November 30, 2004

Legalized euthanasia in the Netherlands. A Dutch hospital admits to having euthanised 4 severely ill or deformed newborns.

I personally find it peculiar that those who are "pro-life" (ie anti-choice or anti-abortion) are often pro-death penalty. I am mostly anti-death penalty, very pro-choice and pro-euthanasia. It seems compassionate, to me, to offer a painless death to those who face only terrible pain and suffering. What do other monkeys think about this difficult social issue?

  • Pro-choice, pro-euthanasia, pro-death penalty.
  • Pro-choice, pro-euthanasia, pro-assisted suicide. Anti-death penalty, though.
  • I'm pro-life, by which I mean I dream of a world where children grow up loved in homes free of the fear of poverty and preventable disease. When they reach maturity I hope they are left free to make informed choices about having children of their own (or not) and when they want to exit stage left. I personally dislike the death penalty because it smacks of vengenance rather than dispensing justice and protecting society. In general I think it should be the business of the state to set an example in restraint and to reduce the amount of violence in society not add to it. You'll be pleased to hear I don't have a newsletter for you to subscribe to though.
  • Don't see the point in the death penalty, seems illogical & questionable. Euthanasia seems ok to me, if I was dyin of some hideous disease, I woun't wanna hang around suffering. Severely ill or deformed newborns is a stickier issue. I think it should be up to the family or parents.
  • I'm pro-choice, pro-euthanasia as an option, and pro-death-penalty as a legal option. Euthanasia and the death penalty, like abortion, should be safe, legal, and rare. My grandmother lingered as a husk for two years after a stroke. This was back in the 70s, when they wouldn't even pull the plug or issue DNR orders. Looking back, I can see that it would have been a mercy for my mother if someone had made the decision to terminate her physical life (mental life was completely gone already; she never regained consciousness). I would rather the family made that decision in consultation with medical experts than have someone who didn't know the person decide to end their life. I have serious reservations about the death penalty, particularly in the processes that lead to convictions and the failure of the state in Texas, my home, to provide proper and reasonably avenues of appeal. But I've also had a brush with a very scary death penalty felon (mine was the second apartment complex he shot up, mentioned in the report, and if I'd come home with my groceries 10 minutes later, I would not be here to type this sentence), and my experiences leave me with the firm conviction that some people really are too dangerous to society at large to keep around. I figure that if we expect society to trust our judgement on issues of life and death like abortion, we have to be willing to trust the judgement of other people. In matters where it is the state deciding whether someone should live or die, I generally prefer a margin of error for letting live. This is why I use the safe, legal, and rare language.
  • so now will they a dumbass teenagers from all over the world flock to "death cafes" that display a little Skull sign?
  • "so now will dumbass teenagers" I mean
  • I'd like to see assisted suicide/euthanasia made legal if there was a strict process involving family counselling, a prewritten agreement (I know a lot of people do that now anyway) signed by the people most immediately involved years in advance, and a set of procedures applicable in all cases that care for the bereaved family. In assisted-suicide cases I can think of, there's always one or more family members who was left out of the loop or thinks/knows their relative wouldn't have wanted to die like that. If everyone can accept that it's the person's wishes and act accordingly, I see nothing wrong with it.
  • I should clarify: "years in advance" isn't really appropriate, given that someone could suffer, for example, a brain injury in an accident at any time, or, as in the linked article, it could be a newborn infant. But there has to be understanding on all sides. "As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," said Eduard Verhagen, head of Groningen's children's clinic. "In the Netherlands we want to expose everything, to let everything be subjected to vetting." Most sensible thing I've seen in ages. Make everything public. Full accountability.
  • My pros, I should add, don't include half-assed implementation. Like most important issues, the practicalities are sometimes problem-ridden; however it's my right to choose, my right to die, and my right to vote to kill your ass if you're on video torturing people. See Bernardo and Homolka, Lake and Ng, etc. etc. etc.
  • I would prefer my crazy family NOT have any power whatsoever over my life or death. I have a Living Will, but I don't know how well that would stand up in a clinch. Pro euthanasia, pro suicide (assisted or not), pro capital punishment. Some people simply should not be on the planet.
  • Specifically about babies. A woman I knew by association was very 'pro-life' and very much a Christian. She got pregnant, during the usual tests done during pregnancy it was discovered that the baby didn't have a brain (more specifically only had a brain stem and cerebellum and there was no way that this baby would survive for long after birth) she chose to carry the baby to term and it survived for awhile in the hospital on a bunch of machines that were trying to keep it alive. I don't think she made the right choice. Part of me thought she was being selfish - her desire to have a child over the child's well-being. How do I say this without inflaming anyone? hmmm ... sometimes its better to let people die than to force them to live. I'm not so sure in some respects the great gains we have made in medicine have been worth it in terms of quality of life, as in this example. I'm not pro-death penalty since they have many times before gotten it wrong. I don't think it is a valid way to deter violence - think if your going to commit an act of violence last thing on your mind will be, 'will I fry for this?' IF there were to be executions bring them back out in the open for the public to see and make it an open process rather than try to hide it. I agree with tracicle and Eduard Verhagen: full accountability is best rather than trying to hide it behind closed doors. I couldn't find articles that would indicate whether the families agreed to this happening - though I suspect they would have been involved in the decision. ps: Its hard cause as moneyjane added while I was previewing my post - people like Homolka should fry (from a completely emotional view) but I don't want to see the innocent executed either.
