Type: Analysis
Pages: 4 | Words: 1151
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

In the face of the imminent death, people should consider all means of survival, even if it takes a murder to save life. This grim truth determined the fate of the Spelunkers, the fun-loving friends whose quest for adventures turned into a tragedy. Their gruesome decision to kill their friend Paul was the result of their desperation after having been blocked out in the remote cave. They were alarmed and aware that if one of them gave up his life for food, three others could stay alive. Thus, the survival instincts of Spelunkers propelled them to commit homicide, which went against morality and brought up the hard question on the consequences for their actions.

Desperation made the Spelunkers kill Paul. Sometimes, a cornered dog has no other choice but attack its owner. A murder was an extremely troubling verdict to arrive at, and it must have taken Greg, John, and Peter a lot of struggle to take their friend Paul’s life. The failure to kill Paul would mean that the four friends would end up dead. Human beings can stay for some time without food, but four weeks is clearly off the limit for any person, with the Spelunkers being no exception. With no food, the four friends had been waiting for help for an entire week, until they ended up in desperation. They totally realized that for them to be rescued alive they had to urgently find some food. Unfortunately, the food was not available, so they had to resort to the ultimate means of survival. As the result, after having surrendered to the utmost desperation, the Spelunkers killed and ate their friend Paul. Still before reaching the state of desperation, the Spelunkers grew extremely alarmed that they faced death because of hunger and thirst.

First of all, they were alarmed at finding that the entrance to the cave was blocked. They tried to unblock the cave but to no avail. They were attempting to save themselves by finding other means possible, but they failed to break through the rumble. Days continued to pass, making them feel even more alarmed. The four friends perfectly realized that the rescue team would be looking for them in the mountains where they had originally intended to go camping. Thus, they knew in advance that the rescue team would spend days searching in the wrong place while they were begging for help here — hopelessly stranded in the cave! There was no other way for these people to make known their location. They could only guess how long it would take for help to come to the cave since it was in a remote place. They were therefore exceedingly alarmed because they were in the deadly danger of being never found and dying of hunger and thirst. Under such circumstances, their survival instincts took top priority and the Spelunkers were ready for anything to survive.

Survival instincts can transform a harmless animal into a predator, which precisely happened in the case of the Spelunkers. The need to survive pushed the Spelunkers forward until all other means were exhausted. At that very point, the friends’ survival instincts subdued their morals and made them vulnerable to errors in reasoning. Their primary need then became their mere survival. They agreed that they were going to gamble and see who would be sacrificed, yet they ended up killing Paul, who simply did not go along with their plan. This could well be a foul play, but there indeed seemed to be no other alternative for them to stay alive. Apparently, the three Spelunkers committed homicide as the only means to survive in the cave.

By definition, homicide is the act of a human killing another human. In criminal law, homicide is justifiable when it prevents greater harm to unaffected people. For that reason, in Spelunkers’ case, homicide did not fit within the legal framework since those people’s main need at that time was survival. They had a tough choice to make: they had to either eat one of themselves or prepare for the imminent death. So, Paul’s homicide could prevent the death of the three other Spelunkers, the fact that partially justified their crime in the legal sense. In the ethical sense, however, the morality of their action demands a bit different approach.

Morality, in a broad sense, is something that lets us distinguish between good and bad under certain social circumstances. However, the extraordinary circumstances the Spelunkers found themselves in made their morality go second after the survival, meaning that the things they did for their survival might not be morally agreeable. Also, in order to advance the morality of any society one has to be alive in the first place; therefore, the Spelunkers did what it took to remain alive. The morality of the three Spelunkers was obviously going to raise concerns once people learnt of Paul’s fate. The three would have a lot of trouble explaining their action in front of the society, which is not surprising. However, no one really knows the feeling of being trapped in the cave under the rumble of stones with little hope for help. In such a case, the need for an immoral act may overshadow the perceived consequences of the same.

This basically means that, in exceptional circumstances, the morality of one’s deed may not apply in determining the consequences of their action. All deeds come with some consequences, just as the Spelunkers’ deed led to their survival. The friends were certainly going to die if they had not killed and eaten Paul. They accomplished their goal and eventually met with the rescue team. Therefore, the primary consequence for their decision lied in the fact that they remained alive. Other, less important consequences for them as living beings consisted in their moral responsibility for the murder, which is now up to the reader to decide.

So what do the Spelunkers truly deserve for committing a homicide? At first glance, it seems they should receive severe legal and social punishment for ruthlessly killing another person and engaging in cannibalism. However, to the extent that their crime was horrifying were also the circumstances that culminated into that crime. The Spelunkers murdered Paul out of urgent necessity and his death helped preserve their own lives. These people experienced a difficult moral dilemma and faced desperation when they had to make a decision. Alarmed at their appalling situation with no hope for help, they trusted in their survival instincts which told them that a homicide would be the only way out. That was the only reason why they overstepped the boundaries of morality, ignoring the potential consequences for their act. I am therefore of the deepest conviction that these people should not be judged solely by what they did but also by why they did it. Subjecting the Spelunkers to a homicide case will thus be adding to the suffering that they had already endured down in the cave.

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