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-   -   Should there be a right to end one's life? (https://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=24746)

Fusion_power 2019-08-31 18:30

Should there be a right to end one's life?
 
I'd like to pose a question that is at least somewhat relevant in [URL="https://mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=17562"]this thread[/URL]. Do you support the concept of suicide being an individual right? In other words, does a person have the right to choose whether or not to kill him or her self?


99 out of 100 people will kill themselves under some set of conditions. This might be because of incurable disease, dementia, or depression. You don't have to worry about the 99, instead worry because the 1 in 100 won't kill themselves because they will try to kill everyone else first.

xilman 2019-08-31 20:02

[QUOTE=Fusion_power;524929]I'd like to pose a question that is at least somewhat relevant in this thread. Do you support the concept of suicide being an individual right? In other words, does a person have the right to choose whether or not to kill him or her self?[/QUOTE]I am very strongly in favour.

Assuming medical and/or information technology continues and expected life expectancy reaches millennia, I believe the right to death will become as uncontroversial as the right to life is now.

kriesel 2019-09-02 22:35

[QUOTE=Fusion_power;524929]I'd like to pose a question that is at least somewhat relevant in this thread. Do you support the concept of suicide being an individual right? In other words, does a person have the right to choose whether or not to kill him or her self?
[/QUOTE]Social acceptance depends on the method chosen and how long it takes and how it affects others. Rapid highly effective methods are frowned upon, while slow uncertain methods are tolerated if not encouraged. Consider that in parts of the developed world, the primary causes of death relate to abuse of too much food, or alcohol, or tobacco, or other substances, generally over long periods of time. Deliberately eating much more than the recommended or needed caloric intake for decades is not regarded as suicide, but surely increases risk of some of the top causes of death. Some even encourage this and take it as an affront if a family member does not sufficiently (over)indulge. "Mange, mange!" Excessive intake of alcohol increases risk of "accidentally" driving into a sturdy obstacle, falling down a flight of stairs or mistakenly jumping multiple stories, falling into a river and drowning, or fatally aspirating one's own vomit. Etc. "How about one for the road?" No. Nicotine and other drug addictions also have well publicized predictable frequently fatal outcomes over time. [URL]https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm[/URL] [URL]https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/What-happens-when-you-overeat.h23Z1592202.html[/URL] I think if there was an accurate adding up of what fraction of the deaths from the leading causes was from self destructive choices, we'd find that sum to dwarf the nominal suicide rate, which is counted from fast methods.
The top 5, heart disease, cancer, accidents, lower respiratory disease, stroke, total
~1.72 million annually in the USA. Compare to the nominal suicide total by all fast methods, ~47,200. Even a mere 3% of that 1.7 million exceeds the nominal suicide count. And probably some part of the >83,000 deaths from the #7 cause diabetes also enter into the count attributable to slow suicide. There was a recent fatality nearby of a motorcyclist striking the back of a stopped automobile on a highway. Accident, or suicide? Many vehicles had slowed or stopped because of a large bird crossing the road, a common occurrence in the area, due to wetlands and lakes near the highway and a widespread appreciation of nature.
I think you're being unduly pessimistic in estimating that 1% would try to take a lot of others with them after having chosen to end their own life somehow. Somewhere between 47000 and maybe ten times that annually don't.

Robin Williams' predicament was presaged in a different form by a Richard Dreyfus movie [URL]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whose_Life_Is_It_Anyway%3F_(film[/URL]) I wish that there had been some effective treatment for Robin, so that he could have remained longer and blessed us with more of his genius.

Dr Sardonicus 2019-09-03 16:34

Re: "right to die"
 
Maybe this "suicide as a personal right" discussion belongs in a separate thread.

Believe it or not, under early English common law, suicide was a [i]crime[/i] -- a [i]felony[/i], in fact. The Wikipedia page on [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felo_de_se]Felo de se[/url] informs us that [quote]Early English common law considered suicide a crime and a person found guilty of it, even though dead, was subject to punishments including forfeiture of property to the monarch and being given a shameful burial.[/quote]Thus, the family of a suicide could be disinherited and left destitute.

However, by the Eighteenth Century most suicides were deemed not to have been in their right minds, rather than acting out of criminal intent.

The term [i]felo de se[/i] was also applied to someone killed while committing a felony. I am not sure whether this covers "suicide by cop" or otherwise choosing death to avoid arrest and incarceration. The Wikipedia page [i]does[/i] include a prisoner condemned to death in England who "cheated the hangman" being deemed [i]felo de se[/i] in 1866.

