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Lemur6
Posts: 2

Response to blackwell

Originally posted by blackwell on September 09, 2019 20:13

Ignoring the sexual assault and murder of a seven year old may seem clearly wrong, yet in this case David Cash brings up an interesting moral conundrum. He argues that children die all the time, and no one seems to care. Yet while one can easily ignore children dying in other countries or communities, most people would classify Cash’s actions as immoral and unethical.


To take a step back, we must see that Cash notes he did not know Iverson before this interaction. She wasn’t a friend, family member, or an acquaintance of his. He concludes that it’s acceptable to stand back when other unknown children die, so why should he intervene when this unknown child, albeit in his presence, is attacked? Cash’s reasoning, in my opinion, is unpleasant and strangely inhumane at best, and downright cruel at worst. While it may be socially acceptable to ignore the deaths of abstract children, Cash had the potential and the ability to stop a gruesome murder, and he should have taken serious action to intervene.


Cash’s psyche at the time of the crime is possibly more mysterious than his actions. According to Deborah Stone, good Samaritans “see themselves as no different from the rest of humanity”, yet in this case Cash doesn’t seem to see himself, or Strohmeyer for that matter, as standing out, in terms of morals, from the rest of society. He firmly lacks regrets towards his inaction, seeing himself just as any member of society, which is an interesting parallel to these good Samaritans also viewing themselves as ordinary.


Erez Yoeli and David Rand argue in their article that heroes are often not thinking about their valiant actions, rather they instinctively do it, which could suggest that Cash was possibly lacking these heroic instincts. Yet I personally doubt this “heroic action” logic is applicable here, as Cash was not rushed in a split second decision of risking his life, rather he chose to not question his close friend simply because of a “look.” Judy Harris discusses the bystander effect in her article, yet as Cash was the only witness that he knew of, he clearly could not easily depend on others to fix the problem or call the police. While it’s possible he was unaware of the extent of the violence, he nonchalantly exited the restroom after a futile attempt of giving his friend a look.


Individuals should not be expected, in my opinion, to intervene in every case of murder or assault in the world, as this would be improbable considering the number of global tragedies occurring daily. With that being said, in situations where an individual has the power to stop a violent act, they must take the time to do something. Obviously, every scenario is different, and it can be challenging to sort out the grey area, but in most cases individuals should intervene as if the potential victim was a close family member. Cash should have done more, even if it meant getting physical or upsetting his close friend, to stop the violence projected onto Iverson. His complicity towards the crime, make him, in my opinion, a character in between the likes of a bystander and an accomplice.








I thought that the beginning of blackwell's post was incredibly interesting. S/he explains that David Cash's reasoning for not helping Sherrie was that people die all the time (that he doesn't know), yet he doesn't help, so why should this be any different. This idea fails to address the differences between Sherrice's situation and that of someone he has never met. In Sherrice's case, Cash is much closer to the situation, and he can stop it much more easily; also, Sherrice's misfortunes were incredibly cruel and probably different from others'. Because of these two distinctions, David Cash cannot distance himself from Sherrice, and I agree with blackwell that Cash’s reasoning was “unpleasant and strangely inhumane”


With that being said, blackwell said that David Cash should be considered “between the likes of a bystander and an accomplice”, but I disagree. I would label him as a bystander. I believe that he is only a bystander because he did nothing to actively help Jeremy Strohmeyer.

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Lemur6
Posts: 2

How does one decide?

It is very difficult to define the rules that should govern a witness in a situation similar to David Cash’s. Some would argue that there should be legal rules, and roughly half the country has implemented laws including the “Sherrice Iverson Law", which requires makes it illegal to witness sexual assault and not report it. I think that this is an important step, and I think most would agree that in certain situations, we have a moral obligation to act. The question becomes more difficult when there is more doubt and the crime is less severe. Despite those fears, I believe that people should be legally obligated to stop (if they can) and report and violent crime, which they believe will take place.


