posts 1 - 15 of 59
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 301


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


Background:

For any of you who missed class on Wednesday, September 14, 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 resistor 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). You can respond to your classmates within your post OR you can do a separate (additional) post just to respond to them. Be sure you cite who you are responding to!


If you need some reminders on how to post on learntoquestion’s discussion board:



testicular_cancer
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 2

David Cash: The Bad Samaritan in a World of Bystanders

A sense of morality should have governed Cash’s actions. Cash was and still is obligated by basic moral principles to intervene and help Iverson- as any person who witnesses another doing wrong is. It questions Cash’s principles and what he finds most important. Would he have interfered if Strohmeyer had been stealing from the casino? Money, tokens, items- anything but an innocent human life. Did Cash’s priorities lie in the resources of a multi-billion dollar corporation? They certainly did not lie in the survival of a helpless seven-year-old girl.


A good samaritan always has the moral obligation to act- even if it is not something the media highlights. The assumption that someone else will always act with “the presence of others [discouraging individuals] from intervening” seems to occur continuously (Harris 3). Granted, it’s not backed by the media because, for one reason or another, they would prefer to report on “a quick-acting JP resident took photos of flames bursting out of the roof of a Child Street home” than someone running “toward the house, yelling from half a block away. [Rushing] up the front stairs, [ringing] the doorbells for all three apartments, and [pouding] the front door” (Harris 2-3). The media always wants pictures- hard, horrific evidence of a tragedy- not a story pulled from a person’s memory. Tales of tragedies often go unnoticed unless whole communities are disturbed or if there is concrete visual evidence of them.


There are so many reasons why people go unhelped in dangerous, heartbreaking situations. Instincts are not listened to, assumptions are made, and no personal attachments are imagined. Everyone always seems to “sit back and watch”- yet everyone complains of how they “barely slept” when they realized their fearful ideas of their witness came true (McGrory). When someone needs “someone's help, [needs] anyone's help, nobody [is] willing to give it” (McGrory).


If people were to imagine what they would do if their worst fears about their loved ones being in harm came true- they would berate people for not helping them in the actual scenario. All it takes is a little moral compass, compassion, and imagination- thousands could have been saved. Not just Sherrice Iverson and the little boy on the 39 bus, but thousands more.

autumn_
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 3

I’ve thought about this situation heavily. Personally, I’m someone who takes cases like this to heart, especially when it comes to children. Regardless, I knew my standpoint on this situation from the start: despite David Cash’s relationship to Jeremy Strohmeyer, he should have immediately known to get help, especially when his (rather weak) efforts to stop Strohmeyer were unsuccessful.


Its a bit hard to put my thoughts into words because they’re bouncing around in my head, all in a range of “what it means to be a bystander” to “how did their friendship affect Cash’s actions”. The first area of note here is that Cash claimed to leave the restroom because he simply didn’t care about Sherrice Iverson. He detached himself form the situation because he valued his friendship with Strohmeyer more than the life of an innocent seven year old. I personally find that to be ridiculous, the fact that he was able to walk away knowing that that little girl was in pain and helpless. If we want to get ethical, our personal relationships with people can obviously affect our view on their wrongdoings. It’s easier to excuse someone’s personal actions when you know them because you can simply say that “its unlikely behavior”, therefore detaching the behavior from them all together. The reality is, our actions reflect our character, regardless of the mindset we’re in. I am a firm believer in the fact that our actions are apart of us, and that failure to own up to them is admitting shame to that side of ourselves. In Cash’s scenario, his morality benefitted from deciding that this behavior was simply not usual for Strohmeyer, therefore it didn’t matter.


It can also be argued that within their friendship, Strohmeyer may have said some…questionable things. The kind of person that would assault and murder a seven year old girl obviously has a very harmful mindset that would somehow reflect in their character. I doubt that Strohmeyer never said questionable things about women to Cash. The problem is that this behavior is easily normalized among teenage boys. This is all speculation on my part, but I wanted to include it in this post anyways.


As human beings, I believe it is our duty to help those in need. It all circles back to the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. I always put myself in someone else’s shoes, which helps me to gauge the best way to act in said situation. The problem with Cash in this scenario is that he didn’t care about the other person here, or Strohmeyer for that matter. I believe that if he truly, TRULY cared for his friend, he would’ve done more to stop him. There’s no way that he just assumed that this scenario would have no repercussions. Ofcourse, Cash probably didn’t think that far ahead because he, once again, simply. did. not. care.


With this situation in mind, I decided to read the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand. I chose to read this because I assumed it would take a more ethical approach to heroism. This article discussed the possible reasons for why heroes act the way they do, which is usually on impulse. The overall conclusion was that these heroes do so because the person in need has more to lose than the person who decides to help. In Cash’s case, he was at risk at losing a good friend. However, Iverson was at risk of losing her innocence and her life. The question is, why would Cash want to keep him as a friend after seeing him assault a little girl?


