Death note

Suppose you had the power to choose who dies, when and how they die by simply writing their name on a paper or saying it loudly, would you do it?

This is the theme of a movie by the same name as the title of this post.

The main antagonist kills a guy who beat him up and rapidly graduates to killing bad guys across the continents and gets a girl he admires in school involved.

A detective comes to town to help local police identify the mysterious killer and this is where everything gets interesting.

The moral question, here, is can we decide that a pedophile or a thief deserves to die? Especially where we know they really are guilty? Can it be up to us?

Or is this the problem with human beings as Satan in Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain concludes.


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

62 thoughts on “Death note

  1. Ubi Dubium says:

    If you are talking about the live-action movie, I’ve seen it. I would recommend the animated series as being far superior, if you have the time to watch it. The series has a much more in-depth take on the moral issues involved.


  2. renudepride says:

    Although I am a Mark Twain fan, I confess I am not familiar with the story that you mentioned, my Kenyan brother. I do know that I am unable to kill someone, consciously or unconsciously. It simply is *not* something that I am qualified to do. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d rather have the ability to kill disease, birth defects rape, starvation………..

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The moral question, here, is can we decide that a pedophile or a thief deserves to die? Especially where we know they really are guilty? Can it be up to us?

    To a much lesser degree, this was the conundrum of my recent jury duty experience. At least one-third of the jurors in an assault case passionately felt that they were judge, jury, and executioner, and that only their subjective opinions mattered even if it contradicted the law.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’d do it for all the people who want to die because they’re in incredible pain and in a position where they know anyone who helps them will be arrested, or they simply want a safe, painless death. I would hope someone would do the same for me too.

    So far as the evil people go, and which ones we deem them to be in our own personal universes – it’s a slippery slope, and humans cannot be trusted with such power sadly. One moment of incandescent misplaced fury and innocent folks may and most likely would die with irrevocable consequences. It depends on whether you believe in such casualties being reasonable ‘for the greater good’ or not.

    Great question Mak. I haven’t seen the film but I like the premise.

    – Esme Cloud having the power only to make people eat sticky buns when she writes their names down luckily.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Mak sending big hugs to the Cloud.

      In the film, the girlfriend becomes too ambitious and feels Turner is not crazy enough. I think you are right, this power would get into someone head. I would dispatch all matatu drivers who force me out of the road- if I knew their names!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll have to check this movie out. Sounds interesting.


  7. basenjibrian says:

    The animated series may be interesting!

    I guess one problem I have is the definition of “crime” and “sin” is so culturally bound. I keep harping on this example because the story horrified me so much: In rural India (or Pakistan), a young man was seen cavorting with a young woman of higher caste. The punishment from the Village Council of Elders was for the young man’s younger sister to be raped by all of the men in the village.

    I despise thieves. But capital punishment for this crime?

    I admit there are cases where it is hard to be dispassionate. I would find it really hard to spend my time fighting for the rights of mass murderers, serial child molesters, and the like. There were people PASSIONATE about saving the life of Richard Allen Davis.

    If there is a textbook example for sheer human evil, even given our imperfect understanding of how limited “free will” is, Richard Allen Davis was example number one. The…smirk. What about Hitler? Or Stalin? Or, for that matter, the American Founding Fathers who were guilty of heinous crimes on a variety of grounds (slavery, genocide, warmongering)


    • makagutu says:

      Thinking of all what you have written, would one knowing a suicide bomber was about to blow himself up and kill bystanders, would one kill him/her instead? Or would still not be our call to make? Him/her or them?


      • basenjibrian says:

        If you are that close, then it would also be self defense. If you are quite a distance off, then we stumble into the quicksand of ticking bomb conundrums invented by our sociopathic intelligence operatives to justify places like Abu Ghraib. And…the situation you describe is probably so very, very rare.


  8. I’d be very good at killing people. I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. shelldigger says:

    Do we get any take-backsies for a moment of anger?

    My first thought was, we would be shy one orange idiot and the next in line. Then I’d be done. I promise. Wait, I forgot about the congress. I’m going to need a few more pieces of paper… then I’d be done, I promise. But then there are a lot of pretty bad dictators in the world. Then I’d be done, I promise. But then…

    Yeah probably a bad idea 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Swarn Gill says:

    I’m against the death penalty, so I wouldn’t support this for the same reason. I’m against the death penalty even beyond the possibility that we might put to death someone innocent. No one is born evil, we are a produce of our genetics and environment and that it is possible that we could be fixed. We don’t know how to fix many people yet, but given that we have the ability to remove harmful people from society without killing them that simply seems like the safer more humane option, given who knows what advances we might make to heal some people and make them functional in society again?

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      I hear you well.
      Imagine on your way home, you have just seen your favorite neighbour hacked to death by a person they didn’t provoke and you have this book where you can write down the name and what happens to the person, maybe not death, but some misfortune, what would you do?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swarn Gill says:

        Well mak it is a difficult for me to say. Having children you think of that scenario of somebody raping or fatally harming your child and wonder what you would do. I mean I certainly think I’m capable of it and probably need no piece of paper should anger get the better of me. But I have never felt that much anger so I can’t say what I would do should that situation arise. I do know that in my volunteer work with neglected and abused children that even in very troubling cases, any search into a the past of a perpetrator is usually looking at another sad story of a child who has been abused, neglected, and/or has mental illness. Their parents were usually drug addicts as well, etc. It’s a cycle. I tend to feel at least some empathy for the adults, even while knowing its necessary to protect children from them. If it was someone close to me, well I’m sure I could be differently impacted, but sitting here as a rational human being I would say that I wouldn’t want that power and don’t think it’s the right way to deal even with the worst actors in society.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Barry says:

    No one deserves to die. Besides how do you really know someone is guilty? A confession? being a witness? Even juries don’t always get it right as in the case of Teina Pora and Arthur Allan Thomas.


  12. What if they kill you off first?


  13. lexborgia says:

    I’d go on a Thanos type rampage, times two. Seriously.


We sure would love to hear your comments, compliments and thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s