Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poll: Would you risk your life for a stranger?

UPDATE: This poll ran from 9-24-08 to 10-1-08. Here are the final results.

Before I met my wife, this question would have been a lot simpler. I would have done it without a second thought. Almost instinctively. Now though, I have a family. A wife and a brother-in-law that I help support that would have their entire lives affected by my death.

I would think twice and in that instance it may be enough time for the person who's life I could have saved to be lost. If it is a child sitting on some railroad tracks though the decision would be a lot more difficult. If it is a grandmother or grandfather, I don't know what I would do.

Many years ago I received a photograph (possibly edited) of an old man pushing a child out of the way of a stampeding monster truck. I searched for it but couldn't find it anywhere. Imagine in posted right here in very dramatic fashion. :)

I would risk it for sure if I thought I had a chance to survive but if it was absolutely sure that I would die, I don't know what I would do.

How about you? Don't forget to take the poll! :)


Iris said...

It would depend on the situation.

If it were a situation where I had no time to think about it, I might jump in and do it.

I say might because I think I would waste 1-2 seconds looking around to see if anyone else can help.

If I have time to evaluate and consider other options, I might not jump in right away.

On the other hand, I know if I were in a life or death situation and someone risked their life for me, I would be forever grateful.

ryanmortinson said...

my first instinct was to go with the "without a thought"... and that was my eventual vote. but it got me thinking. what would be a time when it would be a bad thing? i mean, the guy/girl could be a killer, a rapist, or evil to the core... would, should that make a difference? I mean, how good am I?? I also thought... well, I'd want to do it for someone that would appreciate it afterward. What if it was someone who just that "that guy is a moron, can't believe he just died for me." and then they go on without a thought.

I would want my sacrifice to make some kind of impact. but then i thought... it would be worth it... because in the very least, someone else would have seen or heard about what happened... and maybe it would change their life somehow... make them value their days... or reach out to someone else with compassion.

you're absolutely right though... everything would change if I had someone really depending on me... it would be like risking another person's life without asking them.

for some reason, i'm reminded of a movie called "four feathers". it's about a man who is called a coward by his best friends and his fiance because he doesn't want to fight in a war. he goes on to secretly follow and protect his friends... embarking on a journey of self-discovery in the process.

HektikLyfe said...

>Iris: If someone risked or lost their lives for me, I would be both grateful and a little bothered. Why? Well I would be indebted to them with no possible way to every pay them back fully. That is a huge burden. Not worse than death for sure, but still. A huge impossible goal.

>Ryan: You bring up some very interesting points. I wonder, what is it about us that even when facing death we still appreciate gratitude? It seems selfish but I feel the same way. If I die and someone spits on my grave for my sacrifice, I would be upset when really, what would it matter?

About the movie "The Four Feathers." The premise intrigued me and we have added it to our queue. I noticed there were three versions. One made in 1939, another in 1977 and the latest in 2002 with Heath Ledger. I rented the oldest and the latest though I am curious about the 1977 version starring Beau Bridges and Jane Seymour.

Nana Net said...

It is sorta of strange that I would stumble upon your blog and find this post today. Why you ask? Cause I just got through reading an article ( strangers helping in an emergency situation without hesitation. That yes it involved school-aged kids. And that might be why they just did it without thinking first!

Still though I have witnessed firsthand people helping others without reservations whatsoever.

As for me personally I would risk my life for a stranger. More so one who I seen was in danger. Because I would like to think that if I was in the same situation they would do the same for me or at least call/send someone to help me. Not just stand by and simply "DO NOTHING AT ALL!"

BTW, your blog is one that I will be back to check out. Have a nice afternoon.

ryanmortinson said...

the 2002 version of "four feathers" is the one I was thinking of.

HektikLyfe said...

Strange coincidence! Though I'm not surprised, that happens a lot if you pay close attention to your surroundings. I'm not really the superstitious type but I do find it interesting.

You know when you are passing a street named Maine and you hear an ad on the radio at that exact moment for a carpet retailer on Maine street...


As for doing nothing at all, I can't justify it, but my hesitation would inevitably preclude any action. Because I would think for that instance about my family, I would lose the opportunity to save a life.

I hope to see you around here. :) The more the merrier.

Dawnie said...

i voted i would without hesitation because I know that I would...heres why....I picture something happenning and I know my first reaction is to help..period. it wouldnt occur to me that I could die and by the time it did--i would probably be sitting in Gods lap!

Docteur Glamour said...

At this point in time, absolutely. I have no one who relies on me in any way, so I don't value my life as much as someone who did have dependents.

HektikLyfe said...

>dawnie: I tend to lean towards the paranoid. I see death around every corner but I am surprisingly not a nervous wreck. So I think death may come at any moment. In a situation like that, I could see death from a mile away so I would think backwards from there. "What could I do to not die and save this person" instead of "How can I save this person and reduce my chances of dying."

>docteur glamour: So many times I have heard people value their lives by how much others value it. I don't know if that's right or wrong but I feel like you should still place value on your life regardless of how many people rely on you. You don't know who could potentially rely on you in the future.

Farhan said...

You've asked a very good question. What you are asking is if I would risk my own life to save another's and what if there was a possibility of ME dieing in the process of saving someone else? I'll have to see what my religion has to say about that. We believe that committing suicide sends one directly into the hellfire, suicide is strictly forbidden in Islam. We also believe that if you save ONE innocent person's life, it is as if you have saved the whole of humanity and if you kill even ONE innocent person, it is as if you have killed all of humanity.

The situation you are talking about involves both killing oneself and also saving another. I should do some research and see what religions have to say about mixing both of these together.

HektikLyfe said...

Wow you really added another dimension to my little question here. That is very deep.

I know with Christian and Catholic laws murder is not acceptable. After all, "Though shalt not kill." Right? That is a commandment from God himself according to them. Yet they would turn a blind eye if you shot someone that was about to rape or kill a child. It strikes me as odd that one of the most important rules regarding passing judgment is also ignored in the process.

I understand it, but it is still odd nevertheless.

Vigilante justice is becoming more and more enticing/accepted/necessary.

ryanmortinson said...

I think it's interesting that this commandment is translated differently in the modern biblical translations like the NIV bible.

this commandment in the NIV. Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder." or in the KJV "Thou shalt not kill."

I did a quick search about other biblical commands concerning killing...

Exodus 21:14
"But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death."

Matthew 5:21,22
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment...."

For Christians... Jesus upped the anty... he made being angry at someone just as bad as murder.

these commands seem to point more at intent and motive rather than the actual act itself.

Perhaps there is a difference between "kill" and "murder". Perhaps this leaves room for self-defense, justice, or even accidental killings (like car accidents).

HektikLyfe said...

Matthew 5:22 really clarifies it for me. It is the intent, not the action, just like you said. Self-defense and accidents I dig, but justice. That is in the eye of the beholder. Someone who is insane being put to death for example. How are we to judge them when we are not supposed to judge at all?

My logic tells me the death penalty is necessary but the part of me that worries about consequence tells me we have no right.