Should There Be Requirments To Assist Others

In Parel Essay, Research Paper

Should There Be More Enforcement On Legal Requirements To Assist Others In Peril?

Many controversies have swirled around David Cash s failure to report Jeremy Strohmeyer s actions to police or to come to Sherrice Iverson s aid. The pleading of help cried from a person in peril usually stirred questions as to whether or not a bystander should assist the victim(s). Should there be more enforcement on legal requirements to assist others in peril or should an innocent bystander, such as David Cash, be allowed to ignore the scene and walk away? His decisions may have saved an innocent life, yet his act as a bad Samaritan resist against all morals, advocating the emphasis to enforce laws such as the Minnesota Statute 604A.01 and the Good Samaritan Law.

In May of 1997, two high school seniors, David Cash and Jeremy Strohmeyer, were in the Primadonna Resort casino on the California-Nevada border (Booth 1). Around 3am, the two decided to explore on some coin-operated games and later spotted a small 7-year-old black girl, weighing nearly 50 pounds, named Sherrice Iverson (Zamichow 1). Exactly 3:47 in the morning, Iverson went into the women s restroom. A couple of seconds later, Strohmeyer entered, followed by Cash (Zamichow 2). There, Strohmeyer approached Iverson, covering her mouth with his hand, and carried her into

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the handicapped stall (Zamichow 8). Slightly concerned, Cash boosted himself onto the toilet seat of an adjacent stall and attempted to stop his best friend (Booth 1; Zamichow 8). The scene could not have been any more obvious to Cash that Iverson was pleading for help as she strenuously struggled with a nearly 6 feet tall teenager, yet he decided to take a walk, without saying a word to anyone (Booth 1; Zamichow 2) Less than 30 minutes later, Strohmeyer informed Cash that he had murdered Iverson after molesting her (Booth 1). Although Cash was an innocent bystander, his resistance to intervene could be considered against all morals. Marc Klaas, a compassionate activist against child molesters, stated that fate gave David Cash the opportunity to be heroic, and he turned his back on that opportunity. He was in the singular position of being able to save a seven-year-old child, and he chose to do nothing. For that, he will have to answer his own withered soul forever (qtd. in Booth 2). Certainly, his assistance may have increased a slight difference in Sherrice Iverson s chances of surviving such a tragedy, but considering morals in reality, Cash claim his only established moral responsibility extend no further than a few close drinking friends (Ehrenreich 1).

His act as a bad Samaritan has caused many disturbances across the nation, touching the nerves of many people (Booth 1). Even if it is not a crime for anyone to do nothing about a crime, a sense of sympathy of a good Samaritan may have at least driven Cash to prevent his best friend from murdering little innocent Sherrice Iverson or obtain any possible assistance at the time, but he decided to take a walk out of all the options (Booth 1). Sherrice Iverson s death has damaged her family and friends greatly

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(Zamichow 5). Not only did the Iverson s lose a member of their fragile family, but also a part of their pride and perseverance that drove each member to rise for every new day (Zamichow 6). But above all, Cash s fellow students at Berkeley are more furious as to how he managed to ignore such a terrifying situation and still not get punished for doing so (Ehrenreich 1-2). Many disgusted and angry students emphasize commands on campus to avoid Cash in any possible ways such as not dining near him during meal times, refusing to be his lab partner or roommate, not socializing with him, and not sitting near him in class (Ehrenreich 1). Demands extend as far as the request for Cash to expel from the institution, but Berkeley administrations refused to do so because Cash has been proven of committing no crime (Ehrenreich 1).

With such anxiety, laws, such as the Good Samaritan Law and the Minnesota s Duty to Assist Law, are very significant during a life-threatening situation, especially to those in danger. The Minnesota Statute 604A.01-Duty to Assist Law, which is similar to the Good Samaritan Law, states That a person in the scene of an emergency who knows that the other person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel. A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of petty misdemeanor. Although a few states, including Vermont, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have passed such laws to require citizen intervention when someone faces great harm, those statutes have had limited success

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(Booth 1). It is indeed a fact that doing nothing about crime is not a crime at all in most of the United States, and changing or passing them to require people to help others would be more difficult than it may have seem (Booth 1; Dolan 1). Laws requiring others to

assist in peril are usually difficult to word because evidence must be proven to the person s knowledge that a crime or an emergency was occurring. Concerns on such laws are the facts that they are too broad and misapplied in many situations (Dolan 2). Because of such broadness, Cash was able to avoid any punishment with the excuse of actually not witnessing the alleged molestation and murder (Booth 2).

Cash s conscience not only dictates and empowers him to ignore the terrifying event, but his act as a bad Samaritan has also caused many disturbances, damaging not only the victim s family and friends, but also the respect of morals and laws among the nation. Established laws such as the Good Samaritan and the Minnesota Statute 604A.01 are very difficult to enforce since both can be misapplied and cover such a vast variety of situations. Even with moral responsibilities considered, Cash was not found of a crime for doing nothing about the tragedy. Nothing can redeem little Sherrice s death, but the effort to make moral reflection a habit again would at least provide a fitting memorial (Ehrenreich 2-3).

I will be academically honest in all my academic work and will not tolerate academic dishonesty of others.

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Work Sites

Booth, Cathy. The Bad Samaritan. Course Packet. 1-2.

Dolan, Maura. Good Samaritan Laws Are Hard To Enact, Expert Says.


Ehrenreich, Barbara. Conscience On Campus. Course Packet. 1-3.

Zamichow, Nora. The Fractured Life of Jeremy.



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