posts 16 - 30 of 32
Peverley
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by SesameStreet444 on September 16, 2021 01:05

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.

I think the point you make about David's boundary between morality and loyalty is really interesting. Clearly in this situation he valued loyalty over what was right without even thinking, so maybe his instincts are to defend those who he is close to rather than doing the right thing (sort of the opposite of the NYT "The Trick to Acting Heroically" Article).

Peverley
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by Blue terrier on September 15, 2021 18:34

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.

I agree with what you said at the end of the second paragraph. It does seem that people need a personal incentive to be a good person and only when they can fully understand the weight of the harm being committed against someone do they feel the urge to step in; the fact that the victims are human beings as well just doesn't seem to be enough for some to act morally.

Boat1924
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

After studying the case of David Cash I believed David Cash should have done things completely differently. I believe that a simple sense of morality and justice should have governed Cash's actions, rather a sense of loyalty and friendship. Even though he understand what Jermely was doing was wrong, he let it happen and continued to help and hang out with him even after he committed the unspeakable act. In those situations, a person witnessing it is obligated to do something to fix or make the situation better. Even if David didn't attempt to fight Jeremy and rip him off that little girl, he should have reported to the police or find help in order to save that little girl. The last thing that he should have done is continue to party and have with Jeremy after he ended that poor girl's life. While there are different rules depending on the type of wrong as a wrong that doesn't hurt anyone doesn't need to be governed and watch over them as a crime that directly and sometimes indirectly hurts someone, there are always rules that need to be at least attempted to follow. Someone can't decide to not follow the rules simply because their friend committed a wrong. Once David saw Jeremy enter that bathroom and attack Sherrice he should have done something to either save Sherrice or avenge. Whether that be breaking down the door and attacking Jeremy or notifying the police, David was morally obligated to adhere to rules in order to save the poor girl. This is similar to the situation on the 36 bus. While no one tried to stop him from brutally attacking the young boy, someone should have done something to help. They should have stood up for the boy and attempt to make the situation, but instead, they looked away and pretended it didn't happen just like David. (McGorvey)

The rules that should govern a person when they are witnessing a crime or an event is "is someone directly affected by this event and my decision to do nothing." For example, I do not believe that someone should report someone else for stealing small items from a big retailer, as no one is negatively affected by this action. What they may do is wrong, but no one is getting hurt except their sense of good and bad. This is completely different from an event like a house burning down in the "Bystander Effect in the Age of Cellphone" article. In that situation, multiple people were being negatively affected by their house burning down. I believe in those situations where it is clear someone could get hurt or is hurt, it is the moral obligation for others around them to do something in order to make the situation somewhat better. For it wasn't the bystander in the neighborhood, the family with the toddler may have been stuck inside the house and possibly hurt badly or even killed. We have an obligation to act at least sometimes in order to protect our society and make sure that everyone is safe and secure.



Boat1924
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Originally posted by Blue terrier on September 15, 2021 18:34

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.

I agree with your belief that people shouldn't attempt to help people when they view the victim as someone's loved one. Someone should see a person in a bad sitaution and help them simply because its the right thing to do. Everyone has value and deserves the right to be supported and watched over by others near them.

Boat1924
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

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.

I also agree that the rules have very blurry lines. There are no good "correct" black and white answers rather these situations and opinions exist in a world of grey. I do believe ,howver, there needs to be a simple set of morality for everyone.

Clover52
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 6

I think that an urge to do the right thing should have governed Cash’s actions. I believe that everyone is born with morals and it isn’t something that a college boy like Cash should have just ignored. Even more concerning was the fact that he seemed to have no remorse for doing the wrong thing. If it was something not as serious as what Jeremy did to Sherrice it might have been a different situation. However at the moment that David knew Jeremy had murdered and assaulted a seven year old girl, he should have turned him into the police. It doesn’t matter if it was his best friend, he was a murderer and a rapist. If someone is a witness to a serious crime like that, they should turn in the criminal. I feel that if it is a non-violent crime however, sometimes it is better to just not get involved. In this case though, David Cash has no excuse for not doing anything. If you witness a crime that you might feel is dangerous to directly intervene in, you should still call the police. However it might just be something that everyone THINKS they'll do, but when the situation arises, they do nothing. In the case of the little boy being beaten on the 36, no one said anything even though it was in plain sight. One of the witnesses was going to say something, but then sat back down because they second-guessed themselves. In the article, “The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age”, this is also a situation where people didn’t think to help those who might be in danger from a fire. Instead of trying to help, they just took pictures of the fire. There was even a child in danger and no one did anything. This helps prove the fact that everyone thinks they will be the hero in a dangerous situation but in reality they will just do nothing and watch the event take place.

