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Ethical Implications of Inaction, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 715

Essay

The incident occurred at The Primadonna Resort & Casino at the Primm, Nevada, when David Cash witnessed his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer, fondling a young 7 year old girl, Sherrice Iverson, in the public bathrooms.  Strohmeyer then told Cash that he had raped and killed Iverson, which Cash did nothing about.  The case of David Cash brings to light the question of the ethical ramifications of those who stand by and do nothing while an immoral act is being committed.  The consideration that should be given in regards for the witnessing of a crime are an important consequence of this event.  The establishment of Good Samaritan laws resulted in changes to the responsibility that society views as important for citizens to have towards one another in the eyes of the law.

The article “Berkeley students remain in uproar over David Cash” indicates that, even after this event, Cash was enrolled at the University of California Berkeley.  The article presents the position that many students have no the matter, indicating that they were “disgusted that Cash didn’t try to stop his friend” (1998).  This resulted in protests, angry letters, and calls for his expulsion from the school.  The ethical consideration in this regard is the liberty that society allows for those who act in immoral ways but do not necessarily break any laws.  The article also indicates, however, that the desire to expel Cash was not universal.  “Not everyone on campus wants Cash out” (1998).  Despite the fact that the crime had racial implications, it was argued that it is not up to the student body to cast moral judgment on others outside the boundaries of the law.  This presents important implications regarding the ethical considerations that must be considered in regards to this type of situation.

This situation resulted in the establishment of what is now known as the “Sherrice Iverson Good Samaritan Act” which is based in the notion that society should develop laws enforce the notion of responsibility towards fellow citizens.  This act requires, by Nevada State law, that a person who believes that a sexual or violent act is being committed on a minor must report that act to the authorities.  The essay “Sherrice Iverson Act: Duty to Report Child Abuse and Neglect” demonstrates the underlying principles of this law.  At some point, a person might be responsible for the life of another and they should be held to this obligation.  “Someone that had the potential to be little Sherrice’s hero was really her greatest and most crucial disappointment” (472).  This act is based on this idea that a person should be held responsible for the failure to act when there is a similar crime being committed.  These laws were put into place under the argument that “Short of being shunned by society, there is no way to punish Mr. Cash for his inhumane behavior” (473).  This implies a necessary consideration of the ethical implications of inaction.

The challenge of this case is in understanding the underlying duty that people in society have towards one another.  This question is important in establishing laws that are both moral and fair.  In this case, it seems that the question of consideration must be established.  This consideration is in regards to the potential for danger that Cash would have been in if he had reported the crime.  It seems that any laws that are intended to provide moral implications should consider these aspects.  While it is one thing to consider it a moral duty, it is another to insist that this moral duty should outweigh a person’s duty towards their own safety.  In this sense, these laws should take into account the implications to the individual safety of the informant in such a case.  In the case of Cash, it would seem that he had ample time to, if not report the incident as it was happening, report that it had happened.  In his situation the police had to go to his house and arrest him.  This would indicate a moral impairment that should be looked down on in the eyes of the law.

Works Cited

Arcuri, Alison M. Sherrice Iverson Act: A Duty to Report Child Abuse and Neglect. Pace Law Review. 20(9), 2000. Print.

“Berkeley students remain in uproar over David Cash.” Las Vegas Sun. 1998. Web. 10 November 2015.

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