Originally Posted by MyXenocide
But the captain thought, that even if lightened to the extent to which she afterwards was, 'it would have been impossible to row her to land; and that the chances of her being picked up, were ninety-nine to one against her.'
And, further, that on the following morning, before the boats parted company, the mate, in the long-boat, told the captain, in the jolly-boat, that the long-boat was unmanageable, and, that unless the captain would take some of the long-boat's passengers, it would be necessary to cast lots and throw some overboard. 'I know what you mean,' or, as stated by one witness, 'I know what you'll have to do,' said the captain. 'Don't speak of that now. Let it be the last resort.' There was little or no wind at this time, but pieces of ice were floating about.
Not one of the crew was cast over.
It was among the facts of this case that, during these solemn and distressful hours, scarce a remark appeared to have been made in regard to what was going to be done, nor, while it was being done, as to the necessity for doing it. None of the crew of the long-boat were present at the trial, to testify, and, with the exception of one small boy, all the witnesses from the long-boat were women,--mostly quite young. It is probable that, by Tuesday night (the weather being cold, the persons on the boat partially naked, and the rain falling heavily), the witnesses had become considerably overpowered by exhaustion and cold, having been 24 hours in the boat. None of them spoke in a manner entirely explicit and satisfactory in regard to the most important point, viz. the degree and imminence of the jeopardy at 10 o'clock on Tuesday night, when the throwing over began.
They then went to work; and, as has been already stated, threw out, before they ended, 14 male passengers, and also 2 women. [n. 5] The mate directed the crew 'not to part man and wife, and not to throw over any women.' There was no other principle of selection.
Let's return to the OP:
It's clear the moral dilemma INSPIRED by the event is a tough choice, but the reality is, those crewmen were murderers. The established facts speak to it:
1) THey knew beforehand that some people were gonna die because A) the lifeboat was overcrowded (the Captain refusing to take some onto his own boat) and B) Because the lifeboat was crappy.
2) There was no threatening weather (at least none of which the witnesses could recount).
3) There was no lengthy dialogue regarding what to do (again, none to which the witnesses could testify).
4) It was clearly decided that no women or married men should be thrown over and no other statement or instructions were given in regards to HOW to choose who to toss overboard.
5) The Captain, first mate, and secondmate, all knew BEFOREHAND that it would be impossible to row to land and that it was ultimately irrelevant if they did because rescue was almost impossible.
In the end, I'd agree with the jury and push for warrants to be sworn against the other crew members (Captain Harris was never charged).