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Executing the St. Johns: The Only Moral Choice

posted by JackSchirmer on - last edited - Viewed by 1.2K users

It occurred to me during Episode 2, then again afterwards during the discussion, that the conventional moral position whereby killing the St. John's is considered the lesser, baser option, had it all backwards.

Here's a typical post on the issue:

Originally Posted by Viser
Yeah, definitely fighting the St. John brothers. That was very intense, I actually killed Danny out of anger, because of what he had done to us, but after knowing Clem witnessed it I instantly felt like I shouldn't have done that. Didn't kill Andy though, he being like "Get back here and finish this!!" was epic.

Thing is, if you leave the St. John's alive, aren't they simply going to continue, as long as they're alive, trapping, mutilating, murdering, and eating innocent travelers? Don't you have the moral obligation to execute them, whether in anger or after due consideration?

What would their punishment have been in the pre-ZA world for their Dahmeresque crimes? Life imprisonment, at a minimum, and a death sentence in any state that allowed it. The only question remaining is, does the ZA provide a mitigating circumstance? In this case, I think, clearly not. There's still food out there. They do live on a farm. The soil is still fertile. They have corn, for example. They have at least one cow's worth of meat and the ability to dress and prepare that meat, in the neighborhood of five hundred pounds of it, which would last a small family at least several months

Life imprisonment wasn't an option, so executing the family was the only moral thing you could have done, given the circumstances. That it might have occured in front of Clem was unfortunate, but you didn't have the option during the game of taking Danny aside and killing him out of Clementine's view.

It wasn't an easy choice, but killing the St. John's was clearly right choice, the moral choice.

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  • @JackSchirmer said: It wasn't an easy choice, but killing the St. John's was clearly right choice, the moral choice.

    No it is not. Leaving them both alive to then be eaten by the Walkers invading the Dairy as well as Mama St. John being a Walker herself now thanks to Mark chowing down on her so she will eat them too.

    Now that is clearly the right moral choice.

  • I left the two turning walker food, they suffered more, and technically I did not kill them: D!

  • I killed the one in the barn, but left the other alive since I had had a "no clem, killing is wrong speech" afterwards - tried to avoid being a hypocrite...

  • You can't justify the Danny choices with "walkers were gonna get him". You didn't know about them at that time so it was killing him or letting him live. You didn't know that Brenda and Andy were going to die, so this argument is invalid.

    I did kill both of them because they were a threat to my group and other groups as well. They had allowed ZA to turn them into things not much different than the walkers themselves, so they had to be killed.
    Regarding Clem, my stance is that I can't shield her from all the wrongs the world is going to expose her to. If I want her to survive, then she needs to learn how to deal with all kinds of fucked up situations and decisions. I can't give her some universal truth but I can try to teach her what I perceive as right and good.

  • Killed Danny, let Andy live. Danny might have come back for us if he were able, but Andy was defeated. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't come after us again. He didn't seem to have the strength to go on after learning his family was dead.

  • @YamiRaziel said: You can't justify the Danny choices with "walkers were gonna get him". You didn't know about them at that time so it was killing him or letting him live. You didn't know that Brenda and Andy were going to die, so this argument is invalid.

    I did kill both of them because they were a threat to my group and other groups as well. They had allowed ZA to turn them into things not much different than the walkers themselves, so they had to be killed.
    Regarding Clem, my stance is that I can't shield her from all the wrongs the world is going to expose her to. If I want her to survive, then she needs to learn how to deal with all kinds of fucked up situations and decisions. I can't give her some universal truth but I can try to teach her what I perceive as right and good.

    Granted I did not know about the Walkers till after but I still never killed both of the brothers.

  • Well, let's look at Danny for a moment. He got his -leg- caught in a bear trap. Looking back at the band teacher in the woods, I don't believe that's a pleasant experience. Now, it's likely that, unlike the teacher's predicament, this trap has a release mechanism. That's a fine howdy-do, but that's still a grievous wound. This is a trap meant to immobilize -bears- stuck to a human. Even if he gets free, that wound will be constantly bleeding while he tries to get somewhere to patch it up. That barn didn't have anything useful in that sense. The only place he can go is the house. Not to mention that Danny doesn't strike me as the brains of the operation. I'm not convinced he could treat the wound properly. Danny would die of infection or even bleeding out, unless the walkers got to him first.

