“Who Can you Count on?” from 20/20 ABC News, August 29, 2003. www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/001332.html
Matthew Purdy, “Teenage Beer Party, a Punch, and A Choice that Cannot Be Reversed,” New York Times, September 1, 2002. www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/003398.html
Brian McGrory, “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” Boston Globe, January 25, 2000. www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/003401.html
Judy Harris, “The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age,” WBUR Cognoscenti, June 5, 2015 www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2015/06/05/bystander-effect-cell-phones-judy-harris
Erez Yoeli and David Rand, “The Trick to Acting Heroically,” New York Times, August 28, 2015 www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/opinion/the-trick-to-acting-heroically.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fgray-matter&_r=0
Deborah Stone, The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should the Government Help Your Neighbor (New York: Nation Books, 2008), chapter 1 and pp. 128-132. (PDF, available through Google classroom)
Eighteen-year-old David Cash chose to walk away as his friend, fellow eighteen-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer, assaulted and murdered Sherrice Iverson, age 7, in the women’s restroom of a Nevada casino at 3 in the morning on Sunday, May 25, 1997. He told the Los Angeles Times when his friend was arrested that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems.”
Clearly what Jeremy Strohmeyer did was reprehensible. But what David Cash did was to be a bystander, not to be a rescuer or a resister in any way. One can only speculate what might have happened had Cash more actively intervened. But according to Nevada law at the time, he was under no legal obligation to do otherwise.
It’s remarkable to listen to David Cash’s words when interviewed on a Los Angeles radio station after his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer was arrested and convicted. Cash remarked, “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt. The only person I knew in this event was Jeremy Strohmeyer, and I know as his best friend that he had potential…I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem
As awful as the Sherrice Iverson murder was, I’d like to hear your views on the situation. What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
Choose 3 of the readings listed above (one is a PDF, and can be found in Google classroom) and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
Write your post on the discussions.learntoquestion.com site. Be sure to respond to the views of at least two other classmates (if you post first, go back and do a second posting responding to two comments posted after yours).
Finally, a reminder that your identity vessels are due on Friday, September 15. Be sure to bring the volume/vessel with your one-page statement inside it (and make sure your name and section are on both!)…and submit your statement (via Google classroom).