Igraine: I never did anything to hurt you!
Morgan: Indeed, my lady. You did nothing. You did nothing when my father had my mother killed so that you could sit in her place. As you did nothing when my father banished me.
Igraine: No queen questions her king.
Morgan: And I thought my opinion of you couldn't get any lower.Somebody was around as a crime was being committed, but did nothing. Now the victim wants them brought to account. Audience and writer sympathy for each party (on one hand, the accusers, be they the victim or not, and on the other, the accused) can vary, depending on a variety of factors. The work can evaluate the so-called accomplice's responsibility for the crime simply by establishing whether it was done with the bystander being oblivious or knowing all along. Sometimes, there will be someone to point out that it also depends on whether that character refused to help, was also another innocent victim, or was simply incapable to offer help. Therefore, the accuser can really go anywhere between the top and the lower-middle part of the Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness (understandable if not a real Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds) if they are themselves unjust while addressing injustice. Compare Failure-to-Save Murder, which has a strong overlap rate. Compare and contrast Cruel Mercy, which the non-intervention may be from the point of view of the inactive party, thus making the accusation justified to the most irrational, death-seeking victims. See also a common cause for this trope, Moral Myopia, All-Powerful Bystander (who is likely to be seen as this), and You Were Trying Too Hard, for the almost-opposite. Contrast Murder by Inaction. Possible overlap with Hitler Ate Sugar and Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy, could involve Insane Troll Logic in some cases.
— Starz's Camelot, during Igraine and Morgan's second scene together
open/close all folders
- In W.I.T.C.H., Ari of Arkhanta, who possesses a slave he uses only for his greedy motives, has a massive grudge against the oracle of Kandrakhar, the benevolent figure who saves everyone's life once a week. Why? Unlike the man, who obsessed about changing his son, the Oracle didn't ever try to "cure" the child's autism.
- This is the main motivation of "Public Enemy" from the Marvel 2099 verse. A genetically-engineered super soldier, he bears a grudge against the corporation Alchemax for murdering his parents. Even after tracking down and killing everyone involved in the Red Dog project, he still feels like the really guilty party hasn't been punished. He then witnesses a crazed gunman about to kill a woman, while dozens of pedestrians either ignore it or talk about what a shame it is. After rescuing her, a crowd of people gather around him to tell him what a hero he was. Incensed at their inaction, he murders them all on the spot. He realizes that who he truly hates are the public who allow bad things to happen while claiming innocence. He kills more crowds of people who were witnesses to crimes and did nothing to stop them, eventually coming into conflict with The Punisher. During a battle between the two, he's surrounded by a crowd of people who were related to his victims. They all attack him with bricks, pipes, and whatever else they have on hand. As the crowd swarms him, Public Enemy yells out encouragment to them, overjoyed that they're finally doing what he wanted them to do even as they tear him apart.
- This was part of a very large plotline in the Spider-Man comics, involving Tombstone and Daily Bugle editor Joe Robinson. Tombstone had bullied Joe when they were kids, and eventually, Joe witnessed Tombstone - now a hitman working for the Kingpin kill a man, and after the thug threatened him, he kept quiet for decades. In the present time, Joe finally came forward when the Kingpin used the assassin in a failed attempt at Spidey, but Joe was arrested and convicted of withholding evidence. (In truth, both the DA and judge were bought by the Kingpin; this led to another storyline where Tombstone attempted to gain revenge on him in prison, which eventually ended in Joe gaining a Presidential pardon; still, the issue with Tombstone lasted much longer...)
- A variation of this trope in his origin story — standing by idly as the burglar who later would murder Uncle Ben escaped — of course continues to be the driving motivation for Spider-Man himself.
- The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers: Invoked when Squadron X were killed. The Decepticons were all arrested, but knowing they couldn't hold them, Impactor took a gun, locked himself in and shot them all to death. All the Wreckers stood by except Springer who tried to stop him (but couldn't as he was injured) and let him. Afterward they confessed to Springer that they were to stunned or scared to stop him, and had fallen under Bystander Syndrome. Springer, tired of all the death believed them and Impactor was jailed alone. Much later in life Roadbuster confessed to a comatose Springer that they did nothing because they agreed with Impactor and were unwilling to stop him, afterward they just wanted to avoid prison time.
