posts 31 - 45 of 59
orangedino
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by BLStudent on September 24, 2020 13:02

From a moral standpoint Cash should have tried to intervene or at the very least he should have reported it immediately after i think he placed his loyalty to his friend over his empathy for a stranger but he was also likely worried he would incriminate himself if he reported it. If you witness a wrong it is your responsibility as a human to report it. There are of course different levels of wrong and if the wrong is very minor or victimless there isn't an obligation to report it but in this situation Cash's actions were disgusting.

There should definitely be laws requiring people in similar situations to cash to speak up and like we saw with the protests against him there are already societal standards against what he did but they don't carry appropriate consequences. we always have an obligation to act if someone is being hurt/victimized. For example in the iphone age article bystanders look on and took photos rather than doing the right thing which was to make sure the people in the building were ok or do something as simple as calling 911. It's ironic that with cell phones it should be easier than ever to be an upstander but in reality people have just as little empathy.

The hero effect article goes into depth about what all of us should try to be, not just to do the right thing but to have so much empathy that doing the right thing is second nature and instinctual.

I find it interesting that more people should be taking action to help people since phones give us easy access to the authorities but people are actually taking less action. I think most people have the mindset that nothing is their problem when they aren't involved in the situation initially. And with everybody having mobile phones, everyone just assumes that someone else has already done something to help the situation.

orangedino
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by sizzles on September 27, 2020 16:55

The world isn’t perfect; there are events that all of us have witnessed where individuals are being disrespected, or are in need of our assistance. In the cases of Sherrice Iverson, the boy on the 36 bus, and the victims of the JP fire, each one of those individuals needed help, but received little to none. Are bystanders obligated to assist? one might ask. Good question.

In the case of Sherrice Iverson, Cash should’ve absolutely stopped Strohmeyer and alerted authorities who could handle the situation effectively. In fact, Cash’s following of Strohmeyer to the women’s bathroom indicates to us that he felt slightly uneasy about his friend’s actions. In each of the events leading up to Sherrice’s eventual murder, Cash wandered back and forth physically and mentally due to what was happening in that particular restroom. He had the upper hand; Strohmeyer was his friend and Cash’s father was the (older) adult accompanying them. Unfortunately, the eventual rape and murder of Iverson was not only due to Cash’s misplaced loyalty to Strohmeyer, but also his apathy towards the suffering of people of color. We know this because of his comments during the 60 Minutes interview, ‘‘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.’’ It’s extremely interesting that all of his examples pertained to the struggles of people who happened to be Black and Brown. Cash’s intentional swerving of more domestic examples such as an old lady being robbed, or a young boy caught in a fire reveal his biases.

As for the passengers on that one 36 bus, they were probably acculturated to the mantra of ‘‘snitches get stitches’’. Yes, they should’ve gotten involved, but it is understandable that their own fear prevented them. It was probably not the first time they’d seen the man. People tend to ride public transportation at routine times, so it’s not unlikely that they had seen him in his drunken state wander onto the bus. They didn’t want any trouble, but in doing so they left a young boy vulnerable.

In the situation concerning the JP fire, people had probably assumed that there were others already on the phone with 911. Perhaps they felt anxious. They should’ve ensured that help was on the way, however. Everyone should try to assist others in an emergency. It's important to use your voice for good.

I like the ideas that sizzles mentioned. We mostly all agree that it is our moral obligation to call someone out for their wrongdoings, but what if when we do that we also have to go against people we are very close to? Is our loyalty to our friends and family greater than our personal obligation to take action when something unjust is occurring? I think it is important to maintain our morals, even if it means we have to let people we care about down.

bebe
Posts: 6

That Split Second Reaction

It is extremely safe to say that David Cash had a major moral and ethical failure the night he made the decision to exit the bathroom aware that his best friend had begun to assault a young child. As a human being, I believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with a person who witnesses such an act and refuses to stop it. However, that is my opinion.


In 1999, the state of Nevada did not share that opinion with me. Although it has since changed, according to the law, Cash did nothing wrong, and therefore went unpunished. I am thankful that now, in most states, one would not get away with this crime again. Being a bystander should be considered as much a crime as being an accomplice. By watching something happen without trying to stop it or even report it, you are telling the predator that you see nothing wrong with what they are doing, and encouraging them to continue doing it.


However, as nice it would be to make something a law and expect everyone to follow would be foolish and overly optimistic. Especially in the case of being a bystander, there is an intense moral dilemma happening within the potential heroin. In fact, in “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” most heroes claim to have not put any thought into what they did, and just acted. Once a person takes more than a second to think about something, it is in our biology to start to weigh the potential outcomes and risks. Once we have identified our own personal risk, even if it is far more minute than the one we could stop, most people would err on the side of protecting themselves.


