posts 46 - 59 of 59
Fruit Snacks
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 27

Bad Samaritan

Cash’s actions looked like someone trying to protect their bestfriend. There is no way that his excuse is not knowing the little girl. He saw how defenseless she was because he looked into the stall. Additionally he chose to follow them into the bathroom, as he was the last to enter, so already his intentions seem bad. If he was following Jeremy into the bathroom to stop him he wouldn’t have let Jeremy take Sherrice Iverson into the stall. What were they going to do? Restock on toilet on paper? No. Not only did Cash not stop Strohmeyer but he walked out the bathroom, and got a confession and still thought it was ok to leave. Where is his conscience? It shouldn’t sit right with him that his best friend just murdered a 7 year old after assaulting her. No matter how strong their relationship may have been he clearly saw his friend doing something he shouldn’t even be thinking about doing, and didn’t speak out. Not speaking out is defense. He was defending Strohmeyer, and the fact that he was able to do so raises the question if he knew of the plan all along. Was he planning on watching and then Strohmeyer got shy and kicked him out? Absolutely absurd.

Heroism is based on instinct. Heroes “don’t think about their own safety, they [think] about stopping something bad” (Stone). Cash’s safety wasn’t at risk, Iverson’s was. The only thing at risk was his friendship, but why would Cash want to be friends with a rapist. It wasn’t his “gut instinct… it was a conscious decision” (Yoeli and Rand). That’s not okay. Although it isn’t quite literally anyone's obligation to stop a wrong they are witnessing, it should be. Once you’ve seen the wrong you’re already part of it whether you want to be or not. At least an attempt should be made to help and save another life. Even if the collaboration is just a phone call to authorities from far away, it’s still a help. Stopping to record or think about the situation isn’t ok. Do the thinking later. No matter the gravity of the situation, aiding a person in need is just the right thing to do. Obviously there’s always a debate on what makes something the right thing to do, but saving another life should be universal. It’s a given.

Noodles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 24

Originally posted by orangedino on September 26, 2020 18:02

We, as people, have the obligation to stop someone from doing something that could cause damage to themselves or anyone else. Cash knew that his friend was committing a crime that hurt a little girl and he did nothing to stop him from doing it. Even if he didn’t have a legal obligation to act, he did have a moral one.


Taking action can be hard sometimes, especially when there are many other witnesses. It is human nature to want to fit in and it takes a lot of courage to be the person who initiates that, when nobody else has. Auclair experienced this when he witnessed a man punching a little boy on a bus one night, (Nightmare on the 36 bus). Auclair wanted to do something to stop the man from hurting the boy, but nobody was doing anything about it so he felt out of place and did nothing.


Someone also may not take action not because they feel out of place, but it may be because they don’t feel required to, they feel like it is someone else’s responsibility to do something. This is called the Bystander Effect, and we can see it take place in the article “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age”, when a man was running towards a burning building to see if anybody needed any assistance, and he saw a man just standing by the building taking pictures of it.


We cannot just sit back and watch as bad things are happening. If we have the ability to, we need to try and help people who need our help and stop people who are doing wrong. We cannot let our fear control us and convince us to do nothing, and we also cannot let ourselves think that there is no need for our help.

I agree that it is often fear and the feeling that it isn't our responsibility to act that causes Bystanders to watch as a bad situation unfolds before them, but I disagree that it is just this human nature to fit in that causes us to not react. Sometimes people don't get involved and wait for others because they have no idea what to do in that situation and is waiting for someone who is able to help. And we should sometimes sit down and not engage or get involved in what is occurred, because not all situations can be fixed by one person, and it might end up getting that bystander hurt.

But I do agree with you that Cash had a moral obligation to stop his friend, even if there wasn't a legal one. Legal obligations need to be rules that do not require bystanders to engage in whatever conflict they see, only report it as soon as possible. Although a law requiring Cash to act in his certain circumstances, and if he would have actually followed that law, would have possible ended with a life being saved, in other circumstances it could end up causing an innocent bystander their life.

