John’s best friend, Bill, is a member of an anti-nuclear organization. John is not himself a member of the group but shares similar concerns about nuclear war and the need to work for peace, and does all he can to support his friend in his peace activities. The group has become completely frustrated at the lack of progress the disarmament movement has made in Canada. Canada is still not a nuclear-free zone and the cruise missile is being tested there. Everyone in the organization agrees that the non-violent approach has got nowhere. None of the authorities seems willing to take the group’s disarmament initiatives seriously. The group’s members decide that a planned campaign of some kind of violent disruption is necessary to get the authorities to listen. They want to be as certain as they can that no one will be physically injured or killed in the process. They want their violence to be mainly directed towards the property of arms manufacturers, but they will not be deterred by the possibility of injuring or even killing people in the process. A Canadian plant which manufactures parts for the cruise missile is selected as the first target. A bomb will be set off near the front entrance of the plant and the organization will take credit for it in the hope that its pleas for nuclear disarmament will be heard. The members know that innocent people working in the plant might be injured or killed. To minimize the risk they choose a time in the early hours of the morning when only a skeleton staff will be working in the plant, and they plan to phone in a warning in time to evacuate the plant before the bomb explodes. The agreement is struck and the plans laid. John’s friend, Bill, is one of the team chosen to hide the bomb and set it to go off at the agreed time. Bill needs to have someone to make the warning phone call for him, and asks John to do it as a favour for a friend. John sympathizes with the group’s frustration with civil disobedience, but seriously questions whether any act of terrorism is a way to

bring about peace. He also fears that despite precautions some innocents might be hurt or killed. He tries to persuade Bill to abandon the plan. He argues that once terrorism is adopted as a means to achieving the ends of the peace movement, the distinction between property and people will become meaningless and the integrity of the movement will be compromised. But Bill remains determined to go ahead. What is the morally right thing for John to do?1