I can almost guarantee that the passengers on the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” failed to act because they immediately began to make some sort of reason for it. One passenger directly said that they thought it was a family matter, and it would be uncalled for and impolite to insert themselves. A little boy was abused because the witnesses did not want to be impolite. That speaks to something deeply wrong with humanity, that we live by a set of norms that we would rather uphold than to save a life.


This failure of humanity was described really well in SippyCup’s perspective of David Cash’s thoughts. They speculated that Cash took that extra second to think and filled his head with the possible loss of a friendship and social fallout if he had acted.


Although there are lots of things going on in a witness’ head, I disagree with the point made by Thesnackthatsmilesback, that the fact that David was alone made it more excusable. In so many cases, one of the reasons that nobody does anything is because they just assume that someone else will do it. That is what happened in the tragic assault and death of Kitty Genovese. If you are alone, there is no reason for making that fatal assumption. You are the one responsible for attempting to stop it.


To be clear, I am in no way justifying Cash or any bystander who lets a crime be committed in front of them. I am only attempting to speculate into what could be going on in their head, and how our society has played a part in letting these crimes go unpunished.


ithinkitscauseofme
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 8

The Obligation To Act: Human Decency VS. The Law

I believe that when David Cash climbed on that toilet to see his best friend restraining seven year old Sherrice Iverson, his next actions should have been governed by morality and empathy. I understand that he may not have had the heroic gut instinct that those in “The Trick To Acting Heroically” did. I understand that, because the perpetrator was his best friend, his gut instinct may have been loyalty. It is in the seconds, minutes, and hours after his witnessing of the event that I would have expected, at some point, his morals to kick in. For him to leave the bathroom screaming for help. For him to find a moment to slip away and call the police after Jeremy Strohmeyer had confessed to killing Sherrice Iverson. At the very least, for him to make an anonymous police report after he and Jeremy had arrives back home, after hours and hours had passed since the murder. I do not believe that the laws should have had anything to do with his reaction. I do not care if it was not law that witnesses are required to report a crime in Nevada - and by the way, did he even know that he was not committing a crime, or was he simply willing to risk his future for Strohmeyer? Even in some dystopian world where rape and murder isn’t illegal, Cash should have had a reaction because what he witnessed and what was confessed to him was deeply wrong.

Anyone who witnesses such wrongdoing, crime or not, has the moral obligation to do their best to stop it because that is how society is structured. We are taught to rely on the systems in place to keep us safe. If, instead, we were taught that from the moment we are born it is us against the world, that by the time we are seven we should expect the worst from others, perhaps Sherrice Iverson would have been carrying mace, or even a gun, and would have survived her encounter with Strohmeyer. But society teaches us to love our neighbors and build community and horse around with boys who follow us into bathrooms. And so, we must fulfill these expectations and do our best to right the wrongs we witness. And of course, the levels of wrong differ, have different effects, and warrant different reactions. Many BLS students have walked through the common behind the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on the way to Ruggles and seen college students smoking pot, even before it was legal. But, although this was a crime, the repercussions were only on the perpetrator. If, instead, the students had seen a robbery, or a murder, I believe that most BLS students would have done something within their power to right the wrong, but for something like smoking pot, which does not cause immediate deadly harm, it is not immoral for BLS students to continue walking through the common like it is just a normal day, which, given the frequency of the event, it is.

I believe that when deciding whether or not to intervene, bystanders should look at the situation like it is happening to someone they deeply care about, and their actions should be governed by the rules of morality and empathy. When the passengers on the bus mentioned in “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” saw a young boy being attacked by an older man, they should have acted like the boy was their own son. Although one of the passengers mentions that he thought that the altercation may have been family business, and thus none of his business, he should have realized that no matter what the circumstances, punching someone is always abuse or harassment. He should have acted like it was his own son being punched in the face. There are, of course, matters where intervening can put the bystanders' life in just as much danger as the victim’s, and in these cases victims should act to the best of their abilities. In the case of the George Floyd murder, the widely distributed video depicting his killing was taken by a bystander, who was criticized by many for not doing anything. This bystander, however, was a 17 year old black woman who would have been in just as much danger as Floyd if she had stepped in, and clearly could not call the police, given that they were the perpetrators. Instead she took the video that made Floyd’s death into the revolution-inciter that it was, hopefully saving many future lives in the process.

Overall, I believe that we have an obligation to act when the perpetrator’s actions are permanent and/or hurting others than themselves, but we are not required to put ourselves in imminent danger in order to help others.






zooweemama
Posts: 6

Saving a friendship or a life?

