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ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by wonderwoman on September 22, 2022 20:03

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.


I find it interesting that your examples of the different rules to witnesses are contingent on extreme situations that can range from cheating on an exam to someone's life being at stake. The issue with this entire dilemma is that it is impossible to justify/predict how any one person may react in any given scenario. I realize how important it is to have these discussions and understand the consequences of these extremes so that we may avoid encountering them in the future.

NotATRex
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

David Cash should have done something.

Good morals, in general, should have governed his actions. When a human being witnesses something WAY out of the norm, and something that impacts a child and a family so badly, they should do something. A snap, or a nudge, or a look, or body language is not the way to do it either. As people who know what emotions and feelings are, I believe that every single person is obligated to help out and offer assistance when they see something wrong happening. There are so many people in this world who are just willing to stand by and watch. They get that guilty churn in their stomach, but for some reason, their feet are glued to the floor––or maybe they don't feel guilty and are simply okay with seeing something bad happen to another person. I know this is not right.

If you see someone being mistreated, I believe you are responsible for saying something. Now there are strenuous circumstances, for example, if the situation is dangerous for you personally to be in, get some help. Don't just stand there. Brian McGrory's, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus," is a perfect example of this. An 8-year-old child was being abused in front of more than a dozen people, and not one single person intervened––not even the bus driver. Hello? What world do we even live in? Of course, if you see a bad situation happening between two people, BUT one of the people is handling it, sometimes it is okay to be a witness. When there is crisis and fear and uncertainty, you should almost always offer your help and guard.

What's even more shocking to me about these bystander stories, is that they are actively happening in our communities. Another story, taking place in Jamaica Plain, also shows the bystander effect in our generation. Instead of being called to action when there is an emergency, people just stare in absolute shock. ("The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age") This reminds me of America's position during the Holocaust. We were also caught in the bystander effect. We were aware of the thousands of people being massacred every single day, but we did nothing. Similarly, my sister brought up to me the explosion of the Kharkiv Tec-5 thermal power plant. It seems like we're just sitting here absorbing information––or not. The war occupied two weeks in the news, then became just another memory.

I'm just tired of everyone sitting back and doing nothing.

NotATRex
Roslindale, MA, US
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 100% agree with you. I am HUGE about morality and social responsibility, and it really appalls me that people are so comfortable with sitting and watching. It seems like they take their own feelings of discomfort into account, more than the victims... I also chose the exact same articles as you––crazy that these areas are so close to our school and communities.

NotATRex
Roslindale, MA, 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.


I like that you really dissected the situation, and spoke about their friendship and ethics. Honestly, if you've ever read The Stranger, David reminds me of Meursault––super detached and indifferent (which is CRAZY in this situation). I honestly feel like he was in on it in the first place. I like the parallels that you keep making between losing a friendship versus losing innocence and a life.

Snailord
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 1

I think a basic sense of human decency and morality should have governed Cash's actions. That sounds a bit blunt, but still.

Cash knew that what Strohmeyer was doing was wrong, or in his words, "out of character," and yet he did the bare minimum (if you can even call it that) to stop it, and the only reason he didn't do more was because he understood that this was not a situation that he wanted to be in. The fact that he understood that what was about to happen was something that he didn't want to be a part of, but didn't even take the time to consider that maybe, just maybe, this was something that Sherrice also did not want to be a part of but was being forced, baffles me completely. It is made clear by David's attempt at making excuses and reasoning with the interviewers that he is just a selfish person, and there has to be a stronger word for that somewhere because that feels like an understatement. Even when it comes to, as Cash would say, "starving people in Panama," the people who don't actively do anything to solve the problem (donating and such) are at least sympathetic and talk about it with other people. David just, didn't care. It's likely that if Jeremy was never arrested, David would have kept his mouth shut for as long as he wanted.

