Sep 24, 2010

Assisted Suicide

The following post is an addendum to my "Right to Die" video , please go ahead and watch that first if you haven't already.



I know that when most people are thinking about what suicide means, they have some images in mind... images of teenagers who cut their wrists in the bathroom or empty their mom's bottle of sleeping pills. This is usually far from the reality of someone who actually intends to take their own life. Wrist cutting and medicine overdose are (very often) deliberate forms of self harm or cries for attention, rather than suicide attempts. For the people who are indeed set to do it, the methods are much more brutal and the images much more shocking. The most common ways of suicide are by firearms and hanging. Other methods include jumping from hights, throwing self in front of a train or another moving vehicle, deliberate pesticide poisoning, intentionally crashing the car, setting self on fire or throat slitting.

So where am I going with this ? I am not trying to be morbid, but to simply point out that most suicide attempts are not really "attempts". The people who truly want to kill themselves are most of the time either successful or end up mutilated. The popular image of the depressed adolescent who "tries to commit suicide" is actually describing something else : a depressed adolescent who has indeed serious issues and fakes a suicide attempt as a cry for help. Most of them do it in their own homes, which is the place they are most likely to be found, and between the hours of 4 P.M. and midnight, which is the time of the day when someone is most likely to be around. These people don't really want to die, they want to be rescued. And don't get me wrong. These kids are NOT drama whores. They DO need help and if they are desperate enough to go to these extremes, it is a clear indication that they are going through serious issues. They must not be taken as a joke or ignored!

However, the people who intend to commit suicide are a different matter. They WANT to die. They will choose a way to make sure they end up dead. And they should not have to go through that. Weather you like it or not, some people make the decision that their life is not worth living. It is not YOUR choice to make, it is not YOUR life. And you shouldn't have a saying in it. Making assisted suicide available for them is not an encouragement, but an act of mercy and compassion. To believe that legalizing this will actually make more people want to do it, simply has no basis. People, as a general rule, desire to live. This won't change just because they have an option to die pain-free.

I know that most of you reading my blog and watching my videos are from the U.S. You don't have a social health-care system there yet, so this may sound strange. But my proposal is to make assisted suicide part of the health-care plan. It would be free, same as the psychiatric evaluation and assistance (those things are already free of charge in most European countries where a good health-care system is in place).

I'm going to stop here because I will probably make a second part ... I suspect it will be necessary once the comments to my video start piling up.

58 comments:

AntiBullshitMan said...

INVISIBLE HAND FREE-MARKET HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS > SOCIAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS! YOU HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED BY STATIST INDOCTRINATION CAMPS (schools) SNAP OUT OF IT! MEDIEVAL ICELAND FTW!

Bradman8888 said...

Check out a vidio from Frontline. It is about a man with ALS that has an assisted suicide. It makes your point and it is very interesting, although sad.

Geir Konráð son of Theodór said...

I would like to thank you for the thoughts that you have expressed on this subject. For quite some time have I been thinking about this, that is the issue of bodily autonomy, and your thoughts on this matter have helped me greatly.

Your videos and writings seem to emanate a clear and rational mind, and you have my respects.

Best regards,
GK

PS: I'm Icelandic, but I don't get the comment related to my country from Mr. AntiBullshitMan.

AntiBullshitMan said...

Mr. Geir: I was mocking anarchists who have been flooding up my comment sections. They often point to Medieval Iceland as evidence "proving" that anarchy can work just fine. The entire comment was a piss take.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness, another clueless Euro Trash pontificating about the US. Listen up blonde bimbo, the US does have social heath care. In fact, we have at least two national programs, Medicaid and Medicare. So check your facts dumbass.....

Anonymous said...

Some other anonymous says:

Oh goodness, another clueless Euro Trash pontificating about the US....

I don't remember hearing her say too much about the US on this one. Haven't heard her previous one on the issue.

Way to handle her arguments: call her "clueless
Euro Trash". You sure nailed her with logic and intelligent debate. I stand in awe before your irrefutable logic and civilized discourse. Not.

Anonymous said...

