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weeveeship's avatar

What would you do in this hypothetical situation?

Asked by weeveeship (4363 points ) April 30th, 2014

(This is a hypothetical question inspired by the events of AvX. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers_vs._X-Men . Of course, I made the facts more realistic.)

Hypothetical Facts
Suppose you have a teenage child. Your child is known to be a bit rebellious but your child otherwise follows the law (to your knowledge anyways).

One night, two police officers knock on your door. One officer shows you his badge (it is legit) and tells you that your child poses an imminent threat to the community. The officer tells you that he has credible information that your child is involved in a terrorist conspiracy to blow up certain buildings around town within a few days, which is likely to cause countless deaths and injuries. You ask the police officer for proof, but the officer says that he has credible information that he does not need to divulge to you at this time.

The officer gives you two choices: (1) Hand over your child, the suspected terrorist, for questioning and possibly prosecution or (2) Not hand over your child and he will arrest you for harboring a criminal suspect.

What would you do in this situation? (Note that your child has overheard the whole conversation and has a decent chance of escaping if you stall the officers).

Note Please do not answer on grounds of the U.S. Constitution. Assume this is in some random society.

Variation
Suppose that your neighbor overheard your discussion with the police and rushes out. You and your neighbor have been friends for years. He has proved himself trustworthy in the past. Your neighbor tells you that he also has a strong hunch that your child is involved in a terrorist conspiracy, though your neighbor could not give you any details on why he has such a hunch. Does that affect how you react to this situation at all?

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16 Answers

fluthernutter's avatar

If they have a warrant, I’d call a lawyer and accompany them. If they have no warrant, no way.

Do you mean some random society where you have no faith in the system?

If my neighbor also refuses to share information, any trust would be quickly going dine the chute.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I’ld lie about the kids whereabouts and send them on a wild goose chase. Then I would take the kid(s) with me and go somewhere safe until I could make an informed move.

flutherother's avatar

The choice is whether to let your child be arrested or for you both to be arrested. I would opt for the latter.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Outside the context of at least some specific legal framework, the question makes no sense. What law are the “police” upholding? What is the legal basis for their ability to arrest you, or even question you? Without a specific legal authority, they are not police, just armed thugs. There’s no such thing as a “legit” badge for random armed housebreakers.

With that said, I guess I’d just let the kid take care of the situation; after all she’s the one with the superpowers, right?

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

My kid would go face the accusations. They would never get the truth from her without my help though, I am the only one who can pry from her any details she decides to hide. I know this from experience, after dealing with things which have happened at her schools. When she was in kindergarten, she once found a book of matches at the park near our home, and took tghem to school. She and some friends fired them off at recess. Her teacher saw nher put something in her pocket, and asked what she had. My daughter produced an empty Tic Tac box, and the teacher left it at that. I picked her up after school and nothing was said to me. By the time we got home, I could tell something was eating her. I grilled her, Finally she produced the matchbook, which held on unused match. I talked with the teacher the next day,telling her about the matches, recess, and the names of the other girls. My daughter had been feeling guilty because one of her friends got burned a little, and was afraid to tell. I also called the other mothers and let them know. They all agreed I had done the right thing. A meeting was held in the office at my request. The school cop was present. He told me the teacher could not search my daughter’s pockets, even if she had known of the matches. I was shocked. It was a potential danger to kids and property. I gave my consent on the spot. I told the teacher if she ever felt my daughter was holding something forbidden, to shake her down, then call and tell me what she found.
I teach right, wrong, and respect for authority. I am raising my daughter to be a functional member of society, not my cuddly pet. If she does wrong, she will face the music. I equal that by celebrating her accomplishments, and encourage her pursuits.

jca's avatar

I haven’t read the previous answers.

I would, of course, be going anywhere they take my child. I would also immediately call a lawyer.

ragingloli's avatar

I would demand to see the arrest warrant before I do anything.

Cruiser's avatar

I’d tell him to pound sand and demand to see the evidence.

hearkat's avatar

Without a warrant for arrest and/or search, I’d tell the officer that I’ll inform my child that he is wanted for questioning the next time I see him and I’d close the door. I’d make sure all the doors and windows are closed and locked and that the blinds are drawn. I’d talk to my son and if he were not home, I’d tell him to get somewhere safe ASAP; then I’d call a lawyer.

ibstubro's avatar

My short answer is: I’d hand over the kid and call my cousin, a prominent attorney. The welfare of the public trumps any personal attachment.

Of course, I’m assuming that these are federal marshals, since it’s a terrorist threat. If it was the local frick and frack, I’d just close and lock the interior door – the glass door never having been unlocked. Come back with someone that can make some impression on me.

I’d tell the neighbor that if he has solid proof, it’s the federal authorities he should be talking to, not me. If I had a clue that my kid was involved, I would have already turned them in. If I have no clue, I’m not going to confront them on the basis of a rumor.

jca's avatar

@hearkat: If this hypothetical situation were true, locking your doors and windows probably wouldn’t work as they might knock the door in with the battering ram.

filmfann's avatar

I honestly don’t know.
When I caught my daughter in my garage with a mobile drug lab, I kicked her out, but I didn’t call the cops.

hearkat's avatar

@jca: Understood – and that applies to all others who have responded, as well. However, if this is happening in a civilized society, I will not turn over my child without a warrant, and will seal up my home do so to protect my privacy and communications that are occurring within.

In the real world, my son was never under suspicion and investigated, he was simply caught in the act of being a stupid kid, and he faced the consequences of his actions. The officers and court officials were professional and pleasant, as were my son and I.

talljasperman's avatar

Depends if I like the kid or not… If I don’t I would appreciate the time to my self and turn the brat in… If I like him then I would gladly go to jail on his behalf and I would even help him out anyway I can.

jca's avatar

@hearkat: You’re getting your door knocked down.

weeveeship's avatar

Thanks for your responses. Very interesting!

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