1. Post #1
    Needs more suspension.
    Dennab
    February 2006
    4,484 Posts
    Let's say we have a man, akin to hitler, or stalin, or any other totalitarian. Let's say this man is solely responsible for killing (how is irrelevant) 1,000 men, women, and children. To clarify, this man is labelled "evil" after killing said people. His stature and being is neutral beforehand and irrelevant.

    He is now deemed an extreme threat to society, and justice must be put upon him.

    Before he is caught, he sporadically solely saves the lives of another 1,000 men, women, and children. The people he has killed and saved are just "people". They are not any specific race or religion.


    So now society is at a loss; do they try him and condemn him to justice- or do they let him go? It comes to a point where human emotion is the tiebreaker; but if we choose to damn him to death, does that make us value the death of those 1,000 people over the life of the other 1,000?

    Does that make us carnal animals only seeking vengeance, or should we stick to the logic of balance (killing 1,000, saving 1,000)?

  2. Post #2
    BlueChihuahua's Avatar
    June 2010
    474 Posts
    Just because someone donates $10,000 dollars to charity doesn't mean they can get away with rape. The same idea applies here. Murder is murder. He must be charged.
    Now what the consequences of those charges should be falls into the debate of punishment vs rehabilitation.
    In the case of rehabilitation, I don't think saving someone instantly means the subject in question has changed their ways. It's like that article of the rape-trauma consoler who picked one of his patients to rape himself. Just because he helped several other victims through their crises doesn't mean he's innocent or absolved.

  3. Post #3
    The Kakistocrat's Avatar
    November 2011
    1,353 Posts
    A crime is a crime, good deeds do not undo them.

  4. Post #4
    Needs more suspension.
    Dennab
    February 2006
    4,484 Posts
    Just because someone donates $10,000 dollars to charity doesn't mean they can get away with rape. The same idea applies here. Murder is murder. He must be charged.
    Now what the consequences of those charges should be falls into the debate of punishment vs rehabilitation.
    In the case of rehabilitation, I don't think saving someone instantly means the subject in question has changed their ways. It's like that article of the rape-trauma consoler who picked one of his patients to rape himself. Just because he helped several other victims through their crises doesn't mean he's innocent or absolved.
    Charity and rape are not in the same. My quandary is hypothetical; it's 1000 people alive for 1000 dead.

    The idea of it is supposed to show how detached from logic the human collective is; emotion rules us even when logic states the obvious.

  5. Post #5
    BlueChihuahua's Avatar
    June 2010
    474 Posts
    Charity and rape are not in the same. My quandary is hypothetical; it's 1000 people alive for 1000 dead.

    The idea of it is supposed to show how detached from logic the human collective is; emotion rules us even when logic states the obvious.
    Oh, so you're saying that it's okay for a police officer who has saved several people to go ahead & murder several others because it all 'balances out.'
    You also dodged the more constructive second part of my statement.

    "Oh God, my father murdered Mom...!"
    "No, it's cool. He stopped a hostage situation last week. We'll let it slide."

  6. Post #6
    Charity and rape are not in the same. My quandary is hypothetical; it's 1000 people alive for 1000 dead.

    The idea of it is supposed to show how detached from logic the human collective is; emotion rules us even when logic states the obvious.
    If you're implying that logic dictates that the man has atoned for his crimes by saving the 1,000 people, I disagree vehemently. I think that stance is utterly unjustifiable.

  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    blubafoon's Avatar
    June 2005
    1,373 Posts
    If you're implying that logic dictates that the man has atoned for his crimes by saving the 1,000 people, I disagree vehemently. I think that stance is utterly unjustifiable.
    perhaps you are right, but why?

    why do we see destruction to have more weight or negative value than protection or preservation has positive value? For example, if I punch a man, but then save him from being hit by a train, chances are he'd forgive me for punching him, so clearly it is possible for a positive act to overwrite a negative one.

    I think it might be to do with the assumption that, if someone performs a certain act, that they are more likely to do it again than people who have not. like if I had once raped someone, upon my release from prison, I would be labelled me as a rapist and would see me as a particularly high threat, when in reality I am no more capable of committing further forced intercourse than any other healthy human being. sure, having a history of this act shows that I have been willing to do so in the past, but it says nothing about what I am willing to do now - a statistical likelihood is not the same as inevitiability.

    I think the OP has a point in that there is something rooted in human emotion and experience that makes us give more weight to negative actions and I am interested to find out why this is.

  8. Post #8
    BlueChihuahua's Avatar
    June 2010
    474 Posts
    perhaps you are right, but why?

    why do we see destruction to have more weight or negative value than protection or preservation has positive value? For example, if I punch a man, but then save him from being hit by a train, chances are he'd forgive me for punching him, so clearly it is possible for a positive act to overwrite a negative one.

