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Old July 29, 2010, 12:53 AM   #43
Senior Member
Join Date: May 23, 2009
Location: Nevada
Posts: 644
Originally Posted by Vanya
Originally Posted by WildtoughonehuhAlaska
Scenario: Bad guy has your wife with a knife at her throat and tells you he will slit it if you dont fire into the crowd of schoolchildren. You have no shot at attacker.
The wife gets a say in this, too. If she wants you to fire at the schoolchildren, you probably married the wrong person.
If she wants you to fire at the schoolchildren, you married the wrong person.

There, I fixed it for you.

My first concern is going to be the people I love, in any case. However, under the law you *cannot* shoot an innocent third party even if somebody has a gun to your head or the head of somebody you love and threatens to kill you if you don't. You can shoot *them* to stop them, but you cannot shoot a third party who is not threatening you or anybody else just to stop the perpetrator from killing you or somebody you love.

I don't mistake "legal" for "right"; something can be the law and not be right. (Although that's rare in this country, fortunately.) In this case, however, I think that the law is right. There really are things that you simply can't do, even to save your own life or that of another innocent person. This would be one of those things.

Around the time we got engaged, my now husband and I had one of... those... conversations -- about the ticking bomb scenario and torture. :/ Nobody here who has been paying attention will be surprised to know that I don't believe that there is any circumstance in which torture is justified. Even when the person whom you are torturing (or threatening to torture) is a complete loss as a human being, as would be a person who refused to tell you where a ticking nuclear bomb was located, I don't believe that it is possible to torture that person and not loose or risk losing your own humanity. (I'd say "soul", but not everybody here is a believer in God.) My husband wasn't sure of this, and said so.

One of the more interesting debates on that issue was between U.S. conservative movement founder/icon William F. Buckley and liberal civil rights defender/eminence Alan Dershowitz in 2002. Dershowitz supported (supports?) requiring a warrant in "ticking bomb" scenarios, but allowing torture. Buckley recognizes that he would support torture in extreme specific cases, but opposes making an exemption to the laws forbidding torture on the grounds that, for the spiritual health of the country, anybody contemplating torture should know that they were operating in violation of the law and could not seek its protection.

Unfortunately my position wasn't represented. :/ I wish somebody had been present to do so. It would have taken a brilliant man or woman to match Buckley and Dershowitz, but I can think of a few who could do it. (Not widely known names, yet anyway.)

Last edited by sakeneko; July 29, 2010 at 12:58 AM.
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