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GOLFWOF123
Posts: 2

David’s Dichotomy

-Basic human decency is what should govern David Cash’s actions. In the minutes that Cash was peering over the bathroom stall, and witnessing Sherrice Iverson in obvious distress, as she tried to scream and escape Jeremy Strohmeyer he could have acted. Instead he decided to walk way. Cash let his indifference and lack of compassion guide him into leaving seven year old Sherrice to be brutally raped and murdered. He could have called the police, casino security, or even restrained Strohmeyer but he chose none of these options and opted to do nothing.

- Now and days of someone witnesses another person committing a crime, in most cases they are legally responsible for reporting it. If a person witnesses a wrongdoing they are morally obligated to tell someone or do something. We live in a country were the environment is such a do your own thing, don’t be concerned with other people’s problems. This mentality if I didn’t commit the crime or I didn’t do it so I’m not responsible is toxic. A person is morally responsible because they have the ability to prevent crime and/or de-escalate the situation before it gets worse.

-Two people could commit different crimes. One person could steal candy and the other could kill three people. If both were to receive the death penalty it would not be fair because the nature of the crimes are not in the same level. In David’s case the justice system did not see it fit to charge him in any way for witnessing a heinous act and not reporting it.

- I think every witness should take into account Kant’s second categorical imperative. Which is if you were to do something apply it as if it were a universal law that everyone would have to follow. So for the lady who decided to take out her phone and snap a picture of the house burning down. In that situation everyone would do that. Which creates a very big problem because nobody would be acting. Apply the same ideology to the boy on bus number 36 who was assaulted by a man and not helped. The finally apply it to David Cash. If it were a universal law and everyone would have to do what David Cash did we would be living in a world where people watch others suffer without a care in the world.

- As human beings we always have an obligation to act. The biggest difference between humans and animals beside the fact that we have the ability to speak is our ability to choose between right and wrong. Animals live on instinct, they rarely if ever, think about their actions. However, we have a conscious which is our moral compass and David Cash decided not to use his. In that moment there was a dichotomy, two David’s. One which he could have saved Sherrice Iverson‘ life and the other in which he walked away and let her die. Unfortunately, he decided to pick the decision that cost a seven year old girl her life.

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GOLFWOF123
Posts: 2

Originally posted by radicalbond on September 10, 2019 20:11

I believe that Cash’s actions should’ve been governed by a moral obligation he clearly seems to lack. David Cash isn’t a victim, he instead facilitated such a horrendous and tragic event to occur because he didn’t believe it was his problem. I think that as soon as he stepped into the women’s restroom following Jeremy Strohmeyer and Sherrice Iverson, it became his problem. David had been the only one with the ability to save Iverson’s life; in that moment he was all she had. In the Brian McGrory’s Boston Globe article, “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, we are given another example of ignoring our neighbor because we are not brave to care enough in order to intervene. McGrory writes, “A young boy needed his help, needed someone’s help, needed anyone’s help, and nobody was willing to give it.” Similarly, David Cash chose to protect himself, not to get his hands dirty and walk away from what soon become a nightmare, and because of that, he is also responsible and should’ve faced prison time like Strohmeyer. Cash should’ve been motivated by the fact that it was a little girl that was about to lose her life, a girl who had her whole entire life ahead of her. Instead, David Cash was able to go to college and graduate, meanwhile Jeremy Strohmeyer was able to escape the death penalty and continues to live. Sherrice Iverson wasn’t granted a choice because David chose to abandon her in a time of urgent need. To me, that makes Cash an accessory and accomplice to the horrid ending of a seven year old girl. In Erez Yoeli and David Rand’s, New York Times’ article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” they speak about what it’s like to make a decision as to save another person’s life, even if there is some risk to our own being. In their article, they write, “Every day, decent folk do good. But as the recent heroics in France remind us, heroes don’t just do good — they do good instinctively.” David Cash had the opportunity to let a fellow human being live, and he had no instinctive regard for her safety or life. I could not imagine what it was like for students going to college with Cash to take a class with him and know that if there was a life or death situation, David would have no regard for their personal safety as long as he didn’t find himself in any trouble.


I think that we are all obligated to step up and say something when we witness something wrong. I do believe there should be different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong” but we shouldn’t just turn a blind eye to it just because it doesn't directly affect us. This isn’t about left or right, or right or wrong, it’s about whether we are and can be brave enough to stand up and not be bystanders. It’s about whether we are really allowing these wrongs define our society. We are the face of history now, and we mustn’t normalize this. And I wonder if David Cash suffered the “bystander effect” that Judy Harris mentions in her WBUR Cognoscenti article, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age.” We have learned that in the ancient times, empires destroyed each other so that one could rise as the victor. Now we must learn that the only way we can all win is when we work together, protect each other, and become upstanders in the face of injustice or cruelty. Of course, one shouldn’t be sentenced to the death penalty for stealing or result to approaching someone doing the “wrong” in a hostile manner, but when we see something wrong, we can advise, alert, and hopefully prevent this from normalizing itself in our lives and the lives around us.