In my head, a serious wrong is an action that causes any kind of harm (emotional, physical, financial, etc) to a person/people, and these are the kinds of wrongs that people are obligated to stop. Of course, huge societal problems like disease and starvation are not something that can be solved so easily, but when someone witnesses right in front of them something serious happening, then they have to do *something.* They don't have to necessarily go out of their way to physically stop it themselves, especially if they think they won't actually have an effect or if it would escalate the situation, but they should be seeking out help from someone, authority figures, police, anyone. Even if the crime is concluded before law enforcement arrives, at least the person who committed it will be actively searched for and arrested so that they don't just walk free and keep committing.

On the opposite end, wrongs that I would deem inherently "harmless" (until it reaches a certain threshold in which they should stop both for themselves and others) are wrongs that don't cause any direct harm to anyone. These kinds of wrongs might actually have a sound reason behind them, and they should be heard out depending on the wrong. for example, cheating on a test. It's pretty easy to assume that maybe the offender just didn't have enough time to study before then, which is reasonable. When it comes to stealing, it depends. If the person is stealing non-essential items (jewelry, etc), then they should probably be stopped, however when it comes to essential goods like food and water, then they probably have a very good reason for needing to steal these things, and without being intrusive, you should do what you can to support their situation so that they won't feel the need to steal at all.

Now we have Good Samaritan laws put in place that make it so that if you witness a crime and you don't report it or do anything about it, you are considered an accomplice to the crime. Actually, now that I think about it, how do these laws work in group situations? For example, the 36 bus incident that happened in Boston in 2000. According to Daniel Auclair's eyewitness account, there were several passengers who witnessed the violence that occured to that child, and despite whispers and nervous looks, nobody did anything. Are all of those people considered accomplices? Also, I fully understand that this law is enacted for entirely good reasons, but at the same time, you can't just ignore the fact that, some situations truly are just too overwhelming for people to act. Going back to the 36 bus, Auclair recognized that something bad was happening and really did consider interfering, but he didn't. I'm sure many of the people on that bus felt the same way, but there are many reasons why a person wouldn't want to interfere. They could be in shock, they could be risking their own life or wellbeing by interfering, they could simply just have no idea how to help in that situation.

Deborah Stone makes a point of this in "The Samaritan's Dilemma." It's not like no one wants to help, it's just that they feel as though they are in a situation in which someone else will surely come along to save the day, not having to put themselves in any danger. Even some of the people who did end up being "good samaritans" had a moment of hesitation before stepping up. Or in other cases, self-preservation was prioritzed, even by police officers. If a person hesitates before helping someone, especially in really dangerous situations, then that's reasonable to an extent, that's just human self-preservation, but I guess there's a difference between hesitation and choosing not to do anything altogether.

harlin_miller
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

The general moral compass should have governed Cash's actions. When a person sees something that is causing detrimental harm to someone else, I believe they are obligated to step in. They should do everything in their power to stop the action from happening. However i think that this is only true when someone or something else is being put in harm. If I see someone stealing a shirt from target, I won't care because they are a big corporation, and nobody is getting hurt. A seven year old girl getting r*ped in front of me would be a scenario where I do everything in my power to save the little girl, even if it means putting my life at risk.

The general rules of society is to keep each other safe. This is summed up with the phrase, " if you see something, say something". Like I said earlier someone should step in once someone or something is getting harmed. There is almost always an obligation to act if you see an action that is hurting someone else.

In "The Trick to Acting Heroically" the authors discuss a real event where a group of men stopped an attack on a French train. They said that they acted on it because “It wasn’t really a conscious decision.” (Yoeli/Rand). This going to show how people should help other people unconsciously not hurt them. Similarly in "Nightmare on the 36 bus" when the person who was about to intervene was going to, they sat back down. They then said "It's a decision he's regretted ever since." (Boston Globe). This shows how when you don't step in to help people who are getting hurt, you are partially at fault because you did nothing to stop it.

harlin_miller
Boston, MA, US
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 agree 100%. People never think that things like these will ever happen to them until they do, and they have a mindset of "well this hasn't happened to me so it's not my problem" and its gross. I really like how you touched on that in your last paragraph.

harlin_miller
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by wonderwoman on September 22, 2022 20:03

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.


