posts 16 - 30 of 48
Steely Gibbs
Posts: 4

Originally posted by Babybackribs on September 22, 2022 16:17

Originally posted by Steely Gibbs on September 21, 2022 22:26

I believe that Cash's actions should've been governed by common sense in a way. The fact that he was unaware or inept at understanding the situation in the first place is shocking. A person's obligation to seeing something that stands out like this is to act. It isn't as easy as it sounds, but Cash didn't put in any effort into making that a reality. There are different rules depending on the wrong. Something that is seemingly minute in scale compared to what happened in "The Bad Samaritan" definitely has different responses. I feel like the levels start with telling someone to stop and trying to intervene passively. The type of response correlates to the type of wrongdoing. I think the rules should be as simply as "is it wrong by society?". Obviously there may be some exceptions and the people in the altercation can explain that if you try to intervene. I feel like there should always be an obligation to act, but that just isn't reasonable in my opinion. There should be an obligation to act majority of the time. The two readings I chose were "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Brian McGrory talked about how there wasn't an intervention on the 36 bus when a kid was getting hit. Everyone sat there awkwardly and didn't act. This ties into my point of that people should act most of the time as well as it being wrong by society. Having an obligation to act majority of the time means that some people do and some people don't given the situation. This would allow for the altercation to be handled with the best chance of diffusing it. Judy Harris wrote about bystanders watching a building burn and no one going to help. This falls into my idea of trying to quantify the scale of the incident. It doesn't seem to be on the same scale as the other two mentioned in this post. No one seems to be in harm's way directly. Someone did take the time to act in this reading, which is different from the last two. There wasn't just a nameless group of bystanders watching what happened. One question I have for this is why did someone react to the fire, but not the assaults? Were they less intimidated because they didn't think that the fire would actually hurt them? If anyone can suggest a reason for this, please continue the conversation.

Totally agree that there are different rules for how someone should intervene (ranging from seeing someone cheat on a test, all the way to a sexual assault or attempted murder)

Do you think that there should be tiers to the rules in which to response. Having something like cheating on the test being the lowest tier and sexual assault/attempted murder towards the highest tier? Would the rules be uniform for each tier? Personally, I think that the rules shouldn't be uniform just because of the wide array of things that could happen.

Martha $tewart
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 2

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I have noticed that Babybackribs and autumnpeaches both said something about how Cash’s morals should have governed his decision. Though I see how this answer can be justified, I slightly disagree. I would have to agree more with palmtreepuppy in that it should have been human instinct that drove Cash to protect Sherrice. A person's morals are their beliefs and standards, and in my opinion saving a little girl from being sexually assaulted is not a standard or a belief, it should be a necessity. For example: If your house caught on fire and you saw your dog in the living room as you were running out, you would grab your dog. Not because you feel morally obligated to do so, but because you recognize your dog as living and feeling. Cash shouldn’t have had to think about his beliefs. Like in the article “The Trick to Acting Heroically'' from the New York Times, acting heroically is an instinct, and overthinking or thinking at all can cause bad decisions to be made. Saving Sherrice could have been as easy as just talking to Strohmeyer, but to Cash he had no “moral” obligation to do so.


The obligation a person has to intervene in a situation depends on the nature of the wrong.

As we discussed in class, nobody would turn in their friend for cheating, but they would for assault. To me this case is too strange to believe that there wasn’t something else going on. I feel like, at the very least, something had happened before this that changed the dynamic in Cash and Strohmeyer’s relationship. It feels like in Cash’s interview he makes excuses for himself, but in a way that makes it seem as though he has very little interest in Strohmeyer, though they were good friends. Saying that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems” is something someone would say in a petty argument. It is not like Cash did not understand the nature of this wrong, he knew what Strohmeyer was going to do, which makes his actions even worse. Cash seems to have a general lack of emotion and behavioral intelligence that makes me think there could be something wrong with him mentally, but that would be no excuse for his actions. In my opinion, Cash should not be free and should share some of the blame for this incident, along with Sherrice’s father. According to research I did independently, Sherrice’s father, Leroy Iverson (now deceased) brought his children to the casino because he did not trust babysitters. He then chose to let his 12 year old son watch over his sister alone. Sherrice’s brother, Harold Iverson, is now 14 and reportedly feels guilty for her murder and is without a father.


In the case of someone like Cash whose only interest seems to be self preservation, calling 911 still could have been a good idea. Some states have good samaritan laws which prevent someone who reports an accident from being held responsible for being at the scene. For rules that aren’t legal, all Cash would have needed is some common sense. He clearly has very little regard for human life, seeing as how most people are disgusted with this event and he is not. I disagree with FlyingCelestialDragon’s justification that Cash was trying to protect his friend. He would have known that eventually Strohmeyer would get caught for doing something that severe. Like “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age” references, people will stand around, take pictures, and wait for other people to help under the belief that someone else is solving the problem. Personally, I have done this, and I feel like most people have. When you see smoke from a fire in the distance, is your first question “I wonder what happened” and not “I hope everyone’s okay”?


