posts 31 - 42 of 42
dailychristmascountdown
Posts: 7

Bystanders and the Disruption of Society

Society is functional only if we help each other. If everybody lived only for themselves, then people would starve, there would be constant fighting, very few would be happy. This is something we all learn when we are very young. Whether or not it is a human instinct to help your neighbor, it is constantly taught and is an observable necessity, especially to someone eighteen years old. David Cash does not have an excuse for ignoring his responsibility to help defenseless Sherrice Iverson. Despite him admitting that he has been called a “textbook sociopath” (video from class), Cash’s mental state did not hinder him from understanding that his friend Jeremy’s actions would harm another, therefore he was still tied to his civil obligation to help Sherrice. There is a difference between those who are incapable of helping others and those who simply do not want to.

The New York Times’ “The Trick to Acting Heroically” describes how many “good samaritans” feel an instinct to help others in danger rather than having assessed the situation and decided to help. “Accidents and Crime Scenes” in Everyday Altruism describes a contradicting motivation when Crispin McKay, who had saved a woman who was shot after he heard a radio call about the situation, explained his hesitation to go help her and only went after he thought about his moral obligations, realizing how he would want his family to be helped. His account displays a more logical outlook on the bystander issue, rather than just having followed a “gut instinct,” and assists the argument that David Cash, who may have no such thing as “gut instinct” still has the obligation to help others.

People pay taxes in order to keep society running. Some may view it as a moral requirement to help everybody in the country and some might just pay them to avoid being sent to prison. Through either motivation, taxes are collected. Bystanders who help others are also necessary to keep society running. This can be viewed as a moral instinct or an action that has to be done to avoid chaos in society. The issue with Cash’s case was that inaction had no legal consequence, and Cash was also seemingly incapable of having moral obligations. In effect, Sherrice Iverson was raped and murdered. This social disruption could have been avoided had there been a heavy consequence for passivity.

Just as all Americans always have an obligation to pay taxes, ignoring those whose income makes them exempt, everybody always has an obligation to stand up for others, excluding some like the handicapped if the situation is physical. People have to help others otherwise our society will fall apart. In this way it does not matter what you perceive as “wrong,” but merely what is beneficial versus what is detrimental. “The Trick to Acting Heroically” explains how good deeds lead to trustworthiness and is mutually beneficial. No one wants to live in a world where the attitude is “everyone for themselves.” Even if it is somewhat selfish, helping others often ensures that help will come back around. This is the attitude that should be encouraged.


I agree with 239bid0073 in that many, many things should have outweighed Cash’s decision of inaction: how it would affect Sherrice, her family, and his future. I did not address these specific considerations because I just assumed that Cash did think about them and merely did not care. I completely agree with you that he is equally guilty for her murder for not standing up. Killers are punished for having no morals and acting in accordance, but people like Cash also need to be punished for having no morals and allowing a killer to persist.


I also agree very much with alberic25 that the article about people being bystanders and recording a fire on their phones rather than helping is significantly less unethical than Cash’s decision to completely ignore Sherrice’s rape and murder. Cash did much more, he actively continued to go around to casinos and school with a murderer. His actions are what make the world significantly more scary.

mellifluously
Allston, MA, US
Posts: 13

The Functionality of a Moral Compass

Originally posted by blueslothbear on September 27, 2020 18:15

I think that basic human morals should have governed his actions. He saw that Sherrice was scared and in danger. Much like on the 36 bus in the article, here was an adult hurting a child, who clearly was not comfortable or safe in that area, and there was someone who could interfere, do something to stop that adult from hurting the kid. But similarly, in both situations, they chose to do nothing, finding some "rationalized" reason to not take action, either considering it to be a familial matter or trusting your friend to come to their senses and do the right thing. It is a natural response to assume that it isn't your problem to interfere when something seems wrong. After all, what if you are misinterpreting the situation? What if everything you see happening can be explained away? Those questions that you ask yourself are, in some cases, the wrong thing to do. While they may help to not be looked down on by strangers, they promote apathy, and ignorance of possible injustice. This is why the NYC Metro has the saying "If you see something, say something". This motto promotes the idea that you shouldn't expect someone else to act on what maybe only you saw. It promotes being an upstander, and, should Cash or Auclair have followed those instructions, maybe those children would still be alive today.

