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freemanjud
Posts: 9

Hmmmm...an interesting point

Originally posted by tablechair on September 10, 2019 18:28


Something to think about is how it seems most of us assure ourselves that we would never do such a thing. But can we honestly say for sure that we’d all do the right thing if the situation came upon us. I’m sure many have witnessed even some type wrongdoing, whether it be big or small, and didn’t know how to act. I am in no way saying that what David did is justified, as it isn’t, but I definitely think it’s something to consider.


I think it's so easy to say: of course we'd intervene to save a life (or something less consequential). But there are realities. Would we risk our own lives? Would we act if other people were present? Would we assume others would act?

The case of Kitty Genovese's murder raises some important issues related to this. If you've never heard of this (and why would you? It happened in 1964), she was murdered at the entrance to her apartment after being attacked....twice....and screaming so much that numerous lights went on in nearby apartments--somewhere between 37 and 39 in all (there's some debate about the number)--and no one acted sufficiently to prevent her murderer from returning and essentially finishing her off. Now the story as told in 1964 has been rendered much more complex thanks to lots of new research about what was reported then and what reality was....but still: what does that tell us about human behavior? And the role of witness/bystanders? (If you want to know about this story and how it is linked to the notion of the "bystander effect," go to www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bystander-effect


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borne
Posts: 3

Great Expectations

It is undeniable that what Jeremy Strohmeyer did to Sherrice Iverson was the most heinous of crimes, and most can agree that David Cash should have done more to try to stop him or at the very least should have reported the crime after he knew about what had happened, but what would have happened if Jeremy had not killed Sherrice?

In general society the standing rule regarding the witness of something suspicious is to report what you have seen to someone of authority. We hear it over and over in airports and train stations: "If you see something, say something". Conversely, there is another phrase heard most likely in the halls of school or on the playground: "snitches get stitches". How can one know which choice is right, having learned two contrasting philosophies in two very different settings, for situations outside of the place of learning these fundamental schools of thought. While one operates on the well being of the individual in exchange for the aiding of the subversives, the other offers safety for the masses while risking the safety of the informant. However, the infractions that most likely take place in the locations where these phrases are most heard are obviously much different than the sexual assault and murder of a seven year old girl.

Everyone who has an opinion against David Cash feels that he should have done something to stop Jeremy. But how was he to know, or even have the slightest expectation that Jeremy was actually going to kill Sherrice? In his interview on 60 Minutes, David says that he consciously thought that he should leave the bathroom, because the situation had escalated to a point where it was uncomfortable to him. Why hadn't he done anything to stop what was going on if he didn't like it so much? Maybe he was hoping Jeremy was only playing around and that he would move on, even though he says that he felt Jeremy was not acting himself. In "The Trick to Acting Heroically", Erez Yoeli and David Rand write that once a person has had time to assess the situation and consider the personal risk versus the risk to the victim, they are more likely to decide not to intervene. The essay describes an experimental game called "The Envelope Game", and the findings conclude that the Samaritan in the situation (Player 1) was more likely to help out the victim (Player 2) if they felt that they wanted their relationship with player 2 to continue, which is very similar to the statement he repeated over and over in a few different ways: he didn't know Sherrice. A situation which is similar to the one described in "The Nightmare on the 36 Bus" by Brian McGrory, where he didn't intervene because he didn't know the family.

The next place people felt David went wrong was when he failed to report the crime to any law enforcement. This is were I feel the question of obligation really comes into play. After Jeremy killed Sherrice, he told David he had done just that. There is a unanimous consensus that David should have then reported the crime--after all, a little girl was dead and what's more, she was murdered. David should have felt obligated to do something about this, if not right in the moment then sometime in the future. Although, he was not obligated by law to do so, just under social expectation. What if Jeremy hadn't told David that he killed Sherrice? Would David then be expected to go and check to see if the girl was ok? What if she hadn't died? Would the public still feel as if David should've done something? What if he had killed her, but then told David that he'd done something harmless, like taking a hair tie out of her hair? How would you react to something like that? What would be expected of you then?

