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It’s no longer safe to be a Good Samaritan

May 26, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

In today's world, stopping to help a stranger in need may come with a consequence. Such was the case last weekend at the Randolph and Upshur county line.

According to police reports, the driver of a Waste Management truck noticed a vehicle in front of him had stopped and flashed the lights. When the driver pulled over to see if he could provide help, three men - one of them carrying a pistol - jumped out and robbed the driver of his keys, wallet and cellphone. A few months back, a similar crime took place in Upshur County.

Although this type of incident is not common throughout our region, it does make us wary. What should you do if you see a motorist who appears to need help? What if it were you or a family member stranded alongside of the road, would you hope a kind person would stop?

The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us the importance of compassion and value of helping one another. Over the years, The Inter-Mountain has printed dozens of letters from people expressing their gratitude to others who have gone out of their way to come to the rescue of families and even bus loads of people whose vehicles had suddenly gone out of commission. In fact, some of our staff members have been on both the giving and receiving end of such incidents.

Still, there is a safety factor. Deciding whether to stop and help is, as West Virginia State Police Sgt. G.L. Stalnaker tells us, "a double-edge sword."

Police say most of the time it is safe in our area to lend assistance and you usually can expect someone with good intentions to return the favor if you're in need of help. However, since "most of the time" and "usually" don't equal "always," here's a piece of advice from Stalnaker to keep in mind. Take a moment to decide if there's any question or doubt in your mind about the person you are about to approach, and if there is, at least make a safety call to 911 or *SP. State police will respond around the clock.

Isn't it a shame this is something we have to worry about?



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