What is the best way to...How do you reply a threat by someone with a gun pointed at you, to choose between your father or daughter?

Expert Answers
e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ok, so this is an ethical "brain teaser". I've heard a similar one where there has been a car accident and many people have been injured including your mother, the love of your life, and someone else's baby. When the ambulance comes there is only one seat left and (for some reason) you have to choose who is saved.

Most people choose their mother, in my experience, because of the blood bond. But if you change the scenario so that the baby is your baby, then there is no contest and everyone chooses to save the baby.

In the case choosing to save either my father or my child, I'd save my child. There are two reasons: First, my father has had a chance to live his life and, second, the bond between me and my child is stronger than any other kind of bond. I don't think most people would hesitate, really.

Plus, a father would understand.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
You'd have to think on your feet! It definitely depends on the motives of the person with the gun. I'd say from a practical standpoint your best bet is to not look at the gunman so there is no threat from seeing his face, and let him rob you. As for choosing, how could you live with yourself? Conventional wisdom suggests you save the daughter, because she is younger and has more to live for. But in reality, not many could make the choice and survive it emotionally.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, this is not a very realistic situation since anyone with a gun who really wanted to do this could simply shoot the one I don't choose or shoot both of them or all three of us.

But if we take this seriously, I'd have them shoot my father because it makes more sense to sacrifice the person who has had a long life rather than the one who has her whole life ahead of her.  I'm sure my father would agree.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this is intended to be an ethical or philosophical debate, and I suppose the answer would depend on which philosophical approach you favor. Obviously, a utilitarian would say that the choice should be which person who offers the most to society. I have to say it really is a horrible way to pose this dilemma, though.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These are "scarcity" situations -- only enough resources to....etc.

What's important to note here is not the contentious nature of the decision, but that an attempt would be made to solve the problem as close to satisfactorily for everyone concerned. (I like #4's response best!)


loraaa | Student

I will defend my dad.

najm1947 | Student

In reply to post 6.

In the country I live, the belief in God regarding life & death is so strong that people will pack both in the embulance hoping that both wil be saved. Its a matter of belief and at the same time a desire to save life because only God knows who has to die where.

... And no soul knows in what land it will die.

Surely God is Knowing, Aware. (Quran 31:34)

wanderista | Student

I'd hate to choose between the two, and as post 2 explains, this situation is so unlikely that unless you wish to philosophically debate, it is not worth answering. But I do agree with post 3, I would sacrifice myself in order to save two that I revere and love.

But to make the situation more interesting! Let's say one said this:

Gunman: Choose, your father or daughter!

Me: Y'know, that's a very nice gun you have there. I'll buy it for ... say, five hundred dollars?

Gunman: Oh, sure that's a good deal! *hands gun over*

Me: Thanks! Now, we'll be going, and I'll take that five hundred back, thanks!

najm1947 | Student

My answer will be, If I have an option to save both, Kill me.

It is not a matter of being young are old, it is a matter of saving an innocent life.

Otherwise, I shall try to get hold of him, I am sure the other two will come to help me and in the process if all three of us are gone, I would not mind.

May be it looks stupid, but it has a high probability of overcoming one by three. And as I said, it is for a noble cause, saving an innocent life according to my belief as a Muslim. I have absolutely no right to decide in this case.