posts 31 - 45 of 48
griffin.lally
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

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.

I completely agree with the fact that the problem came with Cash not even trying. Like yes, everyone has an obligation to at least consider intervening, but Cash didn't even attempt to do anything about the situation. When we went over it in class, it almost felt as though he couldn't have even cared less about the girls life. He used the excuse of giving Jeremy "the look", when he is well aware that this would not have done anything to change the trajectory of the situation by any means. Jeremy was obviously going to ignore "the look" because it carries no sense of persuasion.

griffin.lally
Boston, MA, US
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.

I think another nature of when people should have an obligation to intervene is if the safety and well-being of the victim are put on the line. Like shoplifting, there is not much of a risk at stake so the consequences for becoming a bystander are slim. In the scenario involving assault, the victim is facing possible death. Because of that, I feel as though it falls upon your responsibly to protect the rights of the victim.

sand
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I believe Cash's actions should've been governed by empathy, but frankly even a bit of basic logic would've been better than the shit he pulled. Cash was very contradictory in my opinion. He claimed that Jeremy harming Sherice was so out of character that it wasn't his friend, yet he did nothing to stop it because that was his friend. If those actions were so unlike Jeremy, unlike someone David befriended, then shouldn't it have been easier to call out what he was doing was wrong? Cash could've saved Sherice especially because he was with his dad, but no, he tried to have his cake and eat it too. Empathy, I feel, comes with a moral obligation to act; if you are empathetic you cannot stand by and watch others get hurt. There are of course different ways to respond to something based on the nature of the "wrong" and the nature of the situation. For example seeing a kid pull out their phone to cheat in school isn't a big deal; the only person that can be harmed is the person cheating. But being passive when someone is sobbing and screaming for help because it's "not your place", is acknowledging that a person is actively being harmed but not enough to warrant action. Action, of course, can vary from direct intervention like standing up for someone, to indirect like calling the authorities/those better suited to handle the situation.

Sympathy is often accompanied without action. In "Nightmare on Bus 36" by Brian McGrory plenty of people saw a child being harmed. They acknowledged his pain and felt pity towards him, which is the definition of sympathy. They allowed the actions of other people to influence their choice to act, and later on they were moved by guilt. Sympathy can be confused with empathy, and skewed to satisfy one's own conscious. In terms of empathy, it is an act shared by the empathetic person, and the person they are empathizing with. It cannot stop at mere acknowledgment. I has to go a step further; it leaves no room for the bystander effect. In "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris, even though no emergency vehicles were at the scene, it was in away assumed by the people there and even the article that they're would be. There is an assumption that others will help, so you don't have to. However, this also to me begs the question: In a situation like this, where there are trained firefighters who are objectively better suited to put out the fire and help people inside, is it the better option to allow them to do so? or act on your own accord anyways? Personally, I think that in this situation that pedestrians should not have intervened directly, but they're first action should have been calling the local fire department themselves and not assuming that someone else had/will.

sand
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 disagree with the notion that people should be motivated by basic human sympathy- I think basic human decency, which includes empathy, is a better motivator. Sympathy is based off of acknowledgement of suffering, which to me can blur over into the territory of guilt. This feeling doesn't always prompt people to act in the moment, because acknowledgement doesn't equal action. Bystanders are people who SEE something going on, and purposefully choose not to intervene. In terms of empathy, when you feel that same pain someone is experiencing, you physically cannot stand by and watch, you have to put an end to it.

sand
Posts: 4

Originally posted by Martha $tewart on September 22, 2022 19:24

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.


I can see how general morals shouldn't always govern action, because everyone has different values. What one person considers right another may consider wrong, but everything humans make up is arbitrary to an extent. The definitions of morals and rights is always changing: what is generally thought of as a basic right today, wasn't 100 years ago. Similarly, generations 100 years from today will probably consider something a basic right that we don't and will be appalled by our thinking. This also applies to human instinct. The example given of saving your dog from a burning living room is perfect. Some would save the dog because it is a living organism just as you said, but so are plants. So then where is the line drawn between saving a dog, who can most likely run out on their own, vs. a stationary plant? Add in a child to this hypothetical. The child, the dog, and the plant are all living things stuck in a burning room, who is saved and why?

