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by Abigail Van Buren

Irresponsible Witnesses Become Partners in Crime

DEAR ABBY: Nearly every day, we read or hear about a major crime (such as murder) that was committed in the presence of many witnesses, but nobody called the police until after it was too late to save the victim.

Have we forgotten Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed in three separate attacks for more than half an hour in the courtyard of her New York apartment while 38 neighbors watched and did nothing? Only one person called the police -- and that was after Kitty was already dead!

That happened in 1964, but it inspired the social psychologists to study the apathy of our "I-don't-want-to-get-involved" society so prevalent in our nation today.

They concluded that when more than one person witnesses a crime, there is a "diffusion" of responsibility -- all the witnesses assume that "someone else" will call the police. So nobody calls.

I am not proud of the fact that I have been guilty of the above attitude. Please print this. -- NEVER AGAIN IN N.Y.C.

DEAR NEVER AGAIN: Thank you for writing to acknowledge your guilt. Perhaps your letter will cause others who witness a crime to call the police immediately.

DEAR ABBY: Please settle an argument I am having with a friend. She says it's tacky to state on an invitation to a bridal shower where the bride is registered.

I say it is a proper way to let people know where they can buy a gift. And it doesn't mean that everyone invited to the shower has to buy the gift at that store.

If you think it is considered tacky, please suggest a less tacky way of letting people know what the bride needs. I do not want 50 people calling me to ask where I am registered. -- A BRIDE WHO IS REGISTERED

DEAR BRIDE: Stating on the shower invitation where the bride is registered is not tacky; it is a convenience to those invited to the shower. Of course they have the option of buying a shower gift elsewhere if they so choose.

DEAR ABBY: A recent column contained a letter from "California Granny," who wrote on behalf of her daughter who had 7-month-old triplets. She asked you to ask your readers to refrain from stopping the parents of multiple birth children to ask personal questions, such as, "Did you take fertility drugs?"

This reminds me of the story about a young woman with six children waiting on the street corner for a bus. An elderly woman approached her and remarked that all the children so greatly resembled her -- but could they all be hers, since they appeared to range only several years in age?

The young mother replied that they were three sets of twins -- born a year apart, and they were all hers.

"My," said the older lady, "Do you and your husband have twins every time?"

"No," said the young woman, "Most of the time we don't have any!" -- A MORRISVILLE, PA., READER

Abby's family recipes are included in her cookbooklet. Send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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