posts 31 - 45 of 66
coral27
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Hesitance, Inaction, and Regret

I believe David Cash’s actions should have been guided by basic human empathy. I do not think the argument that it can be difficult to stand up to wrong (and that one should not be charged with a crime for not doing something) makes sense in this case, because Cash clearly had the will to go into a stall, climb up on a toilet, and peek over at his friend and the victim. Then, he made a series of decisions not to help Sherrice, or even honor her memory by helping her rapist and murderer be brought to justice.

I’m not familiar with criminal law, but could it be argued in court that Cash was an accomplice to the crime? At every step of the way, his decisions allowed his friend to commit and get away with the crimes. As others (@crunchysnowball, @SlothsPoopOnceAWeek, @soleilmagic) brought up, there was a series of opportunities for David to act by 1) Questioning why his drunk friend (a)Was playing with an unsupervised girl at a casino late at night, and then (b)Followed her into a women’s bathroom, 2) Stopping the crime, 3) Reporting the crime while it was happening, 4) Going back into the bathroom, 5) Reporting the crime after the confession, 6) Reporting it later, 7) Telling his dad, 8) Identifying Jeremy on the security cam, or even, at the bare minimum, 9) Exhibiting any amount of remorse for his behavior. He did none of these things. I agree with @butterfly123 that Cash’s total lack of remorse is confusing. And it’s sad, even alarming. I think it shows that, had Cash been magically put into the same situation again, with all his knowledge from the first time, he would likely not act. And if he did, it would probably be to save his own skin socially, because he was the subject of a lot of anger.

In most situations, I believe that we do have an obligation to act. It’s usually best to take a risk to help someone. It can be difficult to will yourself to stand up, but once you do, even a small action can translate into a huge difference for a victim, as I read in “Nightmare on the 36 Bus.” A small “Stop that,” anything really, could have made a difference. This story, although much more extreme, reminds me of the time I was defended by a stranger on a 35 bus. 7th grade me wasn’t very street smart, and when a man who seemed “off” got on the bus talking to no one in particular, I made the mistake of paying attention. He started talking to me in a way that, while not sexual/violent, was inappropriate for a grown man to be talking to a random 12yo. I missed my stop, even though I was meeting someone there, because I didn’t know what to do and I was getting scared. This went on for a few minutes, until a lady yelled at him. This stranger recognized the situation as inappropriate and came to my defense, making sure I was safe. I still remember how relieved I was after she helped me.

I think the golden rule (treat others as you want to be treated) should govern the decision to act. No one wants to be a victim. But, in the moment, few people want to be that person who breaks from the rest of the bystanders to become an upstander, as discussed in the article, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age.” I think this is a sad, yet interesting effect. Also, for regular people, it can be difficult to mentally get past the risk of harm. Thank you to @FacingHistorystudent and @crunchysnowball for making me realize that Cash’s situation was different. The bystander effect may have had some part in this, but, from what he said, he just did not care about Sherrice. Hesitance to speak up does not seem to be the problem here. If it had been, he would’ve shown remorse for what he didn’t do. But there was no indication that he regretted his inaction. He knew that his friend’s behavior was wrong. There was no one else there. The only possible consequence would be losing one friend, which wouldn’t be bad, because he turned out to be a horrible person who raped and murdered a child.
Facinghistorystudent
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by ilikekiwis on September 25, 2020 16:31

The moral “laws” that should guide one’s actions are empathy and compassion. YES, the phrase “imagine if you were in their shoes” is extremely cliche but it is 100% true. David Cash had no reason to be influenced by any bystander effect as explained by Judy Harris in her 2015 article for WBUR. He was the only one present at such a horrid crime, so he could not have been influenced by mass psychosis to stand and watch. A murder is different from a fire obviously. While people are in danger both times, there are no conflicting issues with who is the murderer and what their morals are during a fire. Jeremy Strohmeyer assaulted and killed Sherrice Iverson, of which David saw the assaulting part. With no one else present, it should be your duty to report something, even if you can’t get physically involved because it may endanger you. Calling 911 is a very easy task that can be done from afar that should be done in almost every situation, regardless of its severity. The incident described in Nightmare on the 36 bus is slightly more similar to that in the Bad Samaritan interview. The passengers did absolutely nothing when a boy was getting beat up by the man. A witness explains that after getting up to go intervene, he sat back down because he figured that it may be some family business. David Cash, on the other hand, knew perfectly that Sherrice and Jeremy had no connection at all.