  • I'm with moneyjane. Oooh...I like the sound of that! And with tracicle. I just visited my parents in Oregon, where euthanasia is legal, and a case was in the news about a wife who was refusing to follow her husband's pre-coma euthanasia request. Seemed like a very sad situation.
  • Back in the 60s, I knew of several cases where children born with severe defects "died of natural causes" soon after birth, but the parents suspected that the doctors had refrained from having kept them alive, and were somewhere between sad and grateful. If their suspicions were correct, it may be that there has been a hidden euthanasia that goes back who knows how long, at least in the US. I'm not sure how I feel about euthanasia. As I mentioned on another thread, I worked in a hospital for retarded children for a while, and the memory that stays with me is of a 10 year old boy who had the body of a 6 month old child and the mental development of an early fetus. He never moved his body or limbs. His eyes drifted randomly and never focused He ate pureed food mixed with milk from a baby bottle - his suck reflex worked, but not much else did. He might have benefitted from human contact, but no one picked him up to cuddle him, at least when I knew him, but I really think swimming in amniotic fluid would have been his only comfort. His parents didn't visit him. And, it's my impression that if they had, he wouldn't have known or been able to care. And that he wouldn't have known or cared if he died. I find it hard to think that keeping him alive served any purpose. On the other hand, there was a girl with hydrocephaly. She had had a few years of sort of normal development - learned to talk, at least. But the treatment of the time didn't do much for her problem, so the fluid in her skull kept pushing the bones up and out, and the pressure kept increasing. By the time I knew her, she no longer talked, but could still smile when you said her name. And her head was about a foot and a half tall and very heavy. while her body was small and pretty much not used. So, where do you draw the line? In a case like the boy's, I have to think that the defects were apparant when he was was born. With the girl, they may not have been. For her, would you let her die as soon as it became apparent that she had a pressure problem that might not be treatable when she was older. Would you save one or both of them, assuming that new discoveries would help them, even if the outlook was bleak? At the other end of the spectrum, I'm against the death penalty since I don't trust those who order it to make the right decision, especially since they're doing it as my representitives, even if I didn't elect them.
  • And I agree with beeza that the death penalty isn't a good deterrent. As I understand it, death penalty states don't show a diminished capital crime rate after you account for things like population size. But I look at it as a single violent offender that will do no further harm. Even life in prison offers the possibility of escape or crime against inmates and prison workers. That said, I believe the death penalty is currently broken Alberto Gonzalez, and needs to be fixed before it gets used again.
  • The state makes a piss-poor judge on who should live and who should die. The state is more interested in finding someone to blame than in finding the guilty party. They'll take the easy easy conviction of an innocent over a difficult conviction of the guilty. People like Bernardo and Homolka and the rest will still get the death penalty with a life sentence. See Dahmer. Just put them in with the general populace. I'm pro-euthanasia of those who desire it, but I don't trust the docs to make that choice. Insurance companies would find it cheaper to put lots of pressure on doctor to recomend suicide when it's unwarranted. It's hard to concieve of a way to legalize euthanasia without this being an issue.
  • DIE PUNY HUMANS! call me when they make it mandatory
  • "The state makes a piss-poor judge on who should live and who should die." "People like Bernardo and Homolka and the rest will still get the death penalty with a life sentence. See Dahmer. Just put them in with the general populace." True, and true...but why should our prison population be making decisions we would rather not dirty our hands with?
  • Just plain ol' pro-Death. Screw "pro-Life."
  • As far as the comments on 'some people should not be on the planet' - well, I think that's true, but I would rather not judge who they are, no matter how horrible the crime. Essentially, I cannot see how killing someone is any different from their own act of murder - no matter the justification. Killing is wrong - always. No exceptions. As for serial killers such as Dahmer, I have always felt that they serve much greater potential in being studied to determine what causes - biological or social - create such malfunctioning humans - & perhaps put an end to it for good. If we could put these people in a laboratory where they could be studied, it might go some way to identify the reasons why some people become so twisted - I do not subscribe to the idea that some people are just 'evil' or 'bad'. There's got to be some root cause. True enough, it can be argued that these people have reneged their claim to a lot of the rights the rest of us have, but simply executing them is wasteful & unethical, imho. Death penalty as deterrent simply doesn't work, either. A more callous thought - use really twisted people like the gacys & dahmers to test new drugs etc upon. They can be of some benefit to society, in some fashion.
