posts 1 - 15 of 48
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 154

Readings (select 2 of the 4):

Brian McGrory, “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” Boston Globe, January 25, 2000.

Judy Harris, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age,” WBUR Cognoscenti, June 5, 2015

Erez Yoeli and David Rand, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” New York Times, August 28, 2015

Deborah Stone, The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor (New York: Nation Books, 2008), pp. 128-132.



Background:


For any of you who missed class today, we watched a clip from 60 Minutes called “The Bad Samaritan” (from 0:00-5:39).


Eighteen-year-old David Cash chose to walk away as his friend, fellow eighteen-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer, assaulted and murdered Sherrice Iverson, age 7, in the women’s restroom of a Nevada casino at 3 in the morning on Sunday, May 25, 1997. He told the Los Angeles Times when his friend was arrested that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems.”


Clearly what Jeremy Strohmeyer did was reprehensible. But what David Cash did was to be a bystander, not to be a rescuer or a resister in any way. One can only speculate what might have happened had Cash more actively intervened. But according to Nevada law at the time, he was under no legal obligation to do otherwise.


It’s remarkable to listen to David Cash’s words when interviewed on a Los Angeles radio station after his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer was arrested and convicted. Cash remarked, “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt. The only person I knew in this event was Jeremy Strohmeyer, and I know as his best friend that he had potential…I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem.”


Your task for this post:


As awful as the Sherrice Iverson murder was, I’d like to hear your views on the situation. What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?


Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.


Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.


Write your post on the discussions.learntoquestion.com site. Be sure to respond to the views of at least two other classmates (if you post first, go back and do a second posting responding to two comments posted after yours).


How to post on the discussion board:


1.You should log in using the button at the top right of the page at discussions.learntoquestion.com with the username you chose earlier this week as well as your password you chose when you registered on the site. Remember both are case-sensitive! If you have not done so already, make sure you bookmark the site as well, as we will use it frequently throughout the year. If you registered properly then this should work. (If it does not work, please e-mail me asap.)


2.Go into your specific class section. If you are not sure which section you are in, here’s a reminder:

Section 01 Abigail Ortiz: Day 1 R3

Section 02 Ayanna Pressley: Day 1 R7

Section 03 Tunney Lee ’49: Day 1 R6

Section 04 Ernani de Araujo ’99: Day 1 R1


3.Once you are in your section, you’ll see a thread titled “The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan” (due Monday, September 28). Click on the post’s title. This will take you into the page where you can post. Read the prompt message (the first one, which will essentially repeat the assignment described above) and any other posts that precede yours (you are encouraged to comment on those and certainly should acknowledge any overlap between what those prior posters may have said and what you are writing). When you are ready, at the bottom of the comments already made, there is a button on the lower right saying “New Reply.” Click on that. You’ll get a page with blank spaces. This page will time out eventually, so see step #4 for some important advice.


4.VERY IMPORTANT ADVICE: draft your post on Word (or Google docs or some other text doc that is not going to ‘time out’) and save it before you paste it onto the discussion board. You work hard on these and you never know what can go wrong, particularly in the early months of using the discussion board. People find that from time to time, the discussion board “times out” in the middle of posting, resulting in the loss of whatever you are writing. So take my advice (and that of your predecessors, all of whom lost a post at one time or another) when the server or their computer crashed; draft in another program and PASTE into the board.


5.Give your comment/post a title, then put your cursor on the big box in the message part of the page and paste your response.


6.To respond to other people—and sometimes this is required as part of the assignment, you can do so by mentioning their username and reference their comments within your text OR you can do a separate post in response to theirs. You can even quote from their post (and that’s helpful as long as it’s not too long!) by clicking on their post, going to “reply” and then including the portion of their post that you wish to reference.


7.When you have finished writing your post (and you’re satisfied with it), click at the lower left “Create post.”


8.You should then be taken back to the page of posts. Check that yours has appeared. If it has, bravo! If it hasn’t, try the aforementioned steps again and see if it works. (If not, let me know asap via e-mail)


9.Check back regularly to see if anyone has replied to your post. You should absolutely try to comment on other people’s posts and they will in turn comment on yours! (This counts as part of your class participation and your homework grade!) Feel free to quote from others’ replies, identifying the username of the person who wrote the original post you are quoting. Remember: this is a conversation, not a monologue.



yelloworchids
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

The Obligation To Be a Good Bystander

There is no doubt that Jeremy Strohmeyer was 100% guilty for his crimes. What he committed was a gruesome and unbelievable atrocity. His best friend David Cash, who had witnessed the whole incident and had chosen to not intervene, should have been held equally accountable. Although Cash had no physical involvement in the assault and murder of Sherrice, bystanding and ignoring the wrong doing of anyone—nevermind a close friend, should definitely label him as an accomplice. What Cash did—or in this case, did not do—resulted in the brutal death of an innocent little girl. He was aware of the happenings of the situation and deliberately chose not to intervene—claiming to have never pondered over the possible consequences. Even when he did hear of her murder from Strohmeyer himself, he chose to not report on the incident, possibly fearing the outcomes. As shown through the “envelope game” described in The Trick to Action Heroically, it was explained that there were instances where Player 1 would refuse to help Player 2 if the cost was too much. Perhaps he at the moment had worried about the cost of intervening—whether that be getting caught up in the crime or hurting his friendship. Regardless of the risks, there was no excuse as to why one would completely ignore the situation.