No mater how close you are to a friend, if you knew they were about to commit murder, you woud step in (I hope). The second Strohmeyer turned from a casino goer to a potential rapist, friendship should have been out of Cash’s mind. Especially for something involving a child with no means to protect herself. So, in a situation as serious as this one, I think you should always act. Even if you are afraid of the situation or don’t want to be involved, at the end of the day it's the victim whose life is at stake.


Steely Gibbs
Posts: 4

Originally posted by autumnpeaches on September 21, 2022 18:21

I believe that one's morals should govern one's actions, and that depends on how low your bottom line is. Some people's bottom line stops at minuscule things like cheating, littering, or even bad-talking a teacher. In those cases, they would immediately tell the teacher or confront the perpetrator themselves. My bottom line is pretty low. I wouldn't call someone out for cheating, but I'd definitely call the police when someone's dying on the streets. However, in David Cash's case, he simply had no morals at all. Not only did he not stop Jeremy, but he also didn't tell anyone, didn't call for help, nor did he feel remorse. I'd like to say that his situation is vastly different from the two articles I've read, the first being "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and the second "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Both articles discuss how we, as humans, often don't help when there are other people around because we think that "there's always going to be someone else who will do it". Whether you agree with this line of logic is up to you, but David Cash was the only other person in the bathroom besides the victim, Sherrice, and the perpetrator, Jeremy, yet he didn't do anything. Therefore, this logic of the "bystander effect" does not apply to him.


I'm a little ashamed to say this, but I've also been a part of the "bystander effect" at least once in my life. Whether you see people arguing on the MBTA, students cheating on their tests, or even teachers smoking right outside the school during their break, I simply turn a blind eye and put it to the back of my mind because it's not my problem. I'm not going to intervene in a fight and get punched myself. It's different though when it's a first-degree crime. How do you define a first-degree crime? Well in my books it's sexual assault, physical assault, kidnapping, and murder. Then you're morally obligated to call 911 or intervene (if you have the courage). Imagine you're alone with your best friend whom you've known for YEARS, just for him to do something like that, and you won't even stop him? Who cares if you have AP English together, can't you see what he's doing is morally wrong? The story of Nightmare on the 36 Bus was truly disappointing. Didn't those people realize that if 4 or 5 people banded together, they could've taken down the abuser? I mean, how strong can 1 man be when compared to 5 people. Yet they all stood and watched, and not one person call the police after. The bystander effect is truly terrifying.

I completely agree with the thought that the group in the Nightmare on the 36 Bus story could've banded together to stop the altercation. I think that they may have been trying to survey the scenario with the whole darting eyes thing, checking to see if the others on the bus saw what was happening. I'm not necessarily sure that they would all jump in to help though. It seems to be a lot easier for people to turn the blind eye, so they aren't in harm's way.

the_rose_apple
Posts: 4

Sherrice had 2 murders


Cash should have reported or at least told someone about what Jeremy was doing. I believe that people need to alert others of situations where a person is being hurt, either physically or mentally. It isn’t fair to say “I don’t know them” because as a human being, you should be able to feel some amount of empathy towards others who you know are being hurt. In Deborah Stone’s The Samaritan’s Dilemma, she explains all the ways being like the Good Samaritan goes against common sense, (ie thinking about your own safety). She writes, “people’s reflections on these two incidents were nuanced and ambivalent, and they teach us something about the strength of altruism in the human psyche” (Stone 130-131). People in both scenarios hesitated at first, but then choose to help people out. Of course you should be safe, but sometimes putting your life a bit at risk is necessary to save someone else’s life. Unlike those scenarios that Stone gave us, only Cash’s friendship with Jeremy would have been at risk, not his life. Other than ignorance and negligence, there was no danger, risk, or any other reason that David Cash couldn’t have told someone about what was happening and saved Sherrice’s life. Jeremy killed her but David let it happen and, the worse part, he doesn’t even feel bad about it. When someone’s life is at risk, our jobs as people who co-exist with each other is to help out and protect that person the best we could to safe their lives.