I think that there already are social rules in place to govern the decision to act. The problem in enforcing them. There already are some bystander laws in place, to prevent more Cash's from being free while being indirectly involved in Sherrice's murder, but there should be more, to create a worldwide culture of being upstanders and stopping illegal activities. I think there should always be an obligation to act, even if it's as simple as asking someone if everything is ok, or pretending to know someone to get them out of trouble.

Most people have functional moral compasses and can determine what is right from wrong. Those moral compasses still do exist in times such as what happened with Sherrice. I do believe David understood the gravitas of the situation when Jeremy continued down his spiral of abuse. His compass knew it was wrong. He said it himself. However, it appears as though your moral compass fails to push you towards action during such times, where you feel as though something should be done but you feel an inability to do so, such as how you said: "considering [not to take action] to be a familial matter or trusting your friend to come to their senses and do the right thing." Sadly enough, as we are all humans, we are flawed, and we don't help others as much as we should. That's why the whole bystander effect exists. However, with mistakes such as these, hopefully, like I said in a different reply, people can learn to avoid repeating situations like these, and can prevent these situations from happening as frequently as they do.

TroutCowboy
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

David Cash's Inaction is Telling

I think Cash’s actions should’ve been governed, strictly speaking, by his own interpretation of the situation at hand. Speaking from hindsight, it’s easy to say that the incident and Cash’s inaction was a matter of “respect for human life”. I take issue with that notion because I find it likely David Cash did not so much as recognize that Sherrice Iverson’s life was potentially in danger and that he conducted himself in a way where he wouldn’t have to recognize if her life was in danger. Cash left the bathroom just as the interaction between Strohmeyer and Iverson began to go sour. Cash made the conscious decision to leave the restroom, likely so that he would not have to face the grim possibility that Strohmeyer would’ve made good on his threats. In an example such as the incident described in Brian McGory’s “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, Cash would’ve been a passenger that exited the bus at the first sign of dispute between the boy and the older man, unwilling to bear any guilt or responsibility for having to bear witness to whatever followed.


I’d like to think that Cash, along with most sane individuals, would’ve acted had he seen any random person restraining and muffling a 7-year-old girl. I don’t think it should’ve been any different considering the attacker was Strohmeyer. Strohmeyer raped and murdered Iverson completely sober, which seems to suggest that there was something seriously wrong with him, mentally. Considering that Cash was his best friend, I don’t think this would’ve gone unnoticed by Cash, and I don’t think that Cash would’ve seen that Strohmeyer was above murder, any more than he would have a random stranger.


Seeing as Cash did not do anything on the night of the crime, It begs the question as to why he didn’t. The way I see it, the cause of this would’ve either been:
a) Cash takes little/no issue with the act of restraining and muffling a little girl, in and of itself

b) Cash decided not to do anything on account of the fact that the perpetrator was Jeremy Strohmeyer

In both scenarios, it suggests that Cash has a critical flaw in the moral system by which he operates. Either he does not see Strohmeyer’s actions as serious, OR he values his relationship with Strohmeyer more than the life of a stranger. Judging from interviews of Cash, I lean towards the 2nd case, which convinces me that, in one way or another, Cash’s actions were governed by the fact that Jeremy Strohmeyer was the perpetrator of the crime.


While I do not think those who witness another wrong have any obligations per se, I do think there may be certain moral obligations for such an individual, all of which are highly dependent on the system of ethics that they prescribe to, or the social contract that their society operates under. In a similar manner, there are different rules depending on the nature of the wrong, only because that individual or society at large may view different wrongs with different severity. You would be hard-pressed to see someone treat jaywalking with the same gravitas as murder.


In a literal sense, there is absolutely nothing that an individual is truly obligated to do. However, we may have certain moral obligations based on our own set of moral principles. When someone witnesses something that goes against their core values, moral obligations may arise when their moral duty to stop such a wrong outweighs whatever potential personal loss comes with such an action. The reason why these perceived moral obligations may be different between individuals is that everyone has different values, and they may weigh certain actions in different ways than others. Erez Yoeli and David Rand made note of this in “The Trick to Acting Heroically” when describing how people from military backgrounds tend to help others are a great personal risk. For soldiers, there is likely a greater moral push for them to help others, which more easily outweighs any personal loss in doing so.


