This is kind of a gruesome, morbid subject. You have been warned. And because I ramble, the questions I’m asking are bolded because they’re in the middle of the post and not at the end, like they should be in a properly worded passage.
In a thread about the 1972 Andes mountains plane crash, a scenario was posited about a pilot, mortally wounded, who asked a passenger to help him end his life… with the passenger refusing to do so. The pilot eventually died of his injuries the first night after the crash.
Not wishing to bring the debate into here, I was surprised at the number of people who claimed that they would have either killed the pilot themselves or given him the means to kill himself.
Surprised because, in my readings of disasters and other emergency scenarios, I don’t recall a single instance of this happening - where the more mobile survivors start “mercy killing” those whom they’ve decided weren’t going to make it, especially within the time frame one would reasonably expect to be rescued. However, my readings are not what one would call “exhaustive”, so perhaps I missed them.
I’m sure it’s happened in wartime. It wouldn’t surprise me that this happened among groups who had lost all hope of survival or rescue (say, Shackleton’s party, for example.) But I’ve never heard about such a thing, outside of fiction, occurring among those very recently impacted by a disaster event.
So… Are there examples where, in sudden disasters like plane crashes, train derailments, earthquakes, etc, the survivors start killing the mortally wounded? Is this common? Any studies on this phenomenon?
In the thread, much of the speculation has to do with the passenger’s Catholicism and how that may have affected his reasoning. I argued (thereby possibly killing the thread)that the chain of discussion was faulty as nobody has offered any proof that Catholics/Christians are less likely to commit mercy killings than non-Christians and that they were arguing from a premise that is definitely unproven.
But… maybe they’re right? Anybody have any statistics on mercy killings after disasters, preferably broken down by the killers religion? (I’m thinking “no way in hell can that information be found”, but the world might surprise me.)