posts 1 - 15 of 47
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 301


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


Background:

For any of you who missed class on Wednesday, September 14, we watched a clip from 60 Minutes called “The Bad Samaritan” (from 0:00-5:39).


Eighteen-year-old David Cash chose to walk away as his friend, fellow eighteen-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer, assaulted and murdered Sherrice Iverson, age 7, in the women’s restroom of a Nevada casino at 3 in the morning on Sunday, May 25, 1997. He told the Los Angeles Times when his friend was arrested that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems.”


Clearly what Jeremy Strohmeyer did was reprehensible. But what David Cash did was to be a bystander, not to be a rescuer or a resistor in any way. One can only speculate what might have happened had Cash more actively intervened. But according to Nevada law at the time, he was under no legal obligation to do otherwise.


It’s remarkable to listen to David Cash’s words when interviewed on a Los Angeles radio station after his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer was arrested and convicted. Cash remarked, “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt. The only person I knew in this event was Jeremy Strohmeyer, and I know as his best friend that he had potential…I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem.”


Your task for this post:

As awful as the Sherrice Iverson murder was, we would like to hear your views on the situation.


  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

Write your post on the discussions.learntoquestion.com site IN YOUR CLASS SECTION. Be sure to respond to the views of at least two other classmates (if you post first, go back and do a second posting responding to two comments posted after yours). You can respond to your classmates within your post OR you can do a separate (additional) post just to respond to them. Be sure you cite who you are responding to!


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



Juicy Burger
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 6

Starting the discussion on the Bad Smaritan

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

Cash needed to truly understand the consequence and direct impact Jeremy had human life. In my viewpoint, I think it is easy for people living in the future to criticize the past. While, I absolutely think that what Cash did was above any evil, there is a need to dissect the psychological reasons behind what he did.

First, I think that humans like to ignore things that don't affect them. Cash says "I do not know starving children in Panama" and I think this reveals a huge disconnect between society and Cash. This disconnect can ultimately break the human qualities that make us care about others.

Second, I think it is easy to do nothing. If we aren't forced to do something to survive, it's easiest to do nothing. Cash expends little energy and avoids creating turmoil by not turning his friend in. The article from WBUR talks about the bystander effect and I think this is really important to understand humans today. Harris describes it as "when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.” Although, Cash had no other bystander and knew that what Strohmeyer did was wrong, I think a version of the bystander effect still exists. This version does not justify inaction because others can solve it or we can document it, rather I believe it simply means people have a natural tendency to do nothing.

Legally, Cash did nothing wrong, and I believe that unfortunately, he deserved to go free. However, since these laws have changed there is also a new legal obligation to do something. When we look at an ethical framework, we should be preventing injustice as often as we can. But given humans don't want to expend a large cost as the article from Rand and Yoeli point out, I think there should be an obligation to help people if you don't risk your life in any grave way. I think enacting rules that force people to sacrifice themselves for others is unfair and is a bit too controlling. I also agree with another sentiment from Rand and Yoeli which is that good actions compound over time. So yes, some times disaster strikes and we will see a hero figure appear but I also believe little good action compounded over time can help humanity avert dozens of future crises.

Ultimately, even though Cash's actions are beyond okay, I think modern psychology and analysis can help us understand his outlook as well as past atrocities. Additionally, I'll add that Cash, if had viewed the situation from another perspective, would have likely agreed with popular sentiment. But I think the further he choose to defend himself, the more he became engrained within a defensive and hostile state.

glass
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Discussion of the Bad Samaritan

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

I think that while legally he was not required to do anything, morally he should have known to. I would think that if you saw someone raping and then told murdering a little girl ou would do something, not necasarily forcefully butt in if unable to but at the very least report it to someone, a dad, security guard, or police officer. I would say yes there are different rules, using the example of someone stealing from a store vs murdering someone, you are physiclly, emotionally and traumatically hurting a being while if you take a bracelet from Claire's you wouldn't be hurting anyone but yourself if you get caught. While yes Cash did not personally kill Sherrice Iverson, he did indirectly by not intervening, not even telling someone, and simply continuing his night because it was "out of character" for Jeremy.

I personally believe that it entirely relies upon the scenario but if I can stop someone from getting hurt I will, like returning a wallet, or even like in the article on the 36 I would try to do something although not sure what. At the moment yes I would be terrified but instead of letting that little boy get his nose broken by a grown man which we don't even know the relation of I would somehow get that kid help. But say you were at BJ's and saw someone stealing diapers or baby clothes, I don't know what's going on in that eperson's life but maybe they can't afford to actually purchase the baby's needs so of course, I wouldn't say anything, maying thinks about it later and wonder about the woman but I honestly would barely bat an eye. So I would say we have a moral obligation to act sometimes but not always.

