Parents - would you sacrifice SOMEONE ELSE'S life for your child?

I don’t have kids, but I suspect that I’d kill some innocent person to make sure they’d live. Maybe a few. But I’d have to be faced with that. If I were attacked, or in a war scenerio, I’d definitely kill an “enemy” to defend my immediate family and even close friends. I think my parents would kill an innocent person to protect ther kids. My husband’s dad definitely would not kill anyone, ever, but I think his mom could kill some innocent people to protect her kids.

I don’t think I could live with myself afterward, though, and I wouldn’t want anyone to murder to save me. It’s disturbingly comforting to know that someone might, though.

Nuking an entire country, I don’t know. I hope not. It also disturbs me to think that I just might be capable of it. I know it would be evil. Even while I was doing any of these things, even caught up in the adrenaline, I’d know it was evil. I can see how someone would do it anyway, and that’s the horrible thing. It goes right down to the core. You protect your pack. Humans…we’re pretty nasty fuckers, on the whole.

ETA: I suppose I should add, torture or slow deaths of any kind, I wouldn’t. I don’t think even to protect my kids. Quick clean death? Yes, I would.

There are a lot of things and people that are more important to me than others.

But there is something inside me, something innate that tells me uniquivocally that I have absolutely no right whatsoever to take other people’s lives to protect those things. That doing so is evil, wrong, just simply not to be done. Even for my own kid. It’s almost alien to me to hear some of you say you wouldn’t even bat an eyelash.

This is of course, as the OP stated about INNOCENT people. I’m not talking about soldiers trying to murder my kid, or the kidnappers themselves. No, this about killing the little girl next door to save mine.

Nope, sorry, but I just wouldn’t do it.

They are silly because people’s answers are bullshit. It’s one thing to say you would sacrifice someone else for your child. It’s quite another to actually have them there in front of you.

It also depends on the circumstances. Trying to decide between giving the last parachute to your child or a stranger is different than having a gun held to your child’s head and forced to shoot someone. And at what point do you venture into cheerleader’s crazy mom country?

Sacrifice a stranger’s life for my kid? God no, the decision would be torture.

In fact, that is the reason a lot of action movie scenes leave a bad taste in my mouth. The hero rescues the cute little blond girl, and in doing so leaves behind him:
-a trail of security guards with slit throats,
-a couple of deadly boobytrapped pursuer’s cars,
-and who knows how many innocent bystanders hurt or killed in the ensuing spectacular car chase and wild exchange of gun-fire.

No. Just no.

No. Murdering someone else in order to save your kid’s life is an entirely different prospect. I don’t think my kid wants a murderer for a mother. I’d sacrifice myself, of course, but I don’t have the right to force others to do that.

Unless of course the person I’m killing is holding a gun to her head. Then he’s got to go, but that’s not murder–it’s defense.

Heh…I like this answer.

Still, I’ve gotta say I’m utterly baffled by the responses. Wiping out entire nations for your child?!?

The people of Australia don’t matter to me. I value my daughter. So it’s simple. Do I preserve the life of a person who matters to me or do I preserve the lives of X number of people who do not? We don’t even have to bother with doing any math. No number of people who don’t matter to me will ever equal, much less exceed, my daughter’s value. So it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about one stranger or a whole continent full of them.
Further, there’re many, many people who I do value that I value less than my daughter. Put the decision in my hands who must die and I’ll send them down to darkness as well.

Is everyone who is saying yes imagining some kind of hostage-exchange hypothetical or “decide who to the throw the life preserver to” situation?

The scenario I keep envisioning is that you don’t have the money to pay for a potentially life-saving medical treatment for your child. That actually seems like a plausible situation that people in this thread might have to go through someday. And what I am reading here is that a lot of you would be willing to, say, invade a home and kill a whole family in order to rob their safe and get the money. And that’s really freaking me out, I have to say.

Add me to the freaked out crowd. No, absolutely not, were I in my right-thinking mind, I would NOT kill someone or ones, or, god forbid, whole nations to save my child. I had a child who we were afraid every day would die for months, and I still wouldn’t have done it. It’s completely unfathomable to me that, even in Hypothetical Land, this is okay for anyone, much less the great number who have proclaimed it so in this thread.

