Moral Maze


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NewYork
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Anyone can post a topic, but obviously wait a day, or until conversation has died (whichever takes longer) before changing the subject. :)


To begin:

Should we negotiate with hostage takers/kidnappers?
What if the hostage was a loved one (your kid, your partner, etc.)
If you answered differently, why?
#1 at 18:55:35 - 04/03/2010
Syrok
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Hmm, interesting thread. :)

Will think about an answer.
#2 at 19:08:58 - 04/03/2010
Spin Dr Wolf
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Good question, however since you asked should you negotiate with kidnappers as opposed to capitulate then yes. Simply giving in to their demands shows that the process works, by negotiating and possibly reaching a compromise then at least its not just bowing down to the threat of force. Of course if the oppertunity to eliminate or neutralise the hostage takers with minimal or better yet no danger to the hostages then that has to be considered.

I think my answer would still stand even for a loved one.

The above though is assuming a relatively organized or large scale event. If it was more knife to the throat for a wallet mugging type affair. I would hand over my wallet.
However if i suspected that violence would follow anyway or saw an oppertunity to take on the mugger then i quite possibly would. Only though as a calculated risk if i thought there was good reason to think i would win, which i should be able to do reasonably objectively having a very good understanding of my combat abilities. :D
#3 at 20:12:21 - 04/03/2010
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I won't change the question as I don't want to "move the goalposts", as it were, but you make the good point that perhaps "negotiate" wasn't the word I was looking for. Or, at least, I mean negotiate as in "arrange concessions to", rather than "reason with".

I am thinking more of "should ransom ever be paid" and "bearing this in mind, would you pay the ransom for a loved one".

The story I base this on is that of the 5-year-old British boy who was kidnapped in Pakistan for a 100,000 ransom. It was noted on 5 Live that while the British government would turn their heads away from paying the ransom, the Pakistani government can't rule it out.

Meanwhile, the family themselves can't pay the ransom, though I wonder if they would, if they could.

Another good example is this one: Ransom paid to free Danish ship, in which "the owners of a Danish cargo ship seized by Somali pirates in June paid a ransom to secure its return. A spokesman said the Danish government was disappointed, but understood why the Danica White's owners had paid for the release of the ship and its five crew."

Again, here we see the government unwilling to pay ransom, but those with an interest in the hostages paying up.


And, yeah, those are grand-scale examples in which the government plays a part.
#4 at 20:33:39 - 04/03/2010
Spin Dr Wolf
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Theres no practical way any government can adopt a policy of paying ransoms in those situations though. By doing so they would dramatically increase the risk factor for all their nationals travelling in 'dangerous' areas of the world. Also i would expect that it would lead to a deluge of kidnappings on the homeland, with the expectation of the government stumping up.
#5 at 11:28:45 - 05/03/2010
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Yeah, I agree. I think the first question is a no-brainer: if you pay ransoms, it just makes the situation worse for everybody.

So governments shouldn't.

But should individuals with an interest in the kidnap-ee pay ransom? Would you pay the ransom if it was your kid kidnapped out in Pakistan, and you had the means to do so? :)
#6 at 12:05:41 - 05/03/2010
Spin Dr Wolf
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Assuming i was rich and able to pay back the ransom, then i might if they convinced me i would get whoever it was. Although i would be tempted to do a Mel Gibson and put double the ransom as a bounty on the return of my loved one and the kidnappers head.
#7 at 12:15:35 - 05/03/2010
peej
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Heh I was just thinking the very same (about that film).

#8 at 12:17:35 - 05/03/2010
Syrok
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Bump!

Here is the situation (stolen from a podcast):
The village you live in is attacked by soldiers with orders to kill everyone. You, your family and the whole village is hiding in a house. The problem is that your baby might start crying or coughing at any point. So you have the choice between killing your baby and saving everyone else or not killing your baby in which case everyone could die.
In short, would you kill your baby if doing so would save lives?
#9 at 17:51:22 - 17/05/2010
peej
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See this big wobbly 50ft barge pole? I'm not even touching that philosophical debate with it.
#10 at 18:21:28 - 17/05/2010
HairyArse
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Well I'd keep it alive until it starting warbling then I'd put my hand over its mouth, pinching its nostrils together, while looking away until it stopped twitching.
#11 at 19:02:15 - 17/05/2010
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Without getting into all that "well I would take option C" business, if those are my choices, the baby's gonna die either way, so, sadly, yeah. I'd kill the baby. :(
#12 at 20:17:40 - 17/05/2010
Micro_Explosion
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I would be a baby killer on the assumption that:

1) My wife is young enough to have more children
2) There is no way of getting my wife and the child out of there, even if I distract the army
3) I'm not Rambo
4) I don't have a spaceship that I can send him to a far off planet with where he becomes that planet's greatest hope
#13 at 20:35:51 - 17/05/2010

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