posts 31 - 37 of 37
giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

Bystander Response

Originally posted by turtle17 on September 15, 2021 10:43

After reading both the story of a man hitting a little boy on the 38 bus and how people reacted to a fire in Jamaica Plain, it was interesting to think of how they related to the story watched in class earlier today about David and Jeremy. At first I had no explanation for David's actions, other than complete stupidity, but then something dawned upon me. I don't think it was David believing it wasn't his business, or maybe he did believe that, but I believe the overwhelming fear he felt in the situation clouded his sense of judgement. In no way does this excuse his actions, or lack thereof, but it does make you think. It's also not just an 18 year old boy who did something like this, it was also many adults. In the story of the Nightmare on the 38 bus, you read about what looks like a father abusing his son. A man who was a witness to this accident was interviewed, and helped provide the information for the newspaper story. The interviewee was an adult, along with everyone else on the bus due to the time being 10:30 at night, and every single person witnessed the physical abuse the child endured, but no one said anything. The thing that caught my attention, however, was the man saying how when he stood up to say something, the thought that it wasn't his place, it was family drama and not to interject took over. Again, I was annoyed hearing this. But then I thought what I would do if I was in that situation. At first I immediately decided I would try and help the little boy, but then I thought about my physical safety. The sad thing is, most people will prioritize their own well being over someone else's, the fight or flight reaction, a sad but quite realistic thing people's mind jump to. I then connected this to David's story, where he noted Jeremy giving him a blank stare. Without a doubt, David was experiencing some fear, not knowing what his friend was doing, and later hearing he had just committed murder definitely frightened him. Its possible that David didn't say anything about Jeremy, or tell the police on him, in order to preserve his safety. The second story I read about told how when there was a fire, only one person ran to tell the people inside the house about it to save them, while everyone else including the author took pictures instead. This is similar to the actions of the invisible bystander that watched security cameras during the murder of Sherrice. In both scenarios, people used technology to be a bystander, whether it was a conscious decision or not.

From reading both the stories, and watching the video that really there isn't a genuine obligation to being an upstander or not, just moral ones we are taught our whole lives, We fear getting in trouble for not standing up, due to reactions, but we also fear for our physical safety if we were to stand up for someone.

I agree with what you said about fear initially, and I definitely do agree with you about the story of the child on the bus, how people were afraid for their own physical safety. I do think that people should think about their own safety before doing things, but I actually don't think that David was experiencing fear. From his interview, he took a cold, indifferent approach to what happened, and when he talked about Jeremy raping and killing Sherrice, it's almost like he didn't realize that it was totally wrong. He said some things about how when an 18 year old takes a 7 year old into a bathroom you don't want to be there, so it's my opinion that he wanted to get away because he thought he would get into trouble, not because he was scared.

flowerpower
Posts: 23

Originally posted by turtle17 on September 15, 2021 10:43

After reading both the story of a man hitting a little boy on the 38 bus and how people reacted to a fire in Jamaica Plain, it was interesting to think of how they related to the story watched in class earlier today about David and Jeremy. At first I had no explanation for David's actions, other than complete stupidity, but then something dawned upon me. I don't think it was David believing it wasn't his business, or maybe he did believe that, but I believe the overwhelming fear he felt in the situation clouded his sense of judgement. In no way does this excuse his actions, or lack thereof, but it does make you think. It's also not just an 18 year old boy who did something like this, it was also many adults. In the story of the Nightmare on the 38 bus, you read about what looks like a father abusing his son. A man who was a witness to this accident was interviewed, and helped provide the information for the newspaper story. The interviewee was an adult, along with everyone else on the bus due to the time being 10:30 at night, and every single person witnessed the physical abuse the child endured, but no one said anything. The thing that caught my attention, however, was the man saying how when he stood up to say something, the thought that it wasn't his place, it was family drama and not to interject took over. Again, I was annoyed hearing this. But then I thought what I would do if I was in that situation. At first I immediately decided I would try and help the little boy, but then I thought about my physical safety. The sad thing is, most people will prioritize their own well being over someone else's, the fight or flight reaction, a sad but quite realistic thing people's mind jump to. I then connected this to David's story, where he noted Jeremy giving him a blank stare. Without a doubt, David was experiencing some fear, not knowing what his friend was doing, and later hearing he had just committed murder definitely frightened him. Its possible that David didn't say anything about Jeremy, or tell the police on him, in order to preserve his safety. The second story I read about told how when there was a fire, only one person ran to tell the people inside the house about it to save them, while everyone else including the author took pictures instead. This is similar to the actions of the invisible bystander that watched security cameras during the murder of Sherrice. In both scenarios, people used technology to be a bystander, whether it was a conscious decision or not.