the_rose_apple
Posts: 4

Originally posted by RockPigeon on September 18, 2022 09:37

People should be motivated by basic human sympathy for others to act whenever they see harm being done, especially to another person, but really in any situation. This does not always have to mean getting physically involved, as there are certainly some situations where one would be unqualified or unable to help, or their actions could put others at risk, and a better and more helpful course of action would be to call 911 or find someone more qualified. In this specific case, David Cash did none of these things, and, almost as bad, seemed to show no remorse for his lack of action in his later interviews. I would agree that walking in on a trusted friend doing something that horrific would be completely shocking. I myself might be too stunned to respond immediately or as well as I would have liked. However, that in no way excuses Cash’s continued lack of action that night, and over the next several days. It would be a different story if Cash, too stunned, shocked, etc. to immediately separate Jeremy from Sherrice, came out of the bathroom completely panicked, and went to find security and call for help. It would even have been better to tell the police, or at least his dad, after Jeremy confessed to him. To me, almost the most startling piece of Cash’s side of the story is the fact that, even years later, he accepts no responsibility for his lack of action that resulted in Sherrice’s death.


I believe someone who witnesses a wrong always has a responsibility to act. As a certified lifeguard myself, I feel like I have a larger obligation to act, both legally and morally. During our training, both from Red Cross and from the Massachusetts DCR, we were told that obviously while we were at work, as well as if we wear any part of our uniform in public, we are legally required to act in the event of an emergency, as our clothing would single us out as “authority figures.” If we are out in public in regular attire, and witness something happening that would require our assistance, we have the option to be a good samaritan and intervene, but are not legally required to. That is part of what I found most shocking about the article on what happened on the 36 bus, as the bus driver, also in the employ of the state of Massachusetts, must have received nearly the same lecture on legal and moral responsibility as I did, and yet still chose to do nothing, despite being in uniform and on the job.


It was also notable that none of the other people on the bus chose to step in. This ties into Deborah Stone’s explanation of the bystander effect, as people seem to often either expect someone else to step in, or justify their lack of action by others who are doing the same. That is also something that we were warned about during our training. One of the first parts of the emergency action protocol at any pool is dialing 911. The responding lifeguard is not supposed to do this themselves, as they are supposed to be starting their examination and medical response, but, if no other lifeguards are in the area, has to ask pool patrons to call 911 instead. However, we are instructed to do this in a very specific way, by making eye contact and naming a describing feature (e.g. “you, in the green shirt”), because if one just yells “someone call 911,” often no one will, as they would expect someone else to do it. I definitely find it interesting, and concerning, that the bystander effect is so well documented that it has become part of government and medical procedure.


I know I'm posting a bit on the early side, I'll circle back and reflect on more of the posts later in the week.

I agree. It’s sad to think that the bystander effect has become part of our daily lives. We’re so consumed with ourselves, social media, and our own issues that we sometimes don’t realize that harm is being done to those around us. Not to mention sometimes we’re just lazy or “don’t have the time” to deal with that sort of stuff. The fact that we feel much less sympathy for each other is insane, especially if it’s because we just don’t feel like dealing with it.

SillyGoblinMan178
Brighton, MA, US
Posts: 5

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan Response

A sense of actual empathy should've governed David Cash's actions. A girl was about to be assaulted right in front of him and he did absolutely nothing to stop it. In my eyes, he had two real options in the moment. Either he could have opened the stall door and physically stopped Strohmeyer, or he could have notified authorities of some kind. Although Cash may have not been able to physically overpower Strohmeyer in his intoxicated state, if he had chosen either of these two options, things would have turned out much differently. Sherrice could still be alive today, Strohmeyer would still be in prison, and Cash himself would have been in a far better position in life. Instead, Strohmeyer chose neither of these. He did absolutely nothing. You can't even blame the bystander effect like for the individuals in the WBUR article who recorded the burning building. (Judy Harris, "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age") If you alone see someone who is at serious risk of dying, then I believe you have a moral obligation to try and do something. I think that the presence of death in a situation is a good way to judge the severity of one, but obviously the everyday misdeed isn't as severe as the one Cash witnessed. You really can't blame people for not intervening in everyday wrongdoings. There are certainly some legal rules which encourage people to act, such as Good Samaritan laws, but I think that the only rules which truly govern this decision are the rules that people set for themselves. Personally, I believe that I have a moral duty to try and help victims in any way that I can, no matter the circumstance. Others have their own moral codes. I think the world would be a lot better off if more people chose to act, but society as a whole learning from events like the Cash Incident is a far more complicated process than it sounds. Do I think society should try to learn from it? Absolutely, because events like this are still happening to this day. Only three years after the Cash story made national headlines, a similar situation occurred on the 36 bus in Boston. Late at night, an older man beat an eight-year-old boy on a bus full of people, and not a single person did anything to stop it. (Brian McGrory, "Nightmare On the 36 Bus")

the_rose_apple
Posts: 4

Originally posted by johndoe on September 22, 2022 17:54

- I think that Cash's actions should have been governed by the moral values any decent person should have. Any person in a situation similar to this has an obligation to do whatever they can to stop the perpetrator, and if that doesn't work, then they should immediately alert the authorities. When the wrong is raping and murdering a seven year old girl, no there are not different rules. Deborah Stone claims that there is bias in most incidents. Could David Cash have had a bias against African Americans, or women, that would make him not take any sort of action against this?

