posts 1 - 15 of 32
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 250

Readings (select 2 of the 4 short articles to read):


Background:

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


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


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


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


Your task for this post:

As awful as the Sherrice Iverson murder was, we would like to hear your views on the situation.


  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

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


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dollarcoffee
Boston, MA
Posts: 14
I think basic human decency should have governed David Cash’s ethics. Regardless of who you are and who you are emotionally connected to, when you see someone committing a horrific act such as what happened to Sherrice Iverson, it is your job to intervene. When you witness a wrong on the same level as what happened to Sherrice Iverson it is your obligation to engage and do absolutely everything you can to help. I think a rule is that if someone around you is incurring bodily harm you have to intervene. Like the bystanders in the article “Nightmare on the 36” where a random man pummeled a young boy and everyone looked on and then they let the boy get off alone with that man, David Cash was just as guilty as the perpetrator when he failed to intervene when he saw what was happening. When a bystander doesn’t stand up against a perpetrator, they are just as bad. I think in situations like in the article “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” where you aren’t watching someone hurt someone else, but witnessing a serious situation where humans could potentially be hurt, it’s still your job to contact law enforcement, make sure there’s no one still in active danger and help people who have just escaped the dangerous situation. In most situations the bystander’s dilemma will probably not be as clear cut as in the “Nightmare on the 36” but as a decent human being it’s still your job to intervene when someone could incur serious injury.
Blue terrier
Posts: 13

What should have governed Cash’s actions, in my opinion, was basic human morality, as well as the understanding that Strohmeyer was taking advantage of, brutally assaulting, and eventually murdering 7 year old Sherrice Iverson. Humans are incredibly complex, all of us having different moral codes based on our personal life experiences and upbringings. However, there are many actions, such as the one carried out by Strohmeyer, that are utterly reprehensible, regardless of the circumstance. Furthermore, the choice by Cash to not step in and stop the situation is just as reprehensible. Cash should have been governed by a certainty that there was a human being, a seven year old human being, who was in one of the most painful situations a human can be in, that would have altered the course of her life forever, had she lived. Iverson was deeply in need of someone stepping and saving her from further mental and physical damage. That could have (and should have been) Cash. People witnessing wrongs have a moral obligation to help a fellow human being with the pain and suffering that they are experiencing.


One particular trend I found interesting in Deborah Stone’s excerpt, The Samaritan’s Dilemma, is that humans tend to view victims in situations as personal names that they can connect with. For example, several upstanders explained how they viewed the victim as someone’s mother, father, brother, or sister. Personally, I think this is the wrong thought process to have. Bystanders should step in not because the victim is someone's wife, brother or sister, they should step in because the victim is a human being. A victim in need of help.


Another thing I found interesting in “Nightmare on the 36 Bus,” was that most bystanders’ first gut instinct is usually correct, but the longer they think, the more their brains tell them not to get involved. For example, Aucalair originally stood up from his seat with the intent to do something. Not too shortly after, he sat back down. His brain had convinced him that it was a family issue and it is best not to get involved. He has since deeply regretted that situation. In a similar sense, most upstanders usually explain how they just didn’t think when stepping in. Both these instances show that the original gut feeling, the one saying to help a fellow human being, is usually right.


There are different rules depending on the nature of “wrong.” The severity of the damage, gravity of the situation, and impact on the victim is personally what I use to measure the nature of wrongs, and the necessity to step in or to merely just witness. For example, if I saw a young girl being sexually assaulted, similar to what Cash saw, I would step in and do as much as I could to help the situation in a heartbeat, as most people would and should. However, if I saw someone steal a pair of earrings while I was out shopping, my reaction would be very different, and I might not say anything. Both situations are morally wrong, but the severity of the damage, gravity of the situation, and impact on the victim are completely different. In my opinion, it is impossible to place a word (sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always) on the frequency in which humans should step in, as the necessity of a human being varies significantly from situation to situation.

