows not only did not call the police right away, but allowed the killer to return multiple times so he could finish off his victim.
The author does not keep an impartial tone in relating the facts of the incident. The tone of the article is accusatory. He is angrily berating members of the public who would watch dispassionately and allow a fellow citizen to be gruesomely murdered. There are many examples in the text that make this evident.
No one came to Kitty's assistance.
No one called the police.
More windows opened, more lights went on.
Still no one came to Kitty's assistance.
A man who finally called the police confesses he didn't call earlier, because he "didn't want to get involved." And "had anyone called the police, almost certainly Miss Genovese would not have been killed." There is also a list of terrible excuses that onlookers made near the end of the article.
The irony in the final paragraph is that the same people who didn't bother to call the police to save Kitty's life later cheered in the courtroom when her murderer received a recommendation of the death penalty. If they had helped her, she would have still been alive. It was much too late to show their sympathy.
The Bystander Effect was identified in response to an analysis of the Kitty Genovese murder. It is also known as the Genovese Syndrome. Psychologists attribute this to social influence and diffusion of responsibility. Social influence means that people look to the behavior of others around them for clues as to how they should behave. Diffusion of responsibility means that when there are a lot of people present, individuals feel less personal responsibility. This certainly applies in the Genovese murder. There were so many people watching that it is possible they felt someone else would do something, so they didn't have to. Since no one was doing anything, no one got the prompts to do something from other people's behavior. As for the situation of Kitty being attacked in an isolated area with only one bystander, whether the bystander would do anything or run away would depend on the character of the individual.