I completely agree with you. There are definitely different levels of crime that deserve to be acted upon, but when someone is being harmed you have the obligation to step in. I really like how you incorporated this idea within your paragraphs.

legoninjagofan67
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by NotATRex on September 22, 2022 21:11

David Cash should have done something.

Good morals, in general, should have governed his actions. When a human being witnesses something WAY out of the norm, and something that impacts a child and a family so badly, they should do something. A snap, or a nudge, or a look, or body language is not the way to do it either. As people who know what emotions and feelings are, I believe that every single person is obligated to help out and offer assistance when they see something wrong happening. There are so many people in this world who are just willing to stand by and watch. They get that guilty churn in their stomach, but for some reason, their feet are glued to the floor––or maybe they don't feel guilty and are simply okay with seeing something bad happen to another person. I know this is not right.

If you see someone being mistreated, I believe you are responsible for saying something. Now there are strenuous circumstances, for example, if the situation is dangerous for you personally to be in, get some help. Don't just stand there. Brian McGrory's, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus," is a perfect example of this. An 8-year-old child was being abused in front of more than a dozen people, and not one single person intervened––not even the bus driver. Hello? What world do we even live in? Of course, if you see a bad situation happening between two people, BUT one of the people is handling it, sometimes it is okay to be a witness. When there is crisis and fear and uncertainty, you should almost always offer your help and guard.

What's even more shocking to me about these bystander stories, is that they are actively happening in our communities. Another story, taking place in Jamaica Plain, also shows the bystander effect in our generation. Instead of being called to action when there is an emergency, people just stare in absolute shock. ("The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age") This reminds me of America's position during the Holocaust. We were also caught in the bystander effect. We were aware of the thousands of people being massacred every single day, but we did nothing. Similarly, my sister brought up to me the explosion of the Kharkiv Tec-5 thermal power plant. It seems like we're just sitting here absorbing information––or not. The war occupied two weeks in the news, then became just another memory.

I'm just tired of everyone sitting back and doing nothing.

I couldn't have said that last sentence any better. Its so sad thinking about all of the things and events (including the ones weve talked about and read about) that could have been prevented if someone would have simply just said something or done something.

stuckyducky
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 2

I do not know what should have governed Cash’s actions. Perhaps it should have been a moral code, compassion, or just human decency. I do know however, he should have known better. He witnessed such a horrific crime and still neglected to report it, and barely even had a conversation with Strohmeyer after the fact. He was old enough to have known better and he still chose not to do anything about it. I think that it was especially ridiculous that he said “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.” I feel as though if given the opportunity to stop these things from happening, wouldn’t we choose to stop it? It isn’t fair to say that we wouldn’t stop a horrible thing from happening solely because we don’t know who the victim is. I think that “a wrong” isn’t the correct word in this context because of how vague it is. I think that wrongs that cause harm are wrongs that have to be reported. Cash should have stopped the crime instead of defending his friend on the account of being “best friends” with him and knowing that “he had potential”. He should have lost sleep over standing by as a child got horrifically murdered when he could have done something to stop it.

Laws put in place to make it mandatory to report these crimes were put in place to make it so people were obligated to act. However, I think that it shouldn’t be a law that drives people to act but it should be their own sense of good morals. I think that people should always try to do good but I understand that this is extremely subjective. Factors such as loyalty (in Cash’s case) make people’s judgements become skewed and that is part of the problem with the moral obligations. However, Cash should have known that breaking his loyalty to his friend and stopping the crime would have done less harm than when he stayed silent. I think that we should realize that if we act and the total harm is reduced, then we should be acting.