There’s little change to be made in the way people judge their moral obligations, aside from changes in legislation or changes to how society views certain wrongdoings. Everybody has, to some degree, their own personal perception of right and wrong, and I suppose that’s just a byproduct of free will. I don’t think any rules necessarily ought to govern whether we decide to act or to witness, outside of what’s loosely defined to be our society’s values.


Regardless, the murder of Sherrice Iverson was despicable, and David Cash’s inaction as a bystander says something deeply disturbing about his own core values.


Response to @plaidplatypus, @berry, @UnKnown, etc.

While I agree with the notion that Cash’s inaction was negligent and irresponsible, I would hesitate to say that his decisions were criminal. Jeremy Strohmeyer was still the perpetrator of the crime, and it’s hard to tell the degree to which Cash was aware of Strohmeyer’s actions, and he could not have known for sure that Iverson was going to be killed, and though he exercised incredibly poor judgment, I don’t think anything he did was necessarily criminal. In any case, I’m pretty sure there weren’t any duty to rescue laws in Nevada at the time, and so he was very technically within the law.


Response to @The Imposter

I like your post titled “Morality”, and how it delves into the moral ambiguity of David Cash’s actions. While his own ideals undoubtedly played a part in the decisions he made, I’d like you to consider how his relationship to Jeremy Strohmeyer may have also influenced his decisions on the night of the crime. I’d say there might have even been some degree of self-justification following the extensive media coverage and interviews.










sleepypanda
Posts: 11

Don't be a Bystander

This is a messed up case involving the bystander effect, due to Cash’s lack of action in stopping his best friend before Sherrice was murdered, or reporting the murder after Jeremy confessed to him. It might have been shocking for Cash to learn about what his best friend is doing/had done and his brain still hasn’t completely processed it nor did he want to be the one who had to deal with the guilt of turning Jeremy in. As Cash put it, he doesn’t know Sherrice, but he does know Jeremy. The fact that they were in a casino may have played a role in Cash’s decision. In pages 128-132 of Deborah Stone’s book, The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor (New York: Nation Books, 2008), it is mentioned that the bystander effect “tends to occur when there [are] a lot of bystanders who are aware of each other’s presence”. As Cash didn’t want this on his conscience, and there are others around who will eventually report the murder and law enforcement will eventually catch Jeremy, he chose to do nothing.

I and many others believe he should have done something, stopping Jeremy from the beginning by preventing Jeremy from entering the women’s bathroom to begin with, being more verbal in telling Jeremy that they should go before Cash left the bathroom, getting someone to intervene when he left the bathroom, or, at the very least, report the incidence after Jeremy confessed. If Cash had not been a bystander in this situation, then maybe Sherrice would have survived. In this case, Cash wouldn’t put himself in danger by doing any of those, so it doesn’t make sense to the uninvolved why he didn’t do so. In any case, we aren’t fully aware of everything going on in this case.

As for “rules” that ought to govern whether to act or be a witness, it depends on circumstance. If it doesn’t impede on your safety, and whether you act or not may save or destroy another’s life, then you should take action. For example, if you run into a medical emergency, and you know first aid/cpr or can contact another for help (e.g. 911, another passerby, etc.), or like the husband, in Judy Harris’s article, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age”, who ran in the direction of the fire to warn the building’s inhabitants to get out. If you are in a situation where you might put your safety at risk, you can choose not to personally intervene but should still contact reinforcements, like the police. This is also something that the police caution about in Deborah Stone’s book.

sleepypanda
Posts: 11

Originally posted by dailychristmascountdown on September 28, 2020 02:24

Society is functional only if we help each other. If everybody lived only for themselves, then people would starve, there would be constant fighting, very few would be happy. This is something we all learn when we are very young. Whether or not it is a human instinct to help your neighbor, it is constantly taught and is an observable necessity, especially to someone eighteen years old. David Cash does not have an excuse for ignoring his responsibility to help defenseless Sherrice Iverson. Despite him admitting that he has been called a “textbook sociopath” (video from class), Cash’s mental state did not hinder him from understanding that his friend Jeremy’s actions would harm another, therefore he was still tied to his civil obligation to help Sherrice. There is a difference between those who are incapable of helping others and those who simply do not want to.

