This is an ethical dilemma that involved Williams who was accused and condemned for killing several people that included a store clerk and other four people. Witnesses who were brought to testify confirmed that actually Williams committed the act and even indicated that he bragged about doing that, in the court the accused even laughed about the whole issue. He was found guilty and sentenced to death where he was executed using a lethal injection which brought about debates with most people arguing that the death sentence ought to have been reduced to life imprisonment as he had redeemed himself by writing books on dangers of gangs and violence. This is an ethical situation where one has to determine whether the conduct of Williams was good or bad depending on the different ethical frame work arguments. The debate is whether according to the situation Williams should face capital punishment for killing innocent lives or having seen redemption by writing books, be forgiven and his death sentence reduced to life imprisonment. To me Williams killing four innocent people is not right and hence unethical.
The activity of Williams is explained using the Utilitarianism ethical framework that conforms to the magnitude end result of our behaviors. According to this framework the results of our actions should be that which provides the most good or the least harm to a group of people or individual. According to this ethical framework when faced with an ethical dilemma one should evaluate whether the resulting outcomes would produce the most good (Carrol and Buchholtz 20). Williams killing innocent lives was wrong ethically as it provided the greatest harm to the people he killed, he was to evaluate and assume what if the victims were his close relatives or family members would he have killed them in cold blood. If for example killing them was going to prevent other twenty people from dying then the act would have been justified. Based on this ethical framework Williams’s sentence of execution was appropriate, the act could not protect anybody instead it led to loss of lives of innocent people with the relatives and families suffering more producing the greatest harm.
Virtue ethics context would also help unlock the dilemma; this background looks at the justifiable behavior of the person involved in the predicament. It also determines whether an action is right or wrong depending on the individual while providing guidance on the good behaviors that anyone would seek to achieve; an action is right when it is something that a person with virtues would wish to do. Williams had no morals or virtues by killing innocent lives including a daughter to the couple. This is something that anybody with good moral cannot do and so the act is wrong and thus unethical. He should have lived in the world of moral rules that asserts that it is wrong to kill innocent people, it is wrong to steal and provide lies; the moral rule of not killing innocent people disapproves Williams’s actions. He bragged when doing that act and not even shot once but twice, later in court he laughed for about six minutes when the witnesses were providing their testimony. I supported his execution by death since his morals did not support him.
Self-interest egoism is a virtuous context that asserts that the act of an individual is decently accepted if it capitalizes on the individual’s self-interest of for example value-added happiness. Williams killed in the process of robbery but there is no justification for killing the daughter of the couples that also died in the process. His arguments of stealing to improve his welfare could have been supported in the case where the victims failed to cooperate, they never resisted and Williams could have improved his welfare by stealing from them and sparing their lives. This therefore means that he intended to steal to serve his interest but the intention of killing was ill advised. I therefore support the decision to sentence him to death.
In the ethical dilemma of Williams it is evident that there was a raging debate of whether he was to face capital punishment by death or redemption since he had reformed while in detention. My argument has supported capital punishment having explored three ethical frameworks of Utilitarianism, Virtue ethics and Self-interest egoism that have all proved that whatever he did was wrong. I wish to affirm my arguments with a quote “…do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you…” (Carrol and Buchholtz 85). This quote would provide a framework or reasoning for William to evaluate whether the action that he committed what right or wrong; he was to put himself in the shoes of the victims and their families and evaluate what he would have felt if this was done to him. My closing statement is that Williams’s actions were not right and therefore he deserved the death penalty without leniency provided simply because he had found redemption while in custody.
Austin, Curtis J. Up against the wall: Violence in the making and unmaking of the Black
Panther Party. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2006.
Carrol, Archie B. and Buchholtz, Anne K. Business and Society: Ethics sustainability and stakeholder Management (8th ed.). Boston, MA: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2012.