The second article I read was “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” by Brian McGrory. The title of it stood out to me because I often take the 36 bus. Unfortunately, I was shocked by what I read. The article detailed an incident where a young boy was physically assaulted by his (assumed to be) parent/guardian. What horrified me the most is that no one on the bus intervened. It baffles me that incidents like this can occur, and as people we’re too concerned with ourselves to reach out. At the end of the day, it’s easy to prioritize your well being, but truly: what do you have to lose?


All in all, this story has deeply rattled me, and caused me to do some very deep thinking about what it truly means to be a bystander. My heart goes out to Sherrice Iverson and her family, and I wonder where David Cash is now/ if he regrets his decision to walk away. The sad thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had no regrets at all.


legoninjagofan67
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that sympathy should have governed David Cash's actions. I wish that Cash had some sympathy for the girl. I find it so hard to believe that he simply did not (and does not) care for the girl. I find it hard to believe that someone could be so heartless and cruel to another human being, especially a child. Theoretically, nobody has an "obligation" to report a wrong if they see it, but its all about morals and doing the right thing. I'm not super caught up on modern day laws, but maybe there is a law about if you see something, you should to say something. Also, i think its all about severity and humanity. I feel like it depends on the situation. I guess i would say there are different rules. If someone were to see something like what happened with Cash and Strohmeyer, i would so badly hope that the person would go get help or report the situation. I feel like if its something not so bad like a petty crime or maybe even like cheating on a test, then its not so neccessary to say something. Again, its all about morality and the situation, and its different for every person, but i just think that when it gets to a certain degree, you need to say something.

I dont believe that there are any specific rules on reporting if you witness anything wrong. Maybe there should be, idk. Technically nobody has an obligation (I may be wrong, i havent read all laws in all states) to report anything, but if they are found to be a crucial witness or somehow were involved in the case and it made something change, then they are obliged to play a role and go to court to testify. I think that it is a case to case issue. Every situation and every case is different. Everyones morality and moral compass is different. Every state has different rules and laws, and thats why this situation is so difficult to understand and govern, theres so many things to take into consideration.

The first article i read was "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris. This was a really interesting article, but it wasnt really surprising to me. This article was written in 2015, and i think that most likely, things have gotten worse. A man was trying his best to warn families that their house was on fire, and he helped them escape, and tried to make sure everyone was safe, all while multiple bystanders just stood outside and took videos on their cellphones. This sort of ties into what i had said earlier, because its a morality thing. This man was super courageous, and did his best to help, while others decided not to get involved and just stood there. I would hope that if this man wasnt there, then someone else would step in to do something, but i cant fully say that thats what would have happened. Maybe the other witnesses were scared or didnt think they could do anything, but there were innocent people inside that building, and they needed help from others. With cellphones and social media becoming increasingly popular, i can only imagine what these situations are like nowadays. I just hope that in every instance, there is a man like that husband.

The second article i read was "The Trick to Acting Heroically" by Erez Yoeli and David Rand. This article starts off talking about a situation that happened on a train in France. A man pulled a gun out, but 3 other men stepped in and "thwarted" the attack. All 3 of them talked about the situation afterwards, stating they just did it purely out of instinct. Now my question to this article is, would everyone act out of instinct? Already, i know that the answer is no. This just feeds into the fact that every case is different and every person is different. Every human is different, and every human acts in ways that other people dont. Who knows what would have happened on that train if someone didnt step in? What wouldve happened if someone decided to step in, but only after it was too late? What if no one stepped in at all? For those 3 men, i definitely think they deserve praise and some sort of reward/compensation for helping save the lives of many, btu at the same time i also feel like its just what they should've done anyways. The last line of the article is a really good one, it states: "the recent heroics in France remind us, heroes don’t just do good — they do good instinctively." But can everybody be a hero? Does everybody have the morality and bravery to step in?

This is such a difficult topic and its certainly not easy to come to any single conclusions that sum up every single situation.

travelalarmclock
Posts: 4

What should've governed Cash's actions, or rather, modifying the question a bit, what shouldn't have governed his actions, was his selfishness. His justification for what he did was absolutely absurd. "I do not know this little girl...I'm not going to lose sleep over somebody else's problem." This might've been the same exact thoughts running through the heads of those who just stood by and watched the little boy on the 36 bus suffer, more or less. It's shocking that they just sat and watched. They did nothing and only came to regret it after the fact. I see parallels between Cash and Auclair's actions [Daniel Auclair from "Nightmare on the 36 Bus"]. Cash tapped Strohmeyer on the head, and Auclair attempted to get the drivers' attention. When neither of them succeeded to stop the horrifying incidents, they didn't do more. They left.