From reading both the stories, and watching the video that really there isn't a genuine obligation to being an upstander or not, just moral ones we are taught our whole lives, We fear getting in trouble for not standing up, due to reactions, but we also fear for our physical safety if we were to stand up for someone.

I agree and to add on I believe people are not only worried for their safety but also they may not stand up because they just don't want to be involved. Everyone has their own complex and busy life and some people may just think that getting into strangers "business" such as the people on the bus would be too much. I think some people may also have a fear of embarrassment, when they see something go down without knowing the people and the whole story they fear that if they step in they'll be wrong about something or cause more problems. However I do agree that in seriously dangerous situations people just tend to prioritize their own safety.

giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

It is my opinion that people are obligated to help others. I really do think that when someone stands by and watches, that they are almost as bad as the person doing it, because they care more about not embarrassing themselves then the person who is being wronged. Now, there are certain situations, like the child on the bus, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" where I do think that the people were worried about their own physical safety. But also, there was definitely an element of "is this my business?" and I do think that yes, it is your business to help that child in some way. The bus driver could have signalled for help, or someone on the bus could have called the police right as they got off. With Cash, he absolutely had a responsibility to stop his friend. I don't think that there's any question about it. He made a conscious decision to follow him into the bathroom and to stand on the toilet to see what he was doing, so it was almost like he was interested, but didn't feel bad about it afterwards, because like he said, he didn't know Sherrice.

If you know about a murder or a rape or anything like that, I think it's right that it's a law that you have to turn that person in, otherwise your complicit in the act. This is something I feel very strongly about, especially in the case of Cash, who knew his friend raped and killed a little girl, and continued to hang out with him and never turned him in. I think that makes him almost just as bad. In "The Trick to Acting Heroically" it describes heroes as people who act without thinking. Cash was not one of these people. He thought about it, and ultimately decieded not to help Sherrice, and that says a lot about him. I think that most of the time, except in certain cases, we have an obligation to act.

giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 25

Bystander Response

Originally posted by bluepen19 on September 15, 2021 09:43

Cash holds some responsibility for remaining a bystander to Jeremy Strohmeyer’s actions. I find him to be particularly guilty, as he was in the position of someone who potentially could have stopped the despicable acts against 7 year old Sherrice Iverson. As Jeremy’s friend, and a male of comparable age and height, he both verbally and physically could have put an end to the actions at the time. In terms of humanity, I think he was obligated to at least say something, and feel remorseful for the fact that he didn’t. I believe that many would agree that his choices were “wrong” and while there may be different definitions of this nature, if his life was not in danger, which it wasn’t, he should face the obligations of not just remaining a bystander.

For the governing of Cash’s actions, many could be held responsible. The viewers of security cameras in the casino and the Nevada state government both had potential to take action. Nevada’s Good Samaritan Law, NRS 41.500, protects bystanders who try to assist someone in an emergent situation (Las Vegas Defense Group, 2021). However, there is no law that requires bystanders to step in and help someone; a bystander is legally allowed to just witness. In my personal opinion, we have an obligation to act sometimes. If a situation were to put yourself at risk, I do not feel that you are obligated to step in. However, in this case, I do not believe that Cash was at risk by verbally questioning his friend’s actions or even using force to end the raping. If Cash were another young girl, I would not at all expect there to be intervention with Jeremy’s actions.

