Very Crazy Hypothetical Situation (Please Answer)

I think they made a movie like this, anyway here goes…

What if there was an evil man that was responsible for the deaths of millions of people and the only way to stop him and bring all the people he killed back to life was to go back in time and kill the guy before he became evil.
So you go back in time and you have a week to find him and **kill him with ** **your bare hands ** but when you see the evil dictator he is a cute, nice little kid. By the end of the week when it’s time for you to decide if you want to kill him you find out that he takes care of his sick mother and he is a straight A student, all around good kid who through tragedies fell in with the wrong crowd and used his smarts and skills for evil.
The rules are that you cannot bring this kid back with you to the future you would either have to kill him or let him go…99 Per Cent chance I’d let him go.

The movie was The Dead Zone based on Stephen King’s book.

I would have a tough time messing with history, myself. Even horrible history.

Why don’t you just take out the bad crowd, or alter things to prevent the tragedies from occurring?

That’s what I would try to do.

For the record, The Dead Zone (one of my fave flicks) differs from the OP description in some substantial ways:

  • The main character (Christopher Walken, btw, which obviously kicks the movie up a notch) doesn’t go back in time, but rather sees the future and knows what he has to do.
  • He doesn’t have to kill the bad guy (Michael Douglas, btw) with his bare hands. He uses a rifle, but there’s no restriction on killing-method. He could kill him in any way he feels like it, and (spoiler) as it turns out, he doesn’t even kill him, and everything turns out good.
  • The bad guy isn’t a cute nice kid, and he doesn’t take care of a sick mother, and he isn’t a straight A student, etc. He’s not known as being evil, and in fact has good people voting for him who don’t see through his charade, but those in the know (including the movie viewer) know he’s already a very vile person.

Sorry to be obnoxious but…

You’re gonna create a time paradox by taking out the kid in the past. Because if you kill him, he will not grow up and commit all those atrocities which was the original reason for your going back in time to kill him in the first place.

So, what happens (theoretically!!) is that you won’t be going back to kill him, because he never did anything - which leads to the fact that he will survive and live to a grown age and commit the atrocities - which leads to your going back in time to kill him… Repeat forever…

Oh by the way, the theory behind my answer can be found at http://www.mjyoung.net/time/theory.html if anyone is interested.

Oh, and if I were to answer the question anyway, ignoring the time-travelling paradoxes, I’d probably kill him.

The concept was raised a great deal earlier by Doesyoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov, in this passage:

“Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”

In other words- would you base world happiness on the tears of a child?

BTW- the answer was : “No, I wouldn’t consent,” said Alyosha softly.

I’d kill him in the hope that it would stop the killing. However hypocritical and physically impossible that sounds. You never know, perhaps I’d even come back to a significantly altered world… where it rains doughnuts!

Since this is ‘for the record’, the bad guy (Greg Stillson) was played by Martin Sheen.

The first time I had this posed to me was the Hitler question. I assume most have had this one. The obvious answer is you kill him if you’re in the same art class back in Vienna. However, the second question is what the world stage would be concerning the US Europe and Isreal if WWII never happened. It becomes a question of where would we be now without the Holocaust.

Even if you kill the bad kid, there’s no guarentee another equally bad or even worse person won’t take his place. If you went back in time and killed Hitler, maybe another Hitler-type person would emerge who would set in motion the things that Germany needs to develope the first atom bomb.

Best not to mess with the past.