The “rules” that ought to govern the decision to act or merely witness should be based how dangerous it is. We should choose the action plan to engage based on the safety risks of our wellbeing and that of the people around us. But I think either way we should have an obligation to act always. We live together, we ought to help each other. The fact of the matter is, as a civilization we have done larger things but not necessarily better things. It’s time we work together to make our communities safer for everyone; we are neighbors after all.

“I think that as soon as he stepped into the women’s restroom following Jeremy Strohmeyer and Sherrice Iverson, it became his problem.“ I agree with this. David’s defense as to why he did not stop Jeremy was it’s not my problem why should I care. David going into the bathroom made it his problem because if he did not know that something was wrong then why would he follow them

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Wolf926
Posts: 1

Response to David Cash’s Unethical Actions


David Cash’s actions taken toward the raping and murder of Sherrice was inhumane and utterly disgusting. As humans, we classify our actions based on the severity of a crime, and thus for David to not take any actions was unethical. When reviewing such a case, we must incorporate the supporting factors that may have affected David’s actions to stay quiet. Was he on drugs or alcohol? Did he not speak out in an act of self defense so that he did not suffer the fate of Sherrice? What was his reasoning behind the decision to stay quiet while Jeremy took advantage of a 7 year old girl while he watched? We dive deeper into such a discussion to figure this out.

As humans, we tend to make minor mistakes almost on a daily basis, and defend our imperfections with the fact that our “crimes” were not severe and that our actions can be cleansed. In David’s case, his “mistake was more than a forgive and forget action. In “The Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age” it told of a house fire where several individuals took the liberty to stand around and take pictures while others acted and looked for people in the house. It is reasonable to believe there may have not been an immediate risk thinking the building is empty, yet the physical act of showing no desire to help is immoral. People tend to take part in an internal war deciding whether they should do the right thing and risk their safety net catching on fire, or play it safe and watch as another individual takes action to help. This is where the Bystander law may play into effect.

An individual should take a moment to place themselves into the shoes of the victim and decide if they were in the victim’s position, would they want someone to step in and help. The morals surrounding the value of life is apparent in these types of situations, and it is what I believe leaves people to question their morals and intentions deep down. In David Cash’s case, however, he was a cruel individual who I believe didn't even bring his morals into question. I believe he did not understand the severity of the crime Jeremy was enacting, and he therefore may have compared this action to Jeremy simply cheating on a test. That is just one of the contributing aspects to the issue of this intense case.

I am attempting to take a new approach into David’s psychological thinking, and if he had a second chance would he follow through differently? The rules of society play into effect in deciding whether David’s decision was reasonable based on the severity of this crime. In the eyes of society, it is thought that what David did was morally wrong which I can agree with. As I have said, if Jeremy’s crime would have been stealing or cheating, David’s decision to follow through with ignoring the problem at hand may have been more accepted, but the fact that someone's life was at stake in this case has me dumbfounded. This is what I believe is the issue we all have. If David had followed society’s rules in what a bystander’s obligations , for such a degree of unethical action, , were followed through, then it's result would inevitably change the outcome of this horrible crime.

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woahboys
Posts: 2

Originally posted by smoothshark on September 10, 2019 19:31

Originally posted by woahboys on September 09, 2019 22:42

I personally believe if you see another human suffering first hand, and you know you can stop it, you are obligated to help. It seems logical since in the world today, there’s always people who will be at a disadvantage and people who will be in a situation where they are able to help. They should be required to help. However, on a human level, it seems absurd that this is even something up for debate. As Deborah Stone discussed in her writing, most humans impulsively jump in and help without even thinking of the consequences. Is this not the case for everyone? I genuinely don’t understand how someone, like David, can watch another human, let alone a young, small girl, be attacked and do nothing at all. He did nothing to stop it in the moment, nothing to hold the attacker accountable, and nothing to find justice when he easily could have done these all. How can someone look at the face of a human in pain and not just feel in the unstoppable instinct to stop it? As in the example that Brian McGrory wrote about with the young boy on the bus, how could these adults hear his cries, see the blood coming from his nose, and see the pain and tears on his face and just sit there? I understand that people sometimes discipline their kids physically but be realistic, it’s a miracle that boy didn’t die. It’s so peculiar to me that not everyone has this instintic and my first thought is why should there even be any obligation or law to correct this, but the passive bystander is all too common of an occurrence. If sometimes people won’t naturally act, I certainly think they should be required by law to do so because for some reason humans won’t act to save another of their own kind unless some greater power forces them too. As Vincent Van Gogh said, it’s morally the right thing to do and since they’re watching it occur, they should naturally act. Yet this just doesn’t always happen, and it disgusts me to be frank, but humans are just greedy beings.

