posts 31 - 45 of 47
luminaraunduli
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by enterusernamenow on September 22, 2022 18:12

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.

Enterusernamenow, I agree so much with what you've said. Especially in relation to your answering of the first question about what should have governed David Cash's actions - I definitely agree that fear played a large role, but I also think that other factors such as selfishness, and lack of morality also played a very important role in shaping his actions.

Also I think your answer to the question about rules that ought to govern was really interesting, I've never really thought of the large addition to unnecessary incarceration there would be. Great post!

luminaraunduli
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by arcoiris18 on September 22, 2022 18:21

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.

Hi arcoiris18,

I think that your first point about putting aside any connection with Jeremy Strohmeyer is extremely important to note - Regardless of who could've been committing that crime, David Cash saw it taking place and chose to do absolutely nothing and ignore it. Instead he chose the side of the abuser because of his relationship to Jeremy Strohmeyer. Very important point to make.

freddie gibbs fan
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Empathy for others should have governed cash’s actions. Many times in America we hear rhetoric like “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s surgery” or something similar in response to raising taxes or expanding public healthcare. I believe this rhetoric is harmful because it puts humans at odds of what makes them successful over the animal kingdom. Cash should have used empathy and compassion for Sharice and stopped his friend.

We have the obligation to act whenever it is necessary, which is difficult for me to say because there have been many times which I have not done that. Whether it is dangerous or not, I think that if something can be done for the greater good then it should be. The hard part is doing that when it is not always easy. In the situation on the 36 Bus the things stopping other passengers from saving the child was fear and the pressure that the man could've been the child's father. These pressures are not justifiable for many grown adults to do nothing though, as the child was beaten. Another example is the Envelope Game in “The Trick to Acting Heroically” where one person balances their own risk and saving someone else. Knowing the risk of helping other is often what stops one from helping but in my opinion one should almost always help because if they don’t they will feel guilty about it - they probably could have done something .

anonymous333
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 2

I'm not sure what could've governed David Cash's actions, I wondered if it was simply because it was his best friend that he couldn't bring himself to turn him in. But that thought always makes me ask myself, if I was in a similar situation would I report my best friend. Every time I try to put myself in David's shoes, I'm able to find no understanding of why he did what he did, I can't imagine seeing my best friend restrain a child and just think that its time for me to leave the room. In David Cash's scenario I believe he is just as guilty as Jeremy. I don't think there should be an offense for someone who doesn't help stop a crime, but in certain cases their should be punishments. Someone does not have to get involved to help someone else, all it takes to help save someones life is to call the authorities and let them know or tell someone else. In the article by Brian McGrory, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" I was shocked by the story I read. This is another situation I feel people should be punished for not reporting crimes they witnessed. Again, I can't imagine seeing a child punched multiple times in the face by a grown man and think it's not my place. One does not have to intervene to help, any one of those people on the bus could've videoed it to report, called 911, or helped the child directly.

freddie gibbs fan
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by drakefan02 on September 22, 2022 11:27

  • 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.

  • I agree with drakefan here except for one point. I don't believe that each person is put into a box such as "upstander" or "bystander" forever. I would hope that anyone caught in a traumatic situation in which they could've made a difference reflects on it and grows from it. Namely, if they were a bystander that they would then become an upstander due to realizing what they did wrong before.

    freddie gibbs fan
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 4

    Originally posted by arcoiris18 on September 22, 2022 18:21

    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.

    I have a question for you arcoiris, do you think the friendship dynamic between Cash and Strohmeyer changed anything about what Cash would've done as a bystander? This contrasts the news story about a gunman being stopped who (I would assume) didn't know the upstanders.

    Augustus_Gloop
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 2

    Understanding David Cash

    Hello. In this post I would like to respond to the ideas of many of my classmates. I think many of them are not looking into the perspectives of the people who were complacent, and merely virtue signaling what they think is "the right thing to do". I want to show these people that life is not so idyllic, and it is very easy to say that you would do something behind a computer screen. Because when you are in that moment, you don't have time to think it through, and as seen in The Trick to Acting Heroically, the people who intervene rarely do.