Blue terrier
Posts: 13

Originally posted by dollarcoffee on September 15, 2021 17:13

I think basic human decency should have governed David Cash’s ethics. Regardless of who you are and who you are emotionally connected to, when you see someone committing a horrific act such as what happened to Sherrice Iverson, it is your job to intervene. When you witness a wrong on the same level as what happened to Sherrice Iverson it is your obligation to engage and do absolutely everything you can to help. I think a rule is that if someone around you is incurring bodily harm you have to intervene. Like the bystanders in the article “Nightmare on the 36” where a random man pummeled a young boy and everyone looked on and then they let the boy get off alone with that man, David Cash was just as guilty as the perpetrator when he failed to intervene when he saw what was happening. When a bystander doesn’t stand up against a perpetrator, they are just as bad. I think in situations like in the article “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” where you aren’t watching someone hurt someone else, but witnessing a serious situation where humans could potentially be hurt, it’s still your job to contact law enforcement, make sure there’s no one still in active danger and help people who have just escaped the dangerous situation. In most situations the bystander’s dilemma will probably not be as clear cut as in the “Nightmare on the 36” but as a decent human being it’s still your job to intervene when someone could incur serious injury.

I definitely agree when you said that the bystander is just as guilty as the perpetrator. Witnessing a human in distress and choosing to ignore it is evil.

augustine
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Cash should have had the common decency to stop his friend from literally murdering a child. Like Blue Terrier said, the standards that people hold themselves to might vary from person to person, but regardless of that I think that everyone should have basic morals, and clearly either Cash didn't have them, or they were severely skewed. Despite the fact that he knew the perpetrator, Cash should have recognized that the victim was a helpless child who needed his help. Choosing not to say anything, because he 'knows his friend' makes the situation even worse, because he clearly knew that Strohmeyer was doing something wrong, and still did not do a thing. Even if he himself was too scared to stop his friend, he could have asked anyone else in the casino to help, like his father, or casino security. Every person witnessing a wrong has a moral obligation to interfere, and to try an help. Though it does depend on the nature of the wrong- if you witness someone committing a victimless crime, then you might want to stop them but it is not some huge moral failing if you don't, because no one is being hurt. In situations where there is a clear victim, and that victim is being hurt then it is a persons job to stop whatever is happening. It is clear that what Strohmeyer did was despicable, but what Cash did, or rather didn't do, was equally as horrifying. Just like the people on that bus in "Nightmare on the 36 Bus", who just stared at the little boy who was clearly in pain and in a bad situation. He needed help, and not a single person lifted a finger to do anything. I don't know these people, or their morals, but I do know that something is severely wrong with you if you can watch an 8 year old boy be pummeled and not do anything to help. In "The Trick to Acting Heroically" the author claims that helping other people is instinctive. Meaning, if a person sees someone else in trouble they will act without even thinking, to help the other person. Based on the other article and Sherrice Iverson's story, I am not sure how accurate this is, but I think it is a good example of what should be done. It doesn't matter if you have no connection to the victim, it is your job as a member or society to do what is right.

GullAlight
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Although I agree that Cash definitely should have stepped up and prevented his best friend from at the very least, restraining a young girl, it is highly likely that in the moment, he wasn't able to recognise the inherent humanity of Sherrice as strongly as that of his best friend. Should he have intervened? Definitely. However, I think it's possible to understand his mentality, and even though morally, it was certainly not the right thing to do, it is possible to see that he maybe thought Jeremy wouldn't do anything more. It is rather unlikely, but understanding the inherent humanity of victims, bystanders, and perpetrators is still necessary. Disregarding actions we consider to be immoral or evil is deliberately ignoring how even acts like genocide are committed by normal people, and there are many bystanders and accomplices who probably thought they would never have participated if asked before.