I'v been fighting with life for near 15 years and I'm not even 30 yet at least on the mental side for what your saying its very tricky ground. I'm not happy never really have been for a very long time and on the lows I really wanted to do myself in, it is so bad that I really can't function, I lost all my friends not because I'm a prick I'm actually very nice but I just refused to go outside the door, they just stopped calling. I don't have a girlfriend not because I'm ugly I am good looking but I cant give a woman what she needs as in a companion rather than a pitty case, that and I don't go out to find them. I don't see a doctor and sometimes I have to out loud tell myself to shut up to try and stop thoughts of what I believe to be bad Perceptions in my life. I'm not right in the head and I know I'm not right in the head its not normal to be unhappy all the time, and through all that I'm not not giving up hope that someday I'll start the feel better. If someday give me the choice to kill myself in a painless way because the only reason I have not so far is I am petrified of how painful it might be. I don't know what I would do on a bad day bad month or a bad year. I'm not strong enough to have that choice. There are times then you have to take the choice away from a person i.e taking the shoe laces off a convict sometime people are not in the place or state of mind to be making a choice of that scale. I'v been feeling not as bad for a while now I dont know if that is maturity and brain chemistry and to be honest I don't care, I'm only glad that the choice wasn't mine to make when I wanted death. I can only talk for me amd only for the mental side of it but thats just my opinion.

tommy said...

gypsy trash.....not 'euro' trash lol.

Gregory said...

Very interesting and clearly expressed video commentary. I thought it would be important to include Fr. Thomas Hopko's reflection on suicide. As a priest, he had to deal with suicide on many sad occasions. It is important to at least have a perspective from someone who has to confront the tragedy and sorrow in life over many years. Thank you for your time and consideration. Best Wishes... Neil

http://audio.ancientfaith.com/hopko/stt_2010-03-24.mp3

Egoist Paul said...

I totally agree with you on this issue. The problem is still religion. Many religious beliefs are the obstacles for legalization of euthanasia.

For me, this issue is simple. A human being has the right to choose whether to live or die. If they choose to die, then it is not anyone's business to interfere. It would be immoral for me to go against someone's will and try to stop them if they express their intention to commit suicide.

After all the struggles, denial, and evasion in discussion about death and life after death, we all are going to die, and death is irreversible. Death is something we cannot avoid and MUST accept, so why would some people try to argue that it is immoral for someone to choose to die early. I think those arguments, especially from religious people, are just crap!

Increasing suicide rate as a result of legalization of euthanasia is not very relevant to this issue. Suicide rate is just a number - a ratio that indicates how many people decide to kill themselves. We as individuals do not have a moral obligation to lower that number.

Geir Konráð son of Theodór said...

Thank you Mr. AntiBullshitMan, for clearing that up.

I don't see how they can advocate anarchy with Iceland as an example. Ever since the vikings and their slaves came here we have had a rule of law, with one of the oldest continuous national parliament founded in the year 930. The only time we really had anarchy was in the age of Sturlunga, a dark time of civil war between the great clans. Perhaps the anarchists are referring to the brief moment when the country was being settled, but if they would have read the Sagas, "justice" was served with endless murdering revenge. Nothing really to admire.

I apologize for this diversion from the subject of the blog post.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree about people who are of the age of majority and can give consent either prior or at the time. I'm kind of fuzzy about people who are incapable of communication either because of the said paralysis or some other reason. I'm also fuzzy about people who are young a child hasn't really experienced enough to make well founded decisions. What about children with terminal illnesses who have a life expectancy of only several years?
I'm mostly just curious what you think about such things but I'd also like to say that I agree with the euthanasia card idea. Thanks for your time and please pardon my poor punctuation.

Uno said...

I agree with you 100% on this; people should have the... (copy paste here).

I cant believe people who can think as clear as you actually exist, keep it up with the vids.

Cheers.

Alan Yates said...

I am all for self-determination and believe it is a fundamental human right to be able to choose to discontinue your existence on your own terms. I also strongly agree that your wishes about assisted suicide (especially when incapacitated) should be something you can specify up-front, like organ donation, with the information held somewhere like a living will. I only wish there was a standardised way to do this (federally, globally), either a legal instrument, or a physical artefact you could carry (like the organ donation cards or indication on your drivers licence in my country).

The age, disease or injury related cases are pretty clear cut, and I hope only the terminally selfish are in disagreement?

