Supposing I observed a runaway train at the rail-yard and if it continues hurtling in the direction it is going, it will kill five people. Luckily for me, I’m standing next to a power switch and if I pull the lever of the switch, the train will divert into a different track. However, there is one person working on this track and if I pull the switch, that rail worker will die. Here’s what I would do. I would in fact pull the lever of the switch to spare the lives of the five people working in the rail-yard. The reason to that is even though it is not my obligation and my right to be a “hero” and the fact that I wasn’t given permission to do what I just did, the fact is five lives are greater than one. There are a lot of scenario’s that could happen if I did or didn’t pull the switch. One of the scenario’s is that I could ask myself “How would I warn the six workers that a runaway train has escaped and is in full pursuit of damaging property or damaging the lives of the six workers all together working”?
“Would yelling from the top of my lungs be as effective as going into a building owned by the rail yard hysterically yelling out for help that I spotted a runaway train in full speed? The logic may be the person I’m yelling out for help to may think I’m crazy and delusional or he may follow me out to the rail yard to physically show him what I saw. Regardless of the logic and scenario, had I not pulled the switch to divert the train, I probably would have lived with guilt and regret not saving anyone’s lives that was at stake, especially the one person that was working on the track of where I diverted the train to go to after I pulled the switch.
In a separate scenario, a train is rapidly bearing down on five rail workers. However, I’m standing on a bridge under which the train will pass. I could very well stop the train by dropping a heavy weight onto the tracks in front of the oncoming train. As it happens, I’m standing next to a tall and overweight man and if I push the tall overweight man onto the tracks, it will stop the train and spare the five. To be completely honest, I probably wouldn’t do anything in this scenario. My logical reasoning is how would I know if the large overweight man that I’m next to is unresponsive, uncooperative, cooperative or dead/injured?