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What Would You Do (Part Four): To Kill or Not to Kill?

This is the scenario for you today:

You alone have knowledge of the future and you can tie a catastrophic event to just one person, sort of like Miles Dyson in Terminator 2.

When Sarah Connor finds out who is responsible for SkyNet, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

She gears up for battle and goes to Dyson’s house, shoots him in the shoulder, and is fully ready to blow the guy away. She is clearly upset, telling the distraught Dyson that she isn’t going to let him do it. Miles, of course, doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about because he hadn’t done anything yet.

In comes John to stop her. She is surprised, thinking he would be happy to lay down the burden of being the one that is supposed to save the world from destruction by the machines after they destroy us.

If you had knowledge of a future event and thought that you could prevent such a thing from happening by killing the one responsible could you do it?  Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one?

What about if it would protect a family member from having to suffer a terrible burden, like John in the Terminator series? Does that make it easier to bear?

Let’s make it harder, shall we?

What if the person you had to kill to save the future of humanity wasn’t a male. What if it was a woman? Would that affect your decision? Do you think that the human race has an easier time with the death of a male than a female?

Now…what if the one you had to kill was a child? What if (I know, the scenario is a bit of a stretch but stay with me) something someone does as a child, not as an adult, leads to the destruction of everyone on this planet?

To save the entire human race, could you kill one single child?

Or do we leave things to fate and not kill anyone?

What would you do??? I’d love to hear from you!

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6 Comments on “What Would You Do (Part Four): To Kill or Not to Kill?”

  1. nrlymrtl September 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    We raise goats. In raising goats, the ladies are for breeding and milk goats and selling off to be used as such. The males are for entertainment and eating. In general, I find it easier to choose a male that has had at least 2 years of life for butchering.

    With that said, we faced a burden earlier this year when a kid goat came up with the symptoms of a highly contagious disease. We had to make the decision to cull him from the herd, or loose the herd. Luckily, it turned out that the blood tests were negative for this disease, but we were both in agreement and it wasn’t that hard of a decision: cull the little guy from the herd.

    Humans are on a different scale, but same theory. So, yes, I would be able to kill a single man, woman, or child to save the human race. Though, I believe that one human is rarely the key to saving or damning a species.

    • shayfabbro September 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Interesting analogy! And I agree about one person being that influential or even evil but it’s just something that makes for interesting conversation 😀

  2. Gordon Bonnet September 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I don’t know if I could. Standing there, in front of the person — looking them in the eyes, and especially knowing they hadn’t done anything yet — I don’t think I could pull the trigger.

    On the other hand… have you read my short story “The Hourglass?” It’s a riff on a related theme. If not, let me know & I’ll send you the link.

    • shayfabbro September 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      That’s kinda what I think too.

      And I haven;t had the pleasure of reading that one!

  3. cpbialois September 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Tough question. The thing with it is could you change the course of the future if the person decides they weren’t going to do it as they attempted in the movie in which Dyson died anyway.

    The thing about humanity is that no matter what happens or how hard we try, we often let history repeat itself at some point. People in general think “That won’t happen to me. I’m too smart. I’ll do it differently. I’ll do it better.” And yet they often end up making the same mistakes that lead to a similar outcome.
    In the end I’d have to say I would, considering how the human mind works. In time, who’s not to say Dyson would’ve thought he imagined the whole thing from being in shock? maybe his family could use much the same excuse and he could begin his work at another place or time.

    Just to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, what if it is a child, a twin, and you have one of them is completely innocent and maybe cured a disease like cancer or AIDs before his brother destroyed the world. If their toddlers or young in that sense, would anyone be willing to kill both of them to “play it safe”?

    That one I couldn’t answer.

  4. jamiebmusings September 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    They had an episode of the UPN’s version of the Twilight Zone that touched on this before. A woman (I think she was played by Katherine Heigl) was sent back in time to kill Hitler as a child.

    I honestly have no idea what I would do in that situation. I know Heigl’s character had a really tough time with it.

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