However, discussing the nature of the wrong or how “bad” it is, there does unfortunately have to be a line. You can’t help everyone, which is sad to admit but true. Most people don’t stop when they see people on the street asking them to donate and help whatever good organization. They don’t do it because they don’t see the humans hurting right in front of their faces. I understand why people are bystanders in situations like these; it’s easy to disconnect yourself from the circumstances and not to inconvenience yourself. That’s where I suppose the law and obligations should not apply. It feels wrong to say this as I believe people should always help people, but I guess you shouldn’t be required to help unless it is happening right in front of your own two eyes and you can stop it yourself. It simply isn’t practical otherwise. I understand the hesitation and distance when you can be far from the issue, but when you literally can’t ignore it you should be required to help.

As “The Trick to Acting Heroically” addressed, often times one of the forces that stops people from acting is overthinking it. For example, most often when in the envelope game Player 1 knows the consequence, they won’t help. I understand that, I do. If I saw a woman running at my covered in blood and screaming I’d certainly be frightened; anyone would. Yet morally, on a human level, I believe it’s the right thing to do. You have to do it as everyone is a human, and we have to help each other. However fear and thinking often get in the way of acting, and therefore this is why I believe a law is necessary. Make it so people have to act or they’ll face consequences themselves. Do whatever is needed so that the victim ends up getting helped. It just feels like the right thing to do. It would’ve saved the life of Sherrice Iverson, Kitty Genovese, and countless others, and a human life is worth quite a great amount.

I was interested by your last paragraph talking about how fear is often a motive that turns people away from helping others. We are by nature afraid of danger and try to avoid it, so unfortunately going out of our way to help someone in peril is not the easiest thing and it takes a lot of courage. It takes courage to sometimes put your life on the line, or stand up for something knowing there will be judgement. In more dire cases like this it is often easier to be the bystander and it is understandable if someone is frozen in fear. I find it inexcusable, however, in a situation where you don't have to give up much to help another. And what I also find very infuriating is an instance mentioned in the article by Deborah Stone where when there are many witnesses present each one becomes a bystander without taking action because they think someone else will do something. This results in no one being helped. It's true, people are inclined to be as compassionate as we want them to be. Your idea about proposing a law and obligation to help is valid, but seems a little extreme and hard to carry out. Maybe instead it would be easier to give people more of an incentive to help others with some type of reward. Obviously this solution has flaws as well, but clearly people need a motive to offer their help.

To be honest, I was quite angry when I wrote my post. I was intense with my ideas as well. After having a bit of time to think things over, especially after our class discussion, I greatly agree with what you've written. It is quite difficult and extreme to make a law to always force people to help; in an ideal world people just would do the right thing anyways. But we don't live in a perfect world and humans are flawed. I do like the reward idea to motivate people. As I said before, people most often will find the strength to rid themselves of their fear and help if it benefits themselves. Thank you for replying to what I wrote and coming up with ideas that bounce off of mine in a more practical, realistic way.

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asdfghjkl0112
Posts: 3

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Morality plays a huge role in the actions that people decide to take in certain situations. I think the thing that should have governed Cash’s actions had to come from within. However, he is still failing to believe that he did anything wrong. He felt as though it was not his responsibility to step in to help the innocent girl because his best friend did something that was “out of character”. The fact is, David Cash, had shown no remorse after the fact. In interviews and everything that happened post-murder, he did not feel it was his place to step in.

No one is ever obligated to do anything. No matter who the situation is benefitting, an obligation is never a must. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain things that you should step in to say or do to help prevent the pain felt by the victim of a certain situation. Like all things, there is an extremist point and one on the lower end of the spectrum. I believe that human life is one of the most valuable things on this earth and all situations that can possibly take away a human life is considered to be on the extreme end of the spectrum. When someone witnesses the wrongdoing of someone else, they can choose whether or not to intervene. You have to use your own judgement of what is at stake. In this situation, it was a human life. Although not obligated, if Cash had stepped in within the 22 minutes Jeremey was assaulting and murdering Sherrice, a human life would have been saved.

Rules are not different but altered depending on the nature of “wrong”. If you catch your friend stealing or cheating on a test, there is no human life on the line. Morally, you should still step in and say something, but you have way more time to think of a reaction. You can talk to your friend about it in the next minute, later that day, or the next day. However, if you see your friend beating a sixie up on the bus, your natural reaction and/or instinct would probably be taking action right away (especially in comparison to the other two situations). There is more at stake in that situation that you cannot go back from.