I think the obligations one has when they witness another wrong depends on your definition of "wrong". Referencing the list of scenarios brought up in class, are the obligations the same if one witnesses another cheat, and if one witnesses another assault another human being? No. In one situation, no one is getting hurt, except perhaps knowledge. In the other, one is in life-threatening danger. When witnessing a nature of "wrong" like the situation with Sherrice, Cash, and Strohmeyer, though, I think one does have an obligation to act. In my opinion, this obligation to "act" does not always apply, for example, if someone is simply cheating on a test.

When talking about what exactly governs the decision to act, I think back to the second article I read, "The Trick to Acting Heroically", by Eric Yoeli and David Rand. It delves into what goes through someone's mind when they're carrying out a "heroic" act, and it revealed that for most people, it's instinct, gut instinct. Most of the time, they don't think about it. They just jump into action. But clearly, in the case of Cash and Auclair, they had no such immediate instinct to jump in to stop the assaulters. This article also talks about the reasons why someone would instinctively put themselves in a situation that would put them in serious personal risk. The first reason doesn't really apply [cost of helping is typically small so they usually help to maintain a relationship but sometimes it is so big that if they knew the cost they wouldn't help] because in both situations the cost of intervening is predictable. The second reason is that if they didn't intervene, someone would be in great danger or harm, which I'm sure crossed their minds, they just chose themselves over Sherrice and the little boy on the bus. The last reason is that their long term relationship is valuable. Both Cash and Auclair have no ties to either of the children, and this in fact was Cash's reasoning, albeit a very messed up perspective. What governs the decision [not obligation] to act or not may have at least a bit to do with the relationship between the two, especially if you're friends with the perpetrator.

I did some research and apparently there is a crime called "misprision of felony" in which someone knows a felony has been committed and chooses not to say anything about it. The penalty is up to 3 years in prison though I don't know how reliable this information is. I just think this could influence someone's decision, though in my opinion if they have to stop and think about it and consider their benefits or risks when someone else's life is in danger, it's probable they won't do much. If they do, it's for selfish reasons and that's already heading down the wrong path. To answer the initial question, what should've governed Cash's actions was humanity-- acting out of care for others. To think about others rather than himself for once. At the very least if he didn't intervene he should've told someone, anyone, to help. Regardless of whoever's in his English class.

travelalarmclock
Posts: 4

Originally posted by testicular_cancer on September 22, 2022 12:15

A sense of morality should have governed Cash’s actions. Cash was and still is obligated by basic moral principles to intervene and help Iverson- as any person who witnesses another doing wrong is. It questions Cash’s principles and what he finds most important. Would he have interfered if Strohmeyer had been stealing from the casino? Money, tokens, items- anything but an innocent human life. Did Cash’s priorities lie in the resources of a multi-billion dollar corporation? They certainly did not lie in the survival of a helpless seven-year-old girl.


A good samaritan always has the moral obligation to act- even if it is not something the media highlights. The assumption that someone else will always act with “the presence of others [discouraging individuals] from intervening” seems to occur continuously (Harris 3). Granted, it’s not backed by the media because, for one reason or another, they would prefer to report on “a quick-acting JP resident took photos of flames bursting out of the roof of a Child Street home” than someone running “toward the house, yelling from half a block away. [Rushing] up the front stairs, [ringing] the doorbells for all three apartments, and [pouding] the front door” (Harris 2-3). The media always wants pictures- hard, horrific evidence of a tragedy- not a story pulled from a person’s memory. Tales of tragedies often go unnoticed unless whole communities are disturbed or if there is concrete visual evidence of them.


There are so many reasons why people go unhelped in dangerous, heartbreaking situations. Instincts are not listened to, assumptions are made, and no personal attachments are imagined. Everyone always seems to “sit back and watch”- yet everyone complains of how they “barely slept” when they realized their fearful ideas of their witness came true (McGrory). When someone needs “someone's help, [needs] anyone's help, nobody [is] willing to give it” (McGrory).


If people were to imagine what they would do if their worst fears about their loved ones being in harm came true- they would berate people for not helping them in the actual scenario. All it takes is a little moral compass, compassion, and imagination- thousands could have been saved. Not just Sherrice Iverson and the little boy on the 39 bus, but thousands more.

I completely agree, and this made me really think about if the situation were different. It makes me think about Cash's priorities. If Strohmeyer had been, say, stealing from the casino, that is a much lighter offense yet would he interfere in that situation compared to the situation with Iverson? And because there are no personal attachments, people don't follow through with their instincts. Instead, they sit back and watch. I also agree that really, what should've governed his actions as well as every bystander's actions, is compassion and morality. This brings up really good points about how things are dismissed unless there's actual evidence, even if lives are in danger. The media won't showcase something that is not backed with photos or videos, which a lot of the time people don't stop and pull out their camera to snap some photos in the middle of a catastrophe or tragedy.