  • Killing is wrong - always. No exceptions. What about self defense? Certainly there are things we'd rather not have to do that are, at times, neccessary. What does 'wrong' mean in this context?
  • why should our prison population be making decisions we would rather not dirty our hands with? I think it would be better described as "taking actions" rather than "making decisions". I'm not just being pedantic, I think this distinction is important. The state sets an example to it's citizens by the actions it takes. When a country says "It's alright for me (the state) to kill, as long as I (the state) benefits," the people in the country are taught this lesson. Change the lesson to "I (the state) won't take a life, whether they deserve it or not." Society will benefit much more from this kind of lesson. At the same time, the prison population starts taking actions in an effort to benefit society. Sure, when they first take the action, they won't be thinking about how society will benefit. But afterwards, upon reflection, they'll start to regard it this way, if for no other reason besides the fact that it'll make their ego feel good. Even the ones not involved will still start to view it this way. This is supposed to be one of the main points of prison: to get the prisoner interested in having a positive effect on society. On preview: what Nostril said, except for the part about drug testing on them. That's torture (unless you're talking about drugs that might cure their condition that made them psycho).
  • I think it's more like the country saying "Let the fuck-ups take out the other fuck-ups so we can have capital punishment in all states while avoiding the effort required to improve our judicial system".
  • I don't think there is anything to be gained from 'studying' Dahmer or Bundy or Ken and Barbie. And I don't think the death penalty acts as any kind of deterrent, except insofar as it deters the murderers from committing other crimes or spreading their mental poison. There's a special category of criminal that the for I named exemplify, and these are the people I want off the planet as soon as possible. They may have been born with more than a brain stem, but they are missing every bit as much of what makes a viable human.
  • Oh, and another thing. I have never looked to the state for a moral compass and I don't believe anyone else I've ever met has either. There's idealism, and then there's reality. Reality is where we live. Idealism is fantasy. The state is not a moral entity. Individuals in the state can be moral, but the state is not.
  • I think it's more like the country saying "Let the fuck-ups take out the other fuck-ups so we can have capital punishment in all states while avoiding the effort required to improve our judicial system". Yeah, it says thats too. Both messages would be sent. I believe either message is still a better message than the current one.
  • They may have been born with more than a brain stem, but they are missing every bit as much of what makes a viable human. I agree. There are people who kill; and there are people who really, really like to kill. I can have compassion for the former, and am willing to give them another chance. The latter? Why keep them alive? We've studied the shit out of serial rapists and killers. They do it because they like it. As a female (read: bait) I may have less patience with illogical compassion.
  • "What about self defense?" Ideally one would attempt to incapacitate an attacker. In a situation where taking a life occurs in a defensive act, one would hope that it was not a deliberate act. In other words, an accident in a struggle, or such like. Obviously, we don't live in a perfect world.. we can go into details here on various scenarios, but basically what I'm trying to express is that the taking of a life should be avoided at all costs. Clearly that's not always possible, but it's motive & intent that are important. "What does 'wrong' mean in this context?" I'm expressing a belief that taking life is harmful to oneself as well as the organism that is destroyed. I can't prove this, or offer any cogent logic for it, except that I have always felt it very strongly. It's a personal belief. "..except for the part about drug testing on them. That's torture." No no, torture would be to perform experiments for the sole purpose of causing pain or for punishment. I'm suggesting using living subjects for medical processes that are valuable & necessary for the human race, but would otherwise not have human test subjects. I'm not suggesting causing overt suffering for the individuals, merely that their personal freedom of choice had been curtailed by their own crimes. This wouldn't extend to clinically insane subjects deemed to have no understanding of their actions, although I would argue that study of these patients would be beneficial for humanity. I'm not suggesting we dice them up or anything. Sociological studies, vaccine testing, etc. Many pharmacalogical studies would greatly benefit from testing on human beings rather than animals or lab synthesis. Even though this doesn't sound that wonderful viz loss of personal freedom, it is to my mind much better than strapping them into a chair & executing them. Nothing to be gained from studying a Dahmer or Bundy? How about putting an end to the incidence of sociopathic serial killers in human society? If a pathology or genetic cause could be found for such behaviour, a 'cure' might become apparent. I think that's a valuable goal. Dahmer's death was a cruel & obvious outcome from his imprisonment with the 'standard' convicts, whereas study over long term in a clinical environment would certainly have lead to greater insights into the pathology of serial murderers. You might say, 'oh, but he was human garbage & good riddance' but my reasoning is, if you don't care what happens to the 'human garbage' - let's put their existance to some potential use. Nothing inhumane - at least, not as inhumane as execution (which is just murder) or putting them in a cell with Mad Dog & his Magic Shiv. I just don't see how putting Dahmer in the toilet with a guy who'll beat him to death, or injecting Gacy with poison actually achieves anything except retribution.