As I read the story of the boy assaulted on the 36 bus, I find an issue with specifically the bus driver’s lack of intervention as a child was assaulted. The article specifically points out that the driver has access to a radio and distress button, and chose to do neither (Boston Globe, 2000). Additionally, no one on the bus intervened either; one man believed it to possibly be a familial issue which he didn’t want to be involved with, however, even if this was within a family, the situation is an example of child abuse, where legal action should be taken regardless. The New York Times story, “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, provides a different perspective. The author describes how many people act heroically instinctively, as if it is an innate choice of most humans. In both stories, Iverson’s and the bus assault, no bystanders had the instinct to intervene. Perhaps this is because of the violent circumstances where they may feel their life is in danger (although I personally don’t find Cash to have been in a dangerous situation himself), but it is interesting how some stories which the Times focuses on, show a different side of humanity than what we’ve heard in the former atrocities (New York Times, 2015).

I really agree with everything you said here! Something that stood out to me was when you said that he was obligated to feel remorseful, and obviously, after watching his interview, we saw that he wasn't. This is really interesting because I feel as though this is almost an unusual reaction, to absolutely have no empathy for people you don't know. But maybe it's not an unusual reaction, this past year or so proved that a lot of people don't care about people they don't know at all.

freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 288

Originally posted by dancingsnail on September 15, 2021 20:11

What’s the difference between the people in The Samaritan’s Dilemma and bystanders who choose to do nothing? Are some people more controlled by fear than others? Or is that just a weak excuse for inaction?

Great questions.....I often think we could dedicate the entire year of Facing History to the theme of "fear"--and we'd have an endless list of events/topics/incidents we could study. Le sigh.

Piper Clarke
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

The Dilemma of the bad samaritan

I think, if a person witnesses something bad happen, they have an obligation to tell someone. Whether it’s the police or an adult they trust, YOU as a bystander have that obligation. Sometimes, you don’t even need to step into the situation. As long as you told someone what happened, you have filled your role as a bystander. I don’t think that Cash was in the right. He should have at least told someone about it even if he didn't think it was wrong because “Strohmeyer was his best friend”. There should have been at least some remorse or guilt about not telling anybody. I do believe that there are different rules depending on how wrong they are. If my friend, no matter who they are, hurt someone, I would tell an adult about it. Even if you don’t say anything during that situation, you can still tell somebody or get evidence and then go to the police with.

Sunshine
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I believe that David Cash had a large role in the rape and murder of Sherrice Iverson. Even though he wasn’t the one who “did it”, he could have stopped it. Same with the article of the young boy on the 36 bus. The other people on that bus saw that this boy was in danger yet did nothing. In both cases, why did no one stand up? Because they were uncomfortable? Because they were scared? That’s no excuse. If they were scared for themselves, they should’ve thought about how scared these two CHILDREN were. In both cases, there were adults witnessing a child being hurt by an adult. The worst thing that could happen if they stood up is that the criminal could have fought them, but in the David Cash situation he was friends with the guy and in a public place where he would be at a much greater advantage than Sherrice Iverson and in the case of the young boy on the 36, there were other people around to help and once one person stands up it’s much easier for others to follow suit. Additionally, in both cases someone could have called the police or even alerted someone else who is more fit to deal with the situation. Doing nothing is unacceptable.

A different way of being a bystander, according to the article I read about the cellphone age, is by immediately taking pictures or video instead of doing whatever you can to act. In some cases, photos and videos are helpful, but in the case of a house fire (like in the article) and others where people are in danger if you don’t act fast, it’s harmful to the situation not to act. The first few minutes of situations like that are crucial and usually the witnesses are the first on scene, so doing nothing other than taking pictures or video could cost someone’s life.



posts 31 - 37 of 37