I think seeing someone harming another person should have governed Cash’s actions. In “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, it says people have a natural instinct to help others when they see they are in need. David Cash should have recognized the harm Jeremy was doing to Sherrice and used basic morals to intervene. I believe that in society, people have the obligation to help others. Life may not be the easiest, and it helps to have the aid of other people. However, like other posts have commented on, there seems to be an idea in society that people should mind their own business. But in “The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor” we read of humans stepping in to help others who are in need. Especially when the harm is immediate and severe, like someone being chased by an attacker, but also when it is small, like someone falling down and another person helping them up - humans have the innate instinct to help one another. “The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor” talks about how some people may not intervene when there are other bystanders witnessing an event- everyone thinks someone else will step in. However in David Cash’s case - there was no one else there to witness this event. No one else could help Sherrice.
I agree with @madagascar “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.” In terms of "rules" whether to act or just witness something, it depends on the event. If someone is littering, personally I might just pick up their trash. But if a life is in danger, like Sherrice’s was, I agree with @madagascar that David Cash was obligated to intervene, as she was clearly in severe danger.
In an interview on a Los Angeles radio station, David Cash said “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.” To me the examples of children in Panama and people in Egypt seemed to be excuses on his part. To me it seemed like he was saying “there are tragic things happening all over the world, but they are so far from me, why would I help?” The thing is that in this situation, while he is far from Egypt or far from Panama, he was in that bathroom with Jeremy and Sherrice. He saw with his own eyes what was happening. He may not have “known” her personally, or before this incident, but he was there, and he could have done something.
David Cash also said in the interview “I know as his best friend that he had potential…I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem.” In this statement he seems to be first, excusing himself for not intervening because Jeremy was his best friend. I acknowledge that it may be hard sometimes to realize that someone you are so close to or thought you knew so well, was doing something so despicable, but then he calls it “someone else’s problem”. I am confused about this because at first, he seems to say he didn’t intervene because he was in denial Jeremy could do this, this wasn’t the Jeremy he knew. But then after he distances himself from Jeremy, saying it was “someone else’s problem”. But isn’t the “someone else” your supposed best friend? I believe that if you are that close to someone, you want the best for that person. At the moment that David was peering over the bathroom stalling, watching what Jeremy was doing to Sherrice, I believe your strong relationship with a person might compel you to stop them from doing a bad thing. David Cash also mentioned that Jeremy looked back at him while in the bathroom with “a blank stare”. I think that even if David was scared or shocked at Jeremy’s actions, and nervous to intervene himself, he still could have gone out, and told someone or anyone what was happening.
I agree with @pizza that David seemed inherently selfish. He didn’t want to “lose sleep over someone else’s problem”. The problem being the rape and murder of a little girl. The someone else being his supposed best friend. The way he phrased this - he didn’t want to sacrifice something as small as a little sleep, in exchange for the life of another human being? Even after the event, I agree with @Earl Grey Tea that in the 60 minutes video and in the radio interview, David showed little remorse. He seemed only to be giving excuses for himself, rather than commenting on how maybe he might have done something differently. In this I believe he is different from some of the other bystanders mentioned in the articles: Daniel Auclair from the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” showed remorse for not intervening, both in his statement, and in the fact that he came forward to report what had happened. And Judy Harris from “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age”, who comments on how she was too a bystander, who stood and took pictures as a house was burning. But she questions her actions, and seems to feel like she should have done more.
It is unfathomable to me how many chances David Cash had. Each moment that he chose to say nothing and do nothing. From the beginning when he saw his friend go into the women’s bathroom. He might have questioned Jeremy what he was doing. Then when he saw Jeremy was in the bathroom with a little girl, he might have questioned this as it seems a suspicious act. But then when Jeremy pulled Sherrice into a stall! David might have stopped his friend from doing this. At that point, something is obviously wrong - an older teenage boy in a bathroom stall with a young little girl. Yet David said nothing. But then as he was looking over the stall, literally watching Jeremy physically restrain and then threaten Sherrice with death, he still decided not to intervene. Even after he walked out, he had a chance. During the 22 minutes before Jeremy walked out of the bathroom, he had a chance. If David had maybe said something, or done something given the several chances he was given, Sherrice could still be alive today. In “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, it says that many people who intervened to help others, did it on a matter of instinct, rather than thinking it through, their natural instinct was to help something they saw hurting. Even though David’s initial reaction was not to intervene immediately, he still had several chances after that.