If you were the little boy on the 36 getting beat up by an adult, whether it is your father or a stranger, wouldn’t you want help? If you were a girl getting assaulted and strangled by a teenager, wouldn’t you want help? David Cash explained that he didn’t know her as he doesn’t “know the starving children in Panama… [or] the people that die of disease in Egypt,” but this comparison is illogical because he has only heard those stories and has never seen them. With Sherrice, David Cash literally saw what was happening to her and felt no emotional remorse. David may have given Jeremy a look of disapproval or judgement over the bathroom stall, but no verbal or physical action such as pushing Jeremy or calling 911 occured. When you become friends with someone, especially best friends, it is because of their personality. David and Jeremy were best friends for years, so David most likely assumed that he knew everything about Jeremy. He claimed in the interview that he could not imagine his best friend committing such a crime, even after Jeremy confessed. When David saw the violent nature of Jeremy and the fact that Jeremy killed an innocent little girl, that should have tipped him off that there is a part of his best friend that he doesn’t know. To murder an innocent human takes a dark soul and mind that cannot possibly be outweighed by good nature.

Post your response here.

To start off, I agree with everything you said. It is so important to really honor the phrase of "putting yourself in other's shoes" because it is one of the only ways to learn perspective. I found it very interesting how you incorporated rhetorical questions into your response because it really helped me along with many other readers get the POV that you were talking about throughout both of your paragraphs. One of your other majors points was that there are different responsibilities for people who are bystanders. In the case of David Cash, you mentioned that there was no "conflicting issues" with what was right and what was wrong. He should have stopped Strohmeyer, but chose to not. I thought that this was a very interesting point that you made because there was no reason David shouldn't have helped her.

Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Our Obligation

On May 25th, 1997, Jeremy Strohmeyer assaulted and murdered 7 year old Sherrice Iverson after David Cash, Jeremy’s best friend, chose to turn a blind eye to his friend’s horrific actions.

I agree with 239bid0073 wholeheartedly in the sense that David Cash is absolutely as guilty for the murder and rape of Sherrice as Jeremy is. David had no reason not to step in and stop his friend from committing such a heinous crime. A “look” is not enough. The bare minimum he could’ve and should’ve done is tell his friend verbally to back off, and if he still didn’t comply, David should’ve gotten physical.

239bid0073 also says, “Many things should have crossed Cash’s mind to make the proper decision in this scenario.” I don’t fully agree with 239bid0073 on this point. Maybe a lot of things should’ve crossed his mind, but even if they didn’t, David knew that what Jeremy was doing was wrong. That should have been all he needed to intervene. Instead, he walked away and left a 7 year old at the mercy of a violent and perverse adult.

According to “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” helping others in a threatening situation is a gut instinct. Studies of recipients of the Carnegie Medal for heroism show almost no examples of heroes that had to overcome the impulse of self-preservation with a conscious, rational decision.

This just goes to show that David should not have had to think about anything. He should’ve stepped in as soon as he saw Jeremy assaulting Sherrice. Unfortunately, as shown by “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age,” standing by passively when someone needs help is not unique to this situation. However, just because it is commonplace, that does not make it alright.

It was David’s obligation as a human being to put a stop to that assault. He saw a child in danger and in pain, and faced no personal danger by intervening, which makes doing so his responsibility.

I believe that we all have an obligation to act in defense of those who can’t defend themselves if we have the ability. If you have the power, why wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t living with yourself, knowing you could’ve done something but didn’t, be worse than getting hurt in the process of standing up for what’s right?

Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by crunchysnowball on September 24, 2020 21:17

David Cash had many opportunities to intervene and keep the situation from happening to begin with or at least lower the tragicness of it all. In the video when he says that he tapped Jeremy on the head and gave him a look and some body language. Yet how could all that be done with the barrier of a stall wall between them? He could have pushed his friend off of the young girl or at the bare minimum report the crime after it had happened. In my eyes, there was no reason not to. However, Cash remarks that he did not know this little girl. Therefore insinuating that it was not his problem to take care of. As someone who witnessed a “wrong”, I feel that he has an obligation to be the messenger at the bare minimum. Did he not feel guilty afterwards when he continued his night on the town? These excuses that he makes about it not being his problem or that he couldn’t believe that his friend had done something like that do not make up for the abundance of opportunities he had to stop this tragic event.

I completely agree with your point about David not knowing Sherrice not excusing his actions. The excuses he employs that you mention do not even make sense. How could he not believe his friend had assaulted Sherrice? He watched Jeremy restraining her in a bathroom stall and then waited as Jeremy spent 22 minutes with her. If that wasn’t enough, Jeremy directly told David he raped and killed her. Even though David had all this evidence in front of him, he still refused to do anything. At that point, it is clear to me that it wasn’t about having faith in his friend’s humanity; it was about saving his and Jeremy’s own skins. You are exactly right: these excuses do not make up for the abundance of opportunities he had to stop this tragic event.

Bumblebee
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by orangerug29 on September 24, 2020 18:08

Part of being a good samaritan comes along with the responsibility of acting heroically when necessary. Sherrice Iverson needed David Cash to be a hero, and he was the furthest thing from that. The seven year old girl, who had barely begun her life, was cruelly raped and murdered at the hands of Jeremy Strohmeyer and (witness) David Cash. Cash had an obligation to react properly while he witnessed a situation he claims he knew was evil and wrong. There is no excuse for Cash to walk away that night and allow a seven year old girl get raped and murdered. To this day, Cash’s reaction defines who he is. Ultimately, he was given two decisions: he could have either made the right one of intervening and providing aid, or the wrong one, which would result in a little girl's death. Plain and simple, David Cash made the wrong decision that night, and there are no different rules depending on the “wrong”- he witnessed a rape and murder and didn’t tell anyone.

