It is obvious, and sad, that an individual American citizen’s life, health and welfare is no longer that citizen’s responsibility. Our government clearly has a responsibility to protect its citizens from harm that may be brought about by outside forces, e.g., terrorists, unsafe public transportation, unsafe buildings or structures, etc. but that responsibility, like many other things in the hands of government, is abused.
Case in point! Late last week, after eight years behind bars, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was released from prison. Back during the 1990s, Dr. Kevorkian became famous (or infamous, if you prefer) for assisting people who were terminally ill and who had lost their desire to live — he assisted them by giving them the means to commit suicide . . . to end their own lives at the time of their choosing.
In interviews over the weekend, Dr. Kevorkian was unapologetic about the activities that saw him convicted of one count of second-degree murder but made it clear that, as much as he believes he did the right thing, one of the provisions of his parole from prison was his agreement to never assist in anther suicide.
Who’s Life Is It?
Understandably, as viewed by many religions, the act of suicide is immoral but why is it illegal? Why indeed! It is obvious that we have legislators and jurists who find it impossible to do their jobs without forcing their own moral/religious perspectives onto everyone else. It is assumed, here in the United States, that the Christian view of the world is the only permissible view of the world. In some areas that is not a bad thing because many Christian beliefs are based on common moral values that are considered essential to a civilized society, e.g., it is wrong to commit murder or take a person’s property or enslave a person (hold them against their will), etc.; in other words, all acts that can be performed by one person that will injure another person in some way against that person’s will. But try harming yourself or putting your own life in jeopardy and you’ll be incarcerated, if not in jail, in a psychiatric facility or you will, at least, be fined. If you doubt that, try driving without your seatbelt in any state in the union.
Who’s life is it? Why you know the answer to that! As a member of American society your life belongs to society, not to you! Oh, it’s the same in most countries around the world and that’s fine — that’s their problem. But what happens here in the United States is our problem and this one, like many, many others, needs to be fixed.
Back on topic: As of this moment only one state has had the wisdom to pass a law that decriminalizes assisted suicide: Oregon. The chances of many other states joining Oregon are pretty slim. When Dr. Kevorkian was asked about the likelihood of the United States becoming one of the countries to allow assisted suicide he responded: “It’ll be the last one, if it does ever. It’s a tyrannical country.” The man is, not surprisingly, bitter!
The United States is, on the whole, the freest, greatest country on the globe but in some few areas its citizens are no more free than the citizens of theocracies such as Iran or other countries with officially established state religions.
New York Times: Kevorkian Speaks After His Release From Prison
Wikipedia: Legal views of suicide
What bloggers say:
Burton’s View: Jack Kevorkian