It is obvious David Cash should’ve done something about the situation, especially in this case because his friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer assaulted and killed an innocent young girl, Sherrice Iverson. If a person sees someone causing another person physical harm/ danger, it is moral to help stop it whether it be by them intervening or calling for help. However, in an interview Cash stated that because he didn’t know the girl personally, he didn’t feel obligated to help her, even though it could have saved her life. This us why I think Jeremy is also responsible for Sherrice’s murder because he had the power to (or at least try to) prevent it from happening. Thankfully today there are laws set in place for people like Cash who decide to be bystanders in situations like this.

In “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age”, Judy Harris says “the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation”. This isn’t an excuse as to why Cash didn’t do anything because there was no one else in the bathroom. He should’ve at the very least verbally tell Jeremy to stop, but instead he “gave a look”. “The Trick to Acting Heroically” might explain why. It mentions that one of the three reasons someone might help without thinking of the risk is the long-term relationship the two people have. While I don’t know how long Cash and Strohmeyer had been friends for, they were probably very close friends and Cash believes their friendship is very important to him, so by turning his friend into the cops, it would destroy the friendship and trust.

I think there are different rules depending on the severity of the “wrong” for example, if you see someone parked in a “no parking zone” and it's not causing someone else problems, then I don’t think it’s necessary to report it. On the other hand if you see someone is clearly in danger, feels unsafe, and/or needs help, I think you should always try to aid them or seek someone to help if you are unable to.

babypluto9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that there are a multitude of reasons for Cash’s actions. From not stopping Jeremy to not reporting his actions, Cash is clearly in the wrong. David Cash didn’t intervene or report his friend Jeremy assaulting Sherrice Iverson because he felt a loyalty to Jeremy. As said in the video, Jeremy and David were close friends. Because of this David would betray the bond they shared, if he were to report the attack. In the interviews that David partook in after the arrest and trial of his friend Jeremy, he seemed to feel no remorse for his actions. It seemed like David thought that since the situation hadn’t involved him directly, there was no point in intervening. A flawed way of thinking, but that could be up to his morals. Besides this there could be an aspect of race to David’s and Jeremy’s actions. Sherrice Iverson was an African American child and she was targeted by Jeremy. We can assume that she was targeted as Jeremy deliberately followed after Sherrice and in a instant, it went from throwing wet paper to assault and murder.


Generally people should intervene when a situation is getting out of hand. David Cash should have stopped and reported his friend Jeremy. What Jeremy was doing was clearly wrong and there is obviously a sense of ignorance if thought of otherwise. Like the situation on 36 Bus, the passengers should have acted when they saw the man attacking the child. If there is a situation that is seen as wrong, there should be some action done even if it’s as little as speaking up about it. In my opinion there are different rules. The nature of wrong could range from people having an altercation to the actions of Jeremy. For the latter, there should be more action and people physically stopping Jeremy, while for the former there should be people stepping in when it escalates.


Unless legal, I don’t think there are any rules that make you a mere witness. Stepping up and acting upon something you see wrong is something that a person has to decide if they want to do it or not. If capable, I believe most people would want to intervene when they see a situation getting out of hand. There is no legal obligation to step in but there is a social and moral obligation for most people to act when they see such events.

babypluto9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Originally posted by Cookie Monster on September 26, 2020 18:05

As human beings, we all make mistakes all the time. We do small things like break the dress code at school and jaywalk all the time. However, those miniscule “wrongdoings” aren’t necessarily degrading to the rest of society or harming anybody else. The case of what went down between Sherrice Iverson, Jeremy Strohmeyer, and David Cash involves a lot of these elements. In this case, Jeremy Strohmeyer raped and killed Sherrice Iverson in the bathroom of a Nevada casino. Jeremy’s friend, David Cash, didn’t intervene to stop Strohmeyer and failed to inform the authorities about the incident. Although Cash didn’t commit the act himself, he should’ve been more empathetic to Sherrice instead of just caring about the security of the people in his circle of friends. Any witness that was in Cash’s position should feel obligated to inform someone if a person was hurt in the process and to intervene more directly to prevent further harm. The articles “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” and “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age”. In “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, a young boy was beaten by an older man on a bus in Boston. Instead of sticking up for the boy, all the riders decided to ignore the incident and the bus driver even failed to admit that anything happened to the authorities. In “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age” an apartment building catches on fire and there are people who feel the need first to take a picture of the scene instead of helping anyone out. In both these cases, bystanders should’ve felt the obligation to show more empathy towards the victims of the harmful incidents. This involves, in every case of witnessing a situation where a person(s) is harmed, letting the authorities know AND trying to intervene to prevent any further harm.