I am NOT a pacifist, nor am I not a parent. I may be a hippie, although the traces of that are dwindling every day. I do still hug trees, but I don’t think my moral compass comes from that. I love my kids a lot, but killing innocent people is just evil.

Kill an attacker or kidnapper? In a heartbeat. An **innocent **person or country? Hell, no. There are some situation where one can make nuanced ethical arguments. This one, I’m afraid, boils down to simply: it’s wrong.

Well of course not. Trees aren’t magnetic.

I have to admit, and I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, it would come down to circumstances for me. Forced to strangle another little girl to save my own? I couldn’t do it. Shoot an adult from a distance? I probably could. Either way though, I’d be damned sure whoever put me in such a situation dies screaming.

You and I are different. I’d strangle a whole elementary school w/o a qualm were my daughter’s life in the balance.
I guess the heart of the discussion is how much you value the lives of strangers. For me, not too much. I don’t kill them for fun or anything, but I’ll put the life of one of my own ahead of the lives of any number of strangers every single time.

Fuck yeah.

Ins’t this very same line of thinking that causes most of the problems in the world (My own Uber Alles)? Secterian violence, mass killings, terrorism, etc?

This thread doesn’t inspire much confidence in the future of mankind.

Without a qualm? Really? You could grab a screaming 5 year old girl and squeeze the life out of her without a qualm? While her face turns black, her eyes protrude, her arms and legs flailing helplessly, urine and feces pouring down her legs - without a qualm? You scare me too.

Forget it. Not worth the grief.

A story - Ontario Place, Victoria Day weekend, a few years ago. The place was horribly crowded. We left one of the buildings, and I thought my wife had our daughter, she thought I had her. We walked about 30 - 40 feet before we realized that neither of us had her.

I imagine this is what being disemboweled would feel like. We both yell our daughter’s name. It is at maximum 15 seconds before we hear her yell back, but it feels like at least two very bad lifetimes. I’m closest to the sound, so I start off in her direction.

A young man is in my way - I go left, he goes to my left. I go right, he goes to my right. I yell “Move”, and with our daughter crying “Mummy! Daddy!” in my hearing, this stranger says “Oh, mellow out!” and puts himself squarely in my path. As he turns to share the joke with someone beside him, I shoved him, hard, while kicking his legs out from under him. He hit the ground with the back of his head, and I stepped over him. I have no idea what became of him, or his companions and I did not care. If he or they had interfered further, I would have done whatever was necessary to incapacitate them. My daughter was in distress and needed my help. Total time from first hearing my daughter cry out to assaulting a stranger who is trying to make a joke - less than a second.

I would consider myself either a coward or a pacifist under normal circumstances - I have run away from fights, and my reaction when I see two other people fighting is to get help, call the cops… When my kid was in danger, I didn’t think for a second about what’s right or wrong, I just reacted. In retrospect, I did something I consider wrong, and I set a very bad example for my daughter.

But I’m sure I’d do it again if the situation came up. It’s how we’re wired. First rule of hiking - do not come between a bear and her cub; it is usually fatal.

If it meant my daughter’s life? Absolutely.

A fellow who doesn’t take care of his own ain’t no kind of man.

I’d hate to be faced with such a choice, and it might bother me afterward but I’m with Shagnasty. Just not seeing a lot of downside.

I’m of the opinion that any question involving “would you sacrifice…blah blah blah” only serves to weed out the ones that are more full of crap than the others.

Would you kill an innocent bystander to save your bastard, deadbeat child?


Everyone interprets the question 2 ways (without there being specifics). You can kill one and save the other. Either way, you lose. The question is far too broad to analyze specifics though. Is this a kidnapping and choose situation? Hanging from a cliff? Would the choice between one or the other involve willfully murdering one of them? Or be saving one of them?

If it’s murdering, then the only morally acceptible choice by any definition is the third unspoken one: Let both die.

The “Well, of course! My child is more important to me than the entire population of Australia, all of whom are strangers” responses are a little insufficient, I think. I mean, not just my family’s longevity, but also their happiness is more important to me than that of all the strangers in Australia; yet, all the same, I wouldn’t inflict terrible misery on all of Australia just to, say, cure my dad’s chronic back pain. It seems that there must be more going on here than just “I care more about my kids than strangers”.