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Short answer: the arsonist. Longer answer: What...? Ten minutes is an awfully long time, and it seems somewhat more likely that I would incapacitate them and then put out the fire. But assuming, as the question seems to posit, that the fire is unavoidable (...and I hope the fire department would be there in less than ten minutes!...) and that in that ten minutes I can save either my belongings or the arsonist, but not both, yeah, the arsonist. Especially if the reason they need saving is something I've inflicted on them (not generally likely, but they were after all setting my home on fire, and that's the sort of think I'm likely to intervene in) but otherwise, too. The only thing I might even hesitate over would be my computer, and not that as an object but as a data repository. But this is why I back up my data in multiple locations.

I don't think I've done one of these before. [livejournal.com profile] jenk posted this one... and then didn't directly answer the question (which is fair, especially since it's a weird situation, if a somewhat interesting quandary). And then I read some of the answers, and was fairly disturbed by the prevalence of people replying that of course they'd save their belongings. Or even that hey, their belongings are all replaceable, but they still wouldn't save the piece of shit arsonist.

I can sort of see loving one's belongings. Either as unique and irreplaceable pieces* or as a source of wealth and the making or support of one's livelihood. (Oh, and I'm not counting pets as belongings. I would feel responsible for my pets, and while in the generic case I would probably save a person first, the pets would seem to be innocent parties in this affair.) I don't really have that kind of sense of scarcity around things I own.

The argument that they don't deserve to be saved? Even were it my job generically to mete out punishment, doing so under the time and emotional pressure of a burning house doesn't strike me as particularly appropriate. Nor am I generally in favor of the death penalty, nor do I think death is an appropriate punishment for arson. Though I'd probably save pretty much anyone else first.

I guess there is a situational element. I'm rather assuming this is some complete stranger who showed up, set my house on fire and... fainted? Though I'm having trouble imagining a situation in which I wouldn't save the arsonist - there are some which would make me even more likely to, perhaps.

* I see most things I own as pretty replaceable. The rest... well, still much more replaceable than a person. I mean, I don't know if I own anything that's worth losing a night's sleep over. Or damaging a friendship. (Friends intentionally trying to do harm to me or my belongings I rather count as them damaging the friendship.)

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