?

On what grounds could you forgive a murder?

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Young Adult

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  3. Holden Caulfield

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland

    On what grounds could you forgive murder?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Chinspinner, Mar 10, 2015.

    I want to gauge some responses on this subject. Here are a few questions that relate to the scenario I am working on (to varying degrees).

    But first a little background (I want to keep this vague so as not to influence responses too much). The victim is someone you know and like, the perpetrator is also someone you know and like. It was a deliberate act. This is also an act by one free-thinking individual and isn't subject to herd mentality, social bond theory, the Galatea effect, obedience to authority and so on. You are also free from these larger influences. Basically someone you know murdered someone else you know and I am wondering what might influence your reaction to this: -
    • Would it alter your opinion if the perpetrator comes from a martial society where murder was considered acceptable in certain circumstances; or would you still judge it by your upbringing/ societal expectations?
    • Would the physical condition of the victim make any difference, i.e. if they were capable of defending themselves or not?
    • Would suggestions of euthanasia (perhaps not willing euthanasia, but the victim was chosen because of their ill-health) soften your opinion at all?
    • Would you be able to accept a murder if the perpetrator was in a position to protect you from imminent danger i.e. acceptance through self-preservation?
    • What if the murder was for the greater good and indirectly saved numerous lives, even though the victim was innocent?
    • How much would the perpetrator's remorse assist?
    I have included a poll as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  2. stevesh
    Offline

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    646
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    I suppose I might be able to support the 'greater good' thing, but the only definite motive for murder I can think of is revenge.
     
    Chinspinner likes this.
  3. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    Everything is relative. There are lots of books with MCs who are hitmen who do nothing but kill people and yet are sympathetic and acceptable "heroes".

    Who is the "you" who is observing the murder? Do you mean the reader? Or are you talking about a third character who is witness to the murder? In the latter case it would depend a lot on the observing character's own background and morals.
     
    Chinspinner likes this.
  4. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    Sorry but I can't understand your poll.
     
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  5. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    No, the you is you, as in I am trying to gauge people's reactions as a base point.

    Also, the kill count is low and there are consequences to people's actions, it is not going to be explosions and gun battles in the street.

    What's wrong with the poll?
     
  6. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,520
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Like Bryan Romer, I can't understand the poll. The multiple choices sound like random words when set against the question.
     
    Chinspinner likes this.
  7. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    Yeah, the poll was me just messing around.

    I tend to agree with @Shadowfax in that there is no way I could feel anything other than abhorrence for it; even if my reaction may be more tempered given some of the circumstances identified above. I want one of my character's to murder someone through perceived necessity, but I am not sure what I want the reaction of another of my characters to be. I am thinking that I am just going to have to alter this plot device to remove the murder.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  8. RachHP
    Offline

    RachHP Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    England
    • Would it alter your opinion if the perpetrator comes from a martial society where murder was considered acceptable in certain circumstances; or would you still judge it by your upbringing/ societal expectations?
      - I would still condemn the murder because of my own upbringing/societal expectation, but I would perceive the murderer differently (ie I wouldn't judge them as harshly for it. It would still be wrong, but I could still 'like' the character)
    • Would the physical condition of the victim make any difference, i.e. if they were capable of defending themselves or not?
      - I would have less sympathy for the murderer of an invalid or child etc
    • Would suggestions of euthanasia (perhaps not willing euthanasia, but the victim was chosen because of their ill-health) soften your opinion at all?
      - Yes, actually. If it was part of a wider scheme, even though I wouldn't like it I would potentially get over it much quicker as a reader
    • Would you be able to accept a murder if the perpetrator was in a position to protect you from imminent danger i.e. acceptance through self-preservation?
      - Murder in the pursuit of self defence is relatively excusable, in my opinion, if there really wasn't another option (ie, if he could have knocked him out and run away, that would be preferable - but if it couldn't happen I'd get over it)
    • What if the murder was for the greater good and indirectly saved numerous lives, even though the victim was innocent?
      - Again, I wouldn't like it but would accept it but this would easier if they explained it to the victim ;)
    • How much would the perpetrator's remorse assist?
      - If they are a cold blooded killer, I have more respect for their choice to kill. If they do it and then regret it, I'd find them annoying!
     
    Chinspinner likes this.
  9. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,520
    Likes Received:
    1,346
     
  10. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    Yes child on board stickers are silly- it is staple end-of-peer comedian material, but- I was never going to purposefully ram your car and a child on board sticker does not alter that.

    The intention was not for self defence. Person A murders person B. Person A is able to protect you from an upcoming dangerous situation. Do you "forgive" the murder for the purposes of accepting their protection?
     
  11. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    I think for me it would boil down to the murderer's motives. If the murderer honestly thought he/she was doing the act for unselfish reasons, yes, I'd be inclined to forgive them, even if I don't personally support what they did. If the murderer did it for selfish reasons or pure revenge, then no, I'd probably not be willing to forgive them. If the murderer is either permanently or temporarily mentally ill, that also would colour my response.

