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Man Attacked On D.C. Metro Speaks Out

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Earlier this month, Allen Haywood was attacked by some teenagers while he waited for a train in the Washington, D.C. metro. The video of the attack was posted on YouTube and almost instantly went viral. It shows Haywood screaming for the kids to stop and then asking why everyone is just standing there, watching.

The girl in the video says that it's because no one cares about him. And watching the video -- which I've embedded after the jump because it contains graphic language and images -- makes you think she's right.

Tell Me More just spoke to Haywood, who said he was mending well after the incident, but he was disturbed by the fact that no one called the cops or no one even screamed for help.

He was thrilled, though, that the video went viral because it got the incident more attention. "It's something for police to follow up on."

Plus, he said, it also proves the girl in the video was wrong.

When the video went viral, people came to Haywood's defense and perhaps most importantly, it led to introspection about human nature. It reminded Tell Me More's Michelle Martin about a recent incident:

Just a few weeks ago, I had stopped to get my morning tea when I saw a young teenager, possibly 14 or 15 years old, repeatedly slapping a very young child of maybe three or four. He was surrounded by his friends, and I surmised that he was probably babysitting the child, would rather have been with friends, and was resentful. I ran across the street saying, “Can I help you?” explaining I had young children too and maybe I could help him get things back on track. The boy – and he was a boy – told me in no uncertain terms to mind my own business. I told him if someone bigger were hurting him, I would hope I would step in.

I hope I would. I hope.

Haywood called the actions of the teenagers pointless and stupid. But many tried to dismiss the attack as just kids being rowdy, but Haywood thinks that's a mistake.

"If we let this go," he said. "It just becomes a self fulling prophecy. If they are doing this at 15 or 16, what on earth will they be doing when they are 18 or 20?"

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.