Would you torture a man to save him?
Little Jashon was missing after his mother's body was discovered. The suspect in his mother's murder is a multiple felon who has killed a child before.
At 17-months-old, even if unharmed, this little boy wouldn't survive long without care. As John at Verum Serum points out, this is basically the ticking time bomb from torture debates.
Any torture debate usually turns into a disjointed mess because people start talking past each other. There are three questions that must be asked, and they must be dealt with independently and thoroughly.
1) Is torture ever acceptable?
2) Is torture ever effective?
3) Is [a given act] torture?
The first question must be answered before the second is discussed because if it is never morally acceptable, it doesn't matter if it's effective.
The third question is essential because we have to decide if a procedure is torture before we try to apply the other two questions to it. For instance, if waterboarding is not torture, it's pointless to bring it into arguments about whether torture is wrong. Both questions need to be resolved separately.
In any debate — whether the topic is politics, religion, a new pet, or updating procedures at work — we need to make sure we pay attention to what the questions really are and whether they're being addressed properly. We serve our Master better with a reputation for clear thinking and honest discussion. And the debate may even prove fruitful.
As to the matter at hand, I'd love to know how you would answer the above questions, but the real, and heart-rending, question is, would you torture a man to save that little boy?
I'm afraid I probably would, but I'm pretty sure I'd be a bit sick to my stomach afterward either way.
[Oh, and they've found a body that's probably the boy's.]