We as humans definitely have an obligation to intervene when possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your life to save the life of a stranger, but there are many other actions that could be taken to assess the situation. Things like calling security, speaking up against the perpetrator, or asking the person if they’re okay, are all ways in which bystanders can safely intervene. It’s natural for individuals to sympathize and help people in a situation they would not want to see themselves in. The nature of a situation definitely plays a role in how bystanders should respond, but generally there are safer solutions to more dangerous encounters. Often, people are discouraged by those around them who also hesitate to intervene during difficult situations because they believe someone else would. As mentioned in The Bystander Effect In The Cell Phone Age, no one had thought to call for help or warn the residents but had instead recorded the fire to post onto social media. In cases like these, small actions like calling 911 or yelling for residents require little to no effort but were not exhibited by most bystanders. What would have happened if no one had thought to warn the residents?


I definitely think there should be some type of law in place to solidify the need to intervene with incidents like Sherrice Iverson’s. If a legal policy needs to be implemented as a means of pressuring people into helping others, I think it is very much necessary. From a moral standpoint, individuals should already feel a natural urge to interfere whenever they witness a wrong doing. For people like myself who are rather hesitant when it comes to speaking out, I attended a workshop this summer that dealt with ways in which one may become a “good bystander” by means of the 5 D’s : Distract (diverting the attention to something else), Delegate (talking it out with the perpetrator), Document (recording an incident on a device—although this might not be applicable in more severe situations), Delay(seeking help), and Direct (speaking to the victim). There are numerous ways to get involved without risking your life, staying silent should not be an option.

anonymouse
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Never be a bystander

After hearing about this, I can only begin to think of the reasons why David Cash decided to walk out and ignore what Jeremy Shrohmeyer is doing to Sherrice Iverson. Being the best friend of Jeremy Strohmeyer, Cash might have wanted to protect him and perhaps thought that Jeremy is not capable of murder. Another thing is that Cash may not have wanted to ruin his future and his reputation by being caught in the middle of such a hideous crime. By witnessing this event, he is already part of it. What followed after he left the restroom could have been avoided if he had intervened. Because Cash failed to intervene, Sherrice Iverson is dead. Even though he might not have been the doer of the crime, he is as guilty as Jeremy Strohmeyer. He should have decided that saving a girl’s life is more important than what could happen to him or his best friend.


Seeing that someone’s life is at risk, one has an obligation to help to the best of their ability. To help could simply be by telling another person. David Cash did not bother to tell anyone and went on with his night. This is similar to what yelloworchids stated: intervening “doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your life to save the life of a stranger, but there are many other actions that could be taken to assess the situation.” There are many ways that one could help without risking other lives.


In “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age”, many people just stood around documenting the event rather than helping, but there was an upstander that warned the people and helped to get people out of danger. Many of us are conditioned to think that there are others that can help and rather not take the risks. It is important to be an upstander, in whichever form that might look like. Cash could have chosen to be an upstander, but instead became a bystander, which did not benefit him or others in any way, therefore causing more harm.


When we witness a crime happening, we always have an obligation to act. I believe that there are certain rules in place that people follow when deciding whether to intervene or not. Most people might choose not to intervene if they believe that the consequences would be too big for them to handle. There should be a law that prevents someone from being charged for helping a victim. If there is a law that makes it necessary to help when a life is in danger when it is safe to do so, then more people would help.


There are other situations in which it is deemed too dangerous for someone to intervene. The police in “The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor” told citizens that it would be better to call 911 and wait for help. If the situation is too dangerous or if you believe you could harm someone in the process, then you should call for help. This does not mean to ignore the situation and leave it be, but it is a means to find other ways to help. Whenever you see someone in need of help, be an upstander and not a bystander.

pizza
Posts: 9

Say Something

David Cash chose to ignore this situation. Even though he did not physically take part in the case, he was a witness--a bystander. His decision to not help Sherrice or stop his so-called friend from AP lit ruined Sherrice’s chances of being alive today.

Without a doubt, Cash should have been held accountable for not intervening. He does not necessarily have to be charged with the same ones as Strohmeyer, but something that reflects his poor decisions. I agree with @yelloworchids; an obligation of a witness “doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your life to save the life of a stranger,” but just taking the steps to tell someone else, or even try to convince the perpetrator to stop can do so much. There are no written rules, but I think when someone immediately notices something “wrong” is about to happen (no matter what nature of “wrong” it is), they should just take that one step that can (hopefully) affect the whole situation. In Cash's situation, he could've told his dad, told a security, or dragged his friend out that bathroom since he cares about him so much. When Cash says that he “doesn’t want to lose sleep for somebody else’s problem,” it unsettles me how much he lacks in morality, sympathy, and empathy. It really doesn’t take someone to actually know someone else to help them. From Nightmare on the 36 Bus, the passengers were uncomfortable when the man was hitting the boy, not once, but multiple times till he was bleeding. As a passenger, Auclair said he felt like he didn’t want to intervene because he felt like it was a “family thing.” People learn to mind their own businesses, but I think when you feel you are uncomfortable with what is happening in front of you, you should say something.

