Killing an innocent person to save 100?


#1

killing and innocent person to save 100?

Is it morally licit to kill an innocent person to save, say, 100 innocents?

A new law is now being taken for approval in Germany that will allow the use of force against a hijacked plane to avoid a “major disaster”.

Regards


#2

We is never morally permissible to intentionally kill one innocent person even if you could save 1,000,000 others by doing so.

We can never do evil to bring about good! It doesn’t matter how great the potential good is.


#3

During WWII, Allied Forces bombed France and bombed France and bombed France, killing many innocent French people. When Allied forces pulled into Paris the French people rejoiced, kissed Allied soldiers and there was dancing in the streets. Why did the French people do this?

Freedom, security and world peace is not free. The French people understood that there was an unavoidable cost to rescueing them from German atrocities, bringing them securtity and freedom. The world knew that there was an unavoidable cost to saving the world from the atrocities of Hitler. Even today the whole world benifites from the just cause actions of WWII Allied troops. How soon the world forgets.

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#4

the difference in the effects of the allied bombers and your first example is intent. The death of innocent civilians was an unintended result of a morally permissible and even laudable action: destruction by use of reasonable force of an enemy who was placing the people in immediate peril . The direct intentional killing of one innocent person, who poses no threat to another, is not in the process of committing a deadly crime, is never permissible, even to save a million lives.


#5

There can be a “just war”.


#6

As a member of the Armed Forces, one has to be able to distinguish between “intentionally killing” non-combatants and the fact that some non-combatants may die as an unintended evil effect.

Nevetheless, it is never morally lict to do evil such that good may come from it.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia provides four conditions for the application of the principle of double effect:
[list=1]
*]The act itself must be morally good or at least indifferent.
*]The agent may not positively will the bad effect but may permit it. If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect he should do so. The bad effect is sometimes said to be indirectly voluntary.
*]The good effect must flow from the action at least as immediately (in the order of causality, though not necessarily in the order of time) as the bad effect. In other words the good effect must be produced directly by the action, not by the bad effect. Otherwise the agent would be using a bad means to a good end, which is never allowed.
*]The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect” (p. 1021).
[/list]


#7

[quote=puzzleannie]the difference in the effects of the allied bombers and your first example is intent. The death of innocent civilians was an unintended result of a morally permissible and even laudable action: destruction by use of reasonable force of an enemy who was placing the people in immediate peril . The direct intentional killing of one innocent person, who poses no threat to another, is not in the process of committing a deadly crime, is never permissible, even to save a million lives.
[/quote]

puzzleannie,

I agree with your statement. I get the feeling that the law is intended to allow the destruction of an ailiner full of inocents to stop it from being used as a weapon.
If I am correct, then it would seem reasonable. The presumption is that those innocents would parish anyway. The innocents are just certain collateral damage to an attack against a terrorist/s designed to stop the further destruction of more lives.
As Fitz says “There can be a just war”. The only real difference is the greater certainty of the collateral damage.


#8

A new law is now being taken for approval in Germany that will allow the use of force against a hijacked plane to avoid a “major disaster”.

Today, NORAD can shoot down a plane over the US to keep it from being used as a weapon against US population and priority resources.

This can be well within the principles of double effect described above. The intent is not the deaths of the non-combatants, and the deaths of the non-combatants do not cause the good effect.


#9

[quote=josea]killing and innocent person to save 100?

Is it morally licit to kill an innocent person to save, say, 100 innocents?

A new law is now being taken for approval in Germany that will allow the use of force against a hijacked plane to avoid a “major disaster”.

Regards
[/quote]

Those here who take the position that it’s morally necessary to let 100 die to avoid intentionally killing 1 are wrong.

Hypothetical: Osama bin Laden sitting at a table with his finger moving down toward a button labeled “10,000,000 infidels dead” which relatively reliable intelligence says will set off a 50 megaton thermonuclear weapon in Chicago, 1,000 miles away, killing 10 million people.