The New York Times’ “The Trick to Acting Heroically” describes how many “good samaritans” feel an instinct to help others in danger rather than having assessed the situation and decided to help. “Accidents and Crime Scenes” in Everyday Altruism describes a contradicting motivation when Crispin McKay, who had saved a woman who was shot after he heard a radio call about the situation, explained his hesitation to go help her and only went after he thought about his moral obligations, realizing how he would want his family to be helped. His account displays a more logical outlook on the bystander issue, rather than just having followed a “gut instinct,” and assists the argument that David Cash, who may have no such thing as “gut instinct” still has the obligation to help others.

People pay taxes in order to keep society running. Some may view it as a moral requirement to help everybody in the country and some might just pay them to avoid being sent to prison. Through either motivation, taxes are collected. Bystanders who help others are also necessary to keep society running. This can be viewed as a moral instinct or an action that has to be done to avoid chaos in society. The issue with Cash’s case was that inaction had no legal consequence, and Cash was also seemingly incapable of having moral obligations. In effect, Sherrice Iverson was raped and murdered. This social disruption could have been avoided had there been a heavy consequence for passivity.

Just as all Americans always have an obligation to pay taxes, ignoring those whose income makes them exempt, everybody always has an obligation to stand up for others, excluding some like the handicapped if the situation is physical. People have to help others otherwise our society will fall apart. In this way it does not matter what you perceive as “wrong,” but merely what is beneficial versus what is detrimental. “The Trick to Acting Heroically” explains how good deeds lead to trustworthiness and is mutually beneficial. No one wants to live in a world where the attitude is “everyone for themselves.” Even if it is somewhat selfish, helping others often ensures that help will come back around. This is the attitude that should be encouraged.


I agree with 239bid0073 in that many, many things should have outweighed Cash’s decision of inaction: how it would affect Sherrice, her family, and his future. I did not address these specific considerations because I just assumed that Cash did think about them and merely did not care. I completely agree with you that he is equally guilty for her murder for not standing up. Killers are punished for having no morals and acting in accordance, but people like Cash also need to be punished for having no morals and allowing a killer to persist.


I also agree very much with alberic25 that the article about people being bystanders and recording a fire on their phones rather than helping is significantly less unethical than Cash’s decision to completely ignore Sherrice’s rape and murder. Cash did much more, he actively continued to go around to casinos and school with a murderer. His actions are what make the world significantly more scary.

I totally agree that society in only functional when we help each other, however there are people who don't agree, especially those who have power. Otherwise there wouldn't be things like sweatshops, which have come into existence providing cheap clothing items while keeping up with the trends, but where the workers are probably not making even ten dollars throughout their shift, while working in environments that aren't safe. Cash was in a situation of power in this- if he didn't step in, it doesn't affect him since, as he put it, he doesn't know the girl (Sherrice), but he knows the murderer who is his best friend. Perhaps Cash also wasn't in the correct state of mind to make the proper decision to intervene while Jeremy was in the act, since it seems there were alcohol and drugs involved. For Cash, choosing to intervene/turn his best friend in would seem detrimental for him as it may be a mental toll he would have to live with. On the other hand is a child he doesn't know, thus he's able to be uncaring for how her death would effect her family. This would be like part of the dehumanization process, Cash has separated Sherrice from the group that would be protected by his moral code (those he knew), evidence by his words of "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".

sleepypanda
Posts: 11

Originally posted by TroutCowboy on September 28, 2020 03:52

I think Cash’s actions should’ve been governed, strictly speaking, by his own interpretation of the situation at hand. Speaking from hindsight, it’s easy to say that the incident and Cash’s inaction was a matter of “respect for human life”. I take issue with that notion because I find it likely David Cash did not so much as recognize that Sherrice Iverson’s life was potentially in danger and that he conducted himself in a way where he wouldn’t have to recognize if her life was in danger. Cash left the bathroom just as the interaction between Strohmeyer and Iverson began to go sour. Cash made the conscious decision to leave the restroom, likely so that he would not have to face the grim possibility that Strohmeyer would’ve made good on his threats. In an example such as the incident described in Brian McGory’s “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, Cash would’ve been a passenger that exited the bus at the first sign of dispute between the boy and the older man, unwilling to bear any guilt or responsibility for having to bear witness to whatever followed.