I agree with trying to intervene and prevent other situations, but what David Cash did seems and feels borderline illegal. The actions that David Cash are at the very least a moral wrongdoing. Walking away from such a situation isn't socially and morally acceptable, ie: the protest for David Cash to get kicked out of UC Berkley.

kurapika
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

Acting on Morality

Everyone, in some shape or form, has a moral compass. This enables people to judge what is right or wrong and to act accordingly to situations. However, what happens when someone’s morality differs from public ideals?


Sherrice Iverson’s life was brutally taken away from her that day in the bathroom stall. And I believe most people if placed in David’s position, wouldn’t even think twice to intervene and try everything in their power to prevent what happened that night. I know I would. And I agree with many of my classmates in that I think David should have intervened. But he did not, and I would like to try to explain why.


If we had been put in David’s position, I believe we would’ve reacted to that situation with our moral compasses- and not David’s. To me, morals are not universal. While many have similar standings in what is right and wrong, the meaning of “right” and “wrong” is open-ended (open to interpretation from person to person). I believe that David’s morals differ from most people, and as a result, he did not even feel sympathy for Sherrice and chose to stay silent (people with moral compasses that are skewed from ours in any way will obviously respond in a different way than us). Responding to @yvesIKB ‘s claim that Cash had a “moral and ethical responsibility” that night, I would say that to Cash, he only had an ethical obligation (not that he even acted on that). While David Cash had an ethical obligation to step in that night, I don’t think he had a moral obligation (based on what I think his morals may be). This is because of the difference in ethics and morals. Ethics are principles that are held to a higher standard, what “ought to be”. It is a reflection on morality and is universally held. Morals, on the other hand, are our personal beliefs on what is right or wrong.


In situations, I would say that we do have an ethical (and many times moral) obligation to act. Especially in instances when we have the ability to. I think it is extremely important to use your voice for good. “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” describes another scenario in which bystanders let a possibly intoxicated man brutally beat up an 8-year-old boy in front of the rest of the passenger’s eyes as they silently observed. One passenger, Daniel Auclair, stood to intervene, but after seeing no one else following his lead he chose to also sit back and watch the situation unfold. In situations like what happened on the 36 and what happened to Sherrice Iverson, there are numerous reasons why to not intervene. For the passengers on the 36, one such reason may have been that they did not want to interfere with a stranger’s situation. Which, in a sense, makes sense as to the passengers, both the boy and the man were strangers to them. And it is terrible to not interfere solely based on how well you know the person. However, it may be even worse to not interfere even when you do know someone involved. Unlike the passengers on the bus, David knew Strohenmeyer. They were good friends. And still, he chose not to even try to stop what was going on.


In “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, the authors explain factors that may influence people to intervene in a situation. The game described in that article led to such factors, like if the cost of helping is small, how harmful it is to the victim (player 2) if the bystander (player 1) doesn’t step in, and finally, how valuable the relationship between the victim and bystander (players 1 and 2) is to the bystander. David saw no reason to help, and he still believes he was not in the wrong for not doing so. This is because he prioritized his relationship with his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer, the perpetrator, over Sherrice. David Cash seems to be extremely self-preserving, and his actions (and morals) clearly echo that. Why would he try to intervene in a situation that could incriminate him or somehow disrupt his life? To David, it just doesn’t make sense.


In the end, I do think David Cash had an ethical obligation to intervene that night. Maybe if he had assessed the situation better, he would’ve seen that an innocent life is much better to prioritize than a friendship. And I do think that he should’ve had a legal obligation in that situation too. I agree with @BLStudent in that while there were societal expectations/standards that David Cash faced that night, they didn’t hold him as accountable as a legal obligation would have. There should’ve been (at that time) a legal obligation that would have echoed those societal standards.

ithinkitscauseofme
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 8

Regrets. Has he had a few?

Originally posted by lurando on September 27, 2020 17:11

I think all humans naturally have this innate ability to feel compassion and empathy even towards strangers, unless you have a genetic or a medical defect of course. It’s just depending on your upbringing, the environment, your parents, and the people around you that certain people might feel less or feel more. I think Deborah Stone’s hero article pointing out that the reason why all these people just help people without thinking or asking is because it’s an instinct of ours, which BLStudent and cherryblossom both assert, supports my theory.


We all have this natural flinching effect whenever something unexpected or horrible happens, and in many cases there are only two options a person can take, either they immediately assist the person or they stay put in their place. I think the option that you choose is based a lot on your morals, your personality, and your background, which, of course are all things dictated by your environment. Judy Harris’s phone article makes me realize that there is often a third choice in the modern world, use your phone to record what just happened. It’s an interesting idea, and even though I do somewhat agree with her claim that phones distract people from what they should be ultimately doing, I did put up some counter arguments and some other thoughts, all of which can be seen in my reply to BLStudent.


