Killing
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09-11-2011, 09:02 PM (This post was last modified: 10-11-2011 09:26 AM by Hughsie.)
Killing
There have been a few threads I've seen recently that have touched upon the subject of murder such as Zatamon's Do we owe each other anything thread and Angry_Liberal's Imagine no religion thread. These have got me thinking about murder and the average human/my own personal potential to commit murder.

On a general scale I think all humans have the potential to commit murder if put in the right situation. People's attitude to murder generally goes with the rest of their society and as much as we like to think that we have an ingrained moral objection to murder I think that most people, if brought up in an environment where murder is acceptable, will have no qualms about taking a life. This is what my limited knowledge of human history suggests to me. The most recent evidence for this would be Nazi Germany, ordinary people were happy to commit murder on a huge scale simply because it was acceptable in their society.

As far as my own personal potential for such actions goes I think there are three major things that need to be considered;

1) Fear of consequences/repercussions
2) The question of whether the action would be 'good' for humanity as a whole
3) My personal feelings after making the decision

As far as the number one goes I am discounting it from this discussion as I feel it derails any moral discussion on the topic as it has nothing to do with the thought process on whether I could internally justify taking a life.
The second point is pretty self explanatory, if I was in a situation where I had to decide whether or not to take a life one of the two questions in my head would be whether or not it would cause more 'good' than harm. This would apply to situations where I had reason to believe the possible victim was likely to cause harm to others. It also applies to a lesser extent to situations where the possible victim had already caused considerable harm to others but no longer had the means to do so.
The third point isn't quite so self explanatory and is a little more difficult to put into words. Obviously taking a life is for most people a huge decision and one they will have to live with either way. This is what this point refers to. Would I feel worse knowing I had taken this persons life, or would I feel worse knowing I had not taken this persons life? I can imagine most people would think that the answer would be obvious, that no-one would feel bad about not taking a life, but I disagree. Take Zatamon's 'Drowning child' situation (which for any that are unfamiliar can be found in the first post here), I have just witnessed a person allow a child to drown for no reason whatsoever, with no mitigating circumstances and who showed no remorse. I am watching, unable to help the child but able to confront to person when their boat reaches the shore, I am armed. I now have to decide whether or not I harm this person and to what degree I harm them. If I were to look back on that situation a year later I think I would feel worse knowing I hadn't acted than knowing I had. This is what I'm referring to when I talk about my personal feeling after making such a decision.

All in all I think I am probably quite average on this one. I'm neither a gun-toting maniac nor a pacifist. I could take a life, but I would have to be pushed very hard to do so.

What does anyone else think? Do you agree/disagree with my ideas on the thought processes involved? Do you think you are capable of murder? Under what situations do you think you could take a life?

I look forward to your responses.

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09-11-2011, 09:23 PM
 
RE: Killing
Hughsie. I agree that anybody could be driven to kill and I am no exception. If I think of anyone trying to harm my wife, I know I would kill, if I had no other choice to protect her.

The question is the immediacy of the crisis.

If given time, we tend to think, weigh our options and try to find the logical way out.

If we have our backs to the wall, with no time to ponder, we act almost completely instinctively and we may strike out blindly in panic or in self-defense.

However, none of this applies to a whole society that has all the time to think, analyze, evaluate and find the least destructive solution.

One last comment: nothing can justify/excuse premeditated, cold-blooded murder for whatever reason we may think we have. When we have the time to plan a murder, that only means that we have the time to find a solution without taking a life.
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09-11-2011, 09:29 PM
RE: Killing
(09-11-2011 09:02 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  There have been a few thread I've seen recently that have touched upon the subject of murder...

Fail.

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09-11-2011, 09:32 PM
RE: Killing
(09-11-2011 09:29 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(09-11-2011 09:02 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  There have been a few thread I've seen recently that have touched upon the subject of murder...

Fail.

Not gonna elaborate on that bro???

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09-11-2011, 11:10 PM
RE: Killing
(09-11-2011 09:23 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Hughsie. I agree that anybody could be driven to kill and I am no exception. If I think of anyone trying to harm my wife, I know I would kill, if I had no other choice to protect her.

The question is the immediacy of the crisis.

If given time, we tend to think, weigh our options and try to find the logical way out.

If we have our backs to the wall, with no time to ponder, we act almost completely instinctively and we may strike out blindly in panic or in self-defense.

However, none of this applies to a whole society that has all the time to think, analyze, evaluate and find the least destructive solution.

One last comment: nothing can justify/excuse premeditated, cold-blooded murder for whatever reason we may think we have. When we have the time to plan a murder, that only means that we have the time to find a solution without taking a life.

Yeah you've got it right. Except the part about last part. There are instances where planning to kill someone is neccesary as it is the only option left. For example. Let's say a notorious criminal or mass murderer or Hitler copy, had plans to move through your area. For some unknown reason the authorities cannot arrest him. You know that the person is coming and you have a gun. You also know how to kill him and not get caught with a 100% success rate. Would killing him not be the right thing to do knowing the misery that person would cause later on? The answer is clear to me but then again I am a little twisted. I want your thoughts.

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09-11-2011, 11:21 PM (This post was last modified: 09-11-2011 11:36 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Killing
We are a violent, aggressive species: we have been killing other species for food and self-protection since long before we could identify as human. We've been killing our own kind just as long - exactly because we didn't, back then, identify with a species. We identified with a clan - a tribe, at most. All others were divided into a. enemies, b. rivals c. strangers, d. trading partners or e. allies. Any group had the potential of moving from one category to another, at any time: the only people we could be sure of were our close kin. The only people we must not kill were members of our clan.... and yet it happens.