In the first article I read (Nightmare on the 36 Bus), I thought that the situation really shows how the bystander effect really exists. We may tend to not intervene in fear of also being harmed or thinking that someone else will do it for us. I also think that it is human tendency to sort of dehumanize those that we don’t know personally, especially when we see these situations. I think that it is wrong to not step in when something like that is happening just because we don’t know the people involved personally. I think that in Cash’s situation, he isn’t allowed to dehumanize Sherrice as his excuse. He knew Strohmeyer and should have stopped it. Strohmeyer was his friend and if he stepped in then he could have made a real difference. Even after, he didn’t report it much like how the bus driver in the article didn’t seek out help for the boy and during then, they wouldnt have as much of a fear of being harmed.

In the second article I read (The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age), it really shows how this effect has gotten stronger as cellphones become more popular. I think that it can be important to document events for the intention of some sort of reporting or way to help the victims (just ways that aren’t superficial like for likes on social media and such) but it is just as important to start help in a way we can. I don’t mean that we should all run into burning buildings and save the people inside but if there is a way that we can help, we should be doing it, just like how the husband in the article was running to warn people living nearby.

It is hard to have a strict set of guidelines we need to follow in order to know when it is an obligation to act. However, we should be looking at how much damage we do by sitting by and doing nothing and comparing it to how much damage would happen if we did do something. I think that if we act and it deals less harm, we should be acting.

In response to NotATREX, I completely agree that it seems so shocking that bystander effect stories happen in areas that are so close to us. When I had first heard of this effect, it seemed like something that only happened in movies or something. Because we would all act, right? But then it raises the question of would we actually do it? Or would we expect that someone else would do it for us? Having these stories be from areas so close make it seem actually something feasible.

In response to autumn_, I thought it was interesting that they mentioned the golden rule. As children, many people learn about this golden rule but it is hardly ever applied in situations like these. I also agree with the point that Cash’s actions definitely defined who he was as a person. I could be wrong but I think he said something about how this case would make him more popular with women. Him saying this even further solidifies the point that these choices he made definitely show how he lacks the moral code that would have prevented all this.

legoninjagofan67
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 agree with your opening statement. I think what Cash did was purely just so selfish. Your second paragrph is also very reasonable and i agree with it. I didnt know about the "misprision of felony" crime either, which was interesting to learn about.

purpledog11
Posts: 2

I think common sense should’ve governed David Cash’s actions, however, this was clearly not the case. Speaking of common sense I think the term is very broad in definition, but in this situation, I think the common sense that should’ve been used is “see something wrong, say something about it. The obligation Cash faced in this situation is that he is a friend of Jeremy. Yet, I believe this is no excuse for the actions of this crime. Sexual assault and murder isn’t a situation that should be brushed lightly, and I think that’s what might’ve been going through Cash’s brain as he left the restroom or when he saw Jeremy in the stalls with Sherrice.

I think within society the obligations a person has towards a wrong is between the bystander and the perpetrator’s relationship. This is why there are conflicts of interest quite often, and why they aren’t allowed because they can skew opinions. I think there are different rules depending on the “wrong” because of this previous situation. If it’s a friend or a family member, bystanders are more likely to not say anything because they want to make sure those close to them get the best outcome. Bystanding also happens more when the crime is “smaller”, as witnessed by our mini-class survey done in class. The class was more likely to talk to the perpetrator if they were shoplifting than if their friend had super obviously cheated.

I think the overarching “rule” that governs a decision to witness is within one’s interpretation of their place in society and their reputation. Occasionally, speaking up and telling the truth only exposes only the bad side of the perpetrator, and with this can easily damage a dynamic like a friendship. Yet, I believe we have an obligation to almost always act. At the end of the day, I believe acting out is only for the good of society. It’s an opportunity for the perpetrator to grow, the outside audience to grow, and even the bystander.