Legally, you cannot be charged for not doing anything. However, most of the time, morals is what drive you to step into a situation. If you don’t step in and you know about a situation, a lot of times, you will ask yourself “what if?” In wbur’s “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age”, the point gets brought up that we are so connected to our phones nowadays that instead of actually stepping in to help, we spend time documenting what’s happening (like the fire). As much as I find it important to spread what is going on out there, it is equally as important to be an upstander. You kind of have to decide for yourself what won’t harm you that much (if you step in), whether or not you would want others to do the same to help you or your family, and how much helping would harm you and you wouldn’t want someone you care about doing the same thing. However, most heroic acts are done without much thought. That part is all up to your own judgment, but even the little things will always make a difference (the same ideas that The Samaritan’s Dilemma is suggesting). Helping strangers comes in many layers as well. Sometimes you get something in return and other times even the consequences are too high to handle for yourself (“The Trick to Acting Heroically”). Who’s to say that maybe the reason Cash didn’t do anything is that he wasn't going to get anything in return?
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osaiha
Posts: 1

David Cash - Crusher of Dreams

Cash’s failure to act during this literal life or death situation is what makes this nightmare so vivid. His actions should have been governed by the raw fear, panic, and disgust that most standard civilians would have experienced during such a sight, resulting in some clear physical action. They should have been governed by remorse and regret, emotions that even toddlers experience, rather than the nonchalance and blatant disregard that he displayed while on the radio. The waves of negativity that rained over him during the peak of this case and, if anything, only exacerbated this thought from Cash. It’s “not his problem”, right?

Questioning the obligations of those who witness a crime is always insightful, yet can bring up various conflicting factors. As we discussed in class, the degree of seriousness is one of those same factors. When respectfully comparing witnessing a child, stealing sunglasses, and an act of murder, like Sherrice Iverson’s, it would seem that most wouldn’t even mention the child, especially if this child is still at an age of maturing, like 7 or so. It’s not harming anyone physically or directly. If anything they would contemplate whether or not they should’ve spoken up and told the child’s parent before leaving the store. However, in a case as serious as the murder of Sherrice Iverson. We then feel obligated to fight the attacker off or to mediate the situation, whether we actually do perform these heroic acts is a different story. In a good chunk of cases mentioned towards the end of Deborah Stone’s The Samaritan’s Dilemma, we see bystanders standing up, jumping to action and pinning down the perpetrator until authorities arrived. However, there are cases where, yes, we may see someone in need and wish to help, but either dont know how to go about it or just aren’t confident in their assumptions. In Brian McGory’s The Nightmare on the 36 Bus, he describes a heartbreaking scene of this seven-year-old child being beaten to the point of bleeding by a grown adult, who, may I add, was possibly under the influence. Yet no one did anything but look away. In that article, Auclair felt that he would’ve been out of place if he had interfered because it may have been a “family thing”. However, the difference between the bystander, Daniel Auclair, in Brian McGory’s The Nightmare on the 36 Bus and David Cash is the feeling of guilt, remorse, and regret. Auclair’s conscience plagued him with such remorse that he didn’t even sleep that night. However, I’m sure David Cash slept peacefully seeing as how he’s “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems”.

Cash witnessed Jeremy and Sherrice’s interactions escalate from “throwing paper towels at each other”, as Cash claimed, to Sherrice’s being raped and killed. He chose to watch this little girl suffer in the worse way possible. The actions David performed to “stop” Jeremy were equivalent to absolutely nothing. He was practically encouraging it. Yet, he was still seen merely as a bystander. Today, we have laws and bills that encourage bystanders to act when seeing someone in need, especially in the case of medical attention, such as the Good Samaritan Law, however, during these situations, common civilians if they see a situation where someone is dying, they aren’t thinking about laws. As seen in The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age by Judy Harris, you have different groups almost. One group is taking pictures and documenting the event, another group would be calling authorities, and another would hopefully try to save the person with the resources they have.

The discussion regarding bystanderism is a difficult one in general, however, jumping back to David Cash, his, honestly, sociopathic reactions regarding his involvement with Sherrice Iverson’s murder is beyond that of being a simple bystander. He is an accomplice. David Cash allowed Jeremy Strohmeyer to take her life away from her before it even truly started. If David Cash had done anything more for Sherrice, would she be alive today? Would she have had children of her own? Would she have been an acclaimed public speaker ? Would she have found the cure for cancer? Now, we will never know.

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Orangutan
Posts: 3

The dilemma of the bad Samaritan

I feel as though Cash should have been governed by at least some sort of empathy. Morals that are morals because of societal norms are important for people to be good people but in the case of someone J-walking, it would be frankly absurd to stop them and call the cops just because the law tells you to do so. If you follow the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, you would probably empathize with someone who is being murdered by your best friend. If Cash had enough empathy to follow that he could’ve saved Sherrie. For the question of what obligation someone has when they witness a wrongdoing, I again point to the golden rule. If someone feels that they need to intervene when something wrong is happening, they most likely can empathize with the victim and thus will take action as an upstander. The rules for the golden rule change with the severity of the crime. Something small like cheating on a test may not affect someone who is fine with being cheated on and thus will not feel like they need to step in and stop the cheating. If the bystander steps in and stops whatever is happening, they most likely would not want whatever is happening to happen to them. This is how it should probably work but of course, many people in the world do not intervene when they see things happening because of the bystander effect.