- There are no legal rules about this, but there is a moral code to abide by. The obligation to act depends entirely on the level of the crime, say shoplifting vs assault, where if it is non violent it is up to the bystanders discretion whether or not they want to report it. "The Bystander Effect in The Cellphone Age" points out that most people just seem to stand there and watch. In a case like David Cash's, standing there and watching while not obliging to a general moral code that all decent humans abide by was not the correct course of action.

Laws aren’t the only thing we should abide to. The “moral code” as you said is almost like a social contract; if you see someone in need of your assistance, you “legal” responsibility would be to assist them, not walk away or record it on your phone. Cash was not being a decent human as you said and because of him turning the other way and forgetting about it, a life was taken. A young, innocent girl was murdered by the person who physically hurt her and the person who walked away.

I find it interesting that you brought up the bias Cash could have against African Americans or women (or both) that would lead him to walk away. First, I think we should try to be as unbiased as possibly, especially if the bias is because of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. The moral code that we should all abide by can’t be occasionally followed and disregared in some situations. We should be following it at ALL times, especially is a person is being harmed because of that bias.

autumnpeaches
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Originally posted by FlyingCelestialDragon on September 22, 2022 17:24

Cash's actions are seen as horrible to us, but I think there were good reasons why he did that. I'm not saying what he did was right but I think Cash did not turn in his friend because that was his friend. I'm pretty sure a lot of people would try to defend their friends and protect them when things go wrong. I think that's what Cash was thinking, Jeremy was his best friend. For example, in that scenario in class we did about witnessing our friend cheat, no one in the class voted to tell a teacher about it. That is because we wouldn't want to put our friends in trouble. If we did that would be a betrayal of the friendship and their trust. I think that was Cash's thought process when he witnessed what Jeremy do to the little girl.

When a person witnesses another wrong, they have many obligations to turn the person in. Especially something like what Jeremy did. If the person that witnessed what Jeremy was not Cash, they would 99.9% turn Jeremy in. But if the situation was not severe as this, like witnessing someone stealing some pencils. Not many would do anything, but probably go tell their friends/family about it and that's all. It's hard to identify the "rules" that ought to govern the decision to act or witness. But there are things that cross the line that needs to be acted on. That would be something that is hurting the person, you, or other people. When there is human life on the line, there is a need to act. Things like stealing are bad but not many people would act on it, unless it's something big scale like stealing from a diamond shop.

In "The Bad Samaritan" by Deborah Stone, I find it interesting how someone was badly hurt and had to quit his job because he had stopped a helped someone. Because he had stopped to help that person, it had almost cost him his life. But he said that he would still continue to help others in the future. I find it fascinating how someone can still want to help people after almost dying from helping someone in the past. And then at the end of it, a man said that some people lack common sense and he wouldn't let his daughter help strangers in every situation. I partially agree with this. We shouldn't be helping every stranger we see in every situation. That's a very bad thing if you do. You also have to think about the situation and evaluate it before jumping in and helping. The other that I read is "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris. I feel like most people in our generation are bystanders. Like the man in the article, he saw the house burning but instead of trying to get help by calling the fire department or trying to warn the people in the house, he started taking pictures. He had a phone in his hand, he could have done something maybe call 911. But no, he took pictures. I find this irritating. The line between witnessing or acting is very unclear.

I agree with what you're saying in the last two paragraphs, but regarding your first paragraph from the way I see it, it's not a "good reason", it's an "excuse", and it wasn't even a good excuse. I agree with your statement on how people would want to defend their friends, but comparing a cheating scenario to a rape case? It's simply not the same. It's because David Cash was Jeremy's friend that he SHOULD'VE done something. There's no normal person that sees their friend grabbing a 7-year-old girl clearly intending to do something with her and NOT do something. That makes you the bad friend more than anything. I mean, you're right. No one wants to put their friend in trouble. But Cash's "thought process" is not the thought process of the majority, I just wanted to say that first and foremost. And you might call me hypocritical because in my post I said I wouldn't intervene in a fight because I didn't want to get hit. David Cash was an ADULT male in COLLEGE, not any college, even a PRESTIGIOUS one, and you're telling me the first thing he did when he heard his best friend commit murder is to ignore it. Not even a phone call to the police. Jeremy was Cash's best friend, and I'm sure Cash was also Jeremy's best friend, so in that scenario, Jeremy would be less likely to attack Cash than Sherrice. Yet Cash did nothing at all, not because "he was scared", but because he simply didn't "know that little girl" (said by Cash in the video). I'm sorry if it seems like I'm attacking you, I'm really not, I just don't think there were a good reasons at all.