  • "Why keep them alive? We've studied the shit out of serial rapists and killers." Actually, the motivations & brain functions of serial killers & sexual criminals are not totally understood. What causes someone like Dahmer to exist is not known. Dahmer was not an abused child, for instance. His upbringing was 'normal' - his siblings are not abusers or criminals. "They do it because they like it." *why* do they like it? I am an idealist: I believe that eradicating needless violence in human society is a valuable goal, even if it can't be achieved in our lifetimes. "As a female (read: bait) I may have less patience with illogical compassion." There is no such thing as illogical compassion. It's one thing to advocate increased protection for potential victims & awareness, support, justice etc, & quite another to say let's flush the garbage off the streets. I understand your response all too well, believe me, but an unconstrained emotional response to an irrational act is not going to stop more abuse or violence.
  • Ah, fuck it. Let's kill everything. Where's my fuckin gun?
  • Although my true reason for being anti-death penalty is based on a moral belief that taking another’s life is wrong, I never try to make that argument. Why? Well, quite simply, because I understand some people do believe certain situations warrant taking a life. And I respect that. That being said, the problem that I have with the death penalty is that it’s flawed. From one end to the other. Not only is capital punishment racially and regionally suspect, but the legal aspect is equally flawed. Defense attorneys sleeping during capital trials. Mistakes by law enforcement agencies. Procedural errors. Improper instructions given to juries. And on and on. To me, that’s just unacceptable. And although anti-death penalty supporters and pro-death penalty supporters disagree on the actual number of innocent people that have been freed from death row (due to DNA testing, forced confessions, etc.), they do agree that number is at least thirty. Some people may say that’s a pretty low number considering the number of people who pass through the U.S. legal system, but that’s thirty too many in my book.
  • Actually, the motivations & brain functions of serial killers & sexual criminals are not totally understood So what? I don't really care if Dahmer is a result of nature OR nurture, I just want him dead. And now that he IS dead, nobody needs to advocate 'increased protection for potential victims.' AND I don't see anyone here saying 'flush the garbage off the streets.' I see people being extremely specific about what monsters are kicked out of the gene pool.
  • 'increased protection for (HIS) potential victims,' is what I meant.
  • I'm fine with the concept of the death penalty, but mostly to satisfy revenge; however, "my" particular country can't currently be trusted to oversee this. So, what Nostril-d said seems as chipper as anything.
  • *takes a deep breath, steps away from the thread.*
  • See, PatB, here's a concept: stopping serial murders before they happen.
  • Ah, fuck it. Let's kill everything. Where's my fuckin gun? Yeah. Because I'm all about that. That and the "flushing the garbage off the streets". I'm a hooker. To some people, I am "the garbage". And to many sexual sadists, target number one. I'm saying that serial rapists and killers who derive pleasure from inflicting pain and death on others - and specifically those who videotape themselves doing it - do not warrant my compassion and will pose a threat of future violence to all who encounter them while they are still alive. So you study them. Like Dr. Robert Hare, and find these traits that show a given child may become a serial killer, or perhaps a genetic indicator. Then what? See if they do? Or don't? And if they do? Back in the same boat. What do you do with someone who rapes or kills for pleasure?
  • Then what? Ender's game?
  • stopping serial murders before they happen My God. That is a concept! Quick! Someone tell the cops to pay more attention to psychics.
  • Trigger topic...runs away.
  • My problem is that it is murder. Whether it is pushing a button and carrying out a sentence or strangling someone to death in an alleyway. ie: Pretty much what nostril said. I agree nostril and there have been studies. Jesperson (serial killer from my neck of the woods) pretty much said (paraphrasing a bit), 'killing a human is no different from killing an animal. Both will fight to stay alive.' He actually gave some insight into childhood experiences. He said at one time his father caught him killing a cat and his father 'encouraged' the behaviour by bragging about how the son handled it. Jesperson further elaborated by saying animal abuse was a factor in psychopathy - it has lead to law enforcement being more aware of animal abusers. There was a study (at UBC) that showed a psychopath doesn't think like we do. Words were displayed on a screen and brainwaves measured and there was a distinct difference between 'us and them'. Studying these creatures has lead to advances in criminal science. It has also helped in capturing some (Bundy helped authorities and so have a few others - can't recall names though). Some of what these 'people' do is really sick but if we can gain knowledge from it and learn to catch them sooner or prevent it why not? On the other hand I don't believe studying them alone will help us find solutions to the problem - I don't believe there is a 'root' cause to all of this. Just a long list of symptoms and behaviours that are indicators for potential problems. meh ... up here we had a serial killer named Clifford Olson. Our system named him as a dangerous offender and did some legal redefining and eventually tagged him as 'mentally ill' in order to keep him imprisoned for life (Based on memory and it might be slightly inaccurate). Once they are imprisoned where is the harm to society?
  • Alright everyone, we're supposed be talking about killing babies, not killing psychos. Back to the topic!
  • Killing babies: Like many things it's fine in theory.