As to whether we have a moral obligation to act, I believe that this question is difficult to answer. That is because the question describes an over-simplified scene. There could be nuance in the relationship between the people, the nature of the crime, whether there is a victim, the potential punishment, etc. that make these decisions far more difficult than they first appear. I believe that we have an obligation to better the situation, but how we do that could vary greatly; we saw these different options in class 9/10. I thought it was interesting that The Trick to Acting Heroically by Erez Yoeli and David Rand said that most Good Samaritans help instinctively, which means that they ignore all the nuance that I mentioned earlier; I believe that this is because even though there are a lot of things to consider, many of them are not applicable in every situation. For example, rescuing a woman in a flash flood is a simple decision. David Cash’s situation was more complicated because of his friendship with Jeremy Strohmeyer.


I believe that his friendship led to a kind of inertia because he could not think of his friend as a murderer; he would rather let the situation go because he wanted to rely on his previous experience with Strohmeyer. He mentioned this later when saying that he was simply acting based on the people he knew and how it would affect him. Even though David Cash was friends with Strohmeyer, it does not make his inaction acceptable in this situation. He wanted to rely on his “look” to discourage Strohmeyer, but stronger action was clearly necessary.


In The Samaritan’s Dilemma by Deborah Stone, she mentioned that my Good Samaritans believe that their instinct to act are part of their character, and this makes Cash’s interviews after the incident more important. Many people further condemned him after these interviews because he did not express regret and said that he was “not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem”. These comments should have no impact on his criminal liability, but they do highlight his lack of feeling for moral obligation. Because of that, it makes even more sense to add legal frameworks because moral obligation is not universal.


In Nightmare on the 36 Bus, Brian McGrory describes, among other things, the dismissals of people on the bus. Auclair saw the threatening and violent behavior by the man, but he dismissed it as “just a family thing”, and when he got home, he thought it was too late to call the police. In times when we feel that we have a moral obligation to act, it is so important that we know how to make a distinction between reluctance and reasonable caution, and when we do feel that we need to intervene, we do it with conviction.
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Dapper_penguin
Posts: 3

Obligation for a More Privileged World

Regardless of such grayness that coexists with life, Cash’s actions are nonetheless unexcusable. He had several options in helping Sharrice Iverson. Most of these options do not threaten his life. If he didn’t feel safe confronting Jeremy alone, he could have reported the crime, he could have told his dad, or he could have notified security guards. He had 20 minutes to do so. And to make matters worse, his actions afterwards showed that he exhibited no remorse. He played more games, and he later even rode roller coasters with Jeremy. To him, it was someone else's problems and he wasn’t going to deal with the repercussions.He governed his actions with self preservation through negligence. It is evident that Cash should have governed his decisions with a mix of upstander instinct and awareness.

To clarify, upstander instinct draws from the article “The Samaritan’s Dilemma”, which examines cases with strong upstander instincts and questions how people should respond to situations that feature danger. I believe the upstander instinct is best explained in the article, which is “when people believe they are supposed to help when they are the only person available to help someone else, they are very likely to respond.” To further exemplify this phrase, they featured a case of such instinct. A woman was running towards a Santana’s Towing Shop and two workers tackled the attacker that was chasing the women, protecting her. They showcased bravery. Something had drove them to do that act, something human. Empathetic instinct is what I liken to their explanation that there is something about “the strength of altruism in the human psyche”. Additionally, in “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, the four men who had military training clearly also exhibited that instinct. They felt as if they needed help. In this case, Cash, himself, knew he was the only one that had seen the situation, and the only one who could’ve helped. It’s understandable why his judgement might’ve been impaired due to alcohol at night, however, his lack of guilt indicates that he contains none of those instincts.

One is obligated to at least report any wrongs or at least suspicions. It is our right to report to the police or another authority figure. It is understandable why one would not decide to confront head on. There are many variables in a situation, and it could possibly lead to the upstander harmed. It is always best to at least report no matter what. Nightmare on bus 36 is a case where bystanders fail to become upstanders by reporting. The other’s on the bus noticed the little boy’s fear of the man. They saw the man beating the boy. Even though this may be a father son situation, there should be a sense of concern for it. By reporting, they could have someone more skilled to handle the situation without their own lives. In addition, they could spare the boy from further abuse.

