The Slatest

Should We Be Shaming the Woman Who Saw a Fatal Car Crash and Walked Away Eating Pizza?

From security footage taken on Sunday in Brooklyn.


Video footage from security cameras near the site of a fatal Sunday car crash in Brooklyn shows a woman turning toward the crash an instant after it happens, then turning back around and walking away while eating pizza:

The DNAInfo site reports that a 30-year-old woman on the sidewalk was killed when the car—driven by an unlicensed, uninsured 39-year-old man who has been cited three times since Nov. 18 for speeding in school zones—suddenly swerved over the curb and hit her.

Reaction online has not been kind to the woman with the pizza, for obvious reasons: It seems like she’s being incredibly heartless. It’s probably worth noting, though, that going into shock during and in the immediate aftermath of catastrophic events is apparently a frequent enough occurrence that there’s a technical name for it: “peritraumatic dissociation,” which can involve “emotional numbing, reduction in awareness of one’s surroundings, depersonalization, and amnesia.” That’s according to this journal article in the National Institutes of Health’s library, which says that reports of such phenomena in the aftermath of shocking events are “very common.” In other words, while we can praise the individuals in the video who ran toward the crash to help, it seems entirely possible that the woman who walked away was not making a consciously callous choice but simply wasn’t in her right mind.