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secretname7
Posts: 4

Originally posted by shorty123 on September 10, 2019 19:51

In the article “The Samaritans Dilemma (should the government help your neighbor) I agree with the fact that it says people think “anyone would do what I did”. Just having that simple thought in your mind can lead to someone’s life being saved.

I agree with the idea that "anyone would do what I did", however it is much easier to be a bystander than an upstander. Human instinct should be to step in and help a fellow human being out, but as we saw in David Cash's position, he did not. What do you think triggers some people to have an instinct to walk away and others to have an instinct to stand up and why are there these fundamental differences?

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secretname7
Posts: 4

Originally posted by RedStudent on September 09, 2019 18:10

I think if someone has a gun or is attacking many people I think it would be ok for someone to hide or to try and protect themselves or just their family. Some may say its selfish to do that but sometimes you have to look at the risks and how much you're willing to lose to help strangers. Would you sacrifice your mother or your kids to save a stranger?

While I understand what you are saying RedStudent, if you step in to help out someone who is in clear danger, even if you put your own life at risk, it is worth it in my opinion. Not saying I would sacrifice my family for a stranger, but if I knew my family was somewhere safe, and I thought I could save another human's life, I see no reason why one shouldn't do so, especially if no gun is involved. Also if there is a shooter on the loose, "hiding" would result in more deaths, the least one could do is call 911.

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secretname7
Posts: 4

Originally posted by breadcrumbs47 on September 09, 2019 20:20

Cash was a bystander to the rape and murder of a seven year old girl. His defense for not taking action in trying to prevent this was, “ I do not know this little girl”. I don’t know how Cash was able to sit in a car with him for the five hour drive back home that night. You would think that he would be sick to his stomach, knowing that there was a second grade girl lying dead in a casino bathroom, and that the person sitting in his car was responsible for it all. Cash did not rape and murder Sherrice Iverson, but he did nothing to prevent it. He did not stay stop, or pull Strohmeyer away, or call the police. In this case, doing nothing is almost as bad as committing the crime himself.

I agree with this point. Building off of this, breadcrumbs47, what is most concerning is definently Cash's lack of empathy. He went on with his life knowing a little girl was lying dead in a casino, which is disgusting. I agree with the fact that doing nothing is almost as bad as committing the crime, but I think its equally as bad. We do not know if Strohmeyer had a mental break similar to an unconscious drive (similar to the Chris Watts case) so we do not know if he was really "aware" of his actions, as Cash said he was behaving "out of character."

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eljefethefird
Posts: 1

What I Believe

The rules that I think should exist are standing up for someone or something that could get people/property seriously hurt/damaged, or even killed/destroyed. Both are federal crimes that carry a hefty punishment and are agreed upon by many to be morally wrong. Something like shoplifting should only be a one time thing that the perpetrator does. If they’re seen doing it by someone else, then I think that an upstander should talk to the perpetrator privately.

The article where some people in JP (The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age) took pictures of a house burning down would be a perfect example of the first rule. No one bothered to help, because of the human idea that someone else will help them (also the idea of getting views/likes on social media). Personally, I think there was a lot of selfishness in this and not enough courage to do the right thing.

The second article I read (and was happy to read about) was about how being a good Samaritan work (The Trick to Acting Heroically).. An example stated in the article was about 4 men ( 3 American, 1 British) who stopped a gunman from shooting up a train. They could’ve met their ends that day, and yet they chose to stand up and save everyone. There’s another example where a college woman saved an old lady during a flash flood. This is what people could do . The least people should be able to do would be calling 911, something that no one did in JP.

The final article (Nightmare on the 36 Bus) brought that happiness down. In my opinion, it was the worst scenario out of the three. Unlike the JP one, nobody stood up for the little kid who got beaten by the drunken man. In this case I think nobody wanted to interfere because most believed that it was a father and a son at first. When the man started beating the kid, again, like the JP one, no one had the confidence to stand up for the risk of getting hurt themselves.