    I think it might be to do with the assumption that, if someone performs a certain act, that they are more likely to do it again than people who have not. like if I had once raped someone, upon my release from prison, I would be labelled me as a rapist and would see me as a particularly high threat, when in reality I am no more capable of committing further forced intercourse than any other healthy human being. sure, having a history of this act shows that I have been willing to do so in the past, but it says nothing about what I am willing to do now - a statistical likelihood is not the same as inevitiability.

    I think the OP has a point in that there is something rooted in human emotion and experience that makes us give more weight to negative actions and I am interested to find out why this is.
    In the OP's scenerio, we're to judge whether or not there should be consequences for the dictator's crimes.
    You say upon being released from prison: OP believes there shouldn't be any prison at all. Even if someone believes purely in rehabilitation, it is essential to judge whether this man would commit these atrocities again or if he has genuinely altered his ways.
    Likewise, just because someone has saved a life shouldn't mean they gain a get-out-of-murder-charges-for-free card. Murder is always awful.

  9. Post #9
    x Haste's Avatar
    December 2011
    19 Posts
    Some of these replies are good, but are skirting around the scenario the OP gave us.

    In his situation, I agree that 1,000 lives, alive or dead, are still human lives. If 1,000 are killed who would've lived otherwise, that is an atrocity. But if 1,000 live who would've died otherwise, that is an act of heroism and is praiseworthy.

    As the OP questioned, "...if we choose to damn him to death, does that make us value the death of those 1,000 people over the life of the other 1,000?" The problem is that allowing him to live would be saying that we value the 1,000 living over the 1,000 dead. There isn't really balance since the 1,000 killed aren't the 1,000 saved. If you killed the 1,000 people and then brought them back to life somehow, that would be balance.

  10. Post #10
    Kljunas's Avatar
    August 2011
    2,871 Posts
    If we just do the math, in your logic, the guy killed 1000 people and saved 1000 : -1000 + 1000 = 0
    He had the choice not to kill anybody and still save the 1000 ones, which is equal to 1000 lives saved. So he deliberately chose the option in which 1000 persons less are saved (or 1000 more murdered, since it is equal in your opinion). He's responsible for 1000 deaths and he's clearly guilty.

    Anyway this doesn't make sense, a murderer is a murderer and has to be punished.

  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    Glorbo's Avatar
    May 2010
    5,371 Posts
    This isn't fucking math. If you murdered someone, you need to pay for your actions.
    It only works if you reverse the harm you have done. For example, if you throw a rock at someones window and then pay to have it replaced. But doing something bad and then doing unrelated good doesn't counter.

  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,042 Posts
    The consequences of 1000 murder and 1000 lives saved is definitely not zero sum because comfort in knowing you're not going to be arbitrarily murdered is a moral good in itself. He is harming people's liberty arbitrarily in the most vile sense.

  13. Post #13
    NATURALLY WIRED TO HAVE SEX WITH KIDS
    Rubs10's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,794 Posts
    If they're capable of killing 1000, they're a threat to society and need to be fixed.

  14. Post #14
    Frostnorn's Avatar
    December 2011
    45 Posts
    If that person killed 1000 people for whatever reason and saves 10,000 people, do you think it would be right to kill or punish that person?

  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    Jim_Riley's Avatar
    February 2006
    1,543 Posts
    And does this take into account of the victim's families? You can't possibly expect them to see the "logic" behind the reasoning that there's a balancing act in play here.

    Their logical reasoning would most likely be along the lines "Why did it happen at all, in the first place?"

  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    CrashLemon's Avatar
    November 2007
    991 Posts
    What if instead of killing 1000 people, he just let 1000 people die that he could've saved?

    That's 1000 death for 1000 lives.

  17. Post #17
    Hi, my name is mastermaul, and I'm a butt.
    mastermaul's Avatar
    January 2008
    8,388 Posts
    Crime is crime is crime.

    Perhaps history will see him in not such a negative light in the end, but he must pay.

  18. Post #18
    I remember when titles used to mean something, now you can get one for a dollar, this all used to be fields, get off my lawn damn kids etc.
    evlbzltyr's Avatar
    May 2006
    6,285 Posts
    Saving someone from death isn't the same as bringing someone back to life. You're just preventing their death. You've still deprived someone of their life. If you killed someone, then somehow brought them back to life, then perhaps you'd be prosecuted for attempted murder, but saving someone doesn't cancel out the fact that you murdered someone else.

  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    sgman91's Avatar
    July 2006
    4,179 Posts
    Justice is for specific events, not for the combined events of one's life. In the situation given they still must be punished for the 1,000 murders. If you want to reward him separately for the 1,000 saved lives then so be it, but the consequences should be separate.