The psychological ones are more concerning to many, especially as you say states of mind can be transient. I am very glad Criss chose to deal with them in the exact same way as physical ones, suffering is suffering, physical or emotional. That said, I think the cooling-off period and mandatory session with a trained therapist seem like a good and sufficient process to ensure the person seeking release from their pain has indeed thought it through.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I recall a video where you called for non subjective morals and I see a contradiction there. I see it so that it's not just about body autonomy, when your actions may have collateral effects. I mean that if the euthanasia would in turn cause 50 years of suffering for the family of the teenager in question, we immediately walk to the problem of "whos rights are more important?". And there fore I think it is essential to asses whether this one decision would destroy other lives also. And I know that this thinking also has lots of "buts and ifs" like "what if the family is already suffering". I see that those questions only show that the problem is bigger than body autonomy.

I think that euthanasia should be legal, but just simplifying it to question of body autonomy doesn't seem right to me.

Anonymous said...

Great vid. And for all those calling her names, just go and learn some Geography or take ur pills. The right to die should be as natural as the right to live. Its too much useless fuss about it. Its my life, I decide when I want to end it or how, its not state's concern, not to say church's one. And we call it "democracy", "free world", "u have choices". Bullshit! Its all on the paper, not in reality. We are nothing but trained slaves. We are trained not to think for ourselves. We are brainwashed. Religion is the most effective brainwashing weapon. Oh, really! If life is so fuckin' precious, then why the hell are so many wars? If life is so fuckin' precious, then why arent there reasonable conditions for it? Get over urselves, reason will finally win over religious and emotional crap.

VJDJ said...

We have living wills to handle the cases of paralysis and life support and what not. I am looking into the topic for other reasons, so running across your video this morning was odd. However with the case of mental illness/defect, I'd have issues. I know 2 people who have attempted suicide, one successfully, and the pain it caused me on both cases is intense. HIGHLY regulated, I can see a system protecting other members of society from some of the pain and possibly offering people some help and last minute counseling. When you change your name, you have to post in the paper in case you are trying to run out on debt or something. I think a similar requirement would be appropriate. No surprises for the friends and family. No new debt on your next of kin, just out of the blue. Sadly I agree that even my loved one, who tried and failed, should have the right, regardless of the pain it would cause me. But rather than the violence of doing it herself, she should have to share the pain it's going to cause me and others that care about her. Anything less, should be criminal.

Gypsy Hunter said...

I think this idiotic girl is a gypsy. She has all that fake blonde hair, but she is not fooling anyone.

Romanians like her often have gypsy heritage in their families. This one fits that mold in my opinion.

Mark Alexandar said...

yes, she is a gypsy. which is why she doesn't understand concepts of honour, family, blood, soil, patriotism, unity, or anything that deals with culture or order....' eye meehn vhay do ve haftoo call it eeehr ven ve use lungz to breeehe?'' clown.

Hunt said...

@Gypsy Hunter.....

Right on, bro...who else dances on youtube and begs for money? lol....

Anonymous said...

@Gypsy Hunter: Your point? Except to prove that 1 gypsy can have more sense in her left asscheek than 10 of you half-asses put together.

I personally know of two cases where attending physicians granted their patient's wish to "pull the plug" on life support, with no legal repercussions, though it's technically against the law. The difference is whether it's with the "guidance" of the physician or not. Dr. Kevorkian was too public, too dogmatic about it, but it goes on discreetly all the time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, euthanasia should be legal, but I really don't like the eagerness with which many secularists seem to promote it. This mentality is part of broader, all pervasive culture of death that's killing more people and causing more misery than all religions combined. It's the wolf of sour grapes, Stockholm Syndrome & defeatism in the sheep's clothing of 'acceptance' and 'realism'.

Snap out of your deathist trance, people! Life would be so much better if we replaced the insane barbarism of burial and cremation with cryonics, declared war on aging, and gave science & technology the respect and attention they deserve. It doesn't matter whether we'd ultimately succeed in abolishing death etc., *simply deciding to try* would cause an empowering mentality shift and make life more bearable for everyone. It would create a world of hope and optimism instead of cynicism and despair.

Are you reading this, Criss? Got any comments, or have you already reached the limits of your intellectual capacities?

Wobby said...

Very well done video, I look forward to hearing the second part. :)

Someone made an interesting point about the idea that providing a choice in itself might lead to a perceived negative action being taken that would not normally have occurred had such a choice not been offered. To be honest, I think even if this is the case, the person is still making the choice for themself, and it's not like it's Hobson's choice either... they choose to live or end their life for themself, it's that simple. I think what you mentioned is right, that time would be needed to ensure that it is not a transient state of mind and that they really want to do so. It's not a simple case of, oh, if we don't allow assisted suicide, the person wouldn't have died, so that's automatically better. How do we know that it is better for that person? Why should we even try to second guess anyway?

