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View Full Version : Gone Baby Gone morality/ethics question (SPOILERS) ...not that anybody cares



Harperfan7
2009-03-25, 06:34 AM
In case you haven't seen the movie, SPOILERS AHEAD it's about this little girl who goes missing from her mother (who is just shy of being a drug dealing whore). It turns out that the girls uncle and some policemen took her to raise her in a better area with good peple. The main character, Patrick, eventually figures this out, but decides to take her back to her mother and send the policemen to jail. His reason was that the girl was taken from her mother by people who thought she would be better off, and that this was wrong. Everybody disagrees with him (except the mom). The movie even ends with the mom being somewhat ungrateful.

I don't think it was the right thing to do. I understand his point, but still.

Looking through the D&D alignment spectrum, what alignment do you think his choice would be?

I'm a bit stumped. I consider myself an alignment lawyer, but I can't put my finger on this. Please don't start the whole "alignment is too restrictive" argument here.

kamikasei
2009-03-25, 06:55 AM
Lawful neutral/good. You can't abduct children from their parents. If they're actually incompetent parents who shouldn't have the child, that's what Child Protection is for. Essentially, he uncovered a vigilante kidnapping and returned the victim to her home. Who cares if the kidnappers disagree with him? Obviously they thought they were in the right, it doesn't mean they were correct.

comicshorse
2009-03-25, 07:05 AM
I agree it was a terrible decision ( in fact in a earlier Thread on decisions in fiction you disagreed with I posted this decision).
Its got to be Lawful, the law says kidnapped children should be returned to their parents ( no matter if its obvious the kid would be better off where she is). I'd like to say Evil but the character cleqarly thinks he is making the right decision. So I'd have to say Lawful Good ( after all Alignment does't take intop account rotten judement)

Cubey
2009-03-25, 07:21 AM
If the main character knows that the girl had a horrible life with her mother but decided to return her anyway, in a "I don't like this but I have to do this" way, then Lawful Good, possibly Lawful Neutral. He knows that the law cannot make exceptions, otherwise we'd have an even bigger chaos of a world.
If he thinks he's doing the right thing, then definitely LG. Horrible judge of character but LG nevertheless.

GoC
2009-03-25, 01:30 PM
Lawful Stupid with a dose of heartless evil.

SurlySeraph
2009-03-25, 01:35 PM
Lawful Neutral, maybe Lawful Evil. He returned the girl and jailed the people who were trying to help her because the people trying to help her committed a crime and changed the existing state of things, without caring whether the change they made was positive or not.

Tensu
2009-03-25, 01:43 PM
Upholding the law to the letter as opposed to the spirit, and ruining the lives of good God-fearing men and innocent children in the process is Lawful evil.

The man ruined people's lives for no good reason. you can't tell me that's good aligned.

RabbitHoleLost
2009-03-25, 01:51 PM
Its a good-aligned action because, to him, these people kidnapped a child from its mother.
Without, it seems, the law on their side. They just did it.
If you hear the story from the mother, of course its going to sound like the kidnapper's were evil.

Lawful Good (with a bit of stupid thrown in)

kamikasei
2009-03-25, 03:11 PM
Its a good-aligned action because, to him, these people kidnapped a child from its mother.
Without, it seems, the law on their side. They just did it.

Yeah, this. I haven't seen the movie, so I'm just going off the OP's description, but if you think a child is in a harmful environment there are legal ways to get it taken out of that environment and properly adopted. You don't get to just abduct a child from its parent(s) and claim righteousness because they weren't good enough in your eyes.

So, people who think he was being evil and/or stupid, who I'm assuming have seen the movie: what justification had the abductors for kidnapping a child rather than going to Child Protection Services?

Nerd-o-rama
2009-03-25, 03:21 PM
Lawful Why-does-everyone-insist-on-relating-things-to-D&D's-crappy-alignment-system?

Mikeavelli
2009-03-25, 11:55 PM
Lawful Why-does-everyone-insist-on-relating-things-to-D&D's-crappy-alignment-system?

Because we're nerds.

--

Anyways, I've never seen the movie, but this sounds like a textbook Lawful Neutral act. He returned the child to his mother not because it was the right\good thing to do (it wasn't), and not out of any enmity for the people he dicked over (I.e. not for "evil" reasons) - he did it because they broke the laws of society, to do something "right" - and he felt compelled to do something about it.

