A Hypothetical Question

For those opposed to war in the Middle East, I’d like to propose a hypothetical situation:

Suppose you have a neighbor who lives a few doors down from you. The neighbor is a ultra-fundamentalist Christian. His wife often hides from view, and you suspect that she is being beaten on a regular basis. The brother of this man blew up an abortion clinic and killed several people. The neighbor has repeatedly told you that he doesn’t believe the brother was responsible even though he was convicted of the crime, and even if he did do it, those heathen abortionists deserve to die. You see this neighbors children playing in the yard and pretending to kill abortion clinic doctors. This neighbor accuses you of being heathens, and has made threats against you in the past. The other neighbors who live closer to him don’t want you to take action, as they fear that they’ll be caught up in the crossfire. This neighbor hasn’t taken any action against you yet, but you fear that he eventually will, and you suspect that he’s making explosives in his garage.

In that case, would you oppose calling the police and having them intervene, even though you suspect the neighbor has a gun and the situation might lead to a loss of life on one side or the other?

3 thoughts on “A Hypothetical Question

  1. Ah, yes, but you forgot one small proviso-
    This neighbor is also intensely paranoid and afraid of taking any concrete action that would get him evicted from his house and thrown in jail. He’s not going to blow up his neighbors, because that would result in action, probably when the rich businessman in the house down the street or his nice orthodox Jewish neighbors call the police. And anyway, this nutjob likes to blow hot air at the businessman and his jewish friends, but if it came to actually blowing someone up with his homemade dynamite, he’d probably attack the Jehovah’s Witnesses who live next door or the womanizing televangelist across the street, since one of them won’t stop knocking on his door and the other has been stealing his cable service for months.

    Or were we talking about Saddam?

  2. An interesting proviso which requires a bit of modification to my scenario.

    In this hypothetical situation, assume that some in your family believe your proviso to be true. However, none of you can know with any certainty that it is. Also assume that you believe that the son is just nuts enough to blow someone up, and that you also suspect that some of the other fanatics that stop by the house could steal the bomb and use it somewhere.

  3. Huh? What exactly are the police supposed to be investigating the nutty neighbor FOR? What crime has he committed? That his wife hides from view? That some relative of his is a criminal? Your little story is not a particularly good analogy to Saddam Hussein, if that’s what you’re getting at: We aren’t invading Iraq because we think Saddam’s mistreating Iraqis. After all, we had no problem with him during the Eighties when he was only gassing Kurds, and we egged him on when he was attacking Iran. We only got mad when he threatened our oil supply.

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