One's life and ability to decide how long you choose to live it should be the most fundamental of rights. If someone were physically unable to feed themselves, they have lost that basic ability which they should have. Even if for some absurd reason, we had some moral objection to them being fed, that should not mean we set about to have some legal injunction for people in this situation to be given the provisions so that they are able to choose to. There should be no moral onus on me for restoring the ability they should have had in the first place. In the same way, I compare to someone that wants to commit suicide. So they take a gun and shoot themself. In the case where they are too physically handicapped to do so, they have lost an ability that they should have. Whether or not I approve of people doing so should not mean that I set about preventing from being restored that ability to make that choice for themself. The person granting them that ability acts as the gun, a tool, rather than a person, and should not feel morally responsible, as all they are doing is restoring the ability to make a choice that should have already been there. They are simply acting as a medium, a body, for the person to carry out their own physical wishes, and it did not really matter who they were personally.

Wobby said...

I simply try to put myself in the same situation and imagine what I would want. If you were physically unable to feed yourself, it would be quite a sad state of affairs, and you would want the choice to be able to take in food or not. Or, to cast a different scenario, if someone where a smoker and loss the use of their arms, even if you disapproved of smoking, would you begrudge them the ability to be given provisions so they are physically able to make the decision to do so? And if you were physically unable to kill yourself, should you not at least be given the choice to do so.

The classic argument is the elderly terminally ill grandmother whose children are poor and struggling to pay for her upkeep (or perhaps her own), and she thinks if only she died early, then they wouldn't have to struggle to pay for her (or her belongings/house could get passed on to be sold to help her children out, etc). Now, having being given this ability for assisted suicide, she can choose to carry out this act of altruism, and the children are in no position legally to be able to refuse it. I would still go along the line of it is her choice to do what she wants with her life, and it's not as if the children are forced to accept their inheritance - it would just be a bit of a waste if they didn't.

Another argument affects one of implementation in how it could be abused, such as these same struggling children emotionally blackmailing into dying early so they can get her money. Yes, I would agree this is a problem, but if we can agree that assisted suicide is _ethically_ sound, then it is simply for us to endeavour to explore ways in which such abuses could be prevented. There are plenty of laws that can be abused, but it doesn't mean that we should just not have them, simply because we find it too taxing to work out ways around this abuse.

Wobby said...

I believe it's important that we shouldn't try to be 'social engineers'... It is not and should not be our job to try and force people to stay alive and shove happy pills down their throats - yes, we can try to maximise utility, but this should never infringe personal choice. Even if, to put it to extremes, _everyone_ in the world felt their life was such a burden that they wanted to commit suicide, everyone is choosing to do so on a personal level, and yes, whilst it would be a shame for the human race to die out, I am not in position to argue that everyone should be forced out of it on some abstract level of 'the greater good' (unless some aliens came along and zapped everyone with their 'suicide ray' or they got some mysterious infection so that they couldn't think for themselves - in which case it is not personal choice). It seems awfully arrogant, misguided and dangerous to believe we know what is best for another person, especially because firstly we cannot possibly ever know what this other person is going through, secondly we don't really know what we intend for them is the better route for welfare (and not secretly ours), and thirdly, even if we _did_ know what was better for them (which is a physical impossibility), how is it our place to manipulate their lives? We can tell them every reason why we think they should continue to live their lives, but at the end of the day, having heard all of this rationalisation, it should still be up to them at the end of the day. Would you not resent someone forcing you to live life the way they want you to, even if they did know better?
With respect to comparing the family's right not to have to grieve a family member versus that family member's right to kill themself, I would side with the family member every time. Yes, it may be upsetting for the family, but at the same time, it isn't them having to live the life that has seemingly become too torturous for the family member to live through. Utility for a greater number of people should generally not come above individual rights... these in themselves have a utility too high to be intervened with in comparison. It strikes me as slightly selfish to stop someone from being freed from the pain that they would have to be feeling to choose to do this, simply because it would be painful for me to mourn them and not get to see them again, even if it were for reasons of love. I would respect their decision to do what they personally feel is best for them, and it is likely not something they have not thought about carefully. And a time frame/psychological assessment/discussions etc allows the seriousness of such action to properly dawn on them in the unlikely scenario that it has not already and ensures that they are in the state of mind to make such a decision.
Sorry for the really long rambling, hope it's not all completely incoherent! Just thought I'd add my two cents...