travelalarmclock
Posts: 4

Originally posted by legoninjagofan67 on September 22, 2022 18:23

I think that sympathy should have governed David Cash's actions. I wish that Cash had some sympathy for the girl. I find it so hard to believe that he simply did not (and does not) care for the girl. I find it hard to believe that someone could be so heartless and cruel to another human being, especially a child. Theoretically, nobody has an "obligation" to report a wrong if they see it, but its all about morals and doing the right thing. I'm not super caught up on modern day laws, but maybe there is a law about if you see something, you should to say something. Also, i think its all about severity and humanity. I feel like it depends on the situation. I guess i would say there are different rules. If someone were to see something like what happened with Cash and Strohmeyer, i would so badly hope that the person would go get help or report the situation. I feel like if its something not so bad like a petty crime or maybe even like cheating on a test, then its not so neccessary to say something. Again, its all about morality and the situation, and its different for every person, but i just think that when it gets to a certain degree, you need to say something.

I dont believe that there are any specific rules on reporting if you witness anything wrong. Maybe there should be, idk. Technically nobody has an obligation (I may be wrong, i havent read all laws in all states) to report anything, but if they are found to be a crucial witness or somehow were involved in the case and it made something change, then they are obliged to play a role and go to court to testify. I think that it is a case to case issue. Every situation and every case is different. Everyones morality and moral compass is different. Every state has different rules and laws, and thats why this situation is so difficult to understand and govern, theres so many things to take into consideration.

The first article i read was "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris. This was a really interesting article, but it wasnt really surprising to me. This article was written in 2015, and i think that most likely, things have gotten worse. A man was trying his best to warn families that their house was on fire, and he helped them escape, and tried to make sure everyone was safe, all while multiple bystanders just stood outside and took videos on their cellphones. This sort of ties into what i had said earlier, because its a morality thing. This man was super courageous, and did his best to help, while others decided not to get involved and just stood there. I would hope that if this man wasnt there, then someone else would step in to do something, but i cant fully say that thats what would have happened. Maybe the other witnesses were scared or didnt think they could do anything, but there were innocent people inside that building, and they needed help from others. With cellphones and social media becoming increasingly popular, i can only imagine what these situations are like nowadays. I just hope that in every instance, there is a man like that husband.

The second article i read was "The Trick to Acting Heroically" by Erez Yoeli and David Rand. This article starts off talking about a situation that happened on a train in France. A man pulled a gun out, but 3 other men stepped in and "thwarted" the attack. All 3 of them talked about the situation afterwards, stating they just did it purely out of instinct. Now my question to this article is, would everyone act out of instinct? Already, i know that the answer is no. This just feeds into the fact that every case is different and every person is different. Every human is different, and every human acts in ways that other people dont. Who knows what would have happened on that train if someone didnt step in? What wouldve happened if someone decided to step in, but only after it was too late? What if no one stepped in at all? For those 3 men, i definitely think they deserve praise and some sort of reward/compensation for helping save the lives of many, btu at the same time i also feel like its just what they should've done anyways. The last line of the article is a really good one, it states: "the recent heroics in France remind us, heroes don’t just do good — they do good instinctively." But can everybody be a hero? Does everybody have the morality and bravery to step in?

This is such a difficult topic and its certainly not easy to come to any single conclusions that sum up every single situation.

I also read "The Trick to Acting Heroically" and the article pointed out that 2/3 of the men had military training, which of course contributed to their heroic actions. I agree with the point that every person is different and not all people have military training that would make them act out of instinct. Not everyone has the morality and bravery to step in. I'm also pretty sure there is a law that says you should say something if you see someone committing a crime or something. There might not be, but I know you can charged with a crime if you don't say anything.

toneloc
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

In my mind, the horrific event that occurred is not complicated at all. David Cash could have prevented the entire thing. I don't understand why he was not charged as an accomplice in this case. He states that he knew what his friend was doing wrong yet makes the most feeble effort he could have made to deal with the situation. Jeremy even confesses to the murder and David doesn't even think to report it! I do not know how he was raised, but most people were raised to have basic knowledge of what is clearly right or wrong. A big thing people use to identify if something was right or wrong is deciding if it affects someone very negatively. So minor wrongdoings such as cheating on a test aren't something most people would intervene with because it doesn't negatively harm anyone too severely. Yes, maybe the class average is a bit messed up or the person cheating doesn't learn that much, but in the grand scheme of life its really not a big deal. Murdering someone on the other hand is. Not only did Jeremy cause harm and eventually end the life of an innocent young girl, he caused great pain in the lives of everyone close to her. As a society, Id like to believe that everyone cares for each other at least a little bit. I know there's some sociopathic outliers, but overall I should hope that we all should at least have the decency to look after eachother just a little bit. I think when there's something happening that you clearly see as wrong, you should step in. Obviously try not to get in harms way and use your best judgment to figure out what to do wether that's calling the police or whatever the situation calls for but overall if there is something you can do that could potentially save someone from harm, you should always intervene! I don't see any reason why I wouldn't try to help someone in need, so its hard for me to rationalize Davids actions.