Yes, there should be different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”. While wrong is such a subjective concept, people will agree that murder and stealing are two very different things. They also deserve different consequences. They harm varying different amounts of people. They shouldn’t even be put on the same level. Thus, a different level of accountability should be held for both of them.

There should be no rules that ought to govern the decision to act or merely witness. History has shown that laws are often misinterpreted and abused. This is not an exception to moral laws.

We have an obligation to act always because if not we are perpetuating negligence of this crime. Societies have permitted this for thousands of years out of self preservation. Times were less privileged and more cruel. However, we have progressed as a society. For example, we advocated for the oppressed gender, oppressed minorities, and the oppressed gender. Now we are at this stage where we need to further continue this social progression. To further this progression, we have an obligation to create a better society, by becoming more prudent and wary of hidden injustices such as Cash, Sherrice, and Jeremy.


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Dapper_penguin
Posts: 3

Originally posted by ivyocean on September 10, 2019 20:49

Originally posted by Kimkardashian1 on September 10, 2019 20:41

In my opinion what David Cash did was horrifying but ultimately explainable. In general it seems better to keep your nose out of other's business and stay out of trouble because it isn't polite to interfere with other's affairs. At what point does it become your business? Your responsibility? According to David it wasn't his business because he didn't know the victim. But it should have been… He had the opportunity to save her but in saving her he is throwing his friend under the bus. Say he did save her. He subdued his friend and told her to escape… What then? Would Sherrice report him as well? Would his friend attack him? The situation would have been different and he simply didn’t want to involve himself. What he did was selfish and cowardly, he chose himself and his friendship over an innocent helpless stranger. Self preservation and maybe friendship governed his actions but they should have been governed by empathy and logic.

Why couldn’t he empathize with her? Perhaps he was in shock. Perhaps he trusted his friend too much to believe he could do wrong. Maybe he did feel empathy in the moment but the feeling was over ridden by his thought of "self preservation". According to Erez Yoeli and David Rand's article, he may just be unlucky to be put in that situation and not have the instinct to act. Even so, he had 20 minutes to think and still decided not to interfere. He could have interfered by calling the police with no personal risk other than the loss of his friendship. Maybe he already justified it in his head as "I don't know this girl" and therefore didn't feel the need to act or even put himself in someone else's shoes.

David also said he didn't think it was necessary to tell the police because Jeremy "had it coming". For people who aren't used to being a hero, they expect it to be taken care of on its own by someone else. Many of us despair over children dying of starvation and climate change and do basically nothing because we think someone else will take care of it. The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone age demonstrates this idea of how most people will simply watch disasters happen as certain people, "Heroes", act. When David didn't tell the police even way after the event, he was allowing others (designated heroes) to act while he sat on the sidelines.

*(I also wonder if the event brought David and Jeremy closer. Offering his silence to his friend could have shown the ultimate commitment. They could have bonded over their shared secret, David could have been flattered that he was the only person who knew of such a grave, disgusting secret. )

When someone is a witness to wrong, it is their responsibility to report it or interfere… sometimes. I feel like this is very situational. Say you know someone who is an illegal immigrant, if you were to report them they would be put in ‘internment’ camps and their family could be torn apart. In this case I feel it would not be necessary to “report” or interfere. But say there is someone being abused, physically or emotionally, one should feel the urge to step in. The situation depends on whether there is a possible victim and what you consider ‘wrong’.

The Nightmare on the 36 Bus is a prime example of insecurity, politeness and fear overcoming logic. Something wasn't right, but how did the passengers know without any concrete evidence. "It's not my place..." probably crossed some of their minds as they let a poor boy be abused right in front of them. But is that an accurate reason or a lame excuse. If you can't disregard what the attacker and fellow bystanders will think in order to save someone else, are you a coward or minding your business? This is completely different from David’s situation although David did feel pressure not to act since the assaulter was his friend and Brian McGory felt pressure by the other bystanders since no one else on the bus made a move.

