When the legal outcome conflicts with the moral outcome

Active Response TrainingWhen you walk into the gas station today, you see that Tina is being held at gunpoint by an armed robber. The robber appears agitated. You think he might actually shoot Tina in the face as she fumbles to open the cash register drawer.

The robber does not see you. You are armed and close enough to the robber that you can hit him with your CCW gun very easily. Tina’s life is very clearly being threatened by a crazed robber armed with a deadly weapon.

Would you shoot the robber?

I’m betting that a lot more of my readers would answer “yes” to the shooting question than would write Tina a $50,000 check for her medical procedure.

Yet if you shoot someone, you risk being arrested and sentenced to a long prison term. You risk lawsuits from the person you shot, the business where the shooting occurred, and any innocent bystanders who were “traumatized” by your actions. Your legal expenses and bail money will very easily surpass the $50,000 mark.

I've seen similar analogies before. In today's society, the smart thing to do is protect yourself and yours; unless you are a police officer with a certain amount of professional immunity, you're better off not acting until your own life or that of your family is at risk.

But ... people don't like that. That doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel moral. It discourages morally correct action, which is to save that life if you can. And the idea that saving that life -- assuming you read the situation accurately -- will cost you $50,000 or more just for society to agree that you did the right thing is seen as both immoral and (unless you have explicitly thought about it ahead of time) unpredictable.

It's an imperfection in our legal system that the heroic course of action can be very costly. But perhaps that's why we call them heroes.

This entry was published Tue Mar 26 07:47:19 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2019-03-26 07:47:19.0. [Tweet]

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