Law and Morality

It is not an everyday occurrence that someone must decide the fate of another\'s
life. The dilemma of making a decision that someone must die in order for the
others to survive, can obviously be troubling. The process in which the
termination of one\'s life may be easy to make, but to justify that decision is
the most difficult one. This paper is given a situation in which a decision of
taking one\'s life is essential. The situation is that a nuclear war has occurred,
which has destroyed most of the centres of civilization. There are five people
that are that have escaped death by finding their way to a nuclear bunker. These
five people consist of a pregnant woman; an old man, who is a retired judge; two
teenagers - a fourteen-year-old boy and a sixteen-year-old girl; and a young and
healthy woman who is a doctor. They all have been there for fifteen days and
they must remain there for an additional fifteen days before they can be rescued.
The problem is that although there are five of them in the bunker, there is only
enough food for four people to survive for the remaining fifteen days. Rationing
the food will not be of any use, because all will die with such a plan. The only
way for most of the survivors to live for the next fifteen days is for one to
die. Somehow they have contacted an outside source to advise them on the
questions of "Who shall die?", and "How should the decision of choosing the
person be carried out?" These are all very difficult questions to answer, but
something must be done. It is unlikely that someone will voluntarily allow
someone to kill them so that the others may live, that is why another form of
decision making must be allowed. The best way to do so is probably by that
outside aid to suggest that they try drawing lots. For example whoever pulls the
shortest straw is the one who dies. With no time to procrastinate, this would
seem the most time efficient and fairest way to choose who will die. Of course a
reason must be provided to the person who had drawn the shortest straw, and that
is the objective of this paper. This essay will explain how the decision will be
made that will ultimately take one of the survivor\'s lives to save the remaining
four people. From that explanation of the decision made, it will attempt to
justify it. This paper proposes to explain and justify the decision by using
legal tools such as Law and Morality, the Meta Rule, and The Doctrine of
Necessity. The advice provided on how to carry out the unfortunate death of an
innocent person may not be a "right" one, but perhaps it will be legally and
morally justified.

Law and morality play a large role here, mainly because there is a legal issue
and a moral issue associated with the predicament. The reason law has a part in
the situation is that after the decision is made, it will be examined legally
and must be accountable for its consequences. Morality has its place too,
because many will find it morally wrong to take one\'s life despite any

....there is some connection between law and morality, but the two are
clearly not identical. First, morality is only concerned with right or wrong,
with the good and evil; law is concerned with lots of things on which there is
no right and wrong - procedures for land registration, incorporation and so on.
Second, morality is to some extent uncertain and a matter for each individual,
law tries to be objective, written down in black and white and there for all to
see. Third, morality often leaves things vague and subject to general principle,
law goes into specifics.1

From that description of law and morality, it is obvious how they relate
to the issue here. When the time comes for one of the five people in the bunker
eventually to die, it must be legally justified. The reason for this is that
murder is illegal, unless legally justified.2 On the other hand, reasons for the
killing must be provided to put to ease those who question the dilemma in
accordance to morality. Since law and morality are equally important and both
are evenly delicate when dealing with this issue, advising the survivors on what
to do will not be easy. Pleasing everybody is impossible, whether it is examined
from a legal viewpoint or a moral one. However, if