Fruit Snacks
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 27

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 agree. The Iphone Age article is so relevant and so sad. So many people would rather get the perfect video for social media than help their community stay alive. It's the news' job to get the videos and pictures covered, it's our job to stand up for one another and be there when they can't. The man who ended up saving them shouldn't of had to do it alone because there's felt that "oh someone else will do it".

Fruit Snacks
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 27

Originally posted by zooweemama on September 27, 2020 19:16

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.

I do believe that Cash was trying to save his friendship, but it's sad to think that he wanted a friendship with someone who can rape and kill a 7 year old girl. I don't know how close they were and if this was a dark side they shared together, but he should've worried a little less about his grown a** friend and a little more about the innocence and future of Sherrice Iverson.

boricua1234
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 17

Say Something for those who Cannot

David Cash watched an atrocity that day in the casino bathroom and the bottom line is he should have spoken up. As a witness you have the obligation to do anything in your power to help and if for some reason you can not you call or find someone who can. In the article The Bystander Effect many people stood around a house on fire taking pictures instead of reacting, while others rushed into the building, or called 911. David Cash was like one of the people standing outside taking pictures looking at the fire burn and doing nothing but let it grow. He had the chance to help Sherrice, Jeremy, and himself for that matter. If he had told Jeremy to stop or yanked him off of Sherrice, not only would she be alive but David would not have killed her, and Jeremy could still have a clear conscience at the very least. Although this seems simple, if something bad happens do something about it always, to some people like David this isn’t the logical approach. In his interview David said why should he do anything because he doesn’t know Sherrice. And he was right he didn’t know Sherrice, but what should have governed David's decision should have been human decency and empathy not something so trivial as not knowing someone because we should always speak up if we can.


In a given situation one always hopes that they do the right or heroic thing but that is not always the case. They think if danger arises they will bravely face the problem head on but that isn’t realistic. Sometimes it takes us a while to process things and once we do it is often too late. In the article The Trick to Acting Heroically it demonstrates how to solve some problems you just have to dive right in. I think David thought about it too much, he thought about the past and his friendship with Jeremy which clouded his vision and didn’t allow him to see what Jeremy was really doing in that moment. He also had no empathy for Sherrice because she was someone he didn’t know. This is a problem for most humans, lack of empathy, and in most cases it is nothing but damaging because it closes off a vital pierce of who humans are which is emotional beings. As a witness it is necessary to be empathetic and put yourself in the other person's shoes so you can begin to understand the gravity of the situation. But David seemed to ignore the gravity and instead be selfish and ignorant because it wasn’t his problem. As a witness you should think about whether that person's human rights are being denied such as freedom of speech or control over their own body and with those things in mind you should choose to act or not.


With that being said in some scenarios it is not safe for the witness to do something because it can escalate the situation or it isn’t necessary for the witness to get involved. It can also depend on what the nature of the wrong is because in different settings the wrong thing is not actually wrong but only against someone else's belief. An example being that in some countries being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is considered illegal so although to the government that is considered wrong to many others that is a normal part of life. As you can tell good and bad is not so black and white as we seem but a complicated spectrum. But as people and as witnesses to atrocious events we should have empathy and speak up when it is safe to do so because we have the obligation to each other to speak up for those who cannot speak up themselves.

Noodles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 24

Originally posted by speedyninja on September 27, 2020 21:21

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.

I agree with the fact that a law requiring the reporting of any "wrongs" that threaten the safety of another human being, such as in the case of David Cash. I also agree that smaller crimes should not be given this same obligations, nor should people be forced to take physical action or intervene is the situation as it poses a risk to those that engage. Although I agree that Auclair and the others on the bus could have taken actions and helped the boy, I disagree that they should have done it (legally at least, morally they should have called the police). The bus incident would have fallen under the law that bystanders have to report any "wrong" that threatens the safety of another as the boy was being hit (which should never be allowed to happen), but everyone on the bus thought they were possible father and son, and the people did not want to get involved in family business. But the real issue was that no one reacted, instead they waited for someone else to take the first action, someone who might know better than them on how to proceed. While someone should have taken action even if they thought that, the man was drunk and already showing violence. Had the others engaged him, they would have probably also been hit, or worse. The only thing they should have done was report the crime. The other issue is, had Auclair and the others confronted the man and a fight broke out and the police did come, the drunken man would have been arrested. But had the "wrong" been less obvious, and the people on the bus were making conclusions based off of circumstantial actions that they witnessed, there would be the question of who to arrest as the people would be acting more as vigilantes instead of Good Samaritans.