Nowadays, though, suicide itself is not considered a crime in the USA, though it is a crime on other countries. [i]Assisting[/i] or [i]inducing[/i] a suicide, however, is another matter. That [i]is[/i] a crime in many US jurisdictions, though nowadays with legal exceptions carved out in some states for medically assisted suicides.

It seems, then, that the law recognizes differences in the [i]circumstances[/i] of a suicide. To view it as a personal right, it seems to me the suicide would have to be the result of a rational decision. Suicide as the result of clinical depression or unfathomable despair or despondency doesn't meet this criterion. On the other hand, someone who is in a burning building and facing a choice between jumping from an upper-story window and being burned alive, may rationally choose to jump. A patient with a terminal diagnosis, and a prognosis of complete debility and/or agonizing pain, may rationally decide not to endure such suffering. Thus, someone who assists the suicide of a patient with a nightmare prognosis is, at least in my book, less of a criminal than someone who tries to talk a despondent person into killing himself, or knowingly provides such a person with the means to kill himself. And now, some states have enacted laws allowing medically-assisted suicides.

So -- given circumstances in which a decision to commit suicide may reasonably be viewed as rational, is it a personal right? In those circumstances, my answer is yes. I reject the notion that suicide in such cases is an act of despair.

Further, I deem those who would compel another person to endure the debility and pain of a horrible terminal medical condition as arrogant and cruel. Arrogant because it is not their decision to make. Cruel, as in "You would not do it to a dog."

Perhaps the most egregious and tragic case of this sort was that of Terri Schiavo. She was in a "persistent vegetative state" after a course of treatment intended to help the Schiavos conceive a child resulted in her having a heart attack, which led to her brain being deprived of oxygen for, well, too long. Her husband won a medical malpractice suit, and used all the proceeds to get other opinions on Terri's condition, and even to try experimental treatments. When he was convinced she would not recover, he sought, as her husband, to carry out what he said was her wish to discontinue treatment in such a circumstance. Right-to-life fanatics begged to differ. The case was argued all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, which decided it was indeed his decision to make.

After trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to undo the results of the legal process, and all life support was ended, the "right to life" fanatics staged theatrical (purported) attempts to bring her water. I say "purported" because they knew, or should have known that, had one of them actually gotten to her with water and poured it down her throat, she almost certainly would have choked on it and died, which would have gotten the "rescuer" charged with some form of felonious homicide.

I am bewildered by the religious stance that suicide is sinful because life is a "gift from God," but, on the other hand, also the "property of God." A gift, I thought, belongs [i]to the recipient[/i], not the giver. (As I was growing up, someone who gave a gift and later wanted it back (i.e. claimed ownership of what they had given) was painted with the insult [url=http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/comments/indian_giver/]Indian giver[/url].)

In the [b]JAG[/b] episode [i]The Martin Baker Fan Club[/i] (Oct 20, 1998), the character Roscoe Martin, who had been paraplegic but was now quadriplegic and only breathing with the aid of a respirator, asked his friends to give him his flag, which they did. He clenched the staff between his teeth, and, saying "Ejecting," used it to flip the switch to shut off the respirator. (Note: In real life, this wouldn't be possible. There wouldn't be an on-off switch that easily accessible.)

One bit of practical advice regarding the prevention of unnecessary suffering through medical treatment prolonging life in terminal cases: There are measures you can take apart from suicide. You can make out an "advance directive" (e.g. a "living will"), a legal document stating your wishes regarding medical treatment should you become unable to do so. And make sure there are extra copies. I know of a case where a hospital ignored a unconscious dying patient's prior instructions, and disregarded his wife's pleas, claiming it had lost the advance directive that was supposed to be on file. (Fortunately for the patient's wishes, he unexpectedly woke up, and became able to tell them himself to discontinue treatment.)

Uncwilly 2019-09-03 21:44

[COLOR="SeaGreen"][B][SIZE="3"]Mod note:
All of the previous posts were moved from the gun control thread.[/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

kladner 2019-09-03 23:41

In Tolkien's mythology, the (immortal unless killed) Elves called [U]death[/U]: Eru("God")'s Gift to Man.

Uncwilly 2019-09-09 03:48

[QUOTE=Fusion_power;524929]This might be because of incurable disease, dementia, or depression.[/QUOTE]
First, September 10th this year is International Suicide Prevention Day. I think that suicide should be seen differently than "the right to end one's life". Killing yourself because of desperation or depression is something that I think society should work to prevent. I lost someone (a co-worker that I enjoyed working alongside of) to suicide because a short term desperation. They needed help and did not get it. I had a friend attempt it. They were rescued by an other friend. Their outlook on life is vastly better (they had suffered from traumatic abuse at the time.) If you feel desperate, reach out for help. If you have even a hint of an idea that someone might be contemplating suicide, reach out and talk to the person. It is better to be embarrassed than to be sorrowful. I have had someone 'unfriend' me on social media because I reached out and asked if they are ok. I would do it again. If your friend tries to shake you off, call in the emergency responders. Better to be sure than sad.