In an ideal scenario, a person who witnesses a wrong has the responsibility to step up and either prevent it or report it to someone who can. However, real life is different, and relationships as well as personal biases complicate this. What if it is likely you get hurt if you try to prevent the crime? I think that if the crime has a victim, or if that major damage will be done if the crime proceeds, the crime should be reported. Especially if the victim is unable to defend themselves, like in the case of Nightmare on the 36 Bus, we should step in. However, I can challenge my own idea with an imaginary scenario: Imagine you and your friend go to a grocery store. You know that your friend's parents didn't give them money for food. They then take some food and put it in their bag. (In this scenario, for the sake of preserving the moral dilemma, you don't have money at this time either.) Do you stop your friend or do you ignore it? you know the cashier/whoever works in the store will be punished for your friend's crime, but they also don't have food. What do you do?

Therefore, I think there are rules, but it's a very blurry line, and we can only do what we determine best instinctually, as explained in the article "The Trick to Acting Heroically." It is more important to make the daily decisions to be an upstander, and as such prevent overthinking when the moment comes.

no-one
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12
Cash clearly (and fallaciously) tried to equate his inaction in the assault and murder of Sherrice Iverson by his best friend, a man right next to him, to not helping faraway children in poverty and bad situations. For example, when questioned by the reporter, he mentioned that he didn't know the girl, or "starving children in Panama", or “people that die of disease in Egypt”. The analogy here is not valid. While the amount of tragedies that are conveyed to us through the mass media like television and even more so through social media have often numbed our senses to the miseries of faraway others and challenges us to practice a sort of artificial empathy-at-range, this case is a seriously different one. Cash was right next to Strohmeyer, in the adjacent stall, fully aware of what was happening and fully able to stop him if he wished. In my opinion (as, admittedly, I believe it’s a completely subjective topic) if someone is causing physical harm to someone near you and it is in your power to stop them, you have a moral obligation to do so. However, if I saw a fight or similar altercation happening, would I personally step in to intervene in that moment? It’s definitely hard to say. It definitely depends on what the situation is: for example, attacking a police officer who is brutalizing another person is incredibly dangerous for you and certainly not the right decision. While it’s easy to say that one should always step in to act from a chair at home, when the situation is presented, it’s not easy to know how we ourselves would react. The “Bystander Problem in the Cellphone Age” demonstrates how a feeling that we lack the ability to make a difference can prevent us from taking action, similarly to how (at least according to him) it did In Cash’s case. Nonetheless, Cash’s judgment was unequivocally wrong and he is complicit in the crime, if not as much as Strohmeyer, then nearly so. I think that it’s too hard to set specific rules for this type of action, when so many complex factors and variables are at work in every situation. Rather than a complex, specific plan, the goal is better served with a guiding principle the application of which is up to the person itself, providing that their judgment is in good faith: it is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. In some ways, I think the isolation of Cash’s situation makes his judgment seem more horrific. He is the only one with the ability to stop the deed, no matter which way he goes about it. However, in a situation like described in the “NIghtmare on the 36”, the group of people all want someone else to stop the man, but are unwilling to do it themselves. I doubt that many would blame them each personally for this decision, but if there were only one person on the bus, the judgments might be more harsh. What Cash did was definitely wrong, but rather than just writing him off as a sociopathic and unempathetic person, it’s important to think into the psychology that motivated his choice and how it takes effect in other cases.
no-one
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by augustine on September 15, 2021 19:47

