posts 31 - 45 of 59
Eisenhower34
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by wonderwoman on September 22, 2022 20:09

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

Yeah, that was my first inclination too. Only a sociopath/ narcissist would value their own self-preservation over the death and rape of a little girl. His motives are also very shoddy at best. I, for one, believe that he may have been more involved in the murder than he's making it seem, but who knows... we may never know...

smeeworg
West Roxbury, 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 really like what you said about treating others the way you want to be treated and putting yourself in their shoes. You talked about how Cash lacked the ability to put himself in Strohmeyer's shoes, but I also think he lacked some degree of empathy. I believe most others would've been able to see things from Iverson's perspective and step in.

smeeworg
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink on September 22, 2022 20:35

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.

Well said. I think the mind's ability to perceive right and wrong quickly is really underestimated. It's talked about how Cash may have panicked in the moment, but we also can't forget that he had 20 minutes after he left the bathroom to go back and help Iverson.

Freight Farm Enjoyer
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

I don't think it's going to be very controversial to say that David Cash's lack of action was wrong, nor do I think it's controversial to say that he should have been governed by a conscience and general sense of morality. While it's true that in reality, people are bystanders more often than they'd like to admit, I would imagine most people would have put in more effort than Cash did to save Sherrice Iverson. Cash may have been a sociopath or just a profoundly immoral human being, but I'm not a psychologist and so I can't reasonably try to say what was going through his head to make him act the way he did. I can say, however, that when an innocent person with a complete inability to defend themselves is being seriously hurt by another person in public, all bystanders have a moral obligation to step in.

I'm sure that there are a multitude of exceptions to this rule which could be brought up in an attempt to disprove the point, but I think, as human beings, most of us understand whether or not it's our duty to step in, and even if we don't, we know that our inaction is wrong. I feel like Nightmare on the 36 Bus demonstrates this perfectly, giving an account of a man who witnessed a child being physically assaulted in a public setting and not acting on it. He states that upon getting home "he barely slept" and that the decision to not do anything is one "he's regretted ever since".

But this isn't how he processed the situation as it was playing out. Unwilling to act, he just sat there, seemingly trying to reason with himself as to why his inaction didn't make him a bad person, thinking "Maybe I'm out of place. Maybe it's just a family thing and I shouldn't intervene". To any person not in that situation, this is an absurdly laughable excuse for not even doing the bear minimum to help that abused child and calling the police once he got off the bus. But the fact of the matter is, none of us were there. Had we been sitting across from a man beating a child senseless, who's to say that we wouldn't have also sat there, pretending like it was none of our business?

We all have natural self-preservation instincts, which encourage us not to put ourselves in harm's way if possible. The only way to override this is to simply not think about what we're doing. The article The Trick to Acting Heroically states that researchers "found almost no examples of heroes whose first impulse was for self-preservation but who overcame that impulse with a conscious, rational decision to help".

I know this conclusion may seem like a bizarre one to come to, but I think that given all this information, the best way to enforce that people don't act as bystanders is through the law. By making it illegal to be a bystander in a situation like this, you no longer allow people to resort to their safe and individualistic self-preservation instinct, because by not acting they are still endangering themselves, now by breaking the law, all while acting incredibly immorally. It's hard to say exactly when we should be forced to act, but I think it's safe to say that any situation where someone is suffering severe physical damage or is at risk of doing so is one where all bystanders should be required to step in. While it's true that they don't always know the full context of the situation, overall I would imagine that this would lead to more innocent people being protected than anything else.

Freight Farm Enjoyer
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 definitely agree that his actions should have been governed by good morals, however, I worry that this may be too vague of a description of what situations warrant stepping in. "Someone being mistreated" could mean a very wide variety of things and, forgive me for saying this, but I feel like almost none of us would feel the need to step in if we saw something as tame as one teenager verbally bullying another, even though this could fall under the umbrella of "someone being mistreated". It's difficult to define what level of mistreatment necessitates intervention by bystanders, but obviously it's safe to say that the murder of Sherrice Iverson and the events described in Nightmare on the 36 Bus definitely qualify.

