Friday, October 31, 2014

In the matter of Brittany Maynard

An acknowledgement and a piece in the matter of Brittany Maynard

There are a few news stories which have been making the rounds of late.  Of course, we know of what happened in Ontario and Quebec, the violence which happened to the Canadian Forces personnel who were killed in acts of ‘domestic’ terror on October 20 and 22, 2014.  These are terrible things, and of course our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed.

For my part, I think that we should use erasure on those who did the killing; we should remember WO Patrice Vincent and Corporal Cirillo.  The people who killed them should not be remembered at all.  That’s my feeling on the topic.

Ironically, a few days before these sorry events, I was called out on facebook for being too harsh in my stance toward extremists. 

In other news, it is getting close to the death-day for the woman in Oregon who has terminal cancer and is crowing about it.  that might get you mad, but consider a few cynical questions:

1. who is paying for her death?  The state?  Her husband? Her family? Insurance?
And if there is a payee, would they not pay for palliative care?  Why was palliative care not an option?
2. She basically said that no-one had the right to judge her, and called out a palliative care pioneer online.
Fair enough, but this leads to another cynical question: if you are that desperate to kill yourself, why make it an issue?  Why not just get on with it, without fanfare?  The answer to this: because she has been co-opted by a west-coast euthanasia enthusiasts’ group which is using this case, exploiting this person, to push forward their agenda for death in Colorado.  The irony?  The woman in question moved from California to Oregon so she could die.  So if someone can move to that state, then why legalise death in other states?  Because it’s about organizational growth, obviously.
3. There is no discussion in a PEOPLE magazine article on the situation, about palliative care, or options to treatment.  None.  There is, however a description of what the symptoms are and how this woman is waking up – in pain and with neurological symptoms.  There is also no discussion of options in the article.  There is, however, a web pointer to the euthanasia enthusiasts’ group.  How helpful.
4. there are no photos of this woman after treatment.  There are 25 other photos; all presumably, pre-treatment.  They show someone who is active and doing non-illness things.  There is not a single medical photo, except for the brain scan, allegedly of this woman’s tumour.
Given that she is 29, and has said in the article that she does not want to live into her 30s with this illness, it is clear that this is a sensationalized case of ‘…live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse.’  Her attitude is bang-on for her demographic. 

As an update, on Friday, October 31, 2014, I saw a news piece across facebook wherein Ms Maynard has decided to postpone her death.  This comes as no surprise to me, given the media storm which has surrounded her story.  Additionally, it is interesting that she has made this new decision, given that her idea was exploited by euthanasia enthusiasts’ groups: something on my mind when I first heard of this story.

Here are some thoughts about this situation:

Euthanasia was supposed to be an individual’s free informed decision.  Yet I can show that these ideals have been broken.  Specifically, euthanasia was supposed to be 1. Self-determined, 2. An individual’s request 3. Freely asked for.

There are reasons to believe that this is not so.  Ms Maynard’s case may have taken on a life of its own, ironically.  She has said she would kill herself around November 1, 2014, and this set off a round of internet chatter.  This decision has been called extraordinary.  Hold on.

In Oregon, where Ms Maynard is now living, having moved from California, this decision and action is no longer extraordinary. It’s ‘legal’ and allowable, medically speaking.  So why is this a story?

The story has value in two places: its inherent tragedy and the photogenic character at the heart of it.  (Oddly, Ms Maynard has said in one post I read that she feels hurt when people call her photogenic.  Yet, she allowed those photos to be shown…)

The propaganda value lies in the following thought: what is happening in Oregon with Ms Maynard, euthanasia enthusiasts say, should be allowed to happen in, say, Colorado.  Death should be available everywhere, and for everyone. For any reason.  It’s legal in Oregon, so let’s make it legal in a new place.

Hold on.  Ms Maynard moved so she could die, so if this can happen in her case, why not in others? Why the push to legalize in other states when people can and do move?  Why make the dying and disabled, and others, vulnerable elsewhere?

Because death provision is a growth industry.  (Not having death peddled everywhere means that there are places where death provision is not needed, and that is not good optics.)  so it’s no longer about death provision in extraordinary circumstances, but it’s about making sure that alternatives are subsumed.  After all, if you have good palliative care here, then you don’t need to provide death, so…

I realize that my criticism is somewhat harsh.  I get that; but my question is, if this disease is exploiting this young woman, why is she allowing further exploitation by the media and euthanasia enthusiasts’ groups?  Probably because she will leave a beautiful corpse.  You see, a photogenic victim is good for business.  People will read the article and think, I don’t want to be ravaged.  I don’t want to live like that.  This will have the effect of emotionally driving people to the euthanasia enthusiasts’ website for more information, a purchased membership and ‘peace of mind.’

The other issue here is cost.  How  much did it cost for Ms Maynard to be flown to the Grand Canyon?  Who paid? (Hint, apparently, the magazine which did the article on her).  Remember, this is someone who does not want to live and has the prescription already.

Here’s why my criticism is so hard: in the same issue of People Magazine, there is a short piece on Issy Stapleton’s mother, the woman who tried to kill the autistic girl. This short piece includes the quote, ‘a forensic psychiatrist testified that Stapleton as legally insane at the time of the crime, according to the Associated Press. ‘The reality is that she [Stapleton] lost hope and had the delusion that people’s lives would be better without Issy.’’ [People, October 27, 2014, p.8]

This story has been brewing a while.  The sad part is, the quote from the piece is correct: one parent usually does think that it is a better life without a disabled or challenged child.  There was a piece which came through ITV in the UK recently wherein a mother fought to get permission to have her daughter starved to death.  Among other things, the daughter had hydrocephalus and apparently, an infection. This story has not been greatly substantiated, however. It popped up on facebook October 26, 2014. 

In another article from the People magazine, there was a two page piece on a man who has been arrested for at least two counts of murder.  He is a self-professed Satanist, who changed his name to that of an apparent demon, and got his ‘girlfriend’ to participate.  The point I make is that these three stories all got press in the same issue of PEOPLE magazine in the same month.  So there is a push on toward death provision.  We can see that there is propaganda, and that this propaganda goes along with the devaluation of life as a dialectic.  reasons The one influences the other, and they both influence in other places.The trouble is that those who have 

good secular reasons for being against dying with dignity are ignored, or re-defined as religious.  Or the 

stories are denounced as myths.  So there is a one-sided voice here, and those who are really vulnerable 

are silenced by imposed ideology.  I could be defined as inhumane because I want someone to suffer, for 

example, when this is farthest from my mind.  After that defeater belief is trotted out, there isn't really a 

lot of room for discussion, is there?

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