A riddle based on the "moral dilemma" Garth Ennis presented to Daredevil (and readers) in his PUNISHER #3:
A psycho-killer is killing people at random in the Big City. He's already killed a few dozen and shows no signs of stopping. He's announced his next target will be a family much like yours—a father, a mother, and 2.4 lovely children—who even now are planning a carefree picnic in an idyllic park.
You alone know who he is, and you've hunted him to his lair—a concrete bunker with only one entrance/exit. With your gun barrel to his temple, you're about to execute this sick puppy when 100 police officers burst in. They know YOU'RE wanted in connection with several gangland hits, but they don't know anything about the psycho-killer you're about to kill. As far as they're concerned, you're a potential murderer threatening an innocent citizen.
The lead officer tells you to slowly lower your weapon, **now**. If you do, the officers will take you into custody. Prosecutors will put you on trial and a judge will sentence you to jail for a very long time. More important, the psycho-killer will be free to kill again. He'll be free to kill the picnicking family he's threatened, the one that so closely resembles yours.
But the lead officer's trigger finger is quivering. If you shoot the psycho-killer dead, a hundred officers will pump a thousand bullets into your head and body before you can move an inch. Your vendetta against criminals will be over, and other psycho-killers will be free to kill other families that resemble yours for years and years to come.
There's absolutely no way you can escape except by killing the 100 officers between you and the exit. Either you and the psycho-killer both die or neither of you die. What do you do?
Good luck with your answer.
"Oh, but that's a simple one. I drop my gun and smile."
"I'd put as many bullets in his head as I humanly could before I was shot to death by the cops."
. . .
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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
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