Reading the article Nightmare on the 36 bus it was shocking because I've ridden on that bus before and if I saw that not only would I get the driver to call the police or something of the sort but I would try to get the child away from the man. The one woman saying it could have been a family matter I would understand if they were just arguing but full-on punching a child multiple times if where I would definitely draw the line on not intervening. That poor kid was then just left crying on the street at 11 pm in the cold. The apartment building on fire, The Byestander Effect in the Cellphone age" I think really backs up my point because what if that one man didn't go help that woman, what if the top floor fwamily was home and stuck? By the time the firemen came they would have been long burnt and killed. While no, in certain scenrios like this I wouldn't say that everyone should run into a burning building I think you should try to help in ways you can, breaking windows to left out smoke, try to call to see whos there and call 911 immediatly, don't just take photos of it.

lil breezy
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

It is very hard for me to understand why Cash did what he did, or really didn't do what he was supposed to. I can see that it was a very terrifying situation, and I am sure Cash felt a little bit of fear, even if Jeremy was his best friend and had "potential." But we also need to think about how terrified 7-year old Sherrice was. She most likely didn't understand why her new friend was hurting her. She probably didn't even know what rape or murder was, because she was 7. Cash was 18. He knew what he was seeing, and even though he probably didn't expect Jeremy to murder Sherrice, but he at least knew she was being restrained and raped, and that should be more than enough to warrant someone to step in. The fact is, even when Cash found out that she was dead, he did not do anything about it. I would look at the situation a bit differently if Cash were a young boy, or much weaker. However, he was grown and able-bodied, he could have done something. When I read the 36 bus story, I was surprised that nobody did anything. The odds of the young boy being saved were even bigger than Sherrice's. There were 6 other people on that bus, not including the bus driver. They watched as an older man beat him senseless. Nothing was done about it, and the boy was never found. One witness claims he had gotten up, but noticed nobody else was, so quickly sat down. This reveals a lot about how people depend on other a lot of the time to make decisions. Since nobody else was getting involved, he decided not to. In sixie year, a lady fell on the tracks just 30 seconds before the train came. Thankfully we all screamed and signaled the driver to stop, but I understand a lot of us were able to help the woman because everyone else was screaming. The problem is, if nobody is the first to do it, it will never get done. I also feel like that was a minor situation compared to the other stories, and so I believe people are most likely to help when they have little chance of getting harmed. In "The Samaritan's Dilemma," the author explains that people jumped up to help a person who fell on the ground, but yet there are still shootings and stabbings across the globe.


I feel that at the very least, a person who witnesses another wrong should be obligated to report that wrong. There were many ways Cash could have saved Sherrice, one of them being to report to the workers at the casino, this way it would be multiple people, who have authority, against one. I feel like situations that are hurting someone should be top priority in terms of wrong. I feel like if you see someone stealing an earring from a big company, like we talked about in class, it shouldn't really be considered too much of a threat. These situations are diffcult to analyze because there are so many different factors, which is why it is so difficult to think of what rules should be enforced. Obviously it is unfair to ask someone to possibly risk their life at the site of a bad situation. I do think that in violent situations, people should at least speak up, because they most likely wouldn't be able to intervene.

lil breezy
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Originally posted by glass on September 20, 2022 08:18

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

I think that while legally he was not required to do anything, morally he should have known to. I would think that if you saw someone raping and then told murdering a little girl ou would do something, not necasarily forcefully butt in if unable to but at the very least report it to someone, a dad, security guard, or police officer. I would say yes there are different rules, using the example of someone stealing from a store vs murdering someone, you are physiclly, emotionally and traumatically hurting a being while if you take a bracelet from Claire's you wouldn't be hurting anyone but yourself if you get caught. While yes Cash did not personally kill Sherrice Iverson, he did indirectly by not intervening, not even telling someone, and simply continuing his night because it was "out of character" for Jeremy.

I personally believe that it entirely relies upon the scenario but if I can stop someone from getting hurt I will, like returning a wallet, or even like in the article on the 36 I would try to do something although not sure what. At the moment yes I would be terrified but instead of letting that little boy get his nose broken by a grown man which we don't even know the relation of I would somehow get that kid help. But say you were at BJ's and saw someone stealing diapers or baby clothes, I don't know what's going on in that eperson's life but maybe they can't afford to actually purchase the baby's needs so of course, I wouldn't say anything, maying thinks about it later and wonder about the woman but I honestly would barely bat an eye. So I would say we have a moral obligation to act sometimes but not always.

