From Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life."
(In case you can't see this, the direct link is here.)
(I can't remember who sent me this, but thanks!)
Featured Comment by Yunfat: "Funny. But James Nachtwey has told of an opposite effect as well:
If there comes a time when I'm the only one who can make a difference, then I'll suspend being a journalist and help people. I have intervened in lynch mobs several times over the years and managed to save people. And there was a time I tried to save a man in Indonesia.
People from a mosque in Jakarta were offended that a Christian church had a bingo parlor next to the mosque. They saw bingo as a form of gambling, which was against their religious beliefs. So they attacked the bingo parlor and began to kill the Christian guards. As I asked people in the street what was going on, one of the guards came running up an alleyway, chased by a mob. I tried to stop the mob from killing the guy. Three times they actually stopped. Once, a man was about to cut the guard's throat. At that point, I got on my hands and knees and begged him not to do it. And he didn't do it. He actually put down his knife and stood the guard up. But then the mob turned on me and became very threatening. People were in my face, pushing me back. While they were pushing me back, they finished the guard off. I thought that if one of them struck me, they'd probably take me out as well. I resumed taking pictures of the guard, and that didn't seem to bother the mob. They allowed me to photograph it. But they wouldn't allow me to stop it.
...although I have to say anyone else who did what he did would probably end up dead. I firmly believe that cameras can lend the appearance of being an impartial arbiter, but I certainly won't be putting myself in front of a murderous mob anytime soon."
Featured Comment by Ctein: "Okay, as one of those really small kids most likely to get picked on in elementary school, I say from experience that blaming this on the camera game is bullsh*t. Kids in elementary schools don't make it a habit to break up fights. They are not budding young Good Samaritans. They're less civilized and less socially conscious than your average adult in such a situation. Which is setting the bar awfully low. The camera game at most provided safe psychological rationalization for them not getting involved, but that's all."
Featured Comment by J Ho: "Being one who grew up during the first generation of 'extreme sports,' I witnessed hundreds of instances where human behavior radically changed once a camera was introduced into a situation—especially when the camera was being wielded by a 'professional' (something I happened to be at the time).
"Once the possibility of someone's heroic/insane/justplainstupid exploits being recorded (not to mention maybe being published in a magazine/video) for others to witness, individual (and group) behavior became far less 'risk-averse' and far more aggressive.
"It was as predictable as the sun rising: 'pro' shows up with some cool cameras and the injuries would commence. In fact, some photographers would refuse to even begin shooting until the skater/bmxer took a big enough chance to make it worth 'wasting' film (Velvia) or video (High-8).
"The term of art was 'dying for the camera.'
"A month or two later the photo/video would be published, and the stunt portrayed would come to be considered 'normal' or a 'baseline' for the next series of actions—ever more risky, ever more 'camera worthy.' Ultimately, we had people jumping out of helicopters hovering above ramps and vaulting 50-foot gaps between ten story buildings; at the time, we thought that kind of stuff was the ultimate, although it seems rather quaint in retrospect."