Social Question

6rant6's avatar

If people were allowed one get of jail free card, how many would commit murder?

Asked by 6rant6 (13690points) January 26th, 2012

Imagine that for some profound and well-reasoned purpose every person was allowed to kill one other person without any kind of criminal prosecution.

The new law says that you can’t sell your right to kill someone or become a contract hit person.

There’s nothing that says that if you kill your ex, that her/his mother won’t kill you and get off. So there are still consequences. Also, once you use your chit, you can’t defend or avenge others. I think there would be reason to be scared, chitless.

How do you think this might affect everyday human interactions? How many people do you think would avail themselves of the right?

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35 Answers

raven860's avatar

Does it not go without saying? Disorder and decline of civilization in my opinion.

6rant6's avatar

@raven860 I don’t see that.

Alternate scenarios would include the worst people being gone, and everyone being more civil, not knowing the chit status of strangers.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s difficult to quantify, but this is a good question because it asks an almost impossible answer: are people generally good? I personally have no desire for violence or chaos. I want a boring and normal life, and I’m sure many others do as well, but we’ve all seen people with questionable ethics and thought processes, so who knows how they would act.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Solution for overpopulation?

I think most people would still keep their moral backbones intact.

6rant6's avatar

@Blackberry Clearly society does not label people as bad just because they have killed someone. I imagine that “good” people would use the chit for “good” purposes. Killing is applauded as part of waging war. Perhaps people would applaud it being used to stop war – or child abuse, et cetera.

6rant6's avatar

@Keep_on_running Overpopulation was actually part of why I came up with this. The other part is that clearly there are people whose lives decrease the overall quotient of “happiness” or “life quality” or some such. I was thinking this might be a way to sort out the worst cabbages.

rebbel's avatar

Those free cards already exist, they are called (legal) euthanasia.

DaphneT's avatar

I think that it wouldn’t change that much, not with those rules. Those who will, will.

bkcunningham's avatar

Wasn’t there a movie based on this premise?

6rant6's avatar

@DaphneT You don’t think there’s one person out there who hasn’t killed someone who did them or a family member harm because they feared the legal consequences?

raven860's avatar

@6rant6

Okay alternative scenario can be a decrease in crime. Since people would be less interested to wrng thers knowing they could get killed for it.

Berserker's avatar

I’d save my get out of jail card in case a really shitty situation popped up. Say I had to defend myself against an asailant and accidentally killed them, or killed someone intentionally because I figured it was the only way to secure my safety in the midst of the panic. Or any situation like that, where you probably don’t even plan it out, get too scared and go all berserker style. People get prison time for severely hurting or even killing people that attack them, or even fucking up peeps who break into their homes…I’d save my card for something like that, instead of using it to dispose of someone I don’t like, or for seeing what it’s like to kill a person. Would probably just fuck me up anyways. XD
If Imma commit murder and get all traumatized, might as well be productive about it lol.

6rant6's avatar

@bkcunningham Was there? It’s quite possible I thought I was making it up when I was really remembering it.

chyna's avatar

If I had had a gun in my car this morning, I’d probably have shot the idiot that almost tore my bumper off to wedge in front of me in a space that was less than a car link between me and the car ahead of me on the interstate doing 70. So it’s a good thing I don’t have a gun permit and I would use my get out of jail free card on a flash of road rage. Not a good thing.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m not a big modern movie goer to be honest, @6rant6. But wasn’t there a movie, perhaps within the past five years, that involved a black box that had a button that, when pushed, randomly killed someone?

6rant6's avatar

@chyna Possibly that person would have driven more cautiously in my alternative world?

6rant6's avatar

@bkcunningham Oh, yeah, The Box. Totally different premise.

saint's avatar

I doubt if people in general are champing at the bit to commit murder, but only inhibited by the threat of imprisonment.
Clearly if it were true, then, in a democracy there would be intense legislative pressure to make murder a misdemeanor.

bkcunningham's avatar

Sorry for the interruption, @6rant6, with the movie thing.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Mwahahahahaha! No comment! : )

6rant6's avatar

@saint I don’t follow that at all. People don’t get to sleep with Angelina or Brad (or Angelina and Brad). Where is the “Intense legislative pressure” to make it happen? I’m sure you can come up with any number of illegal activities which would take place if people had the option.