    First I would like to respond to @drakefan02. In their post they criticize David Cash and say that they hope most people wouldn't do what he did. However, I don't know if this is the case. Think of how you would react if a family member were to do something bad. What if you caught your mother, father, sister, or brother doing something completely morally reprehensible. Would you instinctively react? While I think it is easy to say you would, I would like to pose another scenario. Why is it that so many people are trapped with abusive partners, who hurt them or their child? From a third party it is easy to say "Oh, this individual should call the police, it's so simple" but again, this is an easy opinion to have. It is a lot harder to admit that everyone, no matter who you are, has some amount of caring for those closest to us. And in moments where the word needs us to stop those people, could we really?

    I would also like to respond to @aircoiris18. While I agree that David Cash should have put aside his connection with Jeremy Strohmeyer, I think it is important to recognize why he didn't. As I have already stated, it is extremely easy to sit here and say that these bystanders should have done something different, however even putting aside the personal connection, would David Cash have dones something different. In Nightmare on the 36 Bus we see almost the exact situation as seen in The Bad Samaritan. Eleven different people, all on the bus, all witnessing the same thing, consciously decided to not intervene when a young boy was getting beaten in the face. I do not think what these people did was right. I think these people did what many of us would.

    I do not think that David Cash did the right thing. I think that he showed us a disgusting side of innate human nature, a side that exists to a degree in each of us. I asked one of my best friends, and they told me that I could kill another person, and they would still help me no matter what. They said that their bond with me was so important that they would still continue their relationship with me even after this terrible action. I think that this shows how we, as humans, rationalize the things that those closest to us do, especially when they are bad.

    sue denym
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 2

    The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

    I think morality in general is what should have governed Cash’s actions in particular. I do understand the influence and importance of keeping oneself safe, and that should take priority however in Cash’s case, I believe what he did to be in poor taste. It was clear to Cash that Strohmeyer had intent to rape Sherrice, and he had acknowledged that he “tried to stop him” by giving him a “look” meaning he had evalulated the situation to the point where he had thought that it should be stopped. So why didn’t he take further action to stop Strohmeyer, when the two were the same age and about the same body types, however that isn’t what I quite consider to be the immoral action because I do acknowledge that in terms of self preservation, he could have still gotten hurt in that situation. What I do fault him for is that he had left the bathroom and a good amount of time to do something about it, I think that should have been enough time to take some course of action, like call security. To add insult to injury, he continued to spend time with Strohmeyer.

    I recognize that in nature, humans tend to act selfishly, and I don’t necessarily fault that, to an extent. However I do think there’s a difference between protecting yourself and directly allowing someone else’s wrongs to go unacknowledged. This is why I consider Cash to be an accomplice to Strohmeyer’s crime, not reporting or doing anything about the crime in itself is touchy enough but from a purely self-preservational point of view, understandable in the sense of psychology of not wanting to be implicated in such a thing. However, I do think that the fact that Cash continued to spend time with Shrohmeyer despite the fact that he didn’t need to depend on him shows me that he truly was immoral and had no regard for others and deserves backlash and punishments for such a thing.

    Once the situations broaden however, I feel that it is impossible to generalize a person’s responsibility in regards to a wrong as enterusernamenow put it. I agree with them that it truly depends on the situation. I do, unfortunately, think that there are different rules based on the nature of “wrong”, ones I think no one is immune to, it merely differs on who you ask. In my opinion, in the simplest form, the nature of wrong is measured based on the harm it does and the extent of it and to who it occurs. The theft example from class is a great example of that, theft in itself doesn’t cause physical harm to someone and so the harm it does may be considered lower, thus people’s reluctance to act on it. Like how JuicyBurger said, “it is easiest to do nothing.” However, opinion changes when it’s in regard to who it is, whether it is based on morality, pettiness, karma or something else. Like how it might feel if it was a corporation being stolen from or a small business. And so I can’t say definitively what obligations a person who witnesses a wrong should have. Ideally, they do the morally right thing regardless, however such a thing is subjective and even unrealistic.