As Brian McGory’s article shows, even when a child is being pummeled, people feel as though they cannot step in without breaking social rules and stepping out of line. I was talking about this story with my mother this morning and she was quite horrified the no one decided to stop the violence. She said, “If it was a parent who was punishing their child with maybe a smack I probably wouldn't step in but I would definitely step in if I saw a dishevelled drunk man breaking a child's nose.” It seems as though even though we all say that in situation like that we would be the one to stand up for the child but as the newspaper showed it's not as easy as it sounds. In The Trick Of Acting Heroicly By Erez Yoeli and David Rand, They talk about how almost all acts of heroism are not consious, delibrate decisions; they are almost all spontanious and happen without thinking. They also talk about a game that had been conducted on whether or not the consequences affect the decision and action of the player 1. It seemed that instinct to act always beat out debating the pros and cons when it came to helping those in need. I also think that the bystander effect will probably be unaffected with the explosion of cell phone and social media use. There have always been many people who stand and gawk at disasters except now those people who gawk have cell phones to record the incidents. Judy Harris does bring up a good point about cell phones but I feel that people who wouldve instinctivley jumped into a dangerous situation to save someone will still intervene in todays society. I think that Cash showed a complete lack of human empathy and that if he had been an upstander he wouldve chosen to do more than just tap his friend on the head and give him a “look” and then leave Sherrice for dead.

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Orangutan
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Lonecone on September 10, 2019 19:00


I think that what should have governed Cash’s actions ultimately are his morals and the knowledge that a young girl was being assaulted (when he was still in the bathroom), and that he had the power to stop his friend Jeremy. Moreover, upon learning that Jeremy killed Sherrice, Cash should have had the decency to tell an authority about it. Sadly, Cash did not do any of this, and even went on to play at another casino with his now-murderer bestfriend as if nothing happened. Furthermore, Cash’s lack of action cannot be explained by a bystander’s dilemma of not knowing what to do during a dire situation. Unlike the people in the “bystander effect” discussed in the article “The Bystander Effect in The Cellphone Age” and in the book The Samaritan’s Dilemma, wherein people tend to become bystanders because of the idea that they are of no help with the presence of other people, Cash was alone in the bathroom with Jeremy and Sherrice. Clearly, Cash was the only one who could have been able to stop Jeremy and he had every opportunity to do so, but he did not. His lack of action could not be argued by the human tendency to be a bystander anymore, but simply by his utter lack of remorse and human decency.


Now, in my opinion, the obligation of a person who witnesses a wrong depends on what the “wrong” is. The circumstances would also be different depending on who the culprit is. For example, witnessing a stranger steal from a store might obligate the witness to tell the store manager. However, witnessing a close friend or a family member stealing from a store might make the witness more hesitant to report to the manager in an effort to: 1) keep their friend/relative from getting in trouble, and 2) protect their relationship. The degree of the “wrong” would be an important factor as well. For example, if a person’s life is at stake, such as bullying, assault, and harassment, the sense of obligation to help or get help is higher. In relation to our class discussion today (Sept. 10), there were significantly more people who felt obligated to take action in a pretend scenario where a human life is at risk (a child getting attacked by your best friend on a bus) vs when the pretend scenario is less “wrong”, such as witnessing your best friend cheating on a test.


There are various “rules” that ought to govern the decision to act or witness. In terms of legal rules, there are some states that require its citizens to act or rescue, such as Minnesota and Rhode Island. In Massachusetts law, Chapter 268, section 40 states that, “Whoever knows that another person is a victim of aggravated rape, rape, murder, manslaughter or armed robbery and is at the scene of said crime shall, to the extent that said person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report said crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable.” Everyone also has a moral obligation to aid people in need. Everyone who has an understanding of what is wrong and what is right ultimately is obligated to try to at least ask authorities for help if they themselves are unable to help. Sadly, as Cash proved to us, the truth is not everyone has a set of morals or human decency to take action even when a human life is at stake.


I believe that we don’t always have an obligation to act. Ultimately, it all depends on the circumstances and the people involved, as well as the possible threat that comes with trying to be an upstander. As discussed in “The Trick To Acting Heroically”, people tend to get hindered from helping out by the cost that comes with it, which is the possibility of putting their own life at risk. It is not always necessary to put one’s own life in danger, but the least a person can do is to get help before it’s too late. In my opinion, a person only truly becomes a bystander when their morals fail them and simply walk away without trying to aid the person(s) in need.