That said:
I lean toward what Jack Kavorkian initially was espousing. Someone with a [B]terminal[/B] condition with no prospect of improvement should be able to end their life. To prevent it from becoming something that gets abused, there should safe guards in place. There was to be time between the first interview (and request) and second. There should be multiple individuals with different roles doing the assessment. The interviews should be recorded on video. If the party that is seeking to terminate their life is capable, there should be a written document signed in the presence of 2 witnesses that are not the doctor that will be assisting nor a family member of the individual. Potentially qualifying conditions should be previously established by a broad panel. Psychological conditions should not be qualifying.

retina 2019-09-09 04:06

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;525537]First, September 10th this year is International Suicide Prevention Day. I think that suicide should be seen differently than "the right to end one's life". Killing yourself because of desperation or depression is something that I think society should work to prevent. I lost someone (a co-worker that I enjoyed working alongside of) to suicide because a short term desperation. They needed help and did not get it. I had a friend attempt it. They were rescued by an other friend. Their outlook on life is vastly better (they had suffered from traumatic abuse at the time.) If you feel desperate, reach out for help. If you have even a hint of an idea that someone might be contemplating suicide, reach out and talk to the person. It is better to be embarrassed than to be sorrowful. I have had someone 'unfriend' me on social media because I reached out and asked if they are ok. I would do it again. If your friend tries to shake you off, call in the emergency responders. Better to be sure than sad.

That said:
I lean toward what Jack Kavorkian initially was espousing. Someone with a [B]terminal[/B] condition with no prospect of improvement should be able to end their life. To prevent it from becoming something that gets abused, there should safe guards in place. There was to be time between the first interview (and request) and second. There should be multiple individuals with different roles doing the assessment. The interviews should be recorded on video. If the party that is seeking to terminate their life is capable, there should be a written document signed in the presence of 2 witnesses that are not the doctor that will be assisting nor a family member of the individual. Potentially qualifying conditions should be previously established by a broad panel. Psychological conditions should not be qualifying.[/QUOTE]So basically you are in favour of various arbitrary restrictions based upon ... what criteria?

Why would you poke your nose into someone else's business? If they want to go then that is their choice.

The only time I would think that is justified in interfering is when they try to take others with them. Otherwise go for it.

This reminds me of the sodomy and homosexual laws (current and old). They are basically the "I don't like it" laws. A bunch of nosey people trying to stop others because they don't like it.

Uncwilly 2019-09-09 04:36

[QUOTE=retina;525540]So basically you are in favour of various arbitrary restrictions based upon ... what criteria?

Why would you poke your nose into someone else's business? If they want to go then that is their choice.[/quote]Currently many areas have prohibitions on people ending their one life. I am for changing from a complete ban to a more rational scheme. Would you rather have the complete ban in place?

Opting for "a permanent solution to a temporary problem" is suicide. Dealing with a terminal condition that is painful or has sever decline in the quality of life is different. The restrictions are not arbitrary. They are thought through, designed to prevent abuse (by over eager family members, pushy doctors, or even euthanasia advocates), provide certainty, and will help forestall reactions by opponents that might cause a reversion to a total ban.

So, you are in support if for instance, a teenage receives some criticism from a peer, grabbing gun at home at home and splattering their brains all over?

retina 2019-09-09 05:12

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;525541]Would you rather have the complete ban in place?[/QUOTE]I'm fairly certain this expresses my answer.[QUOTE=retina;525540]Otherwise go for it.[/QUOTE][QUOTE=Uncwilly;525541]So, you are in support if for instance, a teenage receives some criticism from a peer, grabbing gun at home at home and splattering their brains all over?[/QUOTE]That is why guns are a terrible thing, its too easy to use against others and oneself. But otherwise any teenager smart enough and motivated enough will figure something out. And all this pussy-footing around people with sensitive feelings is also terrible IMO. All this "Waah, you said a mean thing to me :bang:" is only encouraged by helicopter parenting.

Uncwilly 2019-09-09 05:59

[QUOTE=retina;525540]Otherwise go for it.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=retina;525544]That is why guns are a terrible thing, its too easy to use against others and oneself.[/QUOTE]Why the arbitrary threshold of ease? You say go for it, but you seem to be saying that firearms puts the bar too low. If you think that it should be fully allowed, why restrict the means?


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