  • If you don't think you have a serial killer in you it’s only for lack of examination. You assume these people perceive some sort of good reason to go out and making killing other human beings a sport. The problem is that good and bad don't mean as much as they used to, because there never really was a need for either concept to start with; it's just a way of controlling people: you get them hooked on a pleasure and get them to chase it all their lives. When they don't do what you want them to you hurt them by denying them that pleasure. It's like training your dogs not to shit on your carpet: it's a way of securing yourself against what you fear others will do if left to their own devices. The only problem is that people aren't necessarily, inherently dangerous to others. Modern, secular morality is always based on reason that looks for the self’s benefit. There is always a reason that in the end benefits you. By this system, man has found a way to order the world along the terms he has always ordered them and thus there is no knowledge any more of consequences, there is just "do this" and "don't do that" and the pleasure/pain response to inspire and discourage certain impulses. As those pleasures and pains loose meaning though, you're left with code that you no longer understand the purpose of and thus is rejected in favor of whatever desire happens to pop out of your delluded mind. People have to rely on their powers of analysis, dampened by preoccupation with various pleasures and construed by their desires and fears, in order to collect information and put it in the best context and more often than not come up with conclusions disadvantageous for the individual and the society (the people you hate for their stupidity understand their weakness in this respect and delegate their decisions to people they respect. You can't engage them in logical debate because your arguments prove nothing to them other than your ability to reason better than they can, which doesn't make you right. Granted though, this fucks us all over, but these people see this problem a little better than some liberals/rationalists). Some say that, just as concepts are nothing more than pieces of information held in context to one another, there is a state of mind that holds all information together at once that is grasped you will simply do what you need to do (there is no way to do anything that you do not perceive as unnecessary) without the time needed for analysis. This kind of revelation on a universal scale is humankind’s only hope for survival. Logic can be logically proven unable to truly represent reality (see The Liar's Paradox). Your logical conclusions on where life should or does begin, exist, or end stand on something much different than solid ground and a person's life is too heavy a wager in most of these situations. I support euthanasia if the person makes a living will and a person's right to commit painless suicide (those are the only real personal life/death choices) , but other than that I don't think there’s any means to a reasonable certainty on how ethical it is to go beyond that point. Why is murdering a conscious human being wrong? Is it just that most death are painful? Or that it’s too horrible to know you’re going to die? Do we just like things with conciousness better? Or is it that no one has a right to deny another person his or her future? Is it just icky? The former three are easily dismissible. The latter two at least invalidate any logical basis for abortion. I’d go on further with euthenasia, but this is spammy enough and I think I’ve made my point.
  • From (of all places) Nerdfilter: You potentially hurtful bastard.
  • sorry to spam, I felt like it was all on topic though
  • That's no spam. I usually read the longer posts since someone bothered to write them.
  • Sure we're all capable of torture. A very famous study 30+ years ago took two groups and made them 'prisoners' and 'guards' and it showed that the 'guards' (all normal college students who signed up for a psych study) abused the 'prisoners'. The study had to be stopped because the researchers were getting worried about how serious the students were taking the role playing that was going on. But what distinguishes 'us' from 'them' is guiltlessness and lovelessness aka psychopathy. These people don't have a conscience, they derive pleasure from hurting other people and they kill them. Studies have shown they go through a 'cycle', they get an incredible urge to seek out a new victim and they act on it - the ones who talk about it say no matter how hard they try not to act on their desire they can't. I'm sorry but not all of us are capable of some of the things I have seen (I love true crime stories and I made the mistake once of searching it out on the net - I'll never be able to get rid of the images I saw). This is a special 'breed' that lacks the things that make us 'human', they are an abberation - for lack of a better description - they are animals posing as humans. --- About euthansia. Using paths examples and mine, in the case of the babies born without brains - I don't think that is a life, much less one day being able to live a life. The examples the link gave were extreme with no hope in sight. In paths second example - I not sure I would agree to it. It is a very tough call to make, one I hope I never have to make in my life. When does it stop being euthanasia and become eugenics*? Its why I agree with the premise this has to brought out in the open so it can be scrutinized. Keeping it behind closed doors is a huge mistake. If you were an adult and had a living will and made the decision of your own free will - then most certainly it should be your right. Basically my view is about 'quality of life' and really no one can judge that but the person who lives it. In Sue Rodriguez's case it was very sad to she her slowly degenerate while she tried fighting for the right to physician assisted suicide in Canada. I may even be contradicting myself but I can't imagine putting another human through endless suffering in order to feel better about myself. *wrong word but experiencing a brain misfire and can't find the right word I hope I haven't pissed anyone off
  • *see her not she her
  • beeza: It's the Stanford Prison Experiment. It was the basis of a very awesome german flick called Das Experiment.
