People go through many dilemmas during a lifetime. Many of them require a rational decision to steer them down the right path. During childhood kids do many things that they think are right, but have no idea how wrong they are. You have to learn from your mistakes so later on in life you wont make those mistakes. Especially teenagers when they get into high school they tend to meet other teen from different areas of town from different backgrounds. They go through fazes of their lives where they think they can be independent and they think they know a lot when they dont.
My dilemma happened when I entered my second year of high school. I to did something that I thought was right, but turned out to be very wrong. During my tenth grade year I was associated with some friends who got into the this thing that stealing cars were fun. Well one day these so called friends asked me to go with them to steal a car. Of course I said no, but the next day in the evening I was confronted by those same friends to gout the next night to joy ride in this car. Should I ride around in this car, I mean after all I didnt steal it, or stay away from this whole situation?
I choose to go riding like any other unsuspecting teenager would do. When your young you dont realize what kind of trouble you can get into if you get caught. I made a decision that will affect me for the rest of my life. The night was young and my friend and I were having a ball. We toured the city and drove past popular places where we knew people would be outside to see us. It seemed like the perfect night, and it felt like nothing could go wrong. Then all of a sudden this night took a turn for the worst. My friend and I drove into a shopping center to go to Seven Eleven and some cops came to the store and parked behind the car.
We thought nothing of the cops, we figured they would think it was our parents car. We got into the car and drove around to the back of the building. The cops followed and my friend and I agreed that we would both bail out and run in different ways to get away from the cops. This was the perfect plan right, wrong, my friend panicked and drove my side of the car to close to the back of the building and pinned me in the car when he took off running there was no way that I could get out. There was two cops in the car one of them took off to chase my friend and the other came and arrested me.
I was caught and taken to the county jail and charged accessory to grand theft auto. When I got to the police station my parents were called and the police wanted information about my friend. Since my parents knew little of my friend I was the only one that could help them out. The dilemma in my teenage stupidity situation was should I tell on my friend or should I take the rap for something that was part his doing. I resolved it by telling the cops his pager number only because I was scared, but I was determined not to tell them any information. He was paged, but he did not respond. What happened to my friend you ask?
He was later caught because of another stolen car and linked to my incident. To critique this situation I picked John Stuart Mill, A utilitarianism philosopher. John Stuart Mill would have said that my action was wrong. Utilitarian’s believe in the greatest happiness principal. The greatest happiness principal is the principal that states: the action is morally right if it produces the greatest happiness for everyone. In Mills words the happiness principal is the principal that holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. (Mill pp. 2)
Since I choose not to tell information leading to his arrest I did not produce the greatest happiness for everyone. I was only thinking of myself and how I could help just my friend. According to Mill to tell the police would have been the right action. Mill states that for the standard is not the agents own greatest happiness, but the greatest amount of happiness altogether. (Mill pp. 133) By me not telling, the motive was good but, Mill says utilitarian moralist have gone beyond almost all others and in affirming that the motive has nothing to do with the morality of the action, though much with the worth of the agent.
Mill believes in consequentialism, which simply means its the consequence that counts. I disagree with Mill. I believe that I made the right decision. I didnt rat on my friend even though I should have for pinning me against the wall. I told the cops some information but not enough get him arrested. I think you should produce the greatest happiness according to your situation. In this case I think I should have produce the greatest happiness for my friend only. If my fried was a convicted killer of course Im going to help the police to get him of the street, but for a non-dangerous crime Im not going to tell on my friend.