The first problem this presents to me is the word murder.
There is all kinds of killing; murder is a very specific kind in the eyes of the law, in the moral system of all the peoples i know about. Every society differentiates various kinds of killing; all consider murder unacceptable, and most even grade murders in several degrees of unacceptability.
So you have to be very precise in the kind of killing you consider.

If we set aside war, i think we must also set aside necessity of state - that is, legally constituted bodies of armed men who use violence, often lethal, to preserve the power structure and integrity of the nation: the execution of traitors, deserters, spies, revolutionaries, terrorists; usually, too, designated classes of criminal. This leaves obscure the whole question of police powers and immunities; of executive privilege and its abuses.
And into that obscure gap goes a whole lot of the political killing we've been doing. See, those people - enemies of the state, illegal aliens, godless communists, runaway slaves, Jews, etc. - are not us. It's only us we're not supposed to kill: them, it's okay.

In modern societies, almost everyone is a stranger. We have very little kinship, very little to bind us in empathy and mutual dependence. That's why we must rely so heavily on the law and its agencies. The fact that they're working at all is a testament to human adaptability.

Personally, i don't think i could kill anyone, except in an extreme state of emotion - fear or anger - and even then, probably only with a gun or car, not at close quarters, say with knife or hammer. It's very difficult for an amateur to kill an adult manually. If i had time to think about it, i'd be far too aware of the logistics... and the aesthetics: let's face it, killing is messy and ugly and uncertain; dead bodies are unlovely things.

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10-11-2011, 09:14 AM
 
RE: Killing
(09-11-2011 11:10 PM)Hamata k Wrote:  There are instances where planning to kill someone is neccesary as it is the only option left.

Hamata, I can only reiterate what I said before: if you have time to plan a murder, then you have time to think of OTHER options. There may not be too many, or even any, but humans think far too easily of the most primitive solutions (in this case killing) without considering anything else.

In my experience, it is very rare that you have one option and ONLY one option to solve a problem. People tend to drift in the direction of least resistance, choose the path that requires the minimum of effort: mental, physical and financial. So we kill, when we might have considered capture, misdirection, drugging, inducing symptoms of serious illness, whatever.

There was a pilot during the first world war (I forgot his name) who was a famous ace. He always gave his opponent (that he defeated in a dog fight) the option to land on HIS airfield and be captured, rather than shooting him out of the sky.
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10-11-2011, 12:05 PM
RE: Killing
(09-11-2011 09:32 PM)bemore Wrote:  
(09-11-2011 09:29 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(09-11-2011 09:02 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  There have been a few thread I've seen recently that have touched upon the subject of murder...

Fail.

Not gonna elaborate on that bro???

Murder includes the notion of "malice aforethought." One should never operate under the influence of those two words. Wink

Homicide is a "back against the wall" solution set. There is currently no wall.

Killing is evolutionary imperative. When I cut my fingernails, killing occurs.

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10-11-2011, 12:05 PM
RE: Killing
(10-11-2011 09:14 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(09-11-2011 11:10 PM)Hamata k Wrote:  There are instances where planning to kill someone is neccesary as it is the only option left.

Hamata, I can only reiterate what I said before: if you have time to plan a murder, then you have time to think of OTHER options. There may not be too many, or even any, but humans think far too easily of the most primitive solutions (in this case killing) without considering anything else.

In my experience, it is very rare that you have one option and ONLY one option to solve a problem. People tend to drift in the direction of least resistance, choose the path that requires the minimum of effort: mental, physical and financial. So we kill, when we might have considered capture, misdirection, drugging, inducing symptoms of serious illness, whatever.

There was a pilot during the first world war (I forgot his name) who was a famous ace. He always gave his opponent (that he defeated in a dog fight) the option to land on HIS airfield and be captured, rather than shooting him out of the sky.

I think I have heard of that pilot. I have great respect for someone that lets an opponent live. But I am ot talking about fighting. I am talking about people that have lost the right to be called human anymore. Some people in this world are monsters. They live by causing harm to others. It is their way of life and nothing will change them. It is these people tat I say need to be put downlike the animals they are. There is no rehabilitation for them. I do not champion the idea of killing just because someone messed up once or twice. I save the killing for thise that would do nothing but harm others.
I can't believe I'm about to do this but hey whatever.
Let's look at the Joker from Batman. The Joker has killed a lot of people because he keeps breaking out no matter how many times he is caught. Batman should have killed him a long time ago. Think about it. By letting the Joker live, Batman is partially responsible for the people killed by the Joker.
So what I'm saying is that some people have no other options because of their actions. I can understand that you wish to take the high road or something along those lines as it seems like the right thing to do. I might be missing something entirely I don't know. This is just what I've come to after much thinking and debate.

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10-11-2011, 12:21 PM
 
RE: Killing
(10-11-2011 12:05 PM)Hamata k Wrote:  I might be missing something entirely I don't know. This is just what I've come to after much thinking and debate.

You are missing something, Hamata: it is all in the timing, as I said in my first post on this thread.

I have talked extensively, in several threads, about the options in those cases when we have a lot of time to think. I will come back to this post and include some links.

Victims versus Psycopaths -- Post #18, with additional links in Post #3 Smile
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