You are on holiday in Bali with your wife and 18 year old son. You have been there for a week and are ready to head home. All three of you are at the airport getting ready to board your plane, when an armed officer comes around with a sniffer dog. You have all your bags on a trolley, and the dog sniffs at both your wife and your bag, and passes over them, however when he gets to your son’s bag, he begins to get a bit more active.

You look over at your son and he’s looking a little nervous. You know he’s smoked a little marijuana in his time, but generally, he’s a good kid, and you certainly didn’t think he’d actually be stupid enough to bring it back on the plane with him. At first you feel angry that he would do such a thing and start planning your responsibility lecture, but then you realize that you are in Bali, and they have a zero tolerance policy on drugs, meaning your son could be jailed for life, or worse, executed, if he does have some illicit materials in his bag.

You look at your wife and realize she has come to the same conclusion and has gone pale with fear.

The armed officer accompanying the dog is beginning to look more stern with every sniff the dog takes and looks directly at you and asks you to open to the bag.

You do, and as the officer begins to take things out of the bag, you see to your horror that there is a small quantity of marijuana stashed in with your son’s belongings.

The officer looks at you and asks “Whose bag is this?”

You realize you have to answer, but the answer won’t be easy. You see your wife in the corner of your eye, and she is about to step forward and claim it as her own.

What should you do?


(From A Dozen Difficult Moral Problems)

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Yeah, he wasn't my favorite son anyway.

If he'd been 15 years old, maybe I'd take the rap. But he's 18.

I think when faced with a difficult situation like this, I'd go for the truth - particularly as further investigation would take place and my lie (or my wife's) would emphasize guilt and foreknowledge.

I would say it is mine if it is plausible to do so. The contents of the bag might make it implausible. 

Wow, tough one.

For me at least, there would be so many variables I can't say for sure what I'd do, then.

My mind WOULD be racing though.

The instinct to protect the kid would be definitely kicking in.

As Bali is famously corrupt, a bribe would definitely be at least ONE option to pop up as the LEAST likely to have severe consequences, albeit, there IS always the teeny chance it could make things worse if the searchers are the one non-corrupt Bali party, etc.

If the offense was truly immoral, as opposed to a cultural more made law, etc, the moral responsibilities I might consider would swing towards honesty, which, in the Bali scenario, would swing away from fairness, ironically.

So, simply asking how much the fine in cash they wanted was, might be the best route.

The bag containing less than, or more than, 5 grams, might also be a risk/reward factor to consider, as under 5 grams is not "dealing", and the penalty is closer to 4 years than execution, etc.

As they DID "declare a war on drugs" though, its still possible a bribe could backfire, so, without more info, at this juncture, I don't actually know what I'd do.

My wife for example WOULD try to take the rap, but, is a terrible liar.  It would most likely be obvious who's bag is whose, but, a parent could rationalize that they packed their kid's bags, and stuffed it in, etc.

They DO drug test you on a bust in Bali, so, if the kid's urine/blood sample is positive, he's screwed and matter if I or my wife tried to take the rap.

And so forth...very complicated.


Easy. Pull out your wallet and give him a bribe.

Quickly pull out my wallet, fumble and drop it 'accidentally' on the floor by his feet, and await further instructions.

Answers that probably none of you thought about:

  • Harness the power of a black hole to push all three of you into a paralell world (where this didn't happen)
  • The dog just smelled the grilled sirloin steak in the suitcase
  • Praying to God that the prison food will be spicy noodles in a red curry sauce
  • Time machine.
  • Playing one of Bach's violin Partitas until the security guards emotionally shed tears of beautiful dissonance and then run for it!
  • Telling them it's actually not yours but your friend who has a terminal illness and needs to smoke dope and bought some in Thailand but somehow ended up lost at sea so we are carrying his suitcase back home along with some totally unrelated teenager clothing and magazines and books that coincidentally have my son's name written in the cover.
  • Set loose your army of giant squirrels
  • Offer the security guards a Peppermint Paty laced with magical sleeping dust
  • Start speaking a language you just made up until they are sufficiently confused they don't remember what their own names are and what they're doing in the airport
  • Bribe them with tons of monopoly money and tell them it's Canadian Currency
  • Tell them you are royalty from LIchtenstein...hoping their ignorance in Geography will shame them into not investigating any further and letting you go
  • Show them the enormous sad eyes of your kitten traveling with you
  • Challenge them to a kung-fu battle royale
  • Ask the Russian government for their help in exchange for fixing the next election
  • Transform into a dragon, but your family on your back, crash through the roof and fly away to Westeros
  • Blame it on both your wife and your son and then retire to a chill bachelor life on a carribean island
  • eat all of the pot before the police can take it as evidnece

This is a very tough one.....I don't know. Normally I would say my son should have to take responsibility for his actions. But the punishment must fit the crime. To give a life sentence for a dime of weed is fucking ridiculous....There's no easy answer.

Go full Commando, drop all the cops, take all weapons.  Grab the bags, escape.  Take over a plane and fly away.  Now break out the dope and get high.


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