At what point would you ask not to be rescued?
You are captured and scheduled for execution. You believe it’s going to happen.
You receive a communication from your government. They are ready to launch a military strike which they are sure will rescue you and kill no one but the bad guys. However, they estimate that the chances that the armed action will start a war is 50/50. If there is a war, they believe the expected number of casualties to be 10,000 dead. These estimates match your expectations. The dead will be people in another country. None of them is responsible in any way for your predicament.
You can return a message to your government, but it’s limited to one of these two:
“Yes, rescue me.”
“No, do not rescue me.”
You can also decide not to respond.
Again if you are not rescued, you are certain you will die.
Which choice would you make under each of the following circumstances:
- You are alone.
- The person with whom you would most likely be traveling is in the next cell and will share your fate, whatever it is.
- 20 of your closest family members will share your fate.
- 100 of your country folk will share your fate.
- 1,000 people from all over the world – all held captive like you – will share your fate.
What do you do?