Reading the article Nightmare on the 36 bus it was shocking because I've ridden on that bus before and if I saw that not only would I get the driver to call the police or something of the sort but I would try to get the child away from the man. The one woman saying it could have been a family matter I would understand if they were just arguing but full-on punching a child multiple times if where I would definitely draw the line on not intervening. That poor kid was then just left crying on the street at 11 pm in the cold. The apartment building on fire, The Byestander Effect in the Cellphone age" I think really backs up my point because what if that one man didn't go help that woman, what if the top floor fwamily was home and stuck? By the time the firemen came they would have been long burnt and killed. While no, in certain scenrios like this I wouldn't say that everyone should run into a burning building I think you should try to help in ways you can, breaking windows to left out smoke, try to call to see whos there and call 911 immediatly, don't just take photos of it.

Post your response here.

I would have to agree with you on your comment about the fact that there are different rules for different situations. I liked how you brought up the Claire's discussion and explained that its not really traumatizing or murdering anybody, while the situation with Sherrice is. I also think it's weird that one of the things stopping Cash from intervening or reporting Jeremy was because it wasn't like him.

lil breezy
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Originally posted by Juicy Burger on September 17, 2022 21:58

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

Cash needed to truly understand the consequence and direct impact Jeremy had human life. In my viewpoint, I think it is easy for people living in the future to criticize the past. While, I absolutely think that what Cash did was above any evil, there is a need to dissect the psychological reasons behind what he did.

First, I think that humans like to ignore things that don't affect them. Cash says "I do not know starving children in Panama" and I think this reveals a huge disconnect between society and Cash. This disconnect can ultimately break the human qualities that make us care about others.

Second, I think it is easy to do nothing. If we aren't forced to do something to survive, it's easiest to do nothing. Cash expends little energy and avoids creating turmoil by not turning his friend in. The article from WBUR talks about the bystander effect and I think this is really important to understand humans today. Harris describes it as "when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.” Although, Cash had no other bystander and knew that what Strohmeyer did was wrong, I think a version of the bystander effect still exists. This version does not justify inaction because others can solve it or we can document it, rather I believe it simply means people have a natural tendency to do nothing.

Legally, Cash did nothing wrong, and I believe that unfortunately, he deserved to go free. However, since these laws have changed there is also a new legal obligation to do something. When we look at an ethical framework, we should be preventing injustice as often as we can. But given humans don't want to expend a large cost as the article from Rand and Yoeli point out, I think there should be an obligation to help people if you don't risk your life in any grave way. I think enacting rules that force people to sacrifice themselves for others is unfair and is a bit too controlling. I also agree with another sentiment from Rand and Yoeli which is that good actions compound over time. So yes, some times disaster strikes and we will see a hero figure appear but I also believe little good action compounded over time can help humanity avert dozens of future crises.

Ultimately, even though Cash's actions are beyond okay, I think modern psychology and analysis can help us understand his outlook as well as past atrocities. Additionally, I'll add that Cash, if had viewed the situation from another perspective, would have likely agreed with popular sentiment. But I think the further he choose to defend himself, the more he became engrained within a defensive and hostile state.

Post your response here.

I really like how you mentioned the disconnect between Cash and society. It is obvious he lacks sympathy, and it is very interesting that you made that comment. I also think the point you made when you said "it is easy for people in the future to criticize the past" holds very true. But i am not sure if it does as much in this situation, considering there is so much Cash could have done.

BigGulpFrom711
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 5

In the Moment (The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan)

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

Starting off with Cash's actions as a bystander, it is very easy to say that Cash should've acted upon his moral compass and to intervene. However, similar to what Juicy Burger had posted, I also believe that it is very easy to judge incidents that have occurred in the past. I think it should shift more to the "present", as in what had happened in that moment, as well as the "future", where Cash shares his side of the story after the incident and a reflection on it.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are multiple rules and reactions based on the “wrong” that is being committed, such as cheating on a test or someone getting beat up right in front of you. Most of the rules and reactions are based upon how it may impact you personally. For example, reporting to a teacher that someone was cheating on a test won’t give you a better score, nor will it somehow decrease your score. There is no gain or loss for you so you will most likely ignore it. Compared to the scenario where someone is getting beat up, the reaction is a bit different. In this scenario, will you be able to physically stop the assault if you intervene, or will you get hurt trying to intervene? In both scenarios, the biggest rule is the gain to loss ratio. Do I gain anything? Do I lose anything? What are the consequences of getting involved? Will my life be in danger? Am I, as a person, willing to push aside my personal agenda to step up and be a good Samaritan?