Cash should have had the common decency to stop his friend from literally murdering a child. Like Blue Terrier said, the standards that people hold themselves to might vary from person to person, but regardless of that I think that everyone should have basic morals, and clearly either Cash didn't have them, or they were severely skewed. Despite the fact that he knew the perpetrator, Cash should have recognized that the victim was a helpless child who needed his help. Choosing not to say anything, because he 'knows his friend' makes the situation even worse, because he clearly knew that Strohmeyer was doing something wrong, and still did not do a thing. Even if he himself was too scared to stop his friend, he could have asked anyone else in the casino to help, like his father, or casino security. Every person witnessing a wrong has a moral obligation to interfere, and to try an help. Though it does depend on the nature of the wrong- if you witness someone committing a victimless crime, then you might want to stop them but it is not some huge moral failing if you don't, because no one is being hurt. In situations where there is a clear victim, and that victim is being hurt then it is a persons job to stop whatever is happening. It is clear that what Strohmeyer did was despicable, but what Cash did, or rather didn't do, was equally as horrifying. Just like the people on that bus in "Nightmare on the 36 Bus", who just stared at the little boy who was clearly in pain and in a bad situation. He needed help, and not a single person lifted a finger to do anything. I don't know these people, or their morals, but I do know that something is severely wrong with you if you can watch an 8 year old boy be pummeled and not do anything to help. In "The Trick to Acting Heroically" the author claims that helping other people is instinctive. Meaning, if a person sees someone else in trouble they will act without even thinking, to help the other person. Based on the other article and Sherrice Iverson's story, I am not sure how accurate this is, but I think it is a good example of what should be done. It doesn't matter if you have no connection to the victim, it is your job as a member or society to do what is right.

I agree that Cash's actions are certainly based on a lack of empathy or morals, but I'd like to challenge you to think into the mindset of the other bystanders past this relatively surface-level conclusion. Do you believe that every single person on that bus was an inherently skewed person that just didn't choose to help because they didn't care? I think there's something more there; something about the feeling of being a witness that paralyzes you, especially when in a crowd of others. It's more than a question of morals, in my opinion.

caramel washington
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

Good/Bad Samaritan Dilemma

Like dollarcoffee, I think that Cash’s actions should have absolutely been governed by basic human decency. I would like to believe that the vast majority of humans are good people who want to help each other, and I think that should be a bare minimum expected of us. We can see this in the New York Times Article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” where they explain that many heroes act on instinct, with little concern for their own wellbeing, simply because they innately feel for their fellow human beings. In my opinion, if a crime is victimless, it is up to the witness whether they would like to take action against it, but if there is a clear victim to a crime, and especially if they are being caused physical harm, the witness absolutely has an obligation to address the situation. This is the case in “Nightmare on the 36 Bus,” an article from the Boston Globe. The passengers on the bus saw a child being attacked and chose not to intervene. However, I think that those people might have been more influenced by peer pressure as opposed to simply being “bad people”, as augustine might believe. Daniel Auclair, one of the bus passengers, even mentions that he stood up to do something, but because no one else got involved, he worried that there was some social cue that he might be missing, and decided not to intervene. The fact that there were a number of bystanders meant each one felt less individual responsibility for getting involved, which meant that none of them did so.


no-one makes a point that social media has numbed our senses to tragedy, and that it might have contributed to why Cash did not intervene in the murder of Sherrice Iverson. I have to disagree with this though, because I believe that social media has given people more opportunities to prevent tragedy than we have ever had before. Not only are we incredibly aware of the world around us through information being readily accessible, we are also able to donate to a wide variety of charities if we have the resources to do so. For example, upon learning about the Taliban takeover in Afganistan a few weeks ago, or the Texas abortion ban, many people around the world immediately sprung into action and tried to find creative remedies for these disasters. This doesn’t mean that everyone has a moral obligation to solve every issue they hear about, I simply believe that people often do care about more issues when given more chances to get involved. However, I do believe that if someone has more than enough resources to completely solve a crisis, they have significantly more moral obligation to help than the average individual. Cash was in a situation where he was able to completely prevent or at the very least report this crime, so he had a fair amount of responsibility to do so.


goldshark567
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Like many others such as “Blue terrier” said, I believe that morality should have governed David Cash’s behavior. It is basic human decency to help another person when they are in harm’s way, regardless of your relationship with that person or a perpetrator. Sherrice Iverson was being brutally restrained, however, Cash appeared to see nothing wrong with that and chose to leave that child helpless rather than be disloyal to his friend. In the New York Times article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” Yoeli and Rand state that most people who help others in a time of crisis act intuitively. This raises the question, why did Cash not seem to have those instincts? Even after the fact, he claims that he had no reason to assist Sherrice in the terrible situation.