You are the U.S. Army sniper, with the crosshairs on his forehead.

Pull the trigger?

OF COURSE!!! KILL HIM AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE!!!


#10

[quote=BibleReader]Those here who take the position that it’s morally necessary to let 100 die to avoid intentionally killing 1 are wrong.

Hypothetical: Osama bin Laden sitting at a table with his finger moving down toward a button labeled “10,000,000 infidels dead” which relatively reliable intelligence says will set off a 50 megaton thermonuclear weapon in Chicago, 1,000 miles away, killing 10 million people.

You are the U.S. Army sniper, with the crosshairs on his forehead.

Pull the trigger?

OF COURSE!!! KILL HIM AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE!!!
[/quote]

Errr, did you forget the “innocent” part?

Or are you suggesting that Osama is innocent?

John


#11

[quote=BibleReader]Those here who take the position that it’s morally necessary to let 100 die to avoid intentionally killing 1 are wrong.

Hypothetical: Osama bin Laden sitting at a table with his finger moving down toward a button which will set off a 50 megaton thermonuclear weapon in Chicago, 1,000 miles away, killing 10 million people.

You are the U.S. Army sniper, with the crosshairs on his forehead.

Pull the trigger?

OF COURSE!!!
[/quote]

This doesn’t really apply because I believe we have already established that using lethal force to stop someone in the process of murdering is morally acceptable. Bin Laden is not innocent in this scenario. A better illustration is a hypothetical from some movie with Gene Hackman where he asked if you had to kill one person to get the cure for cancer wouldn’t you have to do it? The answer here is a big fat no because one would be deliberately killing the innocent.

Scott


#12

[quote=Scott Waddell]This doesn’t really apply because I believe we have already established that using lethal force to stop someone in the process of murdering is morally acceptable.
[/quote]

What if you lived in a country where women bring their children every day to a set of people who kill them for her. In this country it is perfectly legal. Peaceful means to bring about an end to the grisly practice have been ongoing for more than 30 years, but it is still allowed, and the numbers of children dying are rising every year. Is is moral to kill the killers?

I’m talking about the U.S.A. and those killers are abortionists. It’s so easy to say “kill one to save many,” but it is obvious that violence is not the means to end abortion. You can’t always make a blanket statement. How would you interpret the Catachism in defense of either side of the abortion/violence debate?


#13

[quote=BibleReader]Those here who take the position that it’s morally necessary to let 100 die to avoid intentionally killing 1 are wrong.

Hypothetical: Osama bin Laden sitting at a table with his finger moving down toward a button labeled “10,000,000 infidels dead” which relatively reliable intelligence says will set off a 50 megaton thermonuclear weapon in Chicago, 1,000 miles away, killing 10 million people.

You are the U.S. Army sniper, with the crosshairs on his forehead.

Pull the trigger?

OF COURSE!!! KILL HIM AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE!!!
[/quote]

Errr, did you forget the “innocent” part?

Or are you suggesting that Osama is innocent?

John


#14

[quote=puzzleannie]the difference in the effects of the allied bombers and your first example is intent.
[/quote]

Hello puzzleannie,

“A new law is now being taken for approval in Germany that will allow the use of force against a hijacked plane to avoid a “major disaster””.

How do you read this intent as different from allied bombers?

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#15

Eight or ten years ago Vatican Guards killed two innocent people. The Pope could insure that Vatican Guards never kill innocent people again by demanding that foreign Swiss guards and Italian armed men leave his soverign nation and the UN would back him with economic sanctions agaist Switzerland and Itally if need be.

There was a poster who showed Swiss guard fire power as being capable of shooting 700 rounds a minuete. Can the Pope swear to God that he absolutely believes that no innocent Vatican pilgrims, standing in the vacinity of a papal assassin, will get killed if Swiss guards start throwing down 700 rounds a minuet? Would it be better to allow a million popes to be killed by Alquida terrorists rather than take the risk of even one innocent Vatican visitor being killed?

I think the Holy Father is willing to take the risk and keep his protectors.