Another great point that I saw in the hero article that I want to bring up is that the author speculates that perhaps we have this desire to help people because this will be unconsciously beneficial for us, the idea that we become more valuable and trustworthy in other people’s eyes. What I want to say is that there’s so many things that could have compelled David Cash to act and do something, but at the end, he just didn’t. His shock or his fear got the better of him. He didn’t want to make trouble or go against his friend. Perhaps there might be implicit bias. It’s really disappointing and even infuriating to hear, and it really shows just how complex the human psyche really is.


There is a large difference between not telling on a person even though they were cheating and not preventing a murder despite witnessing it. Cheating could yes, prevent a person from going down the right path if they do it excessively, but it’s nothing compared to the loss of an actual human life. Of course then we get to the topic of whether or not a person deserves to die, but we should never decide that in a dangerous life or death situation except for absolute emergencies.


I know horrible things keep happening over and over again and that’s why people can become cynical, but what’s wrong with trying to save or protect a life? There’s a reason why smiles and laughter are contagious. I understand that there are implicit biases that can make people hesitate and that strangers are strangers and we know absolutely nothing about them, but don’t you want to make a person’s life better if you could?

lurando makes a great point here - that even the unconcious idea that helping Sherrice Iverson would eventually help David Cash did not motivate Cash to help Sherrice. In the 60 minutes video he seems to feel no remorse - in fact he questions how long this story will follow him. Helping Sherrice certainly would have made his life easier - he would not have had students at his college protesting for his expulsion, would not be known around the country as the bad samaritan, and maybe would have even had his heroism recognized. It makes me wonder - now, all these years later, does he regret it? I am sure that he been declined for jobs, friendships, and romantic relationships because of his role in Sherrice Iverson's murder. Does he understand why his inaction led to these refusals, or does he still feel the way he did, that he should not be villanized for merely not involving himself in someone else's business? Does he regret it? And if he does, is it because of the impact it has had on his life, or has he finally achieved the empathy to make him realize that he did the wrong thing.

zooweemama
Posts: 6

Originally posted by Cookie Monster on September 26, 2020 18:05

As human beings, we all make mistakes all the time. We do small things like break the dress code at school and jaywalk all the time. However, those miniscule “wrongdoings” aren’t necessarily degrading to the rest of society or harming anybody else. The case of what went down between Sherrice Iverson, Jeremy Strohmeyer, and David Cash involves a lot of these elements. In this case, Jeremy Strohmeyer raped and killed Sherrice Iverson in the bathroom of a Nevada casino. Jeremy’s friend, David Cash, didn’t intervene to stop Strohmeyer and failed to inform the authorities about the incident. Although Cash didn’t commit the act himself, he should’ve been more empathetic to Sherrice instead of just caring about the security of the people in his circle of friends. Any witness that was in Cash’s position should feel obligated to inform someone if a person was hurt in the process and to intervene more directly to prevent further harm. The articles “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” and “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age”. In “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, a young boy was beaten by an older man on a bus in Boston. Instead of sticking up for the boy, all the riders decided to ignore the incident and the bus driver even failed to admit that anything happened to the authorities. In “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age” an apartment building catches on fire and there are people who feel the need first to take a picture of the scene instead of helping anyone out. In both these cases, bystanders should’ve felt the obligation to show more empathy towards the victims of the harmful incidents. This involves, in every case of witnessing a situation where a person(s) is harmed, letting the authorities know AND trying to intervene to prevent any further harm.

I agree with @ Cookie Monster that we all make mistakes but anyone in David Cash’s place should’ve felt obligated to seek help. They mentioned that David should’ve directly intervened to prevent more harm to the girl and I also talked a little bit about this in my post. Saying something is better than not saying anything at all. Also in the articles they read, they mentioned that in both situations the bystanders didn’t do anything and just watched or recorded with their phones. In “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age”, Harris says “the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation”. I think in the situation of the 36 bus, the other passengers thought someone else was going to intervene and say something. I also think the bus driver denied it happening because they know they should’ve done something and now they could face a consequence such as losing their job.

ithinkitscauseofme
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 8

Piracy is not a Victimless Crime

Originally posted by BLStudent on September 24, 2020 13:02

From a moral standpoint Cash should have tried to intervene or at the very least he should have reported it immediately after i think he placed his loyalty to his friend over his empathy for a stranger but he was also likely worried he would incriminate himself if he reported it. If you witness a wrong it is your responsibility as a human to report it. There are of course different levels of wrong and if the wrong is very minor or victimless there isn't an obligation to report it but in this situation Cash's actions were disgusting.