Although every person is different and may have different morals, I think that a person witnessing something wrong has every obligation to intervene, especially when someone is in physical danger. I do think that there are different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong.” I agree with “augustine” that victimless crimes, although still inherently “wrong,” are not as severe as a crime in which people are being personally affected, especially when their life is in danger. Because of that, someone who chose not to report another person shoplifting would not be looked down upon in a fashion even remotely close to the way in which Cash was and still is.

I think that people should always have an obligation to act when a person is in danger of being harmed. Some states have “Good Samaritan” laws, which have different parameters, exceptions, and penalties. However, in order to ensure everyone is an upstander and to stop crimes such as Sherrice Iverson’s that could have been prevented with the intervention of another person, there should be laws that allow bystanders that choose to not help a victim to be punished. People are sometimes scared to stand out in a crowd and be the one to help, such as in the article “Nightmare on the 36 Bus.” A child was being physically harmed in front of a crowd of bus passengers, however, no one acted. If there was motivation to act such as fear of punishment, more people would act and hopefully prevent terrible “wrongs.”

poptarts
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

What should have governed David Cash’s actions should have been basic human morals. Good morals are something that many people can agree on, but for Cash to do what is considered the complete opposite of what many consider to be right tells us his moral compass is clearly facing a different direction.

For David to justify his actions by saying that he had nothing to do with the crime because he wasn’t the victim or the perpetrator brings the potentially dangerous mindset that bystanders can have. Some might think that because they’re not directly responsible for the situation or in the situation, they think they have a sort of ‘get out of jail free card.’ This mindset can be seen in Judy Harris’ article The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age. As a home was on fire and began burning, many people either stood off to the side or simply moved on with their days. One person who didn’t and instantly tried to help was Judy’s husband. Her husband made sure that there was no one in the house that was trapped or injured, and was initially shocked people took to their phones instead of helping. This keeping yourself off to the side and out of the situation is dangerous, what if Judy's husband wasn’t there and didn’t begin notifying people? What if there was someone stuck where the fire trapped them in? What if the fire alarm wasn’t triggered soon enough and you know you could have done something to help at that time? This directly applies to Cash’s situation. Why didn’t you do anything more? If you’re close enough to your best friend to not tell anyone they assaulted and murdered Sherrice, then surely you’re close enough to bring it up at least once and tell Jeremy what he did was wrong and that he was going to be punished about it when people found out.

And although you might not be legally obligated to help out in a situation like any of those mentioned above, it’s most often the right thing to do, and that’s why you should help the victims in circumstances like these. That impulsive decision to go help someone in need and do it quickly is what you need. Sitting there and thinking about what could possibly happen only wastes time and can end up with you walking away entirely or the victim being more hurt in the process of you deciding. Christine Marty, a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of heroism, was interviewed by Erez Yoell and David Rand in The Trick to Acting Heroically. She mentions how she was glad she didn’t stop and think about what to do before saving the 69-year-old woman stuck in her car during a flood, because she most likely knew that she probably would have hesitated and wouldn’t have been as brave or helpful. Cash did have some time between things happening before he gave Jeremy a look to stop, and yes he might have taken that time and thought that staying silent and leaving was the best option for him to stay safe; but in situations like this where a child is being taken advantage of and is actively trying to protest, and all you do is give a stern look to your friend before you turn a blind eye, it's pretty much unacceptable.

David Cash’s actions were wrong, he should have done more. Even if it was just something like yelling or if it was breaking into the stall to help Sherrice or calling the cops after finding out Jeremy had murdered her, he should have done something and he is in the wrong for not doing anything.