I think there should be more laws like the Good Samaritan or policies placed that enclose some broad context for what obligations witnesses have. Agreeing with @anonymouse, witnesses should not feel the pressure of being charged/sued later with some nonsense. As people in society, I think it is important to look out for one another. If we have the power to speak up or act on something, we should take that opportunity to help someone else. It’s like two birds one stone, helping someone, and gaining a good feeling of that action. There are times where fear and the feeling of being uncomfortable will be overbearing which is understandable, but acting occasionally can easily deescalate a lot of situations. I like how @yelloworchids mentioned the 5Ds workshop because it teaches people on how to be a good bystander and the point where documenting might not be applicable in severe situations. In the article, The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age, the husband was bewildered that people were more focused on taking pictures of the fire than actually warning people to evacuate. In times like these, people should understand what is appropriate to do and take a second to reevaluate what is the best choice.

madagascar
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

The Human Instinct

No matter how hard I try I cannot begin to fathom how David Cash missed two opportunities to be an upstander in the Sherrice Iverson murder. A child suffered immense pain and all Cash could say about her was that he didn’t know her. Not only did Cash fail to intervene, he also seems to have no remorse or guilt whatsoever afterwards. The very moment Cash saw his 18 year old friend follow a 7 year old into the women's restroom he should've stopped Strohmeyer. If his basis of morals depend on if someone is in his AP Lit class or not I fear his head is not in the right place. It’s sad to say that Strohmeyer’s actions don’t surprise me, however there are evil people in this world. What is more shocking to me is the fact that Cash witnessed the assault and chose to simply walk away and then stay quiet after being confessed to.

I think that basic human decency and morality should have governed Cash’s actions. Witnessing a crime, especially one as inhumane and horrific as this one, should spark a natural instinct, as mentioned in The Trick to Acting Heroically. Contrary to the ending of William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, humans are thought to be innately good inside; therefore it should be expected that anyone would act differently in Cash’s position. Although we cannot know this for sure, we can hope so.

Any person who witnesses another wrong has natural human obligations to do something about it. If they believe in their mind and hearts that it is wrong, their actions should reflect those beliefs. Whether it be fear or hesitation stopping a person from being an upstander, the guilt and regret of doing nothing will always be the overpowering emotion. I completely agree with what @pizza said, “People learn to mind their own businesses, but I think when you feel you are uncomfortable with what is happening in front of you, you should say something.” The culture of “minding one's own business” has contributed to the common occurrence of bystanders rather than upstanders. For example, in the article The Nightmare on the 36 bus, Auclair, a witness to child abuse decided to literally sit down because he believed it was not his place.

Although the severity of the wrongdoing doesn’t change the fact that it is still wrong, I do believe that there are different rules depending on the nature of the wrong. If you were to witness a person littering it is clearly not on the same level as witnessing a murder.

In reality it all boils down to each person's unique beliefs, whether or not they consider littering to be “wrong enough” to intervene or not. However, I do believe that any wrongdoing that involves the endangerment or violation of anyone's life should be automatic cause for an intervention. We have an obligation to act always when having the instinct to because that instinct is the natural goodness of the human mind. One should not wait around for someone else to step up and act, like @anonymouse said, “Many of us are conditioned to think that there are others that can help and rather not take the risks.” This is usually what is stopping people from being upstanders.

Legally, I do believe that there should be more laws like the Good Samaritan law as well as the Sherrice Iverson act that require witnesses to speak out and say something. Because there was no law in 1997, David Cash can never be charged for his involvment, or lack of involvment, in the murder of Sherrice.

Earl Grey Tea
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

The Benefits of Acting Outweigh the Costs

Imagine your car breaks down on an unfamiliar road. Your only chance of survival are the cars that pass by every now and then, but every car that passes doesn’t think it necessary to stop and check on you, no matter how desperately you wave at them. They all know you’re in need of help. Eventually you die. Whose fault was that?


We need to find a way around this psychological idea that humans have which prevents us from acting. As mentioned in “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” by Judy Harris, the “bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.” For example, when there’s a crowd around a burning house, that’s where the bystander effect thrives. We need to flip that and instead assume that if we don’t help, then nobody will. Simply assume everybody else thinks the same way you do.


Certainly, the broken car example is a lot different from the murder of Sherrice Iverson by Jeremy Strohmeyer, observed for a couple minutes by David Cash before deciding he didn’t want to be involved any longer. The main difference is that in the case of David Cash, this psychological idea played no part in his decision to not act, because, since apparently he was so smart, he must have known that he was Sherrice’s only hope. He was the only bystander.