Through reading both “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” and “The Bystander Effect in the Cellophone Age” I think many of my points mentioned earlier were discussed if not one of these articles then both. With the pressure of society, being an upstander becomes even rarer. It’s easier to blend into society when no one sticks out. For Auclair, however, he was so compelled to help the young boy, but with all the staring he wasn’t ready to do that. From “ The Bystander Effect through the Cellophone age I learned how in this day and age the world needs to document everything that happens. It doesn’t matter if it's a housefire or the Green Line sparking at Park Street, the camera is our eyes, and they too need to see what happens. With intaking content like this, I believe people like David Cash and Jeremy Strohmeyer didn’t consider this whenever either one of them planned the murder. They thought that if one was a bystander and there were no one else around, this would be something easy to pull off. Regardless of why Cash didn’t speak out against Strohmeyer right away proves the point how friendship comes first, and that’s something that can very quickly be ruined if you turned away.

Eisenhower34
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Assignment: The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

  • I think that a basic sense of morality should've governed Cash's actions. Cash is, practically, a fully-grown adult and a scholar at one of the top engineering universities on the West coast; by now a person of that caliber should have at least a basic sense of justice and morality. I definitely subscribe to the assertion that, if a person witnesses a crime, there are certain civil obligations that the person must carry out to ensure due process and efficient functioning of our society. These required actions change depending on the severity and scope of the crime committed, but the average response usually consists of attempting to stop the perpetrator, or if that isn’t possible, asking for help/ assistance (police, supervisor, bus driver, etc.)
  • The rules that should discern whether a witness should act or not witness should be primarily based on the severity of the crime. If a person sees another shoplifting, for example, a good natured person would be inclined to report the misdemeanor, but if a person decides to instead mind their own business, it’s such a petty crime that it likely won’t make a difference. In contrast, if another person witnesses a brutal crime like the assault of the child, it shouln’t have to be governed by a law: baisic human instinct would drive a person to intervene, or at the very least call the authorities. One would have to go against their basic humanity to ignore such a severe crime.
  • I read “The Trick to Acting Heroically'' [NY Times] and “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” [WBUR]. I found both articles to be very interesting and quite relevant to the class’ discussion on Sherrice Iverson. I particularly like the points mentioned in the WBUR article. It resonated with me quite a bit. In it, the writer talks about a fire that occurred in her neighborhood, and the incredulous response by some neighbors to pull out their phones and record the fire for posterity, rather than take action and help the people inside - “Have our new-found instincts to document everything on our phones heightened the bystander effect, because we’re almost always connected to others online? - should this type of citizen journalism also apply to videoing a fire that’s just begun, without thinking of lives that might be at risk?” It really makes one think about how passive we humans have become, and how this has a potential to snowball into a problem. Who knows where it will stop? How much more are we willing to excuse? Where does the threshold lie? Are we already too late? These are some questions that kept me up at night after reading this article.
smeeworg
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 4

Cash should’ve been governed by his ability to prevent tremendous physical and emotional harm to another individual. During the interview, Cash admitted to seeing Strohmeyer pinning Iverson to the wall and threatening her life. He witnessed an ongoing assault that had the potential to escalate to sexual assault, rape, and/or murder, yet he decided to do nothing. Additionally, Cash could’ve stopped the assault without major harm to himself. If Strohmeyer had a weapon, I would be able to grasp why Cash had chosen to ignore the situation. However, the fact that they were of similar stature, were good friends, and neither were armed suggests that Cash didn’t walk away in self-preservation, but rather in disinterest and unwillingness to help others. I think a witness has a duty to stop another wrong if it doesn’t result in major harm to the witness. Cash failed to do this.

Another thing that shocked me was that Strohmeyer came out of the bathroom more than 20 minutes after Cash did. One could make the argument that people act differently in stressful situations and that Cash’s actions could’ve been a result of panic, but Cash had 20 minutes to process what he had seen and produce a response. I think Cash’s inability to stop the assault even though he had time to figure out an appropriate response that would come at little detriment to himself makes him an accomplice rather than a witness.