SillyGoblinMan178
Brighton, MA, US
Posts: 5

Originally posted by autumnpeaches on September 21, 2022 18:21

I believe that one's morals should govern one's actions, and that depends on how low your bottom line is. Some people's bottom line stops at minuscule things like cheating, littering, or even bad-talking a teacher. In those cases, they would immediately tell the teacher or confront the perpetrator themselves. My bottom line is pretty low. I wouldn't call someone out for cheating, but I'd definitely call the police when someone's dying on the streets. However, in David Cash's case, he simply had no morals at all. Not only did he not stop Jeremy, but he also didn't tell anyone, didn't call for help, nor did he feel remorse. I'd like to say that his situation is vastly different from the two articles I've read, the first being "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and the second "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Both articles discuss how we, as humans, often don't help when there are other people around because we think that "there's always going to be someone else who will do it". Whether you agree with this line of logic is up to you, but David Cash was the only other person in the bathroom besides the victim, Sherrice, and the perpetrator, Jeremy, yet he didn't do anything. Therefore, this logic of the "bystander effect" does not apply to him.


I'm a little ashamed to say this, but I've also been a part of the "bystander effect" at least once in my life. Whether you see people arguing on the MBTA, students cheating on their tests, or even teachers smoking right outside the school during their break, I simply turn a blind eye and put it to the back of my mind because it's not my problem. I'm not going to intervene in a fight and get punched myself. It's different though when it's a first-degree crime. How do you define a first-degree crime? Well in my books it's sexual assault, physical assault, kidnapping, and murder. Then you're morally obligated to call 911 or intervene (if you have the courage). Imagine you're alone with your best friend whom you've known for YEARS, just for him to do something like that, and you won't even stop him? Who cares if you have AP English together, can't you see what he's doing is morally wrong? The story of Nightmare on the 36 Bus was truly disappointing. Didn't those people realize that if 4 or 5 people banded together, they could've taken down the abuser? I mean, how strong can 1 man be when compared to 5 people. Yet they all stood and watched, and not one person call the police after. The bystander effect is truly terrifying.

Agree that people are the only ones who can define their own morals, not being able to do so is really dystopian.

SillyGoblinMan178
Brighton, MA, US
Posts: 5

Originally posted by ilovesharks44 on September 22, 2022 07:46

I think that compassion should have governed Cash's actions. It's such a basic idea, but it’s apparently something that he chose to overlook at that moment. Without compassion, can someone really interact with other people in a human way? By turning a blind eye, David Cash rid himself of any compassion and let himself turn into a bystander. As a witness and a bystander, David Cash was, if not legally obligated, then at the very least morally obligated to stop his friend from committing this horrifying act. Just like in the case of the 36 bus, any simple gesture from a phone call to his father or 911 to a shake of Jeremy's shoulder to get his attention could have spared Sherrice Iverson's life and in the case of the 36 bus, saved the young boy from abuse.


In ‘The Samaritan’s Dilemma’, the author talks about the instinct that an onlooker feels when witnessing a situation where they could be of help. When people feel this gut instinct that they should jump into a situation, they are personally responsible for acting on it. Obviously David Cash felt this feeling or he wouldn’t have admitted to half heartedly trying to get Jeremy Strohmeyer’s attention. Unlike the examples in the passage, Cash chose not to act on this feeling and in doing so failed to fulfill his personal responsibility as a human being. There is obviously a range as to when that action is necessary, however, it extremely obvious that the feeling when witnessing a physical assault and/or murder is quite easily distinguishable from the feeling you may get when you witness someone cheating on a test or telling a small lie. While it will ultimately be an individual decision (to act or to not act), the obvious truth is that as a person with human feelings, you will experience that gut instinct and know when to step in.

I know saying this is a bit played out, but caring about the people around you is genuinely so important. Or maybe it's not that played out, Cash sure as hell didn't care about Sherrice.

autumnpeaches
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Originally posted by fancyclown on September 22, 2022 10:32

Brian McGrory "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" Boston Globe, Jan 25 2000

Judy Harris "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" WBUR Cognoscenti June 5, 2015