Wobby said...

I believe it's important that we shouldn't try to be 'social engineers'... It is not and should not be our job to try and force people to stay alive and shove happy pills down their throats - yes, we can try to maximise utility, but this should never infringe personal choice. Even if, to put it to extremes, _everyone_ in the world felt their life was such a burden that they wanted to commit suicide, everyone is choosing to do so on a personal level, and yes, whilst it would be a shame for the human race to die out, I am not in position to argue that everyone should be forced out of it on some abstract level of 'the greater good' (unless some aliens came along and zapped everyone with their 'suicide ray' or they got some mysterious infection so that they couldn't think for themselves - in which case it is not personal choice). It seems awfully arrogant, misguided and dangerous to believe we know what is best for another person, especially because firstly we cannot possibly ever know what this other person is going through, secondly we don't really know what we intend for them is the better route for welfare (and not secretly ours), and thirdly, even if we _did_ know what was better for them (which is a physical impossibility), how is it our place to manipulate their lives? We can tell them every reason why we think they should continue to live their lives, but at the end of the day, having heard all of this rationalisation, it should still be up to them at the end of the day. Would you not resent someone forcing you to live life the way they want you to, even if they did know better?
With respect to comparing the family's right not to have to grieve a family member versus that family member's right to kill themself, I would side with the family member every time. Yes, it may be upsetting for the family, but at the same time, it isn't them having to live the life that has seemingly become too torturous for the family member to live through. Utility for a greater number of people should generally not come above individual rights... these in themselves have a utility too high to be intervened with in comparison. It strikes me as slightly selfish to stop someone from being freed from the pain that they would have to be feeling to choose to do this, simply because it would be painful for me to mourn them and not get to see them again, even if it were for reasons of love. I would respect their decision to do what they personally feel is best for them, and it is likely not something they have not thought about carefully. And a time frame/psychological assessment/discussions etc allows the seriousness of such action to properly dawn on them in the unlikely scenario that it has not already and ensures that they are in the state of mind to make such a decision.
Sorry for the really long rambling, hope it's not all completely incoherent! Just thought I'd add my two cents...

Wobby said...

Arghh, sorry for the double post. Fail. (¬_¬)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the vid.
I have to say, I'm Belgian and here we have already a system of which you talk about. For instance I have signed a document that tells everyone that when I become a veggie they should pull the pluck on me. It's perfectly legal and binding for doctors. Euthanasia is legal by law in Belgium. If you are terminal ill you can have an injection after you state twice to two different doctors that you want to die. That's it. My grandfather was terminal ill with long cancer. On Wednesday he started the euthanasia procedure and on Friday he was death. The way it went was surreal, but I understand why he did it. His entire family was there, we said our goodbyes and that's it. The man prevented this way to suffer immensly. He chose himsel how he was going to die and that is a wonderful thing if you consider the alternative!
For the mentally ill, the procedure is more complicated and takes more time, but it is possible. Belgian politicians are now even discussing euthanasia for kids. Kids can be terminally ill...they too have a right to die as they see fit. Although the debat is pretty early and nothing has been decided on it, eventually it will.
Euthanasia is a right, just as abortion is. It is up to the person to decide whether they want it or not. The existence of such laws don't tell you to do it when you are terminal ill, no they are a right for people that do want it. It seems so logical to me (a thrid generation atheist living in a prodominantly ahteist coountry) that I barely (honestely NOT) understand people who oppose it. But those are mostly religious fuckers, so I just shouldn't bother with their so called 'arguments'

And on the donorcard...things are the other way around in Belgium. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE is a donor...if you don't want to be a donor you need to get a anti-donor card. Otherwise when you come in a hospital as a veggie and you don't have a card...your organs are going to other people. Belgium is therefore the only country in the world that don't have a shortage of organs...

Naná said...

Hi!

My name is Nadja,i'm a brazilian student,i'm 23 years old
and i support your opinion about suicide.
I'm a depressive person and i think about it every day.
It's hard to explain this to the people.
It's very important to talk about it.

