Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Duty to Act when Someone's in Danger

In the wake of the tragic story from the New York City subway this week, I thought it was time to revisit a post on the situations when a person can be arrested and prosecuted for inaction.

It was written during the uproar of the Penn State scandal.  Check it out here - Duty to Act.  The lack of criminal responsibility will never absolve someone of moral responsibility for 1) not helping, 2) taking this picture, and 3) trying to profit from it.

Naeem Davis was arrested for pushing him on the track.  The man who took the New York Post picture?  Should anything happen to him?  Could anything happen to him?

Incidentally, when I was living in NYC and taking the subways, this was my greatest fear.


  1. This was a pretty horrific situation. I note the photographer claims (or at least, The Post maintains) he was running forward snapping pictures, in the hope the flash would get the attention of the train operator. It sounds like a self-serving argument, but I suppose it could be true (and it's entirely possible to get a 'perfect' photograph under such circumstances by luck). I don't know how many people were on that platform, but I don't see anyone in the vicinity trying to help.

    I worked in the City for 9 years. Strangely enough, I rarely worried about getting pushed on the tracks, and I was always more nervous when the station was mostly empty.

  2. Some subway systems around the world are actually being retrofitted with safety systems to cut down on push-deaths (and accidents and suicides). So why not New York City? Last year, 146 people were struck by subway trains in New York City. Of those, 47 were killed. That amounts to one accident every 2.5 days, many of which would conceivably have been prevented by a feature now widely used around the world.

    The sad part is, there were people who were close to the victim, who watched and didn't do anything. You can see it in the pictures.Why did no one help him? I'm outragged that commuters stand back while man desperately tries to escape the path of New York subway train.