I remember when I first heard the tragic story of the death of Kitty Genovese, and how shocked I was. You’ve probably heard it before, even if you don’t remember the victim’s name. Ten days after her murder New York Times writer A.M. Rosenthal reported:
For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens. Twice the sound of their voices and the sudden glow of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened him off. Each time he returned, sought her out and stabbed her again.
38 witnesses, and no one did a thing? And so the myth of a cold and uncaring New York City began. Except, that’s not what really happened.