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In the TOS episode A Taste of Armageddon, Spock orders a Yeoman to stop Mea 3 from killing herself.

Yeoman Tamula, you stay here and prevent this young lady from immolating herself. Knock her down if necessary. This is a killing situation. Do what you must to protect yourself. Clear?

By Spock ordering the Yeoman to kill Mea, if necessary, isn’t he inviting Mea to attempt a “death by cop”, thereby providing an illogical order that would lead to Mea’s death. Further, wouldn’t it be more logical to order the Yeoman to stun Mea 3 if necessary?

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    What part of "Do what you must to protect yourself." is unclear? Seems like the "killing" situation is more about protecting Tamula from any of Mea's possible attempts to go through with her [Mea's] death. Protecting the crewman w/ precise orders that aren't open to interpretation and doubt is most logical indeed – NKCampbell Dec 11 '18 at 20:58
  • @NKCampbell Killing shouldn’t be necessary for the Yeoman to protect herself. Why not stun her? – Craig Dec 11 '18 at 20:59
  • Because it isn't just those two person's lives in the balance, but the entire crew of the Enterprise as well, if the situation isn't resolved. "The needs of the many...." – NKCampbell Dec 11 '18 at 21:03
  • It might be worth noting too that its possible that simply dying by any means isn't valid under the terms of the treaty that Mea is so concerned with, and that "official" death is required, must be verified, etc...otherwise there's a risk of an underground fake death situation happening which could violate the terms, thus that could be keeping Mea from simply attempting death by any means other than that which is approved – NKCampbell Dec 11 '18 at 21:10
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    Yeoman TAMURA is the correct name – Jim Dec 11 '18 at 21:47
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No

Simply, Spock does not authorize the crew member to use lethal force.

In your very quote, he says:

SPOCK: Knock her down if necessary.

Not "kill her if necessary."

He also says "do what you must to protect yourself." But where is it implied that this includes killing? A phaser set to stun is perfectly sufficient. Unless dealing with a phaser-resistant opponent, there's usually no reason to try to kill with a phaser if one does not desire to (unlike, for instance, with a gun, where a non-lethal or even lethal bullet might not stop an opponent).

Further, by a "killing situation," he does not mean that Tamula is authorized to kill her; he means that it's a situation where Mea is trying to kill herself.

As such, Spock provides no incentive for "suicide by cop"; if Mea attacked Tamula, Tamula would simply stun her.

  • I could have sworn that Yeoman Tamura was given one of the Eminiarian(?) weapons by Spock. I don't know if that weapon had a stun setting. Seemed to just blow up things and kill people. – Jim Dec 11 '18 at 21:45
  • For me, the key part of your answer is your interpretation of “killing situation”. I interpreted it as this is a situation where killing is justified. However, I think your interpretation can also apply, and makes sense. – Craig Dec 12 '18 at 3:51
  • "Killing situation" may also mean Mea might try to use lethal force, and/or a warning to the yoeman not to preserve Mea's life at the cost of her own, stun setting or no. – Ted Miller Dec 13 '18 at 19:54
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Spock said:

SPOCK: Find the Ambassador and the Captain. Yeoman Tamula, you stay here and prevent this young lady from immolating herself. Knock her down if necessary. This is a killing situation. Do what you must to protect yourself. Clear?

I believe that the words:

Yeoman Tamula, you stay here and prevent this young lady from immolating herself. Knock her down if necessary.

Were orders to Yeoman Tamura to stay and guard Mea and keep Mea from killing herself, and Spock authorized Tamura to knock Mea down if necessary to prevent Mea from killing herself or escaping.

I believe that the words:

This is a killing situation.

Referred to the general situation that the landing party and the Enterprise faced, a planetary government and hundreds of millions of Eminians seeking to kill them all.

I believe that the words:

Do what you must to protect yourself. Clear?

Authorized Tamura to use any methods necessary, including deadly force, to protect herself from any Eminians who might discover her and try to kill her.

  • yes, it's a hierarchical command. Prevent Mea from killing herself but in order to protect yourself (Tamura), kill. Why stun anybody whose only goal is to kill you? Seems logical to me. Also, Tamura did not have a Federation phaser I'm pretty sure she had an Eminian weapon and I don't recall that weapon stunning anybody. I wish I could give you another +1 for using Tamura's correct name. Or was I the only kid to think Yeoman Tamura was hotter then Yeoman Rand? – Jim Dec 12 '18 at 17:46

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