If a legal law was in place saying that a bystander who was able to act physically and mentally in the face of injustice, David would be in jail. But so would everyone on that 36 Bus (The Nightmare on the 36 Bus). The only difference in our opinion of David and Brian McGory is that Brian felt remorse. If David claimed to feel bad about the situation and claimed he really tried to stop it, would he be seen as a victim as well, Having to see a small girl taken and assaulted? By moral “law”, one always has an obligation to act when it’s possible.

Your response is really interesting because it attempts to define the line of where a bystander should step in. If you know someone is breaking the law, shouldn't you say something? In Sherrice's instance you're correct, but the thought of illegal immigrants never crossed my mind. To me in that instance, immigrants are not a threat so therefore I wouldn't feel obligated to say anything. But this arises an important question as to where we draw the lines of an immoral bystander who could be charge. Should a theft bystander be charged? A fight bystander be charged against the law? I don't know the exact line, but there is one. I agree that David could have been in shock when he saw the events about to unfold but his continuation to defend his actions is where the immoral crisis occurs.

I found your post to be incredibly interesting as well. I especially liked your little example of illegal immigrants. It wasn't something that crossed my mind either. I also completely agree with your answer that it is situational.

I understand self preservation as being important. It is practically human nature. However, I question why he didn't feel guilty for not reporting it at all. It doesn't seem like shock. He also didn't exhibit any guilt after the act, and he rather acted strange and indifferent when recounting the whole situation and his thought process. These actions he confessed after the assault are where the "immoral crisis" did occur. In addition, Cash should know by now, that both of them will be caught (as you said he already knew the reckoning was coming). Cash doesn't seem like he's self preserving himself by not reporting, but rather doing quite the opposite. None of it seems to logically make sense. I wonder if Cash has a mental issue that could play a part in the lack of empathy he exhibited in the "immoral crisis" time frame.

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Dapper_penguin
Posts: 3

Interesting Parallels & Discoveries

Originally posted by blackwell on September 09, 2019 20:13

Ignoring the sexual assault and murder of a seven year old may seem clearly wrong, yet in this case David Cash brings up an interesting moral conundrum. He argues that children die all the time, and no one seems to care. Yet while one can easily ignore children dying in other countries or communities, most people would classify Cash’s actions as immoral and unethical.


To take a step back, we must see that Cash notes he did not know Iverson before this interaction. She wasn’t a friend, family member, or an acquaintance of his. He concludes that it’s acceptable to stand back when other unknown children die, so why should he intervene when this unknown child, albeit in his presence, is attacked? Cash’s reasoning, in my opinion, is unpleasant and strangely inhumane at best, and downright cruel at worst. While it may be socially acceptable to ignore the deaths of abstract children, Cash had the potential and the ability to stop a gruesome murder, and he should have taken serious action to intervene.


Cash’s psyche at the time of the crime is possibly more mysterious than his actions. According to Deborah Stone, good Samaritans “see themselves as no different from the rest of humanity”, yet in this case Cash doesn’t seem to see himself, or Strohmeyer for that matter, as standing out, in terms of morals, from the rest of society. He firmly lacks regrets towards his inaction, seeing himself just as any member of society, which is an interesting parallel to these good Samaritans also viewing themselves as ordinary.


Erez Yoeli and David Rand argue in their article that heroes are often not thinking about their valiant actions, rather they instinctively do it, which could suggest that Cash was possibly lacking these heroic instincts. Yet I personally doubt this “heroic action” logic is applicable here, as Cash was not rushed in a split second decision of risking his life, rather he chose to not question his close friend simply because of a “look.” Judy Harris discusses the bystander effect in her article, yet as Cash was the only witness that he knew of, he clearly could not easily depend on others to fix the problem or call the police. While it’s possible he was unaware of the extent of the violence, he nonchalantly exited the restroom after a futile attempt of giving his friend a look.


