There's this hypothetical scenario (sometimes referred to as the trolley problem) that people refer to as an ethical conundrum. It goes something like:
There's a train heading down the track where it will run over and kill five people. You are at the lever that diverts the train onto a different track where it will only kill one person. Do you pull the lever and kill the one person in order to save the five?
Regardless of the ethics, what is the law? Could your actions in this scenario result in a man slaughter charge? Isn't trying to save someone essentially a 'motive' to take actions that would knowingly and unlawfully kill someone else? Suppose the scenario was in reverse and someone killed five people because they just wanted to save one person. Would there actually be a legal distinction between killing the one and killing the five? Does 'inaction' (not pulling the lever) automatically make you innocent and 'action' (pulling the lever) automatically make you guilty, regardless of how the bodies are weighted? Is knowing something about these people (like who deserves to live or die) essentially a motive for murder?