People do kill other people, sometimes “righteously.” Certainly some people who haven’t done it would do it if punishment weren’t a factor. Don’t you think?

saint's avatar

@6rant6
If people were inclined to commit murder, then in a democracy they would express this inclination through their votes and eventually the laws would reflect their inclination to commit murder. Truth is, most people abhor murder, and in democracies the laws generally reflect this.
How can I make it more clear?

6rant6's avatar

@saint I hope I’m not putting too fine a point on it, but “inclined” isn’t very precise.

People support killing. Look at the support for armed intervention around the world and for the death penalty. People applaud police who kill bad guys in the line of duty, even though they sometimes create situations that can only be quelled with violence.

People support “killing in self defense” and in general support the broadening of the definition of “self defense.”

Seems to me it just takes a little marketing to make it palatable.

saint's avatar

@6rant6
Those things you mentioned aren’t murder. Since you mentioned jail, I assumed you meant a legal context. The law defines murder. Killing on the battlefield or defending your own life are not described by the term murder.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I think that it is actually in a person’s best interest not to kill anyone because it is their ability to kill someone if needed that will give them power. Once you do kill someone, then you are defenseless against those who have not.

There will be several groups of people, including one large group that will never kill anyone and a whole bunch of little sects that join together to defend themselves against other sects. Between those killing sects, the one with the most legal kills will be the most powerful. After a person in a sect has killed someone they may either be dropped from the sect to become an almost certain victim of revenge, or will be put into protection by that sect.

For the innocent population, the best protection is to separate themselves from the sects, possibly by forming a new country. Hmm… form a law allowing murder, allow innocence/peaceful people to break away, thereby removing those criminals in order to form a better society for those who broke away.

Most people are probably not in the category of “willing to commit murder except for punishment”. If people liked other people being able to murder, then any murder laws would have never gotten put in place to begin with.

DaphneT's avatar

@6rant6, there are a lot of people out there who have not killed someone because of the consequences. I don’t think that will change. I found your rules confusing, so I would opt to not do anything until I understood. I’d probably be dead by then.

6rant6's avatar

@PhiNotPi I agre with much of what you’ve written. I think the separating into sects is a little far fetched, exactly because of your last paragraph.

@saint Murder, killing… you say tomatoes… This fatuous argument is used to sanctify all kinds of killing.

It is merely a legal definition. If it’s not against the law, it’s technically not murder. So in my world, it wouldn’t be murder to kill your one.

augustlan's avatar

I can’t imagine very many people don’t commit murder currently, only because of the legal consequences. Maybe a very few have that as their only reason for not killing someone. I guess those few people would jump at the chance to kill someone ‘legally’. The rest of us would just carry on as usual, not killing people because we don’t actually want to kill people in the first place.

6rant6's avatar

@augustlan Well, it would be a once in a lifetime event. So it’s not about being on the verge all the time, really, as much as it is acting out in exigent circumstances.

I think a lot of people will admit to feeling rage strong enough to do another person harm. Hell, let’s be honest, parents hurt their kids, people fight in bars, and road rage is out there every day. It’s reason that keeps them from doing the ultimate damage. I’m just wondering how much this one reason, the legal consequences, keeps a lid on behavior. Perhaps the legal issue makes people feel less in control of their lives and more prone to rage and more prone to killing someone. I’m not saying that’s the majority case. But it could happen.

Berserker's avatar

Auggie does have a point though. Take serial killers for example, they kill people like as if it’s normal. Some get caught, some don’t, and while many will consider the law when they kill, usually not to get caught…that there is law doesn’t stop them. I don’t think we’re all potential murderers, when looking at actual murderers.

Still, the law doesn’t exist for nothing either…

6rant6's avatar

@Symbeline Clearly some people are deterred by the threat of punishment and some are not.

There’s also the aura affect of something being illegal. Some people think of themselves as law-abiding. Changing the status of the act would allow those people to maintain that perception of themselves. As I pointed out above, killing is widely supported; it’s just calling it something other than murder and marketing well that makes the difference.

Berserker's avatar

Yeah, that’s true. Giving it a different definition based on an ’‘acceptable’’ intent/reason certainly goes a long way. :/

PhiNotPi's avatar

@6rant6 When I envisioned sects, I was thinking about something along the lines of how modern day gangs work, since sects can involve more than religion.

6rant6's avatar

@PhiNotPi I think it would be more like divorce. If you’re the first one in your group to do it, people distance themselves. Otherwise they act odd toward you for a while and then things go back to normal. But you don’t realign on the basis of whether you plan to get divorced.

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