Mad Bomber Case Study

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The Ethical Dilemma of the Mad Bomber
Kody Meyer
South Tama High School
This paper will be discussing the classic mad bomber scenario. If you are unfamiliar with it, it goes like this. A man has threatened to detonate several explosives in very populated shopping areas.. He has been taken into custody; however the bombs have already been placed and are scheduled to blow up soon. Because of where these bombs are placed, people will most likely die. The man has not given up the location during interrogation, and is exercising his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to speak until his lawyer arrives.
One of your colleagues has suggested torture, due to the severity of the situation. Torture is, of course, illegal, but your colleague
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The first is a violation of a person’s constitutional amendments, which was also mentioned in the rights approach. The main amendments this scenario violates are the Fifth (self-incrimination,) Eighth (cruel and unusual punishment,) and Fourteenth (due process.) (Heritage Foundation)
By trying to force this man to talk without his lawyer present, you are taking away his fifth amendment rights. By torturing him, you are giving him punishment that is definitely cruel and unusual. By punishing his crime now without warrant, judge, or jury, you take away his right to due process. All people are entitled to these rights, even criminals of the harshest crime. By taking them away, you are giving him special treatment, even if that special treatment is not favorable.
The second way that the justice and fairness approach applies is that this scenario sets a precedent. If you torture this man now for a crime that may cause deaths, do you not have to torture every time someone threatens the lives of innocent civilians? Where is the cutoff point for
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Be a hero. However, by saving those lives, you are condemning the bomber to torture and all after effects. One might recall a similar scenario from Volume I of Les Misérables, where Jean Valjean must choose between abandoning the factory of hundreds of workers he owns, or letting a stranger admit to a crime that he committed.
The quandary of this scenario is whether it is okay to break the law in order to get results. Many people will die if we do not find out where these bombs are. But is that worth torturing a man possibly to the point of insanity?
When debating the death sentence, some of the people who are for it are also for the death being painful. After all, if someone has brutally murdered someone else, or raped them, or abused a child, why should they not feel pain?
These people are fine arguing this, because they are not the ones killing the prisoner.
The same can be said for this scenario. Anyone can say that they are for torture, because they are generally not the ones doing it.
Another way that the virtue approach can be used is with the virtue of prudence. To be prudent is to err on the side of caution. As mentioned earlier in this paper,

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