In the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, good samaritans who have risked their lives in order to save someone else describe their reaction as an “instinct”. Not only do these amazing people show much politeness and care to others, but they also hold onto a moral compass which directs them on how to react during certain situations. David Cash doesn’t have this moral compass, which should have been the factor governing him to help Sherrice. His immoral decision classified him, not only as a bad samaritan, but also as a criminal.

I really like that you mentioned David's moral compass, or lack thereof. To me, it is pretty clear from his interview that it is very askew. The quotes about him comparing a 7 year old that was being assaulted within five feet of him to starving children miles away prove that his innate sense of right and wrong, as well as his sense of empathy, are severely messed up. However, I would not go so far as to say that he doesn’t have a moral compass at all, becase he knew what Jeremy was doing was wrong. He gave him a "look." The factor that makes his moral compass so out of line is that he did not act on it, and I agree that that makes him a criminal. Because he refused to do anything to help even though he knew it was wrong, he is complicit in the crime, which I believe is just as serious as committing it.

crunchysnowball
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by Facinghistorystudent on September 26, 2020 15:52


David Cash, a 17 year old boy at the time, witnessed his best friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer rape and murder seven year old Sherrice Iverson in a casino in Las Vegas on May 25,1997. He did nothing. He proceeded to go on with his night pretending as though his friend had not just done these cruel acts, even though he admitted them to him. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, David spoke out about how he did not say anything because “He doesn’t know her” and that he does “not know the starving children in Panama.” This idea that he does not know her so it’s not his problem creates this new mentality of blindness. He does not believe that it is his job to stop someone from doing wrong, just because he can, which led him to develop the title of “the bad samaritan.”


This is not the only story that has presented a similar figure like David. As told in “The bystander effect in the cell phone age,” people would rather take pictures and document tragic events instead of stepping up and helping. This is clearly a problem because the people who are truly being hurt do not get the help they need because people are not speaking up. This is also portrayed in “The trick to acting heroically” because it tells of the idea that people only speak out or help others if it will be for their personal benefit.

These three events are not isolated. People observe events and do not speak out about them every single day, despite the fact that it is morally wrong. Of course there are different levels of severity for not speaking up, but it is our civic duty as human beings to help people if we are able to when they are in trouble. For example, David’s duty to help was much different than people who film accidents happening. David was there in real time and could really have done something to help. He was not outnumbered, he was not injured or in any sort of danger, the only reason he did not do anything was because he did not want to, which is incredibly frightening and disheartening. People who observe events such as fires and car accidents do have a responsibility as well, but sometimes there are situations that are too extreme, especially if people would be risking their own lives to save others.

I really like what you said about how we as humans have a civc duty "to help people if we are able to when they are in trouble". I feel like many people may be discouraged to be an up-stander if they feel like it isn't their business to intervene, much like the story in Nightmare on the 36 Bus. In addition, many may feel that they would make the situation worse than it already is. However, this type of thinking cannot be applied to David Cash's experience: it is his business if he was the only other person there to stop the crime, it is his business if he was with Jeremy, his best friend and like you so clearly explained "He was not outnumbered, he was not injured or in any sort of danger, the only reason he did not do anything was because he did not want to, which is incredibly frightening and disheartening". At this point I feel no remorse or sympathy for David Cash regarding the backlash he got for this, the fact that he is gets the opportunity to live his life as if nothing had happened is unnerving.

ThankYouFive
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The Responsibility for All of Us to Act

As stated in “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” most people who decide to help others, in situations that are often life or death, will make those decisions instinctually, with little thought or consideration. Despite this fact, people who help others are always heroes, because they are willing to make a potential sacrifice in order to do the right thing. The opposite is true as well. When David Cash was watching Jeremy Strohmeyer assault Sherrice Iverson, it is most likely that he made a split decision on how to react, despite having more than enough time to intervene and potentially save Sherrice Iverson’s life. Unfortunately, he made the wrong decision, and decided to do nothing. For this reason, David Cash is no better than Jeremy Strohmeyer. In situations like this one, every person has a moral obligation to step in and do the right thing, yet so many people choose to be like the man photographing the fire as described in “The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age,” to do nothing as a great tragedy is occurring.

I believe that there should be laws put in place that punish bystanders as well as the criminal, because if the bystanders had chosen to act, then the crime may have never been committed in the first place. Despite the risk, despite even the threat of death, we must all be willing to stand up for others in the face of danger. I agree with Razzledazzle8 that people “need to be an upstander instead of a bystander no matter how large or how little the crime is.” I believe that most people who are bystanders are scared that they will be hurt, or that they think it is not worth it to try and stand up for victims. It is always worth it to save another person, no matter the cost.