bigbear
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

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

David Cash did a terrible thing, and because of his actions, a 7-year-old girl isn't in this world anymore. Sherrice Iverson was raped and killed in a casino bathroom by Jeremy Strohmeyer, and David Cash was an "innocent" bystander. I think that what should have governed David Cash's actions should have been his moral compass to do right and wrong, and I believe in his overall human decency. He should have seen Sherrice Iverson being held against her will and decided to help her. Instead, he left the room quietly and did nothing. I also believe that there are some instances when you don't need to act on it, and that is when it is below the "line". For example, seeing someone cheating on a test, you don't need to intervene because they know what they are getting themselves into, and it hasn't crossed the line between right and wrong. However, David Cash saw Jeremy physically abusing Sherrice, and I believe this was a time when he should have stepped in, especially when there is a little girl's life on the line. Depending on the situation we should always try to act on something depending on the severity. I cross the line at physical harm rather than stealing, or smoking. I would tell that person it isn't a good thing to pursue in your life and try to stop them from doing it again. But if they physically harm someone it is always okay to act in that situation, and personally, I don't know if I would want to hang out with them anymore. However, it also depends on what the other person could have said, but I believe physical violence only leads to trouble later on.

After I read the article "Nightmare on the 36 bus" I fully disagree with what the narrator of the story did. The little boy was being abused by his father, and all everyone on the bus does is sits and watches. Even though everyone may not be doing anything at that moment the second person stands up for the boy and tells the man to stop it will cause a chain reaction inside the bus, which will involve everyone on the bus, and they will all be on your side. When the narrator decided to sit down and stay quiet, he put the boy's life in danger. What if the boy had died due to that incident, the people would have to life with their actions for the rest of their lives never able to repent. The next article I read was "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". This article was really interesting, and I had a tough time deciding what should have been done. Although the people taking pictures could ahve assesed the situation a bit better, and tried to figure out what was going on, they wouldn't have been able to run into the fire without knwoing who is in there, and where they are. Also, even if they knew who's in there, and where they are located, if they blindly rushed into the fire, there is a high chance that they wouldn't make it out alive, so it could have been better just to wait for the firemen to arrive.

sapyazo
US
Posts: 5

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think the most important thing to consider, before even what should have governed Cash's actions, is what DID govern his actions. He himself essentially states that his lack of intervention was due to his close friendship with Strohmeyer and the fact that what occurred were, "someone else’s problems." However, there's many other aspects of the situation that could have contributed to his mindset. Firstly, Iverson was a young black girl, he was a white man. It's not unreasonable to conclude that he did not feel very much kinship or care towards her to begin with given their different backgrounds and the backdrop that is American history. Furthermore, it's important to remember that perhaps he really was afraid of Strohmeyer attacking him, and they were both acting illogically due to the influence of alcohol. Now, I'm not writing this to defend their actions, as others in this thread have written, such as FlyingCelestialDragon, I'm simply stating these motivations to give context as to what he could- and should- have done differently. Cash has no right to absolve himself of any blame that should be placed on him using any of the above statements, but they can help us understand the why of the situation. To begin that, I would say that it's difficult for me to imagine that in any scenario Cash would have done anything differently, partially due to apparent shortcomings on his part, and partially due to societal pressures. Cash should have been governed by basic ideas of compassion and right-and-wrong, in a similar vein to the beginning of Martha $tewart's post. It really is just basic human decency to step in to help a young girl who is the victim of extreme assault, and clearly Cash is not an exemplary example of a compassionate individual. In addition, however, each and every violent act committed against African Americans from 1619 to the modern day is also an offense to basic human decency, and it is highly likely in my view that such a history of racial discrimination influenced Cash's lack of action. The first step towards acting compassionately is recognizing another as human. Essentially, Cash's behavior has underlying societal connotations, and I'm sure that for many who stand by- especially when they are the only one present besides the victim and perpetrator, as we know from "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" that when there are many present people assume another will act, though societal ideas can affect bystanders here too- the reason is more based upon ideas of who deserves help than upon who needs it, as it should be.

Thus, what should one do when faced with a situation like Cash's, or that of the bystanders of Kitty Genovese's rape and murder? Well, there should only be one question to answer, as we know from those who do act: Does another human need help? If yes, one should try to do something. Yes, that something will vary based on situation, personal physical or circumstantial ability (i.e., if someone needs a doctor and you aren't one, try to call for one, don't try to perform a surgery), but something is leagues better than nothing. The key to looking past the filters that I mentioned in the above paragraph is not one I can really provide. We can only use them as ways to check our own biases, and try to learn from them to make better decisions. If we would prioritize our friends now over another if they were hurting another or committing a crime, have a think on that. It's not the best choice if they are hurting someone else, no matter the manner or reason. At the end of the day, there is no easy solution to overcoming biases and just thinking about helping another, but as stated in "The Trick to Acting Heroically," "heroes don’t just do good — they do good instinctively." That is the kind of response we should all strive for.