I chose to read the Samaritan Dilemma which had some surprising things to me. There seems to be two types of situations. One where people help and feel as though they just fulfilled their responsibility to take care of one another and another where nobody does anything and expects the other person to do something. I sort of understand this issue of expecting everyone else to deal with it but in the case of David Cash, I don't feel like this applies. He was really the only person who witnessed and could have stopped this event. He doesn't seem to have the notion that it was his responsibility to help unlike some of the altruistic people in the article. So what makes some people so drastically different in this way?

The second thing I read was the Bystander Effect article. In this day and age, recording horrific events seems to be a recurring theme in current events. Maybe some people think they are doing something by documenting what is happening. What doesn't make sense to me is why it didn't cross more peoples minds to help. Personally, and this might be mean, I think everyone is a little self absorbed these days. We rarely are able to empathize with peoples situations and it doesn't even cross peoples mind that someone could be affected by things like this. Every situation is a little bit different and all call for different responses but in the case of David Cash, it's clear to me that he should have intervened, and his neglect of the situation allowed for the death of Sherrice Iverson.

toneloc
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by travelalarmclock on September 22, 2022 18:50

What should've governed Cash's actions, or rather, modifying the question a bit, what shouldn't have governed his actions, was his selfishness. His justification for what he did was absolutely absurd. "I do not know this little girl...I'm not going to lose sleep over somebody else's problem." This might've been the same exact thoughts running through the heads of those who just stood by and watched the little boy on the 36 bus suffer, more or less. It's shocking that they just sat and watched. They did nothing and only came to regret it after the fact. I see parallels between Cash and Auclair's actions [Daniel Auclair from "Nightmare on the 36 Bus"]. Cash tapped Strohmeyer on the head, and Auclair attempted to get the drivers' attention. When neither of them succeeded to stop the horrifying incidents, they didn't do more. They left.

I think the obligations one has when they witness another wrong depends on your definition of "wrong". Referencing the list of scenarios brought up in class, are the obligations the same if one witnesses another cheat, and if one witnesses another assault another human being? No. In one situation, no one is getting hurt, except perhaps knowledge. In the other, one is in life-threatening danger. When witnessing a nature of "wrong" like the situation with Sherrice, Cash, and Strohmeyer, though, I think one does have an obligation to act. In my opinion, this obligation to "act" does not always apply, for example, if someone is simply cheating on a test.

When talking about what exactly governs the decision to act, I think back to the second article I read, "The Trick to Acting Heroically", by Eric Yoeli and David Rand. It delves into what goes through someone's mind when they're carrying out a "heroic" act, and it revealed that for most people, it's instinct, gut instinct. Most of the time, they don't think about it. They just jump into action. But clearly, in the case of Cash and Auclair, they had no such immediate instinct to jump in to stop the assaulters. This article also talks about the reasons why someone would instinctively put themselves in a situation that would put them in serious personal risk. The first reason doesn't really apply [cost of helping is typically small so they usually help to maintain a relationship but sometimes it is so big that if they knew the cost they wouldn't help] because in both situations the cost of intervening is predictable. The second reason is that if they didn't intervene, someone would be in great danger or harm, which I'm sure crossed their minds, they just chose themselves over Sherrice and the little boy on the bus. The last reason is that their long term relationship is valuable. Both Cash and Auclair have no ties to either of the children, and this in fact was Cash's reasoning, albeit a very messed up perspective. What governs the decision [not obligation] to act or not may have at least a bit to do with the relationship between the two, especially if you're friends with the perpetrator.

I did some research and apparently there is a crime called "misprision of felony" in which someone knows a felony has been committed and chooses not to say anything about it. The penalty is up to 3 years in prison though I don't know how reliable this information is. I just think this could influence someone's decision, though in my opinion if they have to stop and think about it and consider their benefits or risks when someone else's life is in danger, it's probable they won't do much. If they do, it's for selfish reasons and that's already heading down the wrong path. To answer the initial question, what should've governed Cash's actions was humanity-- acting out of care for others. To think about others rather than himself for once. At the very least if he didn't intervene he should've told someone, anyone, to help. Regardless of whoever's in his English class.

To me, it doesn't make sense that David didn't report it because as you said, the cost of helping is so low. He may have lost a friend, (a clearly terrible one) but overall he could have saved someones life at little to no effect to his own life.

wonderwoman
boston
Posts: 4

As I sit and think about this specific incident I can not even scrap my brain for a single reason or explanation for Cash’s actions. The only true one is that he is a monster of a human being and deserves to be behind bars for stripping away a 7 year old girl’s life and future. For someone to witness and encourage an action so horrific their person and character should be directly challenged. David Cash clearly has no morals, no empathy, and no compassion. A true danger to society. Personally I think People are more focused on the business of their own lives to care for others. People care way too much about their image or being judged , “bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation” ( Harris). It is the presence of others which really causes the bystander effect. Maybe he thought he wasn't the right person to report it, maybe it wasn't any of his business-selfishness plays an important role as well.


