posts 46 - 50 of 50
Posts: 18

I think nothing should govern his actions, I was watching the end on the 60 minutes where they had a lawyer talking about the difficulty of policing morality. I believe that Cash should be in jail for life mostly because Strohmeyer had no weapons or any real way of causing risk to Cash's life so he could have at least attempted to pull Strohmeyer off Iverson. On top of that at the very least, he should have reported Strohmeyer especially since he could have stopped it but chose not to. I think it all depends on the situation such as in the Article about the fire at the baseball game where one man ran directly to the house to help save the people but other first reactions were to pull out their phones and record. In that instance, I believe that they would have much less to almost no fault because 911 had already been called and there had already been people going to the house to help. If there was no one else around to help I believe that the person should at the very least call 911 and attempt to warn the people in the house that there is a fire. Witnesses have an obligation to help or at least attempt to.

Yes, there should be different rules depending on the dangerousness of the situation. I believe that as a witness in a murder or a violent attack at the very least you have to report the act if not you could be held criminally liable by the law. If the act doesn't involve any deadly weapons you should at least attempt to help the person being attacked if it doesn't lead to a chance of death on your side. It all really depends on the situation how dangerous it can be and also if you are someone who just naturally flights into action. As discussed in the New York Times most people who were "heroes" often didn't take time to think but rather just acted. So some people who would think first could have "let" someone die even though they don't naturally function quickly sometimes things happen so fast you can't even react.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

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 agree with this take. People's definition morals can obviously be different depending on who they are and what the circumstances that are testing them are, however, it comes to a point where the circumstances cross the line of where basic human decency comes into play. At the point of first degree crimes, I agree that there is an unspoken moral obligation to intervene, even in a small way, if a situation reaches that point. I also like the idea that you brought up that "someone else will do it" because I think that this is one of the biggest justifications that bystanders use. In the case of David Cash, it isn't applicable and there is no way to justify his lack of action.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

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.

I agree with what you said about how it should have been easier to call out Jeremy's actions because they were so "unlike the person David had befriended". I think this brings up a great point about how much more important it is to act if you know the perpetrator. Cash admitted to Strohemeyer's actions being out of character, yet didn't do anything to stop him. If Cash was truly empathetic, he would have intervened and at least tried to stop his friend from committing this horrible act. I also agree that sympathy is not enough if it isn't accompanied by an action. Feeling sympathetic can make someone feel like they've done enough when in reality, acknowledging those feelings without any action is much worse. Those who know that something is wrong and still don't step in turn themselves into even more of a bystander than they would've been.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

The Bad Samaritan

Morality should have governed Cash's actions. He was fully aware of what was happening was wrong, because if he thought nothing of it he wouldn't have "used his body language" to imply that Strohmeyer should stop what he was doing. Therefore it is entirely on him for not doing more. There will always be an obligation to follow morality, and to live with compassion and empathy. Everyone has a different view of right and wrong but with something as serious as the rape and murder of a child the reality is that it will always be wrong. There is no abstraction with something that grave. In Deborah Stone's writing The Samaritan's DIlemma she constantly references people empathizing with the people they rescue by likening them to their relatives. "You think about the victim like it's your mom", "It's something I would want someone to do for my brother, my mother, or my father.". The problem with Cash is that he did not see Sherrice Iverson as a human being that garners the respect and empathy he would extend to a family member. He felt no remorse for her death, insisting that it simply wasn't his business. In Judy Harris' Bystander article, she states, "According to Psychology Today, the “bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.”. One could make the argument that Strohmeyer is the "other" that discouraged Cash from taking action, but at the end of the day they were alone in that bathroom. Cash could have done anything, he could have yelled, shoved, called his dad or called the police, or maybe even have gently asked him to stop at first. He could have done genuinely anything without judgement from a collective because they were alone in that bathroom. And yet he didn't. So it is established that David Cash had no empathy towards Sherrice Iverson, because there was no pressure that comes with a collective there is no fear of embarrassment and there is no fear of consequence clearly because honestly the consequences of letting her die so brutally are far more severe than the consequences of saving her. Personally, I believe that it is one's duty as a human being to do what they believe is right. Murdering a child will never be alright, and anything to prevent it would be better than nothing. It is your duty as a person on Earth to always act, always help. There is a reason why people fear damnation, fear guilt, fear trauma, why we weep and hug and beg the universe for mercy. We know when we are doing something wrong. We know when we should not be doing something. We know when there are consequences for our actions. If not simply for the love of people, people should act off the basis of whether or not inaction will haunt them in the future.

Extra Thoughts:

One must also note the power dynamics at play. Strohmeyer and Cash are both adult, heterosexual, straight white men. Sherrice Iverson was a seven year old black girl. In a society that maintains white supremacy, in a culture that has dehumanized black people for ages and entertained white people with their brutalization, one could argue that racism and white supremacy was the source of Cash's apathy towards her life. There is a reason why white families brought their children to lynchings. There is a reason why white people put racist caricatures in Disney cartoons. There is a reason why white women brag about watching Dahmer on Netflix while eating and complain about the "lack of gore". Black and brown humiliation and brutalization is maintained as entertainment for white people in a world that conditions a lack of empathy towards them. When people of color's pain is not only commonplace but can even be stretched to entertainment towards a white audience, there is a societal apathy towards our suffering. It becomes commonplace. Our tears are less important than a white person because it is systemically ingrained that we suffer a lot all the time, it's nothing new. Many view white supremacy as fueled by mindless hatred, which it is, but we never talk about the silent killer: apathy. When white people only feel empathy towards other white people, they are less inclined to help people of color in danger. White supremacy could have fueled Cash's inaction. If Sherrice was a little white girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes, maybe her tears would have meant something to him.
Posts: 13

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that Cash's actions should have been governed at the very least by his relationship with Strohmeyer, who was supposed to be his best friend. Cash knew what Jeremy was going to do as he left the bathroom, and if he couldn't have been motivated by the 7 year old being raped and killed, he should have at least been motivated to stop his friend from doing something that would get him sent to prison. In the ideal circumstance, Cash should have seen what was happening and stopped Strohmeyer from hurting Sherrice. If he hadn't wanted to confront Jeremy himself he could have gotten a worker at the casino, or his father to help. But at the very least, his actions should have been governed by some kind of emotion. The way the story was told, and the way that Cash talked about it afterwards, seemed that he felt very nonchalant about the whole thing. He didn't seem to care that a child had died, he didn't seem to care that his best friend would be in prison for life, he didn't even seem to care that he could potentially face repercussions for what happened.

I think that moral rules should govern the decision to act. I think that we should always have the obligation to act, however that is really easy to say and is not always as simple in reality. There are some situations in which there is a blurred line of whether you should act. Do you only intervene when there is risk of someone getting hurt? What if you see a two friends verbally hurting each other? Is it your place to get involved? The line varies for everyone, but I think that we are responsible for acting when our line is crossed. But, there is a difference between saying you should act and actually doing it. Standing up is hard, and often scary, and doing nothing is a lot easier than saying something. For one of the articles, I read "The Trick to Acting Heroically" by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, which talked about how many heroic people acted simply on instinct. So what happened with David Cash? Was he not programmed to be a hero? The other article I read was "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris. I have definetly experienced what this article talked about, although not in such extreme circumstances. I don't think that it is a new phenomina that has just started happening, but that phones are a distraction that adds to this effect.

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