Freight Farm Enjoyer
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by Eisenhower34 on September 22, 2022 23:24

  • 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.

I strongly agree with the emphasis on Cash's situation in life. Since he was in high school, it may be easy to also view him as a child, but he was practically a fully developed adult when the Sherrice Iverson incident took place, and he was an adult when he continued to go on radio shows and insist that he had done nothing wrong by not acting to stop Strohmeyer. I think we should try to investigate why, at that point in life, someone like David Cash would be lacking in, as you said, "a basic sense of justice and morality".

plasticbottle123
Boston, Massachussetts, US
Posts: 2

The Tragic Death of Sherrice Iverson

Learning about such a tragic and heavy story is tough on a person's mind. Thinking back on it does not provoke positive thoughts. This topic provokes immense amounts of anger and the sense of disappointment in first and foremost, Jeremy Strohmeyer’s horrific actions and an even bigger sense of disappointment in David Cash because of the fact that he did absolutely nothing to stop Jeremy. Let’s put it like this, according to the law at the time David Cash did nothing wrong. He didn’t join in and he wasn’t the one who raped and killed her. But morally he committed the worst crime against humanity ever. He allowed someone else to take someone's life without stopping them. Some could argue that he was too stunned to do anything or he was too shocked to even think because he was watching his friend do the unthinkable. On the other hand, it is hard not to do anything. How could you not do anything? How could you not immediately scream, shout, fight, do anything to somehow stop a 7 year old girl from getting strangled, raped, and killed? Maybe he was originally supposed to be in on it and join in. Maybe he planned it. And his way of backing out of it was by tapping Jeremy on the head, giving him a look, and walking away. There is no way of truly knowing what was going on inside David Cash’s head, but whatever was going on was horrific. It's hard to even find a word to describe how wrong his thoughts were. There are a lot of unknown variables to this story like why did they drive all the way to that specific casino? Could it have been a plan they made a while ago? What happened during the confrontation between David, Jeremy, Sherrice, and the father’s? Could they have said something or done something to them to make them want to do this? That also raises the question of how something could ever entice you to do that to another human being. How could anything anyone says or does make you ever even think of wanting to rape and kill someone? There are endless questions to be asked about this scenario, but one that can be answered is “Should David Cash have done something?”. The answer is yes. Ten times out of ten yes. Most certainly any bare minimum sane or moral human would do anything in their power to stop anyone from even laying their hands on a 7 year old girl in a negative way. Especially their best friend. As a citizen of the United States, as a citizen of the world, as a human being if you ever see anyone getting hurt, strangled, raped, or in the situation of getting killed you should feel obligated to intervene. Not everyone has the hero instinct, but in the article The Trick to Acting Heroically it says, “Every day, decent folk do good.”(Erez Yoeli and David Rand). So you just have to be a decent person to do anything in that situation. There is never an exception except for in an instance where maybe you will die too or get raped too, but that brings up another philosophical question, are you willing to save yourself and watch unspeakable things happen to someone and live the rest of your life knowing that you let it happen, or die trying to stop it? Like in the book The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini where the main character Amir watches his childhood best friend get beat up and raped because he was afraid if he stepped in he too would get beat up and raped. But he had to live with the fact that he watched that happen and didn’t attempt to stop that happening for the rest of his life. Does that make him a bad person? In David's situation it was him, Jeremy, and Sherrice in the bathroom. He was not in any position of danger unless there was a gun Jeremy possessed that we don't know about, but to our knowledge David had no excuse to not intervene. Also there weren't cell phones when this happened so it’s not like he was distracted recording. Which also is not an excuse to be a bystander which is a big problem today highlighted in The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age by Judy Harris. So there are really no viable excuses for David to not have done anything other than the fact that he was ok with what was happening. There are always two sides to a story, but for this story it is hard to argue the side where he did not do anything. David even had trouble defending himself and his responses were very vague and ignorant. That reveals a lot about the situation too. Because you don’t think he lives every day regretting what he didn’t do? You think he doesn’t fall asleep at night reliving that scene, crying himself to sleep thinking “Why didn’t I do anything?”. He probably sleeps with a knife next to his bed pondering the decision of whether or not to slit his wrists every night. He probably stopped buying cellphones and changed his mailing address because of the amount of death threats he has gotten. But all these thoughts are the price he chose to pay by doing nothing and watching Jeremy Strohmeyer strangle, rape, and murder Sherrice Iverson.