Relaying back to Cash, he did nothing wrong on a legal basis at the time. However, on a moral scale, he should’ve done something to prevent that crime. Yet, it is incredibly easy to judge based on all of the information that we were given and we should instead focus on what Cash may have thought about at the moment. Cash would’ve been swept up in the moment of the incident, with his personal agenda, moral compass, and even his body all fighting against each other. Emotions such as fear, confusion, anger, doubt, and possibly frustration would’ve been overwhelming throughout his body. An event similar to this would be the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” written by Brian McGrory, where a young boy was beaten right in front of the driver and bus passengers and no one had done anything to intervene. Those thoughts of turmoil would be told by Daniel Aluclair, a medical researcher, who was on the bus that night. Auclair had even stated “‘Maybe I’m out of place. Maybe it’s just a family thing and I shouldn’t intervene’”. Auclair was caught in the moment. He didn’t know what to do and simply gave himself a sense of self-relief and an excuse to not do anything. Compared to Cash’s situation, both situations are a scenario where someone’s life is possibly in danger and if the witness can possibly intervene.

The circumstances of a situation can negatively affect the thought process of a witness, as it can create more scenarios in one’s head where the cons begin to outweigh the benefits. This sort of thought process can be seen in the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, where many heroes had acted on impulse, rather than reflecting on the situation at hand. However, it should also be mentioned that the previous statement can be contradicted if the witness is able to overcome their thoughts of self-preservation with a large desire to act and help. How does this exactly relay back to Cash? Well, it shows us that Cash most likely had instincts of self-preservation, a flood of possibilities that may negatively affect him, his reputation, or his friendship with Jeremy. As a result, this led to Cash becoming a bystander and leaving before the crime had occurred, a physical representation of Cash ignoring responsibility and the situation. Overall, Cash being a bystander is very disgusting, but I think it is also important to view what Cash was possibly thinking about during what Jeremy did in the stall, rather than judging Cash for what he did before and after the crime.

glass
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by BigGulpFrom711 on September 21, 2022 18:38

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

Starting off with Cash's actions as a bystander, it is very easy to say that Cash should've acted upon his moral compass and to intervene. However, similar to what Juicy Burger had posted, I also believe that it is very easy to judge incidents that have occurred in the past. I think it should shift more to the "present", as in what had happened in that moment, as well as the "future", where Cash shares his side of the story after the incident and a reflection on it.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are multiple rules and reactions based on the “wrong” that is being committed, such as cheating on a test or someone getting beat up right in front of you. Most of the rules and reactions are based upon how it may impact you personally. For example, reporting to a teacher that someone was cheating on a test won’t give you a better score, nor will it somehow decrease your score. There is no gain or loss for you so you will most likely ignore it. Compared to the scenario where someone is getting beat up, the reaction is a bit different. In this scenario, will you be able to physically stop the assault if you intervene, or will you get hurt trying to intervene? In both scenarios, the biggest rule is the gain to loss ratio. Do I gain anything? Do I lose anything? What are the consequences of getting involved? Will my life be in danger? Am I, as a person, willing to push aside my personal agenda to step up and be a good Samaritan?

Relaying back to Cash, he did nothing wrong on a legal basis at the time. However, on a moral scale, he should’ve done something to prevent that crime. Yet, it is incredibly easy to judge based on all of the information that we were given and we should instead focus on what Cash may have thought about at the moment. Cash would’ve been swept up in the moment of the incident, with his personal agenda, moral compass, and even his body all fighting against each other. Emotions such as fear, confusion, anger, doubt, and possibly frustration would’ve been overwhelming throughout his body. An event similar to this would be the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” written by Brian McGrory, where a young boy was beaten right in front of the driver and bus passengers and no one had done anything to intervene. Those thoughts of turmoil would be told by Daniel Aluclair, a medical researcher, who was on the bus that night. Auclair had even stated “‘Maybe I’m out of place. Maybe it’s just a family thing and I shouldn’t intervene’”. Auclair was caught in the moment. He didn’t know what to do and simply gave himself a sense of self-relief and an excuse to not do anything. Compared to Cash’s situation, both situations are a scenario where someone’s life is possibly in danger and if the witness can possibly intervene.

The circumstances of a situation can negatively affect the thought process of a witness, as it can create more scenarios in one’s head where the cons begin to outweigh the benefits. This sort of thought process can be seen in the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, where many heroes had acted on impulse, rather than reflecting on the situation at hand. However, it should also be mentioned that the previous statement can be contradicted if the witness is able to overcome their thoughts of self-preservation with a large desire to act and help. How does this exactly relay back to Cash? Well, it shows us that Cash most likely had instincts of self-preservation, a flood of possibilities that may negatively affect him, his reputation, or his friendship with Jeremy. As a result, this led to Cash becoming a bystander and leaving before the crime had occurred, a physical representation of Cash ignoring responsibility and the situation. Overall, Cash being a bystander is very disgusting, but I think it is also important to view what Cash was possibly thinking about during what Jeremy did in the stall, rather than judging Cash for what he did before and after the crime.