Yes, I believe there are different rules depending on the nature of the wrong. If the wrong doesn’t cause harm to another being (like cheating on a test or stealing from a big store–the examples given in class), then there is less obligation to report the wrong. You could talk to the perpetrator and try to prevent them from doing the wrong again, but there is less harm if you don’t do anything. However, what Cash saw was, at the very least, an assault to a 7-year-old girl. He probably knew, though, that the situation was likely to escalate.

I think Cash should’ve put himself in Iverson’s shoes to understand what he should’ve done in the situation. When you’re in a circumstance like that, you would do anything for a way out of it. Cash had the power to put Iverson out of such intense misery, and I think he should’ve realized this in the moment. In these situations, I think the witness sometimes has an obligation to act. As I touched upon early, I believe whether action is obligatory comes from whether the witness is put in serious danger or not. One of the articles I read was "The Trick to Acting Heroically" by Erez Yeoli and David Rand. In the article, an experiment was conducted that yielded results that are rather intuitive. One of the tendencies shown by the model was that people were willing to help if the cost of helping is usually small.

The article corroborates my idea that most people would've helped if they were in Cash's shoes. Thus, for him, I believe he had an obligation to act.

Another one of the articles I read was "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris, and she talked about something similar to what we saw in the 911 reading. In both texts, something horrible is going on while witnesses just take out their phones to record. While both texts highlight the lack of upstanding initiative in people, there is a stark difference between these scenarios and Cash's. First of all, Harris's story highlighted the idea that people won't help if there are other people around. There was nobody around other than Cash that could help Iverson, so the two scenario's aren't really comparable. Additionally, in the article, a house was burning down. While you should still try to help out, there is much less you can do about a burning house than an assault.

Eisenhower34
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by NotATRex on September 22, 2022 21:11

David Cash should have done something.

Good morals, in general, should have governed his actions. When a human being witnesses something WAY out of the norm, and something that impacts a child and a family so badly, they should do something. A snap, or a nudge, or a look, or body language is not the way to do it either. As people who know what emotions and feelings are, I believe that every single person is obligated to help out and offer assistance when they see something wrong happening. There are so many people in this world who are just willing to stand by and watch. They get that guilty churn in their stomach, but for some reason, their feet are glued to the floor––or maybe they don't feel guilty and are simply okay with seeing something bad happen to another person. I know this is not right.

If you see someone being mistreated, I believe you are responsible for saying something. Now there are strenuous circumstances, for example, if the situation is dangerous for you personally to be in, get some help. Don't just stand there. Brian McGrory's, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus," is a perfect example of this. An 8-year-old child was being abused in front of more than a dozen people, and not one single person intervened––not even the bus driver. Hello? What world do we even live in? Of course, if you see a bad situation happening between two people, BUT one of the people is handling it, sometimes it is okay to be a witness. When there is crisis and fear and uncertainty, you should almost always offer your help and guard.

What's even more shocking to me about these bystander stories, is that they are actively happening in our communities. Another story, taking place in Jamaica Plain, also shows the bystander effect in our generation. Instead of being called to action when there is an emergency, people just stare in absolute shock. ("The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age") This reminds me of America's position during the Holocaust. We were also caught in the bystander effect. We were aware of the thousands of people being massacred every single day, but we did nothing. Similarly, my sister brought up to me the explosion of the Kharkiv Tec-5 thermal power plant. It seems like we're just sitting here absorbing information––or not. The war occupied two weeks in the news, then became just another memory.

I'm just tired of everyone sitting back and doing nothing.

I know, imagine the huge political and governmental impact as well. If we as a nation and foster a more active and vigilant community, I think many injustices we face could be significantly extinguished if one acts. Being a bystander / being neutral had also reminded me of the holocaust documentary. Just imagine what would've happened if people put aside their own self-preservation and took action against the threat...

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