What would you do to save a life?

I’m watching Haunted History on H2 this evening, and their currently discussing Manson and all that awfulness. A thought occurred to me, not for the first time: If you could go back in time and stop something terrible from happening, would you?

Now, the automatic answer is, well yeah! But I want you to think about this for a minute. Let’s say you could go back, and stop Manson. How far back would you go? At what part of his upbringing did things go wrong? Or was he just “born bad?” And how would you know you did enough to stop him? (For this hypothetical, I’m saying you can only go back once, like 12 Monkeys.)

It seems like the only way you could be sure would be to kill him. So when would you do it? At what point would you think, “Okay, he hasn’t corrupted anyone yet, so if he dies now, none of the craziness will happen.” From a young age he was known as a good manipulator, and he was often in boys homes/juvenile detention.

The decision’s been made. We’re going to kill Charlie Manson, as a child. Could you do that? End a kid’s life for the possibility of saving I think 9 lives?

If this isn’t heavy enough for you, what about Hitler?

These are the things I wonder about when I watch the history channel. It’s a conundrum; I can’t say what I would do one way or another. I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision like that. I’m also hoping I don’t come off totally creepy either. It’s not my fault there’s only macabre things on the History channels these days! Maybe I should go watch some My Little Ponies that I taped for Monkey instead…