Hook: The world of morality does not always operate in shades of black and white, more often than not it ventures into realms of different hues of gray.
Thesis: The propriety of a decision is not always easily distinguishable.
Background Info: In the short story, “Gentlemen, Your Verdict,” by Michael Bruce, a submarine on a trial cruise runs into a stray mine, crippling it. Lieutenant-Commander Oram is told that the tender overseeing the submarine’s trial cruise had been stranded on some rocks, leaving it, “burning like a torch” and inoperable (page 23). Rescue would not come within five days, and that the submarine only has enough air to last less than two days. However, the same amount of air would be sufficient for five men. Oram is faced with the dilemma of essentially murdering fifteen men to save five, or allowing everyone to die.
Premise #1: The decision of murdering the fifteen men is immoral and criminal.
1. Point: Other than Lieutenant-Commander Oram, none of the men knew of the plan, and therefore had no decision in the matter.
Quotation: “None of the others had the least idea of what I intended doing.” (page 25)
Explanation: This meant that if the men had been willing to die serving their “…country and King,” some of them were denied the right of doing so.
2. Point: The intentional killings of the fifteen men caused a despaired and dissonant death.
Quotation: “Like one man, they stiffened, choked and fell. The cups clattered to the floor” (page 24)
Explanation: The procedure of killing the men was painful and startling. Given no explanation to why they were required to die, the men would only think of treachery and abandon from the Lieutenant-Commander.
Premise #2: On the other hand, the decision Lieutenant Captain Oram made was the only available option, and he took the burden of being responsible for the deaths of fifteen men.
1. Point: There was only a limited quantity of air in the submarine: it would last...