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Forced to Stop Crime

  1. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 3 years ago

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03 … -girl?lite

    Apparently there was a rape in Ohio of a young girl. Though there were people who did not participate in the rape as I understand the article some took out the cameras and maybe video cameras and photographs the incident.

    What concerns me is the following statement in the article:
    "Longtime Steubenville resident Willa Wade said: "I feel personally that if they were there, they knew it had happened, they did not report it or stop it, then they ought to be brought up on the same charges as anybody else"

    If I'm understanding the article correctly someone is advocating creating a law to force people to intervene in unlawful acts. I am not against helping but there are times when one is placing their own life in jeopardy by intervening at an appropriate time, for example 8 guys are hell-bent on raping a woman and you are the only person in the room objecting-somehow I don't see this intervening being successful but if one doesn't intervene there will be jail time.

    What are your thoughts.

    1. Josak profile image60
      Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Many places have good Samaritan laws that require you take all actions possible to prevent a crime without exposing yourself to undue risk.
      Frankly if you sand around watching a rape without doing anything about it short of having a gun to your head or similar I am fine with that being a crime and that person doing time.

      1. MelissaBarrett profile image61
        MelissaBarrettposted 3 years ago in reply to this


        If you are videoing it on your cell phone then you obviously have a cell phone.  A better use of it might be to dial 911.  Prison for the idiots who don't just takes them out of the breeding pool.  I'm all for that.

  2. Zelkiiro profile image84
    Zelkiiroposted 3 years ago

    I'm not seeing the problem here. Even if the odds are stacked against you, do you really want to go down in local history as *that guy* who failed to stop a hideous crime?

  3. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 3 years ago

    My concern here is by intervening how can you be certain you can get out with your life? As shocking as it may seem everyone may not have a mobile phone.

    The mentality of a lot of people have always demonstrated a negative connotation for those people generally called informers or rather snitches and in prison their life is in jeopardy.

    Intervening may be the right thing to do but there could be a heavy price to pay for doing so-like losing your life.

    1. John Holden profile image59
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      In this case people did have mobile phones, they used them to video the offence.

      I don't think many would seek retribution on anybody trying to prevent the rape of a child. In fact the rapists lives would be more in jeopardy in prison.

      Why would preventing a rape put your life in danger, especially when witnesses out numbered offenders?  And if the girls life had been in danger, would any decent person not be prepared to take the ultimate risk to mitigate that danger?

      I certainly think if peoples morals have sunk so low that they would not do anything to prevent or reduce a crime then yes, the law must step in and make witnesses at least accessories to the crime.
      The argument against in this case is that the prosecution is relying on photographic evidence that might not have been forthcoming had the other boys been committing an offence.
      Courts can and do offer immunity from prosecution for lesser crimes when the only evidence available is from another offender so that argument falls flat.

  4. Greensleeves Hubs profile image96
    Greensleeves Hubsposted 3 years ago

    'Intervening', in the sense of taking physical action, should not generally be compulsory. There may of course be a huge risk to one's own life. Equally, there is a risk of making a relatively minor incident - a punch or a shove or a minor theft - much worse by intervening, raising the stakes leading to a big fight and maybe the drawing of weapons. Intervention in that sense must be down to individual judgement.

    However, I think that there is a duty - a legal duty - to raise the alarm or inform the authorities. There has to be a commonsense approach - people aren't criminalised for failing to pick up the phone to inform on a friend or relative on a most trivial offence, but anyone who sees a serious criminal offence and fails to do anything at all, even after the event, is aiding the success of that crime and should be prosecuted.

    In the specific case mentioned by Span Star, people taking photos may be acceptable (though it seems disatasteful and voyeuristic) particularly if the photo evidence can subsequently be used in court against the criminal, but the first priority must be to to intervene if one feels able to do so, or inform the relevent authorities. It sounds from the example given that there were several onlookers and perhaps only one rapist? In that case, I think that intervention to stop the act should certainly have been possible without escalating the problem, and the onlookers should at least be condemnned verbally for not acting. (I am assuming that the onlookers were entirely unknown to the rapist? If they were friends - gang members - then I think a prosecution should be in order even if they didn't physically take part).

  5. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 3 years ago


    I can actually get behind a lot of what you've said however if the proposal to make it mandatory to intervene I daresay that legal proposal most likely with not focus on helping after leaving the place where the crime is being committed.

    The article mentions that the perpetrators of the rape where members of a football team. Whether those who use their cameras during this assault were familiar with one another is unclear to me.

    The thing that also I  find interesting is if a police officer were sent out to deal with it this problem or the likes they would not show up in a polo shirt, khakis and loafers but rather that they would be equipped like having a firearm, pepper spray, nightstick etc. yet this bill would expect untrained civilians to do what the police officer would not do.

    1. John Holden profile image59
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      What a terrible indictment of your police force - that they would not intervene to prevent a crime if they were not on duty!

      One that I find very hard to believe.

  6. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 3 years ago


    If you need confirmation as to police procedure you can easily watch any of those cop series programs on television where if confronted with a violent suspect in someone's home there are a number of times when they will wait outside until there is backup or until SWAT arrives.

    1. John Holden profile image59
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      There is vast difference between what is shown on TV and life.
      There is also a vast difference between holding back when faced with a suspect and holding back when a crime is in progress.

  7. LauraD093 profile image86
    LauraD093posted 3 years ago

    Morally it may be abhorrent but legally it can become a hot-mess if you aren't protected by a Good Samaritan law/act. Good Samaritan intervenes saves the day and 3 months later is being sued by the perpetrators. As was said earlier calling 911 and allowing law enforcement to do their jobs is the very least you should do.Although personally if I was carrying and came across this rape taking place shots probably would be fired...yet again it comes down to personal choice and what you can live with come the end of the day. Interesting forum thanks.

    1. John Holden profile image59
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      And on what grounds would anybody sue? Nobody has the right to commit a crime.

      1. SpanStar profile image60
        SpanStarposted 3 years ago in reply to this
        1. John Holden profile image59
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          You're all mad!

  8. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago

    If you just stand there and do nothing you are taking part. A normal person, even if they could not stop the rape or in any way summon help, would not stay and record it on their phone.