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The Overcrowded Lifeboat

BrianD3 2011/06/16 12:36:14
Related Topics: Drown, Killing, Storm, Jury


In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain's decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. On the other hand, if the captain attempted to save some, he could do so only by killing others and their deaths would be his responsibility; this would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die. The captain rejected this reasoning. Since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the captain decided that the weakest would have to be sacrificed. In this situation it would be absurd, he thought, to decide by drawing lots who should be thrown overboard. As it turned out, after days of hard rowing, the survivors were rescued and the captain was tried for his action. If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided?
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  • KoAm 2011/06/16 13:13:51
    KoAm
    +4
    Oooookay ... I've never heard of a lifeboat that's designed to only hold 7 people, but ...

    Another thing is, this situation would have never happened in the first place, because there's no way that many people would be allowed to even overcrowd a lifeboat like that to begin with.

    Finally, once someone is on board -- whether it's a ship or a lifeboat -- you never, ever throw them overboard. Never, under any circumstances. You take turns in the lifeboat until rescue comes -- you have some people hang out in the water near the boat till they get tired, then they switch places with someone in the boat.

    And if a storm comes ... oh well, that's life. At sea, you never cast someone overboard in the name of saving others. You prevent that situation from happening in the first place. Or, you deal with it the best you can till help arrives -- WITHOUT deliberately killing someone.

    As such, the captain should be found guilty.

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Opinions

  • Nam Era Vet #1 DNA TLC 2011/07/17 21:07:04
    Nam Era Vet #1 DNA TLC
    +2
    Jen was correct in what she said. You never trow anyone overboard
  • wtw 2011/07/17 20:54:18
    wtw
    +2
    Guilty and charged with negligence for allowing more than 7 to get on the life boat in the first place. The first call of the sea is to save woman and children first.
  • K-ZOOMI-----0 2011/07/17 20:48:08 (edited)
    K-ZOOMI-----0
    +1
    Military upbringing. He would be "Not-Guilty". He did what was necessary for the most to survive.
  • jams 2011/07/17 15:15:26
    jams
    +2
    Not guilty.
  • Racefish 2011/06/16 16:02:13
    Racefish
    +3
    I would have gone with a "not guilty" verdict. This is no different than being in a war when some troops are told to guard the rear and are over-run.
  • Cheetah 2011/06/16 15:50:15
    Cheetah
    +2
    Why does this story remind me of Michelle Obama ?
  • Keith 2011/06/16 13:39:21
  • Golden Ratio 2011/06/16 13:19:07
    Golden Ratio
    +3
    The captain would have been the one I would have thrown overbord, so there would be no trial, and no jury.
    Those who play God deserve to be nailed on the cross.
  • KoAm 2011/06/16 13:13:51
    KoAm
    +4
    Oooookay ... I've never heard of a lifeboat that's designed to only hold 7 people, but ...

    Another thing is, this situation would have never happened in the first place, because there's no way that many people would be allowed to even overcrowd a lifeboat like that to begin with.

    Finally, once someone is on board -- whether it's a ship or a lifeboat -- you never, ever throw them overboard. Never, under any circumstances. You take turns in the lifeboat until rescue comes -- you have some people hang out in the water near the boat till they get tired, then they switch places with someone in the boat.

    And if a storm comes ... oh well, that's life. At sea, you never cast someone overboard in the name of saving others. You prevent that situation from happening in the first place. Or, you deal with it the best you can till help arrives -- WITHOUT deliberately killing someone.

    As such, the captain should be found guilty.
  • BrianD3 KoAm 2011/06/16 13:31:40
    BrianD3
    +2
    great post, thanks
  • KoAm BrianD3 2011/06/16 13:32:35
    KoAm
    +2
    Thanks. I'm a Coastie. Or, was.
  • BrianD3 KoAm 2011/06/16 13:38:07
    BrianD3
    +2
    I am ex-Navy. If I had it to do over I would pick the Coast Guard. It seems they are engaged in activities more often that actually have a positive impact.
  • KoAm BrianD3 2011/06/16 13:41:08
    KoAm
    +3
    Wow -- interesting because if I had to do it over, I'd maybe pick the Navy. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Or in our case, the water is bluer.
  • BrianD3 KoAm 2011/06/16 14:21:11
    BrianD3
    +2
    In the Navy we deploy on a 6 month cruise and see cool places and support ops that hopefully have some meaning so that good. But it is hard to see the big picture sometime.

    I think as a Coastie, there would often be different things from one day to the next. One day could be rescuing an overconfident boater, another day could be interdicting druggies....seems a more hands on and direct way to do some good.
  • KoAm BrianD3 2011/06/17 00:23:03
    KoAm
    +2
    You're right. I may not have appreciated it at the time, but looking back, I'm glad I did it.
  • Racefish KoAm 2011/06/16 16:03:54
    Racefish
    +2
    We had bigger boats too.
  • Katherine KoAm 2011/06/16 18:52:21
    Katherine
    +2
    Well, that was basically going to be my answer so I just thumbed you up.
  • Huki68 2011/06/16 13:11:40
    Huki68
    +3
    Neither money nor appeals to sentiment can buy your life when the cost of maintaining it threatens the life of the one whom you would bribe. I will do what I needed to do to survive. remember the coin of your life, don't let anyone decided or lure you just because they said it is ok and moral thing to do.
  • BrianD3 Huki68 2011/06/16 13:35:59
    BrianD3
    +3
    I am unsure what I would do.
  • Huki68 BrianD3 2011/06/16 13:46:21
    Huki68
    +1
    Understand.

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