I really like the second paragraph and agree with the cheating statement, if anything you'd be hurting the person who was cheating by telling but could help them pass by just ignoring while in cases like with Cash doing nothing causes harm while doing something, anything, could have helped.

glass
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by lil breezy on September 21, 2022 09:49

It is very hard for me to understand why Cash did what he did, or really didn't do what he was supposed to. I can see that it was a very terrifying situation, and I am sure Cash felt a little bit of fear, even if Jeremy was his best friend and had "potential." But we also need to think about how terrified 7-year old Sherrice was. She most likely didn't understand why her new friend was hurting her. She probably didn't even know what rape or murder was, because she was 7. Cash was 18. He knew what he was seeing, and even though he probably didn't expect Jeremy to murder Sherrice, but he at least knew she was being restrained and raped, and that should be more than enough to warrant someone to step in. The fact is, even when Cash found out that she was dead, he did not do anything about it. I would look at the situation a bit differently if Cash were a young boy, or much weaker. However, he was grown and able-bodied, he could have done something. When I read the 36 bus story, I was surprised that nobody did anything. The odds of the young boy being saved were even bigger than Sherrice's. There were 6 other people on that bus, not including the bus driver. They watched as an older man beat him senseless. Nothing was done about it, and the boy was never found. One witness claims he had gotten up, but noticed nobody else was, so quickly sat down. This reveals a lot about how people depend on other a lot of the time to make decisions. Since nobody else was getting involved, he decided not to. In sixie year, a lady fell on the tracks just 30 seconds before the train came. Thankfully we all screamed and signaled the driver to stop, but I understand a lot of us were able to help the woman because everyone else was screaming. The problem is, if nobody is the first to do it, it will never get done. I also feel like that was a minor situation compared to the other stories, and so I believe people are most likely to help when they have little chance of getting harmed. In "The Samaritan's Dilemma," the author explains that people jumped up to help a person who fell on the ground, but yet there are still shootings and stabbings across the globe.


I feel that at the very least, a person who witnesses another wrong should be obligated to report that wrong. There were many ways Cash could have saved Sherrice, one of them being to report to the workers at the casino, this way it would be multiple people, who have authority, against one. I feel like situations that are hurting someone should be top priority in terms of wrong. I feel like if you see someone stealing an earring from a big company, like we talked about in class, it shouldn't really be considered too much of a threat. These situations are diffcult to analyze because there are so many different factors, which is why it is so difficult to think of what rules should be enforced. Obviously it is unfair to ask someone to possibly risk their life at the site of a bad situation. I do think that in violent situations, people should at least speak up, because they most likely wouldn't be able to intervene.

It is very impactful when you think of how Sherrice probably didn't even know what was happening to her and only that it hurt and was killing her. I was also surprised with the 36 article and think it is definitely something to wonder about what happened to the boy and where he is now.

drakefan02
boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 2

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

    I don't know what was going on in David Cash's head. I can't understand why one wouldn't at the very least notify the police about Jeremy. Jeremy admitted to David that he strangled the girl to death, and David was able to ignore it and ride rollercoasters with him. I believe (or at least would like to believe) that David Cash didn't do what most people would do in that situation. I feel like most people would at least notify the police. I feel like witnesses of wrongs should be punished if they do absolutely nothing to stop the wrong. I feel like it would be a good thing if the nature of the wrong wasn't a factor. Enforcing rules that encourage upstanders in all situations would be a great change. But in a world where one could get in trouble for witnessing someone shoplift and doing nothing about it, I would still probably ignore shoplifting when I see it.

    At that point in time, there were no rules in place to punish Cash for doing absolutely nothing. His inaction and also his attempt to justify the inaction in interviews did see well deserved punishment in terms of how he is viewed by society and most people who know of this story. I feel like there isn't enough obligation to act and stand up for others in society. There should be more obligation to act in all situations.

    I read the article about the 36 bus incident as well as the article titled "The Trick to Acting Heroically". I think those articles relate to each other and the David Cash situation heavily. The article about the 36 bus is about a boy who was beaten up by an old man on the bus and none of the passengers intervened. I remember reading somewhere that people are less likely to be upstanders in public places with a lot of people. "The Trick to Acting Heroically" is an article that really stresses how heroes and upstanders usually act instinctively and without thought. There was likely a lot of thinking going on in that 36 bus. The problem with thinking about whether or not to intervene is that when you think of a small reason not to, you'll be drawn to it. It's always easier to do nothing. Medical Researcher Daniel Auclair tried to explain his thought process when he saw nobody else intervene: "So I said to myself, `Maybe I'm out of place. Maybe it's just a family thing and I shouldn't intervene.' So I sat back down". Even if it was a family thing, that would have been domestic abuse. But humans feel the need to conform with what everyone else is doing, and always want to choose the easier option. When you don't even think of any alternatives, you can simply act.