coffee and pie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

I think a better balance of his morals is what was needed. From one of the readings I read, it emphasized the interesting fact that most people refuse to admit that their heroic actions were anything more than something done instinctually. In real life, though, I think most people think about the implications of their actions a lot. If those who said it was instinctual were telling the truth, I would imagine them to also be quite careless and inconsiderate people. You need to consider the implications of your actions - it may help or have worse consequences. There is also a survival need to self preserve. Anyway, with that, you need to balance out those different needs of your human self - the wanting to do good things, self preservation, etc. etc.. Cash was not balanced, and even if it was he completely ignored it to look at us. He let his single personal relationship cloud his head so much, and did not want to correct this horrible act and heily help.

Witnesses don't have any true obligations, no one has. However, it is really nice if you speak up about it. If there is immediate danger, try and stop it if you can. And this is not limited to IRL, this can be online or danger in a nonphysical way, like social harm. it also depends on how sever the moral issue is, and whether it is worth your effort to fix it. To be honest, Cash's thinking is understandable - I think most people think like that, just not to that scale. Sure I don't donate to fund starving kids in panama, etc etc, that is a lot of interruptions

Another article I read was about the boy on the bus - I think if one person stood up, everyone would join and work together. It's just that no one wants to be wrong or do the socially wrong thing. I also think that this situation was difficult since it was a foreign family. It is wrong, but it was the norm, so some people interpret that to mean there is no need to help.

coffee and pie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by Freight Farm Enjoyer on September 23, 2022 00:30

I don't think it's going to be very controversial to say that David Cash's lack of action was wrong, nor do I think it's controversial to say that he should have been governed by a conscience and general sense of morality. While it's true that in reality, people are bystanders more often than they'd like to admit, I would imagine most people would have put in more effort than Cash did to save Sherrice Iverson. Cash may have been a sociopath or just a profoundly immoral human being, but I'm not a psychologist and so I can't reasonably try to say what was going through his head to make him act the way he did. I can say, however, that when an innocent person with a complete inability to defend themselves is being seriously hurt by another person in public, all bystanders have a moral obligation to step in.

I'm sure that there are a multitude of exceptions to this rule which could be brought up in an attempt to disprove the point, but I think, as human beings, most of us understand whether or not it's our duty to step in, and even if we don't, we know that our inaction is wrong. I feel like Nightmare on the 36 Bus demonstrates this perfectly, giving an account of a man who witnessed a child being physically assaulted in a public setting and not acting on it. He states that upon getting home "he barely slept" and that the decision to not do anything is one "he's regretted ever since".

But this isn't how he processed the situation as it was playing out. Unwilling to act, he just sat there, seemingly trying to reason with himself as to why his inaction didn't make him a bad person, thinking "Maybe I'm out of place. Maybe it's just a family thing and I shouldn't intervene". To any person not in that situation, this is an absurdly laughable excuse for not even doing the bear minimum to help that abused child and calling the police once he got off the bus. But the fact of the matter is, none of us were there. Had we been sitting across from a man beating a child senseless, who's to say that we wouldn't have also sat there, pretending like it was none of our business?

We all have natural self-preservation instincts, which encourage us not to put ourselves in harm's way if possible. The only way to override this is to simply not think about what we're doing. The article The Trick to Acting Heroically states that researchers "found almost no examples of heroes whose first impulse was for self-preservation but who overcame that impulse with a conscious, rational decision to help".

