Rewatching "The High Ground"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Guest12, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Guest12

    Guest12 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I've been re-watching TNG on Netflix lately and I'm currently in S3. I never thought about this before but, when I re-watched "The High Ground," at the end where Riker says to the Rutian police chief (?) "You didn't have to kill him," (re: Finn), am I the only one who thought: "What? You disintegrated that girl from The Vengeance Factor just a few episodes ago!"

    I realize maybe this reinforces the kind of "Federation up on its high horse" message of the episode, and maybe Riker even regretted killing the girl (Yuta) from "The Vengeance Factor," but c'mon Riker, you disintegrated her body -- get off your high horse.
     
  2. blueziggy

    blueziggy Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    riker disintegrates yuta after 3 phaser blasts dont stop her. she continues to try and kill her target. why didnt he just stun her? i took it as he tried higher levels of stun and that her physiology just made her immune to stun leaving just the final option that he had to kill her.

    is it the same? similar but no. killing a defenseless and hopelessly out manned enemy is wrong. killing a being that refuses to stop until they achieve their goal especially when you are unsure of their true power is justified.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps even more significant is what Riker learns of the determination of Yuta. If the successive levels of stun and the certain knowledge that she has failed and will be stopped are not sufficient for making her surrender, then she is a goner. There isn't anything left in her head that would allow her to have a life of any sort if Riker merely stops her. Mercy killings don't seem to be morally objectionable to our heroes as such, so Riker probably engages in one here.

    Of course, the Federation supposedly cures all criminals with counseling sessions (and possible Tantalus chair sessions), so there really ought to be some hope for Yuta...

    Not if gunning him down is the only way to save Picard's life.

    What people seem to be assuming is that the police chief had a stun mode available to her sidearm. But this is never established anywhere. To the contrary, the Rutians hope that the Federation will provide them with superweapons, Riker's own stun-capable sidearm supposedly being a prime example.

    So Riker would be essentially saying "You could have aimed at his leg and merely crippled him for life!", which of course still is a silly thing to say because attempts at Wild West marksmanship would probably have led to Picard's death.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    It's been a while since I saw "The Vengeance Factor" but I'm fairly sure I remember the scene at the end with Yuta nad it's clearly shown that Riker is doing something to his Phaser between shots (no doubt as others have said increasing the power)
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yup, we even see that the final setting beautifully corresponds with what the Tech Manual claims - that it takes a minimum of eight blips on the display to engage the "vaporize" setting. Riker seems to go from stun to some kind of heavy stun/mild kill before opting for the surefire kill.

    Yuta could clearly have been stopped from completing her dastardly deed by simply firing at her several times with the previous, non-vaporizing setting; the intended victim could have run away and locked the door while Yuta struggled with the stunning beam. But as per the rules of Star Trek, she had already done all that was allowed of her in this world, and outlived her welcome by some margin. It's not as if Starfleet soldiers are under rules not to kill the enemy. Especially one who is by design incapable of ceasing and desisting or dropping weapons!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Also keep in mind that Yuta chose an alien venue for her final attempt to kill her enemy chief. Riker intercepted her, not on a Federation vessel, not on an allied vessel, not on an alien world or other installation where the Prime Directive would come into play, but instead on a pirate vessel when no "Role of Law" applies and the Enterprise is under orders to insert itself diplomatically for security and interstellar cooperation reasons. So Riker had discretion there.
     
  7. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Riker had no excuse for killing her. That shot previous left her struggling to stand. Shoot her a few more times like that and you'll be able to slap her in irons.

    That bugs me about as much as, "Perhaps something occurred during transport."
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not like Riker doesn't have a track record of this. He murdered his and Pulaski's clones in Up the Long Ladder. Sure they were violated, but does that justify the murder of two sentient beings?
     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Riker kept gradually upping the phaser, it was pretty obvious there was no setting that would have stopped her but not killed her. Maybe repeated stuns would have stopped her, but she was lunging forward at him desperately, she only had to touch him to kill him, and you can't risk the victim's life to save the life of the attacker.
     
  10. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    A one second burst had Yuta stumbling backwards, barely able to stand. Hit her with that for ten seconds and she'd be on the floor in agony. Better than killing her.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't get this "murder is bad" stuff here. Riker is murderer by profession: Starfleet expects him to kill the enemy. Yuta is the enemy, even if a sexist asshole from the 21st century might say that she has to be left alive because of her boobs and pretty smile.

