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Old 29th February 2012, 02:19 AM
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David Nicholls David Nicholls is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

It’s certainly an interesting scenario. If taken on face value where the options are as limited as stated the variable are still numerous.

If youth thought the army was an exciting life then the military conditioning would possibly allow most people to choose the death option for the prisoner.

If somewhat more mature and introspective and the army was a forced role, then taking the life of another young or introspective enemy might not be so easy.

If you were young or older and desperation was the pervasive mentality, humans are capable of anything.

I say work hard towards not being in that situation because having to live with it would be a dismal outcome one day if you fit within a ‘normal’ range of human empathetic mentality.

I think atheism is heading in that direction

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Old 29th February 2012, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: could you kill?

I'd leave the prisoner there... but loosen the bindings a little so he could get out of that house... but not before we were long gone. Add to the time it would take for the prisoner to find his allies, would give us the best chance of survival.

Add a bowl of water and possible food so the prisoner can eat/drink if releasing self takes longer...


...Perhaps I can offer up a different "Would you kill?" from a CoD World at War mission. Now... lets say you have been dragged into the army, lot of shit has happened and you are now reclaiming your country. This is the last city until it is all over.

You have come across 3 soliders in a house. They try to surrender, but your commander wants blood and orders you to shoot the men or else they will be burned with molotovs.

Now: Do you kill the unarmed men who are trying to surrender, sparing them a slow death by fire?
Or do you let them be burned alive. You won't have the blood of surrendering unarmed men on your hands.
I'll make mistakes, jump to conclusions, be one sided... But I am willing to learn from this and turn it into an experience rather than a delusion.

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Old 29th February 2012, 07:15 AM
dilbadoon dilbadoon is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

I think this is a very tough question to answer accurately without actually being in the situation. I would be very emotionally driven in the heat of the moment. I think I would do it, but again, it's easy to speculate sitting here in safety in front of my computer.

Another factor may be, had you bonded with the prisoner at all? May depend on how long you have held him, but he is a human being, just like you.

Interesting question though, and very interesting to see such a large variety of responses.
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Old 29th February 2012, 09:54 AM
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vacuous o'possum vacuous o'possum is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

Hmm.. it's always interesting to aknowlege your first, visceral reaction to a dilema like this, and mine was no, I couldn't. But that's sitting here, sipping my organic brewed coffee, eating pawpaw and being relaxed as it's humanly possible to be.

I assume it would be different with the sounds ad the smells and the fear in the reality of this situation.

If I am brutally honest, I would probabaly try to emotionally manipulate someone else in the party ito doing it, thus assuaging my guilt and still surviving.

If I were to ever kill someone, I think it would have to be an instantaneous thing, a hind-brain flight-or-fight thing. I don't think I could calmly and premeditatedly walk up to someone and slit their throats.

Having said that, I'm of mediterranean extraction, so I'm big on revenge.
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Old 29th February 2012, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: could you kill?

Now: Do you kill the unarmed men who are trying to surrender, sparing them a slow death by fire?
Or do you let them be burned alive. You won't have the blood of surrendering unarmed men on your hands.
are you taking about the part where the russian guy orders the one whos always stuffing up to shot the germans who are bleeding to death. If so i always shot them, bleeding to death can sometimes take awhile.
Evil is Evil, lesser, greater, middling it makes no difference. The degree is arbitrary, the definitions blurred. If iam to choose between one Evil or another, ild rather not choose at all - Geralt of Rivia - Killing Monsters
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Old 29th February 2012, 11:05 AM
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wearestardust wearestardust is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

Having thought through my ethical intuitions a bit more, it strikes me that I think that the dilemma has an implicit assumption that it is be morally permissible (or even correct) to kill the prisoner, and that the only ‘problem’ is whether one would be willing to perform the difficult act of killing someone in cold blood.

I disagree with this: all other things being equal (even in a wartime situation) I don’t think it would be morally permissible to kill the prisoner unless the stakes are very high – eg certain death for me if captured. Even then I’m not sure it would be right to kill them.

As an aside, it would not be permissible under laws of war to kill the prisoner. The Geneva conventions don’t allow for mistreatment of prisoners because it is inconvenient not to do so. Modern soldiers, at least in ‘western’ armies, have hammered home to them the ethical obligations and rules of engagement under which they operate (which is not to say they always follow them …).

Though, apropos Mr Black’s comments, armies – again, particularly ‘western’ armies - also put a lot of effort into putting soldiers into a mindset of being able to kill due to research from the second world war showing that on the whole most soldiers in most situations will refrain from harming other soldiers. Rather more effort is put into more elite troops to get them to be more ready to kill. Take, for example, the Iranian Embassy siege of 1980. One of six hostage-takers survived, and that was because they snuck out of the building pretending to be a member of staff and were identified outside the building. The other five were shot and killed on sight, including one who also identified while similarly making his way out of the building with and pretending to be a member of embassy staff. To be fair, there was a concern he may have had a concealed grenade, but thee were no questions asked before shooting.

So it’s a scenario in that regard further removed from ordinary reality, is what I am saying.
If you need to wonder what would drive somebody to instruct lawyers, you may already be close to trouble.
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Old 29th February 2012, 12:22 PM
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AUSloth AUSloth is offline
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No meaningful answer for me for reasons dilbadoon and VO are onto. Sitting on my arse with a beer I could not really predict my actions under pressure "at the coal face" so to speak. People do weird things and great things when in real situations, I'd like to be great but I'd probably be weird
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty ..." Erwin Schrodinger

Last edited by AUSloth; 29th February 2012 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 29th February 2012, 12:30 PM
Seamus Seamus is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

Could I kill? [ever,for ANY reason]

I'd like to think so,might save my own life or the life of others.However, I honestly don't know.
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Old 29th February 2012, 02:12 PM
CoachPedro CoachPedro is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

well it times I put in my bit since I made the OP.

I suspected there would be a large amount of altruism. Ending the prisoners life would obviously (well hopefully) provide positive results for both the group as well as for each individual. The biggest benifit is being alive. Which is a good thing...usually.

That being said i'm really not sure if I could intentionally end a humans life. I would find it too traumaric even though my life is at risk.

This problem is similar to the trolley problem irst introduced by Philippa Foot in 1967. For those that don't know its based on an out of control train...which will either kill 5 people (for example) if you do nothing, or one person if you intervene.

Tests like this do make me think about how we have psychologicly evolved...or if we have at all!
"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet...celebrate it! After all...what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Old 29th February 2012, 02:55 PM
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Xeno Xeno is offline
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Default Re: could you kill?

Coach, it is dissimilar from the basic trolley problem in that here you ask people to kill by hand, so to speak, whereas in the basic trolley problem you throw a switch to divert the trolley such that it will kill someone. Further, the need, the likelihood of harm to many people, is less clear in your scenario than in the trolley problem.

In the next level of the trolley problem you push someone off the bridge rather than switching the trolley's track. Many people who will switch the trolley will not push someone off the bridge.
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