I know this conclusion may seem like a bizarre one to come to, but I think that given all this information, the best way to enforce that people don't act as bystanders is through the law. By making it illegal to be a bystander in a situation like this, you no longer allow people to resort to their safe and individualistic self-preservation instinct, because by not acting they are still endangering themselves, now by breaking the law, all while acting incredibly immorally. It's hard to say exactly when we should be forced to act, but I think it's safe to say that any situation where someone is suffering severe physical damage or is at risk of doing so is one where all bystanders should be required to step in. While it's true that they don't always know the full context of the situation, overall I would imagine that this would lead to more innocent people being protected than anything else.

Wow, I think you make very interesting and compelling points. I will say though, I can see a couple issues with making it a law, because it could be easily manipulated and misconstrued. What defines an immoral act we cannot stand by? Since morals vary person to person, one person may find a slap to the face as just another breakup while another may view it as a public display of domestic violence. To further that, it may bleed into things like people stopping gay people from showing pda in order to shield children from the dangers of exposing or something. Point is, it would be different for everyone and difficult to pinpoint for the gov.

coffee and pie
Boston, MA, US
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.

regarding your first part I definitely agree, Cash should have experienced some type of reppruccision. It is frustrating how the law technically has no reason to charge him in the case because we all know he should go away, but those laws (or rather lack of) come down to, ironically, diversification.

M3L0D7
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 2

David Cash's inability to stop Jeremy Strohmeyer was due to the fact that he simply does not have good morals. Even while being interviewed, he showed no remorse for what he did, or didn't do. He explained to the interviewer that he left because he did not want to see what would happen after, but if he didn't want to see what would happen after, why didn't he just stop it all together? His morals are highly questionable. What he did was the literal definition of "out of sight, out of mind." This situation could have been prevented with good principles.

However, with that being said, people are not obligated to do anything at all.

What stops us from being a bystander all the time are our morals. Everyone lives by different principles. There are most definitely different rules depending on the nature of wrong. I would say that there are three major types of different principles people live by. Some, like David Cash, will live their lives by only doing what's best for them. Others will intervene if someone, or something, important is in the process of getting harmed. While the rest will intervene no matter what is happening. As we discussed in class, most of us agreed that unless someone was getting hurt, we would not do anything. Legally, there is a thing called a "duty to act" where a person would have to do something that would prevent a situation from escalating. An example would be a fireman on the job seeing a fire.

We, as humans, are born with morals and principles, but that does not mean that we will always act on it. The passengers on the 36 Bus are a clear example of it. As the scene started, they "watched and wondered... [and] nervously darted glances at each other" (McGrory). It's evident that the people had some feeling that something was wrong, but no one acted on it. Why? It's likely that the people had the same thoughts that Auclair did, he confesses, "Maybe I'm out of place. Maybe it's a family thing and I shouldn't intervene" (McGrory). It's a natural thing to be afraid that our assumptions are off and what we did was wrong, but in this situation, it was better to be safe than sorry. Another reason that we might not react in certain situations is because we assume that others are already handling the situation. Psychology Today in The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age, states that the bystander effect happens "when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening" (Harris). A possible explanation for that could be that we assume another person's already intervening. Why should I help if someone else is already helping?

travelalarmclock said "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." This comment opened my mind, I didn't make that connection. I absolutely agree that they are parallels. It goes to show that anything can stop someone from doing something they are uncertain of.

While I was reading Nightmare of the 36 Bus, I noticed that there were some inconsistencies with the bus driver's point of view. Maybe she held back her story to seem innocent or maybe she was truly oblivious to what was happening. But what I'm wondering is how did she not hear anything on that bus. It was said that the whole time the bus was silent, there were sounds of the man hitting the child, him banging on the window, and of the boy crying. How is it possible that she did not hear all of those sounds? There is nearly no excuse to this seeing that they were sat towards the front of the bus as well.