    I’d ultimately say that if something is clearly harmful, such as someone else’s risk of death, and you can do something about it while remaining safe, you probably should do that but it really depends on the situation and it is really quite hard to judge sometimes, such as the incident of the older man hurting a young boy on the train in the Boston Globe article, due to the fact that if everyone worked together, they could have disarmed the man, but if it were only one person, it makes sense to not intervene for their own safety, as terrible as it may be. Another example is how in the WBUR article, people had been taking photos of the fire instead of warning residents that may have been unaware, yes they called 911 but still? You also have to acknowledge that they might have not thought of that and didn’t have enough time to think of it. That’s why it’s so hard to identify “rules” and faults in the actions of witnesses.

    bubbles
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 2

    Discussing the Bad Samaritan

    I think that as we look on this case and similar instances in hindsight, it's really easy to just assume that every witness to a crime would be a good samaritan and do everything in their power to help protect the victims. However, in the heat of the moment, I can sort of understand why Cash was apprehensive to do something to stop his best friend, given how close they were, yet at the same time, I can't imagine how anyone can watch a little girl get assaulted, knowing they have the power to directly interfere or get others to interfere, and then do nothing. Although Cash technically did not do anything illegal, the fact still remains that he deliberately chose to do nothing to help Sherrice for the entire twenty minutes that we waited outside the bathroom, and also decided to keep quiet on his best friend admitting to murder.

    Even though there is no legal obligation to act when we see atrocities being committed, I think that we as people have moral obligations to help those in need. I don't think we should mandate interference, given that every situation is different and we shouldn't encourage people to put themselves in danger, but if you have the power to make a substantial difference to change who gets hurt/killed, you should absolutely take it. When I was reading about the attack on the 36 bus, I was shocked that an entire bus could watch a child get attacked by a grown man and do nothing, especially since I used to ride that bus a lot. I understand the passengers hesitation to initially interfere, given that the boy and man were strangers to them, but given the ferocity of the attack and the blood that was shed, alongside the power imbalance between a man and a child, they most definitely should have told the driver to pull over or contacted the authorities.

    I think that the bystander effect is super prevalent in instances like these, where we feel disconnected enough from the incident so we don't have to act. It reminds me of the photographer from the JP fire incident, who had a photoshoot with the fire, instead of checking to see if the inhabitants were ok. Granted, I don't blame the man for not rushing into a burning building, but it does seem insensitive to take aesthetic pictures of the fire without considering possible casualties. I understand why bystanders may not physically intervene into situations like this, where there isn't much they could do anyways, but I still feel like they should try and do something to help, like bringing others who are more qualified to help.

    I think Juicy Burger brought up a really interesting point regarding the pyschology of Cash. It is definitely easier to do nothing, and given that he felt that Strohmeyer was "out of character" and therefore not acting like the best friend that Cash knew, he may have subconciously treated him as a stranger at that moment and felt it was safest for himself to not intervene (although he still most definitely should have). I also agree with purplehibiscus bringing up the Sherrice Iverson bill, and how it mandates reporting a crime if you witness it. Silence regarding a crime is essentially being an accomplice to it, so giving silence legal ramifications makes sense and should be enforced.

    milklover777
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 1

    The Bad Samaritan

    • Cash didn't have any legal obligation to do anything about this incident, although the morality of the situation has been highly debated for very long and I would say action was definitely required in this situation. Many reasons why people would not want to take action in such situation is if it endangers themselves, or do not have immediate access to help. Cash could have easily reported this within a minute or two, and possibly prevented Sherrice's death. He could have also took an approach as attempting to physically stop Jeremy. Morality is a large part of being a human in society, although there is no one to judge the level of his actions. This is why many people follow religion/god, in order to find true judgement and the one being above all. This is why they created the Iverson law, in order to prevent this from happening again especially since help was so easily accessible. This case was heavily exploited by Cash, since there is no human being above another to judge his actions, in turn he is able to play it off by saying he wasn't part of the crime/ felt pressured or scared.
    • in the story of Brian McGrory, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus," Boston Globe, January 25, 2000, it's pretty horrifying that no one decided to take action on such an open and accessible situation. Although having a Mediterranean family and being around many men of such sort, its pretty scary how strong and large they are (+anger/explosivity). I'm not saying they should not have taken action, but doing so would have most definitely put themselves in danger. I think it's pretty terrible it happened to such a little boy who seemed to be abandoned by his father, while being bloodied and possibly causing permanent damage. I'm not really sure what you can do in such situation other than working with other bystanders to physically stop the man, although strangers aren't always the most reliable. The safest option was probably calling the police, which the kid would've got sent to an orphanage or across the country, something along those lines. I can definitely imagine the tone and the look of the man who did this act, since I've most certainly seen it many times before, just with lower levels of physical violence. The kid probably wanted to just have a loving family to care for him as he grew up, although he will probably never feel that from his biological family and feel disconnected from his culture.
    • in The Trick To Acting Heroically, I completely agree with the fact that instant action is the only option you have in order to help/ save people. If you spend time thinking "I can't step in" "it's not my place" You will never be able to prevent these terrible situations from happening within eyeshot. This may require you to put yourself in danger, which is completely logical if you don't want to step in front of a gunman for a stranger to live, although many people feel a sense of moral obligation to not witness such terrible actions taken upon other innocent people and suffer. Cash could have definitely taken immediate action, especially since it was so easily accessible unlike the bus situation. I can clearly imagine the bus situation because I have taken that bus many time on my way home from school. The bus situation is different due to the immediate threat of violence these strangers could have presented themselves upon. The only thing you could say is they're the wrong people at the wrong time. Regret fills you up while witnessing a preventable crime, unlike Cash for some reason, but it's best to take action to help humanity, otherwise yourself and others will be suffering due to hesitation, or not taking action at all.
    sage_gorilla
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 4