Individuals should not be expected, in my opinion, to intervene in every case of murder or assault in the world, as this would be improbable considering the number of global tragedies occurring daily. With that being said, in situations where an individual has the power to stop a violent act, they must take the time to do something. Obviously, every scenario is different, and it can be challenging to sort out the grey area, but in most cases individuals should intervene as if the potential victim was a close family member. Cash should have done more, even if it meant getting physical or upsetting his close friend, to stop the violence projected onto Iverson. His complicity towards the crime, make him, in my opinion, a character in between the likes of a bystander and an accomplice.








I found your response to actually clarify a lot of what Cash said. I did not think of him saying "I do not know starving children in Panama..." as a way to argue that children die all the time, and no one seems to care... what makes us so different from him. Thank you for clarifying that. It makes me thing about moral ethics? To what extent should we concern ourselves with them. Is being aware of these atrocities enough? Do we lack empathy if we do not help global children as much as possible, despite the hardships that come with it? We're so willing to put ourselves into dangerous situations to help someone in front of us, why can't we do the same for these children. Why do we not sacrifice a part of ourselves to help them? Why do we lack these instincts at these situations, even though the scenario may be the same as the previous cases in "The Samaritan Dilemma"?

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CriticalMonkey
Posts: 2

The Role of Friendship

Originally posted by carrots on September 09, 2019 15:36

Cash doesn’t seem to regret his actions at all and is not willing to recognize that he could have done something differently. He has convinced himself that his body language was enough to stop Jeremy from committing such a horrible act. This is different from the story of the “Nightmare on the 36 bus” as Auclair deeply regretted not doing anything to help the young boy who was getting punched by his father. Cash should have been governed by a moral compass that guides people’s decisions throughout their lives. That is why so many people at his college protested his actions, saying he had a responsibility in that situation to do something. I think that Cash’s statement about his clear body language is to only lift the guilt he may feel about leaving the bathroom when he could have saved the girl's life.


We have an obligation to always act when someone is in need and we have the ability to help them. This is obviously easier said than done, as people don’t know how they are going to react when presented with difficult situations. Is it an instinct reaction to other people in need, as Erez Yoell and David Rand suggest in their article “The Trick to Acting Heroically.” They say that people just react instinctively without thinking because of an intrinsic want to help others. If this is the case why do some people rush towards trouble while others just watch as others struggle.


When someone falls down on the street is there always going to be someone to help them up or will people just expect others to do it. People should not just wait to see if someone else will step up to help, but take the step to do it themselves. As Deborah Stone says in her book The Samaritan’s Dilemma, “When people believe they are supposed to help or when they think that they are the only person available to help someone else, they are very likely to respond.”


I think in most cases this is true, that if people are presented with a situation in which they can save someone from some type of danger, they will. But somehow this isn't the case with David Cash who said he didn't want to witness something which he had the ability to stop. Maybe there is something different about how Cash was brought up that made him react the way he did, or maybe he was just so scared or the situation that he didn't do anything.

The rape and murder of Sherrice Iverson thoroughly exposes flaws in human character and shows us the complexity of every action we take as intelligent beings. Through this tragedy we understand a darker but just as common aspect of human behavior, the bystander effect. What carrots, gravity, loveicecream, and others have pointed out is that the burden of responsibility lies on the bystander a little if not just as much as the perpetrator. However I want to try to reveal another aspect to try and explain why David acted as he did.


The bystander effect was at play here, there’s no doubt about that. However the reasoning behind why it happens, and the opposite, why good Samaritans often do step up, have some differences across the board. In the “Samaritan’s Dilemma” by Deborah Stone, she suggests that there is a “strength of altruism in the human psyche,” essentially saying that helping others is part of deep human nature. I agree with this, based on the stories of the single man in “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age;” the two towing shop workers from the the Deborah excerpt; and countless other stories you and I hear about everyday in the news, this statement holds true for the most part. However one needs to consider the effect of friendships in the whole situation.


