A Question of Atheist Scruples – Round 4

Break time over, back to the blogging. Here are this week’s ponderings.

An apartment neighbour is beating up his wife. Do you call the cops?

Am I hearing it happen, or do I just suspect it’s happening? I’m reminded of a Terry Pratchett quote, if you’ll indulge me:

“The phrase ‘Someone ought to do something’ was not, by itself, a helpful one. People who used it never added the rider ‘and that someone is me’.”

It’s from one of my favourite books by him, Hogfather.

If I’m hearing an altercation, I should call the police. I doubt the husband would be very impressed with my butting in, though, and maybe the wife wouldn’t be either. (Maybe she wouldn’t even press charges. Many don’t bother reporting abuse.) I think it’d be easier to say yes to this question if I knew for sure they’d never guess it was me who called. If I just suspected the bruises I saw on the woman were from abuse.. well, I don’t know what my options would be. If I didn’t know her very well, I can’t imagine I’d want to bring attention to my suspicions. Maybe I’d call a crisis line and ask their advice first. That is why they exist. If I did know her fairly well, I hope I’d try to encourage her to take steps toward getting help, maybe looking at women’s shelters or some other way to get away from the guy. None of it would be easy.

The local grocer gives you 50 cents more change than you deserve. You discover this outside the store. Do you return with the change?

Probably not. It’s 50 cents. Chances are someone else has probably said, “Keep the change” and put the till over by a buck anyway. For all the times I’ve had to count out a till, there’s always a day where it’s over and a day where it’s under and over a long enough period of time, it pretty much averages out. I think a bigger problem is cashiers not paying attention to the type of money they receive. I don’t mean scanning bills for counterfeits, I mean the coins. I found a coin in my wallet one day the size of a “Loonie.” Turned out to be a 20 forint coin from Hungary and worth $.087. I would have received it from a cashier who didn’t notice it wasn’t a Canadian dollar. I’ve seen an English 20p coin get mistaken for a nickel before, too.

You work at a bank. Another employee is blamed for your error involving thousands of dollars. You cannot be traced. Do you own up?

The guilt would eat me alive, so yes, I’d have to take responsibility for it. If it meant losing my job, so be it. If the error was colossal, I’d deserve it.

Last for you, dear readers:

You discover that your brother is selling classified information to a foreign power. Do you turn him in?

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