    The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

    As a human being, I think that you have an obligation to step in and stop something wrong if you know that you have the ability to do so. There was absolutely no reason why David Cash could not help Sherrice Iverson when she was in danger. He was in the best position to intervene and chose not to. I honestly do not care what made him think it was okay to walk away at that moment, what I do care about is the fact that he should have stayed and chose not to. The nature of the wrong affects the situation. Not stopping your friend from cheating on a test is very different than not stopping your friend from SAing and murdering a little girl.


    I think both legal and moral rules should govern your decision to act as a witness. In theory, I’d like laws to be in place that criminalize people like David Cash for failing to intervene. In reality, I know that this would never work. There are very valid scenarios where people fear for their own safety, or the safety of others and that is why they do nothing. I understand those cases. The thing that angers me is when people fail to intervene when it will cost them little to nothing. So as a witness, I think you have an obligation to act only sometimes. When you don’t fear for your life or safety in some critical way, I think that you should act. This is especially true when the victim is someone significantly weaker than you and/or the perpetrator.


    The article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” says that acting heroically is usually not thought out but instinctual. I do not care how quickly you act, just that you do. Have a debate in your head, deliberate whether you’ll get hurt in the process, but for the love of everything if you can help, just do it, please. I say this as a very non-confrontational person. You don’t have to physically put your body into the equation to help. Calling 911 or getting someone who is better equipped to help is equally as good an option.


    As I was reading “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”, I was so disturbed and disgusted. I have no idea how people turned a blind eye to the sight and the sound of a man beating an eight-year-old. It was done in a very public manner with several witnesses. The least someone could have done was alert the bus driver. I truly could not fathom how they thought, “it’s not my business, this is fine.” One of the witnesses said that the boy was clearly frightened of this man and that they came onto the bus and sat separately. I don’t know how that screams father-son relationship, but apparently, it did. I do not feel any sympathy for the man who stood up to help and sat back down. He lost sleep over it and all I have to say is good, I hope it haunts him. I know it will haunt that little boy. He was in a perfectly good position to save this child but simply chose not to. I hope that all of the witnesses tormented themselves with the thought of what happened to that little boy afterward.
    woozi
    Boston, Massachusetts, US
    Posts: 2

    The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

    I want to begin by reiterating what many of my classmates have already said: if David Cash had handled the situation differently, the outcomes wouldn't have been as severe. There are thousands of things he "should" have done in those circumstances, but because we are all discussing and interpreting the events from a third-person perspective, it is difficult to agree on a single opinion. Morally, I believe that Cash should’ve said or done more to stop Strohmeyer because he probably could’ve saved Sherrice as a result. Cash should have been governed by morality, humility, and general guilt especially given how young she is but since he didn't he technically is an indirect accomplice. Despite this though, I feel bad admitting that I probably would've behaved in a similar manner to him.

    We all have "some amount of caring for those closest to us,"as stated by Augustus Gloop, and this has a significant impact on how we treat our loved ones vs regular people or our enemies. Whether you admit it or not, it's human nature to pick and choose when you want to be a good person. We treat people based on how much they mean to us and consequence them based on how much we dislike them. As a bystander, I believe you have a moral and self obligation to speak up and act when you see something wrong in every situation, but it's easy to say that when you're not actually experiencing it. Anyone could say that they would quickly act and play the hero role when placed in a bad situation but how many people would actually do it?