There should definitely be laws requiring people in similar situations to cash to speak up and like we saw with the protests against him there are already societal standards against what he did but they don't carry appropriate consequences. we always have an obligation to act if someone is being hurt/victimized. For example in the iphone age article bystanders look on and took photos rather than doing the right thing which was to make sure the people in the building were ok or do something as simple as calling 911. It's ironic that with cell phones it should be easier than ever to be an upstander but in reality people have just as little empathy.

The hero effect article goes into depth about what all of us should try to be, not just to do the right thing but to have so much empathy that doing the right thing is second nature and instinctual.

BLStudent used the word "victimless" in their post, and it made me think of the ad that plays in theatres before a movie is shown. You know the one - It shows a movie theatre where someone is texting, the voiceover says "this is annoying," someone takes a call, the voiceover says "this is obnoxious," someone takes a video of the movie, the voiceover says (in a particularly ominous voice) "this is illegal." The ad ends by telling its viewers that piracy is not a victimless crime which, to be fair, it isn't. Although I agree with BLStudent that we should report all crimes that are not victimless, how often is piracy reported? If I saw someone pull out their phone in a movie theatre, I would not assume they were videotaping, and I probably wouldn't be able to figure it out unless I was sitting next to them. I think this calls into question how much investigation is required when someone thinks they see a crime being committed. You see someone pull out their phone at the theatre - do you walk down the aisle and try to look at their phone? Or in the case of “The NIghtmare on the 36 Bus,” should one of the passengers have tried to ask the boy or the man if they were related, if the man’s punching of the boy was a family affair? I don’t have the answer to the question, but I do think it’s interesting to consider.

Noodles
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 8

Don't Just Follow the Actions of the Many

The minimal obligations that a person has who observes a crime or sees someone in danger is to provide as much help as they can without putting themselves in harm's way. In Cash’s case, he should have at least notified another person who could have intervened in the situation had Cash thought he could be in danger. But Cash’s situation was unique because the aggressor was his best friend, someone whom he had loyalty to and never thought was incapable of harming another person in the manner that Jeremy hurt Sherrice. But this would only give him more obligation to stop Jeremy, not just to protect Sherrice, but to also protect his friend from hurting another human being. Obligation also depends on the circumstances and level of “wrong”, as victimless or minuscule crimes don’t require the same immediate actions as Jeremy’s crime does.


Legally the only obligations that a bystander has when witnessing a “wrong” would be to report it to the proper authorities, as that is a responsibility of living in a society. There is no obligation to act or step into a situation, especially one that is dangerous or could put someone in harm's way. For example, the passengers in “ Nightmare of the 36 bus” had no obligation to act and defend the child, as they might have been hurt while confronting the man. Yet, this situation is confusing regarding whether there is an obligation to call the police. In hindsight the obvious answer is yes, as there was a child being beaten, but in the moment you may wonder about the circumstances surrounding the situation and whether or not the police are actually necessary. As Auclair puts it, nobody wanted to get involved as they thought it was a family matter. Everyone on the bus knew the man had committed a “wrong”, but no one wanted to be the first to act, and so they waited for someone else to act. But, as no one did anything, they might have thought to themselves that they were misunderstanding the situation, or making it out to be worse than it really was. This idea of people not knowing what to do and just waiting for someone else to take action continues in “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” by Judy Harris. People start taking photos of a burning house without calling 911 or trying to help those inside, possibly because they believe the obligation of helping should fall on someone else who is more responsible, such as someone who lived in the building. Circumstances like that, where the incident happens in a public area with many bystanders, brings up confusion of who would be the best person to resolve or intervene in the situation. Take an incident where a person collapses because of a heart attack. People would gather around, wondering what is wrong and possible if they should do something, but with a group of strangers, they have no idea if they are most qualified to give the man aid. But you always have an obligation to help, even if it is just by calling the authorities or asking the group if anyone knows CPR or is a doctor. It could change the outcome of the situation, and possibly save a life. Had Cash taken action instead of staying quiet and passive while Jeremy Strohmeyer committed that heinous crime, Sherrice Iverson might just be alive today.


zooweemama
Posts: 6

Originally posted by BLStudent on September 24, 2020 13:02

From a moral standpoint Cash should have tried to intervene or at the very least he should have reported it immediately after i think he placed his loyalty to his friend over his empathy for a stranger but he was also likely worried he would incriminate himself if he reported it. If you witness a wrong it is your responsibility as a human to report it. There are of course different levels of wrong and if the wrong is very minor or victimless there isn't an obligation to report it but in this situation Cash's actions were disgusting.

There should definitely be laws requiring people in similar situations to cash to speak up and like we saw with the protests against him there are already societal standards against what he did but they don't carry appropriate consequences. we always have an obligation to act if someone is being hurt/victimized. For example in the iphone age article bystanders look on and took photos rather than doing the right thing which was to make sure the people in the building were ok or do something as simple as calling 911. It's ironic that with cell phones it should be easier than ever to be an upstander but in reality people have just as little empathy.