- Watchmen: After the Comedian shoots a woman who'd just slashed his face (in anger at being told that he intended to abandon her after getting her pregnant), he chews out Dr. Manhattan for just standing there and letting it all happen when he could have easily used his immense powers to stop it.
- In Harry's New Home, Snape and Harry start distrusting and in the latter case, outright fearing Dumbledore when they realize it was Dumbledore's fault that no one checked up on Harry and why Sirius never got a trial.
- This is also the treatment of Dumbledore in A Little Light Reading.
- In I'm Here To Help, Pluto sets off the entire plot by standing by and letting Emerald escape to the past.
- In With This Ring Orange Lantern is infuriated that the Justice League lets Nabu possess Zatara without concern for Zatara himself or considering that Zatara's consent was meaningless due to being blackmailed by Nabu holding Zatanna hostage. Especially when Paul and Zatanna had to find out from the news they let Nabu in the Justice League.
Films — Animated
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Zira blames Kovu after Nuka dies in the fight with Simba.
Kovu: I did nothing!Zira: Exactly! And in doing so, you betrayed your pride, betrayed Scar!Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!Zira: You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of you! You've killed your own brother!Kovu: NO! *runs off*
Films — Live-Action
- Batman Begins: Bruce could, from the beginning, quite rightfully cause this reaction with one of his lines. It doesn't help that he ordered Gordon to destroy the monorail line with the Batmobile, making him directly responsible for the death he doesn't save Ra's from.
- I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you...
- The Dark Knight has this somewhat as the reason for Harvey's rampage, as he goes after everybody who had something to do with Rachel Dawes' death. He goes from blaming the man that had her strapped to a bomb, to blaming the people who originally hired him before he started acting out on his own, to blaming the people who were actively trying to save her.
- In the film adaptation of Night Watch, a cornered vampire girl blames the Night Watch (ostensibly the good guys) for her turning into a vampire and subsequent crimes, since the vampire who turned her was doing so legally under the Balance Between Good and Evil treaty, so the Night Watch couldn't intervene.
- It's more sinister in the books, since the Night Watch not only gives out feeding licenses to vampires and hunting licenses to werewolves, but they specify who their target is based on a lottery (minus certain people who are excluded from the list). They hate doing it, but they consider it an acceptable price to pay to prevent an all-out magical war.
- The Danish film Festen (The Celebration), set during a family reunion for a 60th birthday party, centres on the revelation by eldest son Christian that he and his twin sister were sexually abused by their father. When his mother tries to intervene, he calls her out for ignoring the abuse and says "I'm so grateful to have such a twisted hypocrite for a mother. I wish you were dead."
- In Natural Born Killers, after Mickey kills Mallory's abusive father, Mallory kills her mother because she never did anything to try and stop Dad.
- In A Brother's Price, the princesses' late father is mentioned to have been an Extreme Doormat, who stood by and watched while his son-in-law emotionally abused the younger princesses, and one time even tortured and raped one of them in the room next door. Though it is not clear whether the latter is just an exaggerated accusation, he might not have been there at the time. There is also Eldest, the eldest princess, who could have divorced their husband. She was told about his crime afterwards, but did nothing, because the (very beautiful) husband had her wrapped around his little finger.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward and his younger brother Tosten are bitter about their mother, Muellen never doing something against their abusive father. They refuse to acknowledge the fact that she was a rather weak woman, while her husband was unusually tall and stronger than most other men. For some reason, they never accuse their uncle Duraugh or their aunt Stala, both of whom would have been much more capable of stopping the abuse, of the same. Oreg points out that Muellen wasn't even able to protect herself, but for Ward and Tosten, the trauma is too deeply ingrained; they probably think their mother should have protected them because, well, she's their parent.
- In Samuel Richarson's Clarissa (1747-48), the longest book ever written in the English language, the heroine's mother and her aunt look like this from a modern reader's perspective because they never oppose the father when he does his best to force the heroine into an arranged marriage. Richardson seemed to partially agree, at least for the good aunt Hervey, whom he describes in the preface as "lacking the courage to go against so strong a steam, [and] sailing with it".
- Strangely averted and then deconstructed in Céline Raphael's La Démesure, a testimony of her life as a child and later as a young teenager with an unbelievably physically and emotionally abusive Stage Dad. She mentions that her mother and her younger sister never confronted her father about the abuse in the first years, and the reader assumes that they didn't know about the situation. Then, halfway through the book, she writes about how unsettling it must have been for them to hear all this from behind the closed door of the room her father locked her in for practice. She never had a grudge against her mother.
