Readings (select 2 of the 4):
Brian McGrory, “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” Boston Globe, January 25, 2000.
Judy Harris, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age,” WBUR Cognoscenti, June 5, 2015
Erez Yoeli and David Rand, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” New York Times, August 28, 2015
For any of you who missed class today, we watched a clip from 60 Minutes called “The Bad Samaritan” (from 0:00-5:39).
Eighteen-year-old David Cash chose to walk away as his friend, fellow eighteen-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer, assaulted and murdered Sherrice Iverson, age 7, in the women’s restroom of a Nevada casino at 3 in the morning on Sunday, May 25, 1997. He told the Los Angeles Times when his friend was arrested that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems.”
Clearly what Jeremy Strohmeyer did was reprehensible. But what David Cash did was to be a bystander, not to be a rescuer or a resister in any way. One can only speculate what might have happened had Cash more actively intervened. But according to Nevada law at the time, he was under no legal obligation to do otherwise.
It’s remarkable to listen to David Cash’s words when interviewed on a Los Angeles radio station after his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer was arrested and convicted. Cash remarked, “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt. The only person I knew in this event was Jeremy Strohmeyer, and I know as his best friend that he had potential…I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem.”
Your task for this post:
As awful as the Sherrice Iverson murder was, I’d like to hear your views on the situation. What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.
Write your post on the discussions.learntoquestion.com site. Be sure to respond to the views of at least two other classmates (if you post first, go back and do a second posting responding to two comments posted after yours).
How to post on the discussion board:
1.You should log in using the button at the top right of the page at discussions.learntoquestion.com with the username you chose earlier this week as well as your password you chose when you registered on the site. Remember both are case-sensitive! If you have not done so already, make sure you bookmark the site as well, as we will use it frequently throughout the year. If you registered properly then this should work. (If it does not work, please e-mail me asap.)
2.Go into your specific class section. If you are not sure which section you are in, here’s a reminder:
Section 01 Abigail Ortiz: Day 1 R3
Section 02 Ayanna Pressley: Day 1 R7
Section 03 Tunney Lee ’49: Day 1 R6
Section 04 Ernani de Araujo ’99: Day 1 R1
3.Once you are in your section, you’ll see a thread titled “The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan” (due Monday, September 28). Click on the post’s title. This will take you into the page where you can post. Read the prompt message (the first one, which will essentially repeat the assignment described above) and any other posts that precede yours (you are encouraged to comment on those and certainly should acknowledge any overlap between what those prior posters may have said and what you are writing). When you are ready, at the bottom of the comments already made, there is a button on the lower right saying “New Reply.” Click on that. You’ll get a page with blank spaces. This page will time out eventually, so see step #4 for some important advice.
4.VERY IMPORTANT ADVICE: draft your post on Word (or Google docs or some other text doc that is not going to ‘time out’) and save it before you paste it onto the discussion board. You work hard on these and you never know what can go wrong, particularly in the early months of using the discussion board. People find that from time to time, the discussion board “times out” in the middle of posting, resulting in the loss of whatever you are writing. So take my advice (and that of your predecessors, all of whom lost a post at one time or another) when the server or their computer crashed; draft in another program and PASTE into the board.
5.Give your comment/post a title, then put your cursor on the big box in the message part of the page and paste your response.
6.To respond to other people—and sometimes this is required as part of the assignment, you can do so by mentioning their username and reference their comments within your text OR you can do a separate post in response to theirs. You can even quote from their post (and that’s helpful as long as it’s not too long!) by clicking on their post, going to “reply” and then including the portion of their post that you wish to reference.
7.When you have finished writing your post (and you’re satisfied with it), click at the lower left “Create post.”
8.You should then be taken back to the page of posts. Check that yours has appeared. If it has, bravo! If it hasn’t, try the aforementioned steps again and see if it works. (If not, let me know asap via e-mail)
9.Check back regularly to see if anyone has replied to your post. You should absolutely try to comment on other people’s posts and they will in turn comment on yours! (This counts as part of your class participation and your homework grade!) Feel free to quote from others’ replies, identifying the username of the person who wrote the original post you are quoting. Remember: this is a conversation, not a monologue.