Sheriff of a small american town

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Please answer this opinionated question with citation: Are you a utilitarian? To find out, consider the following thought experiment. You are the sheriff of a small American town in the 1960s, and your town is experiencing extreme racial unrest. A civil rights leader, one who did not advocate violent opposition, has himself been murdered. You know that there will be riots and that many innocent people, including children and elderly, will be killed if the murderer is not found today. Furthermore, you know that the actual murderer is gone, and will never kill again, but you cannot prove this, and you cannot catch him (let us ignore how you can know this). A homeless person wanders into town that day. He has no family, no friends, no job, and no connections. You know that if you frame the homeless man for the crime, and he is immediately tried and executed, you can subvert the riots and guarantee peace in the town. If you don't, there will be riots, and many innocent people will die. These are your only two options, and you must act today. What will you do? Do you imprison him, or not? Explain your reasoning, and state whether your position makes you a utilitarian or not.

Reference no: EM131119238

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