The hero effect article goes into depth about what all of us should try to be, not just to do the right thing but to have so much empathy that doing the right thing is second nature and instinctual.

BLStudent brought up a good point that I didn’t even think about: “It's ironic that with cell phones it should be easier than ever to be an upstander but in reality people have just as little empathy”. Cell phones allow us to get help right from our fingertips and one would think we would be helping each other more as BLStudent said. People rely on others to help and because they see other people around, they don’t feel responsible for helping. Sometimes there are dangerous situations in which those helping are risking their lives and others may not want to help. In “The Trick to Acting Heroically” it says the people who risked their lives to help others, did so without thinking twice. It also mentioned that these types of people developed the instinct to always help because it could lead to a reward. I think people should always help whether or not there is a reward so that it becomes second nature and instinctual as BLStudent said.

speedyninja
BOSTON, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Be a Good Samaritan

No two situations or people are exactly the same. It is also impossible for one to know exactly what happened and what other people were thinking in situations they were not a part of. Finally, it is hard to know how one would act in situations they were not actually in. All of these complexities make it a challenge to both create overarching rules that should guide behavior and to judge others actions. However, as humans living in a common society, certain standards of how people should act based on morals must be established for everyone’s best interest. In the case of David Cash, Jeremy Strohmeyer, and Sherrice Iverson undoubtedly this was a difficult situation that must be thought about carefully. But based on our societies commonly understood values, David Cash’s decision to be a bystander in the murder of Sherrice Iverson was wrong.


One important, common value that most humans share is empathy. For David Cash, this was clearly lacking when he decided to leave the casino bathroom where he last saw his friend restraining a young girl while muffling her screams. I believe that empathy, and even a more general value of caring for another human being should have governed his actions. As BlueWhale24 noted, it is important to put yourself in Sherrice Iverson’s shoes and ask whether you would have wanted somebody to help. This answer is clearly yes, but Cash failed to consider that he or someone he loves could be in a situation similar to the one Sherrice found herself in and he would want someone to help. In this case, Cash had the opportunity to help, but did not. Furthermore, based on the course of Cash’s actions, I think it is fair to assume that he did not care at all about Iverson let alone have empathy. Cash made the conscious decision to leave Iverson alone with Strohmeyer. It could be argued that Cash did not know that Strohmeyer would go to the extent of raping and murdering Iverson, and that therefore his inaction was less reprehensible. However, it is clear Cash knew Strohmeyer was doing something wrong, because he said he gave Strohmeyer a disapproving look. He could have stayed in the bathroom to figure out exactly what Strohmeyer was going to do, but instead he left not waiting to find out, showing how little he cared. Normally, I think people would have the necessary feelings of empathy and care to govern taking action and helping Iverson, but this was not the case for Cash.


At the very least, I believe everyone can agree that when someone witnesses a wrong as severe as Cash did, their duty is to report it to officials. For example, in the article, “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” Auclair at least reported the incident in an attempt to help the boy, although I would argue he and others on the bus could and should have done more. Cash, even after he knew that Iverson was a victim of murder, failed to complete this easy and low risk duty. However, I do believe that the nature of the wrong as well as other specific circumstances changes the rules about what a witness must do. If the wrong is far more innocent than rape or murder, for example cheating on a test, I do not see it as an obligation for someone who witnesses this to even report it. In a case such as this, I believe an excuse like, “it is not my business” is valid as nobody is being directly harmed by the wrongdoing. Also, in a case where a witness is outnumbered or outmatched by the wrongdoer(s) and would be putting themselves at risk, I do not think it should be expected that they actively intervene, but rather reporting it to officials, if possible would be enough. For example, in Erez Yoeli and David Rand’s article, although the American and British men bravely subdued the gunman, I do not think it was an obligation to do so considering the risk they put themselves in. Specific circumstances, in my opinion, determine the obligation a person has when they witness a wrong.


Rules that could apply regarding whether one must act or simply witness I think again depend on the circumstances. Building off of User1234’s comment that, “There should be laws put in place that state that you could be prosecuted if you witnessed a crime being committed and didn’t physically intervene, call the police, or ask for someone else’s help,” I believe that the severity of the crime should also dictate whether such a law would apply. If the crime involves the potential for physical harm, I agree. However, if it was a more minor crime such as public urination, this seems unnecessary to me. More importantly than legal laws, I think that societal “rules” of accepted behavior based on values such as kindness, empathy, and more should kick in to govern our actions. Again, depending on specific scenarios, these rules would undoubtedly change. I think it is impossible to simply say what is right and what is wrong or what should happen in general, as these situations vary greatly. Finally, I do think that it is our decision to always act, whatever that may mean based on given circumstances. This is definitely not easy, as it could be friends or family that you must take action against, you may feel uncomfortable doing so, or you could simply be having a bad day. However, as members of a common society guided by common values, it is our obligation to act, as we would want the same done for us.

wisteria
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Originally posted by kurapika on September 27, 2020 19:46

Everyone, in some shape or form, has a moral compass. This enables people to judge what is right or wrong and to act accordingly to situations. However, what happens when someone’s morality differs from public ideals?