Even though Cash at the time had no legal obligation to do anything, he most certainly had a moral obligation, and the fact that he chose not to act shows a dysfunctional moral compass of his. We all would have an obligation to act in a situation like this, and in any other situation where someone’s life is on the line. I agree with @madagascar and their examples of witnessing littering vs. murder that there are different rules depending on the nature of the wrong. Going back to the car example, I wouldn’t say that every car that drove by failed their moral obligation to stop for the person in need of help. They may have reasonably assumed, even though they shouldn’t have, that another car would stop by and everything would be okay. David Cash on the other hand did not leave the bathroom because he thought somebody else would fix everything; he left because he didn’t care all that much and because he wanted to maintain his relationship with Jeremy. Furthermore, David knew he was the only bystander. There was nothing that would have possibly made him think somebody else would help. There is a fine line between incidents where a bystander has a clear moral obligation to act and where it’s a bit more foggy.


The amount of privilege that allowed David Cash to look his friend dead in the eyes while they were murdering someone and choose not to do anything is extremely disappointing. The amount of privilege that allowed him to walk out and wait for Jeremy to finish, and then continue on to another casino right after is sickening. The amount of privilege that allowed him to continue on living his life because he was “not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem” is unfortunately normal. I wonder if Sherrice happened to see David’s face poke over the bathroom stall, and if so I wonder what she was thinking when she saw him give Jeremy a quick disapproving look and then leave.


During the interview, although Cash showed very little remorse, he did say that the event was tragic and that he gave Jeremy a warning look at the time that was apparently clear it meant stop. In that case, David Cash had some idea of what right and wrong must have meant, and that is what should have governed his actions.


It’s ridiculous how many things Cash could have done that he didn’t do. In “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” Erez Yoeli and David Rand say “it’s beneficial to develop a reflex to help.” Sure, it was a dangerous situation to intervene in, but that could have been as simple as stepping outside and letting someone know what was happening. We have to ask ourselves: would the benefits have outweighed the costs in a situation like this? Yes, absolutely. The benefits would have included Sherrice Iverson still being alive above all things, along with David Cash being a hero and Jeremy Strohmeyer not committing a murder.


I really don’t understand how there can be a law named after Sherrice Iverson, saying something like it’s illegal to do what David Cash did, and then not being able to convict Cash of that very thing because our system doesn’t work like that.
penguinsintherain
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Our Responsibility to Act

David Cash made the decision to ignore his best friend’s actions, resulting in the eventual murder of young Sherrice Iverson. He had multiple chances to do something or say something but instead he chose to walk out of that bathroom and then continued to not turn in a murderer. I agree with @madagascar that at the very least Cash should have been motivated by a sense of basic human decency, along with a fear for both Sherrice’s and his own safety. One would think that his actions should have also been governed by an instinct to help or to at least report the situation, but instead he did nothing despite having time to reflect.


A person who witnesses a wrong always has an obligation to act. While you do not necessarily have to risk your life, you do have the obligation to at the very least say something. By staying silent you are making the active decision to walk away when you are responsible to do something about the wrong that you are witnessing.


In the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, many of the interviewees said that they did not think before risking their lives to save someone, rather it was a gut instinct. I think that we all have that instinct, so I can’t help but wonder what governed David Cash’s decision to be a bystander and then continue to show little remorse. Although I do believe that he could have possibly been motivated by fear, at the very least he had the obligation to report what he had witnessed, yet he failed to report his best friend even when he confessed to the murder himself.


I believe that there should be a law in place to ensure that people act when witnessing a crime because watching a crime occur while remaining silent essentially makes the individual an accomplice. While I think that there should be a law to act when witnessing a crime, there are still other circumstances where an obligation to act cannot be motivated by law but is equally important. You can be a bystander without witnessing an actual crime, but that doesn’t make the obligation to act any less important.


In “The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age” for example, everyone witnessing the fire had an obligation to act as no help had arrived, not because there was a law but because it was the right thing to do. Instead, many people stood around taking photos rather than helping the residents to safety. While they did not commit a crime as David Cash did and they had different motivations than him (social media and their own interests in this case) they were still guilty of the same moral violation, which was choosing to watch with the knowledge that someone was suffering. I agree with @anonymouse that we have been conditioned to believe that we are not as responsible if there are others there to help. I think this is more of an excuse than anything and one that we use to excuse our own inaction, but it’s true. Perhaps if there had been no one else at the scene of that fire someone else would have acted. However, in David Cash’s case, there was no one at the scene and he still did nothing. He was the only one present, but he did not act which led to the eventual murder of Sherrice Iverson.


In the end, we have all been bystanders to some extent. I do believe however, that we all carry the obligation to help in whatever way we can and choosing to stay silent is never enough. Whether we are witnessing a crime or something smaller, it is our responsibility to do something and be an upstander.

Fidget
Boston, Massachuesetts, US
Posts: 8

Silence Is Violence.

