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January 07, 2006


re: death penalty, it's possible there is an internally consistent ethics there. If one sees the right to live as the ultimate civil liberty, it may correlate that the ultimate punishment by the state is revoking that right; but otherwise that the state cannot interfere with one's life (or its natural end).

Extending this ad absurdia, one could also say that if it is an American civil right, then war is a special case because citizens of other countries do not have an equal right to live.

Obviously I'm personally against the death penalty in almost all cases and think individuals should generally determine their own medical care (but I'm ambivalent about many life-or-death cases) -- I am just trying to understand someone who is pro-natural-death (?) and pro-death-penalty without brushing them all off as hypocrites. (For Frist and other office holders, "hypocrite" will do fine, of course.)

Those last numbers would most likely increase dramatically if the people who voted no were forced to live through watching someone they love die a slow, agonizing death.

The fact that Kevorkian was denied parole is a travasty in and of itself.

Kevorkian may have been a bit ahead of his time. The Oregon approach is far more palatable to most people as it doesn't depend on the judgement of a single individual.

Kevorkian was arrested 1 month before my father died while he and I were on our road trip. I'll never forget just how angry my father was.

Totally wrong question.

If you had the possibility of acquiring a bottle of stuff that would allow you to decide when to "turn the lights out" on your life, would you want that bottle in a safe and secure place where you could access it?

The question iosn't any particular person, it is the right to control. Who sets the conditions, and who has control. Let's be clear on this.

Back in the early 80's I helped start an AID's Service organization, and one of my buddies was a Gay Texas Marine who got run out of Texas when his partner died. John and I worked together for about two years, and I was most aware that he had a "box of stuff" in his closet that he had collected over time. But then he got very sick, hospitalized, and folks came and lived in his apartment, and they found the box. They were livid about the box -- though all of his friends knew about it. The upshot of the parents concern was an arranged placement in a Catholic facility where of course an easy exit was not possible. I did an intervention, and got him kept in VA which had a slightly better philosophy. We knew he was a lover of chocolate, allergic to chocolate, and a lot of it would do him in. We delivered the chocolate. I don't do hand dipped chocolate for everyone, but I do hope someone comprehends my exit, and does something similar for me.

John and I were buddies. He died when AZT was the only treatment, and we had a deal about arriving when someone was dying, (I did the driving) and collecting all the AZT which in those days cost about 15 thousand a year for adequate treatment, and delivering a supply to people we knew who had no insurance and could not afford it. It is actually remarkably easy to draw the line between meaningful extended life and lights out. Too few people explore the matter of who cannot make that decision because they lack the financial resources to pay for what is needed.

What gets me is that people are still ambivilent about assisted suicide (wherein the patient WANTS to die), but there is still NO MAJOR OUTRCRY regarding the Texas Futile Care Law which will allow doctors or medical facilities to decide to disconnect someone from life-sustaining care if they cannot continue to pay for it, regrdless of what the patient or their family wants.

Seriously - how twisted is that? There's been one case we know of already in which a woman, who's family says she was **still conscious** was removed from life-support because they couldn't pay for continued care. Reports were that she even stated she just wanted to live long enough for her mother to come from Africa to see her before she die, but her family was given 10 days notice and the plug was pulled.

How can this country be ambivilent about physician-assisted suicide and yet be almost silent on the issue of physician/hospital-mandated death (and even worse, death-by-poverty!)

I just don't understand it at all, and I'm beginning to feel such a sense of hopelessness about this country. Between the corruption, the constant violations of our civil rights, and the way that people just don't seem to care any more about so much, it's not America any longer.

I also support this decision and think that people should have the right to decide whether to be kept alive through medical treatment or not.We are free citizens after all.

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