If someone cried out to you for help, would you whip out your cell phone and film it?
Because nobody noticed. Focused on the screens of their smartphones and tablets, potential heroes were oblivious to the tragedy unfolding within feet of them.
Rosen's message is that your being in a different place mentally than you are physically poses a threat to basic civility. At best, you don't make way for, say, someone trying to get by your outstretched leg. At worst, you don't notice a man clutching his chest before passing out.
But it's more. Many people who see a developing crisis -- from a youngster about to fall to a man pushed onto the subway tracks -- reflexively pull out their cell-phone cameras, instead of rushing to help.
Rosen concludes, "...we should not be anticipating how many views we will get on YouTube if we film their distress; we should act. To do otherwise is to risk becoming a society not just of apathetic bystanders but of cruel voyeurs."
Next: Beyond civility to love