So, in my opinion, there should be a spectrum on what’s right or wrong that everyone should at least follow. Something like a 1 time shoplifting incident shouldn’t be treated the same as a mass shooting that could’ve been prevented.

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Chance
Posts: 2

Actions of a Bystander

In the case of the rape and murder of Sherrice Iverson I believe that empathy should have governed the actions of David Cash. I am sure that when he saw his best friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer acting so out of character, he probably experienced a lot of shock and fear. However even if he still had left the bathroom that Iverson and Strohmeyer were in, he had twenty minutes to alert anyone. He knew Strohmeyer and Iverson were in that bathroom and he still didn't act or ask anyone for help. That shows an extreme lack of empathy on his part and a misjudgement of a situation. In The Samaritan's Dilemma by Deborah Stone, it is thought that bystanders tend not to act when there are many of them because no one person feels responsible. However in Cash’s situation, he was the only one which shows that he made a conscious choice to not act rather than expecting another person to. When you witness a crime you have the obligation to act. Even if it's not as severe as stepping in and stopping the crime you should at least alert a person of authority to help you. However I do think that the severity of a crime or wrong determines your actions. For example, plagiarism is a “wrong” at BLS even though countless students commit it with complete knowledge of their peers and don't get reported to faculty. Although it is wrong to plagiarize, it is not endangering anyone which makes the need to act less important than another violent crime. In terms of laws, I think that you should act when you believe the victim is in danger. In Nightmare on the 36 bus by Brian Mcgrory, not one person acts to help the little boy because they feel uncomfortable since no one else is. I think that this is unacceptable and that no matter where you are, who you are with, what you're doing you must help someone in danger whether it be a slight or extreme action.

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Chance
Posts: 2

Originally posted by DuckBoots on September 10, 2019 18:13

I think that the situation on the 36 bus was similar in the way that it was a child, but different in the way that anyone who intervened could have been hurt. The attacker was “burly, with an unsteady way about him that suggested he had been drinking”( Mcgroy, Nightmare on the 36 bus). It is still inexcusable that nobody stepped in to save this boy, but more understandable that self preservation took the upper hand.

I think that these situations are more similar than not because both the man on the bus and Jeremy had been drinking. Im not trying to excuse David's behavior in any way i just think its interesting how these situations of abuse of young children can happen with not just one witness but multiple and still no one acts. I also think that David could have also had this feeling of self preservation which could have contributed to his abandonment of Jeremy and Sherrice.

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traveler
Posts: 3

Originally posted by Chance on September 10, 2019 21:59

However in Cash’s situation, he was the only one which shows that he made a conscious choice to not act rather than expecting another person to. When you witness a crime you have the obligation to act. Even if it's not as severe as stepping in and stopping the crime you should at least alert a person of authority to help you.

I completely agree with this statement. Even if Cash was for some reason uncomfortable to physically insert himself in the situation, he could have at least notified someone else. But instead, he walked away leaving Strohmeyer to continue his actions. He made that decision when he could have had empathy for Iverson and done something. It was the right thing to do to help Iverson but he helped Strohmeyer by not saying a word. No one was around, so there is no excuse for him to not find a way to help her. Cash made that decision and has to understand that although he did not physically kill Iverson, he played a part by letting someone else kill her.

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ATH3NA
Posts: 3

The 'Restart' button and romanticized altruism

When referencing Deborah Stone’s piece, it is quite clear that in most cases involving good Samaritans, their decision to take action boils down to how well they can relate the victim or person in need to people close to the Samaritan. Pure altruism, without the input of outside relationships, seems to be growingly rare in today’s society. Why is it that people can’t simply help someone because it is the right thing to do, without replacing the victim with someone they would want to be helped, like a daughter or friend? I truly believe that this was a contributing factor to the enabling of Jeremy Strohmeyer by David Cash, my reasoning being that if Jeremy was the victim it would have been Cash’s responsibility to step in.