    "Agony is better than death"? What sort of reasoning is that? Riker is a murderer by profession. He is not a torturer.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    I'm not even sure you're watching the same show as the rest of us...
     
  13. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I know you have a hobby if disagreeing with me, but seriously?

    What you are saying is basically that it's better to fire a fatal gunshot because using a taser is too painful!

    Oh, and I sure hope you weren't referring to me with that "sexist asshole" comment, because I certainly never said that.
     
  14. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    Data didn't seem to think so in The Most Toys, when he discharged his disruptor
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, yes, if it takes one gunshot but a lifetime of constant tasering to keep the assassin from completing the crime she cannot stop committing.

    It's apparently well within Starfleet regulations to fire mercy shots to execute a defeated enemy; Kirk does it in STXI and ST3, but Picard and Janeway also engage in lots of it when facing the Borg. Yuta is a pretty good match for the Borg, a gift that keeps on giving unless put down for good.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Are you SERIOUS?

    A phaser hit on heavy stun for ten seconds. She goes down in pain, she gets arrested, beamed to the Enterprise and is perfectly fine the next day. But instead you vote to KILL HER?

    Timo, that's pretty fucked up. If that happened today, what would you think? Imagine the newspaper headline...

    Police officer shoots dead armed suspect because taser was deemed too painful.

    A 30 year old woman was shot dead today. Witness say that pepper spray had been used but had only limited effectiveness. Another police officer had used a taser, which left the suspect unable to move, but a malfunction had caused the taser to fire at reduced capacity. After the taser discharge had finished, another police officer drew his weapon and fired a single shot, hitting the woman in the head and killing her instantly. He had a taser which was working perfectly, however he chose to use lethal force instead. When asked why he chose this course of action, the officer said, "In my opinion, the taser was painful and I didn't want to subject the suspect to that level of pain."

    What would you think of that?

    Seriously, how fucked up must you be if you think that ending a life is a better choice than inflicting temporary, non-lethal pain? Or do you think that the ONLY OPTION is to keep shooting her with a phaser on stun for the rest of her life? They do have PRISONS that are kinda hard to get out of, you know!
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And again tries to murder somebody. And will keep doing so for every second of every day till she dies (or, if the programming was clever enough, till the last from her list of victims dies, childless). Each day spent in a padded cell without the chance to do what she was bred to do is agony to her.

    There is no "perfectly fine" for Yuta, who really does not deserve to be treated as a person, not by Star Trek norms.

    And many other types of torture methods, too. Currently, torture is greatly favored in the western world as a means of dealing with crime, mainly a) for the supposed deterrent value and b) because it's not that much more expensive than executions yet. But Yuta is not a criminal who could be deterred. She's a fucked-up death machine who has already outlived her welcome by far, and has absolutely nothing to look forward to in terms of "life". She just happens to look like a sexy chick, so gunning her down doesn't feel as comfortable as putting a hole in a tank with a bazooka.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    What do you do with Yuta if you arrest her? Set her free and she's just going to start hunting again, capture her and there's no telling how long she'll be in your custody as she hadn't aged a day in fifty-three years and according to her she had been hunting for a century.

    Vaporizing Yuta was probably the most humane thing Riker could have done.
     
  19. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    So you are, for some reason, completely discounting prisons entirely, even though we've heard of them several times, and seen one of them at least once.

    A sentient being who does not deserve to be treated like a person?

    And now you are, for some bizarre reason, equating a 24th century Federation prison as "torture".
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm simply acknowledging that they amount to torture. And significantly, that they amount to much more severe torture for Yuta than they would for a human being. In fact, a prison would be much less humane a fate for Yuta than death by bludgeoning, because the latter would only take, oh, three hours of suffering max.

    Few in Star Trek do. You have to abide to human standards of existence to get accepted as a person there. From the very first aired episode on, it has been clear that there's no mercy for sapient vampires, and Yuta obviously is one.

    All imprisonment is torture - that's its sole function, to make the victim suffer from freedom deprivation and see the error of his ways. The sometimes quoted secondary function of keeping the victim temporarily out of further mischief amounts to basically nothing unless the sentence is life or some sort of rehabilitation eventually takes place. We hear of both these things being true in the Trek universe (life spent at Elba II, or then six-month sentences for things like attempted genocide, followed by apparent 100% recovery rate for the specific crime-illnesses) - but only for people who are not Yuta. She's not curable, and life spent not murdering would be constant torture for her.

    Timo Saloniemi