To Shoot or Not To Shoot

A Voice tells you that you will be transported to exactly 100 years ago to Vienna where Adolf Hitler happens to be walking by alone. It tells you that you will be given an automatic pistol with several rounds and a silencer. It assures you will have point blank range on Adolf and have up to 10 minutes to kill him (and you can leave anytime during those 10 minutes). It tells due to the butterfly effect almost all people born after 1911-12 will not exist but you will have an alternate identity in the area where you live and be able to “save” up to twenty of your closest family and friends. It also assures you the world you will create will no matter what happens will still be better than OTL. What do you do?

This will also be posted in Great Debates.

Wait I don’t get the question, if it’s guaranteed to be better, why shouldn’t I kill him? It isn’t like he’s gonna rob the kwikmart. He’s an evil jackass who will murder millions. I would ordinarily be hesitate to mess with the time-line, lest it was worse, like someone who commits more atrocities takes his place, but again it’s guaranteed to be better. So I don’t have that worry.

I don’t listen to the voices in my head or I would have beaten the crap out of my neigbor a couple of hours ago.

I don’t shoot. Not only would I be trading all the people born after the 1940’s for the smaller number of people killed in WWII, but there’s no guarantee that something far worse than WWII wouldn’t happen in it’s place. Perhaps Germany and the Soviet Union decide that together they can totally take on the rest of Europe and Japan? Better the devil you know…

Edit: OK, I missed that last sentence about the resulting world being guaranteed better than the one we experienced. Maybe I do shoot. But that’s a pretty big guarantee.

I think this dilemma, including Nazis, was covered in the Star Trek episode: City on the Edge of Forever. Except it’s an innocent person causing trouble, not Hitler.

Kirk and Spock have to prevent an accidental time traveling McCoy from saving an innocent woman’s life. Had she lived she would have caused events leading to Nazis taking over the world.

shoot the bastard, but i’d spare my friends/family the misery of being ripped out of their normal lives. it’s bad enough that i have to undergo witness protection, but to make everyone i love miserable as well? seems downright… evil.

Edith Keeler must die.

But Hitler must live. I’m sorry, I’m not buying the world I will create will be better. Better by whose standards. Perhaps without Hitler, the Germans win. He certainly cocked things up for Germany in the Eastern front and he made many bad decisions as the war wound down.

Nope, no way. It’s like one of those monkey’s paws. It will say it’s better but no way it’s better for me.

If anyone should have been shot it was Karl Marx, as I think his theories ultimately caused more problems than Nazism (which was itself a response to Marxism in some ways.)

My reason is simple. Because it seems crazy to trust a voice in my head that tells me to kill someone, and everything will be magically okay somehow.

It makes more sense if you are actually transported, so you know the voice is real.

Of course, I assume it’s all a hallucination, and I’ll be shooting someone completely different. Of course, if I’m hallucinating that badly, I likely have lost all sense of reality, so I guess I do shoot.

Get out of my head, Qin.

So I save myself and 20 people but everyone else essentially dies.

And those 20 will go through some of the biggest culture shock they’ll ever see.

Id need an awful lot of info about what ‘better’ means before Id be willing to consider it.

And with all this power, why cant the wanker making all this happen just teleport Adolf to a reality where he just has a normal life as a bad artist rather than having to kill him before he’s done anything particularly wrong yet? Id tell him to go screw himself for that alone, theres no need to make me his moral plaything.


Yeah, I’m wondering why must people answering this thread seem to be missing the stipulation that the people born after 1911 are basically killed, thats several billion people! :eek:

So no, I don’t shoot, I don’t have the right to do that. I’d probably punch him just for the amusement factor though…

As I said in the alternate timeline of this thread, where it was put in GD and didn’t have a poll - apparently killing Hitler did nothing beyond changing the forum in which Qin puts his hypotheticals - I think this could go horribly awry.

I think the poll needs more options, notably the many other interventions one could consider. Mostly though, I think the OP would most likely reflect madness - common in our society - rather than time travel, which is less common, [thread=596006]my other thread notwithstanding[/thread]

If the fucking voice wants someone dead, let him shoot them.

Yup, I would assume I was hallucinating and look for professional help. And since I’d be hallucinating about being in late 19th century Austria, I’d make an appointment with Sigmund Freud. I’d like to hear him explain how my delusions are caused by a sexual fixation on my mother.

Well I made the assumption that voice has magical reality confirming properties. Otherwise the question isn’t very interesting. As the answer ends up being “I then spend 10 minutes trying to wake up”.
For people with the idea that I’m killing all the moderns, well by not killing Hitler aren’t I choosing the same fate for all the people that would have existed in the new time line? It seems at this junction, no matter my choice, I’m playing god with my entire species.

Hitler was a terrible mistake that the world had to learn from at an unimaginably horrible cost. Making it not happen means that the NAZI influence of the 1930s & 40s as a lesson, remains un-learned…and that mankind would advance w/o its knowledge to temper and gage its decision making.
By Surviving Hitler, its like humanity survived with a terrible scar. Its neither pretty nor painless, but by Og you learn from it.

Hitler & the Nazis accomplished so much horror and devastation pre-atomic age. Would anyone make mankind learn these same lessons post atomic age? No matter what group thought it was ‘Master’, repeating these mistakes today or in the future would almost certainly doom all of mankind to extinction.

Win. :smiley:

I don’t kill people.

If one does nothing, the status quo is maintained. It might not be what we like, but it is what we know.

Killing that one man might well have unintended consequences that would make the existing status quo much worse.

Voices in one’s head probably shouldn’t be listened to.

Which is why this thread is a violation.

Subtle differences or not, we frown on posting the same OP twice at generally the same time. You are welcome to continue the discussion in the Great Debates thread; this thread is closed.