    The sad reality is that most people wouldn't actually do anything to help but rather, they say they would to not make themselves and their guilty conscience feel bad. Even in “The Bystander Effect In The Cell Phone Age”, the author writes an article discussing, in a shady tone, how when many bystanders didnt do anything to help when they saw a fire happening and instead took pictures of the incident. She seemingly shames them for it and yet towards the end, in a brief sentence, she includes that she too was a bystander who didn't do anything to help. It's an interesting concept to think about and in a way it's a personal morality test, but morals are personal so when it comes down to it, it's usually up to the person whether or not they want to take action.

    Connecting back to the amount of care we have for people, although I believe that we are sometimes biased towards those we care about most, I don't believe that there are different universal rules on what you should do depending on the nature of the “wrong”. In every situation, wrong doings should be reported and you should have a personal obligation to act but people sometimes just don't because they, understandably, don't want to get involved or it's not in their best interest. New York Times, “The Trick to Acting Heroically”, explores this idea of acting heroically providing reasoning on why people do, one of which being that it's beneficial in the long run. Cash prioritized his relationship with his best friend which benefited him. This is evident when we learned that the two of them continued to play more games and go to different casinos afterwards. When viewed in a physiological sense, he was most likely enjoying his trip with his dad and his best friend and didn't want to introduce conflict to it when he saw this happen so he didn't do any more to help it. Juicy Burger also discusses the psychological sense of Cash too which I think is important to note. Considering that he believed Strohmeyer was acting "out of character" from the person Cash grew up with, he could have subconsciously convinced himself that the situation wasn't as severe or that Strohmeyer would fix it himself later as those are good reasonings behind his wrong doing, that associated with the person he knew. Cash could have not seen any benefit of doing anything because he thought that Strohmeyer could get away with it and he could forget about it.

    Regardless though, more should’ve been done for Sherrice. She deserved better. I wonder if Cash was a girl, how would the situation have been handled differently?


    Pinyon Jay
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 4

    Discussion of the Bad Samaritan

    Cash should have been called to some sort of action immediately by moral instinct. He witnessed a crime of the highest degree that only he could do something about in the moment. There were various options and choices he could have made that could possibly have saved Sherrice, and I think his responsibility was greater because he was the only direct witness, and Sherrice’s fate was indirectly on his shoulders as well as Jeremy’s. When contemplating obligations of bystanders, the most powerful obligations are moral, because there is generally no civil liability for not assisting someone in need. Some of the situations where one becomes a bystander are left to each person’s judgment whether to act or not. However, some situations should be clear enough to indicate that the victim needs assistance from someone, anyone. The article Nightmare on the 36 Bus shows an instance where acting is necessary: the dynamic between the old man and the child, or the potential of it being a “family thing” is irrelevant when the man is gravely hurting the child in a public space where so many people have the chance to act. With crimes of this nature, and victims of this level of vulnerability, moral instinct should move a bystander to act.


    There are generally no rules now in existence that makes acting an obligation or outlines repercussions for not acting, but laws like the Good Samaritan law provide benefits for bystanders who act. This law was created to encourage action in bystanders that are afraid of legal ramifications if their actions accidentally cause harm or even death. Clearly, the decision of simply witnessing a wrong is affected by selfish concerns. However, I think we all have a moral obligation to act, and help someone in need, out of selflessness. The article “The Trick to Acting Heroically” explains that heroes, most often with military training, are bystanders who act instinctively to help others and do not stop to evaluate personal risk. Now, not everyone is a hero with extensive military training that conditions them to act, but I think we have some of that heroic impulse in all of us. Additionally, what is asked of bystanders isn’t to jump into a dangerous situation, so that heroic impulse isn’t even completely necessary. A bystander could simply call 911 with no personal risk and this would constitute “acting”. Because with today’s technology there are options in almost every bystander situation to help without endangering oneself, I think there is no excuse for being a bystander, and we are always morally and socially responsible for acting.