    But one question arose in my mind, while wrestling with this very interesting topic. How do you define 'murder?' Is murder simply one person killing another, or does it take place only under certain circumstances? Is one person killing another in battle considered 'murder?' The intention to kill is there, but most cultures don't regard that as murder. Yet some individuals do ...conscientious objectors to war, etc. And what about 'lawful' execution? Killing another person because the law requires you to? Or killing somebody who is slated for execution, to spare them the trauma of the process?

    Does 'murder' always mean the perpetrator wants the act to be concealed?

    Just curious how you would define 'murder' for the sake of your question. You've defined a few things it's not, but you haven't actually defined what it is, for the purposes of your story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  12. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    So it's a pre-mediated murder?
    And what's your beef with Holden?

    I'd have a hard time accepting (or forgiving) it, but if done for the greater good, it would make it easier. Also, if it's done by someone I love, I'd be more willing to accept it.

    If person A has been indoctrinated to treat human (humanoid?) life more "flippantly", I could probably understand what they did, but for my forgiving it would maybe possibly still depend on the conditions mentioned above.

    If the victim was in a position to defend him/herself, I'd also be more inclined to forgive it, rather than an attack on an invalid, child, or someone significantly at a disadvantage... But, on the other hand, I wouldn't go a-murderin' if I first didn't make sure that:
    1) the target is at a disadvantage
    2) it doesn't result in a needlessly "fair" fight because honor etc.

    If Person A appeared remorseful in a "I didn't mean it!" way, I'd probably feel less forgiving than if s/he was like "It had to be done because... reasons!", weirdly enough. If s/he was like "I didn't feel good about it but it had to be done", I guess I'd be more likely to sympathize with him/her and subsequently forgive.

    If Person A did it to save me, I'd be more forgiving if s/he was my parent, sibling, close friend or lover, I guess. If it was a stranger and someone died 'cause of my precious ass, I'd be angry with him/her and myself.

    Buut, so much depends on the circumstances and details, so in the end, it's a bit difficult to say when and why and how I'd forgive murder. I think manslaughter would be easier to forgive.
     
    RachHP likes this.
  13. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    One person killing another outside of a combat situation or state sponsored/ lawful execution or self-defence.
     
  14. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    But what were the motives? I think that's crucial to me.
     
  15. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    It is rather convoluted, but simply put it is to draw out someone dangerous and to reveal their nefarious plans. The individual committing the murder has a rather more nonchalant attitude to death than most people.

    I haven't decided what the relationship between the murderer and the victim is as yet, and how much discussion they might have had beforehand and what mitigating circumstances there may be. I am still judging what I can get away with and not have the murder and the murderer's subsequent interactions with other characters stretch suspension of disbelief too far.
     
  16. RachHP
    Offline

    RachHP Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    England
    Hi @Shadowfax,
    "Surely these two answers are contradictory? You would have less sympathy for the murderer of an invalid, but choosing a victim because of his or her ill-health would soften your opinion of the murderer."
    I see your point, but I consider the two options to be different scenarios. 1 is simply murdering an invalid/child with no rhyme or reason, 2 is murdering an invalid/child because it is a societal construct (euthanasia in order to manage population or whatever). To summarise: Although I wouldn't 'approve' the murder of an invalid/child/the elderly, my opinion would soften if there was a greater purpose behind it (ie for the 'greater good).

    "I actually find it rather offensive when I see these "Back off. Child on board" stickers. Why is my life worth less than that of your child? I don't have a problem with the notion that your child's life is worth taking care of, my issue is that EVERY life is worth taking care of."
    I hate those things as well but at the same time, I would find it more offencive than killing an adult because they are naturally disadvantaged and I feel equally strongly about the weak/feeble/generally anyone who isn't equally adept as the murderer. I'm not making some grand statement that children are more or less valuable, I'm just saying I'd find it harder to sympathise with the murder of a child vs the murder of an adult - that's just me.

    "I think that it's YOU accepting the murder because it was for your preservation, i.e. self-interest, rather than the "murder" being done in self-defence (in which case it would be manslaughter)"
    Okay, I've obviously misunderstood. In which case - no, I would rather die than have someone murdered on my behalf/murder them for my own self preservation.
     
  17. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    Yes and none. I just put three random answers in the poll assuming people would realise I was being a fuckwit; but people seem to actually be trying to make sense of it.
     
  18. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    3,563
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    I know. Just yanking your chain. :p
     
  19. jannert
    Online

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,804
    Likes Received:
    7,322
    Location:
    Scotland
    I get the feeling that whatever you come up with, somebody's not going to like it! Good for you, for tackling such a controversial subject, though. It's always worth thinking about ...how far would I go, etc?
     