    I'd like to mention some of my classmates' points now.

    Juicy Burger said something that can connect to a lot of things: "I'll add that Cash, if had viewed the situation from another perspective, would have likely agreed with popular sentiment. But I think the further he choose to defend himself, the more he became engrained within a defensive and hostile state". The longer you wait, or the more you commit to something, the less likely it will be for you to act differently. This relates to "The Trick to Acting Heroically" because heroes don't stall or think or take their time. In the 36 bus incident, the longer people stood by, the less likely it was for someone to stand up. The time act is ASAP in these situations.

    When talking about Daniel Auclair's explanation of the 36 bus incident BigGulpFrom711 said " Auclair was caught in the moment. He didn’t know what to do and simply gave himself a sense of self-relief and an excuse to not do anything". I'd just like to add that it is in no way righteous or defensible for one to give themselves an excuse the way Auclair (and likely everyone else on the bus) did. It's sad that most people would do the same in that situation. It just keeps coming back everywhere that people tend to be drawn to the easiest solutions for them.


  • Juicy Burger
    West Roxbury, MA, US
    Posts: 6

    Originally posted by BigGulpFrom711 on September 21, 2022 18:38

    • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
    • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
    • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

    Starting off with Cash's actions as a bystander, it is very easy to say that Cash should've acted upon his moral compass and to intervene. However, similar to what Juicy Burger had posted, I also believe that it is very easy to judge incidents that have occurred in the past. I think it should shift more to the "present", as in what had happened in that moment, as well as the "future", where Cash shares his side of the story after the incident and a reflection on it.

    Firstly, it’s important to note that there are multiple rules and reactions based on the “wrong” that is being committed, such as cheating on a test or someone getting beat up right in front of you. Most of the rules and reactions are based upon how it may impact you personally. For example, reporting to a teacher that someone was cheating on a test won’t give you a better score, nor will it somehow decrease your score. There is no gain or loss for you so you will most likely ignore it. Compared to the scenario where someone is getting beat up, the reaction is a bit different. In this scenario, will you be able to physically stop the assault if you intervene, or will you get hurt trying to intervene? In both scenarios, the biggest rule is the gain to loss ratio. Do I gain anything? Do I lose anything? What are the consequences of getting involved? Will my life be in danger? Am I, as a person, willing to push aside my personal agenda to step up and be a good Samaritan?

    Relaying back to Cash, he did nothing wrong on a legal basis at the time. However, on a moral scale, he should’ve done something to prevent that crime. Yet, it is incredibly easy to judge based on all of the information that we were given and we should instead focus on what Cash may have thought about at the moment. Cash would’ve been swept up in the moment of the incident, with his personal agenda, moral compass, and even his body all fighting against each other. Emotions such as fear, confusion, anger, doubt, and possibly frustration would’ve been overwhelming throughout his body. An event similar to this would be the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” written by Brian McGrory, where a young boy was beaten right in front of the driver and bus passengers and no one had done anything to intervene. Those thoughts of turmoil would be told by Daniel Aluclair, a medical researcher, who was on the bus that night. Auclair had even stated “‘Maybe I’m out of place. Maybe it’s just a family thing and I shouldn’t intervene’”. Auclair was caught in the moment. He didn’t know what to do and simply gave himself a sense of self-relief and an excuse to not do anything. Compared to Cash’s situation, both situations are a scenario where someone’s life is possibly in danger and if the witness can possibly intervene.

    The circumstances of a situation can negatively affect the thought process of a witness, as it can create more scenarios in one’s head where the cons begin to outweigh the benefits. This sort of thought process can be seen in the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, where many heroes had acted on impulse, rather than reflecting on the situation at hand. However, it should also be mentioned that the previous statement can be contradicted if the witness is able to overcome their thoughts of self-preservation with a large desire to act and help. How does this exactly relay back to Cash? Well, it shows us that Cash most likely had instincts of self-preservation, a flood of possibilities that may negatively affect him, his reputation, or his friendship with Jeremy. As a result, this led to Cash becoming a bystander and leaving before the crime had occurred, a physical representation of Cash ignoring responsibility and the situation. Overall, Cash being a bystander is very disgusting, but I think it is also important to view what Cash was possibly thinking about during what Jeremy did in the stall, rather than judging Cash for what he did before and after the crime.

    Post your response here.

    Hi BigGulpFrom711,

    I really enjoyed reading your post because it delves into the psychology of why people do what they do; I especially agree that people are most concerned with themselves in most situations. Yes, there are some situations where people act on impulse, but this impulse doesn't always exist and if it isn't immediately stimulated, people will likely do nothing. I think it makes a lot of sense then that once David Cash felt no remorse initially, it was easy to see that he would do nothing to stop his friend. Or maybe he did feel remorse, but as long as he was more likely to defend his friend or trust his friend, he did not feel the need to do anything.