I would have to agree with everyone who has responded so far, that Cash's actions should've been governed by compassion, common sense, and sympathy. What Strohmeyer did is unforgivable, and the fact that Cash was able to so easily write it off is astounding. I do believe that there are different rules depending on the nature of the "wrong" doing, like we went over in class, cheating on a test or shoplifting from a Claire's are not at all comparable to raping and murdering a 7 year old girl. Cash held an equal power level to Strohmeyer and could have easily intervened and gotten him to stop, or told his father, or reported the crime. Strohmeyer did not hold any advantage over Cash that prevented Cash from stepping in, and yet he didn't. I believe that the greatest factor in this difference is who is being directly affected by the wrong-doing. For example, by cheating on a test the main person affected is yourself. You are choosing to take the risk of getting caught and being punished, you are deciding to sacrifice your academic integrity to receive a better grade. I understand the argument that it is unfair to other students who might've studied harder than you and didn't cheat, but regardless, they will still receive a good grade, as will you, yours simply isn't honest. In the terms of shoplifting, if you are stealing from a major company, they almost certainly account for a certain amount of products taken but not purchased. And in many cases, the major company isn't ethical themselves, in this day and age almost any business that isn't small or locally run uses sweatshops, unfair labor, or contributes to climate change in some way. This is not the case if it is in fact a small business, ran by one or a few people, without the funds to account for missing merchandise and that is not contributing to unethical services. Therefore, I believe that unless someone is being directly harmed by another person's wronging, it is not necessary for the witness to be an upstander. Although it is all up to their own morals in that case.

I think that yes, in an instance of assault (ranging from an unprovoked physical attack to rape/murder) against someone else, there should be a law in place that requires the witness to report the crime. However, in the instance of a physical fight, sometimes it is clearly nothing more than a physical fight. Thus, while able bystanders should intervene and try to stop it, if it was a mutual decision to fight right then and no one was seriously injured, I do not think it necessary to be reported. To better explain this, in Brian McGrory's January 25th, 2000 article "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" when the boy was being repeatedly attacked by the older man, someone on the bus should've intervened, and someone should've reported it. This is a case of unfair advantage, the boy was clearly powerless in this situation, it was not a mutual fight, and it is impossible to know how far the man might've gone, possibly eventually killing the boy. It is also important to note that by not reporting this crime, the witnesses are (in a way) putting the boy in danger. It is unclear if that man was his father, but regardless, by not reporting it, the boy could continue to suffer at the hand of the man for a long time. On the other hand, in Judy Harris' 2015 article "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" I disagree with Harris' belief that the people taking pictures should've done more. I used to live in the house to the left of that building, the one that was on fire. I lived there when it happened. Although I don't remember much and I wasn't present when the fire occurred, I think it's important to recognize that not all of those people who were taking pictures could be physically or mentally capable to run in and try to help. It's great that that man was able to, and everyone was able to evacuate the property. Some of those people on their phones could've been alerting the fire department, or 911, but they weren't directly aware that someone was in harm's way.

I completely agree with what you're saying. In a case of cheating or stealing, that friend is putting themselves in a risky scenario. They aren't directly harming anyone, indirectly maybe, but not directly. So when you see it, you might not think that deeply about what the indirect consequences might be. In Jeremy's case, David Cash clearly saw the DIRECT consequences of his friend's actions, aka he's holding Sherrice hostage about to assault her. He's directly harming another person. I also agree that a mutual fight does not equal an adult man beating a child. You see two adult men brawling it out in a subway station, you might call a security guard but you won't get involved, it was their mutual agreement to fight. But then you see a little boy getting beat up by his drunk father who's stronger than him and you didn't call 911? That is wrong.

EyeAin'tNoGrinch
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 3

- Cash's actions should've been governed by the determination between what's right and what's wrong. I guess if you're personally ok with watching something bad happen in front of your eyes and you don't feel the need to do what you can to stop it, then you have no obligations. But morally, and especially in Cash's case, if there is any possible chance that you can help prevent something absolutely horrible from happening, why wouldn't you? I think there are different "rules", per se, depending on the wrong. If you're seeing a homeless person steal a loaf of bread the only morally correct way to stop it would be to buy the bread for them, you know? But for Cash, he literally watched his best friend who he knows very well go into a woman's bathroom, grab a little child, and rape her. He left the bathroom not knowing what his friend would do and he went on with his night. How can someone be ok with that? At the very least he could've yelled at him to stop. If he's best friends with Strohmeyer he 100% could've yanked him away and grabbed the girl and brought her to safety. If it didn't work at least we know he tried. But he did NOTHING. Strohmeyer even told Cash afterwards that he murdered the little girl and left her corpse in the bathroom and Cash was able to go about the rest of the night and even drive home not only knowing that his friends killed her, but that he was there when she was still alive. He could've stopped her from dying. And it's astonishing that he literally said he's "not gonna lose sleep over it". As for the case in "The Nightmare on the 36 Bus", there was a group of people who watched a little boy get beaten by a grown man and no one did a single thing. As it said in the article, the passengers were "bent on protecting themselves over a boy who received no protection at all". Considering it was an entire group of people versus one man beating up a little child, they could've determined that no circumstance should stop them from trying to help this kid, not even a family issue like Auclair said. As a human being and as one of the people in the small group of bystanders on this bus, all of them were obligated to take action in some way to help this kid and they didn't. I can't even imagine that happening and everyone deciding it would be better to not do anything. The actions of the person who was recording the fire should be governed by the circumstances just like anything else. It was clear the fire had just started and regardless if the fire just starting or had been going for a while, you always think about who could be inside, especially when there's no emergency services there to check. The person can take pics/vids all they want but wouldn't you think instinctively a person would call 911 when they see a fire when there's no one there helping yet? It's an obligation just like anything else to make a decision on the spot to help the situation but I would't think calling 911 in this case would require a second thought. It seems I'm wrong.