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#16

yochumjy, responding to BibleReader:

[quote=yochumjy]Errr, did you forget the “innocent” part?

Or are you suggesting that Osama is innocent?

John
[/quote]

Ahh, but isn’t that the whole problem?

Who says we are innocent, as we murder him?

God?

Isn’t our country mass-murdering more humans than Hitler ever did, in our legally-protected abortion clinics?

Don’t our media spread smut around the world?

I’m not sure the folks paying the taxes that pay the paycheck of the anti-terrorist sniper are “innocent.”

And I’m not certain that Osama is Hell-bound. Are you?


#17

[quote=itsjustdave1988]As a member of the Armed Forces, one has to be able to distinguish between “intentionally killing” non-combatants and the fact that some non-combatants may die as an unintended evil effect.

Nevetheless, it is never morally lict to do evil such that good may come from it.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia provides four conditions for the application of the principle of double effect:
[list=1]
*]The act itself must be morally good or at least indifferent.
*]The agent may not positively will the bad effect but may permit it. If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect he should do so. The bad effect is sometimes said to be indirectly voluntary.
*]The good effect must flow from the action at least as immediately (in the order of causality, though not necessarily in the order of time) as the bad effect. In other words the good effect must be produced directly by the action, not by the bad effect. Otherwise the agent would be using a bad means to a good end, which is never allowed.
*]The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect” (p. 1021).
[/list]
[/quote]

It would seem that these clauses of the four conditions for the application of the principle of double effect: 2. …*If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect he should do so., *and 4. *The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect], *can become mighty subjective in determination.

Are there any suggestions/requirements regarding how extensive to pursue this determination? Or is it just one of those gray areas that one let’s their own conscience guide them in applying? How high does one set the bar that the conditions for determination have been satisfied? I am not supposing that you have these answers, but, pointing out the personal (or collective) responsibility aspect to applying moral principles to one’s moral choices.


#18

[quote=BibleReader]yochumjy, responding to BibleReader:
Ahh, but isn’t that the whole problem?

Who says we are innocent, as we murder him?

God?

[/quote]

Oh, so only an innocent person can kill a Terrorist. Does that mean that only Christ is allowed to defend us?

Sheeesh, what a STREEEETCH. I never said Osama was hell-bound, you are putting words in my mouth. I wouldn’t be able to tell, since only God knows that. And personally, I’d be thrilled if he truly turned to the one true God. But that isn’t what we are talking about, is it. We are talking about killing an innocent person in order to save 100 others. That is completely separate than the situation you are speaking of. I’m not sure how you are defining innocent either, but I’m not always innocent, I’ve sinned. I am guessing that maybe you to have sinned, though maybe not greatly. What in the world does being innocent have to do with protecting people from a direct threat such as Osama pushing “the button”. Even a mob boss would be in the right if he killed a a rival’s sniper trying to kill his child. The innocence of the person protecting others is irrelavent.

John


#19

The law in question could possibly fall into the category of the “double effect”, i am not sure. I dont know enough about the law the way it is written and to be honest I dont really know enough about the principle of the double effect to make any kind of determination.

But I am sure that there is someone on this site who could…hopefully!


#20

Any WWII historians around? I’d grab my husband, but he’s busy.

I think a similiar topic was what happened in WWII in England; the big decision Churchhill had to make. Allies had cracked German ciphers, and discovered that an England town was going to be bombed. A major Allied operation was being planned, though, that could turn the tide of the war–problem was, it was scheduled for after the town would be bombed. Having the ability to read their ciphers would be very beneficial to the outcome of the operation. Faced with the choice of warning the townsfolk of the bombing and let the Germans know we had cracked the ciphers, or keeping silent about the attack and using the intelligence for the upcoming operation, Churchhill chose to keep silent. Many died in the town’s bombing, but the war was cut short due to the operation. I believe my husband said that experts think it cut 18 months at least off the war, and a sizable amount of dead on both sides as well.


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