I’d like to think that Cash, along with most sane individuals, would’ve acted had he seen any random person restraining and muffling a 7-year-old girl. I don’t think it should’ve been any different considering the attacker was Strohmeyer. Strohmeyer raped and murdered Iverson completely sober, which seems to suggest that there was something seriously wrong with him, mentally. Considering that Cash was his best friend, I don’t think this would’ve gone unnoticed by Cash, and I don’t think that Cash would’ve seen that Strohmeyer was above murder, any more than he would have a random stranger.


Seeing as Cash did not do anything on the night of the crime, It begs the question as to why he didn’t. The way I see it, the cause of this would’ve either been:
a) Cash takes little/no issue with the act of restraining and muffling a little girl, in and of itself

b) Cash decided not to do anything on account of the fact that the perpetrator was Jeremy Strohmeyer

In both scenarios, it suggests that Cash has a critical flaw in the moral system by which he operates. Either he does not see Strohmeyer’s actions as serious, OR he values his relationship with Strohmeyer more than the life of a stranger. Judging from interviews of Cash, I lean towards the 2nd case, which convinces me that, in one way or another, Cash’s actions were governed by the fact that Jeremy Strohmeyer was the perpetrator of the crime.


While I do not think those who witness another wrong have any obligations per se, I do think there may be certain moral obligations for such an individual, all of which are highly dependent on the system of ethics that they prescribe to, or the social contract that their society operates under. In a similar manner, there are different rules depending on the nature of the wrong, only because that individual or society at large may view different wrongs with different severity. You would be hard-pressed to see someone treat jaywalking with the same gravitas as murder.


In a literal sense, there is absolutely nothing that an individual is truly obligated to do. However, we may have certain moral obligations based on our own set of moral principles. When someone witnesses something that goes against their core values, moral obligations may arise when their moral duty to stop such a wrong outweighs whatever potential personal loss comes with such an action. The reason why these perceived moral obligations may be different between individuals is that everyone has different values, and they may weigh certain actions in different ways than others. Erez Yoeli and David Rand made note of this in “The Trick to Acting Heroically” when describing how people from military backgrounds tend to help others are a great personal risk. For soldiers, there is likely a greater moral push for them to help others, which more easily outweighs any personal loss in doing so.


There’s little change to be made in the way people judge their moral obligations, aside from changes in legislation or changes to how society views certain wrongdoings. Everybody has, to some degree, their own personal perception of right and wrong, and I suppose that’s just a byproduct of free will. I don’t think any rules necessarily ought to govern whether we decide to act or to witness, outside of what’s loosely defined to be our society’s values.


Regardless, the murder of Sherrice Iverson was despicable, and David Cash’s inaction as a bystander says something deeply disturbing about his own core values.


Response to @plaidplatypus, @berry, @UnKnown, etc.

While I agree with the notion that Cash’s inaction was negligent and irresponsible, I would hesitate to say that his decisions were criminal. Jeremy Strohmeyer was still the perpetrator of the crime, and it’s hard to tell the degree to which Cash was aware of Strohmeyer’s actions, and he could not have known for sure that Iverson was going to be killed, and though he exercised incredibly poor judgment, I don’t think anything he did was necessarily criminal. In any case, I’m pretty sure there weren’t any duty to rescue laws in Nevada at the time, and so he was very technically within the law.


Response to @The Imposter

I like your post titled “Morality”, and how it delves into the moral ambiguity of David Cash’s actions. While his own ideals undoubtedly played a part in the decisions he made, I’d like you to consider how his relationship to Jeremy Strohmeyer may have also influenced his decisions on the night of the crime. I’d say there might have even been some degree of self-justification following the extensive media coverage and interviews.










I agree with what you have said, with the exception that Strohmeyer was sober. I don't believe either of them were completely sober if at all. Cash recalls that Strohmeyer looked at him blankly when he signaled that they should leave, and the fact that there was substance involved- drugs and alcohol. This would cloud anyone's judgment, but the fact that even after he attained sobriety again he still didn't turn in the rapist and murderer of an innocent child proves there is something in his values/character.