In “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, they also agree with Deborah, saying that it is human instinct to help others. However, they further explain that it may be caused by long periods of conditioning where one sees a net gain for themselves from selflessly helping others and continuing a valued relationship. “The model shows that the tendency to help without looking wins out when… the long-term relationship is valuable to Player 1.” Now consider this: David, acting on the same instinct that causes “good Samaritan” behaviors in most people, wants to help his friend not get in trouble so he decides to “selflessly” help Jeremy by keeping shut about the whole matter. In fact David even says in his interview on the radio show “I know as his best friend that he had potential.” Instead of acting on the correct ethics that most of society accepts, he acted on his own morals which just so happened to place protecting his friend above protecting a stranger, even one who is being threatened.


Carrots brings up a good question: “people just react instinctively without thinking because of an intrinsic want to help others. If this is the case why do some people rush towards trouble while others just watch as others struggle?” I believe the answer does lie in the fact that there was a deep connection between David and Jeremy; they were best friends. In the MBTA story about the 8-year-old, the eyewitness Auclair later regrets his decision to not help because he was a complete stranger in the situation and had no connection to the perpetrator. It was only after that he truly regretted acting against his “good Samaritan” instinct. This wasn’t the case with David. He was best friends with Jeremy and much like the experiment Ms. Freeman conducted today, not many of us would tell the authorities when we know that our friend had done something bad (granted-David was an extreme case of this unwillingness to “snitch”). Thus he sided with his friend and perpetrator and not the victim and his own “good Samaritan” instincts.


I wholeheartedly agree with loveisicecream’s statement that “Cash’s actions should have been governed by the fact that someone’s life was at stake.” As cliche as it sounds, human life is the most important thing in any situation and I think that this ideology applies to many people’s morals, even on an instinctive level. David should have thought of the broader context and been influenced to make a decision purely on the fact that a human life was at stake and that his friend was clearly in the wrong. If David had maybe thought less of Jeremy as his friend and taken a more objective view on the entire setting, he might have reported it right then and there. However friendships are a strong bond and they definitely imply certain loyalty, to a fault. David’s actions were governed by his friendship when they should have been governed by the possibility of loss of life in this situation.


However I don’t agree with loveisicecream’s statement: “The obligation of a person who witnesses a wrong is to do everything in their power to make the situation better.” Considering that I value human life over anything, doing anything you can to try to help someone can get YOU and that person killed. This is why in First Aid training by the Red Cross and other institutions, the first step is to always make sure that the environment is safe and that you can safely go in to help. Because of this I don’t think you should do everything in your power but everything you can do within the bounds of your personal safety.


Everyone has an obligation to act when someone’s life is in danger, but they should do so while maintaining their own safety. These rules definitely vary depending on the severity of the crime. Depending on personal morals, one may act when there’s a lot of money involved or if animals’ lives are affected etc. However the fundamental rule should be that one MUST do something when a human life is in danger.

The laws regarding taking action in these situations are fairly vague in Massachusetts. There are Good Samaritan Laws in place granting protection to those who try to help victims and this encourages people to act. However there is only a legal obligation to “report but not to aid.” The duty to report is also within bounds, as long as it does not lead the person who reports it to be in any danger or threat of harm. Like Ms. Freeman said, it is very vague at best.


People should only be witnesses when it is dangerous for themselves to take any action in trying to help solve the problem. However factors such as time, laziness, or friendships should not stand in the way of helping to possibly save a life or report a life/death crime. These rules stand for life/death situations in my opinion. Any other issue should be dealt with based on personal morals of how serious it is and if it will cause anybody harm.


David and Jeremy truly had a toxic friendship that went beyond the bounds of corrupting not just each other, but also killing a 7 year old child.

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CriticalMonkey
Posts: 2

Originally posted by Lucky on September 09, 2019 22:08

What should’ve governed cash’s actions is how he would have felt if it was one of his loved ones in sherrice’s place instead of deciding to not be worried over it since it was someone else’s problem. Deborah Stone tells the story of a medical technician who went out of his way to stop a shooting victim from dying. The man said he did it because it was something he would’ve wanted someone to do for his own family member. Putting himself in the shoes of the victim’s family is what Cash should’ve done as this is a good motivator to when it comes to being an upstander. Anyone who is able to help when they witness a wrong should do something, whether that be intervening or going to get help from the police. This can be affected by what the nature of the wrong is, for example, if someone has a weapon and you are unable to defend yourself, you should call for another person’s help. However, if you are able to prevent a situation from happening, like David Cash was, then you should most certainly intervene and help the victim(s).