  • Well, I disagree, I think that a human being can just go much farther than you think they can and that when we rely on an artificial system like guilt there isn't much motivation for those people to try to turn back. Will can't prevail without prevailing motivation. But regardless, you can't kill people because they upset you and there really isn't a practical point to capital punishment. I'd rather risk one escape every fifty years than three innocent people dying needlessly in the same amount of time. As for the safety of other prisoners, the prison system is long over due for some improvements and I think you could reasonably keep a psychopath from hurting other prisoners as much as you could rival gang members, if not more so.
  • True, and true...but why should our prison population be making decisions we would rather not dirty our hands with? Because a state has no right to take the lives of it's citizens. It's as simple as that. And with the number of death penalty cases which are overturned, the irreversable nature of the sentence is unjust in any circumstance. Add to that the fact that in most states, it actually costs more to kill someone than to keep them in high-security for the rest of their lives, and it makes economic sense as well as moral and legal sense to not allow them.
  • er, "its citizens". Going to get coffee now.
  • I personally find it peculiar that those who are "pro-life" (ie anti-choice or anti-abortion) are often pro-death penalty. I am mostly anti-death penalty, very pro-choice and pro-euthanasia. And I personally find it peculiar that those who are "pro-life" are often pro-euthanasia. I'm with Nostrildamus: killing is killing. And my mind was permanently made up on the "putting deformed babies out of their misery" front by reading a letter to the NY Times written by a woman with spina bifida, a condition which routinely inspires "compassionate" euthanasia, saying her quality of life was just fine, thank you very much, and she took all talk of euthanasia as a direct personal attack. I suggest interested parties visit Euthanasia.com and check out the resources there, as well as reading the columns of Nat Hentoff, who's been a staunch crusader against this form of murder (try here and here for starters).
  • Hospice is a good alternative to assisted-suicide. I believe in freedom of choice in most everything in life. I could not personally assist anyone in suicide. I could not personally have an abortion. I could not be the one to execute a deathrow prisoner. Yet I feel as if I have no business trying to tell others what decisions to make. When it comes to the death penalty, that is my business, as the government is supposed to represent me. I don't believe the death penalty helps stop crime or psychopaths. There is a likely chance the state could be wrong in the decision. It solves nothing. As others have said it reeks of vengence.
  • My coworker's father just died after a harrowing 6 weeks in the hospital. . . they all finally, quietly, with his input, agreed to turn off the machines and he died in a couple days. Was that euthanasia? Suicide? My father, when he was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2000, refused to go into the hospital at all - he stayed home and then died. It was very hard; was it euthanasia when he was no longer able to eat and we didn't do a feeding tube? Was it suicide when he made that choice? I'm glad that both of them were able to choose and there was no legal weirdness before or after; that there is such a thing as a do not resuscitate order. So my key word here is choice: the individual's choice, whether it's to continue a pregnancy or not, end your life or not, and, yes, decide to keep your terribly ill infant alive or not, which is a choice I really hope I never ever have to make. Pro choice, with all it's ramifications. But the choice belongs to the individual, or, if s/he is not able to choose for him/herself, than the family. It isn't a choice I want to give the government.
  • There are different extremes of spina bifida, and the proceedures have changed dramatically in the last two decades. I know that a while ago, there were places in Canada (such as Nova Scotia) which would not attempt surgery, but I don't know what is happening now. Now, children like the one mentioned by path with hydrocephaly can be helped. But there still are children with other conditions so severe that one has to ask whether it is moral to force them to live. I once read about a form of genetic deformation (like Downs, but much worse) which caused severe mental retardation, massive problems with the internal organs and pain. Life expectancy for the children was about 6 years old at best, even after many difficult surgeries.
  • thx Mr Knickerbocker - I read a summary of the study when I was a teen and it fascinated me. I'll see if I can't find a copy of the movie FedoraUnderShirt the kinds of psychopath I was illustrating at the Gacy's, Dahmers, Bundy's, Olson's of the world. They are a animal unto themselves. They really are - look at moneyjanes link at the crime library for an overview of Hare's research into this kind of psychopathy. Medically (ie: brain wise) they are different. I'm not disagreeing we aren't all capable of violence, I am arguing there are some kinds of violence I am incapable of. eg: I'm not going to eat her liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. I'm not going to go all Ed Gean on society :) and btw not all psychopaths kill. The difference between us and them is compassion, guilt, anxiety, empathy - they don't feel those things - we do. While we may on a group level do things like what happened at that prison I doubt we would be capable of it on our own. Think ending scene of Lord of the Flies when they come to rescue the boys. We may kill then cannibalize another for the sake of our own survival but these are extreme situations. There isn't one convenient category to shove all these acts into nor is there a nice pigeon hole diagnosis. There are degrees of 'severity' and differences in why it was done. and leaving it there, it is a trigger topic for me too ... runs way
  • I'm fervently pro-choice in all things, including the choice to end one's own life. I think we can, in most cases, make a clear distinction between euthanasia and assisted suicide. The former implies a wilful act initiated by someone else while the later implies assistance in an act of one's own volition.