Now I would like to discuss what these wrongdoings we are responding to are- what is the standard for what is something to act on? I think there really is just one requirement: if an action hurts another, than one should step in and stop whoever is the perpetrator from hurting the victim. That should be the basic principle. As I see it, that is what compassion- which I stated before is at the core of making the decision to do something- is. However, I do believe there are exceptions to this rule. If acting to save another puts others who one cares about in danger, there is a choice that one can make- I believe- without judgement, on who they wish to save. This is the reason I do not blame, for example, citizens of North Korea for not overthrowing the Kim dynasty or even just protesting wrongdoings, because the actions of one family member can lead to all of the others' demise. Therefore, I believe that in, for example, the legal case for an instance such as the murder of Sherrice Iverson, bystanders who could have intervened without risking the lives of a non-perpetrating friend or family member, for example David Cash, should receive some degree of punishment, which could take many forms depending vastly on the situation.

In summary, because I realize this is a very long and disjointed post, I believe the first thing to do when considering the Cash case is what may have influenced him in making the decision he did. From here, we can examine what should have governed his actions but didn't: compassion, and recognition of all as deserving of help, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or any other factor, and why we should use those principles to help anyone in need of help. That is, of course, unless doing so puts people very dear to one in serious danger, in which case it is reasonable to try and protect them as well, if one is unable to protect or assist everyone.

I'd like to end with a quote that keeps coming to mind in the context of the Strohmeyer-Cash situation:

"Nice people made the best Nazis."

- Naomi Shulman

sapyazo
US
Posts: 5

Originally posted by Martha $tewart on September 22, 2022 19:24

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.


I really found this post fascinating and insightful, especially on the topic of how human instinct should drive one to stand up for another and prevent harm and wrongdoing. I think that to truly define what needs to be at the center of the philosophy of being an upstander, you do have to look at what is at the core of being human, and that's empathy, or compassion; the simple understanding that another can share the same pains and experiences as yourself is the first step towards standing up for that other person to protect them from suffering. I think that many of the other points regarding how Cash is in no situation forgiveable are also very interesting, because it is a difficult question, to me, to determine what kind of punishment someone in Cash's position deserves- jail time, prison sentence, a fine? It's hard to determine the correct course of action.

sapyazo
US
Posts: 5

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 found the allusion to the duties of a lifeguard in this post really interesting, because they provide a much-needed sense of relatability and realism to all this talk about theories of philosophy and moral correctness. The fact that lifeguards have a protocol to follow and that's just how it is, because that's how you save the vulnerable person, is really eye-opening to me because it demonstrates how basic it is to some jobs and responsibilities just to simply help people. It really shouldn't be that complicated for anyone, though, for that matter, if someone's in trouble, you help them. That's the message I took away from this post, and, while simple, it's also very real, and that's important so we don't loose sight of how real people react to such situations as these.

freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 301

From limitlessknowledge

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I think that what should’ve governed Cash’s actions was even going to the girls bathroom in the first place, and he should’ve thought that it was wrong from the start. He has no excuse for not intervening especially when he saw that he was using force. Cash shouldn’t call himself a real friend, because a real friend would want what is best for their friend not letting them do stupid stuff. There are definitely rules that govern one's decision whether to act or witness the event, because if the situation is in a place where one feels like they can control it they should intervene but if there are greater powers and greater consequences one chooses to simply not intervene for their well being. In the story by Brian McGrory Auclair does not intervene, because he sees that he is the only one that stands up, and he feels like the odd man out so just decides to be a witness and sit down. One could also decide to be a bystander because they don’t want to get between the son and the father at first but when the father struck the second time someone should’ve intervened. The people on the bus could’ve all been tired from a long day at work and the situation that they wanted to be in was to fight a drunk guy. Now from Judy Harris we see another bystander that is just taking photos, but is it because he already knows someone is on the way or he just likes to have a nice story for his instagram feed? Now the husband in the story took initiative and did what Cash should’ve done, took action into his own hands and made sure that everybody in the neighboring houses were safe and attentive to the fire at hand. Through these types of bystanders we see polar opposites, but it might just be how they were raised to help people and some just like to have a story to talk about at dinner

RockPigeon
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by the_rose_apple on September 22, 2022 19:43


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.

I agree with your analysis of Deborah Stone's essay, as it is more important to step up and be a good person when it is difficult than when it is easy to do so.

