This season I’ve started following the television show House again and I’ve taken advantage of the “bye” week to catch up. I doubt any avid followers of the show have as much lag time between air time and watch time as I do, but in the off chance you fail worse than me: Spoilers Ahead.
The past couple of episodes have been following Dr. Chase’s decision to fake a test result to passive-aggressively kill an evil dictator, most likely averting a genocide the latter had planned. Chase is plagued by the murder and visits a priest seeking absolution. The priest tells him the only way to atone for his sin is to turn himself in, presumably meaning that he will lose his ability to practice as a doctor, not to mention his personal freedom.
This has set me thinking: Is there ever a time when a rational person can kill another and not feel bad about it? In superhero movies like Batman they often avoid this question by having the bad guy accidently step off a bridge or kill himself in some way, but what if that didn’t happen? Would it be okay to not incarcerate but actually end the life of “bad” people? It would sure solve a lot of problems at Arkham Asylum.
I’m not sure what the answer to this question is. It seems to me that if you believe killing the other person was the right thing to do, as Chase did, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. In the show, thousands of lives were most likely saved by the one death. Chase must take personal responsibility for his actions, but I don’t think he should have to essentially end his own life to do so by officially confessing to murder. He did break the law, and if caught, accept full responsibility, but he shouldn’t have to make it easy to get caught.
Killing obviously should never be taken lightly, but in some cases it seems like it is the right choice.