It is very obvious that Jeremy Strohmeyer is to blame for the murder and assault of 7 year old Sherrice Iverson, however David Cash does not deserve to walk free for this crime. Cash’s actions were completely and totally wrong, holding his friendship with Strohmeyer over the justice and life of Iverson, was completely irresponsible and childish. In my opinion, silence is violence. Not reporting Iverson’s murder, even though he blatantly knew that Strohmeyer spent a prolonged period of time in the restroom with her, and also confessed to murdering her, was simply not enough to push Cash to report him. What is worse, is that they went about their night as if this had never happened, visiting another casino and later the Amusement park. As Brian McGrory writes in his article, called the Nightmare on the 36 bus, where a little boy is attacked in the middle of the bus yet no one steps in, humans have a tendency to just, “mind their own business” in a way, where they’d rather not get involved. That is despicable. That story, not so much different to our own Iverson case, except there were multiple David Cash’s , and it takes place in a more public area. Furthermore, the people on the bus we bystanders, maybe less of a bad Samaritan, but still bystanders as this little boy was beaten by a drunk man he likely was not related to. They are all David Cash’s in a way, because their silence allowed for this man to physically assault that poor 8 year old boy.

Even though in the state of Nevada, there was no Good Samaritan law, it is just morally incorrect to not report this tragic occurrence. Cash further condemns himself by adding, “I do not know this little girl… I’m not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problem.” The idea that someone can think of a murder that they witness and play a key role in, is borderline sociopathic. The lack of empathy Cash displays is worrying, as never once does he verbally tell Strohmeyer to stop and leave the girl alone, he simply decides that he doesn't want to witness what will happen in this event and exits the scene without telling anyone. Had he been in Sherrice’s point of view, locked in a restroom at 3 am with a strange man, grabbing and muffling your screams, while another man watches, at only 7 years old, unaware and confused by the situation, he would have hoped the other man would say something, and help him. However Cash does not display this level of empathy. He does not feel obligated to speak out, to condemn his best friend.

Not taking accountability in this case, in order to save yourself is disgusting, cruel and selfish. In my opinion, you should always act. This is something that the article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically” written by Erez Yoeli and David Ran, supports. In this article, the key to acting heroically is to not stop and think, to act instinctively no matter the cost. David Cash was expected to put away the cost of telling people what Jeremy Strohmeyer had done, and personally, I expected for him to try to intervene, to hop over that stall divide and rip Strohmeyer off of Iverson. By not acting, by thinking that he does not know that girl, that he knows his friend, and thinking what would happen to him or Strohmeyer if he had intervened is heartbreaking. It is difficult to to look at someone, lacking so much empathetic, not even attempting to intervene, as if I were David Cash, I would be over that divider the second I saw Strohmeyer holding that little girl that way. Maybe it’s because I am an empath, maybe it’s because I feel like I have some human decency. I do not think I could live with myself after I realized I had let that little girl be tortured and murdered. However David Cash lives, and is still going about his life as if nothing had happened. By not telling anyone, his father, security, anyone, he allowed Sherrice to be murdered and to suffer for 22 long minutes, until Strohmeyer finally exited the restroom. While Strohmeyer may have committed the murder, but Cash is guilty of a crime he will escape from, allowing for the murder and assault of seven year old Sherrice Iverson.

yelloworchids
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

@pizza, @Earl Grey Tea

I agree with @pizza that it’s uncomfortable to think that Cash claimed he “doesn’t want to lose sleep for somebody else’s problem”. Not only was that statement insensitive to the family of Sherrice, it also brings up concerns over Cash’s own morality. Not knowing someone doesn’t explain one’s lack of empathy/sympathy. The world would not be a nice place if people only helped those they knew.


@Earl Grey Tea said that, “Even though Cash at the time had no legal obligation to do anything, he most certainly had a moral obligation, and the fact that he chose not to act shows a dysfunctional moral compass of his.” I definitely think that Cash has issues pertaining to his outlook on life. Not only did he not intervene at the scene, he also felt no remorse after. I can’t imagine anyone living free of guilt after learning that an action of theirs could’ve prevented a tragic outcome. It's a shame that he was never convicted for his role essentially as an accomplice in the crime. One may argue that it is not an obligation to feel sympathy for a human being they don't personally know. Although it is not a LEGAL obligation to feel sympathy, it is definitely a moral obligation to understand and respect the pain of those affected.

anonymouse
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Originally posted by pizza on September 26, 2020 16:39

David Cash chose to ignore this situation. Even though he did not physically take part in the case, he was a witness--a bystander. His decision to not help Sherrice or stop his so-called friend from AP lit ruined Sherrice’s chances of being alive today.

Without a doubt, Cash should have been held accountable for not intervening. He does not necessarily have to be charged with the same ones as Strohmeyer, but something that reflects his poor decisions. I agree with @yelloworchids; an obligation of a witness “doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your life to save the life of a stranger,” but just taking the steps to tell someone else, or even try to convince the perpetrator to stop can do so much. There are no written rules, but I think when someone immediately notices something “wrong” is about to happen (no matter what nature of “wrong” it is), they should just take that one step that can (hopefully) affect the whole situation. In Cash's situation, he could've told his dad, told a security, or dragged his friend out that bathroom since he cares about him so much. When Cash says that he “doesn’t want to lose sleep for somebody else’s problem,” it unsettles me how much he lacks in morality, sympathy, and empathy. It really doesn’t take someone to actually know someone else to help them. From Nightmare on the 36 Bus, the passengers were uncomfortable when the man was hitting the boy, not once, but multiple times till he was bleeding. As a passenger, Auclair said he felt like he didn’t want to intervene because he felt like it was a “family thing.” People learn to mind their own businesses, but I think when you feel you are uncomfortable with what is happening in front of you, you should say something.

