Ethics Quiz: Condign Justice Or Schadenfreude?

In India, two cock-fighting enthusiasts bled to death at cockfighting events. Both were fatally wounded knives attached to their roosters’ feet.

 Gande Suryapraksha Rao was tying blades to the feet of his prized cock before a bout when his bird,  alarmed by the crowd, flew up and cut Gande’s leg. He bled to death before they could get him to a hospital. In the second incident, a 20-year-old spectator was cut by a bladed bird as he stood near the cockfighting pit. The blade  cut open the man’s hand, and he also bled to death.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is,

Would it be unethical to publicly express satisfaction in the two men’s fate?

…like if I were to write of their demise, “Good!” ?

They are human beings, after all, and cruelty to animals is not a capital offense. Are these incidents really like a bomb-maker blowing himself up by mistake? A bank robber who trips leaving the bank and dies in the fall? A drug dealer who ODs on his own product?

Or are these deaths condign justice that should be hailed far and wide to send the message that the underlying conduct is intolerable?


Pointer: JuGory [I had miscredited this, then corrected it and botched the edit. Sorry to all.]

13 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Condign Justice Or Schadenfreude?

  1. I’d be questioning either how deep those cuts were accomplished by panicked roosters that they caused the victims to bleed to death.

    Or how bad medical response teams are in India that the victims had time to bleed to death.

    But, to answer your question, the loss of life should be mourned even if it is the result of the deceased’s own stupidity. We place a premium on life in this country. It’s why some of us oppose abortion. It’s why some people believe the death penalty is immoral. It’s why some people are conscientious objectors during wartime. Whether we agree with each other or not on some of these social issues, life is life. It’s precious.

    Back in 1945, the Allies went through Germany and picked up everybody they could find connected to Hitler. Old school friends, neighbors and his relatives. One of the persons interrogated was Hitler’s only living full-blooded sibling, his sister Paula. Paula told the Allied interrogators about her growing up years, her relationship with her brother over the past 12 years and how she expected it probably would have been better for everyone if he’d just stuck with art.

    The transcript of the interview is online. At the end, she explained that, despite everything, he was still her brother and that the circumstances of his death gave her unspeakable sorrow. The transcript reads, “At this point, Miss Hitler burst into tears and the interrogation was ended.”

    It’s always tempting to find some satisfaction in the death of a terrible person or even a stupid person who caused his or her own death, however inadvertently. I find myself sometimes getting irritated at the news when relatives of a criminal are given air time to lament his fate.

    That’s when I have to remind myself that even Hitler had someone who cried for him.

      • I’d just read about that myself. It reminds me of the fools who tip vending machines to try to get free product and end up being crushed.

        I’m still sorry they died but what a terrible way to go!

        • When I worked for the Association of Trial Lawyers, I supervised the litigation groups, which were groups of lawyers handling similar cases who shared documents, strategy and cases. On surprisingly large group was the “Vending Machine Tip-over” group, or as we called it, the “AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” group.

    • I second A.M. regarding emergency medicine in India. Just as anyone who can should go to China, everyone who can should see India firsthand. It’s indescribable.

    • Traffic in India is truly horrid, and few people do anything to help ambulances get through. Even those that try don’t have many options as everyone is packed in so tight. In town, cars may move at 3-5 MPH, and the ambulances might be able to make 10 MPH, if that.

      You’re also not wrong about India’s health care system. Doctors have only a Bachelor’s degree. There is often a lack of supplies, often due to the horrid traffic delaying them. Running out of oxygen is not uncommon. I’d strongly advise against visiting India if you have frail health.

  2. Roosters are jerks. If you give a rooster a knife, this is what you get.

    I’m kinda serious there. Cockfighting aside, it’s a similar situation to giving a chimp a gun. Giving an animal a deadly weapon may or may not be abusing the animal, but it’s unmistakably irresponsible and people who want to survive should get out of there as fast as they can. If they do not, it falls literally and squarely under the heading: “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

    • “ Roosters are jerks. If you give a rooster a knife, this is what you get.”
      I laughed way too hard at this in a packed waiting room. I needed this perspective.

  3. Intentionally putting two animals into a fighting ring to fight and likely kill each other is profoundly immoral behavior.

    I’m not a bit sad that these two people are dead from something that is directly related to what I consider profoundly immoral behavior and/or directly supporting profoundly immoral behavior but I wouldn’t say “Good”.

    I also completely agree with Emily above when she wrote, “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” which is very apt for these kinds of incidents.

    They’re dead, sobeit.

    Maybe at the bare minimum those that were around them will learn a lesson about general safety but I’m betting that it won’t change the profoundly immoral behaviors that got them into that situation in the first place.

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