How many of you have seen the horror/thriller movie “Saw” and/or its sequels? If so, you probably know where this article and experiment are going and what spawned this morbid pondering. If you have not seen it, have no fear for it’s unnecessary. I’ll refresh your memory or explain it to you for the first time.
This idea was spawned after watching “Saw” and an 80s “Twilight Zone” episode. First, in the opening scenes of the “Saw” films, a person awakens to a dark, gritty room, seemingly alone. But, after the person looks around a bit, they see that they are not alone. They see another unconscious person lying on a table. After the person’s stupor wears off, they feel a heavy metal contraption locked around their head and jaw. Suddenly, a voice comes from a speaker or tape recorder. The voice proceeds to tell the person that the device on their head is set on a twenty minute timer. When the timer reaches zero it will trigger the device to snap open and rip their jaw apart from their head and, most likely, kill them. There is a key but it has been placed and sewn inside the unconscious stranger beside you. In order to save themself, the person needs to reach inside the stranger’s chest and get the key and unlock the “bear trap” on their head. To aid them in the fatal surgery, a scalpel has been generously given to them.
This got me to thinking the obvious question which is what would I do if I were placed in that situation? Would I have the nerve to “kill” a stranger for my own self-survival? I believe I would.
This scenario has endless variations. One big variation is what if you ere in the room with the unconscious stranger and the person with the device on their head is a friend, relative (mother, father, aunt, uncle, nephew, cousin son, daughter, etc) or loved one (wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend). For one reason or another (either the person you kno s unconscious, chained down or can’t stomache it), they aren’t able to rip the stranger’s chest open and kill them to get the key. It’s up to you to perform the task. Could you do it? To save a friend or loved one? I’d seriously consider it but it’d depend on several actors.
Most importantly is the stranger’s age. If the stranger is just a child, I’d be more prone not to do it. If the stranger is elderly (say over 65), I’d probably whack the old goat (oops, that’s my sinister alterego there!). If the stranger is in their twenties to forties, I’d need to think it through more.
Another factor is the age or health of my friend or loved one. If they’re over 65, I’d probably let them go and save the stanger by not performing the surgery. Of course, this factor is also dependent on the age of the stranger.
Basically, I’d need to weigh the options and make a judgement call as to whose life (stranger or loved one) is worth more. That’s acting as God you say? Well, if you do nothing, someone will die. If you do the surgery, someone will die. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!
Further variations can include different types of dangers such as poison with the vial of anedote inside the stranger. Or it could just be that you need to shoot the stranger with a gun or give the okay to have oters kill the stranger or your loved one. But the method of killing or device or danger is unimportant. What is important is that you must decide who must die and who will live, either acting on the part of your loved one or to save yourself.
The 80s “Twilight Zone” episode posed a slightly different question. In the episode, a poor couple receive a ooden box with a button. A man in a dark suit stops by and explains that if they press the button, a signal will be sent and “someone they do not know” will be killed and they will receive a million dollars. After das of deliberaton, they decide to press it. They’re given a million dollars but unbeknowst to the couple, the box is offered to another person (a stranger) and if he presses it, one of the couple is the “someone they do not know”. Just desserts.
That episode offers money for murder but can just as well be a boxed pressed to kill a stranger in order to save a loved one.
This brings me to the experiment aspect of this article. I’ve given this tons of thought, now it’s your turn. Remember to be answer honestly. It’s a question of morals, civility, acting as God and survival. There can be only one…survivor!
Could you kill a stranger to save yourself or loved one?