I found it interesting when Orangerug29 said that “David Cash doesn’t have this moral compass, which should have been the factor governing him to help Sherrice.” This made me think about how we need to start teaching people from a very young age about being an upstander, as it is clear that David Cash was never taught this lesson, or he saw it as unimportant. By teaching kids about this responsibility, we would be helping to prevent future tragedies from occurring, as more people would stand up for others. We can’t shelter children from the bad parts of the world, because this will only create more ignorance and lack of empathy.

ThankYouFive
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by soleilmagic on September 24, 2020 13:59

As Jeremy Strohmeyer sexually assaulted and murdered 7 year old Sherrice Iverson, his best friend, David Cash, was aware of what was happening and made no attempt to stop Jeremy but instead just walked out of the bathroom and left Jeremy alone with the 7 year old. Already the fact that David made no verbal attempt to cease Jeremy’s sickening behavior should be reason enough to give him some form of punishment, but 22 minutes later when Jeremy left the bathroom and Sherrice never did, Jeremy confessed to his best friend that he murdered that little girl, and then again David did not report the murder he continued his evening and went out to more casinos with his friend, now murderer, his excuse was “not wanting to believe his friend did that” even after he clearly confessed to him. David could be labeled a bystander in this case, which is often a position as bad as the pursuer, he left Sherrice Iverson alone with Jeremy in that bathroom when he could have stopped his friend, or went and got help, he could have saved that little girl, but he didn’t.

In the short reading by Judy Harris, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age,” WBUR Cognoscenti, June 5, 2015, Harris tells the story of a fire occurring on the 3rd story of a triple decker in Jamaica Plain, Boston, a heroic man ran towards the house and alerted all the tenants thankfully having everyone get out before people were injured, as he ran there he noticed there were no emergency vehicles there yet but he saw a bystander filming the fire and trying to get a good angle. That bystander felt it was more important to film the fire than go try and save a life and warm people of the fire. That man filming the fire is nowhere as accountable as David Cash and what he watched and walked away from but they are similar in a way.

David Cash should be held responsible in a way for Sherrice Iverson’s sexual assault and murder because he knowing allowed it to happen and didn’t bother to report it. In the reading by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” New York Times, August 28, 2015, the authors describe many situations where “heros” acted fast and intuitively during a situation that needed their help, I think David Cash should read this passage in order to understand what he should have done the morning he allowed for a 7 year old girl to be raped and murdered. The man recording the fire should have called emergency services or tried to warn the tenants, Cash should have stopped his friend, all witnesses have an obligation when witnessing any situation but some are more severe than others.

I also found it interesting and horrifying that the bystander mentioned in "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" was trying to find the best camera angle of the fire. When I think of bystanders, I usually think of people who freeze up or run away because they are worried about what will happen to them if they act. In the article, though, the man was actively doing something, but it was the completely wrong thing. As seen in the article, it is clear that some bystanders seek personal gain, such as views on a social media post. In my eyes, this makes the position of the bystander even worse. Not only are some bystanders willing to let someone else be hurt or killed, they are willing to do nothing because they stand to benefit from it.

ThankYouFive
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Originally posted by razzledazzle8 on September 24, 2020 19:43

Originally posted by mcsd153 on September 24, 2020 19:21

In my mind, the “Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan” is simple, David Cash was wrong, and should face punishment for his colossal negligence. Sherrice Iverson could have returned back to her family that night, and most likely still be here today to tell the story of that unfortunate night. At no point was it too late to stop Strohmeyer or turn him into the police. I believe that Cash should have stopped his friend the moment he saw him walk into the women’s bathroom, following a young girl 10 years younger than him.

As mentioned in “ The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor “ by Deborah Stone, in situations that many people witness at once, people can comfort themselves for not doing anything by assuming someone else will. For example, in the “ Nightmare on the 36 Bus” reported on by Brian McGrory, 10 or more people watched an 8 year old boy get beaten to the ground by a much older man. They stood there, feeling that it either wasn't their place, or that they didn't want to be the one to help, assuming someone would have a burst of courage and take the man down. While that logic is also flawed, it does not apply to this situation. David Cash was Sherrice’s only hope, her only chance of survival.

I believe that we have an obligation to act most of the time, unless it poses an immense threat to your safety. You should intervene if you can, or at least call an authority to help. I do think this has some contingencies though. If you know that you have the ability to prevent something from going extremely downhill, take action. However, not every single person can be held to the same standards. For example, if David Cash was not a 17 year old boy but instead a young child witnessing the assault, I would not hold them responsible for not standing up to Jeremy Strohmeyer, since their life could be at risk too. But Cash was not only Jeremy’s size and age, but his best friend.