Going back to the David Cash situation, autumn_ theorized in their post that "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 agree with this person's thought process. I think that it's almost entirely impossible to not see the warning signs when you're close to someone, especially when you're "best friends" with them.

This could be an extreme reach, but I'm wondering if race had anything to do with this situation. Would David Cash react the same way if it happened with a little white girl? This is a question that I've had on my mind since the day we've watched the video in class.

Mylienta
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

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”?

  • Morality is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Cash's actions. People discuss what they would've done if they were in such ha situation. People have their own set of morals in which they abide by but Cash's lack of a moral compass is whats most alarming about this story. In the same breath people's morals are often heavily opinionated and it is mainly influenced by your environment as well as understanding what is right and what is wrong since birth. His morals has every right to subjective and I know that it may sound horrific to say but objectively speaking Cash had no legal obligation to help that young girl (at the time), nor did he have a moral obligation, which can be heavily argued. His actions should've been governed by a more empathetic moral compass
  • I touched on this before but he does not technically have any obligations to help her. Without the law that could possibly put bystanders in jail for being an accomplice in a crime he did not have any obligation other than his morals which I pointed out could be subjective going from person to person.
  • Yes there are different rules that come to play when it comes to the nature of wrong because majority of people are willing to help others when they are in need of it, but if it means putting their own life on the line peoples willingness will decrease. For example there are social experiments all over youtube about strangers being a witness to child abduction and they would stare, some even record but it is rarely seen for someone to take action because, that would be putting their own life at risk. We would all like to think that in those scenarios we would step in and help, but humans are selfish by nature and would choose themselves over the safety of a stranger. This similarly it happened in Cash's situation what makes it different is that Cash knew the perpetrator and could've gotten involved but chose to save himself rather than a child in need.

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”?

Mylienta
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by coffee and pie on September 23, 2022 01:28

I think a better balance of his morals is what was needed. From one of the readings I read, it emphasized the interesting fact that most people refuse to admit that their heroic actions were anything more than something done instinctually. In real life, though, I think most people think about the implications of their actions a lot. If those who said it was instinctual were telling the truth, I would imagine them to also be quite careless and inconsiderate people. You need to consider the implications of your actions - it may help or have worse consequences. There is also a survival need to self preserve. Anyway, with that, you need to balance out those different needs of your human self - the wanting to do good things, self preservation, etc. etc.. Cash was not balanced, and even if it was he completely ignored it to look at us. He let his single personal relationship cloud his head so much, and did not want to correct this horrible act and heily help.

Witnesses don't have any true obligations, no one has. However, it is really nice if you speak up about it. If there is immediate danger, try and stop it if you can. And this is not limited to IRL, this can be online or danger in a nonphysical way, like social harm. it also depends on how sever the moral issue is, and whether it is worth your effort to fix it. To be honest, Cash's thinking is understandable - I think most people think like that, just not to that scale. Sure I don't donate to fund starving kids in panama, etc etc, that is a lot of interruptions

Another article I read was about the boy on the bus - I think if one person stood up, everyone would join and work together. It's just that no one wants to be wrong or do the socially wrong thing. I also think that this situation was difficult since it was a foreign family. It is wrong, but it was the norm, so some people interpret that to mean there is no need to help.

Post your response here. First Paragraph- In terms of an effective moral compass that is definitely what Cash lacks. A lot of us would like to think that if put in a situation similar to his we would act. A lot of the time people chose to sit and watch or even pull out a phone to record. It is very ironic that people are quick to call him out but the only action that would be take is recording. I'm not saying all but I've seen people in eminent danger and people just stand around and watch instead of jumping in to help. Not trying to defend him but I want to add more realism to the scenario .

Second paragraph- His thinking is understandable to an extent. The difference between this scenario and others is that he knew the perpetrator. It wasn't like he was going to defend a stranger by fighting a stranger ( if that makes sense) he was just worried about having a buddy in his ap lang class which in no way governs his actions. Yes humans are selfish but he just lacks empathy in his lack of effort to help.

