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Thought experiment

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday March 15, 2006 12:16 PM

Sinister, shifty-eyed guy, carrying a baseball bat, comes up to you on the street. "You need to give me all your money," he says.

"Why?" you ask, understandably.

"Because if you don't, I'll beat the crap out of you. Actually, I'll beat the crap out of you anyway, but you still need to give me all your money."

You're not following the logic here. Understandably. "If you're going to beat me up anyway, why should I--" you begin.

"You don't understand. See that guy across the street?"

You look, and sure enough, there is a bigger, tougher-looking footpad loitering across the street, carrying a tire iron. "If you don't give me all your money," the lesser footpad continues, "that guy will come and beat you up instead, and he'll do a much better job than I will."

You're a sensible person. So you give the lesser footpad all your money. True to his word, he kicks you in the nuts and when you fall to the ground, he starts whaling on you with the baseball bat.

While this is ongoing, the greater footpad crosses the street, whups your footpad upside the head with the tire iron, and relieves him of your money. Then he starts beating up on you with the tire iron. He does seem to be doing a somewhat better job, though it's hard to tell, and either way you won't survive much more of it.

While the new assailant is busy with you, the former assailant picks himself up off the ground. As he limps away, you call after him, "Don't be discouraged! We'll gain control of the block next time!"

Comments (3)

J. Alva Scruggs:

You forgot the bystander who yells, "Thanks, Ralph!" as he deplores the beating and rushes to dab a little soothing ointment on the routed thug.

I was with you right up until the last bit. What the person should have called was "This is all Nader's fault!"

In the sequel, the lesser footpad makes you drive him to the hospital. There, he takes your credit card so he can buy more gas for your car later, kicks you out of your own car, and drives past the emergency room gate for treatment;Leaving you bleeding to death on the curb.

After all, it's not like he's going to pay for your treatment. It's your job to pay for his, though. And shame on you for bleeding to death, too ! Now he'll have to go hit up your kids next time he runs out of Viagra. :p

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