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Re: New Survey - Please participate

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In a message dated 5/22/99 9:04:09 AM, BSmithSE(--nospam--at) writes:
>We all want to do the right thing... but by choice not by law.  This is
>why we americans affectionately call our country "free country".  Like, 
>can influence child's behavior by their good examples, I rather you lead
>the way by good examples than you pushing for new legislation. 

Brad, I too object to The Law telling me what to do every living minute of my 
life, but in order to have a functioning society we can't just let everyone 
do what they think is right--too much variation.  (I just had a brainstorm:  
Why not let each engineer design structures as they consider "right"??)  All 
of us on this list may "want to do the right thing," but no one watching that 
woman get murdered in NYC without dialing 911 wanted to do the right thing 
enough to actually do it.  I think that UC Berkeley student--a future nuclear 
engineer!!--who knew his friend had murdered a little girl should have had a 
legal obligation to at least report the situation ASAP.  Apparently he had no 
such legal obligation, although I'm not clear what an accessory after the 
fact is.  I think we need to have laws saying that it is our obligation as 
citizens to provide reasonable help to others in need.  Now that doesn't mean 
jumping into icy water to save someone, but it does mean throwing out the 
ring.  It doesn't mean tackling the gunman, but it does mean calling for help 
if one can--not just if one feels like it.  In Sweden, which we all know is a 
more orderly (regimented?) society, I understand that there is a legal 
obligation to assist someone in need.  

Actually I think we consider the U.S. "free" because we have the freedom to 
speak, write, move about, etc., without getting permission from our 
government, not because we have no obligations toward what used to be called 
"our fellow man."  

I too prefer leading by good example, but that doesn't eliminate all need for 
formal encouragement, under penalty of law, to provide reasonable assistance 
to others in need.  

I guess this has a tenuous connection with engineering ethics, doesn't it .. 
or will I get kicked off the list?  

Ralph Hueston Kratz