I firmly believe that David Cash could have saved Sherrice’s life that night, and for that he should be condemned. This dilemma serves to teach us all a lesson; do everything you can, whether it be intervening yourself or calling 911 for help. While it may not always change the outcome of the situation, at least you know that you chose bravery over ignorance. Your actions have power, and that stands true for David Cash, the witnesses on the 36 bus that cold Wednesday night, or the neighbors of Kitty Genovese. They chose to stay silent, to turn a blind eye, resulting in innocent people’s agony.

I agree with everything you said in this, especially the first paragraph. Why isn’t Cash charged or punished for anything he did? Like you said, “Sherrice Iverson could have returned back to her family that night” if it weren’t for Cash’s “colossal negligence”. In my opinion, if someone could’ve stopped a murder and chose not to for no good reason, they should be punished. The moment David Cash decided to not stop his friend, he too killed Sherrice Iverson and should be convicted. As you said, “David Cash was Sherrice’s only only hope, her only chance of survival.”

I also agree with what you said about how David Cash wasn’t a little kid who needed to be afraid of Jeremy, they were the same age and size so there was no reason for Cash not to stop him.

I completely agree with both of you. I thought it was particularly powerful when you said, "The moment David Cash decided to not stop his friend, he too killed Sherrice Iverson and should be convicted." At the very least, he should have been expelled from his college, and it is a terrible shame that he faced barely any consequences for his lack of action. Although I don't know a lot about how this situation would work legally, I agree that David should have been convicted for some type of crime, because he is partially responsible for the death of a young girl.

beantown9
WEST ROXBURY, MA, US
Posts: 11

Always do the right thing and don't over think it

I agree with everything you said, one point i'd like to bring up is that I think the actions of David Cash is similar to the article "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". In the article, there was a house fire during a Youth Baseball league and many of the parents and adults who went over to look at it were stopping and taking pictures rather than seeing if there was anyone left in the house. One husband went over to see if anyone was still in the house, which i think was the right thing to do as he was the only person who thought to do this. There were people left and he helped them out as no one was injured after. In the article, by Judy Harris, Harris explained how this was an example of the bystander effect. The bystander effect, she said, is "when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation." I don't think it was completely the presence of others that influenced his decision not to stop Jeremy, but i think it is similar to that because just like all the parents who stopped to take pictures, who could've helped the people in the house, David could've stopped Jeremy, but instead just stood there and watched. I agree that David Cash is just as guilty for witnessing and walking away from the murder. People who witness another wrong are obligated to stop the action and help/save the victim. I also read the article "The Trick to Acting Heroically", and and would like to bring up another point connecting David Cash and the article. Yoeli and Rand said they found the heros overwhemling described their actions as fast and intuitive, which is far from the actions of David Cash. David thought about doing the right thing and stopping Jeremy, but after thinking about it he decided to let Jeremy go and didn't even turn him in. I think David over thinked it and should've just acted and stopped Jeremy. Originally posted by orangerug29 on September 24, 2020 18:08

Part of being a good samaritan comes along with the responsibility of acting heroically when necessary. Sherrice Iverson needed David Cash to be a hero, and he was the furthest thing from that. The seven year old girl, who had barely begun her life, was cruelly raped and murdered at the hands of Jeremy Strohmeyer and (witness) David Cash. Cash had an obligation to react properly while he witnessed a situation he claims he knew was evil and wrong. There is no excuse for Cash to walk away that night and allow a seven year old girl get raped and murdered. To this day, Cash’s reaction defines who he is. Ultimately, he was given two decisions: he could have either made the right one of intervening and providing aid, or the wrong one, which would result in a little girl's death. Plain and simple, David Cash made the wrong decision that night, and there are no different rules depending on the “wrong”- he witnessed a rape and murder and didn’t tell anyone.

In the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, good samaritans who have risked their lives in order to save someone else describe their reaction as an “instinct”. Not only do these amazing people show much politeness and care to others, but they also hold onto a moral compass which directs them on how to react during certain situations. David Cash doesn’t have this moral compass, which should have been the factor governing him to help Sherrice. His immoral decision classified him, not only as a bad samaritan, but also as a criminal.

On occasion, witnesses to crime scenes may overthink the situation they’re put in, stifling their proper reaction. Although this may happen to some, it is most definitely not an excuse when it comes to helping another in need. It is an unwritten rule that all good samaritans have an obligation to act if they witness something wrong. An example of people improperly reacting to a crime occurred on the 36 bus in Boston. According to the article, “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, a little boy was being physically assaulted by an inebriated man, and nobody helped. Witnesses of this crime believed the man was actually the boy's father, and they couldn’t think as to why a little boy would be by himself this late. People overthinking the situation resulted in the man freely punching the boy- those watching didn’t want to interfere on a “family problem”. “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” teaches a lesson, for people to trust their instinct.

If you ever see something and your gut feeling is that it is wrong, you have the obligation to react and provide assistance. That is what a good samaritan would do, and this must be a norm in society. With this universal rule, people like David Cash will not get away with witnessing and walking away from a murder, his reaction makes him just as guilty as Jermey Strohmeyer.

Post your response here.