Anonymous said...

One hundred percent behind you on this.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad that we treat our animals in their old age with more respect then we treat our own elderly and sick... people euthanize dog and cats if they become terminal\paralyzed... or just to old to live comfortably. and as for the dogs with mental problems they just thow themselves in front of cars... so in other words I am half with you and half not with you on this let the people who are able... just find a way and do it themselves but with the old and sick help them out... I will never live as a quad or on life support I have friends that will help me. peace

Anonymous said...

From what I’ve read/watched, it seems that you make it impossible for me to be “...a first rate version of [my]self, instead of a second rate version of someone else.” You have all the qualities I pride myself on (on which I pride myself, whatever.), plus a LOT more, which means that a first rate me (which I am, if you take “me” to mean exactly me), is still a second rate version of someone else. *grumbles* Unless of course I’m a 3rd rate, 4th, 5th, etc.
Okay, so I’m only 17 (as of yesterday); maybe I’m being a bit too harsh.
But you inspire me, so as a stupid teenage girl I decided to post 

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous from September 25, 2010 3:52 AM:
Interesting question raised...
Assuming the family would endure "50 years of suffering" for EMPATHETIC reasons (eg. "poor person - they missed out on so much/ felt that they couldn't stand to live"), and also assuming that the person would really be better off dead, you'd expect the family's "50 years of suffering" to be even worse if the person were forced to continue with life.
It could be argued that the family would also suffer from being deprived of the person's company, however I see this as parallel with a would-be rapist's being deprived of sex with their victim, in a way.

Anonymous said...

That last post was also from the "stupid teenage girl"

Anonymous said...

I agree with your video. Here are two things that you all might find of interest:

1. Given that assisted suicide is illegal, someone wrote a book that details how people can handle the situation themselves in a painless way. It is called The Peaceful Bill Handbook (check it out here:
http://www.amazon.com/Peaceful-Pill-Handbook-Revised-International/dp/0978878825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219716686&sr=1-1).

2. There was an excellent Frontline documentary that followed a guy who physically degenerated with ALS and formulated an assisted suicide / euthanasia plan. The video, entitled The Suicide Tourist, can be found here: http://video.pbs.org/video/1430431984/

aprettywastex3 said...

I've been watching your videos for a long time, and I'm always amazed at how alike we think in so many ways. But I've never given euthanasia/assisted suicide more than a second thought, to be quite honest. (I've always thought it should be legal)

I have thought a lot about suicide though, and I think it's sad how people don't understand that you can't force someone to live a life they don't want to live. I can get behind this idea, of course, with a lot of counceling beforehand, and making sure the person understands what's going to happen, maybe it could be the right path towards actually lowering suicide rates.

7TYISH said...

The obvious problem with the whole "right to die" thing is that once the door is opened, and even though "regulated" (regulated by whom?), unscrupulous persons will use it for murder, then the state will take control of it, and the state, as states are wont to do, will decide who lives and who dies... e.g., certain persons "must" be euthanized --that is, old people, severely crippled people, insane people, stupid people, etc. etc.. This is not speculation.

Snowflake said...

I am one of those mentally ill people you talk about. My condition does not just cause suffering; it causes the very powerful, very incorrect belief that this suffering will go on forever.

I think your characterization of mentally ill people is reductive and your views on psychiatric medication are outright damaging. I am medicated right now. The pills don't stop me from feeling bad emotions; they let me feel anything else. No one forced them on me; I sought them out myself. If I had succeeded in killing myself before I discovered medication, I would be dead right now. If you want to argue for a humane euthanasia, you must be ready to understand the complexities of mental illness before you decide anything about my suffering.

I support medical euthanasia, but I believe that there genuinely are some cases where a person is not competent to evaluate their own suffering, and these cases need to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful topic and I completely agree with this. My country has free health care but does not offer assisted suicide which is sad because there are sick people who have lived their life and do not want to die a slow painful death, but pathetic people who have control problems cannot let people choose their own life and way of ending life.

Great video as usual

Daniel said...

Cristina, I know this is not the rigth place for this, but can i talk to you about religion? I know my english is not perfect but if you add me we can chat about realy interesting things, i'm from Brazil and i would realy apreciate that. My e-mail is dnhost_04@hotmail.com
Please add me on msn or send me a msg by e-mail if you see this. ty

jessica whitley said...