Mnemosyne
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Basic Human Decency

I think basic human decency and empathy should have governed Cash’s actions. The situation at the time was this: Strohmeyer was assaulting Sherrice, a seven-year-old girl, while Cash was looking on from the adjacent stall. Strohmeyer’s actions were clearly horrifying and wrong, and Cash knew this. He admitted that it was “a great tragedy” and that Strohmeyer should not have done what he did. But Cash chose to believe in his best friend instead of intervening with something more than “a look.” He chose to let personal loyalty blind him to the heinous nature of the acts Strohmeyer was committing.

And he was completely unrepentant about it. Even after the crime had been committed, Cash did not feel any empathy towards Sherrice. He felt no sorrow at her (completely preventable) death, no grief or horror at witnessing the final minutes of a little girl’s life. In fact, he actually seemed to be irritated that so many people thought his actions were wrong.

I am not saying that Cash had to instinctively jump in and forcibly separate Strohmeyer and Sherrice. The New York Times’s article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” claims that many heroes’ actions were done quickly and intuitively, without time to stop and think. While this is undoubtedly admirable, some people are simply not wired that way—their desire to help cannot completely override their self-preservation instinct. And that is fine! There are other ways to help, such as calling 9-1-1 or finding another trained professional. But the thing is, Cash did not want to help. He had twenty-two minutes to call the police or even just find a nearby security guard, but he chose to go back to playing video games instead.

My belief is that a person witnessing another wrong is obligated to help mitigate the situation in any way that they feel capable of doing. Always—and not just when the law requires you to. For example, in the scenario described by the article, “Nightmare on the 36 bus,” everyone on the bus had the obligation to help the boy, and they shirked it. Maybe they did not have to physically stop the unkempt man—he was drunk, after all, and clearly violent—but the passengers should have called the police, and the bus driver radioed for help or activated the distress light. I am not asking that a person must be obligated to put their own lives on the line—a civilian running into a burning building would be rather foolish, for instance—but the least they could do is to call for capable help.

Mnemosyne
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Replies

Originally posted by Fireheart on September 27, 2020 23:24

A lot of people brought up how David’s loyalty to Jeremy may have played a factor in his inaction. David himself spoke about how he’d known Jeremy for so long and that they took AP English together or something. I find this absolutely laughable. What kind of person are you that you can’t stand up for what is right in a situation that is so completely wrong? What kind of person are you that you can’t think for yourself and think of others? I understand that Jeremy was his best friend, but if I had a best friend, and I noticed that they were doing something that was not okay, I’d bring it up to them because I always expect more from them and want them to be a better person. David Cash made a choice that day and it was the wrong one, no matter how adamant and defensive he was about it.

This. This is where Cash's defense falls apart. Cash claims that he did not stop or report the crime because Strohmeyer was his best friend and Cash could see the “potential” in him. Yeah, the “potential” —or should I say reality—of assaulting, raping, and murdering a little girl. Sure, it is true that substances and alcohol were involved, but that does not excuse the entirety of Strohmeyer’s crimes. Cash should have stopped Strohmeyer because they were best friends. If I were in Cash’s shoes, I would have been horrified that someone I knew and trusted was capable of such things, and I would have tried to stop Strohmeyer from ruining not only his life, but also the life of Sherrice Iverson, who had done nothing wrong.

Originally posted by Heyo8 on September 27, 2020 18:51

In the case of Jeremy Strohmeyer, I believe that the self-preservation won over in Cash’s mind and his loyalty to his friend stopped him from doing what many perceived as the right thing to do. Though I may not agree with his lack of “heroics'' because they costed a girl’s life, his actions define him. He has every right to let his friend be, he was under no obligation to step in or report it.

While loyalty was definitely part of it, I am not so sure about self-preservation—at least while the crime was going on. Cash was in no big danger: he was in the adjacent stall, and Strohmeyer was not overly aggressive towards him. He could have at the very least ran for help (there must have been security guards nearby) without any trouble or chance of harm befalling his person, but he chose not to. Afterwards though, Cash immediately cooperated with the authorities as soon as they determined Strohmeyer to be the culprit. It seemed that even loyalty became a non-issue the moment it appeared that there could be actual consequences for Cash, such as legal charges for obstruction of justice.

pineapplehater03
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 3

To Stop or To Go?