babypluto9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 22

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 agree with Cash and his wrongdoings of being a bystander. I think having laws in which all people are required to speak up is very optimistic as there are many layers to certain situations. Some situations can have outside pressure to not speak up such as gangs. A situation like Cash should always be reported. But is a law going to push people in that position and with his mindset to actually report? We saw from the interviews Cash was in, he didn't feel any remorse or feel like he needed to be involved. I don't think a law will change anything for those people with similar mindsets.

dxaoko
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 24

We Need To Be Beyond Apathy

The moral obligation to help or seek help for a person in need of immediate help should have governed David Cash’s actions. Not only did he fail to intervene as Strohmeyer was assaulting Sherrice Iverson, but he also failed to acknowledge the depth of the situation even after her murder. He witnessed his friend restrain Iverson on the stomach and mouth, understood that what his friend was doing was wrong, yet he never put any rational thought to action. Proceeding the horrible event, Cash’s inaction showed even more as he decided not to contact for emergency or report the incident to an authority. Instead, he continued to play at another casino even after his friend confessed to murdering a little girl and showed little empathy, believing that his friendship with Strohmeyer was justifiable enough to disregard his taking accountability.


To recall from Brian McGrory’s article, “Nightmare On The 36 Bus”, despite several people witnessing a 45-year old man, both with a big build and intoxicated, violently beating up an 8-year old kid, all watched on in silence. There were many people against one man, yet, none decided to prevent him from assaulting the child, or at the very least, call for help. Seeing a dangerous situation occurring right before one’s eyes may cause a chilling fear from the thought of being potentially hurt if they were to intervene. However, staying completely silent cannot be an option at the expense of someone else’s life.


Of course, stepping into a situation such as Cash’s is a choice. The ability to go forth and give justice to the situation is an option. Making decisions that make put one’s self at risk is not an obligation, either. However, I would like to believe that after seeing the escalation of events occurring, that there is a sense of responsibility to do something, anything, that would assist the victim. Even if the situation may seem very contained and may not develop into something of a bigger concern, doing nothing after seeing others passively react is not how one should decide where their moral compass should go. The intersection of mob mentality and the bystander effect is astonishing. To specify even further, “The Nightmare on The 36 Bus” expands on one of the witnesses of the little boy’s beating being Daniel Auclair, who was about to step in, but withdrew from his choice after assuming that nobody was considering intervening, as well as justifying that the beating was indicative to “a family thing”, so it was not his place to step in as an outsider. If assumptions were the basis of our decisions, we would be invalidating the events that occur right there and then. It is not to say that hesitation based on assumption cannot occur in one’s mind about whether or not it’s ok to intervene, but it is crucial to prioritize the current situation over said hesitation.


I do regard that that there are limitations on how much one is able to realistically do in a situation without the high chances of getting hurt. To reiterate @thesnackthatsmilesback’s point, a person’s safety is a right and thus, it should be their decision as to whether or not they want to physically intervene without dire consequences occurring, such as becoming another potential victim in the situation. To further expand, Deborah Stone had pointed out in her article, “The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should The Government Help Your Neighbor?”, that Crispin McCay, an emergency medical technician, cautions upon crime intervention as it puts the witness in a real-life situation where danger is imminent, especially, because the situation can easily become out-of-control and it is difficult to act onsite against the assailant. Taking action is important, but there are also other ways to provide help to the situation without physically being involved. Gauging the situation and seeing what one, again, can realistically do, is more practical.