I believe that there can be different rules to witnesses if the offense does not harm a human being, anything which endangers a person is a grave problem. When a life is at stake and a person is simply a witness to a crime, they deserve the same criminal charges as the participant. We do have an obligation to act but only when the consequences of interfering are worse than the outcome. For example, Ms. Freeman asked the class if they would tell the teacher on a cheating peer everyone said they wouldn't. It would cause too much trouble to rat the kid out and the only harm done would be the kid got a better grade on a probably already unfair test. But once Ms. Freeman mentioned young children getting hurt, almost everyone said they would immediately stop the assault. As long as you are a sane person, you know where the line crosses into dangerous territory. The lines start to blur only when a person is unstable and unempathetic.


toneloc
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by autumn_ on September 22, 2022 16:50

I’ve thought about this situation heavily. Personally, I’m someone who takes cases like this to heart, especially when it comes to children. Regardless, I knew my standpoint on this situation from the start: despite David Cash’s relationship to Jeremy Strohmeyer, he should have immediately known to get help, especially when his (rather weak) efforts to stop Strohmeyer were unsuccessful.


Its a bit hard to put my thoughts into words because they’re bouncing around in my head, all in a range of “what it means to be a bystander” to “how did their friendship affect Cash’s actions”. The first area of note here is that Cash claimed to leave the restroom because he simply didn’t care about Sherrice Iverson. He detached himself form the situation because he valued his friendship with Strohmeyer more than the life of an innocent seven year old. I personally find that to be ridiculous, the fact that he was able to walk away knowing that that little girl was in pain and helpless. If we want to get ethical, our personal relationships with people can obviously affect our view on their wrongdoings. It’s easier to excuse someone’s personal actions when you know them because you can simply say that “its unlikely behavior”, therefore detaching the behavior from them all together. The reality is, our actions reflect our character, regardless of the mindset we’re in. I am a firm believer in the fact that our actions are apart of us, and that failure to own up to them is admitting shame to that side of ourselves. In Cash’s scenario, his morality benefitted from deciding that this behavior was simply not usual for Strohmeyer, therefore it didn’t matter.


It can also be argued that within their friendship, Strohmeyer may have said some…questionable things. The kind of person that would assault and murder a seven year old girl obviously has a very harmful mindset that would somehow reflect in their character. I doubt that Strohmeyer never said questionable things about women to Cash. The problem is that this behavior is easily normalized among teenage boys. This is all speculation on my part, but I wanted to include it in this post anyways.


As human beings, I believe it is our duty to help those in need. It all circles back to the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. I always put myself in someone else’s shoes, which helps me to gauge the best way to act in said situation. The problem with Cash in this scenario is that he didn’t care about the other person here, or Strohmeyer for that matter. I believe that if he truly, TRULY cared for his friend, he would’ve done more to stop him. There’s no way that he just assumed that this scenario would have no repercussions. Ofcourse, Cash probably didn’t think that far ahead because he, once again, simply. did. not. care.


With this situation in mind, I decided to read the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” by Erez Yoeli and David Rand. I chose to read this because I assumed it would take a more ethical approach to heroism. This article discussed the possible reasons for why heroes act the way they do, which is usually on impulse. The overall conclusion was that these heroes do so because the person in need has more to lose than the person who decides to help. In Cash’s case, he was at risk at losing a good friend. However, Iverson was at risk of losing her innocence and her life. The question is, why would Cash want to keep him as a friend after seeing him assault a little girl?


The second article I read was “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” by Brian McGrory. The title of it stood out to me because I often take the 36 bus. Unfortunately, I was shocked by what I read. The article detailed an incident where a young boy was physically assaulted by his (assumed to be) parent/guardian. What horrified me the most is that no one on the bus intervened. It baffles me that incidents like this can occur, and as people we’re too concerned with ourselves to reach out. At the end of the day, it’s easy to prioritize your well being, but truly: what do you have to lose?


All in all, this story has deeply rattled me, and caused me to do some very deep thinking about what it truly means to be a bystander. My heart goes out to Sherrice Iverson and her family, and I wonder where David Cash is now/ if he regrets his decision to walk away. The sad thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had no regrets at all.