In a perfect world, David should have acted upon the laws governed by morality. As we can see, this is not a perfect world because in a perfect world a seven year old child would not have been raped and murdered because someone knowingly refused to take action. This is seen not only in the case of Sherrice Iverson, but also with the abused child on the 36 bus.


When I self-reflected on the murder of Sherrice, I realized that I myself, and possibly a large majority of my peers, are not far behind from the epitome of a bystander that is David Cash. I mean, I know many of us have passed by countless homeless people who roam the streets of Boston begging for food so that they can live, yet we avoid helping them, much less acknowledging their existence. What makes us better than David when we knowingly ignore people that need our help. Aren’t they too victims of our indifference? I understand that she was still a child that had been murdered, and therefore the argument can be made that what we do is clearly better relative to David’s actions since the situation isn’t as drastic, which I agree with, but we have the opportunity to be upstanders for the same issue over and over again. David Cash doesn’t have the option to press the ‘Restart’ button and have a second go at it, but every new day in Boston is our ‘Restart’ button and yet we remain complacent.


Our culture romanticizes altruism at its purest form so substantially that when the time comes to act and protect and prevent, we sit back, patiently waiting for someone else to help because how could we possibly be that selfless? I like to compare this to many group projects that I have encountered in my years at BLS. If we think that we can get away without doing any work, then we’ll gladly wait for someone else to get the job done instead of taking responsibility. The same applies to real life, be it the house fire on Child St. or the murder of a seven year old girl, and that scares the living crap out of me.

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ATH3NA
Posts: 3

An Obligation to Act

Originally posted by Chance on September 10, 2019 21:59

In the case of the rape and murder of Sherrice Iverson I believe that empathy should have governed the actions of David Cash. I am sure that when he saw his best friend, Jeremy Strohmeyer acting so out of character, he probably experienced a lot of shock and fear. However even if he still had left the bathroom that Iverson and Strohmeyer were in, he had twenty minutes to alert anyone. He knew Strohmeyer and Iverson were in that bathroom and he still didn't act or ask anyone for help. That shows an extreme lack of empathy on his part and a misjudgement of a situation. In The Samaritan's Dilemma by Deborah Stone, it is thought that bystanders tend not to act when there are many of them because no one person feels responsible. However in Cash’s situation, he was the only one which shows that he made a conscious choice to not act rather than expecting another person to. When you witness a crime you have the obligation to act. Even if it's not as severe as stepping in and stopping the crime you should at least alert a person of authority to help you. However I do think that the severity of a crime or wrong determines your actions. For example, plagiarism is a “wrong” at BLS even though countless students commit it with complete knowledge of their peers and don't get reported to faculty. Although it is wrong to plagiarize, it is not endangering anyone which makes the need to act less important than another violent crime. In terms of laws, I think that you should act when you believe the victim is in danger. In Nightmare on the 36 bus by Brian Mcgrory, not one person acts to help the little boy because they feel uncomfortable since no one else is. I think that this is unacceptable and that no matter where you are, who you are with, what you're doing you must help someone in danger whether it be a slight or extreme action.

I completely agree with the statement made by Chance that we have an obligation to act on crimes, regardless of their severity. In the end, when society become complacent with a crime and allows for it to repeatedly happen, the crime becomes more acceptable. This should not be tolerated because that is exactly how the little boy on the 36 bus got brutally beaten; the other people present were complacent.

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ATH3NA
Posts: 3

Maybe it's an excuse for inaction?