poutineenthusiast
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

What should've governed Cash's actions was a basic responsibility to do the right thing. David Cash was not dealing with a complicated, ethical situation. There is a very clear right and wrong response, and David Cash did not do the right thing. People who witnesses a wrong are obligated to do something to help that person in need. Turning a blind eye only hurts the victim more. What wrong means and determines can change so much when considering ethics and laws. I feel like the rules that guide our decision to act should surround around how and how many people are being hurt. The decision to act is an obligation to protect and help others. Although the severity of a situation can vary between people depending on their cultural upbringings, certain situations cannot be denied of their severity. We very often have the obligation to act because we have an obligation to look out for each other.

SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by caramel washington on September 15, 2021 22:14

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.


I think you're right in that having multiple witnesses takes off individual blame to some degree. If one was the sole witness in any situation, then they instantly and undoubtedly would take the blame for the victim's fate, as they were the only ones who could have prevented it. But when there's a larger sum of people who decide to stay neutral, there's less pressure put on one person's shoulders.

SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by Blue terrier on September 15, 2021 18:34

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.

I definitely agree that there's a spectrum when it comes to taking affirmative action or not. Not every crime should be treated the same, as some cause significantly more damage than others, and the choices that bystanders make should reflect that.

SunflowerSpruce
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11
I think that Cash should have been motivated to help just by basic human decency. He witnessed his friend cruelly and brutally take advantage of a 7 year old girl in a bathroom stall. The fact that he did not even verbally tell Jeremy to stop is unbelievable. In this situation, being a bystander is almost just as bad as being the perpetrator because there is a variety of actions he could have taken to help Iverson, but instead chose to walk away and go about his day. I think that there are different rules depending on the ¨wrong,¨ but the line is drawn when somebody is physically, mentally, or emotionally being hurt by someone else´s actions.
SunflowerSpruce
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by Peverley on September 16, 2021 06:14

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.



I agree because I think that one´s obligation to help another is heavily based off of their moral compass, but Cash lacked the empathy that he needed to do so.

SunflowerSpruce
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by Blue terrier on September 15, 2021 19:07

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.

I agree that the bystander is just as guilty as the perpetrator. When someone watches another being hurt, it is now there responsibility to help.

augustine
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.

I do see your point, but I want to point out the Cash most likely did know what was going to happen. Aside from the fact that the way he described it made the situation and what followed very clear, Cash stated in his interview that he heard Jeremy say to Sherrice, "Shut up or I'll kill you" and also said, "Based on what I saw... it wasn't something I wanted to stick around and see what would materialize". Cash saw what was about to go down and decided that he didn't want to watch, or stop it. I do agree with your overall point though, that the line is blurry. We can't say it is 'always this' or 'always that' because every situation is different- we can only do what we think is best.

stylishghost
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 13

Cash's actions were governed by his natural reaction. When someone witnesses a wrong, it may seem clear to an outsider that that person should stand up in one way or another. However, in this instance and many others, the line is blurred. In Cash's case, he was in shock, and thought of his best friend very highly. After watching this story, Cash clearly seems pretty heartless, but some questions do arise. Was this possibly Struhmeyer's messed up way of testing his best friend's trust? Had Struhmeyer maybe done things like this (not to this degree) in front of or with Cash previously? The concept of the two young men's friendship is not really something that arose in the video, and may play a strong role in Cash's actions. In the "Nightmare on the 36 bus", the Boston citizens have yet another reason why the up stander role may be harder to achieve. There is often an unspoken rule on public transport, especially at night in the city, that you must keep to yourself. No matter how loud the group next to you is or what they are saying, you are to respect their space. This notion is overall beneficial, until something dangerous actually starts to happen. Unfortunately, the fact that the people stayed silent as the little boy was abused doesn't even seem all that surprising. The examples in the two articles make it even more clear that there are no clear "rules" when it comes to witnessing a wrong.

There are, however, some sort of rules, even if they just become social norms and not laws, that should be in place. Based on "The Trick to Acting Heroically", being an up stander, in some instances, is more of a gut reaction. Based off this, bystanders shouldn't really be penalized if they simply do not have that gut reaction. Instead it seems more logical to reward those who stand up rather than punish those who don't. This would further the existing goal of wanting to be a hero.

stylishghost
Roslindale, MA, US
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 agree that contacting law enforcement should be mandatory, as it does not put the reporter in harm's way. The issue arises with who you can penalize. If someone, for example, went into shock when witnessing an event, would they be in trouble for not reporting it?

posts 16 - 30 of 32