A 19 year old college student and addicted gambler was pulled over for erratic driving on the Long Island Expressway. He pulled out a toy pistol and pointed it at the officer, he was then shot and killed. Another incident involving a 45 year old cancer patient had the same ending in new Jersey. He walked into a Pizza Shop and pointed a gun at the officers inside eating. Experts believe that they force the cops to kill them as a form of suicide. Suicide is difficult to commit and forcing an officer to kill you takes away the pressure of completing the task.
Some insurance companies don’t cover suicide and religions forbid it so it is away of taking the guilt and shame away from common suicide. 10% of fatal police shootings are brought on by people seeking to die. -Evaluate the moral permissibility of “suicide by cop” -To what extent is a police officer morally obligated to assess whether a person he or she shoots actually wants to be killed? Virtue Ethics Aristotle’s theory of moral virtue categorizes the pursuit of happiness as a process that is achieved by pursuing real goods in a morally correct way. It is a mean between two vices (excess & defect).
Our actions are voluntary and the product of choice. In these cases they seem to have self delusion defects. They are rationalizing conduct (suicide) and making excuses in an effort to justify their morally impermissible actions(carried out by cops vs. self). A person is giving up on their pursuit of happiness and there for, from the victims standpoint nothing is morally permissible about their actions. The officer doesn’t have time to assess the motives of suspects that pull firearms on them. They have to make a quick decision at the drop of a hat. Kill or be killed.
Their own pursuit of happiness and life is protected. Formalizism Emmanuel Kant developed formalizes theory. It focuses on carrying out your duties without thinking about the consequences. Categorical and Practical imperative are the two main components. Categorical imperative is the idea that the moral obligation is valid only if it applies universally to everything. Practical imperative states that a person should treat humanity as an end and not as a mean. When you apply this to suicide by cop it is never right to go point a gun at someone in order for them to kill you.
The officer does apply those situations universally to everyone though. You are met with the same type of force that you bring. Their first priority is protecting themselves. Utilitarianism John Mill’s theory of utility expanded from the viewpoint of motivations of pleasure and pain. The goodness of an act is determined by the consequences of the act and how much happiness is promoted. Using this theory the victim is still not morally correct with their choice of suicide by cop though the pleasure of death may outweigh the pain of life. They don’t promote any happiness by getting themselves killed.
Their loved ones all get hurt. From the officers eyes they have an armed person pointing a gun at them and they don’t have the time to weigh the pros and cons they can only react. They aren’t going to be happy about killing someone they still wouldn’t be happy if they did stop and think and ended up shot themselves. Suicide is a selfish act and even more selfish when you force someone else to do your dirty work. No one wants to take a life but most people don’t want to lose theirs either. I do not believe that officers should be morally obligated to assess weather a person is violate or just wants to die.
It is too dangerous to try and play psychologist is what could possibly mean a life or death situation for a police officer. My step dad has a grading company and hit a man on a motorcycle that was dying of cancer. He left the house that day and told his family he was going to kill himself I guess his dump truck looked like the best option in completing his mission and he drove head on right into him. Even though the man wanted to die my step dad never wanted to kill someone and it is a pretty emotional topic. The selfishness that it takes to take your life at someone else’s expense is beyond me and something I really don’t understand.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 November 2016
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