In the end, the obvious point is if you see something, do something, as doing something is better than nothing. Every person has a choice, but in the face of immediate action, it is regrettable to live on in ignorance when others are in possible danger. Not only does it enable the perpetrator to continue their assault, but it does not cause initiative for change within our society to do better, both for everybody and ourselves. To every individual: your actions have power, just as your silence is complicity.

dxaoko
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 24

Originally posted by speedyninja on September 27, 2020 21:21

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.

I agree with @speedyninja about their initial point, that it is difficult to gauge what is considered immoral or apathetic if it weren't for the established social rules in common society. The emphasis on empathy puts into focus how David Cash not only didn't take responsibility for being a bystander, as well as moving forward in ignorance despite the enormity of the information Strohmeyer revealed to him, but he still doesn't hold any regret for not stopping his friend. I also agree that the circumstances, aka the nature of the wrong, are the biggest factor when it comes to knowing when to physically intervene; that, even though we are held by a common duty to do something, we must think about how we can personally contribute in the most realistic way possible.

j4n3.d03
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

My Response to the Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I believe there is a possibility that Cash is lying under the pretense that he had no premeditated involvement in the sexual assault of Sherrice Iverson prior to her murder by Jeremy Strohmeyer. It was stated in another article he did not wish to “be around for what materialized” but his lack of action or remorse is simply unfathomable to me personally. Even if said that he thought it is only his responsibility to care for himself, he couldn’t even spare a short amount of energy to alert the authorities that could have easily been in the vicinity of the casino?

As I also dug out more information about Strohmeyer and his past, I found that he had previously been adopted from a young age and though we spoke about the Iverson laws being passed in the state of Nevada, I think it’s also important to recognize the law that passed in his state of California because his adoption agency did not alert his parents about his birth parents’ predisposition to addiction and mental illness. Though this does not defend his actions (this is coming from someone with a predisposition to mental illness in my own family), I believe it’s something to consider. In the year he spent living in Singapore, he was able to get ahold of easily-abused substances and minors who were willing to engage in explicit acts with him in exchange for those substances and money. This has led me to believe this was the beginning of his paraphilic feelings for children and despite his relative youth at the time being, this was not an act of adolescent impulsivity. He knew exactly what he was doing and indulging in his twisted, premeditated fantasies. Given that Cash at the time considered him his best friend, I certainly don’t think it’s unreasonable to find Cash’s testimony unreliable. That though he had left the restroom 2 minutes after, he could’ve originally followed Jeremy to witness the act but left after realizing if he had witnessed the murder, he could’ve faced charges of conspiracy.

My understanding as I read through the floods of comments on this forum is that the main nuance is the moral obligation of a witness who is obviously not participating in an egregious act. Then it becomes further nuanced as we discern morality in such a case as Sherrice Iverson’s. However, defining morals in itself, it is what society has taught what is wrong and what is right. Thus, what circumstances does this become justifiable? I think this is more of a question that pertains to ethics because in this scenario it was one of potential self physical endangerment. So, the question is, what is the border of self-preservation to potentially sacrificing yourself?

I think most of us can come to the agreement that Cash was in the moral obligation as a citizen at the very least, to call for help and potentially save Iverson’s life. In comparing this to my reading of Nightmare on the 36 Bus, I think a similar scenario ensued in which I think people should’ve stepped up to the man abusing a child on the bus. While we know the unfortunate events that preceded the murder of Sherrice Iverson, we may never know what happened to the boy on the 36 bus that was left in tears, alone on a chilling Wednesday night. These were both cases of physical endangerment of a minor. It also comes back to the age-old question of whether humans are instinctively good or bad. Do we restrain ourselves from physically getting involved in order to prioritize our own survival over others? If we had known these children personally and had a closer relationship to them would we have stepped in ourselves? Even in the reverse example, would a surgeon not perform on a patient (such as a friend or relative) in fear of not being able to treat them like other patients?

