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6rant6's avatar

At what point would you ask not to be rescued?

Asked by 6rant6 (13619 points ) August 24th, 2012

Hypothetical situation:

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.”
or
“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?

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11 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I’m over 50 now, I have fulfilled my lifes destiny, it’s been a good run, and while I don’t have a death wish and am a lover of life, meh…just shoot me and save the younger people so they can keep reproducing more idiots that start more wars. At least my sacrifice will put that burden on someone else. lololol

6rant6's avatar

@Coloma Did you read the whole question? There are different scenarios.

Supacase's avatar

For only me, I would say do not rescue me.

If my daughter was the person in the next cell, I would say yes, rescue us.

I honestly don’t know what I would do regarding my family. My family members would be be alive, but will they be treated well or live a life of torture?

For all other scenarios, I would not respond. There is not enough information and it is not for me to arbitrarily decide anyone’s fate. Yes, even my own family’s, but I can’t deny the emotional connection and I know very well it would influence my decision.

King_Pariah's avatar

Alone? Don’t rescue me
Person I’d most likely be traveling with? I wonder how they’d kill Nemo. Don’t rescue me
20 closest family member? Sadly, there are three I care for. Rescue me
100 of my countryfolk? Sadly, I realize – as improbable as it may be – at least one of them could make an important and valuable impression upon the lives of the few people who I care for. Rescue me.
1,000 people from all around the world? Look at previous statement.

rooeytoo's avatar

My life is as important and valuable as anyones is. Rescue me.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I’m DNR so if I’m alone you can probably tell.
If there is anyone else…........ tough call.

Bellatrix's avatar

I actually don’t believe we can know what decision we would make until we are in this place, but I hope I would do the following.

- You are alone. Do not rescue me. My life is not worth the many who could die as a result of rescuing me.

- The person with whom you would most likely be traveling is in the next cell and will share your fate, whatever it is. It would pain me desperately but unless for some reason I believed the other person’s life would result in a significant loss to humanity in some way, I would say don’t rescue us.

- 20 of your closest family members will share your fate. Now it gets hard. I don’t think I could say ‘kill 20 people I love’. I would want them rescued.

- 100 of your country folk will share your fate. As above.

- 1,000 people from all over the world – all held captive like you – will share your fate. As above.

Symbeline's avatar

I’d go for the option that has less people killed, which means I’d have to die, along with others. Of course, that’s easy to say, knowing that this is never going to happen to me. Prolly sing a different tune if I did find myself in this predicament. I’m an asshole, now save me, you damn government.

Realistically speaking though, I’d ninja my way out of there, kill all the bad guys and slam some justice down up in this hood, of course.

augustlan's avatar

Obviously, I can’t know for sure. Ideally, I would opt for no rescue in all circumstances, since fewer lives would be lost in any of those scenarios. But, here’s what I think I would actually do:

Me alone: Don’t rescue me.

Me and my traveling companion: I’d discuss the decision with him (my husband) first, and I’m nearly 100% positive we’d both opt for no rescue. If he disagreed, and I had to make the final call, I’d say no rescue.

Beyond that, I would not respond. I’d be paralyzed by the idea of trying to decide for all of those other people.

ucme's avatar

This is the self preservation society….get your skates on mate!!

6rant6's avatar

I wanted to thank those of you who actually took on this question in all of its parts. You’re all right that we can’t know what we would do, but that’s not the point; it’s just to think about. I do appreciate your reflections.

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