I think there should be more laws like the Good Samaritan or policies placed that enclose some broad context for what obligations witnesses have. Agreeing with @anonymouse, witnesses should not feel the pressure of being charged/sued later with some nonsense. As people in society, I think it is important to look out for one another. If we have the power to speak up or act on something, we should take that opportunity to help someone else. It’s like two birds one stone, helping someone, and gaining a good feeling of that action. There are times where fear and the feeling of being uncomfortable will be overbearing which is understandable, but acting occasionally can easily deescalate a lot of situations. I like how @yelloworchids mentioned the 5Ds workshop because it teaches people on how to be a good bystander and the point where documenting might not be applicable in severe situations. In the article, The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age, the husband was bewildered that people were more focused on taking pictures of the fire than actually warning people to evacuate. In times like these, people should understand what is appropriate to do and take a second to reevaluate what is the best choice.

I agree with what you said about acting even when a situation is not your problem or concern. Cash said in his interview with the Los Angeles radio station: “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt.” I feel like his comparison of events is not a fair comparison. He was witnessing the event first-hand with Sherrice Iverson. He should have had a conscience to help Sherrice, seeing that she was in danger and was struggling. As much as we try to help everyone in need, we cannot help everyone. However, if one is a situation with the ability to help, they should try their best to provide support.

20469154661
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

Silence is Not an Option

Morals should have governed Cash’s actions. A person witnessing any type of extreme wrongdoing, who is in a place where they can interfere, should always act. Unfortunately, many people don’t let morals or basic human decency govern their actions. That is why there are usually laws in place that create a pressure to make the right decisions and to deter people from making the wrong ones.


David Cash was not the person who assaulted and killed Sherrice Iverson. He was a bystander who chose not to interfere while the crime was taking place or even turn in the perpetrator after he had confessed to murder. David Cash was also responsible for what happened. He should have been held accountable for allowing the assault and murder to happen. David Cash should have faced charges along with Jeremy.


What actions should be taken depend on the nature of the “wrong”. I agree with @madagascar, “ littering it is clearly not on the same level as witnessing a murder”. If you saw someone littering, you might just tell them to stop. If you are witnessing or have any knowledge of a murder, your immediate response should be to interfere or alert people that can. In The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor, Kendall Egellston pulled over on an overpass to help stranded motorists. When Kendall was asked about it, he attributed his decision to his character. Good samaritans like Kendall think that anyone would not hesitate to act in the same way. This is how it should be for everyone, helping people in need should be a part of your character. The overarching rule is to not be silent or not act at all when you see something you know is not right.


Witnesses should legally be required to at least alert the proper authorities when they see an extreme wrongdoing taking place. They should not be required to become physically involved because that would put them in danger, but if they felt that taking further steps is necessary, then they should be protected by the law and not feel like they are at legal risk. I completely agree with @anonymouse, “There should be a law that prevents someone from being charged for helping a victim”. We always have an obligation to do what we know is right and never turn a blind eye on a wrongdoing. It should be a natural human instinct to help anyone or interfere with a “wrong”. In The Trick To Acting Heroically, four young men thwarted a gunman’s attack on a passenger train. They acted in seconds even though there was great risk involved. Similarly to how the four men acted, stepping in or speaking up should be instinct. The action should be intuitive. The four young men did not hesitate to risk their life. This does not mean that everyone must be willing to risk their lives for others, it simply means that at the very least, you should not be a bystander.

greenflowers58
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Obligation to intervene

There is no doubt in my mind that Cash should have stepped in and intervened. I believe that Cash is just as responsible for what happened to Sharrice as Strohmeyer. He could have stopped Strohmeyer before going into the women's restroom after a 7 year old girl, he could have told Strohmeyer to stop once he was in the restroom, he could have stopped him from going into the stall, even after that he could have went to an adult or security outside of the restroom to go intervene. There were way too many points passed in which David Cash did nothing to stop Strohmeyer. I think there is an obligation to do something when witnessing wrongdoing, and if it’s not your own moral standards, then it should be the law. If Cash felt as though he could have been harmed while intervening, he could have gone to someone else for help.

@madagascar “If you were to witness a person littering it is clearly not on the same level as witnessing a murder.” I agree with this notion that there are clearly different levels to wrongdoings, but when there is a direct harm to someone else's life, you have an obligation to do something about it. In the article “Nightmare on the 36 bus” there are several people on a bus when a child is clearly being abused by an older man, yet no one seemed to think like it was their place to intervene. In a situation like this there could be a number of things swaying one’s opinion on whether or not to intervene, but I think at the end of the day, the people on that bus were responsible for what happened to the little boy because they had the power to stop it, or at least do something.