Hector_Zeroni
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

A bad samaritan, or something more than that?

When I first learned about the murder of Sherrice Iverson, my instinct was to say that David Cash should have been charged because he witnessed the moment his friend was about to commit an atrocity on a seven year old girl. Cash later admitted that his friend told him that he murdered the girl while they were still in the bathroom. When I first saw the video, the thought that kept circling around in my head was that those who refuse to take any action against evil are just as evil as the ones committing the act. I think back to this tv show I watched as a kid. There was a teacher teaching his students about “fighting without fighting” where you would dodge all of your opponents attacks and tiring them out. I feel as though that logic could be applied here, as even though Cash did nothing wrong to the victim directly, by refusing to alert the proper authorities, he caused things for Sherrice Iverson to be a lot worse than what it could have been. When he learned of her murder, he had the chance to right the wrong and at least alert the authorities about that, but he did not do that. I believed that his moral compass should have been enough to convince him that telling something what happened the night it happened was the right thing to do. I believe that no matter what kind of evil the person committed, those who witnessed it should at least stop the person from committing the evil when possible, and they should alert the authorities when the situation may be beyond their control. It may be able to prevent more lives from being lost or being changed forever. Legally speaking, at this point, there were no laws that would allow people to accuse Cash of committing a crime, and since the law was passed after that fact, Cash didn’t commit a crime at the time this situation took place.


Do I think David Cash should be charged today? Like mentioned before, I originally thought yes. Now, I’m not so sure. Why is that the case? I thought about what happened between two students named Eric Harris and Brooks Brown. These two students had a feud between one another. It got to the point where the parents of Brooks Brown were worried as Harris threatened to kill Brown. In the years that followed, Brown tried his best to get on Harris’ good side. On the morning of April 20th, 1999, around 11:00 AM, Brown went outside his school for a smoke. He noticed that Harris had just arrived at school, and he was opening the trunk of his car. Harris pulled out a few things from his trunk before closing it. Brown yelled at Harris explaining how he missed an exam and asked why he decided to be late. Harris simply told Brown that the test doesn’t matter anymore and that Brown should just go home. Brooks Brown knew that it was strange for Harris to show up late that day, and he was aware of the various threats Harris had made towards several students. Brown left Harris be, and didn’t report his encounter with Harris. Later that day Eric Harris, along with another student named Dylan Klebold, would go on to commit one of the worst atrocities in American History. These two would shoot Columbine High School, and this attack would inspire many copycats. I bring this up because in both cases, both Brown and Cash knew something was off and had the opportunity to at least report the situation to someone prior to Strohmeyer and Harris committing their acts of evil. I think it is possible that the reason Cash didn’t report the incident when he had the chance was because the idea of someone he knew committing such a heinous act was unfathomable. There is almost no way that Brooks Brown could have guessed that Eric Harris would try to blow up his school and shoot whoever was inside the building. Even though school shootings existed prior to Columbine, they weren’t as common. In the case of Cash, the idea of his friend, someone who has been by his side since Day 1, sexually assaulting and killing a little girl must have been shocking to him. While I’d like to think that if a situation like that was presented to me I’d at least report the incident, there is really no telling what I would actually do. It’s possible that Cash’s history with Strohmeyer may have clouded his moral compass, causing him to not do as much as he could have done. When Strohmeyer admitted to Cash that he murdered her, it’s possible that Cash was still in shock over what happened. It’s also possible that he had a feeling he would be charged in some way since he saw what happened prior to the murder. I’m not saying that what Cash did was right, but maybe there’s a lot more to this than we think. As for his statement about the fact that the girl was a stranger, this may further strengthen the idea that he was shocked at the idea of his friend committing such a vicious crime, and saying that Iverson was a stranger was likely a way of justifying his initial reaction.


According to the article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rend, it suggests that someone is more likely to act in a situation where a stranger needs help if the bystander in question is used to helping people. The article also states that if the bystander doesn't think too much about the costs and benefits of helping, they’re more likely to help the stranger. Perhaps Cash should have tried to set aside his friendship of Strohmeyer for this one moment and do what is right. If he did not allow these what if situations to pop in his head, Iverson would have been saved. In the article, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” by Judy Harris, the bystander effect is, “when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation” (Harris 3). With no one else around, Cash clearly did not face as much pressure to try and report an incident. Strohmeyer was clearly so focused on Iverson so he could have just ran out and called for help.

beantown9
WEST ROXBURY, MA, US
Posts: 11

Don't just watch do something to help

Originally posted by ThankYouFive on September 27, 2020 17:25

I agree with you and that fact that David should also be punished. He just as guilty as Jeremy and had an opportunity to help Sherrice Iverson and he could've prevented the crime,. He needs to be punished to learn to stand up next time he witness another wrong. I also agree with Razzledazzle8 that people "need to be an upstander instead of a bystander no matter jow large or how little the crime is". I agreee with Thankyoufive on "most people who are bystanders are scared that they will be hurt, or that they think it is not worth to try and stand up for victims". I believe that this is the case with David as he was intimidated on the effects him standing up would have. I also agree with Thankyoufive that it is always worth it to stand up and help a victim. If David would have just stood up and made the right decision he would have saw that standing up for a victim is always the right thing to do and that he doesn't have to be afraid to stand up.

