>> Monday, September 28, 2009
I know it may seem facetious, but I have to ask, why is a suicide a crime? I mean, I understand the ambiguity behind euthenasia - without direction, who can know what someone would really choose for themselves?
But suicide is different. Suicide is someone choosing not to live any more for whatever reason. So, why is that illegal?
Oh, I know some religions are dead set against it, but we're supposed to be a secular nation. What's the legal justification to tell someone they can't die if that's what they prefer? Why is it "wrong"?
I can speculate at some reasons. There are those that think anyone who wants to kill themselves is mentally ill and must be protected from themselves. Why are we so sure that's so? Is it inconceivable that someone can be perfectly rational and just not want to live any more? The Japanese, of course, respected suicide as a way of erasing shame or finding glory. Many cultures in Asia and the Pacific and North America appreciate the notion of people knowing when it's time to die. So why does it have to be insane?
Now, many people understand other people facing a terminal illness or a painful debilitating illness wanting to die painlessly instead, but why do we feel we have to understand and agree with the reason they want to die? What's it to the rest of us?
If physical pain and misery are sufficient justification to "let" someone die, why not loneliness or hopelessness? Why not remorse or despair? Who's to say what's "enough" pain except the person involved? People survived Auschwitz, but could everyone? Should everyone be able to?
We value our freedom, that adults can make decisions for themselves as long as they don't illegally damage anyone else. So, if we can choose how to live our lives, why can't we choose when to end it?