When is it Appropriate to be a Good Samaritan


Discussion of Question Number Two Chapter Three
Often in life, people are put in situations in which they must make a speedy ethical decision. First, I would like to look at why people feel a need to be moral. Most of us have an inborn sense or conscience, which makes it very difficult to do a wrong or, even more than that and not do what is right. It is one thing to commit a wrong. It is, however, a different thing to neglect doing a good act. Depending on the situation, the two scenarios can be equally harmful to the human conscience.

Robert, the man who cheated on the College Examinations in the hypothetical situation, made a decision to do a wrong act. He felt that he was able to handle the guilt on his conscience. The guilt did bother him to some degree since he was seeking advice on the situation. The panel had to take Robert’s wrong choices and figure out if, how and when intervention would be appropriate and ethical. Through the panel discussions, a variety of viewpoints arose. Justice Scalia felt that Robert should not gain from his wrongdoing. He stated that he should re-take the exam and hand in honest scores to Harvard. He also observed the fact that there was no individual person to pay retribution to. Who was wronged in this particular situation? The panel agreed that the exam should be retaken. The hypothetical Robert gets into more trouble as his life continues. He commits adultery with a fifteen-year-old girl. Some members of the panel believe that his wife should be told while others believe that it is not his/her place to tell his wife, Carol. I, personally, found it appalling that a panel member would not tell Carol if she were her
own daughter. Instead, she would make a comment to Robert and hope that he ended the relationship. I believe that family is a very important safety net and trust must be demonstrated at all times, especially in a touchy situation like this one. From the discussion, it is possible to view the broad span of opinions.

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There are certain scenarios in which intervention is necessary. These determination points may vary from one individual to the next. It is often difficult to determine when and how to intervene when put into certain situations. More often than not, the decision must be made rather quickly. The Study Guide lists several situations and asks when and if I would intervene or call the police. I plan to look at each of these situations individually to this.

If I heard arguing next door, I would, for the most part, not intervene. People have arguments and that occurs within healthy relationships. There is a point that I would intervene, however. If I heard any screams for help or evidence of violence or injury then I would call the police. Another fact to consider is if the quarrels are common or not. I would never intervene personally, in a situation like this, because there is no need for me to risk any harm to myself at his point. The police are trained to handle circumstances like this.

Unfortunately, I have been in this situation. I did not personally intervene or call the police, but there were no weapons being used and there were many other people present. A police officer actually happened to pass by and put an end to the fight. I do not believe that physical fighting solves any problems, but I think it is more socially acceptable because it is not as life threatening as utilizing weapons. If weapons were being used, I’d call the police in a heartbeat. This is
because there is a human life at risk and I have the power to at least attempt the prevention of a human being’s death. I believe that it would be ethically wrong fro me to ignore a situation like that by not getting immediate help.

Like before, certain details can change my opinion in each situation. Maybe the child is an imp and the mother is having trouble dealing with him/her. Does the child appear to be in pain or is he/she howling to annoy the mother even more? All these aspects cannot be ignored. If I suspect any child abuse, I would feel obligated to stop it. Since I do not know of any past occurrences, it would be hard to know for sure what is actually going on, but it is always nice to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. Perhaps I would ask the mother if there s=is anything I can do to help her deal with the present situation. A similar discussion was implemented in the video.

A ragged man with vacant eyes wandering in the traffic
Well, obviously I’d try not to run him over J.The appearance of the man may also sway my decision in this scenario. Is he in need of medical attention? Does he appear to be dangerous or depressed? I may put a phone call in to the police, but I often find myself assuming that someone else will do something to help. This is a common thought with public occurrences. People pass the obligation on to other individuals. This may not be morally correct, but humans often use this as way out of moral responsibility.
A woman lying face down in a hallway
I would ask if she was conscious to see if I get a response. I would definitely call an ambulance and look for other citizens that may know her or may be able to help. For some reason, I feel safer helping a woman than a man. Since I am a woman, there is less of a threat of harm. A man would be able to easily over power me and I’m not sure I would be willing to take that risk.

With this situation, it depends on the location of the circumstance. If I were in Manhattan, I may not do anything. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see people passed out in the streets. I may assume he was intoxicated and move on without even thinking about it.

Without a doubt, I would personally intervene. Here, there is no threat of putting myself in danger since I am dealing with a child. Hurting a helpless animal is inhumane and bothers me a great deal. I would tell the child to stop and explain that the kitten is a living thing and that it feels pain. Hopefully, the child accepts my explanation and learns from the situation.

I would personally intervene in this situation. First, I would ask the woman if she was in trouble or needed help. Perhaps the dog attacked her and she was merely defending herself. Either way, I would call the police after assessing the situation. Either the dog or the woman needs to be taken away.

Through the discussions and readings, it is possible to understand how the human mind works. People view situations from various sides. All the facts must be assessed before an ethical decision can be made. It is often difficult to make a sacrifice for an ethical issue, but it is
worth not having a wrong on your conscious. Laws cannot be developed on ethical issues. Individuals can follow guidelines, but must also be able to make speedy ethical decisions on their own.


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