True Colors

DAILY PROMPT: Shipwrecked!

Today’s daily prompt certainly has the ability to stir up a lot of debate on what is right or moral in the name of survival. The question posed is this:

Read the story of Richard Parker and Tom Dudley. Is what Dudley did defensible? What would you have done?

The Cliff Note version of the story is that 4 men were stranded at sea. One of the men, Richard Parker a 17-year-old cabin boy succumbed to illness and fell into a coma after drinking sea water. Dudley, the Captain, started making decisions about killing Parker in order for the other 3 to survive. His sales pitch included “Killing Parker before his natural death would better preserve his blood to drink.” I’m not stranded out at sea, but even if I was, I can’t imagine that being appealing to me. 

My first question would be “Excuse me Dudley, but isn’t it the Captain that goes down with the ship?”  We could argue that it was actually his duty as Captain to ensure the safety of the others or you could argue that’s exactly what he was doing when he presented the idea of a potential sacrifice. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

281123201709953744_Fs8hbEnT_cPersonally, for me it would have to come down to intention. “Dudley again raised the matter with Stephens pointing out that Parker was probably dying and that he and Stephens had wives and families.” This sales pitch would leave me to believe that some how their lives had more value because they had families. Was there any discussion on the fact that Parker was just a boy who hadn’t even had the opportunity to experience the riches of being a family man? Did anyone bring up the idea that maybe if one of them took their own lives, Parker could be nursed back to health with the remains. If not, selfishness seems to have entered the lifeboat.

What would you have done? I have no idea. I don’t think that question can truly be answered until after the fact and then it would be What did you do? When we are in a situation of survival, I believe it can either bring out the best in someone or the worst in a person. Either way the true colors always shine through.

Enjoy the Ride! Just make sure you’re traveling with the Rainbows of the world.

17 responses

  1. Deliberately Delicious | Reply

    Oh my… What happened in the end? Did they kill the poor man? Were they rescued? No matter what, I don’t think I could go there.


  2. I don’t like any of the scenarios. Either Parker gets eaten and dies, Parker dies (without being eaten) and others face an eventual and slow death, Stephens gives himself up and dies in order to nurse Parker back to health. Somebody dies in the end. Like you said, I have no idea.


    1. I know. I most likely would have jump over just to avoid the decision.


  3. Reblogged this on cftc10.


  4. First, that was quite interesting and yes I read the whole thing. First as far as eating another human being…. no one can truly say what they would do unless they were in the exact same situation. We never know how our mind will react to any situation. God people are trampled for dvd players on black friday. I was more amazed by the judicial system. How the one judge could decide he would be the one to play god. Those men had to live with what they had done. and at that time there was some kind of law that made it acceptable to do what they did. but one judge wanted to be Judge, Jury and exicutioner.
    But thank you once again Lisa, your writing is wonderful and it gave me something to ponder on.


    1. Glad you liked it Jen. It really does make you think.


  5. My thought is to stay clear of boats.


  6. I would like to think I would do the most noble thing, but when faced with survival who can say for sure?


  7. Thanks for sharing. It is easy for us to sit here and say we would not do this and mean it with all of our heart. I am in that category. With that said, until we are in that situation we don’t know what we would feel we need to do to survive. I am convinced I would not do that and would seek to do something else. Yet, until you are facing life or death, we just don’t know. I also don’t know if I could live with the consequences either. These people may be tormented the rest of their lives. Again, I come down on not doing it and doing what you suggest in your comment response instead. Thanks, BTG


    1. I know I couldn’t bear the torment. That part of the scenario probably doesn’t enter your mind while you’re trying to survive.
      Thanks for stoping by.


  8. I’d never want to have to make that decision. But with my military studies, I’d be strongly tempted to go with the concept of triage. Select the sickest, especially if he appears to be terminal, to go first.
    I just hope to God I never have to do that as anything but a hypothetical.
    For an interesting take on this idea, catch Will Smith in the movie “I, Robot”. His character is saved by a robot following a car crash, while the robot let a child die because the child had a smaller chance for survival. Cold waters, cold numbers, cold logic.


    1. Is it wrong to not want to eat the sick person? I just don’t think that would be healthy…ugh. I would most likely jump overboard to avoid the whole conversation.
      I never did see that movie, I’ll have to check it out.


  9. Very interesting post. I remember the Andes mountain plane crash and reading about that. I also know that the military have to go through survival training in the chance they have to make decisions for survival. I pray I never have to make those kind of decisions.


    1. I know I couldn’t imagine being in that position.


  10. free penny press | Reply

    Why is “Lord of the Flies” coming to mind? 😉


  11. Yet another reason why you will never see me on a boat! Lisa, I am with you though, in the situation, I would just jump in the water and let nature take its course.


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