SurlySeraph
2009-03-25, 11:59 PM
So, people who think he was being evil and/or stupid, who I'm assuming have seen the movie: what justification had the abductors for kidnapping a child rather than going to Child Protection Services?

Dramatic license. :smallbiggrin:

ZeroNumerous
2009-03-26, 05:14 AM
Lawful Stupid, easily.

Tensu
2009-03-28, 02:55 AM
If you hear the story from the mother, of course its going to sound like the kidnapper's were evil.

Lawful Good (with a bit of stupid thrown in)

Sounded like the mother didn't want her daughter back. This man gave no heed to what was in anyone's best interests (Which is why I said evil) he just did what the law told him to do without giving any thought into the consequences of his actions. that's lawful neutral at best.

At least, judging by what I assume the situation was based on the information given (What did the girl want? was there another, more legal way? if so, why was it not pursued? etc.)

hamishspence
2009-03-28, 05:46 AM
While "thinking you were doing the right thing" doesn't make you Good (Champions of Ruin) the act itself can't easily be defined as evil. Putting a stop to a crime, even a moderately "justifiable" crime, by legal means, is well within what you would expect of LG.

Also, you can't be blamed for what other people do- if there was no evidence that the mother was abusing the child, but she starts doing it after child is handed over, that doesn't retroactively make your act Evil.

Tensu
2009-03-28, 02:00 PM
But I'm not being asked the person's alignment: I'm being asked the action's alignment.

hamishspence
2009-03-29, 07:06 AM
I'd say LN: Person's concern is for Law, not Good, but there are no immediate Evil consequences. (Whether there were later evil consequences is another matter)

Tensu
2009-03-29, 10:42 AM
And I'd say later consequences must be taken into account. otherwise, blowing up a hospital, depriving millions of medicine they need to survive, isn't evil unless someone gets caught in the blast.

rankrath
2009-03-29, 11:04 AM
What people are forgetting is that following the law only makes the action lawful, not good. Good/Evil-ness is determined by the effects of the action, regardless it's legality. In this case, everyone (except the mother) was harmed by following the law. The police officer and uncle ended up in jail for trying to help someone and the child was returned to a neglectful home. This makes it easy to define the action as lawful evil, and the action of doing nothing chaotic good.

FoE
2009-03-29, 11:07 AM
In fairness to that character he didn't know what kind of life he was leaving that girl to if he didn't return her to her mother. Sure, it might have been the best thing for her. Or maybe there would come a time where that girl would start missing her mom. We never even saw them together until the very end, so how the **** would we know how the girl felt about her mom? And maybe living with people who friggin' kidnapped you isn't the ideal environment for a child to grow up in, even if said kidnappers didn't appear to 'mistreat' you.

I can't say with absolute certainty that he did the right thing. Certainly it was a stupid decision, given what he sacrificed and what was ultimately the result of that decision. But maybe the willingness to sacrifice your own happiness to do 'the right thing' makes this Lawful Good.

hamishspence
2009-03-29, 11:28 AM
Reasonably forseeable consequences, then.

Sending people for jail for crimes they have actually committed- LE? Even if they committed the crime with good intentions, still tricky definition.

Tensu
2009-03-29, 02:17 PM
I'd say we probably need more information to be sure, but I'm going to assume the child was ok with it and it was the best thing for her, since that seems to be what's implied.

also, it was bad for the mom too. raising a child is expensive.

rankrath
2009-03-29, 03:07 PM
Sending people for jail for crimes they have actually committed- LE? Even if they committed the crime with good intentions, still tricky definition.

Not really. Good does not care about laws, that's what the law-chaos axis is for. All Good cares about is whether or not an action improves society/helps people/ect.

The Fiery Tower
2009-03-29, 11:28 PM
Lawful Neutral. He was abiding to the letter of the law, but not the actual good/evil of it all. basically a judge who has no moral opinion, just does whatever the rules says.

Satyr
2009-03-30, 01:33 AM
That sounds pretty much like a classic tragedy. Which means, that there is no "right" way to get out of the dilemma, and both ways of action are similarly terrible. That is pretty much what a tragedy defines.