If a group of bystanders do nothing to save a drowning child in a pool, should they be guilty of negligence and punishable by law?

Asked by: cjchang
  • A man's life is forfeit if I child's life is lost under his watch.

    I'm no real man, at least not yet if you don't think a 17 year old can be a man, but in my opinion a child's life is always more precious than our own. Perhaps its human nature, but each time I hear of a child being dieing of neglect or having been murdered at the hands of another person, I get this almost primal hatred of people and life at our failure. Children are our future after all, and it never sits well with me if one dies. If this is a real event, and these people knew that this kid was drowning, then we're no better than the Chinese who would kill their own daughters. And in that case, they should be tried to an equivalent of first degree murder with a possibility of the death sentence.

  • I feel that they should be guilty of negligence.

    The number of people who are involved doesn't dilute the severity of the negligence offence committed. Especially if it can be proven that there was the intent to let the child drown (exceedingly hard though to prove), the people should be liable for the child's death. The moral duty to at least seek help should be fulfilled in these circumstances.

  • If you look at the facts...

    A Bystander is a person who observes a conflict or unacceptable behavior. It might be something serious or minor, one-time or repeated, but the Bystander knows that the behavior is destructive or likely to make a bad situation worse. -definition of a bystander. Basically, a bystander is someone who KNOWS that the situation is dire, but they CHOOSE to do nothing about it. Therefore, if a group of people KNOW that the child is drowning, and they CHOOSE to do nothing about it, then they should be punished for negligence.

  • What if that were your kid?

    If that were your kid and you found out someone saw it but just kept walking along? You would want that person/people to be punished. You wouldn't let them just get off would you? Now I don't think that they should go to prison or something huge like that. I think a ticket at most or a class on kids drowning or community service dealing with that. This is just my opinion and I am NOT trying to offend anyone or change anyone else's opinion. Just stating mine.

  • It is legally forbidden to take a life, it should be legally required to save a life

    I think, all things considered, someone watching a drowning child die and doesn't do something, anything about it, should find themselves in jail. Now, there can possibly be mitigating circumstances, such as their ability to act, their competency of action, their awareness of the occurrence, etc. They are currently civilly liable and I believe they are also currently criminally liable for negligence in the United States. It is morally repulsive to not act in this circumstance, but I would also say they should be held legally accountable.

  • Yes if you knew it was happening.

    I would think good Samaritan laws would require a person to help if they knew a person was in immediate danger and they failed to help so long as there was no danger to the bystander. Why wouldn't a person try to help if they good swim and it is the law to call 911?

  • There are considerations to be made

    What do you mean by bystander? Do you mean that these people were present when this took place and weren’t aware of the child drowning, or that these people were indeed present when this took place and were aware of the child drowning? If these bystanders weren’t aware of the child drowning, then there would be no negligence because they wouldn’t have noticed. If they were indeed aware of the child drowning then they may have been negligent, but their intentions for being negligent would still be unclear.
    Did this take place around additional people or were these bystanders the only people available to help? If this did take place around additional people, then these bystanders could’ve thought that a parent, lifeguard, or other swimmer would be available to help. If this didn’t take place around additional people and these bystanders were the only one’s available to help, then their awareness would need to be made clear.
    What do you mean by nothing? Do you mean that these bystanders didn’t dive into the pool to save the child drowning, didn’t call for help, or didn’t do anything at all useful to help? Whatever the case may be there are consideration to be made. These are important distinctions because without the specifics the scenario is merely a hypothetical situation that can’t justify these bystanders being punished by law for committing negligence.

  • Sometimes, not always.

    I think the bystanders should be guilty of negligence if they knew what to do and failed to try to do it. Saving a drowning person can be dangerous for the rescuer(s) if they are unprepared to handle such an emergency, so it would be understandable that they would not try to help. However, if the bystanders know how to safely rescue a drowning person and don't, they should be guilty of negligence.

  • No they shouldn't

    It really depends on if they know how to save the victim. If they try the victim could end up drowning them to if they are not trained properly. There should be a lifeguard or someone around who will have to do the actually saving instead of a random bystander.

  • Isn't there responsibility

    Law should be used to discourage people from doing harmful actions. If a child is drowning, and you do nothing to save them, it isn't your fault they are drowning, therefore you are not harming anyone. You should not be forced to do beneficial actions.

    I think that it would be the morally correct thing to do to save the child, but you should not be forced to perform an action you do not want to do.

  • A Broad Law Can't Address Each Circumstance

    While saving a child from drowning makes someone a hero, the opposite cannot be assumed. It's important to note that is the parent's or whom their chosen individual's role to watch over a child. Otherwise, someone else might not notice because they are on their phone as is their right to do if they did not follow the natural liability of sexual intercourse that leads to birth. If a person cannot be responsible for things like this, maybe it was good that they responsibly abstained from child rearing.

    Pools should make policies that are appropriate for modernistic safety standards. This can happen in any body of water, but we all need to get wet for different reasons.

    Furthermore, some children don't follow instructions in water and some individuals cannot rescue a child in time for an appropriate response, say from a lifeguard. The course towards drowning may have already started when a child began going towards a deep end that doesn't accommodate their height. Negligence is a crime of the mind, which is difficult to prove except obvious and that is why things that are even more sinister such as failure to report aren't often prosecuted.

    Also, some people are sensitive towards interfering with a child's charge toward drowning. There have been instances of people not being able to discipline children who are in the process of committing a crime. If we are to accept the negligence aspect, we need to also not look at a person like they are a sexual offender if they are actually rescuing a child.

    What if the child wasn't supposed to be there according to the rules and it was a cocktail party? People aren't liable to watch for every oncoming circumstance in life.

    With that said, hopefully survivor's guilt comes when necessary. Financial incentives when fitting might work well and it can look good on a resume to rescue a child. There is still public shame that can work against employment and there's getting on the news in a negative way.

    People cannot be forced into liability that they seemingly had no mental chance of taking on.

  • No no no

    A person not properly trained can cause even more damage by improperly performing "life saving" procedures. Even though this person is intending to help, they may become liable for causing harm. On the other hand, appropriately trained, medical persons are required by law to assist in a situation like the one described.

  • Unjustified Punishment is a Moral Atrocity in of itself.

    Morally, I'd say that they are in the wrong. However , because this is a question about law and punishment, I'd say that they shouldn't be forced to face punishment for their inaction.

    Think about it. The circumstances of a punishment usually involve normally unjustifiable acts like imprisonment or causing pain to others, correct? The justification we give for these things is to right some wrong committed. For the sake of the question I'll assume that premise is valid.

    With that in mind, it becomes clear that in order to be able to 'justify' a punishment, and save it from being immoral and hypocritical, we must analyze each and every part of the situation in order to make sure that the action in question isn't justified in of itself.

    Like my supporters above have said, there are a variety of factors such as training, knowledge of the child drowning, or ability to swim that could be evaluated, and it's almost impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that none of these factors were influencing the inaction of the bystanders.

    Basically, even though the inaction is usually immoral, there are just too many unknowns to make punishment for the inaction into a law without the risk of immoral punishment being placed upon innocent citizens.

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