  • Reluctantly pro-choice, guardedly pro-euthanasia, staunchly pro-death penalty. In turn: abortion is ugly, and there is far too much ugliness in this world, but I can see the necessity of it. Rather than be at loggerheads of whether or not it is right or wrong, why not work together to make sure that everyone who is approaching sexual activity is well informed and has access to safe, effective birth control? Problem solved. Euthanasia is a tricky business, and has some incredibly bad backstory - and yet, there are, I think, some lives that are simply not worth living, in that they are doomed to suffering and pain from the start, and are without hope of recovery. I cannot fathom that it is better to live in horrible pain or with a twisted wreck of a body and/or brain than it is to die peacefully and humanely. But, beyond that, the Hollanders seem to be doing it right. Lastly, capital punishment: I agree that many of the so-called defenses of capital punishment - that it's a deterrent, mostly - are specious. And yet, there are simply some crimes that are so heinous, that are such awful affronts, that there is no just punishment other than death. For the criminal, where there is life there is hope - for escape, for parole, for continuing to victimize others in prison. State execution is a nasty business - but it is one that we as a society, I believe, must have the courage to do, if only to ensure, without a doubt, that a person who has committed such horror may never ever do so again. That, in itself, is our collective responsibility to each other - that once a person has shown the propensity for evil, that we step up and ensure that they can never perpetrate that evil again. Perhaps it is a form of vengeance - but what punishment isn't? Perhaps we are too hard on vengeance - perhaps vengeance is simply justice, properly applied?
  • Perhaps we are too hard on vengeance - perhaps vengeance is simply justice, properly applied? Well said. Perhaps a vastly improved justice system will let planned executions of the carefully selected stone-cold guilty minimize the raw vengeance of the rape, torture and execution perpetrated by felon on felon well-tolerated by the 'civilized'. What's up with the whole "I'm against capital punishment but think Dahmer got what was coming to him" idea? Does that mean you're against lethal injection, but for someone dying with a mop handle shoved in their eye? Not directed at monkeys neccessarily - this is a very common attitude. If you want them off the planet, spit it out, buck up, and take responsibilty for doing it humanely.
  • I think 'human capital punishment' is a contradiction in terms.
  • What's up with the whole "I'm against capital punishment but think Dahmer got what was coming to him" idea? That's not what it is, exactly. I see it as a much smaller sin for one or two person committing the act, rather than having the whole country be responsible for it. And bringing up that psychos aren't safe in the general populace isn't supporting their murder, it's just a way to reach a comprimise between those who want their bloodlust sated and those who don't want the entire country doing it. Anyways, these kind of pyschos make up a very small percent of people on death row. The majority are there from killing a cop, killing a white, or for living in Texas (I'm joking, but only a little). If execution was reserved only for the extreme cases of psychopaths, we'd be having a different discussion. Until then, it's kind of a red herring, since those cases are so far outside the norm of a death row case.
  • beeza: Lord of the Flies was not about man's reaction to survival situations, it was about how, when you remove authority, we do this kind of stuff for kicks. A cursory review of history from shows that it isn't very difficult for people to deny each other's humanity and that at that point all things are possible. I'm sure the brains of the killers we've mentioned do look different as there would have to be some substantial deviations for workings of the "normal" brain. That doesn't prove that they are incapable of any other state. I will check out that link though.
  • Lord of the Flies was not about man's reaction to survival situations, it was about how, when you remove authority, we do this kind of stuff for kicks. The Stanford Experiment showed how, when you give a person authority, they'll do this kind of stuff for kicks.
  • I meant 'humane' obviously.
  • Its called capital punishment. Its meant to punish. And now I really am going away from this thread.
  • Mr.Knicherbocker I see it as a much smaller sin for one or two person committing the act, rather than having the whole country be responsible for it. Smells like this; "The second goat was the scapegoat. The high priest placed his hands on the head of the goat and confessed the sins of the people of Israel. The goat was then led away into the wilderness, bearing the sins of the people with it..." If execution was reserved only for the extreme cases of psychopaths, we'd be having a different discussion. That is who I've been talking about; "See Bernardo and Homolka, Lake and Ng, etc. etc. etc." "There are people who kill; and there are people who really, really like to kill...Why keep them alive? We've studied the shit out of serial rapists and killers. They do it because they like it." "I'm saying that serial rapists and killers who derive pleasure from inflicting pain and death on others - and specifically those who videotape themselves doing it -" People like violent rapists and murderers dead but their personal veneer of civilization squeaky pc clean. I call bullshit on that.
  • Mr. Knicherbocker is the German cousin of Mr. Knickerbocker.
  • Ok, ok, I'll shut up already.
  • I wouldn't, if I were you.