Mylienta
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink on September 22, 2022 20:44

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.

Post your response here. Paragraph 1- I wouldn't say that people fear being judged, I would say they that people are more likely to put themselves first. In emergency situations like this people take action differently, the fight or flight response and Cash chose to flee. With discussions like these often times you would have to put yourself in that situation and a situation that is similar and honestly think about the response you would had. would you leave the bathroom? would you record? would you get authority? More often than not people would choose the option that would guarantee their safety.

Soxbestcat!
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 2

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan. What Makes Someone a Good Samaritan?

David Cash’s actions should’ve been governed by morality, plain and simple. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong is crucial to being a good person. Even animals have been shown to be able to act morally.


People who witness another wrong are morally obligated to intervene if they have the ability to do so. I think where it gets a little tricky is putting this moral obligation into law. As an extreme example, it is impossible for most people to end world hunger, but it is also hard for a child to intervene in a physical altercation between adults. Or if someone does nothing while a person who abuses them is being harmed, can we fault them? Can these people be punished for not intervening? Cash, on the other hand, was fully capable of saving Sherrice’s life, yet he chose to do nothing and I think he should face consequences for his inaction. But who gets the power to decide who is punished? @legoninjagofan67 adds that “if it's something not so bad like a petty crime or maybe even like cheating on a test, then it's not so necessary to say something.” I agree, but I think the biggest difference, at least to me, between Cash’s situation and cheating or shoplifting is that no one gets harmed in the latter two. But if you’re in public and you see someone slap someone else who appears to be their equal in size and physical ability, but it’s a one time thing, do you say something to them? No one was permanently harmed and it doesn’t happen again, but that slap seems like it could’ve hurt for a few seconds. Should you say something? Is that enough harm to warrant action? How do you put this difference into law? In the end, it all has to come down to each person’s individual sense of morality.


I think one of the issues with our society today is that we put a heavy emphasis on self-preservation. The idea of capitalism is that people must compete to survive. High school, especially at BLS, gets incredibly competitive with everyone competing for a few spots in the most prestigious colleges. There is very little focus on helping each other, even at the cost of oneself and this is more likely to create a society of bystanders.


But how do we create a more moral society? How do we make it clear how each person is supposed to act? In “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, Professor Rand and Ziv Epstein found that most often heroes act based on instinct, not reasoning. One man on the bus in “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” is a prime example of this. When everyone saw a little boy being abused, at first no one did anything. After a while, Daniel Auclair stood up to intervene, but he talked himself out of it by reasoning that “maybe it's just a family thing.” His cognitive ability, the thing that is believed to separate humans from all other animals, did not help him do the right thing and help the little boy. Yet I’m sure all of us can look at the situation and think that he should’ve done something. Why is it that we can say the people on the 36 should’ve acted but not a single one of the roughly six of them actually did anything? It seems so inhumane.


I also want to talk about how Cash’s radio interview truly shocked me. He seems to have no basic empathy. I think the ability to empathize is such a basic aspect of being human that I cannot believe people like Cash exist. He says in situations where people are being hurt or are struggling, if he doesn’t know them, it’s not his problem. In the case of Jeremy Strohmeyer, the only person he knew was Strohmeyer and he believed that Jeremy “had potential” so he didn’t do anything. @autumn_ says “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.” I think this an interesting observation and incredibly important in order to dive deeper into the reason Cash did not stop Strohmeyer or even report him after, so that in the future this is less likely to happen again. Is normalized, harmful “locker room talk” a factor in the reason why Cash barely seemed to care that his friend was a rapist and a murderer?


Both situations with David Cash and the people on the 36 bus, who all obviously should have intervened to protect Sherrice Iverson and the 8-year old boy, boggle my mind. Almost everyone who hears about these situations can agree that these people should have acted morally and not been bystanders, but they didn’t, and that is incredibly troubling to me.

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