Cash recalls Sherrice and Strohmeyer’s first interaction in the women’s bathroom being throwing paper balls. Why is an 18 year old playing with a random 7 year old girl in the women’s bathroom? This question doesn’t seem to doesn’t seem to alarm or even cross Cash’s mind though, instead he stands and watches. “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age The New York Times”, explores the same idea. Instead of stopping to question events, people tend to stop and look (nowadays doing so via their cell phones). So is this people’s natural reaction to events? To stop and watch? No. In fact,“The Trick to Acting Heroically” describes how heroes’ actions tend to be “fast and intuitive, and virtually never as carefully reasoned… This was true even in cases where the heroes had sufficient time to stop and think.” With this in mind, I think Cash’s actions shouldn’t have been excused because of curiosity or just being in the position to watch, but rather governed by nothing other than pure impulse caused by the natural instinct to do the right thing. Despite Cash claiming that he gave Strohmeyer a disapproving “look” in an attempt to get him to release Sherrice from the bathroom stall where he was harassing her, Cash didn’t do much else to stop the attack. Instead, he seemed to overthink and hesitate, a choice which cost Sherrice her life. However, I understand it’s easier said than done. As explained by the same New York Times article, “the cost of helping is typically small (so that the benefit to Player 1 of Player 2’s continuing the relationship makes helping worthwhile on average), but is sometimes so big that if Player 1 were to look at this cost he would certainly not help.” Therefore, stopping a stranger becomes much easier than stopping a friend, especially a best friend, who one might have never expected to act in a wrongful manner. Yet despite this, Cash did fail to uphold his moral obligation of doing the right thing, which is often said to trump these previous relationships.
pineapplehater03
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 3

Maybe It's Okay To Be Selfish?

Originally posted by UnrecognizableUsername on September 27, 2020 19:57

The obvious answer is that we have an obligation in any case to step in. There is no situation where a human should act like David Cash, nor like Auelair. Both situations could have been stopped if just one person stood up to the task. I understand there are times where stepping up as a hero can be dangerous, but in the case of David Cash and Auelair, how would you feel if you were Sherrice Iverson, or the young boy on the bus, knew someone could step in to save them but didn’t. If you sat there in both of these situations, stayed silent and didn’t act, you might as well be convicted of the crime as well. Silence is never the option. If you morally know something is wrong, you are morally obligated to speak up. In the case of David, he allowed a murder to maintain a friendship, and on top of that saying he didn’t know the girl so why should it be his problem. In the case of Auelair, he also did not know the boy, unlike David, he knew something was wrong. He attempted to stop it, but talked himself out of it and sat back down. I personally think David Cash should have also been convicted, despite their being no law at the time. Any human being who reads this story would most likely have the same response I have. In the case of Auelair, he had the right idea to step in but talked himself out of it, unlike the rest of the passengers on the bus who sat there in complete silence and watched. Of course the dangers and problems of a situation all vary, but you should be morally obligated to step in when you can.



I totally agree! While we usually tell people to not be selfish, I think it's okay in this case (especially for individuals who might struggle with doing the right thing). As the fact is, humans do tend to be selfish beings! We do think about our needs first, yet this can be used in a helpful way, By putting yourself in other people's shoes and thinking about "how would [I] feel?" people can often times feel motivated to do the right thing, as they would hope someone would help them too if needed.