As stated in “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” most people who decide to help others, in situations that are often life or death, will make those decisions instinctually, with little thought or consideration. Despite this fact, people who help others are always heroes, because they are willing to make a potential sacrifice in order to do the right thing. The opposite is true as well. When David Cash was watching Jeremy Strohmeyer assault Sherrice Iverson, it is most likely that he made a split decision on how to react, despite having more than enough time to intervene and potentially save Sherrice Iverson’s life. Unfortunately, he made the wrong decision, and decided to do nothing. For this reason, David Cash is no better than Jeremy Strohmeyer. In situations like this one, every person has a moral obligation to step in and do the right thing, yet so many people choose to be like the man photographing the fire as described in “The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age,” to do nothing as a great tragedy is occurring.

I believe that there should be laws put in place that punish bystanders as well as the criminal, because if the bystanders had chosen to act, then the crime may have never been committed in the first place. Despite the risk, despite even the threat of death, we must all be willing to stand up for others in the face of danger. I agree with Razzledazzle8 that people “need to be an upstander instead of a bystander no matter how large or how little the crime is.” I believe that most people who are bystanders are scared that they will be hurt, or that they think it is not worth it to try and stand up for victims. It is always worth it to save another person, no matter the cost.

I found it interesting when Orangerug29 said that “David Cash doesn’t have this moral compass, which should have been the factor governing him to help Sherrice.” This made me think about how we need to start teaching people from a very young age about being an upstander, as it is clear that David Cash was never taught this lesson, or he saw it as unimportant. By teaching kids about this responsibility, we would be helping to prevent future tragedies from occurring, as more people would stand up for others. We can’t shelter children from the bad parts of the world, because this will only create more ignorance and lack of empathy.

Post your response here.

Dolphin42
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Obligations of being a witness

On a trip to Los Vegas, David Cash had taken on the role of a bystander while his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer sexually assaulted and murdered seven-year-old Sherrice Iverson. At the age of eighteen, David Cash should know how to decipher what is the right thing to do even if it involves his friend. There were many opportunities for David Cash to take action but he didn’t. Maybe it’s because he didn’t believe at that time that his best friend would do such horrible things or maybe he didn’t want to get involved in the situation. But the fact that he knew what Jeremy was going to do to Sherrice and didn’t do anything to stop him automatically makes him responsible for the death of Sherrice Iverson. Even when Jeremy told David afterward that he had in fact killed Sherrice, David did not report this to anyone and continued to play at the casinos with Jeremy. The lack of empathy was shown in the interview with David Cash when he felt no remorse for his failure to take action. David only thought of himself and how it would affect Jeremy if he were to report him. He didn’t consider the feeling of Sherrice Iverson’s family when they discovered that their daughter had been raped and murdered while it could have been avoided.

If a person were to witness another wrong, they are obligated to intervene by stopping the person or by reporting it to the authorities. In this case, David Cash is obligated to stop his friend from committing the act or to report it to another responsible adult and let them handle it. In addition, there should have been security guards or other adults at the casino who witnessed the eighteen-year-old boy following a little girl into the bathroom but no one stepped in or questioned his actions. In the article “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age” by Judy Harris, the author described an event where there was a fire but the bystanders were taking pictures of the incident instead of warning the residents in the building about the fire. Especially in the age of cell phones and social media, people have less empathy toward other people if the situation doesn’t involve them. Of course, if the fire became too dangerous for them to step in and help, it is understandable. But if the fire was not widespread, then they are obligated to intervene.

There isn’t a rule for when a person should step in, but in my opinion, they should take action if they have the ability to help others without putting themselves in danger. This also applies differently depending on the age of the witness and the same standard should not be applied to a little kid as an adult. In the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, it talks about a heroic instinct that derives from simple actions of kindness that require very little cost and have very beneficial results. David Cash was an adult when the situation occurred and he has the ability to tell his friend to stop and/or to tell another adult to step in with little to no cost. He should have stepped in and told Jeremy to stop if he wanted the best for his friend, then the death of Sherrice should have been avoided and his friend wouldn’t have to go to prison.

Dolphin42
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by mcsd153 on September 24, 2020 19:21

In my mind, the “Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan” is simple, David Cash was wrong, and should face punishment for his colossal negligence. Sherrice Iverson could have returned back to her family that night, and most likely still be here today to tell the story of that unfortunate night. At no point was it too late to stop Strohmeyer or turn him into the police. I believe that Cash should have stopped his friend the moment he saw him walk into the women’s bathroom, following a young girl 10 years younger than him.