- I think the rules that would govern someone to act on a crime or simply witness one such as Stromeyer's would be, as I said before, your own moral determination between right and wrong. Any one who's not a sociopath would know that you would never want to witness a little girl being sexually assaulted and killed, but it you're forcefully put in Cash's shoes you would have to do SOMETHING. You absolutely have an obligation to. Any kind of person in a similar situation to this one where you're alone with another person who you know very well who's hurting another person, you would always be obligated to try to stop it unless they had a gun or something, in which case you'd have to make the call as to what would be most effective and safe in fixing the situation. There was a lot of conversation about bystanders after George Floyd's death too. The woman who recorded it was screaming at the cop to stop, but a lot of people took notice that no one actually physically tried to stop him. If this police officer was already actively killing someone, what would happen if someone tried to grab the guy? It could've made the situation worse, or it could've stopped it, how could you know? This would be a situation where I think it would be occasionally, but also maybe not. In the case of the 36 bus, the rules of whether or not to act would be to consider the fact that it was late at night, this kid was young and obviously afraid of the intoxicated man he was with, and then was punched until he was gushing with blood. Sitting in silence and watching is the last thing that should've happened. As I said above, there was an entire group of able bodies adults that could've stopped this man and protected this young child who desperately needed help and got none. With the fire situation, as I said above, the person recording should've had the instinct to think about if there could be people in the house and if they know there's a fire and if emergency services are present, and then you can determine how to act, if anything. The circumstances here determined that this bystander should've been doing something to help but instead recorded a video so they'd have a story to tell. It's fascinating to me that at the scene there was a regular old citizen who felt so inclined to run into the house and scream to save the people who were inside, and there was also a person recording for selfish reasons and not caring about the fact that there's a fire with lives at risk, nor even thinking about that possibility. There are so many factors to determine whether or not we have an obligation to act. I think if you know that you're watching something horrible happen and you KNOW you're witnessing something bad happening, how could you walk away and not have it on your conscience. Again, it's hard for there to be one concrete answer.


This is just jumbled summaries of my opinions/thoughts on the questions and articles, sorry for the messiness.

EyeAin'tNoGrinch
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 3

Originally posted by autumnpeaches on September 21, 2022 18:21

I believe that one's morals should govern one's actions, and that depends on how low your bottom line is. Some people's bottom line stops at minuscule things like cheating, littering, or even bad-talking a teacher. In those cases, they would immediately tell the teacher or confront the perpetrator themselves. My bottom line is pretty low. I wouldn't call someone out for cheating, but I'd definitely call the police when someone's dying on the streets. However, in David Cash's case, he simply had no morals at all. Not only did he not stop Jeremy, but he also didn't tell anyone, didn't call for help, nor did he feel remorse. I'd like to say that his situation is vastly different from the two articles I've read, the first being "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and the second "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Both articles discuss how we, as humans, often don't help when there are other people around because we think that "there's always going to be someone else who will do it". Whether you agree with this line of logic is up to you, but David Cash was the only other person in the bathroom besides the victim, Sherrice, and the perpetrator, Jeremy, yet he didn't do anything. Therefore, this logic of the "bystander effect" does not apply to him.


I'm a little ashamed to say this, but I've also been a part of the "bystander effect" at least once in my life. Whether you see people arguing on the MBTA, students cheating on their tests, or even teachers smoking right outside the school during their break, I simply turn a blind eye and put it to the back of my mind because it's not my problem. I'm not going to intervene in a fight and get punched myself. It's different though when it's a first-degree crime. How do you define a first-degree crime? Well in my books it's sexual assault, physical assault, kidnapping, and murder. Then you're morally obligated to call 911 or intervene (if you have the courage). Imagine you're alone with your best friend whom you've known for YEARS, just for him to do something like that, and you won't even stop him? Who cares if you have AP English together, can't you see what he's doing is morally wrong? The story of Nightmare on the 36 Bus was truly disappointing. Didn't those people realize that if 4 or 5 people banded together, they could've taken down the abuser? I mean, how strong can 1 man be when compared to 5 people. Yet they all stood and watched, and not one person call the police after. The bystander effect is truly terrifying.

