A first answer is simple : it is never OK to kill people.
But unfortunately the reality is never that simple. In this post I list a number of cases to illustrate in what circumstances humanity nowadays accept or not to kill people.
Important : this list is certainly not exhaustive, so feel free to suggest additions.
Killing people is NOT OK :
-When it concerns one specific person who gets killed :
- killing a particular someone for personal reasons : “I hate your guts, so I will kill you“.
- deciding not helping people who need help (gross negligence). For example after a car accident not calling 911.
-when it concerns a lot of unknown persons, and you do not know howmany and who of them will die because of your action, but you do know that if you stop your detrimental action they all will stay alive.
- selling hard drugs
- messing with food ingredients
Killing people seems OK in the following cases :
- Organizing a dangerous rally like Paris-Dakar. Each year people get killed in this hazardous rally.
- Wars : nobody likes them, but in some cases it seems necessary and (for some people) acceptable
- Car traffic : why do we let people drive cars if we know it costs a lot of l ives ?
- Idem for airline traffic.
- Space flights : although the absolute number of casualties is not that enormous, because there are not many space flights, the relative death toll is considerable.
- Deciding not to help : this is very difficult to judge. We all know for example that each day somewhere on our planet lots of people are starving to death, or are dying because they lack the very basic things like food, fresh water or medication. Why don’t we just donate more ?
- allowing people to smoke
- executing an abortion, in the first weeks of the pregnancy
- allowing people to drink alcohol & drive
- downsizing your company
Conclusion : just like the fact that life is a terminal disease (everybody who lives dies sooner or later…), to live is to influence other people’s lives. In some cases the influence is way to much, in other cases it is negligible. In between there is the gray zone of discussion : can we accept this behaviour or not ?
I assume that these discussions will never end … and remember that everybody is right from his own point of view !