Leyden
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

The Bystander Dilemma

On that fateful morning in that Los Vegas casino, David Cash bore witness to a heinous act as his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer raped and murdered 7 year old Sherrice Iverson in a women’s bathroom. Not only did he watch it happen, after his friend confessed to him, he went on with the rest of his day as if nothing happened, later saying he didn’t turn him in because he knew him and not the young girl, and he didn’t see his friend as a murderer. What should’ve happened was David tearing Jeremy away from Sherrice, ensuring her safety, and reporting the incident to the casino security. That is what most of us would like to think we would do in a situation like this, believing that our conscience would drive us to act, saving those in danger and catching the bad guy. That’s certainly what the recipients of the Carnegie Medal for heroism would do, in fact, according to “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” they didn’t even have to think about it, immediately springing into action with no care to how this could put themselves in danger. While there are a few heroes we hear about on the news, more often the opposite happens, with someone in danger and witnesses doing nothing, letting the violence occur. This is the case in “Nightmare on the 36 Bus,” in which an entire bus watches a man assault a young boy, not said to be the man’s son or not, and do nothing to stop it happening. There are two types of bystanders who do nothing to stop an act of violence, and of the two this is the more acceptable one. The passengers were afraid that if they’d stood up for the young boy, they’d be harmed by the seemingly unhinged man. They let their sense of self-preservation overtake their civic duty to be an upstander, something that happens everyday all around the world. If they’d acted together, they could’ve easily overtaken the man, but everyone was either too shocked to do anything or assumed someone else would do something, minding their own business. David Cash was a different kind of bystander, the far worse kind, he wasn’t worried about his own safety, but just didn’t care about the safety of Sherrice Iverson. He claims to have done what I believe to be the bear minimum, giving Jeremy Strohmeyer a “look”, he left the bathroom while Sherrice’s cries for help were still being muffled, thinking nothing of it.

When we see something wrong happen, we either spring into action or do nothing. Those who stand by and do nothing make a conscious decision to do so, while those who act do so impulsively and without a thought. It's possible that we are already all either a bystander or an upstander, and which we are will be revealed only after we witness an injustice.

Leyden
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

Reply

Originally posted by lzulps on September 27, 2020 23:04

Cash, in this moment of witnessing his friend molest and sexually harass a child, was a bystander. Obviously he wasn’t the one physically hurting Sharise, but by standing there, staring, and doing absolutely nothing to change the situation, was the worst possible thing he could do. No, of course a person doesn’t have an obligation to step into a problem with another person committing a wrongdoing, but if Cash maybe had some human decency to take over the situation, an innocent girl wouldn’t have died and maybe he could have seeked help for his “friend” (who clearly seemed to need it). The guilt that a person has with them the rest of their lives after literally neglecting a murder happening in front of their eyes (unless they’re a goddamn robot) probably feels worse than the person who actually committed the crime. I think that penalizing somebody for a crime they watched but didn’t commit is such a hard thing to implicate into the law. So many circumstances, like the location, the amount of people, and the severity of the situation, make each case different despite the fact that in all of them there were bystanders who did nothing to step in. I think that everyone has an obligation to act, and even if you don’t, you have the guilt of not acting to hover above you your whole life. In the article, Nightmare on the 36 Bus, a middle aged man punches a kid in the face a few times while everyone else on the bus sits in silence, completely aware of what’s going on. The recount is made by a person sitting on the bus. They explain how in the moment they felt like doing something, but ended out not doing anything because of the atmosphere the others created. They thought it wasn’t as big a deal, but their subconscious knew it was wrong. That night they couldn’t sleep, and now they wonder where this little boy is today. If he’s doing alright. I think that everyone has an obligation to act, and even if you don’t, you have the guilt of not acting to hover above you your whole life. In another article titled The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age, the same thing is demonstrated, but in a little different of an aspect. A house fire starts on a street in JP, and a local walks by, filming, getting good shots, clearly not caring about the people who live in the house that is going up in flames. Posting it online, it sets the tone for how this situation should be handled, making it not seem too serious and setting the example not to really care about the people inside. The way that one person sets the tone can determine the outcome of a situation, good or bad. And if you don’t want to step in and do what you know is right, then you’ll just have to have that guilt loom over you for a long long time.

I honestly don't even think David Cash feels any guilt for not standing up to his friend and stopping the assault and murder of Sherrice Iverson, and that's what makes him so dangerous. I believe he may have some mental problems, he seems to lack any empathy for Sherrice, so possibly a disorder that messes up how he views right and wrong, because he truly believes that what he did was no big deal. Auclair felt the guilt after he sat there and did nothing, even stating he couldn't sleep that night. While still horrible, it doesn't even begin to compare to what Cash did, something so heinous, which I honestly have no doubt he'd do again. Jeremy Strohmeyer deserves every bit and more of his sentence of life without parole, but Cash also deserves a long time in prison, any guilt he feels isn't punishment enough when his crime was this severe.

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