Jim is one bad dude! Him and his small band of outlaws roam the countryside robbing, murdering, setting fires, and general terrorizing the population. If Jim doesn’t like someone a bullet to the brain would be mercy. But there is no mercy in Jim or in his followers.
Pedro is tracking Jim. This lawman has made it his mission to stop Jim, however possible. After several months on the trail of this despot, Pedro feels that he has seen the evil that only a truly despicable human being could be capable of. In his mind he has made a decision: kill him as soon as sees him.
Unfortunately Jim knows Pedro is coming and sets a trap, which works! Pedro is captured, tied and blind-folded then and brought back to camp. He hears talking and laughing among the band, then a wild yell and the sound of men leaving camp. Unable to move, he can only wait.
After several hours, they return. More raucous then ever. Clearly drink was involved. Amid loud laughter and wild yells, Pedro was untied and his blindfold remove.
The hated Jim stood before him, drunk and laughing. Next to him, in chains, stood 20 townsmen. They were gagged, but not blindfolded. Laughing and coughing, spittle running down his chin, his red-shot eyes catching light from the lanterns.
“My friend, you have been chasing me for a long long time. But now I’ve caught you! Isn’t that funny.”
When Pedro didn’t answer someone kicked him in the knee, sending him to the ground. “Isn’t that funny? Answer!!”
“It’s funny, very funny”, said Jim.
“If you think that’s funny, listen to this one!” He pulled out his pistol and held it out to Pedro. “You get one shot, man. You could use it on me if you wanted. If you do, you and these twenty men die. You could use it on yourself, they still die. But, you can shoot one of them, then you and the other nineteen go free. Just make sure it is a good clean shot between the eyes.”
“And, friend, if you do nothing, everyone will still die. But it will take longer.” then after more wild laughter: “Isn’t that hilarious, friend?” Here’s the gun. You have 1 minute.”
Some will know that this is a philosophical thought experiments, I don’t claim it is original.