We don't want to be compelled to believe that our choices are bad. This is then that we are caught in a moral dilemma. Moral dilemmas are considered dilemmas because of certain kind of conflict between the rightness or wrongness of the actions and the goodness or badness of the consequences of the actions. If doing what is morally right results in something bad or if doing what is morally wrong results in something good, the force of moral obligation may seem balanced by the reality of the good end. We can have the satisfaction of being right, regardless of the damage done, or we can aim for what seems to be the best outcome, regardless of what wrongs must be committed (Ross, 2005). An unthinkable dilemma could be observed in William Styron's novel Sophie's Choice wherein Sophie had to make a choice which among her two children should she give up to the Nazi doctor. She had to make a choice in order to save one of them, or else both will be killed. This is such an impossible dilemma for a mother who loves her children so much. Whichever child she chooses, she would end up with negative consequence, that is losing one of her precious children. Sophie did make a choice because she wanted to keep at least one of them, only to find out that in the end, none would be left to her. Like Sophie, we may be faced with similar situations, though not as worse. Just like practicing the so-called white lies, a person thinks that if he uses that for good, the end would also be good because human tends to go for the positive results no matter what the means may be. But there are cases when we should accept the bad consequences because we ought to do something right. It's either we choose to do what is right and suffer the consequence or do wrong to achieve our desired outcome. Life situations, though, sometimes leave us with no choice. The crucial features of a moral dilemma are these: the person is required to do each of the two (or more) actions, the person can do each of the actions, but the person cannot do both (or all) of the actions. The person thus seems condemned to moral failure, no matter what he does, he will do something wrong (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006). This will then lead to believing that no matter choice the person makes, it will always result in a negative outcome. It's reality that we can be caught in situations which our moral judgment will be tested.
Let's take the case of the death of a young boy in Panama City, Florida based on the story reported by Court TV News last October 10, 2007.
Martin Lee Anderson was sent to a juvenile camp after caught joyriding in his grandmother's car. Florida prosecutors allege that Schmidt and seven drill instructors caused 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson's death from suffocation and ammonia inhalation, through their "actions and inactions," during a physical altercation with him on his first day at boot camp. Schmidt - along with drill instructors Henry Dickens, Charles Enfinger, Patrick Garrett, Raymond Hauck, Charles Helms Jr., Henry McFadden Jr., and Joseph Walsh - face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of aggravated manslaughter for the teen's death. In surveillance-camera footage of the incident, which occurred on Jan. 6, 2006, the seven drill instructors are seen manhandling the teen and holding ammonia capsules in his face as he wobbles on his legs. Three of Schmidt's co-defendants have testified that they responded in a manner