- However, there were occasions when her little sister had to go walk with them, and while this was one of the rare moments during which she (Céline) wasn't beaten, her sister (Marie), who limped, was hit with a stick if she didn't follow quick enough. If her sister didn't accept to come for a walk to make their father cut Céline some slack, she and her mother yelled at her.
- She also resented a P.E. teacher who taunted her for failing to attend his classes (because her father forbade her to, for practice) out of pure anger towards her and her family enjoying superior social standing and being allegedly able to break rules. It is one of the rare persons she seems to still resent and look down upon.
- After Lancelot hesitates a second and then jeopardizes his reputation and future for Guinevere — by getting in cart, making him look like someone going to his execution — in some versions of Arthurian legend, she refuses to even look at him. He thinks this is because he demeaned himself and is thoroughly humiliated. Actually, it is because he didn't totally humiliate himself immediately.
- In The Once and Future King, King Arthur and quite a few others are this in regards to the adulterous affair between Guinevere and Lancelot. The reason for it is because everyone knows that the sentence for adultery is burning at the stake, and no one, least of all Arthur, want to see the two killed. As a result, the affair becomes something of an open secret, with everyone refraining from pressing the matter. When Mordred and Agravaine bring the matter to Arthur, not only are their brothers angry with them for drawing attention to the issue, but Arthur says that he won't help or hinder them in their efforts to prove the adultery (though he does openly admit he hopes Lancelot will kill all their witnesses).
- Found in Jane Austen's works and played differently:
- Love and Freindship, this is used for comedic effect, when Laura and Sophia are furious with the latter's cousin, Mac Donald, because he didn't sigh nor weep when he heard that they had been abandoned by their grandfather. He just saved them, providing them with shelter, food and stability.
- Played for Drama in Sense and Sensibility, since the eldest brother refuses to give anything to his sisters despite his father's unofficial will and his promise at his father's deathbed. They despise him for his neglect and for being a condescending, pitiless, Innocently Insensitive weakling.
- Mary Crawford of Mansfield Park doesn't seem like a malicious and unworthy woman for Edmund; she is lively and engaging and even saves Fanny from Mrs. Norris at one point. But she refuses to do or oppose anything if it would interfere with her own comfort, and barely protests her brother's plan to woo and then dump Fanny just to satisfy his ego.
- In The Watsons (unfinished novel), the heroine despises the brother who gained financial independence and could have helped her sister while she, despite being in a higher situation, couldn't do anything, but he chose not to do anything except invite his favorite sister occasionally.
- Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, specifically the second part of the first one were created to defy the trope:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.First law of robotics
- One of the short Robot stories deals with what happens when the qualification is deliberately removed by the programmers (because the robots were actively preventing humans from voluntarily working in a hazardous environment), while the Will Smith film explores what happens when a robot doesn't understand that some humans might deliberately wish to sacrifice themselves for others and chooses the "wrong" human to save.
- In The Fountainhead, Gail Wynand was once nearly beaten to death as a youth by a drunken longshoreman. Wynand dragged himself to a saloon and asked for help for the first and last time in his life when the saloonkeeper found him. The saloonkeeper simply went back inside without a word. Years later, the now wealthy and powerful Wynand still remembered the longshoreman and the saloonkeeper. Wynand never did anything to the longshoreman. He utterly ruined the saloonkeeper's life, driving him to suicide.
- The Novelization of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock has David committing this. Whereas the movie has David using the highly unstable protomatter in the Genesis device, the book instead has the rest of the development team using it instead. While David did have misgivings and even verbally objected over the protomatter, Saavik berates him as he ultimately did nothing to stop his colleagues.
- In the Discworld Night Watch, Vimes accuses the old, bad Watch when his squad says that they shouldn't be targeted by the mobs because they didn't do anything. Vimes agrees—they didn't do anything to try and protect innocent people from the State Sec or criminals alike, and that's why they're in trouble now.
- Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky. "Fedka the convict" bugs Nikolai Stavrogin for some money, and Stavrogin eventually complies. Afterwards, Stavrogin realizes why Fedka was asking for the money—in a very indirect way, Fedka was offering to kill Stavrogin's wife and brother-in-law in exchange for cash. Realizing this Stavrogin leaps into action and... does nothing, until his wife and brother-in-law die at Fedka's hand. He outright says, the morning after, that even if he isn't legally guilty of the murders, he considers himself morally guilty.
- In Worm Taylor says in a "Reason You Suck" Speech that Charlotte is almost as guilty as the rest of the school for watching as Taylor was constantly bullied by Emma and Sophia
- In Babylon 5 the whole plot where Londo could have stopped everything bad that happened to the Narns with "One word."
- Camelot: Morgan's reason for hating Igraine is apparently this, as Igraine never opposed her father when he tried to destroy her childhood. It appears later on that there is also a dose of Irrational Hatred in this since Igraine couldn't have escaped Uther's will (he was really a domineering violent king). When Morgan stabs Igraine in the season 1 finale, her stepmother reveals that Uther wanted to kill his own daughter, and that she convinced him to simply send her away in a convent to protect Morgan.
- Desperate Housewives has this as the main motive of Paul Young in Season 6, after the titular housewives knew he was framed for murder and refused to do anything to assist. Further, they also refused to visit him or show him any kindness.
- In the backstory of Justified Hunter Mosley was the sheriff of Harlan County when Henry Crowder kidnapped, raped and murdered Mosley's young niece. Henry fled and the other members of the Crowder family refused to reveal where he was hiding. Mosley made a Deal with the Devil with a Miami drug cartel and with their help located Henry and murdered him in revenge. He then went after the other Crowders and while he could not have them arrested as Henry's accomplices, there were plenty of other crimes they were guilty of and could be sent to prison for. Even years later he still holds a grudge against the Crowders even though the remaining members of the family had no role in the matter.
- Ava Crowder was abused for years by her husband Bowman until she finally had enough and shot him dead. All the locals knew what was happening and have no real problem with what she did since they feel that Bowman deserved what happened to him. However, when they try to express this sentiment to her she rebukes them because none of them tried to help her when she was abused so their words mean nothing to her. The only one to apologize for his inaction is Bowman's brother Boyd and Ava forgives him after he risks his own life to save her from his father Bo Crowder.
- This trope is subverted by Limehouse who runs the black community of Noble's Hollar and has for years offered sanctuary to the abused women of Harlam County. As a result Limehouse now has a network of grateful women who provide him with information on all the important things happening in the region.
- Canonically, on Once Upon a Time, this is probably supposed to be Regina's motivation for extracting revenge on Snow White, who was manipulated by Regina's mother Cora into revealing the identity of Regina's lover, all despite swearing to never to say a word about it to Cora, who then killed him. This is left ambiguous and she may believe that Snow White was more than negligent and planed it all from the start.
- Regina: (having an Indulgent Fantasy Segue about strangling the girl) My mother corrupts young souls. If you had been stronger, none of this would've ever have happened...
- Fanon for makes this part of Regina's motivation for asking her dad to act as a manservant and later killing him to further her plans. He seems to expect this, but she denies this with an heartfelt Do Not Go Gentle speech and thanks him for always trying to help.
- This may be her motivation for ruining the lives of every inhabitant of her kingdom. Her mother abused her for years, killed her lover and forced her to watch and to marry a middle-aged widower? Well, they are fine with it. She tries to kill their princess? They unleash their wrath on her.
- Seinfeld is a prime example in the last episode of the last season. The episode is about the cast not helping someone getting mugged on the street in broad daylight, and them being arrested, trialed (with everybody they managed to somehow piss off with their Jerkassery over several seasons coming Back for the Finale as witnesses) and then put in jail because of a recently-passed "Good Samaritan" law. Strangely, the police officer that arrested them did not go after the criminal himself, despite also witnessing the crime.
- Which is a case of Hollywood in that Real Life Good Samaritan laws are designed to do the exact opposite. They don't require civilians to act, they protect them when they try to help but mess up (like performing CPR wrong when they haven't even been trained). The law was supposedly based on a French one passed after paparazzi did nothing to help a mortally injured Princess Diana, but that only required they call for help, not risk their own lives (the four had watched an overweight man get robbed at gunpoint).