Regarding admitting to the bystander effect, I think absolutely everyone has been part of it at least once in their life. For me personally it's especially in environments like BLS. We've all seen sixies or a quiet person in our grade get pushed around or picked on and those kids are always the ones who are different and sometimes you intervene somehow but there are also times you know deep down it's so wrong and you wish they would stop, but you feel too embarrassed to actually act on it and stop it because people judge you for not being basic and "normal" at this school.

EyeAin'tNoGrinch
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Steely Gibbs on September 21, 2022 22:26

I believe that Cash's actions should've been governed by common sense in a way. The fact that he was unaware or inept at understanding the situation in the first place is shocking. A person's obligation to seeing something that stands out like this is to act. It isn't as easy as it sounds, but Cash didn't put in any effort into making that a reality. There are different rules depending on the wrong. Something that is seemingly minute in scale compared to what happened in "The Bad Samaritan" definitely has different responses. I feel like the levels start with telling someone to stop and trying to intervene passively. The type of response correlates to the type of wrongdoing. I think the rules should be as simply as "is it wrong by society?". Obviously there may be some exceptions and the people in the altercation can explain that if you try to intervene. I feel like there should always be an obligation to act, but that just isn't reasonable in my opinion. There should be an obligation to act majority of the time. The two readings I chose were "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Brian McGrory talked about how there wasn't an intervention on the 36 bus when a kid was getting hit. Everyone sat there awkwardly and didn't act. This ties into my point of that people should act most of the time as well as it being wrong by society. Having an obligation to act majority of the time means that some people do and some people don't given the situation. This would allow for the altercation to be handled with the best chance of diffusing it. Judy Harris wrote about bystanders watching a building burn and no one going to help. This falls into my idea of trying to quantify the scale of the incident. It doesn't seem to be on the same scale as the other two mentioned in this post. No one seems to be in harm's way directly. Someone did take the time to act in this reading, which is different from the last two. There wasn't just a nameless group of bystanders watching what happened. One question I have for this is why did someone react to the fire, but not the assaults? Were they less intimidated because they didn't think that the fire would actually hurt them? If anyone can suggest a reason for this, please continue the conversation.

It's fascinating that sometimes you think to yourself that there are just people that don't have common sense because of the way they react to things. I strongly agree with everything you said about Cash

griffin.lally
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I agree with what most have said so far, Cash’s actions should have been governed simply by common sense and compassion—of which he clearly doesn’t have. Especially considering the fact that he was an 18 year old boy and his close friend being the perpetrator, he would have been put in a relatively safe situation if he actually spoke up. Because of this equal power dynamic, Cash never acted out of “safety” for himself, but rather through his ill-morals. When witnessing a wrong on a general scale, people ought to consider who/what is being affected (and by how much) and the consequences you may face by intervening. Of course, if you see a friend cheating on a quiz it’s reasonable to turn a blind eye. There isn’t much being put on the line for either participant and by the time you confront them about it, the action would have already been committed so there’s no justice being done regardless. However, if the wrongs are more in line with first degree crimes, there should be an obligation to intervene. If someone else's safety and wellbeing is on the line, I feel as though most people are morally responsible for protecting these rights. Regarding the “Bystander Effect”, it is becoming increasingly popular for society to document these events via phone. That alone is not okay. If you really feel an obligation to video what is happening, you ought to at least contact 911 or the fire department so they can come into action to help instead of you watching the downfall of others for entertainment.


This may change depending on who the bystander and perpetrator are though. If you, as a younger girl, see a fully grown man abusing his power against someone else, speaking up in this case puts you at risk as well. If there are a group of people with you, you may be more protected yourself and may consider intervening depending on your level of comfort. Take for example, the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus”. With the crime being committed on a public bus, the risk of speaking up significantly decreases. Everyone on the bus was in a common agreement that the situation was not “normal”, but they were scared to speak up. Using that logic, as one person stands up, others are soon bound to follow. Together, as a force, they are stronger than just that one old man. On the other hand, if you are a developed man who sees another man abusing his power over someone else, I think it falls upon your responsibility to really consider protecting the victim. Yes, it puts you at risk, but this level of risk is significantly lower as a man. This is one of the few cases where I feel as though gender norms are actually beneficial to society. I feel as though everyone—regardless of identity—ought to at least consider the outcome if they were to intervene. From there, they can dictate for themselves if they feel confident enough in the situation or not. To answer the question on when we have an obligation to act, I would respond with only sometimes (per the reasons listed above).

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