Topic: SocietySociety

Scott and Lance Hacking
(August 2004)

We now know that suspected wife-murderer Mark Hacking was turned in by his brothers, Scott and Lance, who were the “reliable citizen witnesses,” cited in the police arresting document, that prompted police to search the Salt Lake County landfill where Lori Hacking is probably buried.

Their dilemma once their brother had confessed to killing his wife has been described on cable talk shows as a real tough call, ethically speaking. It is no such thing. The ethics of the situation couldn’t be clearer. As citizens, as human beings and responsible member of society, Scott and Lance Hacking could not ethically justify keeping silent. There was only one right thing to do, and wrenching as it was, they gathered their courage and did it.

The fact that it was hard to turn in their brother is not at all the same thing as saying that the brothers had an ethically difficult decision. It is tempting to keep a wallet full of money that one finds on the street; it is tempting to drive away when you have crunched an expensive parked car late at night; it is tempting to walk the other way when one sees a man abusing a child in public; it is hard to admit wrong doing and take the consequences. But in these cases and the Hacking case, the ethics are as clear as a mountain stream.

Ethics Scoreboard has nothing but admiration for the Hacking brothers for having the courage to do the right thing when it meant unpleasant consequences for a family member. But commentators who place family loyalty on equal ethical terms with reporting a confession of murder need a values check-up.

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