Last spring Penn State students Lindsay Stork and Stacy Zanca submitted a short film to the Rock Ethics Institutes’ first annual Ethics Film/Video Competition. Provocatively entitled ‘Under the Influence’, the film employed striking visual technique in encouraging viewers to consider the potentially disastrous consequences of actions that many of us engage in every day, and to which seemingly few of us give much real thought. Sadly, charges recently brought against a Houtzdale man both remind us that the issue addressed in the film is a very real one and force us to consider the harm that our otherwise seemingly innocent actions may cause to others as well as to ourselves.
Take a look at Lindsay and Stacy’s film. What ethical questions do you think it raises and why? What, if anything, are the specifically ethical differences between the scenario presented there and the events leading to the felony homicide charges brought against the Houtzdale man? What about between this real-life case and the similar case in Gwinnett County, GA, where the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor?
How many of you have texted while driving?
If you have without causing harm to yourself or others, does that mean there is an ethically important difference between you and the people charged in these cases?