Im glad you brought up the point of Jeremys character. I too had the same type of speculation about his behavior. It wouldn't really make too much sense if he did something like this out of the blue. He must have had some indication that he had this mindset or sickness about him which makes me question Davids choice to be friends with someone who was capable of something like this. Neither of the boys seem to be good people with a moral compass.

wonderwoman
boston
Posts: 4

Originally posted by toneloc on September 22, 2022 19:55

In my mind, the horrific event that occurred is not complicated at all. David Cash could have prevented the entire thing. I don't understand why he was not charged as an accomplice in this case. He states that he knew what his friend was doing wrong yet makes the most feeble effort he could have made to deal with the situation. Jeremy even confesses to the murder and David doesn't even think to report it! I do not know how he was raised, but most people were raised to have basic knowledge of what is clearly right or wrong. A big thing people use to identify if something was right or wrong is deciding if it affects someone very negatively. So minor wrongdoings such as cheating on a test aren't something most people would intervene with because it doesn't negatively harm anyone too severely. Yes, maybe the class average is a bit messed up or the person cheating doesn't learn that much, but in the grand scheme of life its really not a big deal. Murdering someone on the other hand is. Not only did Jeremy cause harm and eventually end the life of an innocent young girl, he caused great pain in the lives of everyone close to her. As a society, Id like to believe that everyone cares for each other at least a little bit. I know there's some sociopathic outliers, but overall I should hope that we all should at least have the decency to look after eachother just a little bit. I think when there's something happening that you clearly see as wrong, you should step in. Obviously try not to get in harms way and use your best judgment to figure out what to do wether that's calling the police or whatever the situation calls for but overall if there is something you can do that could potentially save someone from harm, you should always intervene! I don't see any reason why I wouldn't try to help someone in need, so its hard for me to rationalize Davids actions.

I chose to read the Samaritan Dilemma which had some surprising things to me. There seems to be two types of situations. One where people help and feel as though they just fulfilled their responsibility to take care of one another and another where nobody does anything and expects the other person to do something. I sort of understand this issue of expecting everyone else to deal with it but in the case of David Cash, I don't feel like this applies. He was really the only person who witnessed and could have stopped this event. He doesn't seem to have the notion that it was his responsibility to help unlike some of the altruistic people in the article. So what makes some people so drastically different in this way?

The second thing I read was the Bystander Effect article. In this day and age, recording horrific events seems to be a recurring theme in current events. Maybe some people think they are doing something by documenting what is happening. What doesn't make sense to me is why it didn't cross more peoples minds to help. Personally, and this might be mean, I think everyone is a little self absorbed these days. We rarely are able to empathize with peoples situations and it doesn't even cross peoples mind that someone could be affected by things like this. Every situation is a little bit different and all call for different responses but in the case of David Cash, it's clear to me that he should have intervened, and his neglect of the situation allowed for the death of Sherrice Iverson.

I also read the Bystander Effect and I agree that most people are too self absorbed to truly react to dangerous situations. I found it incredibly shocking that the man standing with his phone taking pictures later got celebrated on the news! We live in a completely different age so maybe the new way of helping is posting online and getting the word out but it still doesn't sit right with me.

wonderwoman
boston
Posts: 4

Originally posted by testicular_cancer on September 22, 2022 12:15

A sense of morality should have governed Cash’s actions. Cash was and still is obligated by basic moral principles to intervene and help Iverson- as any person who witnesses another doing wrong is. It questions Cash’s principles and what he finds most important. Would he have interfered if Strohmeyer had been stealing from the casino? Money, tokens, items- anything but an innocent human life. Did Cash’s priorities lie in the resources of a multi-billion dollar corporation? They certainly did not lie in the survival of a helpless seven-year-old girl.


A good samaritan always has the moral obligation to act- even if it is not something the media highlights. The assumption that someone else will always act with “the presence of others [discouraging individuals] from intervening” seems to occur continuously (Harris 3). Granted, it’s not backed by the media because, for one reason or another, they would prefer to report on “a quick-acting JP resident took photos of flames bursting out of the roof of a Child Street home” than someone running “toward the house, yelling from half a block away. [Rushing] up the front stairs, [ringing] the doorbells for all three apartments, and [pouding] the front door” (Harris 2-3). The media always wants pictures- hard, horrific evidence of a tragedy- not a story pulled from a person’s memory. Tales of tragedies often go unnoticed unless whole communities are disturbed or if there is concrete visual evidence of them.


There are so many reasons why people go unhelped in dangerous, heartbreaking situations. Instincts are not listened to, assumptions are made, and no personal attachments are imagined. Everyone always seems to “sit back and watch”- yet everyone complains of how they “barely slept” when they realized their fearful ideas of their witness came true (McGrory). When someone needs “someone's help, [needs] anyone's help, nobody [is] willing to give it” (McGrory).


If people were to imagine what they would do if their worst fears about their loved ones being in harm came true- they would berate people for not helping them in the actual scenario. All it takes is a little moral compass, compassion, and imagination- thousands could have been saved. Not just Sherrice Iverson and the little boy on the 39 bus, but thousands more.