I agree with what you say and I think you did a great job saying it! I loved how you brought up in class disscusion and you looked up outside resources to support your argument. I also had not thought about how David Cash didnt really even count as a bystander since there was nobody else to stand by. He just completely failed as a moral and just human being and he couldve easy saved Sherrice

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Orangutan
Posts: 3

Originally posted by redcheetah150 on September 09, 2019 22:07

The way David Cash spoke about it, as if that night was just one of many, as if it was a typical night for an 18-year old boy, is obviously disgusting. He should surely be held at least somewhat responsible for the death of Sherrice Iverson. But to compare how culpable Cash and Jeremy Strohmeyer are is not of much use. Simply, and understatedly, they both were in the wrong. More important is the comparison of different situations that bystanders face in the world. Knowing that your best friend raped and killed a seven year-old, and deciding to say nothing, is far worse than seeing someone cheating on a test and deciding to say nothing. All human beings cannot be expected to always be upstanders. Ideally, yes, but realistically, no. We care too much about what others may think sometimes. Or maybe we’re scared. This is understandable --- up to a certain very blurred line. For example, the people on the 36 bus described by Brian McGrory may have had a reason to be scared. Many of them wish they’d acted, but in the moment, the man was terrifyingly violent, and could have harmed them. Whether or not their reasoning is valid is not up to me or you, because we were not in their situation. The same goes for the people who saw the fire near the baseball game, in “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age.” Some people are more courageous than others, whether inherently or as a result of practice. In “The Trick To Acting Heroically,” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, we get some more insight into what might have been driving people in those previously mentioned incidents to act or not to act. Those who didn’t act right away, and instead mulled over their decision, even for a few seconds, were much less likely to act. Those situations, the one on the 36 bus, and the one with the fire, were right around that blurred line, and it’s impossible to say that you definitely would have acted. But the situation in Las Vegas is in another stratosphere. It’s not just any other case of someone being a bystander and not an upstander, and there are absolutely different sets of rules on different occasions.

Hey I really liked your post! I thought you brought up some great ideas and you connected the well to the articles. I like how you pointed out the social part about the bystander effect and how it is connected to peoples relationships because I sometimes wonder whether or not Cash wouldve done something if it had been a random stranger instead of his best friend assaulting Sherrice.

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asdfghjkl0112
Posts: 3

Originally posted by redcheetah150 on September 09, 2019 22:07

The way David Cash spoke about it, as if that night was just one of many, as if it was a typical night for an 18-year old boy, is obviously disgusting. He should surely be held at least somewhat responsible for the death of Sherrice Iverson. But to compare how culpable Cash and Jeremy Strohmeyer are is not of much use. Simply, and understatedly, they both were in the wrong. More important is the comparison of different situations that bystanders face in the world. Knowing that your best friend raped and killed a seven year-old, and deciding to say nothing, is far worse than seeing someone cheating on a test and deciding to say nothing. All human beings cannot be expected to always be upstanders. Ideally, yes, but realistically, no. We care too much about what others may think sometimes. Or maybe we’re scared. This is understandable --- up to a certain very blurred line. For example, the people on the 36 bus described by Brian McGrory may have had a reason to be scared. Many of them wish they’d acted, but in the moment, the man was terrifyingly violent, and could have harmed them. Whether or not their reasoning is valid is not up to me or you, because we were not in their situation. The same goes for the people who saw the fire near the baseball game, in “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age.” Some people are more courageous than others, whether inherently or as a result of practice. In “The Trick To Acting Heroically,” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, we get some more insight into what might have been driving people in those previously mentioned incidents to act or not to act. Those who didn’t act right away, and instead mulled over their decision, even for a few seconds, were much less likely to act. Those situations, the one on the 36 bus, and the one with the fire, were right around that blurred line, and it’s impossible to say that you definitely would have acted. But the situation in Las Vegas is in another stratosphere. It’s not just any other case of someone being a bystander and not an upstander, and there are absolutely different sets of rules on different occasions.

I agree with everything said here. I also think that often times, people forget that the choice they make will affect someone on the other end. I also don't know if I believe that everyone would have acted in the case of bus 36. I think we as the whole human race an do a better job understanding how to handle and react to these situations. Of course, no one want to anticipate something as awful as Sherrice's case, but if we were educated or educate ourselves on being upstanders, we would and should feel morally obligated to act upon situations like these which further proves that Cash should have done something.

