Monday, August 10, 2009

Life in shades of gray

Okay, so I slacked off yesterday and didn't get around to this like I had wanted to. As I said a few days ago I want to write about how I don't live in a world of black and white and what that means. Most people believe in a world of black and white, where some things are always right and other things are always wrong.

The quickest example of what I mean by this is: "Thou shall not kill." Now I'm not getting into a religious debate about the ten commandments. Its just a fun way of pointing out that most people believe it is always wrong to kill another person no matter the reasons. To which my first response is always, "What if I'm a soldier in a war? Is it still wrong for me to kill another person, if that person is an enemy to my nation and is trying to do it harm?" Or on a more personal level, "If some one breaks into my house intent on doing harm to my family, is it still wrong for me to kill them to defend myself and my family if that is the only way I can stop them?"

Now every one has to make up their own minds to answer these questions. I have no interest in forcing my answers upon you as though I have the right answer for everyone. What I am trying to point out is that while it may be wrong to kill a person 99% of the time, that still leaves 1% of the time were it may, and I would like to stress that may, be not only reasonable but the right thing to do in that situation.

Situational ethics I believe its called. But whatever you call it, to me there is never one right action that is always 100% right in 100% situation. Just like there is never a wrong action that is always wrong in all situations. All actions depend upon the variables of the situation. And ultimately its up to one's own morality to choose what he or she feels is the right thing to do in a given situation.

So given my belief that all actions should be judged within the context of the situation for which they happened, I do not agree with the modern legal system, or any historical legal systems that I've heard of for that matter, as it prescribes to the idea that certain things are always wrong no matter what the situation. Now I know its suppose to fall to a judge or jury to judge not only the actions but the intent behind those actions, but to me it seems like people have forgotten this and look at merely the actions, or sadly it so often seems that juries decide a person's fate based on totally unrelated things like the color of a person's skin or other prejudices that have no bearing on the situation.

So does that mean I don't believe there should be any laws? No. I believe that laws are a good thing, but like all things can be twisted so that what was meant to be good and meant to protect people can instead do harm and destroy the lives and happiness of the people it was suppose to protect. I believe that juries need to be better educated about their responsibilities as deciders of a person's fate. That is a heavy responsibility that to many seem to take to lightly. I believe laws should be written with more wiggle room for judges and juries to take in the variables of the situation and not merely judge a person on the action itself. Is stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving child the same illegal act as stealing a person's belongings to sell for drug money or personal gain?

No comments:

Post a Comment