    I think one thing I would like to bring up though is that in terms of the cost to David Cash, I think there was little cost. I think any negative consequence could only come out of his friend finding out that he ratted him, but even this could be avoided or at least believed to be avoided if David Cash took the right precautions. I do however think that, generally, it is most easy to do nothing and that's what a lot of people like doing.

    One question, how do you think society can better train people to priortize others over themselves?

    Juicy Burger
    West Roxbury, MA, US
    Posts: 6

    Originally posted by lil breezy on September 21, 2022 09:49

    It is very hard for me to understand why Cash did what he did, or really didn't do what he was supposed to. I can see that it was a very terrifying situation, and I am sure Cash felt a little bit of fear, even if Jeremy was his best friend and had "potential." But we also need to think about how terrified 7-year old Sherrice was. She most likely didn't understand why her new friend was hurting her. She probably didn't even know what rape or murder was, because she was 7. Cash was 18. He knew what he was seeing, and even though he probably didn't expect Jeremy to murder Sherrice, but he at least knew she was being restrained and raped, and that should be more than enough to warrant someone to step in. The fact is, even when Cash found out that she was dead, he did not do anything about it. I would look at the situation a bit differently if Cash were a young boy, or much weaker. However, he was grown and able-bodied, he could have done something. When I read the 36 bus story, I was surprised that nobody did anything. The odds of the young boy being saved were even bigger than Sherrice's. There were 6 other people on that bus, not including the bus driver. They watched as an older man beat him senseless. Nothing was done about it, and the boy was never found. One witness claims he had gotten up, but noticed nobody else was, so quickly sat down. This reveals a lot about how people depend on other a lot of the time to make decisions. Since nobody else was getting involved, he decided not to. In sixie year, a lady fell on the tracks just 30 seconds before the train came. Thankfully we all screamed and signaled the driver to stop, but I understand a lot of us were able to help the woman because everyone else was screaming. The problem is, if nobody is the first to do it, it will never get done. I also feel like that was a minor situation compared to the other stories, and so I believe people are most likely to help when they have little chance of getting harmed. In "The Samaritan's Dilemma," the author explains that people jumped up to help a person who fell on the ground, but yet there are still shootings and stabbings across the globe.


    I feel that at the very least, a person who witnesses another wrong should be obligated to report that wrong. There were many ways Cash could have saved Sherrice, one of them being to report to the workers at the casino, this way it would be multiple people, who have authority, against one. I feel like situations that are hurting someone should be top priority in terms of wrong. I feel like if you see someone stealing an earring from a big company, like we talked about in class, it shouldn't really be considered too much of a threat. These situations are diffcult to analyze because there are so many different factors, which is why it is so difficult to think of what rules should be enforced. Obviously it is unfair to ask someone to possibly risk their life at the site of a bad situation. I do think that in violent situations, people should at least speak up, because they most likely wouldn't be able to intervene.

    Post your response here.

    Great post lil breezy,

    I definitely agree on how collective effort and timing is really important to creating better change in society. I noticed how you mentioned that you feel that people should be better at reporting things and speaking up. I completely agree.

    However, because clearly there are a lot of discontinuities between what we "should do" and what "we do," how do you think your more proactive role differs from society? Or at least, why does society choose to do what they do when it comes to these situations?

    enterusernamenow
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 3

    The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

    What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions?

    I think, that fear and denial may have governed David Cash's actions. After reading Erez Yoeli and David Rand, “The Trick to Acting Heroically", I think I understand what makes a bystander a bystander. Often fear barriers our ability to rationally think and denial stops us from expecting the unexpected and taking immediate necessary action. Furthermore, Cash's aid would've had less provocative value for David himself. He saw no value in helping another (Sherrice) who he felt could not help him in return. There is absolutely no excuse for David Cash's action, he had plentiful time to think rationally, after assessing the situation and his options --- and he purposely chose to ignore the situation.

    What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? & Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?

    Morally, they have a responsibility to assess the wrong and try to right it by any means possible. Weather that be "snitching" on someone etc. Do note that I say one must "assess the wrong". I say this because as Ms. Freeman asked us in class: "What would you do if you saw a friend cheating on a test or stealing from a store"? To both questions admittedly I answered nothing. I would do nothing. But I think that anyone with sound moral compass (a weird thing to say as moral compasses are in some sense subjective) should take action against a wrong. In David Cash's case, there was an evident wrong. His best-friend admitted to murdering a little girl.

    Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness.