Now, what if there weren’t surveillance cameras recording Cash and Strohmeyer? Then, I believe there would’ve been a larger case in questioning the actions of the father who continued to be at the casino despite being asked to leave the premises for bringing alongside his two children. That and questioning towards the casino itself for not taking further action that could’ve prevented this in the first place. Technology has certainly brought its benefits, however, In The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age it also argues that as we’ve become obsessed with our mobile phones and social media, and that this behavior encourages the bystander effect. While I think that is true and do not disagree, I think with the likes of recent events such as George Floyd’s and Ahmaud Arbery’s murders, more people are understanding the weight of our country’s racism that has gone on for centuries and continues to go on indirectly. Not only this but the recordings have also been able to get those responsible for these venomous crimes indicted and truly be held. . . responsible. But then how do we consider video and photo manipulation that could possibly do otherwise? Even ruin peoples’ lives? Though there’s obviously much further work to be done and much more to be considered but I unfortunately can’t say if we’ll ever be able to answer them.

FANBOY
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 23

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think David Cash was governed by a system of trying to be guilt free. I think there was a switch that was flipped in his head that yelled at him and said: “THIS ISN”T YOUR PROBLEM”, but David Cash made the conscience choice to listen to that voice. I think in all of us there is a system in our heads that governs what we think we should and shouldn’t do. When David Cash says there are starving children in Panama, and children sying of disease in Egypt he’s right, but how many people to something to help those children. How many times have you seen a commercial where it says you can help a child in need and you just change the channel. The average person does exactly this, they just change the channel. If the average person didn’t do this there would be a lot less problems in the world. This is what David Cash did, except the child in need wasn’t miles, or continents away, the child in need was in the stall next to him, just inches away. He fact he did nothing to save this girl who was right in front of him, tells me he just decided to change the channel and forget about this little girl. The part of the human mind that doesn’t want to feel bad or guilty took over and forced him to do what he did. This part of the human mind, I believe is in everyone, but in David Cash’s case his mind just controlled him to forget and move on with his day. According to the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, it states when people are presented with a problem directly, they react. I thought this was very interesting because I think, we can use this concept and apply it to David Cash and the average human being. I think the average human being changes the channel instead of helping the child in need a world away, is because the child is a world away. But when the child is right in front of you the brain thinks “THIS is a problem I can solve, THIS is a child I can help”. But David Cash’s brain didn’t act in this way. His brain thought “this problem is a world away, this isn’t a child I can help”, and I think that is why he choose to walk away. Another event I think happened in David Cash’s brain is the bystander effect. The bystander effect, is something where instead of helping someone you sit and watch. I believe this to be my strongest assumption to what happened to David Cash’s thought process. He thought “Wow, there is a child being assaulted and raped in a bathroom stall by my best-friend, hmm, someone should do something about that”, and walked away. There is a quote by Spider Man where he says “When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t. And then the bad things happen they happen because of you.” David Cash, could’ve kicked in the stall door, tear his friend off of this child, and call for help but he didn’t. I thought of this quote after reading orangedino’s response. I think they feel the same way. They stated “If we have the ability to, we need to try and help people who need our help and stop people who are doing wrong.” David Cash had the ability to help a seven-year-old girl who was being strangled, later to be raped and killed, but he did nothing.

FANBOY
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 23

The Moral Dilemma

Originally posted by bebe on September 27, 2020 18:47

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.

I think your point of view is very interesting point of view you have bebe. I would have never of thought of there being a social aspect to David Cash's situation. You state that in David's head if he acted there could have been a social fall out between him and his friend group. He may have been ostracized for "snitching" on his friend, even though his friend was strangling a little girl. There is an emphasis on staying quiet and keeping secrets for your friends but there is a limit on how much you can keep to yourself, and I like how you touched on that point.

boricua1234
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 17

Originally posted by cherryblossom on September 27, 2020 09:32

Originally posted by ernest. on September 24, 2020 13:21

The obvious answer about Cash’s obligations, and our own, is that we are all bound to act when someone is in danger and when we have the power to intervene safely. Even if Cash felt that he could not safely step into the situation directly as he was watching, because he thought he himself would be in danger if he tried to stop Strohmeyer, we can all probably agree he was absolutely obliged to alert people in his vicinity and call 911. And the law (now) recognizes this.