I really enjoyed you questioning of Cash's motives. I agree that it also seems as though Cash may value money or items more then a human life-is he maybe a sociopath

ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Before writing this response I analyzed Deborah Stone's "The Samaritan's Dilemma," to understand the more mythic themes of the human psyche she argues are responsible for one's inclination to respond to hostile situations in a divine act of altruism. Stone wastes no time jumping into the debate, introducing readers to the story of a young woman named Kitty Genovese. In Kew Gardens, New York, 1964, in clear sight of thirty-eight eye witnesses, Kitty was murdered. In what Stone claims to be an "urban legend" inspired by Kitty's death, the issue of the good Samaritan is forever plagued by another pressing matter, is altruism dead? Merriam-Webster defines altruism as an unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others. Now, Stone would also argue that in the case of Kitty Genovese, "such obliviousness [expressed by the bystanders in their reluctance to act] is rare" (Stone, 129). Must we rely on the self-awareness of others to save lives? I argue we can, however, it appears to be a daunting task. Unfortunately in the case of Sherrice Iverson, such general applications of the good Samaritan debate and its many questions are not valid. On the topic of involuntary action and its relation to the good Samaritan issue, authors Erez Yoeli and David Rand argue "It is also possible that there is a benefit to developing a reputation as someone who helps without thinking" (Yoeli & Rand, 2015). Cash did not do this. David Cash made a deliberate choice to ignore natural, innate feelings of doubt, shame, anger, and mistrust when he entered the bathroom on May 25 and watched his best friend assault a seven year old girl. Humans are smart, highly capable beings, and as I mentioned earlier, incredibly self-aware.To ask myself, "What should have governed Cash's actions" is a very difficult concept to comprehend. Let me rephrase. While I understand the validity of evaluating the context of Cash's particular position, I refuse to dive deep into the psyche of David Cash. I refuse to allude to any possibility Cash may have possessed the mental incapability to comprehend right versus wrong. I contend that to try and rationalize his choices in an attempt to evoke empathy is to sympathize with a murderer. I find myself extremely apathetic to the man, not the situation.

ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by travelalarmclock on September 22, 2022 18:50

What should've governed Cash's actions, or rather, modifying the question a bit, what shouldn't have governed his actions, was his selfishness. His justification for what he did was absolutely absurd. "I do not know this little girl...I'm not going to lose sleep over somebody else's problem." This might've been the same exact thoughts running through the heads of those who just stood by and watched the little boy on the 36 bus suffer, more or less. It's shocking that they just sat and watched. They did nothing and only came to regret it after the fact. I see parallels between Cash and Auclair's actions [Daniel Auclair from "Nightmare on the 36 Bus"]. Cash tapped Strohmeyer on the head, and Auclair attempted to get the drivers' attention. When neither of them succeeded to stop the horrifying incidents, they didn't do more. They left.

I think the obligations one has when they witness another wrong depends on your definition of "wrong". Referencing the list of scenarios brought up in class, are the obligations the same if one witnesses another cheat, and if one witnesses another assault another human being? No. In one situation, no one is getting hurt, except perhaps knowledge. In the other, one is in life-threatening danger. When witnessing a nature of "wrong" like the situation with Sherrice, Cash, and Strohmeyer, though, I think one does have an obligation to act. In my opinion, this obligation to "act" does not always apply, for example, if someone is simply cheating on a test.

When talking about what exactly governs the decision to act, I think back to the second article I read, "The Trick to Acting Heroically", by Eric Yoeli and David Rand. It delves into what goes through someone's mind when they're carrying out a "heroic" act, and it revealed that for most people, it's instinct, gut instinct. Most of the time, they don't think about it. They just jump into action. But clearly, in the case of Cash and Auclair, they had no such immediate instinct to jump in to stop the assaulters. This article also talks about the reasons why someone would instinctively put themselves in a situation that would put them in serious personal risk. The first reason doesn't really apply [cost of helping is typically small so they usually help to maintain a relationship but sometimes it is so big that if they knew the cost they wouldn't help] because in both situations the cost of intervening is predictable. The second reason is that if they didn't intervene, someone would be in great danger or harm, which I'm sure crossed their minds, they just chose themselves over Sherrice and the little boy on the bus. The last reason is that their long term relationship is valuable. Both Cash and Auclair have no ties to either of the children, and this in fact was Cash's reasoning, albeit a very messed up perspective. What governs the decision [not obligation] to act or not may have at least a bit to do with the relationship between the two, especially if you're friends with the perpetrator.

I did some research and apparently there is a crime called "misprision of felony" in which someone knows a felony has been committed and chooses not to say anything about it. The penalty is up to 3 years in prison though I don't know how reliable this information is. I just think this could influence someone's decision, though in my opinion if they have to stop and think about it and consider their benefits or risks when someone else's life is in danger, it's probable they won't do much. If they do, it's for selfish reasons and that's already heading down the wrong path. To answer the initial question, what should've governed Cash's actions was humanity-- acting out of care for others. To think about others rather than himself for once. At the very least if he didn't intervene he should've told someone, anyone, to help. Regardless of whoever's in his English class.

I really appreciate your consideration of the definition of the word "wrong." I agree that as humans we have an innate understanding of "wrong," however, its application and understanding in actuality is often clouded by arbitrary terms and individualized defenitions.

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