A rule that should control one’s decision to act or witness is that if someone is in clear need of help and no one is acting, then you should be the one to act and stop the situation. For example, in Brian Mcgrory’s article he talks about how there was a bus situation of a man abusing a child and no one, not even the bus driver, stopped to say anything. In this kind of situation, it is obligatory to help because that most likely would’ve stopped the kid from being harmed any farther. Another example is what Judy Harris wrote about how people were taking pictures of a burning home instead of trying to rush in and help the people that could have been inside. In cases where victims could have quickly been saved if one took action, people feel most scared to act if they see that others are not doing so. However, it is absolutely necessary to try and help when possible, even if it means calling the police, firemen, etc. if you are physically unable to help.


It is interesting to consider the effect that your suggestion in the first paragraph-"how he would have felt if it was one of his loved ones in sherrice’s place"- would have had on David. He could have easily maintained the same course of action or it could have completely changed his view on the situation.

In response to your second paragraph, I think that the Bystander Effect extends beyond fear and social pressure that "no one else is doing anything so why should I." It also relates to the ideology that someone else will do something. There was a study about the bystander effect in the last decade that found a surprising correlation; the more people there were in a crowd, the less likely anyone was to actually act. The articles "The Samaritan's Dilemma" and "The Trick to Acting Heroically" both demonstrate that on some level there is an instinct to help. The fact that crowds of people invert this effect shows the power of social conformity and social pressures.

Respectfully, I think that it is easy to say one should act if no one else does but in reality peer pressure and the Bystander Effect are stronger than they seem.

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copper 123
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Dapper_penguin on September 10, 2019 23:55

One is obligated to at least report any wrongs or at least suspicions. It is our right to report to the police or another authority figure. It is understandable why one would not decide to confront head on. There are many variables in a situation, and it could possibly lead to the upstander harmed. It is always best to at least report no matter what. Nightmare on bus 36 is a case where bystanders fail to become upstanders by reporting. The other’s on the bus noticed the little boy’s fear of the man. They saw the man beating the boy. Even though this may be a father son situation, there should be a sense of concern for it. By reporting, they could have someone more skilled to handle the situation without their own lives. In addition, they could spare the boy from further abuse.

Yes, there should be different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”. While wrong is such a subjective concept, people will agree that murder and stealing are two very different things. They also deserve different consequences. They harm varying different amounts of people. They shouldn’t even be put on the same level. Thus, a different level of accountability should be held for both of them.

There should be no rules that ought to govern the decision to act or merely witness. History has shown that laws are often misinterpreted and abused. This is not an exception to moral laws.

You brought up a very good point about the subjectiveness of wrong. Everybody has different moral codes and depending on how the relate to a situation they may see it differently. Many laws come from commonly held beliefs but that doesnt necessarily mean that they are all just. We can't base our morals on laws because in history there have been many occasions where the law itself was wrong. There is also a question of if it is fair to hold others to our personal moral laws in a social context. There is no clear answer that applies to every "wrong".

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purplepig
Posts: 3

Depending on Possible Harm

Legally, I think that we have a responsibility to act sometimes. This depends on the crime being witnessed itself, whether the perpetrator(s) is/are harming the victim(s) or not. All crimes can be categorized following that guideline. The harm being done could be physical or emotional. For example, a little boy (about eight) was punched in the face twice by a middle-aged man on an MBTA bus back in 2000, but none of the other passengers stepped in (McGrory). I think that a witness should have intervened in this situation, considering that a child was being beaten. Although not a crime, the same applies to catastrophic events like a fire, such as the one in Jamaica Plain in 2015. Plenty of people just stood there, watching the fire and taking photos and videos, while only one man thought to go and warn the residents of the burning building, since the fire alarms had not gone off yet (Harris). The residents were in physical danger, so I think that it was the obligation and responsibility of that man to act. On a French train in 2015, four men worked together to stop a gunman attacking the passengers (Yoeli and Rand). Again, these witnesses acted appropriately, to stop harm from happening to the other passengers and themselves. People could have even been killed if the gunman was not stopped. All of these examples are situations where there is/will be personal harm to the victim(s), which is what should drive someone to intervene. Of course theft or something of that sort is still quite wrong, but people’s physical and emotional well being is not threatened, therefore not requiring the responsibility to act along these guidelines.