  20. Frankovitch
    Offline

    Frankovitch Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    30
    • Would it alter your opinion if the perpetrator comes from a martial society where murder was considered acceptable in certain circumstances; or would you still judge it by your upbringing/ societal expectations?
    No. But to be honest, I don't really see myself as able to make friends with people from such a society to begin with. I'd always feel a bit uncomfortable around them.
    • Would the physical condition of the victim make any difference, i.e. if they were capable of defending themselves or not?
    Not as such. I'd consider infanticide more horrible than patricide, but I don't think it is directly connected to whether or not they can defend themselves.
    • Would suggestions of euthanasia (perhaps not willing euthanasia, but the victim was chosen because of their ill-health) soften your opinion at all?
    This is a hard one... What I'm reading here is that the perpetrator committed the murder out of some misguided sense of caring? I'm not sure I can agree with it, but yes, it might soften my impression.
    • Would you be able to accept a murder if the perpetrator was in a position to protect you from imminent danger i.e. acceptance through self-preservation?
    Yes. Hell yes.
    • What if the murder was for the greater good and indirectly saved numerous lives, even though the victim was innocent?
    This is a complex one. I'm thinking about choking a person so you can harvest their organs... Depending on who they saved, I would be more forgiving towards the murderer.
    • How much would the perpetrator's remorse assist?
    A lot.
     
  21. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,893
    Likes Received:
    10,081
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    • Would it alter your opinion if the perpetrator comes from a martial society where murder was considered acceptable in certain circumstances; or would you still judge it by your upbringing/ societal expectations?
      • No. If the perp now lives in my society where these things are not cultural factors, then no. Not being enculturated to the rules of the perp's society, the perp now represent a wildly unknown variable. You can tell me all you want about his/her culture, but if I didn't grow up in it organically, I accept my understanding of it to be academic only, and not experientially real or complete. Say I serve him food from his left side rather than from his right side and I don't know that this is the greatest offense conceivable in his martial society, akin to serving him feces, and I pay for that unknown unknown with my life? And now I know that my life is very much a price he's willing to exact for unknowable offenses, because yeah, there's a dead body right over there? No, I'm not even close to thinking about forgiveness or hating etc. I'm calculating just how much distance I can create between me and the variable. I might, in fact, be thinking about how to just remove the variable, if you get my meaning.

    • Would the physical condition of the victim make any difference, i.e. if they were capable of defending themselves or not?
      • No. Well, maybe, but not in a direction that would give rise to forgiveness. It would only shift things to less forgiveness for a helpless victim scenario using an able-bodied victim scenario as a starting point where I am already not disposed to forgive. The arrow only goes in one direction, so to speak.

    • Would suggestions of euthanasia (perhaps not willing euthanasia, but the victim was chosen because of their ill-health) soften your opinion at all?
      • If willing, then yes. If not willing, then no.

    • Would you be able to accept a murder if the perpetrator was in a position to protect you from imminent danger i.e. acceptance through self-preservation?
      • Assuming you mean that the murder-act itself protected me somehow from present or future danger, then yes. But now we have a heavy mitigating variable in play that wasn't in play in the prior questions. If in this question you mean that the murder-act and any future protection the murderer could offer me are unrelated and the murder in question is still something of a random act, then no. I repair to my "unknown variable" argument.

    • What if the murder was for the greater good and indirectly saved numerous lives, even though the victim was innocent?
      • Fucked as it might be, yes, here I could forgive. I may even pity. This is a Sophie's Choice scenario now.

    • How much would the perpetrator's remorse assist?
      • Not much. Would depend on which of the above circumstances where in play.
     
    Okon likes this.
  22. Talisien
    Offline

    Talisien Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    52
    Location:
    N.Devon, UK
    Ok I might draw a bit of criticism for my response to this question. However, it might help you with a reasoning for your character being more accepting of the situation.
    Although to kill someone in any situation has the moral implications of being 'wrong' it is a choice an individual makes for themselves. That individual will justify it to themselves and may or may not feel remorse for their actions.
    As a person outside of the murder scenario I do not judge. Their choices have been made and they will have to deal with the consequences themselves. I do not see death as most people do. To me it is not a tragedy but part of a cycle. Choices are made - consequences follow. The justifications the individual makes for the murder would help me understand their choice better and would influence my own choice of action, but I would not judge their action from a moral viewpoint. This is my personal response.
    However, I have no idea of the society within which your story is based which would have a huge impact on your characters choices and decisions.
     
  23. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    Hating on the murderer or transgression changes nothing, so I can easily forgive and accept the murderer all scenarios. There is a big difference between feeling anger or hate toward the murderer and grieving the lost, and you can accept the murder without being in approval of it. I certainly would probably be depressed about the lost, but to me, it matters the specific person murdered. There are only a few things I have trouble letting go.
     
  24. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,520
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    So your best friend kills your spouse, and you're OK with that?
     
  25. Nilfiry
    Offline

    Nilfiry Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Eternal Stream
    I thought I was pretty clear about there being a difference between approving and accepting. Of course it is not OK, but that does not mean that you have to swear vengeance against the aggressor and hate him or her for the rest of your life. Accepting just means that you acknowledge your loss and grief.
     

Share This Page