In “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, it talks about how there is oftentimes a natural instinct by people to risk their lives for the saving of others. But I think when people are given the chance to weigh their options, other factors play a part and result in people possibly not acting as heroically as they would have originally. Personally I think that when your own life is at severe risk, you shouldn’t have to intervene in whatever situation it is, although it is amazing when people do, but these people still have the obligation to make some move like calling someone else to help. But when your life isn’t at risk, like in Cash’s situation, there is even more obligation to do something. Like @yelloworchids said, “There are numerous ways to get involved without risking your life, staying silent should not be an option.” I think that was a great way of putting it.

goob
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

Having A Moral Conscience

“I killed her.” Those were Jeremy Strohmeyer’s exact words after he walked out of the women's bathroom stall where David Cash saw him restraining seven year old Sherrice Iverson. Despite that extremely alarming red flag, the two best friends continued to travel to another casino and go along their merry daily life. I cannot comprehend why. David Cash had countless reasons to report the incident that was unfolding before his very eyes. Cash saw Strohmeyer verbally say “Shut up or I’ll kill you” to Iverson, in addition to his violent physical actions towards the little girl. Merely tapping Jeremy Strohmeyer on the head and saying no with his body was Cash’s rationale for doing his best to prevent the situation. Cash’s lack of remorse and action should’ve guaranteed pressed charges against him.


Human morality and Cash’s responsibility as a good citizen should’ve governed his actions. By remaining silent in the adjacent stall as a bystander and only intervening with a tap on the head, Cash played a vital role in the death of Sherrice Iverson. He knew a dangerous situation was about to unfold, yet chose to leave because he did not stick around and see it materialize. That is absolutely ridiculous. Being a human entails that we should be able to distinguish between right and wrong. It is unacceptable to witness another wrong while standing by and doing nothing. The witness should be obligated to involve themselves or to obtain help in order to diffuse the situation. We have already seen the dangers of being a ‘Bad Samaritan’ in the murder of Sherrice Iverson and also the “Nightmare On The 36 Bus”, an article written by Brian McGrory. In the article, McGrory discusses a story in which a young boy was beaten on the 36 bus at Forest Hills. Passengers of the bus merely looked on as a supposedly drunken man beat the boy to a bloody nose, eventually leaving them to depart the bus along. McGrory then goes to say that the boy’s location and wellbeing remains unknown.


After reading about the “Bad Samaritan” and the “Nightmare On The 36 Bus”, I believe that witnesses should always intervene, no matter the nature of the wrong. Technically speaking, there is the Good Samaritan Act, which protects a volunteer who gives aid in life or death situations. However, there are no rules that should govern our decision to act. I believe it is a moral obligation. We should not need an incentive to help others and should always act on our obligation to help a person in need. In the article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, the 3 American men and British businessman stopped a gunman’s attack in what they said was a gut instinct reaction. Furthermore, a study by Professor Rand and Ziv Epstein showed that 51 recipients did not carefully reason and rather acted intuitively when they risked their lives in order to help another. Life or death situations don’t give us time to ponder about the possibilities. We should just act. It is much better to intervene immediately and help out to the best of your ability than to watch silently, wishing you could’ve done something. Even Daniel Auclair, who was a witness in the aforementioned “Nightmare On The 36 Bus” regretted his lack of action in the incident. Instead of reacting immediately, he reasoned that it could’ve been a family matter, making it not his place to butt in. Auclair continues to say that that was “a decision he’s regretted ever since.”


Thus, I wholeheartedly agree with @Fidget’s statement that “silence is violence” and that is truly upsetting to think about what could’ve been the actual outcome of Sherrice Iverson’s murder, had Cash just intervened. Instead, Cash reasoned in his head that his best friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer, whom he took AP English with, could not be capable of murdering Sherrice. He felt no remorse because he didn’t know her, making her life not his responsibility. This just goes to show the importance of taking action in the moment, rather than having thoughts cloud our decisions. Cash’s unwillingness to take responsibility even after Sherrice’s murder was disgusting to see as well. As @pizza said, “If we have the power to speak up or act on something, we should take that opportunity to help someone else. It’s like two birds, one stone, helping someone, and gaining a good feeling of that action.” We have seen the dangers of remaining silent as a bystander, exemplified in the murder of Sherrice Iverson and the Nightmare on the 36 bus. It was noted in “The Trick to Acting Heroically” that helping others results in a beneficial relationship between the two in the long run. I am not necessarily saying that we should only aid others since it benefits us. However, we should take up upon our moral responsibility of human decency to step into dangerous situations, so that we are not left wondering about what we could’ve done, just like Daniel Auclair. Whether it is by instinct or not, we should all act immediately when we witness a wrong, so that one will never have to suffer an injustice like Sherrice Iverson was forced to.

vintage.garfield
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Empathy

There are many instances where bystanders are helpless to intervene with reasons such as shock, fear, physical inability, or merely just nonchalance. In David Cash’s case, he decided to do nothing when his best friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer, assaulted and murdered little Sherrice Iverson due to the very fact that they were best friends and that Cash did not know Sherrice. He even said, “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt,” but the fact that David was there when Jeremy was restraining Sherrice makes the situation a lot more personal than being unaware of people suffering in other countries like Egypt.


