Spelunkers Case The surviving members of Spelunkers should not be charged with murder based on the dire circumstance they faced and the decision they made under time pressure by their inner drivers of human nature. Four members of Spelunkers went on expenditure to climb mountain and ended up with exploring cave instead. Unfortunately, they were trapped in the cave without any food supplies because they only prepared sufficient food supplies for the mountain-climbing.
After being desperately waiting for starving to death, they made an emotional disturbing decision and agreed upon that they would kill and eat one of the members for the last resort; as a result, they did kill one of the members and eat him, and three Spelunkers survived afterwards. When people are facing life and death issues and strive to rise above dire circumstances, such as situation the Spelunkers were facing, they have to make dreadful decisions that sometimes are horrible and emotional disturbing to people without having been through the same situation.
It is the basic human behavior for a person strives to survive under the dire circumstance, the Spelunkers, as common people facing the dire circumstance, made a reasonable effort to come out that decision to survive under the limited resource and information, along with the presence of time constraints; therefore the surviving Spelunkers should not be charged with murder based on the consequence of their decision. One of the dire circumstance is the one Spelunker were under—four people were going to starving to death in any minute, there is absolutely no any food supplies and water and death was a few steps away.
They could just desperately wait there and do nothing while death is approaching one step closer at every breath they took; they could be gone insane and killed each other within the next minute of dreadful waiting. It is obviously that all of them must die in either of those two scenarios, only we do not know who was going to die first, and who was going to die last. However, there was one last resort—to scarify one person’s life to sustain three others lives. It is better to have someone survive than everyone must die. They had to practice cannibalism to survive the starvation.
There were some cannibalism exist in the history when people were facing famine resulting from the natural disaster and in the time of warfare. One the cannibalism took place in Russia and Lithuania during the famine of 1571. Without the alternatives Spelunkers did kill one of their members and eat him to survive; however they had made reasonable effort to come up with this dreadful solution. The Spelunkers made reasonable effort to make their decisions because they used the lottery method to randomly pick up a “winner,” which demonstrated fairness to a certain extent.
Randomly choosing the “winner” closely resembles the dying situation in the natural world. For instance, in a natural disaster such as flood and earthquake, everyone has an equal chance of dying and surviving as long one stays in the disaster zone. The natural has not place any emotional or personal judgment on a specific person based on a person’s age, gender, or social status. By the same token, applying lottery method to randomly choose a member to kill for their survival, Spelunker demonstrated their reasonable effort and their fairness even in the life and death situation and in such time pressure.
Decision making is a complicate process which involves decision makers’ experiences, the resource they possess, the information they have, and the problem solving skills they possess. Not to mention time constraints they confronted. It also requires a decision maker be under a good physical and emotional condition to make rational decisions. In the case of Spelunkers, they had to make decision with limited resource and information, along with empty stomach; they probably could be suffering from emotional and extreme mental distress and anxiety.
It is impossible for them to make any better decision which is better than they had come up with; furthermore, the decision they made have demonstrate a basic element of human behavior. Striving to survive is not only the basic elements of human behavior; it is also the driving force for any living creature. It is the human nature for a person to make every effort for survival. Abraham Maslow describes that air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans in his famous paramedic structure of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs .
Therefore, in the consideration to the preservation of the human lives and for more people to survive, the Spelunkers made the decision to kill and eat one person in order to sustain three others. Actually the time period demonstrated how Spelunkers were willing to live out hunger to its limit before making such a dreadful and unfortunate decision. Although it morally wrong for them to kill Paul and to eat him, it seems that the moral value of letting four people die as opposed to one cannot compare to simply sacrificing Paul for the good of the others in the extreme circumstance.
Therefore, the spelunkers acted for the good of the majority and acted in a timely manner. The Spelunkers should not be judged by the consequence which they killed and eat one of their member, because they made reasonable efforts to survive based on their dire circumstances. Striving for survival is one of the inner driving forces for human being and any living creature. It is morally wrong to kill an innocent people; however, when anyone has to make a decision under life and death situation combined with limited resource, information, and time constraints, we have to the surviving force of human behavior.
Therefore the Spelunkers should be judged by the reasonable effort took to make them survive. The spelunkers did not choose a specific person to kill, but instead utilize a lottery method of drawing. The nature of the method Spelunkers used demonstrates the pure intention of survival that drove them to kill one of their own. It was a natural choice arrived as results of their dire circumstance and the human nature. It would be difficult for anyone else left in a similar situation to resort to starving to death instead of trying to save them.
If these three men are prosecuted, then their very decision was made in vain. Their decision was made in favor of the well-being of humankind in that one man’s life would be sacrificed for the survival of three others. Any other situation would have left them all dead. If they were all prosecuted, then we are being inconsiderate to their interests in keeping human beings alive; it was a way of preserving hope for survival and it was necessary.