- Subverted in an episode of Taggart; members of a criminal gang are being murdered and the prime suspect is the daughter of a have-a-go-hero who got beaten to death for his trouble (by the leader, the other gang members just stood by). They arrest her after she shoots said leader however when they try to call her out for killing the other gang members, she denies it. They realize that said leader had manipulated her into shooting him (he was wearing a bullet proof vest) and was the one who killed his former partners in crime.
- In V (2009), this culminates for Erica after she must watch her ex-husband die in her arms because of an attack by the aliens, just after escaping that everyone thinks was a kidnapping, and is just narrowly cleared of accusations of being The Mole. But this is not over, because she must bear her son Tyler's sneering comments about how she couldn't save her husband and should have, leading to Failure-to-Save Murder. She is understandably angry and depressed and this sounds shocking to her, just like the cases of teenagers chastising the church for not meddling in V politics. Though, when you read Tyler's previous actions, you realize that he often blamed her for not helping the cute (ruthless homicidal totalitarian) and charismatic Hive Queen of the Vs, his friends, or himself when she could barely intervene...
- One episode of Supernatural features a psychic boy out to kill his abusive father and uncle. He's also after his mother, because she didn't do anything to stop it.
- The Haunting Hour: In "Mrs. Worthington", the titular villian planned to punish Nate's mother for not doing anything to stop Molly from bullying Nate.
- The season 1 CSI episode "Blood Drops" has the team investigating a murder scene where the parents and two sons of a family were killed in their home, but the two daughters survived. Turns out Dad had been sexually abusing the older teenage daughter, leading to the birth of the younger one. He then turned his attention to the younger daughter, who was seven at the time. The teenage daughter hired her boyfriend and some of his friends to kill Dad to stop the abuse, and had the other family members killed because they never tried to stop Dad.
- On The 100, Clarke and Lexa know that Mount Weather is going to launch a missile at a village. They could evacuate the village in advance of the missile, but that would tip off Mount Weather that they have an informant inside the mountain. To preserve this secret, Clarke and Lexa tell no one about the missile and simply save themselves. Abby and Octavia, who were in the village when it hit, do not take this well.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Duet it turns out that Kira's Cardassian prisoner is pretending to be an infamous war-criminal because he feels that he, and by extension his entire race, is example of this trope due to their (in)actions during the Bajoran Occupation, and thus have to be punished.
- A widely-circulated Urban Legend about Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" is that the song is about an incident where Collins witnessed a man refusing to help a drowning victim. In one version, he allegedly sang the song to the man in concert after arranging a front-row seat. The man was supposedly Driven to Suicide afterward.
- Ulysses is constantly blamed for the amount of mind-boggling STUPID his crew members wreak. They are always eager to disobey the orders of the superior forces, and when he tries to apologize for them, he is usually held responsible.
- Electra has the poor Chrysothemis, who seems to be blamed for not really taking a side in the terrible family conflict. She is sweet and is well-adjusted, so she probably will have an easy life...
- In The Bible, Matthew 25:41-45 showcases the fate of those who are not chosen by God when the Day of Judgment comes:
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:42 For I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:43 I was a stranger, and you did not take me in: naked, and you did not cloth me not: sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not help you?45 Then shall he answer them, saying, truly I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
"Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin."
- Elsewhere in the bible those who are in watchmen positions (either literally as city guards or figuratively as prophets) are considered to be guilty of bloodshed if they fail to warn people of coming peril and those people die as a result.
- James 4:17 shows us what theologians call the "Sin of Omission". It's not just doing evil that is sinful, but also not doing good when given the chance:
- This trope gets used as ammunition for "The Problem of Evil" regarding why an all-good God does not help people in need too.
- In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten Judge Nemo considers everyone evil because no one but Artina helped him when he was tortured was a prisoner of war, but what really pushed him over the edge was when Artina was executed for her kindness to him.
- In the game Misao, Kudou saw Misao being bullied, but didn't take action against it, and Misao executes him by driving a car over him.
- World of Warcraft: Grand Magister Rommath (along other blood elves) hate the Kirin Tor because they did nothing when every elf in Dalaran, a city many of them considered home, was imprisoned and sentenced to death because of a false accusation.
Rommath: "A monumental betrayal. In Dalaran, beneath the ever watchful eyes of the Kirin Tor."