As @Fidget says, the idea that David did not feel any empathy or guilt from not doing anything to save Sherrice is borderline sociopathic. It seems that his loyalty to Jeremy outweighs a little girl’s life. It’s quite terrifying how he didn’t feel any remorse for the girl’s death even after witnessing the last moments of her life. Even if I was personally there as David and did nothing, I would feel extremely guilty and wouldn’t know what to do with myself.


In “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” by Brian McGrory, a young boy was heavily abused by a man on the 36 Bus while all of the passengers looked away. Auclair was one of the passengers on the bus and saw what the man did to the boy. In this situation and in David's situation, both men were faced with the decision of whether to intervene to help a stranger, and although Auclair did not intervene, he felt extremely guilty for his lack of action and could barely sleep unlike David, who said that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems.”


This statement by David is extremely odd, however, because Sherrice’s problem WAS his problem too and he should be held accountable for his inaction even if the Sherrice Iverson Law was not yet a thing yet. As @penguinsintherain said “By staying silent you are making the active decision to walk away when you are responsible to do something about the wrong that you are witnessing.”


Someone who was directly affiliated with him was hurting a little girl, but David decided not to take ANY part and did not feel anything for the little girl even after Jeremy admitted to murdering her. They even spent a few more hours driving and played in another casino as if nothing’s happened. He had so much time to reevaluate the situation and report Jeremy. It’s almost as if Jeremy told David that he was going to assault an murder Sherrice and David agreeing and leaving so that they could hang out more after. This makes him an accomplice to Sherrice’s murder.


In “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, it mentions a game theory model called the “envelope game” where one player has the opportunity to help the second player every round. Each time Player 1 decides to help, there will be an envelope with a price, indicating how much that decision cost. Player 2 only has the ability to watch and decide whether or not to end their relationship with Player 1. This applies to real life where David has choices (multiple even) throughout the entire night. In the interview, David doesn’t mention any risks he had to consider but the very fact that Sherrice was a stranger made him decide to not help her at all.


As humans, I believe that we all have a connection to each other, even if we are strangers because of our ability to put ourselves in each other’s shoes. As mentioned before, there are many reasons for not acting in a dangerous situation, but David did not feel ANYTHING for Sherrice Iverson. If one of my friends or my brother did something atrocious like Jeremy did and I was there to see it, I would be in shock and I’m honestly not sure what I would do in that kind of situation, but even with a flurry of emotions such as shock and betrayal, I would eventually report them regardless of their affiliation to me. Their affiliation with me ends if they did something like that because it says a lot about me if I stayed friends with a murderer and/or a rapist. Even without a law in place, human decency would cause me to do something about the situation, not just for my satisfaction, but because that is my role as a citizen in a society.

JGV
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Any Action Could’ve Made a Difference

If she had lived, Sherrice Iverson would’ve been 30 years old in 2020, but she did not due to the fatal irresponsibility of David Cash. Though he did not actually commit the grousome murder of Sherrice he is just as responsible as Jeremy because he stood by and did nothing as her life slipped away. He witnessed the atrocities Sherice endured and simply walked away from the bathroom because he didn’t want to be involved. His false sense of loyalty to his AP Lit classmate stopped him from reacting or reporting to what he saw. He knew about the murder and carried on as though nothing had happened. It is truly a wonder how someone can just be stone faced and ignore such a terrible thing happening but the sad truth is that though not on the same level these types of situations are not few and far between.


One such example is detailed in the “nightmare on the 36 bus” where a young boy is beaten on a full bus but not a single person intervenes. There’s unsaid code when taking public transportation and that is to mind your business and not stare when something out of place occurs. As a frequent mbta rider I can vouch for that but, the question is where is the line drawn between minding your own business and taking action when something genuinely wrong is occurring. This line is usually quite blurred because every situation is different and sometimes intervening puts others at risk but in this instance there was no reason to just stand by while a little boy was beaten. It was no longer a parent discipling his child, but a brutal assault. The idea of minding your business and not being a “snitch” is somewhat ingrained into the backbone of our society. As much as we can think something is morally wrong, that isn’t a guarantee that we react.


Erez Yoeli and David Rand talk about this idea in the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” and essentially describe that we as a society don’t react to these things due to our morals or education, but rather quick instincts that don’t weigh the costs of our actions. However there should be laws that both guide and force us to take action to injustice because not everyone reacts to instinct. Good Samaritan laws ensure that as a witness or bystander to a crime you must report what you see so that it doesn’t go unnoticed. There’s no doubt in my mind that he should’ve been prosecuted as an accessory to muder. Any intervention could’ve made the difference to young Sherice’s survival. Physical action or a report to the casino security would’ve put a stop to the atrocities that were to come in the next 22 minutes that Jeremy harmed and eventually murdered Sherice.


The morals that guide our society, tend to govern our actions but frequently in history people have turned a blind eye and stood by while their own country or government committed atrocities to their neighbors and people of other races or religions. There were no good samaritan laws to govern them and no one to hold them accountable for their lack of reaction and when we start to examine the past, this is something to remember.

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