Originally Posted by Pauln6
Kirk was right to offer assistance and, in fact, he did not need Nero's permission to provide assistance and what he was effectively trying to do was to take Nero into custody. This is absolutely the Federation way. Apart from that, the ship contains important technology, details about Klingon defences, etc. There may also be prisoners on board. Saving the ship is high on a list of priorities, although not as high as bringing Nero to justice.
However, what Kirk should not do is endanger his own ship while trying to efect an arrest/rescue.
In staying as close as he does in order to actively destroy the ship, he is carrying out a summary execution of everybody on the ship without an individual assessment of their innocence or guilt of any particular crimes. That is definitely not the Federation way and conjures echoes of indiscriminate attacks by drones on legitimate targets that kill civilian bystanders i.e. Kirk has no knowledge of innocent prisoners on the ship and therefore assumes that there are none. He also endangers his own ship and crew. That is also not the Federation way.
There are passable reasons for destroying the ship - if it travels through time again, the technology could cause havoc but dialogue suggests that the singularity will destroy it. The singularity will also prevent the ship from firing weapons. It's not clear how comms still work either but the fact that they do could mean that people could have been beamed off the ship and, given the range of the transporter established earlier in the same film, this could have been attempted from a much safer distance (or while travelling to amuch safer distance).
To summarise, the scene was very sloppily handled. Kirk doesn't explore his most obvious and safest options, and executes helpless prisoners. Not the Federation's finest hour.
The best post in the thread.
I do not totally agree that Kirk executed them as I think that he has good reasons to guarantee that the ship will not survive another singularity.
But Kirk's lack of consideration of the two main points you mentioned, that the ship as well as the people on it are a) assets to the Federation and b) deserve to be treated according to Federation rules (people who defend the stupidity of the Tattoomulans usually like to emphasize that they are civilians / INS neatly showed how Picard distinguishes between the madman at the top and his crew and even saves the latter), reflect poorly on his command abilities. Show how or at least that he thinks! After all Kirk is meant to be the guy who does not merely consider his options but even transcend them (Kobayashi Maru, talking computers to death).
And as you pointed out the worst thing was that the vibe of this scene is pure insincerity and trigger-happiness. Kirk enjoys a good fight but never felt great about kicking a man who is already down. And yes, we have to point out that the new Trek movies both feature "terrorists" and the neo-con "we can do with a mass-murderer whatever the fu*k we want" message is definitely inappropriate for Trek. If the protagonist gloats when the enemy goes down the writers missed the most important part of the movie they tried in vain to copy.