Originally posted by secretname7 on September 09, 2019 17:34

Growing up in a technological age, we can be inclined to take a step back from certain situations, especially those who are on social media. According to Judy Harris, a bunch of people photographed a fire instead of trying to help- see if anyone was in danger, check on victims, etc. This is done to maintain social media clout and have “cool” posts. Unfortunately, many have fallen victim to this; photographing or videoing everything instead of living in the moment. This translates to everyday behavior as Harris was saying, because with her example, people forgot to sympathize and act first and their instinction was to lean back and get content for instagram or snapchat. From David Cash who is in the tech savvy age group, probably also fell victim to this. Even though Cash did not film the rape or murder of Sherrice Iverson, his default was to step back, much like those who were videoing the fire that Harris was describing. As said in The Trick to Acting Heroically by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, the three American who risked their lives to a gunman to save another man’s life said “It wasn’t really a conscious decision.” Helping the victim to those 3 men was a gut instinct and their own personal auto pilots. Cash’s decision to leave when Sherrice was in trouble could have not been a “conscious” one. His gut instinct could have been to leave, get himself out of trouble, instead of helping Sherrice. Ultimately, Cash should have let ideas of sympathy govern his actions. If Cash was Sherrice, he probably would have wanted somebody to help him. If one witnesses a wrong, they should feel an obligation to report it at the very least. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, if you don’t want to see yourself in the same situation than you should fight the perpetrator. Ethically, if you let a murder or rape happen right in front of you, and did nothing then you are just as guilty as the one who did the action because you let it happen. According to The Samaritan’s Dilemma by Deborah Stone, good samaritans always feel their behavior is the “norm” and should not be praised for it. Based off of this, we always have an obligation to act and not be a bystander.

Secretname7, I think you bring an extremely insightful and valid argument to the table on why social media distracts people from aiding victims in times of need, however could it also be that it is a way to excuse inaction? Isn't it easier to say in a social setting, "I was documenting the [insert something awful] so I couldn't help/ I helped in my own way", versus "I stood back and waited for someone else"? I think that social pressures contribute to our awareness of inaction, so in an effort to hide our mistakes, we cover them up with excuses as to why we were powerless to help. Overall, super cool thought process :)

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postmaster5000
Posts: 1

The Bad Samaritan

I think the thing that should have governed Cash's actions were what is right and what is wrong, he clearly saw something that was wrong and illegal and should have acted on it. The obligation one has is to act sometimes these action are instinct based off the findings of Professor Rand from The Trick to acting heroically by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, other times you have time to stop and think but either way you have a obligation to act in some way. Although we have a obligation to act when we see a crime the problem is that sometimes people are not brave enough or feel out of place when things like this happen which we see a clear example in Brian McGory's Nightmare on the 36 Bus. There are some unspoken rules when it comes to reporting crimes one has witnessed the crimes that are generally overlooked and not reported are crimes that cause no real harm to anyone like petty theft at a corner store or someone J-walking. The only rules that should govern someone whether they should act or just be a witness is if the crime can cause harm to someone if the answer is yes then you should act that doesn't mean putting yourself in danger but getting someone that can stop the crime or if need be stepping up and put yourself at risk to help. The only obligation we have is do we want to be a Good Samaritan as said in Deborah Stone's The Samaritan's Dilemma the only thing these people did was act on their sense if good to do what we would want people to do for us.

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peachyglow
Posts: 1

To get involved or to not get involved

In a way, I do understand Cash’s logic of why he decided to not to help Sherrice, but it doesn’t mean that his logic was morally correct. What he did was horrible, he let his friend sexually assault and kill a 7 year old girl. The main argument of Cash to not help Sherrice was that he didn’t know her like he didn’t know all the other people going through terrible events around the world and didn’t want to “lose sleep” over all these people he didn’t know. In my opinion, whether Jeremy was his best friend or not, he should’ve stepped in. Cash could’ve played a role in saving Sherrice’s life, he saw what was happening from the beginning but he decided to be selfish and not get involved. As a result, a little girl died. I think Cash had an obligation to say something to Jeremy and do something to save Sherrice. He was a bystander, more specifically an accomplice. I think Cash should’ve got into some sort of legal trouble, whether that be jail or parol because it is impossible to say that he had no role in her death. Although, he didn’t physically kill Sherrice, he saw all the moments leading up to it, he claimed he heard Jeremy told Sherrice if she screamed, he’d kill her. It isn’t like Cash had no clue what was about to happen to Sherrice. Just as Cash should’ve done something as a person’s life was in danger. The people in The Bystander Effect In The Cellphone Age, by Judy Harris, did the same as Cash. They saw a house on fire and did nothing about it other than take pictures and videos in awe of something that could be endangering so many people. In the Trick To Acting Heroically by Erez Yoeli and David Rand, the people in this article did the complete opposite to what Cash did. They instinctively felt they needed to help when people were in danger. In the Nightmare on the 36 Bus, by Brian McGrory, these people watched a little boy get beaten on a bus and no one said a word. Auclair, although he tried, the idea of “not wanting to get involved stopped him” and he regretted not doing something everyday after that. This was similar to Cash in that they did nothing to help these children, but in the interviews, Cash didn't seem guilty for not helping.
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silentnight
Posts: 2