  20. Post #20
    Bassplaya7's Avatar
    January 2008
    1,499 Posts
    Well, if viewed through the philosophy of utilitarianism, people are punished not for the act of breaking rules, but for acting in ways that are not beneficial to society. Punishment is solely about the reform of the criminal so his behavior will, in the future, better the society. If a criminal, after doing something heinous, has clearly learned his lesson and is acting in accordance with the best interest of the community, he should be let off. If viewed from a deontological perspective, however, crimes must be punished because they are against the rules - whatever they may be. Punishment is more about retribution, cause and effect - this crime was done, and now justice will follow. Personally, I primarily agree with utilitarianism, but admit that it's much more ideological than practical.

  21. Post #21
    8==== ===== ===== ===== ===D
    Dennab
    April 2008
    4,831 Posts
    Are you basically saying that if someone kills Hitler they are apparently as bad as him JUST BECAUSE they killed him?

  22. Post #22
    Drainwater's Avatar
    April 2009
    779 Posts
    Well, if viewed through the philosophy of utilitarianism, people are punished not for the act of breaking rules, but for acting in ways that are not beneficial to society. Punishment is solely about the reform of the criminal so his behavior will, in the future, better the society. If a criminal, after doing something heinous, has clearly learned his lesson and is acting in accordance with the best interest of the community, he should be let off. If viewed from a deontological perspective, however, crimes must be punished because they are against the rules - whatever they may be. Punishment is more about retribution, cause and effect - this crime was done, and now justice will follow. Personally, I primarily agree with utilitarianism, but admit that it's much more ideological than practical.
    Supposedly, aside from retribution, people are punished for doing crimes to discourage other people from doing those crimes too.

  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    Glorbo's Avatar
    May 2010
    5,371 Posts
    Are you basically saying that if someone kills Hitler they are apparently as bad as him JUST BECAUSE they killed him?
    Ever heard of self defense? Killing someone to prevent him from killing someone else is justifiable if it has standing behind it.

  24. Post #24
    Needs more suspension.
    Dennab
    February 2006
    4,484 Posts
    A lot of interesting responses.

  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    Samiam22's Avatar
    January 2008
    7,201 Posts
    The problem here is you can't reach a conclusion without offending a certain group of people. However, it is human ethics to honour the dead, so society would most likely disregard the 'balance', and go ahead and hang him or whatever.

    There are also a lot of circumstances that aren't explained, and it is human nature to piece things together, despite lack of evidence. You haven't explained in detail what the man in question has done, only that he has 'killed' 1000, and 'saved' 1000.

  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    Cone's Avatar
    August 2011
    19,017 Posts
    I think he shouldn't be forgiven so easily. A man does not go from remorselessly killing a thousand people to saving a thousand without significant reward - in this case, it's most likely he's saved the thousand because it will bring up this very debate, giving him a chance to be let free.

    I'm of the belief that people can change, but that change can't be made alone. Unless he's had time to go to a therapist between the killings and being caught, his deeds are most likely entirely egocentric. As such, he was less trying to save the people and more hoping to use their lives as a bargaining chip, showing he hasn't changed and should be "punished" (whatever that punishment may be is irrelevant) accordingly.

  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    Croix's Avatar
    May 2008
    2,744 Posts
    brought them back to life, then perhaps you'd be prosecuted for attempted murder, but saving someone doesn't cancel out the fact that you murdered someone else.
    If you killed someone and brought them back to life, I'm 100% sure would not be prosecuted for attempted murder.

    As everyone said, he already murdered 1000. He should be punished, but he should probably not be punished as harshly as if he had never saved the people.

  28. Post #28
    A Box's Avatar
    December 2009
    186 Posts
    I think it works the same way with a mother killing her son. Just because she gave birth to him doesn't mean it's morally permissible for her to kill him.

  29. Post #29
    Gold Member
    Cushie's Avatar
    February 2005
    2,292 Posts
    perhaps you are right, but why?

    why do we see destruction to have more weight or negative value than protection or preservation has positive value? For example, if I punch a man, but then save him from being hit by a train, chances are he'd forgive me for punching him, so clearly it is possible for a positive act to overwrite a negative one.

    I think it might be to do with the assumption that, if someone performs a certain act, that they are more likely to do it again than people who have not. like if I had once raped someone, upon my release from prison, I would be labelled me as a rapist and would see me as a particularly high threat, when in reality I am no more capable of committing further forced intercourse than any other healthy human being. sure, having a history of this act shows that I have been willing to do so in the past, but it says nothing about what I am willing to do now - a statistical likelihood is not the same as inevitiability.

    I think the OP has a point in that there is something rooted in human emotion and experience that makes us give more weight to negative actions and I am interested to find out why this is.
    I think for a lot of people it isn't so much a weighted thing. Whether he saved 1000 people or not is irrelevant to some, it doesnt change the fact that he killed those 1000.

