Bystander Interventions Can Save the Day

It is not always about guards and guns. It is about doing something to help when you see the need. 17-year-old Malyk Bonnet did just that on his way home from work in Quebec. Bonnet noticed an arguing couple at a bus stop and intuitively felt that the woman was in danger. She was.

According to a police report, “We were looking for a 29-year-old woman who was kidnapped by her former boyfriend earlier that day, and we believed that man was very dangerous,” said Lt. Daniel Guérin of the Laval police.

Bonnet offered to buy them bus tickets to Laval and went with them, chatting up the man until they reached their destination where he even provided money for food. It was at the restaurant where he discreetly made a call to the police.

While arguments can be made for active shooter interventions by responsible armed citizens, it is bystander intervention and preventative actions such as Malyk Bonnet’s that can also make a big difference. Because Bonnet could not call the police immediately, he still found a way to intervene and protected the victim without endangering himself.

It is more than Bonnet’s cleverness that makes him a hero. It is the fact that he cared enough to do something. While most people would be thinking about getting something to eat after a long day’s work, Bonnet had his eyes open to the situation and interactions around him. Most important, he utilized his resources and time to make a difference.

A lesson can be learned that violence prevention is not just about active shooter drills and gun control arguments. Violence prevention also relies on bystander intervention, people paying attention and taking action because they care enough to help people in need.