    Pinyon Jay
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 4

    Discussion of the Bad Samaritan

    Originally posted by milklover777 on September 23, 2022 00:55

    • Cash didn't have any legal obligation to do anything about this incident, although the morality of the situation has been highly debated for very long and I would say action was definitely required in this situation. Many reasons why people would not want to take action in such situation is if it endangers themselves, or do not have immediate access to help. Cash could have easily reported this within a minute or two, and possibly prevented Sherrice's death. He could have also took an approach as attempting to physically stop Jeremy. Morality is a large part of being a human in society, although there is no one to judge the level of his actions. This is why many people follow religion/god, in order to find true judgement and the one being above all. This is why they created the Iverson law, in order to prevent this from happening again especially since help was so easily accessible. This case was heavily exploited by Cash, since there is no human being above another to judge his actions, in turn he is able to play it off by saying he wasn't part of the crime/ felt pressured or scared.
    • in the story of Brian McGrory, "Nightmare on the 36 Bus," Boston Globe, January 25, 2000, it's pretty horrifying that no one decided to take action on such an open and accessible situation. Although having a Mediterranean family and being around many men of such sort, its pretty scary how strong and large they are (+anger/explosivity). I'm not saying they should not have taken action, but doing so would have most definitely put themselves in danger. I think it's pretty terrible it happened to such a little boy who seemed to be abandoned by his father, while being bloodied and possibly causing permanent damage. I'm not really sure what you can do in such situation other than working with other bystanders to physically stop the man, although strangers aren't always the most reliable. The safest option was probably calling the police, which the kid would've got sent to an orphanage or across the country, something along those lines. I can definitely imagine the tone and the look of the man who did this act, since I've most certainly seen it many times before, just with lower levels of physical violence. The kid probably wanted to just have a loving family to care for him as he grew up, although he will probably never feel that from his biological family and feel disconnected from his culture.
    • in The Trick To Acting Heroically, I completely agree with the fact that instant action is the only option you have in order to help/ save people. If you spend time thinking "I can't step in" "it's not my place" You will never be able to prevent these terrible situations from happening within eyeshot. This may require you to put yourself in danger, which is completely logical if you don't want to step in front of a gunman for a stranger to live, although many people feel a sense of moral obligation to not witness such terrible actions taken upon other innocent people and suffer. Cash could have definitely taken immediate action, especially since it was so easily accessible unlike the bus situation. I can clearly imagine the bus situation because I have taken that bus many time on my way home from school. The bus situation is different due to the immediate threat of violence these strangers could have presented themselves upon. The only thing you could say is they're the wrong people at the wrong time. Regret fills you up while witnessing a preventable crime, unlike Cash for some reason, but it's best to take action to help humanity, otherwise yourself and others will be suffering due to hesitation, or not taking action at all.

    Milklover777 - I think it’s very interesting and important that you brought up religion and moral doctrine when talking about what should have driven Cash’s actions. It is definitely much easier to have a set code to follow in any situation instead of debating only within yourself. One would think that similarly to having a higher power watching your every move motivating you to act, the many people on the 36 bus watching and judging your actions would motivate you to act. I think the chances of someone acting in that situation were actually decreased because there were other people watching. There was a sort of herd mentality that stopped one man from acting, because he felt unsure and like it wasn’t his place, and did nothing like the rest of the people on the bus.

    Pinyon Jay
    Boston, MA, US
    Posts: 4

    Originally posted by freddie gibbs fan on September 22, 2022 22:20

    Empathy for others should have governed cash’s actions. Many times in America we hear rhetoric like “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s surgery” or something similar in response to raising taxes or expanding public healthcare. I believe this rhetoric is harmful because it puts humans at odds of what makes them successful over the animal kingdom. Cash should have used empathy and compassion for Sharice and stopped his friend.

    We have the obligation to act whenever it is necessary, which is difficult for me to say because there have been many times which I have not done that. Whether it is dangerous or not, I think that if something can be done for the greater good then it should be. The hard part is doing that when it is not always easy. In the situation on the 36 Bus the things stopping other passengers from saving the child was fear and the pressure that the man could've been the child's father. These pressures are not justifiable for many grown adults to do nothing though, as the child was beaten. Another example is the Envelope Game in “The Trick to Acting Heroically” where one person balances their own risk and saving someone else. Knowing the risk of helping other is often what stops one from helping but in my opinion one should almost always help because if they don’t they will feel guilty about it - they probably could have done something .

    freddie gibbs fan - I like how you portrayed the obligation of action as an obligation of all of humanity, since we have an incredible capacity for empathy. When we choose to simply witness, we reject one of the greatest powers that have driven humanity to this point. I also like how you mentioned the responsibility of the people on the bus as less vulnerable grown adults to help the clearly vulnerable young boy.

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