Originally posted by pannafugo on September 10, 2019 18:00

Everyone likes the idea of a “good Samaritan”, a person who steps in when someone else needs help, whether it be small, such as helping a person who is lost find where they are going, or bigger, like saving someone from potentially being murdered.


Everyone wants to be a good Samaritan, at least at the surface level. Stories such as that of a few Americans and a British man apprehending a gunman in France (The Trick to Acting Heroically) inspire many, who can imagine themselves doing something similar if such an occasion arose.


Sadly, these heroic actions do not always happen. Often times, when people see atrocious acts being committed, they are too scared to speak up. Other times, they assume that its a personal matter, such as the young boy being beaten on the 36 bus-- the other passengers, while they were horrified by the scene, thought that perhaps it was an issue between the boy and his presumed father (Nightmare on the 36 Bus). They did not want to put themselves in harms way.


Does that make their silence any better? Is that a valid reason not to speak up?


In the case of David Cash, I do not believe so. When he saw Jeremy Strohmeyer with Sherrice Iverson, he could tell that things were going south. However, he didn’t actively try to stop Strohmeyer-- it wasn’t his problem, he didn’t know that girl. He also remarked that he wanted to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.


The last sentiment is one that is common among bystander stories. However, the first few about not knowing the young girl, and subsequently not caring about the murder or turning his friend in because it “wasn’t his problem”, is not. It is honestly terrifying that someone could have this thought pattern and think there is nothing wrong with it.


Yes, Cash was under no legal obligation to stop Strohmeyer. But as a human being, Cash should have had the moral strength and the basic sense of what is right and wrong to know that what his friend was doing was reprehensible. He had all the power to stop the senseless rape and murder of a young, innocent girl. At the very, very least, he should have reported Strohmeyer to the police when he confessed to him.


Cash’s mindset regarding intervention and acting in situations where someone needs help is extremely dangerous. For him, if he doesn’t know the person suffering, he doesn’t see a reason to care. This, to me, shows a lack of basic empathy for fellow human beings. It shouldn’t matter if you don’t know the person in pain-- your instincts should automatically push you to at least want to help, if not actively do so.


Cash’s mindset regarding intervention reminded me of the poem written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a socialist”. This is the exact kind of thinking that has led to multiple genocides around the world.


As stated in “The Bystander Effect in the Age of Cellphones,” bystanding is a result of the presence of other people which causes one to not take action-- in the article, a crowd gathers to watch and take pictures of a fire, rather than call 911 or check if there was anyone stuck in the building. I believe that these people had the obligation to get help, as everyone should when lives are at risk.


I believe RedStudent makes a good point when they said that if your mother or sister or daughter was in a situation like Sherrice’s, you’d want someone to step in. It’s never easy, but it is the right thing to do.

I completely agree with your statement, pannafugo, that at the very least Cash should have reported Strohmeyer for the death of Sherrice Iverson. I find that the bystander effect can almost justify his actions to leave or not intervene because Cash was either too shocked about his best friend acting abnormally or he was simply scared of getting hurt in the situation to resist Strohmeyer's attack. However, the bystander effect can only be applied to a degree because, in the end, Cash decided to continue playing with Strohmeyer in different Casinos, well after his confession to the murder. He had even taken the active decision to sit with Strohmeyer in a 5 hour car ride without ever telling the police or his father when he should've.

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