Aethas Sunreaver: They really had nothing to do with —"
Rommath: "I assume you mean that the Kirin Tor did nothing. Did nothing to prevent it, did nothing to stop it. And instead left us to rot in the prisons beneath a city many of us called home as much as ever we did Silvermoon."
- Related is the reason the blood elves were imprisoned in the first place. Garrosh infiltrated the Sunreavers and used the Sunreavers' portal network to steal the Divine Bell. The Sunreavers themselves knew nothing about this plan—but Jaina Proudmoore, head of the Kirin Tor, believed otherwise, and accused them of looking the other way while Garrosh did his thing.
- Godot in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations hates Phoenix Wright because he did nothing to stop Mia from getting killed—never mind that Phoenix couldn't have done anything under the circumstances, and knew nothing of the danger she was in. In actuality, this is displaced anger at himself for not stopping Mia from getting killed—never mind that he was in a coma at the time. It's heavily implied Godot is not all there.
- In Virtue's Last Reward, Luna considers herself one, since they knew about the Nonary Game and the players, but was ordered to remain silent. Indeed, she's actually programmed to die if she disobeys orders.
Luna: (as they're being shut down for good) "I watched six people die and did nothing. I deserve this."
- In Drowtales, Kousei, one of the few surviving Judicators, accuses the Holy Mother Valla'drielle of this while the rest of the Judicators were being killed. She doesn't exactly deny it, and it's implied that she willingly turned a blind eye to it because the Judicators were using her as a puppet and it allowed her to be rid of them without having to take direct action.
- The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: After Lizzie learns that Bing Lee simply left her sister Jane because his sister Caroline and his friend Darcy told him that she wasn't interested in him, she is about to forgive him. Then, she realizes that he understood the situation later, but couldn't muster the courage to do anything. And from that point, she hates him.
- In Squaresville, it is hinted that the group of protagonists which we follow are a bunch of social outcasts. They are victims, if not of bullying, at least of condescending remarks from the other children, even the conformist outcasts, and the mots jaded of them all, Esther, has a grudge against Shelly, a girl who "escaped" their current condition, and did nothing to help.
- This is very much Truth in Television in certain situations, as far as the legal system goes, since you can be prosecuted for not taking any action to help someone in peril (officially known as the duty to rescue concept). These are often tacked onto Good Samaritan Laws which protects people who try to help, but fail to do so, make it worse by accident, or other such technicalities like lack of consent.
- Duty to rescue falls under two broad categories. The first category is when the person in question created the dangerous situation that someone else needs to be saved from, they're responsible for doing so. The second is that people who are considered to be responsible for others (parents, the captain of a ship or airplane, an employer, a property owner who invites someone onto their property, and in many places, spouses) are required to rescue those they are responsible for.
- Interestingly, first responders do not have a legal duty to save people - that is to say, you cannot prosecute a police officer or a paramedic for not saving someone in their jurisdiction, though if they are a member of another category, it still applies.
- Céline Rapahaël, a Frenchwoman victim of a Stage Dad, wrote a book about the abuse she underwent. The examples are treated in the Literature section.
- In "Srebrenica - A Cry from the Grave" (a documentary about The Bosnian Genocide), one woman whose son was killed in the Srebrenica massacre at one point says "We offer a prayer to those killed by our enemies; the Dutch enemies, and the Serb enemies". For those wondering why she considers the Dutch her enemies, it is because the (mostly Dutch) UN Peacekeepers tasked with protecting Srebrenica abandoned their checkpoints and allowed the Serbs to massacre the population.
- When crown prince Frederick of Prussia (later Frederick The Great) was captured in an attempt to flee the country in 1730, his friend Hans Hermann von Katte was court-martialed and found guilty of being an accomplice in the attempted act of desertion (and subsequently executed by order of the king Frederick William I) because he knew about Frederick's plans but did not report them to his superiors, as would have been his duty as a Prussian officer.
- This is what doomed Erwin Rommel following the failed July 20 plot. Historians still differ as to his exact role, but at the very least, he knew about the plot and did nothing to stop it.
Martin Niemöller: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
- And on the topic of Nazi Germany, there's the famous "First they came..." quote.
- This also got people in trouble who knew about the Holocaust and did nothing to stop it, or who deliberately avoided knowledge of what happened to all those pesky Jews.
- One of Alexander the Great's generals was executed either for being part of a plot against him, or knowing about the plot but not reporting it.