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purplepig
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Saltines on September 09, 2019 10:46

Sherrice Iverson could still have been alive today if David Cash had intervened. A “look” that said Jeremy should stop isn’t taking any action. When David tried to get his friends attention by tapping on his shoulder and didn’t get a response, he should’ve known that a look wasn’t going to do anything either. In The Trick to Acting Heroically, it says that in “most everyday situations, helping others pays off in the long run”. Maybe David thought that by staying silent, he would be better off (regarding his friendship) later on, after all they did take AP Lit together, right?


He didn’t prevent the tragedy that occurred when he could’ve gotten his friend out of there. He didn’t report it, in fact continued to play video games and have fun all night. Simply put, Cash is guilty. Similar to the Bystander Affect (Judy Harris), Cash watched the occurrence but failed to intervene because he didn’t want to be the one to expose his friend. Nonetheless, it doesn’t excuse his failure to act.

I completely agree. Cash had the opportunity to save Iverson's life and he did not act upon it. Even if he did not personally want to get involved physically, he still could have reported it to the police or security at the casino instead of playing more video games, as you mentioned. There is no excuse for Cash, considering he took no action at all.

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purplepig
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Swervo on September 10, 2019 00:06

I believe that there should be a legal responsibility for witness to involve oneself to prevent or cease crime from happening if someone else's physical (or possibly mental) health is in critical danger. If stepping in would put themselves in danger then it should at least be their civic duty to report it immediately or get other help. I think that David Cash should be held responsible for Sherrice Iversons’ death because he didn't do any of these things. He didn't try to stop it himself, or get help to do so. He consciously let a dead 7 year old lay dead in a bathroom, and faces no punishment. Its cases such as this (known as “bystander effect”), where a person with full knowledge of the situation allows another human to be hurt or killed, that they should too be charged. Although you can not ask nor expect every citizen to risk their life for another, it should be societies expectation that people will do anything to save another. Deborah Stone addresses how societies should help more one on one and not expect authority to do everything, by writing “The police cautioned citizens against getting involved in such situations; better to mind your own personal safety, call 911, and let the police handle things...there is no higher civic duty than personal responsibility, and we commend any Bostonian who would engage not just in an act of personal responsibility but an act of bravery." If only David Cash had this bravery, then maybe Sherrice Iverson would still be alive.

Writer Brian McGrory shares “Nightmare on the 36 bus”, a story about how no one reported a father hitting his son on the bus, and one day after the boy got off the bus he was murdered. It's hard to think that maybe that boy would still be alive today if ANYONE on that bus had at least just reported it. Even if they didn’t want to get involved in the moment, if they knew something was off they could have prevented that boy from being murdered. I don't think that the people on the bus are as guilty as David Cash though, because they may not have known the severeness of the situation, and genuinely didn't ever imagine it would lead to death. But this doesn't mean that they should just let it go, people shouldn't even need to feel obligated to help someone in desperate need, it should come as an instinct, as explained by Erez Yoeli and David Rand in their article “The Trick to Acting Heroically.”





I talked about the same thing in my post. Whenever someone can be hurt in any way, shape, or form, we have legal responsibility to step in. That little boy on the 36 bus was physically abused and not a single witness intervened to help save the child. I think that people should be obligated to help out, even if it is reporting the incident, like you said. I also liked how you applied this to the Cash situation. Under these guidelines, Cash was clearly responsible to help Iverson in one way or another, considering that she was sexually abused and murdered and that he knew that Strohmeyer intended to hurt her, as evidenced by the threat he heard.

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