Is the lottery, as a collective act of murder, morally justified?

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The lottery system from "A Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is an act of murder rather than euthanasia, suicide, or capital punishment.

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Morally is defined, by Merriam-Webster, as

relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior; expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior; or a conforming to a standard of right behavior.

This being said, one could justify that the collective murder which takes place in Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," could be morally justified.

In regards to the society, and surrounding societies, the lottery is the "right thing to do" according to the townspeople. They live by the rule "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon." The townspeople believe that the lottery is conducted according to a "standard of right behavior." Those who have been part of the community since its establishment, and born into the community, have conformed to the annual ceremony. They simply take part because it is part of their history and part of their culture.

While not many speak out against the lottery, ending the lottery has certainly been discussed. The only time the lottery really comes under fire is by the one who "wins" the lottery. That being said, Tessie does not actually speak out against the lottery itself; instead, she simply states that the drawing was not fair. No one seems to be troubled by the fact that the winner ends up being stoned to death.

Therefore, one could easily justify that all see the lottery as a part of "right behavior." The lottery has been around longer than many of the citizens have been alive. It is simply a part of their culture.

Outside of that, one could argue that the communal murder is not morally justified. Today, many would have a large issue with a person being stoned to death for crops. Unfortunately, not all countries would agree with it being wrong. There are still many countries which stone people today.

As of September 2010, stoning is a punishment that is included in the laws in seven countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and some states in Nigeria.

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Can the lottery be seen as a collective act of murder?

If the question is asking about the possibility of viewing the lottery system from Jackson's short story as collective murder, then I say the answer is yes.  I think the societal stoning to death of Tessie could be viewed as murder.  The town collectively works together and intentionally kills someone.  That sounds like murder to me.  

I suppose that a claim could be made that the lottery is not murder though.  Everybody in the town voluntarily participates in the archaic tradition.  Tessie knows that she has a chance of dying before the drawing even starts.  I suppose the claim could be made that it's not murder because, in a way, Tessie volunteered to die.  

I don't believe euthanasia is a possibility.  That's a "mercy killing."  Tessie is not suffering from anything; therefore, killing her doesn't relieve her of any pain.  I don't believe the lottery is suicide either.  Tessie might be participating in the lottery, but she most certainly does not want her life to end. 

"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.

I also don't believe the lottery system represents a justifiable form of capital punishment.  Capital punishment is the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime.  The lottery system from the story is definitely the legal authorization of killing someone; however, Tessie didn't commit any crimes.  If she didn't commit a crime, then capital punishment doesn't apply.  

Considering the above options of exactly what Tessie's death should be called, I believe that murder is the best choice of the group. It's even premeditated.  People show up to the lottery with rocks and stones picked out. They all know that if their name is not picked, they get to throw stones at a person until that person is dead.  Their actions are not accidental.  It's not manslaughter or even negligence. It's murder.  

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