I see where you're coming from. It wouldn't be well-accepted here in the U.S. due mainly to the fact that there are LARGE amounts of creationists here and they wouldn't want people going to Hell, now would they?

Jon said...

I have something kinda related on my blog from a few days ago if you want to check it out. but as for your point, I've never experienced such pain that would make me want death. Death being the single thing I fear the most I personally think id want to tough out anything as long as it kept me alive. For the simple fact that their is nothing after death. Which is a good point in itself. would you want people making the choice to kill themselves under the false pretense that they will have an afterlife. The idea of after life makes the idea of death viable because it wouldn't really mean death. But if more people were atheist I think we'd see a downward trend in suicides simply because people would understand death means game over not moving on to the next level.

Suicide in its self is a social abnormality to begin with again I have a entry that goes more in depth on my own page, check it out if you'd like.

12 Knots to Nowhere said...

I didn't read the other comments. Mainly because I don't want to steal other ideas. But, the main problem with having suicide covered under the new health care legislation would be the same battle that arose over the survival of the Obama Administration's health care plan: over the abortion issue. I'm not saying that we Americans are in general stupid...okay, some of us are, but issues like suicide and abortion only create two camps of thought: those strong supporting and those strongly against...and those who are not sure not wanting to make a stand because they don't feel like getting hammered by the stones tossed by the other side.

That said....

Suicide is not prohibited by criminal law in the United States. Even if it is in some jurisdictions, which I highly doubt exist anymore, the lack of enforcement would make the law null before a court.

Along with that is the lack of enforcement of laws that prohibit assisted suicide. I'm not talking about guys doing what Dr Jack Kevorkian did, but doctors out there who either (1) give large doses of pain killers that lead to death or (2) work to try to alleviate pain to the point that the person dies. Prosecutors do not go after those individuals.

The other issue is where the person is incapacitated and family members have no way of knowing besides prior statements by that person as to whether or not they wanted to be removed from life support. There's a whole litany of litigation about that in the United States. And the discussion is made more controversial because of the idea of "the sanctity of life." I don't mean to be condescending about that, but it is a major issue with many people.

I find the biggest irony is that life is sacred for fetuses and terminally ill people, but for those who committed a crime, they do not deserve to live. I'd figure all life is sacred in that case.

Wayne Nirenberg said...

This is a great post. I agree completely with allowing people who want to commit suicide to do so for any reason at all. I realize that there will be people that will make mistakes but I don't think there'll be close to as many mistakes by people killing themselves as there are people who would prevent these people and so force them to live a life of pain, misery or existential angst.

All that said I think one argument against letting people kill themselves has been overlooked here. If a person kills him or herself he or she is possibly hurting others in more than just an emotional way. What about the doctor who kills himself only to leave sick people alone without one? You can come up with a thousand other scenerios. Pilots, politicians etc....we're more and more connected with each generation.

Jeff said...

The above comments made me want to commit suicide....

I'd like to see a Make-a-Wish-Foundation for Suicidal People. I wish for a one way ticket out of this Solar System......and some Nachos.

Anonymous said...

I find it unfortunate that you think that such an option should be available so easily. It is a horrible thing to want to commit suicide, but I do imagine that more people would actually do it if such an option were available.

People with disorders such as bipolar or any other mood swings would definately be easily convinsed for a "pain-free" death if they were feeling depressed. And anyone who thinks of suicide as just a little part of their mind may wish to persue such a thing if it were made so easily to them.

Even if this were to happen, there would need to be such a better health care system in order to do it. People wanting to commit suicide should be able to recieve help and should be in a completely clear state of mind when deciding to do such a thing - and not to be judgemental, but I think that most people that do commit suicide aren't actually in such a state of mind.

dave said...

1: i /agree. folks should be able to kill themselves if they want to. they should also be able to hire a doctor to help them if they can afford it.

2:_good_ health care is _not_ government funded, taxpayer supplied health care. health care is not a right, it is a service.

AntiBullshitMan said...

Dave:

"_good_ health care is _not_ government funded, taxpayer supplied health care."

Of course it is. In civilized societies, every person, rich or poor, having the guarantee of evaluation and treatment, is considered a good thing. Crazy, I know.