  • Smells like this; ...scapegoat... I can see that, but I view it as the opposite. People are copping out by having the whole country perform vigalante actions when it should be certain specific individuals becoming vigalantes, if anyone at all. I'll probably take A LOT of flak for this example, but: It's better when Jack Ruby pulls the trigger than when Uncle Sam does it. It'd be even better when Jackie-O does it than when Ruby does it. (there's alot reasons why this example fails, but I don't know of another case that well-known enough to use.) example2: would you rather have "a few bad apples" performing torture and executions, or have the entire government condoning and supporting torture and execution? (or option 3: nobody doing it?)(I'd prefer Option 3, but I've been offering the bad apples as a compromise) [Psychopaths are] who I've been talking about Yeah, but death row is full of people who don't fit the desciption of these psychos. Right now, it sounds like the Pro-Executionites here are saying that because psychos exist, every person on death row should die, despite the fact that most of them aren't psychos. That's the impression I've gotten so far. I apologize if it's mistaken. If the PEites here are willing to spare the lives of all the non-psychos, retards, and children on death row, and give them more apropo sentences, I'll concede and give you PEites the heads of all the psychopaths. I hope everone who's walked away from this thread has done so only temporarily, to cool off. I've been enjoying this conversation, and I really like the fact that it's been alive this long without turning into the standard screaming match that it would on any other website.
  • People like violent rapists and murderers dead but their personal veneer of civilization squeaky pc clean. I call bullshit on that. Why? Personal preference of the few should not dictate what is done in everyone's name, nor should it change the principles with which most states are founded on. There's a large distance between being satisfied when a monster is slain and setting up a system where the state just does it. The first is merely an opinion. The second is an overreach of government authority and an atrocity of justice. The problem lies with the irreversable nature of the death penalty. Time and time again we see death sentences overturned with new evidence or people already executed have new evidence appear. It's not 100% accurate, and never have I seen evidence that it actually deters crime.
  • are saying that because psychos exist, every person on death row should die, despite the fact that most of them aren't psychos. I believe the position here (at least some people's position) is that capital punishment should be reserved for the so-called worst-of-the-worst offenders. This position does bring up two ethical questions: First, what criteria would we use to determine the worst-of-the-worst? Second, and more importantly, who would make this determination? For me, these questions still bring up issues such the arbitrary nature of implementation, the lack of deterence, racial bias, etc. Although I would be more inclined to at least semi-accept the death penalty if legislation mirrored this position, I still can't because of these issues.
  • People are copping out by having the whole country perform vigalante actions when it should be certain specific individuals becoming vigalantes, if anyone at all. Obviously we need Batman.
  • Except for that whole "code against killing" thing that Batman has.
  • I think Asian kids have as much right to live as anybody.
  • Superheros are no fun.
  • Obviously we need (the movie version) Batman
  • Ok, Senor K-bocker... I think we've got a couple of ideas having a mash-up. A. Is the legal system, specifically in the US, proficient and impartial enough to be able to try death row cases? B. Should people who fit the sociopathic model - roughly defined as those who derive intense pleasure from raping/torturing/killing others and are incapable of feeling empathy - be treated the same as others who do not fit the sociopathic model? Sociopaths serial rapists or killers are not insane. They know what they do is wrong; however they are incapable of caring about it, and, as many will tell you, know they will hurt and kill again, given any opportunity. They know this so much, some of them volunteer for the death panalty even if they've had an execution stayed while on death row. They know they cannot stop unless they are dead. My take is 'No' to both questions. Having a system incapable of administering a particular idea perfectly should not diminish the potential value or credibility of the idea itself.
  • Having a system incapable of administering a particular idea perfectly should not diminish the potential value or credibility of the idea itself. So as long as the evil people die, who cares about the innocent dude that was framed? Or the guy who has his punishment administered before evidence clearing him of the crime comes up? THAT's sociopathic.
  • Having a system incapable of administering a particular idea perfectly should not diminish the potential value or credibility of the idea itself. The potential value only matters when it's potential is being achieved. The system isn't 100% perfect, which means innocent heads will role. It is not acceptable to kill innocent people. We put people on death row when they find it acceptable to kill innocents, and then we flip-flop and start accepting that we're killing innocents, just as long as we get to kill those who did the same. This does diminish the actual value of the idea down to zero. They know this so much, some of them volunteer for the death panalty even if they've had an execution stayed while on death row. I'm pro-suicide for anyone who wants it, psycho or otherwise. I don't believe that most who willingly sit on death row are doing it to protect the world. I think most that do it are just sick of this shitty world they live in. Aileen Wuournos wasn't trying to protect anyone, she just wanted it to be over, and this was the only way. Then there's those spree killers that exist because of capital punishment. Someone like Paul John Knowles makes an accidental first kill, and then knowing what's lined up for him he goes on a spree, Mickey and Mallory style. What are they going to do, kill him twice? The threat of death row encourages people like this fucker to go for the gold and kill as much as possible before the fuzz catches up to them. All these innocents that die from the existance of capital punishment shouldn't have to. It's really shitty that their lives are thrown away just so some people can have revenge killings.