    Just consider the reverse. Imagine a person saves 1000 lives, then one day pulls a gun out and shoots a child, or it gets out that they abuse their own children. At that point the lives they saved dont mean anything because they have committed an unforgivable crime.

    I would say it is down to the fact that we need to show authority and make an example out of those who go against the rules. It would make sense to stem from when we were smaller communities with one leader, if someone goes against the leader then it would be extremely important for a strong example to be made out of them to set an image of strength and dominance.

  30. Post #30
    You can't just put more white cards in your deck to balance out the black for the sole reason of being a better person. It doesn't amount to shit because you're doing good actions to justify doing bad ones.

  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    Shifty Pete's Avatar
    May 2011
    425 Posts
    A decision can't really be made outside of context.

  32. Post #32
    Gold Member
    Venezuelan's Avatar
    September 2011
    12,175 Posts
    Justice is for each individual not the whole of people. Saving those 1000 people did not affect the 1000 killed therefore justice must be served.

  33. Post #33
    CD drives eject stuff, my ass ejects stuff, therefore my ass must be a CD drive.
    ProWaffle's Avatar
    July 2009
    4,590 Posts
    If you save one person's life, is it right to go out and murder someone? Does that change you from a life-saver to "neutral"?

    Most would say it doesn't make it right. I'd agree.

    If you extend that to the thousands you were talking about, how does it differ?

  34. Post #34
    Jabberwocky's Avatar
    June 2007
    2,763 Posts
    Society doesn't work on a score-based moral dichotomy. Unacceptable behaviour must be suitably punished. Something like murder can't be excused with whatever number of lives you save.

    In regards to your example, if one did not commit murders, would that mean that one would have no obligation to save those aforementioned lives? If I save a life do I get one free murder?

  35. Post #35
    Mvwill's Avatar
    May 2008
    667 Posts
    Crimes are more significant than good deeds.

  36. Post #36
    ASK ME ABOUT MY SAM 6420 FETISH
    ArmageddonScr's Avatar
    July 2011
    691 Posts
    Firemen save lives everyday, does that make it okay for them to murder anyone they want?

  37. Post #37
    newbs's Avatar
    December 2007
    634 Posts
    Causing a death and preventing a death are not inverse actions

    Your logic is NUL..BEEP...BOOP...BEEEEEEP.KELDONG.KELDONG.DASH.. WOOOOOOOOOOOSH.

    Also, I'm a lifeguard. I have prevented death before. Does that mean I get a free murder card?

  38. Post #38
    Slight's Avatar
    March 2011
    641 Posts
    Depending on conditional stuffs, here are the ones I can think of:

    If those 1000 people that he killed were all genetic clones of the 1000 people and each of the people he saved and killed lived their lives exactly the same, then no he should not be killed.

    Reason being he hasn't caused any real change in society, families, or life on the whole. He could repeat his actions and not much should change.

    If the 1000 people were genetically different than those he killed and they lived their lives differently, then yes he should probably be killed but not necessarily as there are more conditions.

    If those people he killed where generally "bad" people (perhaps murders, thieves, and generally barbarians) and the people he saved where generally "better" than those he killed (perhaps upstanding citizens, not murders, ect) than society has actually net gained and he should not be killed as repeating these actions should continue to better society provided there is a threshold for what is deemed "bad".

    If the opposite is true, being those he killed where "good" and those he saved where "bad", then yes he should be killed as he has damaged human society and repeating this would further damage society.


    Some of you might see "good" and "bad" as extremely relative to each person, but I use them relative to society or perhaps evolution. I am not using "good" and "evil", but "good" and "bad" as they relate to prosperity via society or evolution.

  39. Post #39
    The Kakistocrat's Avatar
    November 2011
    1,353 Posts
    If those people he killed where generally "bad" people (perhaps murders, thieves, and generally barbarians) and the people he saved where generally "better" than those he killed (perhaps upstanding citizens, not murders, ect) than society has actually net gained and he should not be killed as repeating these actions should continue to better society provided there is a threshold for what is deemed "bad".
    So you are supporting vigilantism?

  40. Post #40
    GOD FUCKING DAMNIT
    KILLTHIS's Avatar
    September 2005
    1,391 Posts
    That's not an easy task here.

    Sure, saving 1000 people is a huge effort and must be rewarded in some kind of way. But killing another 1000 greatly reduces this reward; So there must be some kind of correlation between both cases in order to find a solution for this.

    Saying to punish him, for example death sentence, would ignore the fact that he saved 1000 people.

    Setting him free would just be ignorant to the case of this serial murder thing.

    This case cannot be solved without further information. Why did he kill? Who were the people he killed and why did he save those other people? Who are those he has saved? In which relation is all of this linked? With these information it might be easier to come to a solution - or maybe it would get just worse. Or we don't get a step further to the solution