The moral uncertainty comes in when we think about when we have an obligation to directly step in and stop something bad from happening in its tracks, especially when that requires us to put ourselves at risk. In the case of Cash and Strohmeyer, Cash should have done everything possible to top Strohmeyer. Never did he say he felt threatened or scared by Strohmeyer’s actions, and that they were able to continue gambling together for the night after the murder backs this up.

In terms of obligation to act, I think I’m more inclined to say people don’t have an obligation than to say they do when it comes to a dangerous situation. People should always alert authorities/some form of necessary help when something happens, and always directly intervene if it comes at no risk to them, such as if a person takes a serious fall on the street. However, when there is an active aggressor, there isn’t an obligation. I think common morals and values dictate that intervening and putting your life in danger to help would be the right thing to do, but it’s not compulsory- there’s a difference. I say this because, in both “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age,” and The Samaritans’ Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor?, the tendency of people to do nothing in cases where someone is in distress is documented as a psychological phenomenon, not just a bad choice (The Bystander Effect). Especially when there are also other people around, individuals are likely to do nothing or expect that someone else will be the one to act, and so one does. What’s more is that those who do act, according to the book, frequently have military backgrounds, indicating the instinct to act is often learned. Because of this, I hesitate to label inaction in such situations as complete moral failing or the equivalent of bearing culpability.

To be clear, I do not encourage inaction or think it commendable, and the broader societal implications of being a bystander are real. What happens when there is not one isolated incidence of aggression, but a movement, government, or authority that is acting unjustly? We can see how the need to act becomes all the more urgent. But, I believe these isolated incidences of physical aggression are different from a broader societal injustice, which more definitely requires action because much less risk is associated with it, and so I don’t think there is a straight out obligation to act in a dangerous situation.

Although @ernest makes some good points, I think that anybody who witnesses a wrongdoing or someone else in danger has the responsibility to act. Their inaction reflects their character, as it shows their lack of empathy and compassion for victims of distressing circumstances. However, @ernest says that they believe that individuals are obliged to call 911 for help. I believe that that action does count as acting in the situation. Calling authorities is just as beneficial as asserting yourself in the situation to stop the harm being done to individuals. Witnesses of wrongdoings should not hesitate to act just because there are others witnessing the incident. In addition, people with military background are not more qualified to act in dangerous situations than those who are without military experience. As upright individuals, witnesses have the duty to take action in a harmful situation, whether it is physical action or notifying authorities.

Although I agree with @cherryblossom that calling 911 counts as taking actin in a situation I think that yout must weighh the benefits when it comes to calling 911. Sometimes all 911 does is escalate the situation specifically the police. Especially in black and brown neighborhoods they can misjudge what is really going on due to their own biases and end up being a lot more harmful. So in these situations I think witnesses should not only call 911 in situations where they need help but should also turn to different mental illness hotlines or whatever is needed in the situation becasue those people have been traine to deescalate situations. Calling for help is important but it is also important calling for the right help.

boricua1234
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 17

Originally posted by orangedino on September 27, 2020 17:45

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.

It is interesting how you brought up the social standards of whether or not to speak up because it feels life that wasn't even going through Cash's head. For most people I think a big part of why they would help is due to societal pressure, to be the hero that everyone wants to be. But Cash clearly didn't care about being a hero but cared about maintaininig this pure image of his friend in his head and minding his own business. And in response to your cellphone I think that although having mobile phones sometimes makes people step back instead of running in head on, social media also tells us to step up. Today we are all super influenced by what is on our screens and sadly we see a lot atroscities but because we see this atroscities we know that we have to speak up or even worse things could happen. I find that my phone has made me a lot more empathetic and maybe if David had known more about sexual assualt he would have known how terrible it was and how he is obliged to stand up for someoe who cannot.

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