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FallingStars
Posts: 3

On Thin Slicing & Empathy

In general, our actions are informed by both our past experiences and our current stimuli. As human beings we make split second judgements of certain interactions or instances. These gut feelings are a result of thin slicing. Thin slicing is when we use the small details of our past experiences to make quick decisions. Its intuitive: like thinking without thinking. For example, in class when Ms. Freeman started talking about two teenage boys and a little girl, I immediately made the assumption that these boys had harmed this girl in some way. Regardless of the accuracy or bias of this assumption, it was based on my own thin slicing. Growing up, you here countless instances of stories such as Sherrice Iverson’s. Especially in a class like Facing, where we learn about all the horrible things people do to each other, I assumed the worst.

Now similar to me, every single person uses thin slicing to form their own opinions, and it constantly affects our decisions. David Cash knew from prior experience that a boy entering a ladies restroom is strange. There is no other reason as to why he would have followed Jeremy. When he’s watching Jeremy drag Sherrice into a bathroom stall, it is clear that he immediately assumes the worst. Why else would he follow him into the adjacent bathroom stall and tap him on the head? He knew what happened in situations such as these. So why didn’t he do anything? All signs pointed to danger. Even if David thought that his life was at risk by trying to intervene, why didn’t he report the incident to the police or a security guard? During those 20 minutes when Jeremy was in the bathroom, he had ample time to find help. David Cash was not a clueless bystander, he knowingly choose to do nothing.

As bystanders we are expected to make split second decisions. In order to do this we again use thin slicing. We see signs that a situation is dangerous and react, according to the degree of danger. If somebody was stealing jewelry from Claire‘s, I wouldn’t react the same way as when someone is actively harming someone else.

We always have an obligation to react. Human beings are supposed to support each other. We are social beings. If we see something happening that may harm someone else, we must speak up. Just calling 911 can save somebody’s life. There is a reason it exists. In the case of the fire during the baseball game, Harris talks about people just standing by and taking pictures. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. It is good to have documentation of disasters. Someone should have called 911 and checked to see if anyone was in those buildings, however. In the case of the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, the other riders could have called 911 and not just sat there. Even if they had assumed it was a family affair, domestic violence is not okay. The boy could have been saved from his abuser.

The most interesting part of this case study, in my opinion, was the article by Deborah Stone. In it she mentions Crispin McCay, who justifies his heroic actions by saying he would want someone to do the same for his family members. This is a common reason for why people act as upstanders. They relate to the victim in some way. It makes you wonder if David Cash could not see Sherrice Iverson as human enough to save? Would he have stopped Jeremy if she was white? Would he feel remorse now if she was white?

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asdfghjkl0112
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Strunk on September 10, 2019 18:56

Originally posted by green1234 on September 10, 2019 15:42

I think that Cash’s familiarity with the attacker should have governed his actions in the situation. He said specifically that Strohmeyer was his best friend, so I believe that he would have had a much easier time stopping Strohmeyer before he killed Iverson. It is interesting to me that Cash did not have the instincts to step in and stop the situation as he was close with the attacker. I would have thought that his care for the attacker would influence him to make sure that the Strohmeyer didn’t ruin his life forever by committing this crime. In The Trick to Acting Heroically it says that instincts are the main things that drive a person to be a hero and stop a crime and to me the most powerful instincts come from love. Cash’s platonic love for Strohmeyer as his best friend should have overtaken his actions and caused him to stop Strohmeyer before it was too late.


The one obligation that I believe the witness has is reporting a wrong to the authorities or someone that has the resources to defuse the situation calmly and safely. That is what the people on the 36 bus did wrong. Brian McGory says that Auclair did not call the police after the fact and I think that was a huge mistake on his part. If witnesses feel comfortable defusing the situation then they should act but I don’t believe that they should be obligated to act as one victim of a crime is better than two. Judy Harris’ husband felt comfortable running into a burning building and so he did. That is admirable but I don’t believe the man taking photos is a horrible person. He didn’t feel that he could be a hero and so he didn’t act. However, I do agree with Strunk (on the discussion board) that there were definitely other things that the man could of done instead of just standing there taking pictures, like getting water or shouting. He didn't have to run into a burning building to be an upstander. Although, I don’t think he was a horrible person for not being an upstander because I can’t assume that he didn’t want to do these things and was just scared or conflicted.


I think that our obligation to act depends on the situation. For example, if a person’s child is bullying another child, I believe that it is that person's obligation to step in and defuse the situation. However, if someone comes across a stranger shooting someone I think their best bet is to call the authorities right away and running away so that they don’t get shot as well. But, if that shooter is the witness’ sister or brother and someone who knows the witness and has a relationship with them, then I think that the witness has an obligation to step in as they have a much better chance of diffusing the situation than a stranger would.