RockPigeon
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by sand on September 22, 2022 21:39

I believe Cash's actions should've been governed by empathy, but frankly even a bit of basic logic would've been better than the shit he pulled. Cash was very contradictory in my opinion. He claimed that Jeremy harming Sherice was so out of character that it wasn't his friend, yet he did nothing to stop it because that was his friend. If those actions were so unlike Jeremy, unlike someone David befriended, then shouldn't it have been easier to call out what he was doing was wrong? Cash could've saved Sherice especially because he was with his dad, but no, he tried to have his cake and eat it too. Empathy, I feel, comes with a moral obligation to act; if you are empathetic you cannot stand by and watch others get hurt. There are of course different ways to respond to something based on the nature of the "wrong" and the nature of the situation. For example seeing a kid pull out their phone to cheat in school isn't a big deal; the only person that can be harmed is the person cheating. But being passive when someone is sobbing and screaming for help because it's "not your place", is acknowledging that a person is actively being harmed but not enough to warrant action. Action, of course, can vary from direct intervention like standing up for someone, to indirect like calling the authorities/those better suited to handle the situation.

Sympathy is often accompanied without action. In "Nightmare on Bus 36" by Brian McGrory plenty of people saw a child being harmed. They acknowledged his pain and felt pity towards him, which is the definition of sympathy. They allowed the actions of other people to influence their choice to act, and later on they were moved by guilt. Sympathy can be confused with empathy, and skewed to satisfy one's own conscious. In terms of empathy, it is an act shared by the empathetic person, and the person they are empathizing with. It cannot stop at mere acknowledgment. I has to go a step further; it leaves no room for the bystander effect. In "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris, even though no emergency vehicles were at the scene, it was in away assumed by the people there and even the article that they're would be. There is an assumption that others will help, so you don't have to. However, this also to me begs the question: In a situation like this, where there are trained firefighters who are objectively better suited to put out the fire and help people inside, is it the better option to allow them to do so? or act on your own accord anyways? Personally, I think that in this situation that pedestrians should not have intervened directly, but they're first action should have been calling the local fire department themselves and not assuming that someone else had/will.

It's definitely interesting how David used his friendship with Jeremy as an excuse for not stepping in. I definitely agree with your point on how that friendship really should have made it easier for him to step in, as he, in theory, should have been motivated by concern for his friend as well as by fear for Sherrice's safety.

fucia_diascia1536
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 1

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritain

I think that David Cash should have tried to help Sharice a little more than he said that he did. Usually in decisions that people have to make to save a stranger or not, they either help and try to save the person or ignore them/do nothing about it. However, in David Cash's case, he didn't do either of those things, he only tapped Jeremy Strohmeyer on the head and "gave him a look", and when that didn't work he just left. In the interview, the way that Cash described what happened and the way he sounds when talking is very calm, and he says that he just "went" to the stall next to Strohmeyer and Sharice, and he "left" the bathroom after. I think that if someone saw thier 18 year old friend take a 7 year old girl into a bathroom stall, they might not just walk into the stall adjacent, they might rush or hurry into the stall, but Cash seems very calm. And even after Strohmeyer leaves the bathroom, they just keep playing games in the casinos like nothing happened. In "Nightmare on the 36 Bus", Auclair at least was nervously thinking about helping, but Cash didn't think about helping any other way. Later when Auclair went home and it was too late to do anything about the situation, he regretted not stepping in, but in an interview, Cash had said that he didn't regret what he did and if he could do it again he wouldn't do anything differently.

There are different rules depending on the nature of the wrong because if there isn't a big threat to the person trying to save, then they should help. In Cash's case, from what we know, Strohmeyer wasn't acting very physically toward Cash, so there wasn't a threat to Cash. In the article "The Trick to Acting Heroically", some people who had saved a stranger were interviewed and in one case, someone said that they didn't make a conciuos decision and acted in seconds with a gut instinct. Cash had time to react, so he wouldn't be making an unconscious decision. Even under the influence of alcohol, he should have been able to think about the situation and react accordingly.

bigbear
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

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.

I completely agree with Steely Gibbs, I believe that there are different levels of when you should respond to different situations. Different problems require different solutions and I believe that Steely Gibbs is right, and I agree with him.

bigbear
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

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 think that ilovesharks44 has the same mindset as me in these situations, and that is that even if you don't directly use action you can do something to help that person. If you notice something is happening that is hurting someone else you should always to do something in order to help them in anyway you can, and that is why I completely agree with ilovesharks44.

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