The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
The claim is that guns make suicide easy, and that people will grab an available gun at a moment of despair and end their lives when, if the gun were not there, they wouldn't attempt or more likely would survive the attempt...
This is baloney. People I knew personally who committed suicide did so after years of depression or struggle with some horrible affliction. Their behavior a day or two before the suicide indicated that they had already made the decision, which means there was some thought involved. Someone can double-check this, but I am certain spur-of-the-moment suicides aren't the norm.
As for strange methods... wish I could find the story online, but there was a guy in Finland who chopped himself to death with an axe. This was after the Finnish government tried to slow down the rate of male suicides (extremely high in Finland) by appealing to the characteristic Finnish toughness and ran ads saying you're a big weenie if you commit suicide. This guy thought nobody would call him a weenie if he axed himself to death. Like you said, Kevin, people will find a way.
And then there was James A. Moon... there's a song by Michael Longcor about his bizarre suicide in 1876. A non-tuneful account can be found here (pages 454-455).
Damn. All that effort, and he wasn't even an original!
Suicide is one of the reasons I own a gun. When it's my time to go, I'm not going to let the Republicans force me onto life support and painkillers. I'm just going to go into the woods with a shotgun.
When they outlaw guillotines, only outlaws will have guillotines ... or something.
When it's my time to go, I'm not going to let the Republicans force me onto life support and painkillers.
I'm getting a zero on the clue-meter...
This information is from http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/faqs.shtml:
On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act (the Act) which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.
Republicans have been attacking it since:
November 6, 2001: U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft issues a directive which states, in part, that prescribing, dispensing or administering federally controlled substances to assist suicide violates the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This new interpretation of the CSA allows the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to pursue action to revoke prescription-writing privileges and to pursue federal criminal prosecution of participating Oregon physicians.
November 7, 2001: Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers files suit in U.S. District Court for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
November 8, 2001: U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones issues 10-day stay barring implementation of Ashcroft’s order.
November 20, 2001: Judge Jones issues a temporary restraining order against Ashcroft's ruling pending a new hearing.
January 22, 2002: Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers files a motion for summary judgment.
April 17, 2002: U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones upholds the Death with Dignity Act. Permanent injunction is filed.
September 23, 2002: Attorney General Ashcroft files an appeal, asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the District Court's ruling.
May 26, 2004: a three-judge panel upholds Judge Jones’ ruling.
July 13, 2004: Ashcroft files an appeal requesting that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rehear his previous motion with an 11-judge panel.
August 13, 2004: 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals denies Ashcroft’s request.
November 9, 2004: Ashcroft appeals the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
February 22, 2005: U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the appeal.
October 5, 2005: U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case of Gonzales v. State of Oregon.
January 17, 2006: The U.S. Supreme Court files its opinion and upholds the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals' decision. Oregon's law remains in effect.
And don't forget Terry Schiavo. It was horrible the way the Republicans intervened in that case.
And your point is....?
His point was that he wants to have veto ability over Republicans who feel that their belief in Jesus means they have the right to keep people alive who don't want to be alive, I guess.
Then he's got a good point.
If you live in Oregon, that is. But I'm not sure that's even the point. IIRC it's not the act of suicide that's the issue, it's the ethicality of involving physicians and the potential for abuse, i.e. "Well, Mr. Smith said he wanted to die -- or would have if he hadn't been unable to speak -- so I administered the drugs. Sorry he's not around to corroborate the story."
I live in Oregon too. The year to year statistics on those who have availed themselves of Assisted Suicide has been static. That is there wasn't a rush to do it or a huge increase since its inception.
Yes, I did vote for it.
Personally, I'd rather patients and their doctors decide these issues than the State. It boils down to: who owns you? Do you own yourself or does the State. I believe I own myself and the State ought to butt out. Is it a perfect solution? No. But the alternative is even more horrific (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China to name 3 examples from recent history).
Not all solutions are perfect. Many times it's a matter of the lessor of evils. Me ans my doctor are less evil than the State 99.9% of the time.
It's complicated. Yes, I agree that the state does not own you and you should lawfully be entitled to end your own life. But the issue is a lot less clear when you involve a second party. This is one of those cases where I don't think it's possible to be black-and-white about it. A lot of people are very uncomfortable -- and rightly so -- about a law that entitles one person to kill another upon request.
If your paralyzed buddy says to you "kill me" and you shoot him in the head, do you think, lawfully, that's OK? What if he told you years ago "If I ever end up paralyzed, I want you to kill me." Is that now a legal contract? What if he's in a coma and can't confirm his request: are you entitled/obligated to kill him?
When an issue is as unclear and complicated as this, Republican Jesus-freaks tend to err on the side of preserving life. It's not based on statism, it's based on morality. For Christians, life is precious. It's ironic that you mention Nazi Germany, USSR, Maoist China, because they prove my point. Life is very cheap in ultra-statist countries.
If you read the criteria for Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, you'll see that it is very restrictive and there are numerous controls. It's not complicated.
Most people do want to have a say what happens to them when they are terminal. In the US, there is a formal, legal, but limited means: living wills. Go to http://www.publicagenda.org/issues/pcc.cfm?issue_type=right2die to see how popular living wills are. Note that 50% of those polled felt that doctor-assisted suicide is "morally acceptable" with only 41% saying it's "morally wrong." More progressive countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland do have euthanasia directives. From what I have read about them, these are not complicated either and there are controls in place too.
To get back on topic, if one wants to control their own death via suicide, then a gun is a perfectly valid tool. Suicide shouldn't be used as an excuse to restrict gun ownership.
Frank N. Furter,
It's never cut and dried. "Progressive" countries like the Netherlands are grappling with the ethics of euthanasia since it now involve patients who lack free will. Doctors there kill more infants than anywhere else in the civilized world -- they kill terminally ill and severely handicapped babies, sometimes against the will of the parents. You can argue that our right-to-die laws would be rigidly defined and restricted, but that's how it started in the Netherlands and now euthanasia proponents defend the killing of "unviable" babies as a natural progression of the right-to-die laws. It's reasonable to ask, where does it stop?
As a reader of this blog it's probably a safe assumption that you're not a gun-control proponent. It surprises me that people who, when it comes to gun control laws, understand the slippery slope and the difference between the intention of a law and the reality of its outcome suddenly forget about this when it comes to euthanasia.
Think about what all this means. At any given time you or your loved ones could be one definition away from being euthanized. How do doctors know for certain that someone is unviable? How could you prevent such laws from being abused? This is one area where humans have far less than perfect understanding. In such cases, Christians are guided by their morality to err on the side of life.
And does it matter if 50% of people think euthanasia is okay or 10% or 90%? I guess this demonstrates the division between Christians and humanists. Christians don't believe in morality by consensus.