‘Good Samaritan’ bill should get fair hearing

A great many of us have heard of the Biblical parable where an injured man on the side of the road was helped by a passing Samaritan.

This so-called “Good Samaritan” went out of his way to assist someone in distress, helping not because he had to but because it was the right thing to do.

Modernized versions of that story play out in the state every day. People find themselves in need of help and depend on passing Samaritans for assistance.

But some residents for whatever reason, are hesitant to offer help to people in need, prompting the Michigan Legislature to consider a measure that will make it a crime to not help.

“It may be difficult to find the right language, but there should be some level of duty for people to call in law enforcement if they see someone in distress,” state Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, said for a story that appeared in The Detroit Free Press Monday. “There is a responsibility that if you see someone who needs attention and you decide to not do anything, and that person dies, shouldn’t there be a consequence to you?”

After being contacted by a constituent whose son died in an accident in which he didn’t get any help from friends, Singh introduced a bill last week making it a misdemeanor if people fail to provide assistance to someone in grave physical danger or risk.

If ultimately approved and signed into law, it would carry a penalty of 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Although this might seem harsh or high handed, we believe it’s necessary to compel people to do the right thing.

Whether this bill ever makes it out of committee is unclear. But Singh’s heart and head are in the right place.