Winters2
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Dilemma of the Bad Samaritain

I believe that David Cash should have suffered more consequences for his actions or lack there of. I believe he should have either been prosecuted for either or both his lack of action while his friend was committing this crime or he should be charged with accessory to murder due to his lack of action and him not attempting to change the situation and allowing Jeremy to continue on to murder an innocent child. I do not think that David Cash should have just been allowed to walk free from this case. I think it is difficult to determine when a bystander can be at fault or partial to blame for a crime that has been committed and it is hard to say when they can be let go or when they should suffer repercussions of there lack of action. I believe when another persons well being, physical or mental health is at risk, especially one who can not only help oneself like a child, is when someone who sees this or knows this does not do anything about it and lets events play out then there is definitely some blame that must be put on that bystander. It is a hard line to draw though because really any crime can and usually will have an effect on others. There is also the fact that what levels of a bystander are there, where it could be an onlooker or someone who has a small sense of whats going on or someone who is almost like an accomplice like David Cash essentially was. So in the end it is not easy to say who is to be blamed or partially put at fault and who should be able to walk free.

I believe that as citizens of a country and as a human race in general we have ethical obligations as well as there should be some legal obligations. There is definitely an ethical right and wrong standard that I think everyone could agree on and the majority of people would follow. However the hard part is figuring out what lawful requirements and standards can be made and held to citizens to follow. I think there should be a lawful see something say something standard where if someone becomes a bystander in a crime and they do not make an effort to improve the situation or help the victim of the crime they should be held to some sort of consequence that can be just community service to legal prosecution depending on what their involvement was in the specific situation. Like in the "Nightmare on the 36 bus" reading all the people watched the boy getting abused and assaulted absolutely defenseless and it is a very hard line to draw and to have a constant requirement for people because there is a million different situations there could be so it is hard to make a base requirement or law for it.The obligation to act does not always mean you must step in and try and prevent something happening but if you don't notify someone or call 911 and just turn and look the other way you should face consequences for that. In the Deborah Stone reading it talked about the motorcyclist who was helped by another motorists, in that scenario if the motorist could not physically help himself the injured man would still benefit from him calling 911 for him, so for different situatitions there would be different answers and standards.

Winters2
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Originally posted by GullAlight on September 15, 2021 20:35

Although I agree that Cash definitely should have stepped up and prevented his best friend from at the very least, restraining a young girl, it is highly likely that in the moment, he wasn't able to recognise the inherent humanity of Sherrice as strongly as that of his best friend. Should he have intervened? Definitely. However, I think it's possible to understand his mentality, and even though morally, it was certainly not the right thing to do, it is possible to see that he maybe thought Jeremy wouldn't do anything more. It is rather unlikely, but understanding the inherent humanity of victims, bystanders, and perpetrators is still necessary. Disregarding actions we consider to be immoral or evil is deliberately ignoring how even acts like genocide are committed by normal people, and there are many bystanders and accomplices who probably thought they would never have participated if asked before.

In an ideal scenario, a person who witnesses a wrong has the responsibility to step up and either prevent it or report it to someone who can. However, real life is different, and relationships as well as personal biases complicate this. What if it is likely you get hurt if you try to prevent the crime? I think that if the crime has a victim, or if that major damage will be done if the crime proceeds, the crime should be reported. Especially if the victim is unable to defend themselves, like in the case of Nightmare on the 36 Bus, we should step in. However, I can challenge my own idea with an imaginary scenario: Imagine you and your friend go to a grocery store. You know that your friend's parents didn't give them money for food. They then take some food and put it in their bag. (In this scenario, for the sake of preserving the moral dilemma, you don't have money at this time either.) Do you stop your friend or do you ignore it? you know the cashier/whoever works in the store will be punished for your friend's crime, but they also don't have food. What do you do?

Therefore, I think there are rules, but it's a very blurry line, and we can only do what we determine best instinctually, as explained in the article "The Trick to Acting Heroically." It is more important to make the daily decisions to be an upstander, and as such prevent overthinking when the moment comes.

Post your response here.I definately agree that it is a very blurry line when making these rules.

SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

It seems as though in Cash's mind, the boundary between loyalty and morality are horribly clouded and misconstrued. His actions were not governed by general decency or humanity, but rather by who he cared about and who he simply didn't. Unfortunately for poor Sherrice Iverson, David had never met her before, and therefore felt no obligation to give her any help, even if it resulted in her own demise. Even if it meant her getting raped and murdered in a tragic bathroom located in a tragic casino. He was willing to let an innocent child suffer, all because he simply valued his pathetic relationship with the perpetrator even more. But regardless of what he believes, obligations do exist, especially in a scenario as extreme as David's, and personal connection shouldn't intervene with those obligations. Physical harm, assault, unprovoked behavior- these are just some of the things that qualify for some form of action from bystanders.

When reading the articles provided, I found some correlation between "Nightmare on the 36 bus" and David's story. An entire bus filled to the brim with people, collectively decided to do nothing when an old man suddenly assaulted a young child, punching him in the face and beating him to the ground. These, people, like David, were face to face with a brutal and dangerous scene, and yet they also had completely stopped in their tracks and looked away. The only difference that lies between the two stories is the level of remorse experienced afterwards, as David had felt absolutely none. These people weren't necessarily monsters, but their impending thoughts and overthinking prevented them from reacting sooner.

I think there is a grey area in regards to which situations require action and which ones don't, depending on the severity and consistency of the offense. If one's actions are mutually harmless to those around them, then it isn't necessarily something to be dwelled upon or phased by. There are certain justifications that make one's actions more understandable, or even relatable. Everyday people make questionable decisions, and while wrongdoings can and should be acknowledged by bystanders, they are also offenses that don't pose a serious threat to one's physical and mental well-being. However, a continual offense, or an offense that brings severe damage to others, is not up for debate.

Peverley
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that basic respect for the life of another human being should have driven David Cash’s actions. I truly believe that there are very few people in this world that could be in his situation and not do anything and still be convinced that they are not in the wrong for doing so. Cash’s actions seemed strange to me in many ways, particularly because of how calm he was throughout the entire encounter (he “tapped” Jeremy Strohmeyer on the head and gave him “a look” that apparently indicated that he thought what Jeremy was doing was bad). If Cash really had a firm moral objection to what Strohmeyer was doing, he would have done much more than stand on a toilet seat and just watch his friend. I do think that our obligation to act in certain situations depends on our individual moral compasses, however not intervening in situations like the Sherrice Iverson case points to a fundamental lack of morality. Cash was able to walk out on his best friend assaulting and murdering a seven year old girl, and even though he was an eyewitness and heard his friend’s confession right after the fact, he still decided that the whole situation had nothing to do with him. He showed no remorse and compared his responsibility for what happened to Sherrice with that for those suffering in other parts of the world of things that are actually out of his direct control.A person witnessing a wrong should not be a bystander if there is something they can do to prevent someone from being seriously harmed. This is easier said than done however, as proven in The New York Times article, “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand wherein test subjects were found to shy away from getting involved in other’s affairs if there was some substantial personal risk. However the severity of the wrong being witnessed can also warrant a bystander to either step in or stay out of it. For example, if someone is being attacked, then bystanders are not necessarily obligated to step in physically, but calling emergency services or calling for help is the least they could do. On the other hand, if someone sees someone skip out on their MBTA fare payment, then there isn’t much to be done in terms of dealing with the perpetrator (other than silently judging them perhaps), and I think that most onlookers would turn a blind eye to it.

I think a good way to determine whether or not to become an upstander in a certain situation is to ask oneself: what might we be risking, myself and others, if we don't step in? In David Cash’s case, his decision to not intervene resulted in the death of an innocent young girl. In the case of medical researcher Daniel Auclair, from Brian McGrory’s article “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” in The Boston Globe, we do not know exactly what happened to the little boy that was beaten on the bus, but by not stepping in, Auclair allowed a little boy to be ruthlessly assaulted by his (alleged) father, and possibly abandoned (from the bus driver’s account of what she saw as she was driving away). Even though stepping in may have led to getting hurt, Auclair, and everyone else on the bus, should have at least done more than sit idly by while watching someone abuse a child. In this instance, not stepping in was a greater cost than if one, or better, multiple people, intervened to protect the young boy and save him from severe harm.



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