    There are some laws that govern our decisions in regards to acting and witnessing. For example, citizens arrest, good Samaritan laws, accessory, aiding and abiding, failure to report a crime, and laws against stealing etc. But, as far as the law goes, if we continue to criminalize individuals not directly responsible for an action, or a lack thereof action, we will only be incarcerating thousands more. There's so much nuance to law, and personally I believe that the last thing the US needs is a higher incarceration rate. Even here in MA, we (the SJC) are looking to rid our judicial principals of such harsh accessory laws. The issue of prosecuting a bystander for a poor discussions gets complicated when it comes to law, because --- the judgement would be less focused on simply their action(s) or lack thereof, but rather their subjective moral compass as well.

    Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.

    We have an obligation to act. I do not know how to generalize when we should act and when we shouldn't. The fact of the matter is, it should be a case by case basis with proper legal judgement. There are so many differing situations, generalizing them would be almost impossible. Hence why there's so much law in this country, ever changing laws as well. I think regardless however, we should try to be good Samaritans and take proactive action when it is painfully obvious we should. However As Judy Harris, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age,” points out, sometimes, it's difficult to define what action(s) condemn one to the title of a "bystander", even that may be subjective.

    JnjerAle
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 4

    Discussion on the Bad Samaritan

    • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
    • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
    • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

    The main factor governing Cash’s actions was likely his hesitation to go against his friend. In his interview after the murder, he speaks as though he believes that the only time he should help someone is when he actually knows them. It can be speculated that he simply lacks the immediate instinct to help others, an idea further explored by a New York Times article titled “The Trick To Acting Heroically.” It in, the article suggests that the way to be heroic is to not think about your actions at all, just act. In general, I believe that the obligation one has to act on another’s wrongdoing depends on what that wrongdoing actually is. For example, shoplifting is a “bad deed” but does not actually directly harm anybody physically or mentally. However, a crime like assault does have a direct impact on another person and therefore it becomes much more important for a bystander to step in.

    The rule, or rather question that all people should ask themselves before acting or witnessing is this: Who is this deed actually hurting? In a perfect world, all people would have the obligation to act on any bad deed, but realistically, most people will rarely act. Due to this fact, the importance of acting when someone else is directly harmed should be stressed instead of pressuring people to report and step in when they see any wrongdoing committed. Who knows, maybe the shoplifter simply cannot afford any necessities at the moment.

    However, interestingly enough, another big factor that influences whether or not someone acts when witnessing a wrongdoing seems largely dependent on their environment. In the article titled “Nightmare on the 36 Bus,” a doctor states that he did initially stand up but when seeing the inaction of others it prompted him to sit back down and not help a little boy. I find it very interesting how peer pressure completely changed his stance on the bus even though no one actually directly forces him to sit back down, he just did it because he felt awkward being the only one to stand up.

    arcoiris18
    BOSTON, MA, US
    Posts: 4

    The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

    I believe Cash should have put aside his personal connection to Jeremy Strohmeyer and inside acted with his morals. When he supposedly looked over the bathroom stall to witness Jeremy with Sherrice he would have understood what happening and how horrible his "friends" actions were. In "The Trick to Acting Heroically" by Erez Yoeli and David Rand when they asked the three American men and the British businessman who stopped a gunman’s attack what they were thinking about at that moment they said “It was just gut instinct...It wasn’t really a conscious decision.” That is how David Cash should have reacted, with his gut feeling even if he didn't know Sherrice he should have done the decent human thing and either stopped Jeremy or gone to go get help, that was his obligation as the only witness. David Cash should have prevented Jeremy from ever entering the bathroom and he should have at least gotten someone when he witnessed Jeremy bring Sherrice into the bathroom stall. Being a witness is a hard thing because the pressure of understanding what to do in a situation is difficult. I think there are different levels of being a bystander because it depends on the severity level of what you are witnessing. For example, it is much easier to turn your head at someone who is stealing food, because they mostly really need it, compared to seeing someone murder someone because there is very little justification for that. I think we have internal moral compasses that help to understand when to act even if we aren't conscious of it. Another way of being a bystander, especially in more modern times is recording or watching a recording of an act happening. In "The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris, she says, "My husband was incredulous that no one else thought to try to warn the residents, but instead were documenting the events for social media." In her article, she says the bystanders were more interested in documenting what was happening instead of helping. This level of documentation is important though because it then becomes evidence, recently in the police brutality cases, and they help to find people guilty who otherwise would have gotten away. It is still important to always think of helping first because if you hid behind your phone to gather evidence you aren't always helping, especially if whatever is happening that you're recording goes sideways. Overall, the notion of an upstander,witness, and bystander is a tough subject depending on what type of thing they were seeing, but in most cases I think it is important to act with the intention of helping. This could be by intervening or getting more help or looking the other way in cases where it seems like the person isn't doing harm.

    posts 1 - 15 of 47