The hypothetical situation which is being analyzed here is taken from the ideas of responsibility and omission. The scenario given is one where Professor Swan is standing close by a railroad and sees a two-year-old on the tracks. He can easily rescue the toddler without endangering himself, but he has just had a great idea for a new article and needs to jot it down before he forgets. Eventually, a train comes along and crushes the child. There are two questions being asked. The first is whether Professor Swan caused the death of the toddler, and second, if so, should he be held liable or punishable for failing to rescue the toddler.
The first thing to look at is whether professor Swan has a legal duty to rescue the child. In the common law tradition there are only four circumstances that create a liability for nonintervention.
A duty to act can be imposed by both criminal and civil statutes. Most states require anyone involved in an accident to stay at the scene and render aid to the other party. There are Good Samaritan laws that require a person to help if they see someone in distress, though not all states have them. Health and safety laws are there to keep employees safe and consequences can occur for the employer that fails to do so. All states require that anyone who works with children report abuse and neglect. There are also states that require all of its citizens to report these crimes and failure to do so is punishable.
Using our scenario professor Swan does not have a statutory duty to the child, unless of course the train and the child are in a state that has a Good Samaritan law and if they are in California that would not be the case. If, for instance he was a social worker on vacatio...
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...th of the child. That does not take away the obligation to save the baby. His right to neglect saving the child in favor of writing something down takes away from the right of being human. Are humans mere animals that have no morals? Can this country continue to thrive without them?
The justification to leave the child on the tracks is unacceptable. There is none. We cannot continue to walk away from God and mankind’s moral obligations. The terrorism and continued onslaughts to the American people are occurring because we have forgotten who blessed this country and what it stood for. Love each other as I have loved you has become some silly phrase and not the commandment that it started out as. Professor Swan is as guilty morally as if he put the child there himself and the fact that legally he would most likely get a slap on the wrist makes me cringe.
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