Would You Stop a Murder if You Witnessed One in Progress?

Josh Clark

The good people responsible for viral marketing have given the world another gem. Thinkmodo, the PR firm responsible for the upcoming film Dead Man Down (the trailer of which includes an absolutely ruined version of Pink Floyd's Shine on You Crazy Diamond Pt I) released a YouTube video of a simulated murder on a public elevator. Two actors, one of whom is almost comically dressed like a bad guy, are charged with carrying out a fake strangling as the elevator doors open and the unsuspecting elevator-riding public of New York are exposed to what would appear to be a very real example of a very profound question: What do you do if you witness a murder in progress?

Humanity has a cowardly streak a mile wide programmed into it; this would be the flight part of the fight or flight response. And even the fight part doesn't necessarily factor into this question as much as does altruism. And that old question of exactly why we would put ourselves in harm's way to help another human being when it provided no apparent benefit to us is attendant to that larger question like the gills beneath a mushroom.

To be sure, there is a pretty good mix of expected reactions, but PR Newser raises the question of just how unwitting some of the people captured on the video really were. One can imagine the producers may have taken some liberties had every single person exposed to the prank simply frozen or run off.

Still, regardless of the veracity of the video, it does raise a pretty interesting point. Even if it was created to publicize a movie that may turn out to be more mediocre than the video created to market it.