"health care is not a right, it is a service"

Every right you have is ultimately protected through a service. So it's not the service that you have a problem with, it's everyone having to pay into the system collectively... something we already do when it comes to the RIGHT to police service, public schools, fire departments, military protection against foreign invasion, boarder control, etc. To arbitrarily exclude healthcare from this is to play in to the hands of private firms profiteering off of people's sickness. If you're fine with this, then apply the same market principles to crime, or start asking questions like "Why should MY tax dollars go towards solving crimes which didn't even effect ME!!!".

As for the comments arguing against the blog; Re-read the blog people. She already addressed these contentions. You're making it circular.

Anonymous said...

You are so right on. I'm so tired of others telling me Death with Dignity is a sin, that's not my belief. My body my choice, your body your choice.

Juan said...

realmente nose que nivel de español tendran los lectores de este blog. por mi parte puedo decir simplemente que me manejo leyendo ingles, pero no iba a gastar mi noche leyendome los extensos comentarios, asique solo lei un par.

Considerando que solo se vive una vez, no puedo consebir la idea de que una persona tenga la intencion de suicidarse.

En cuanto a si deberia haber una manera Legal de quitarse la vida, supongo que tiene sentido, aunque previamente se deberian intentar por todos los medios de hacer cambiar de idea a la persona.

El tercer punto es sobre las personas que, por diferentes motivos, estan incapacitadas para poder expresar su deseo de suicidarse. Supongamos que la persona ha expresado previamente que en casos como este deberian ponerle fin a su vida, y supongamos que luego de quedar en esta condicion cambiase de opinion (sucede muchas veces con las personas que sufren de una enfermedad terminal), al no poder expresarlo, moriria sin estar de acuerdo. En este tipo de casos nose cual seria la mejor opcion.

Me gustan bastante tus videos, auque debido a mi ingles algunas cosas no las entiendo, pero sigo la idea.

Saludos

stephen said...

I like this particulare video as I suffer from depression.

stephen said...

Mental illness is deeply misunderstood on how serious it can be. People notice if you have a crippled body but not if you have a crippled mind. Suicide is when your mental ability to deal with mental pain is seriously comprimised. People should have the right to decide what quality life is, for them worth living.

stephen said...

Oh and thank you for your videos they cheer me up alot especially your sence of humour. Please keep posting.

AboveUsOnlySky said...

Hi,
I'm an atheist (for real) and I'd be more restrictive than you on all this.
Sometimes people can get trapped in some situations : drug users, chronic depression, their life fell appart and they truely thing nothing can go any better, etc.
And they're wrong, and by forcing them to take some time, they may think that life is beautiful again.
For famous exemples, Christopher reeves and Stephen Hawking managed to not want suicide.

I'm not saying that as they don't wanna die, so no one should. I'm saying that it isn't as easy as "during this year they wanna die, so be it". 'cause maybe next year they'll want to live and spend 20 years of bad AND GOOD expriences.
Sure, on the other hand, how could we disallow someone to die just because we think that maybe in some years they'll be happy to live ? And what if we're wrong ?

Should people be allowed to choose what quality of life is good for them ? Of course. But are people able to imagine what could be their quality of life in 10 years ? Less sure. And should we kill them when they may be making a big mistake ? Not so sure.
This isn't a simple question, even by leaving God out of it, 'cause it's asking "how efficient are we in predicting the future and how should it affect our choice ?".

Thanks for your videos, by the way ;)

Anonymous said...

My mother passed away on January 25, 2012. She has COPD and had been in and out of the hospital for a month. She developed pneumonia and was sent to the hospital for the last time. She was exhausted and did not want to die struggling for her last breath. She asked for the machines to be turned off and for help passing. She was given enough morphine to allow her to gently pass in her sleep. I will forever be grateful for that. It hurts so much that she is gone,but at least she was not forced to suffer.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for suicide - even those who are "mentally ill". If you don't see the reason in being alive - because there really is no reason - go ahead, end your life. No one can force you to stay alive.

I really want to commit suicide because there is no point in living at all. When you really look at life and people, it is nothing but bullshit and a complete waste of time. I also see optimism and positivity as like a huge drug everyone is on that is blinding them from the reality that there is no reason for any of us to be here.

Think of it this way: if there's a God then he/she is holding us hostage here. If you don't believe there is a God, then what are you waiting for?

shereef ibrahim said...

fascinating way of expressing
i totally agree with every word you said

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