    Brenda was doomed from the start, an unfortunate victim of circumstance. She got what she deserved, but there was nothing that could have been done. Karma's a bitch.

    Andy was the only one that you had much direct control over. And judging by the options when speaking to him, at least Lee is convinced that Andy's family is dead. With this news, Andy is completely broken, having lost everything. There's no greater punishment in existence. In fact, killing him would only serve to make things easier for him.

    I will agree with you. In this situation, killing them is certainly the lesser of two evils. But to a child, where morals are often a case of black or white, right or wrong, you did the right thing by not giving in to your rage.

  • when i didn't kill them both the first time i assumed we were going to have to figure out what to do with them, and take over the farm as our own, so basically we would have put them in prison (fixed meat locker) and eventually find out if they had any humanity left and whether they could ever be a part of our group, but after i beat up Andy we see that isn't an option and have to leave them to die or at least alone with little hope of surviving, murder is wrong and there is no other way of defining what you could do to andy and danny as anything other than murder

  • @JackSchirmer said: It occurred to me during Episode 2, then again afterwards during the discussion, that the conventional moral position whereby killing the St. John's is considered the lesser, baser option, had it all backwards.

    Here's a typical post on the issue:

    Thing is, if you leave the St. John's alive, aren't they simply going to continue, as long as they're alive, trapping, mutilating, murdering, and eating innocent travelers? Don't you have the moral obligation to execute them, whether in anger or after due consideration?

    What would their punishment have been in the pre-ZA world for their Dahmeresque crimes? Life imprisonment, at a minimum, and a death sentence in any state that allowed it. The only question remaining is, does the ZA provide a mitigating circumstance? In this case, I think, clearly not. There's still food out there. They do live on a farm. The soil is still fertile. They have corn, for example. They have at least one cow's worth of meat and the ability to dress and prepare that meat, in the neighborhood of five hundred pounds of it, which would last a small family at least several months

    Life imprisonment wasn't an option, so executing the family was the only moral thing you could have done, given the circumstances. That it might have occured in front of Clem was unfortunate, but you didn't have the option during the game of taking Danny aside and killing him out of Clementine's view.

    It wasn't an easy choice, but killing the St. John's was clearly right choice, the moral choice.


    Let's face it they were both going to die anyway. The generator was shorting out and they had no defenses against the walkers. Danny's leg was broken in the bear trap so he wasn't walking anywhere. if you beat Andy long enough he's in no condition to exact revenge. He would have been a broken man once he realised his mother was dead and his dairy farm was in ruins, ransacked by walkers. The farm was being over run by walkers.

    If I am honest I would have killed them both if Lee was alone with them but that would have been out of blood lust not necessity. More of us need to be honest about our reasons for killing the brothers. some people just jump for the opportunity to kill because it's a video game and they can, not because it's necessary for the story. The game does give us a choice to play how we want but if you select the view icons over object you will actually hear Lee's inner voice and his own opinions about various things such as how he wouldn't want Clementine to see anymore violence when you aim the cursor on her in the meat locker etc. I personally took this in mind when playing the game.

    In the comics one of Rick's concerns is how detached and cold his son is becoming because of the horrors he's seen, how he is loosing his innocence, how their world is changing him to quickly and how their loosing their humanity.

    Lee had only been in the apocalypse for 3 months during the dairy farm sequence. I felt a responsibility to be the best care taker possible for clementine, this is after all a story about redemption. How the rest of the group see's Lee is as important as how Rick's group saw him. I remember in the comic when rick was at the prison and started to loose control, the group lost faith in him as a leader and they made a committee so he would no longer make all the decisions. This was shortly after he nearly beat Thomas to death, in the end Thomas was left to the walkers where he suffered a slow death. Lets face it Thomas did more things to Rick's group than the st john did to Lee's. I punched Andy until Carly told me to stop then I left him to the walkers. Some how the sequence seemed more epic that way than a quick electrocution considering Lee left with the respect from his group. Clementine actually looks proud of him. At least I was able to justify looting the car at the end because the food wasn't taken by force. But I couldn't justify killing anyone in cold blood to Clementine which is partly why I didn't kill Larry.

  • @Viser said: Ha, I did reply to you on the other thread where you posted that. I'm just gonna post my reply here.


    My thought's exactly.

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