Cons Of The Good Samaritan Law And Its Solution

1209 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 was already 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 is in danger. It is also known as the 'Bystander effect', and it is rising as a serious issue in a modern society where individualism is becoming widespread among people. The 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, the Good Samaritan law intrudes principles that must be protected with law. It violates the Eighth Amendment of human rights. According to the constitution of United States, the Eighth Amendment is "the protection against unusual punishment.(Bill of Rights, 1791)" Except for the Good Samaritan law, no such laws punish people who have not done anything to cause crime. Laws are there to punish those who have committed crimes, not witnesses. Since the Good Samaritan law punishes these innocent witnesses, it is an unusual punishment. In addition, it infringes 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.(Bill of Rights, 1791)” This means that the government must protect people's right to freely act as long as they are not causing any harm to the society. Therefore, if a person wants to act individualistically 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 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 is against the principle that "punishment should be done as a final attempt to solve the problem.(Introduction to Criminal Law, 2012)" 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 the bystander effect besides the Good Samaritan law. Because there are still some measures that can be taken in order to solve the bystander effect, punishment should not be used in this stage.
Secondly, there would be a serious burden on society. To...

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