As mentioned in “ The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor “ by Deborah Stone, in situations that many people witness at once, people can comfort themselves for not doing anything by assuming someone else will. For example, in the “ Nightmare on the 36 Bus” reported on by Brian McGrory, 10 or more people watched an 8 year old boy get beaten to the ground by a much older man. They stood there, feeling that it either wasn't their place, or that they didn't want to be the one to help, assuming someone would have a burst of courage and take the man down. While that logic is also flawed, it does not apply to this situation. David Cash was Sherrice’s only hope, her only chance of survival.

I believe that we have an obligation to act most of the time, unless it poses an immense threat to your safety. You should intervene if you can, or at least call an authority to help. I do think this has some contingencies though. If you know that you have the ability to prevent something from going extremely downhill, take action. However, not every single person can be held to the same standards. For example, if David Cash was not a 17 year old boy but instead a young child witnessing the assault, I would not hold them responsible for not standing up to Jeremy Strohmeyer, since their life could be at risk too. But Cash was not only Jeremy’s size and age, but his best friend.

I firmly believe that David Cash could have saved Sherrice’s life that night, and for that he should be condemned. This dilemma serves to teach us all a lesson; do everything you can, whether it be intervening yourself or calling 911 for help. While it may not always change the outcome of the situation, at least you know that you chose bravery over ignorance. Your actions have power, and that stands true for David Cash, the witnesses on the 36 bus that cold Wednesday night, or the neighbors of Kitty Genovese. They chose to stay silent, to turn a blind eye, resulting in innocent people’s agony.

I agree with you that "we have an obligation to act most of the time, unless it poses an immense threat to your safety". In David's case, he has the obligation to intervene especially when Jeremy does not pose any threat to his safety and he is an adult so he should know what is the right thing to do in that situation. The "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" is a perfect example of the bystander effect where everyone assumes that someone else will step in and in the end, no one did. A similar situation occurred in "The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris, where everyone stopped to take photos and videos of the fire instead of warning the residents because the situation doesn't affect them and they assumed that someone else will call 911 and help the residents. I believe that there are other adults present when Jeremy followed Sherrice into the girl's bathroom but they didn't take action because they believed that someone else will step in.

Dolphin42
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

Originally posted by ilikekiwis on September 25, 2020 16:31

The moral “laws” that should guide one’s actions are empathy and compassion. YES, the phrase “imagine if you were in their shoes” is extremely cliche but it is 100% true. David Cash had no reason to be influenced by any bystander effect as explained by Judy Harris in her 2015 article for WBUR. He was the only one present at such a horrid crime, so he could not have been influenced by mass psychosis to stand and watch. A murder is different from a fire obviously. While people are in danger both times, there are no conflicting issues with who is the murderer and what their morals are during a fire. Jeremy Strohmeyer assaulted and killed Sherrice Iverson, of which David saw the assaulting part. With no one else present, it should be your duty to report something, even if you can’t get physically involved because it may endanger you. Calling 911 is a very easy task that can be done from afar that should be done in almost every situation, regardless of its severity. The incident described in Nightmare on the 36 bus is slightly more similar to that in the Bad Samaritan interview. The passengers did absolutely nothing when a boy was getting beat up by the man. A witness explains that after getting up to go intervene, he sat back down because he figured that it may be some family business. David Cash, on the other hand, knew perfectly that Sherrice and Jeremy had no connection at all.

If you were the little boy on the 36 getting beat up by an adult, whether it is your father or a stranger, wouldn’t you want help? If you were a girl getting assaulted and strangled by a teenager, wouldn’t you want help? David Cash explained that he didn’t know her as he doesn’t “know the starving children in Panama… [or] the people that die of disease in Egypt,” but this comparison is illogical because he has only heard those stories and has never seen them. With Sherrice, David Cash literally saw what was happening to her and felt no emotional remorse. David may have given Jeremy a look of disapproval or judgement over the bathroom stall, but no verbal or physical action such as pushing Jeremy or calling 911 occured. When you become friends with someone, especially best friends, it is because of their personality. David and Jeremy were best friends for years, so David most likely assumed that he knew everything about Jeremy. He claimed in the interview that he could not imagine his best friend committing such a crime, even after Jeremy confessed. When David saw the violent nature of Jeremy and the fact that Jeremy killed an innocent little girl, that should have tipped him off that there is a part of his best friend that he doesn’t know. To murder an innocent human takes a dark soul and mind that cannot possibly be outweighed by good nature.

I agree with you that although David is friends with Jeremy, he doesn't know everything about him and not everything you see is what it appears to be. It also doesn't excuse the fact that Jeremy told David afterwards that he had killed Sherrice Iverson and he still didn't report it to the police. I think that the reason why David didn't step in to help Sherrice is due to his lack of empathy toward others who has no relations to him. This is shown in the interview when he spoke about not knowing Sherrice and "the starving children in Panama" and "the people that die of disease in Egypt". Even if he hasn't met them before, he should be able to place himself in their perspective and rescued Sherrice from Jeremy.

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