The Duty to Rescue Law and its Applications

Subject: ⚖️ Law
Type: Admission Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1044
Topics: 🏛️ Justice, 🔪 Crime
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The law is meant to establish law and order. Culprits who commit crimes are punished as stipulated by the law. However, there are some incidences whereby one can be punished although they did not participate in committing any crime. At least not directly. Most people think that by shying away from reporting a crime, they are saving themselves from unnecessary problems or rather, minding their own business. Other individuals report the crime when it is already too late and most evidence has already been contaminated. An act of civil duty turns in to an offense punishable under various State and Federal laws (Volokh, n.d). This means a lot of people are ignorant about the Duty to Rescue law. However, this law has brought a lot of discussions as it is often either not understood, misinterpreted or people do not know when and where to apply it. It will be prudent if this paper was able to analyze the Duty to Rescue law and some of the incidences when it can be applied.

Duty to Rescue has created a myriad of discussions. But before proceeding, it is pivotal to analyze what exactly this law is. According to the U.S Legal (2016), Duty to Rescue has the structure of a tort law and refers to the duty of coming to the aid of someone in a hazardous situation based on moral duty.  When, for instance, an individual is in jeopardy, a person standing by is obligated to come to their rescue. Failure to do so makes one liable for the pain and misfortune of the victim. However, most basic laws have not made the Duty to Rescue a formal law. Everyone is obligated by the moral standards to offer a helping hand to individuals in distress. WordPress (2011) defines morality as a set of rules guiding human conduct.

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One may fail to understand how the failure to assist a victim can be referred to as a crime. It is the ethical arguments of the Duty to Rescue combined with sanctions authorized by the various administrations that make one an offender of this law. An intellectual might argue that this law is oppressive and unjust. A person accused of neglecting another person may not have had control of the situation (Volokh, n.d). In situations where this law is applied, clear and concise guidelines have been provided. For instance, necessity duties, whereby a guardian can be charged for injuries sustained on a minor under their protection falls under the Duty to Rescue law. Relational obligations apart from necessity duties can make an individual be charged with breaking Duty to Rescue law (Bauhn, 2011).  An example in this instance is the failure of a nanny to prevent a child entrusted to her by the parents from swallowing poisonous elements or professional relation whereby nurses stand by and watch as a patient succumbs to an asthma attack whereas the patient could have been saved.

Precarious conditions have caused a lot of suffering to a lot of victims. Conditions that lead to the creation of hazardous situations should be averted at all costs. In the eventuality of one incurring injuries as the result of these unsafe conditions, the person in charge can be held accountable for injuries sustained on the victim. For example, a mining company can be sued by environmentalists for the damage to the environment caused by the open pits in the mines. The relevant authorities can be charged with breaking the Duty to Rescue law. Their activities may have affected negatively the environment or people residing in those surroundings. That can be termed as failure to commit to an ethical and moral duty.

Duty to Rescue is different from criminal and gross negligence. In the latter, the lack of foresight to predict the consequences that would occur as the result of these actions is what is punished under the law. For instance, injuries sustained from pits in the mines can be filed under gross or criminal negligence. The failure to cover these pits might have led to the victims falling and sustaining injuries. However, failure to rescue the victims from these unfortunate occurrences is a violation of Duty to Rescue law.

Facebook has been accused severally on the basis of ethical responsibility. Facebook should task itself with the mandate of attending to the rescue of victims whose predicaments are as a result of the activities based on these site. But what exactly does this paper refer to as ‘victims’ on Facebook? According to Isaac and Mele (2017), Steve, a thirty-seven-year-old gunman, drove around San Francisco in Cleveland and shot a 74-year-old man while he was on Facebook live. His post attracted an audience of millions of people. On top of that, the video was shared across different social media platforms. However, that is not an isolated incidence. A girl was gang raped and the video posted to a private group on Facebook before it was shared worldwide.  The public outrage was immense. A lot of anguish and disappointment was displayed by friends and families of these victims. Facebook provided an avenue under which all these monstrosity acts were committed. Facebook was developed for people to interact and share memorable experiences that conform to social and moral values. But that same site has been responsible for the spread of hate, crime and other repugnant acts that go against the set moral fabric and standards of any society. Facebook needs to understand that all the negativity posted there inspires other morally challenged people to do the same. More people continue to succumb to the effects of the spread of negativity on Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company need to step up and admit that his company has catalyzed hate, cyber-bullying and murder and provided a suitable medium for spreading these vices. These acts are morally wrong. Duty to Rescue law should be upheld and the giant corporation held accountable. Various measures should be deployed to avert the spread of these repugnant and abhorrent behaviors. WordPress (2011) stipulates that the moral system has the obligation of preventing harm and evil. By activating the noble Duty to Rescue law, the relevant authorities at Facebook will be embracing the moral act by coming to the rescue of the people who have fallen victim to the predicament created by its existence. 

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  1. Bauhn, P. (2011). The Extension and Limits of the Duty to Rescue. Public Reason, 3(1), 39-49.
  2. Isaac, M., & Mele, C. (2017, April 17). A Murder Posted on Facebook Prompts Outrage over Responsibility. New York Times. Retrieved from
  3. U.S Legal. (2016). Duty to Rescue and Definition. Retrieved from
  4. Volokh, E. (n.d). Duties to Rescue and the Anti-cooperative Law. The Georgetown Law Journal, 88(105), 106-120.
  5. WordPress. (2011). Ethics Concepts and Ethical Theories: Establishing and Justifying a Moral System. Retrieved from
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