Sherrice Iverson’s life was brutally taken away from her that day in the bathroom stall. And I believe most people if placed in David’s position, wouldn’t even think twice to intervene and try everything in their power to prevent what happened that night. I know I would. And I agree with many of my classmates in that I think David should have intervened. But he did not, and I would like to try to explain why.


If we had been put in David’s position, I believe we would’ve reacted to that situation with our moral compasses- and not David’s. To me, morals are not universal. While many have similar standings in what is right and wrong, the meaning of “right” and “wrong” is open-ended (open to interpretation from person to person). I believe that David’s morals differ from most people, and as a result, he did not even feel sympathy for Sherrice and chose to stay silent (people with moral compasses that are skewed from ours in any way will obviously respond in a different way than us). Responding to @yvesIKB ‘s claim that Cash had a “moral and ethical responsibility” that night, I would say that to Cash, he only had an ethical obligation (not that he even acted on that). While David Cash had an ethical obligation to step in that night, I don’t think he had a moral obligation (based on what I think his morals may be). This is because of the difference in ethics and morals. Ethics are principles that are held to a higher standard, what “ought to be”. It is a reflection on morality and is universally held. Morals, on the other hand, are our personal beliefs on what is right or wrong.


In situations, I would say that we do have an ethical (and many times moral) obligation to act. Especially in instances when we have the ability to. I think it is extremely important to use your voice for good. “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” describes another scenario in which bystanders let a possibly intoxicated man brutally beat up an 8-year-old boy in front of the rest of the passenger’s eyes as they silently observed. One passenger, Daniel Auclair, stood to intervene, but after seeing no one else following his lead he chose to also sit back and watch the situation unfold. In situations like what happened on the 36 and what happened to Sherrice Iverson, there are numerous reasons why to not intervene. For the passengers on the 36, one such reason may have been that they did not want to interfere with a stranger’s situation. Which, in a sense, makes sense as to the passengers, both the boy and the man were strangers to them. And it is terrible to not interfere solely based on how well you know the person. However, it may be even worse to not interfere even when you do know someone involved. Unlike the passengers on the bus, David knew Strohenmeyer. They were good friends. And still, he chose not to even try to stop what was going on.


In “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, the authors explain factors that may influence people to intervene in a situation. The game described in that article led to such factors, like if the cost of helping is small, how harmful it is to the victim (player 2) if the bystander (player 1) doesn’t step in, and finally, how valuable the relationship between the victim and bystander (players 1 and 2) is to the bystander. David saw no reason to help, and he still believes he was not in the wrong for not doing so. This is because he prioritized his relationship with his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer, the perpetrator, over Sherrice. David Cash seems to be extremely self-preserving, and his actions (and morals) clearly echo that. Why would he try to intervene in a situation that could incriminate him or somehow disrupt his life? To David, it just doesn’t make sense.


In the end, I do think David Cash had an ethical obligation to intervene that night. Maybe if he had assessed the situation better, he would’ve seen that an innocent life is much better to prioritize than a friendship. And I do think that he should’ve had a legal obligation in that situation too. I agree with @BLStudent in that while there were societal expectations/standards that David Cash faced that night, they didn’t hold him as accountable as a legal obligation would have. There should’ve been (at that time) a legal obligation that would have echoed those societal standards.

I agree that morals may vary from person to person, and therefore some may not feel compelled to act in situations where interference would be the obvious choice for others. For example, some people believe it is perfectly acceptable to discipline kids physically. This might be part of why the incident on the 36 bus was allowed to continue. Not because the other passengers on the bus agreed with this notion, but because of some unconscious respect for others' morals, even those that conflict with one's own. They felt it wasn't their place to intervene when this could be the boy's father, because that would almost be like telling him how to discipline his own child. Nobody wants to interfere with others' private "family matters". However, I do believe there are some universal morals that all humans share, unless there is something seriously wrong with them psychologically. The murder of an innocent child should be morally wrong to everyone, and so David should have at least shown some remorse for the actions he enabled. I don't understand his reaction, and I wonder what the results would be if his mental state was evaluated. Maybe there is some condition that allowed him to so easily distance himself from actions that would cause most people to be haunted by guilt, and not just unusual morals.

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