I could spend hours and pages talking about each specific situation and whether or not a witness has an obligation to step in. To me there are no definite specific rules that should govern a person’s decision to act. It depends on the victim, the witness, the perpetrator, the crime and the level of danger. I don’t want to specifically list rules because I think I could change my mind if I heard about a situation that warranted it. However, I can say that to me, two things that dictate whether or not a person takes action are the comfortability of a bystander to act and the familiarity that they feel towards the perpet

I agree with green that the fact that Jeremy and him were friends should have been a greater reason to step in and stop him. As a friend, David is supposed to look out Jeremy and that doesn't mean letting him get away with murder, it's telling your friend and helping them grow and learn right from wrong. David proves to a fake friend for not helping Sherrice, stopping Jeremey, stopping hi from hurting an innocent girl and in the meanwhile also help his friend from commiting a crime. Also in this case, David once again WASN"T scared of the situation nor feared his friend thus could've physically inetervened and chose not to and not even do anything nor feel any remorse. I wonder due to this how he morally defended this to his own friends or relatives. It surprises me heavily that he was able to graduate for a prestigious college and go on with his life.

I like how you raised the question of why David didn't step up even though he claims to be best friends with Jeremy. I never thought about that. I feel like if someone is your real friend, that gives you more of a reason and obligation to say something. To be able to actually take action to go through with doing something this sickening means you need serious help. Not turning your friend in because what they did is "out of character" is not good enough of an excuse.

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purplecactus
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Purplelilac on September 10, 2019 22:30

Side effects of drugs or alcohol do not include a sudden urge to rape and murder an innocent and helpless 7 year old girl. Even if the argument was made that Jeremy was not of clear mind, he was conscious enough to make sure Sherrice was dead, by snapping her neck after strangling her.

I completely agree with this standpoint. I kept coming back to thinking about the 'under the influence' theory, that the boys had been so out of their mind on drugs and alcohol that they were not completely responsible for everything that transpired. But then I keep thinking, if David was too far under the influence to call for help, or decide to do literally anything about the situation, how was he able to hoist himself up on the toilet seat and contort himself so as to make eye contact with Jeremy?

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Joe Student
Posts: 3
When it comes to being a good Samaritan, people aren’t necessarily inclined to do the right thing. In this day and age, a lot of people would instinctively pull out their cellphone and record whatever is going on, sometimes yelling “Worldstar!” in the process. Despite this, most people feel that whatever the situation is determines whether or not they should intervene. According to the 36 bus story, a man was beating a young child to a pulp, only for him to be later known as the boy’s father. By today’s standards, that constitute immediate action followed by an arrest. Also by today’s standards seems to include sitting back and watching the whole thing. According to a New York Times article written by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, what sets a hero apart from a regular person is their instincts. A hero would intervene in a conflict without even thinking about it, and this what David Cash failed to do. Instead of stopping his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer from doing what he did, he let it happen and tried to forget about it without going to the police. Rather than be an upstander, he decided to become a bystander which resulted in the death of seven year old Sherrice Iverson.
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Joe Student
Posts: 3

Originally posted by redcheetah150 on September 09, 2019 22:07

The way David Cash spoke about it, as if that night was just one of many, as if it was a typical night for an 18-year old boy, is obviously disgusting. He should surely be held at least somewhat responsible for the death of Sherrice Iverson. But to compare how culpable Cash and Jeremy Strohmeyer are is not of much use. Simply, and understatedly, they both were in the wrong. More important is the comparison of different situations that bystanders face in the world. Knowing that your best friend raped and killed a seven year-old, and deciding to say nothing, is far worse than seeing someone cheating on a test and deciding to say nothing. All human beings cannot be expected to always be upstanders. Ideally, yes, but realistically, no. We care too much about what others may think sometimes. Or maybe we’re scared. This is understandable --- up to a certain very blurred line. For example, the people on the 36 bus described by Brian McGrory may have had a reason to be scared. Many of them wish they’d acted, but in the moment, the man was terrifyingly violent, and could have harmed them. Whether or not their reasoning is valid is not up to me or you, because we were not in their situation. The same goes for the people who saw the fire near the baseball game, in “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age.” Some people are more courageous than others, whether inherently or as a result of practice. In “The Trick To Acting Heroically,” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, we get some more insight into what might have been driving people in those previously mentioned incidents to act or not to act. Those who didn’t act right away, and instead mulled over their decision, even for a few seconds, were much less likely to act. Those situations, the one on the 36 bus, and the one with the fire, were right around that blurred line, and it’s impossible to say that you definitely would have acted. But the situation in Las Vegas is in another stratosphere. It’s not just any other case of someone being a bystander and not an upstander, and there are absolutely different sets of rules on different occasions.

You made a good point about how now every single person would think to be an upstander. However, the life of a seven year old girl was at stake, and I feel like if David was a real friend, he wouldn't let Jeremy do something like that. Furthermore, him not choosing to incriminate his friend destroyed his public image as multiple protests ensued in order to get him kicked out of school. David sould've intervened because it wasn't worth dealing with the outcome of the situation.

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