Cons Of Good Samaritan Law And Its Solution

1166 words - 5 pages

On March 13th, 1964, a woman named 'Kitty Genovese' was stabbed by a psychopathic stranger on the street near her home in New York City. While she was being murdered brutally for 35 minutes, 38 neighbors were witnessing the crime scene. In spite of her desperate cry for help, none of them had offered any help. Even after the criminal had left, only one neighbor called police, but by the time police had arrived, she had already gone dead. This incident is well-known as 'Genovese Syndrome', which refers to a social phenomenon where a person is less likely to offer help to another person who are in danger. It is also known as 'Bystander effect', and it is rising as a serious issue in a modern society where individualism is becoming widespread among people. Good Samaritan law is legislated in order to punish bystanders and to protect the members of society. In spite of its good purpose, bystanders should not be punished with this law as it invades principles that are stated in law, puts burden on the society, and is not a fundamental solution.
First of all, Good Samaritan law is an invasion of principles that are protected with law. It invades the Eighth Amendment of human rights. According to the constitution of United States, the Eighth Amendment is the protection against unusual punishment. Except Good Samaritan law, no such laws punish people who have not done anything to cause crime acts. Laws are there to punish those who have committed crimes, not witnesses. Since Good Samaritan law punishes these innocent witnesses, it would be an unusual punishment. In addition, it is an intrusion of the Fourteenth Amendment of privacy rights. As it is stated on the US constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment is the protection of “the right of any individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted government intrusion.” People have the freedom to choose between individualism and collectivism. If a person wants to choose individualism and value his/her own safety more than the safety of others, this individual’s choice must be appreciated. The government does not have the right to force this individual to risk his/her own safety in order to help others. If it does, then it would be an unwarranted government intrusion, invading the Fourteenth Amendment of privacy rights. Furthermore, it invades the principle that punishment should be done as a final attempt to solve the problem. This means that if there are measures besides law that have not been tried yet, they should be implemented before the punishment. There has not been any specific attempt to solve bystander effect besides Good Samaritan law. Because there are still some measures that can be taken in order to solve bystander effect, punishment should not be used in this stage.
Secondly, Good Samaritan law puts burden on society. To start with, there would be a financial burden on the government. As it is stated above, Good Samaritan law defines witnesses who have not offered any help as...

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