Saturday, December 08, 2007

Latimer Case: Not Black and White

Whooee! I feel sorry fer Latimer and I don't think he represents a threat to anyone, personally.

I do defer to spokespersons for the severely disabled, though. Who decides whether a non-communicative disabled person lives or dies?

If, somehow, the poor soul is able to make their wishes for assisted suicide known, they deserve the right to die in dignity and their assistant(s) do not deserve prosecution.

As a rural/small town dweller, I see the real lack of support for primary caregivers outside large urban centres. I can see how someone like Latimer could be at his wit's end. I see that in many desperate people but the answer cannot be to remove the problem by eliminating a life.

I'll qualify that. If the PWD (person with disability) can and does communicate a desire to end his or her miserable existence, that's assisted suicide. If that permission is not granted, there is no way to know that it is what the person wants. It is, after all, the disabled person's life to end -- not the caregiver's.

In all this time, Latimer must surely have searched his soul. He cannot claim to be so telepathic as to know what his child wished for. Even if he did know her wishes, she's a minor and it was his parental responsibility to keep her alive.

If we condone Latimer's mercy killing of a non-communicative child, we open up a door to the elimination of other non-communicative disabled persons. The disabled understand that they place a burden on society and they fear society will value other things like healthcare savings over their right to life. I think it's a valid fear in a world that places more value on it's economy than on it's ecology and environment. Society and the economy are self-serving and serving the disabled and their caregivers is costly.

The disabled have had to fight for every concession we've ever made. Now, they're fighting for their right not to be exterminated.


P.S. This post was originally written as a comment on Shagya Blog.


Woman at Mile 0 said...

Good post JimBobby. I totally agree here.

Red Canuck said...

JB - A thoughtful post. I agree completely that this is not a black & white issue (what is, really?). Without being in Latimer's shoes, I guess we can never really know what he and his child went through. But he must have agonized over his decision in ways we can't imagine. It remains to be seen how his legal battle will impact the rights of the severely disabled, but there seems little doubt to me that he poses no ongoing threat to anyone.

JimBobby said...

Thankee fer chimin' in, WAM0 and Red Canuck.

I do agree that latimer must have agonized over his decision. I wonder why he didn't reveal the extent of his soul-seraching at his parole board hearing.

I contend that he is fighting a battle for his cause. This is no longer about the Latimer family. Latimer's continued claim of innocence is what is keeping him locked up.

The message he is promoting is that parents have absolute rights over their offspring. When the issue is spanking, he may have a good argument. When the issue is euthanasia, I think he's on really shaky ground.


Karen said...

Yow, very touchy subject. I think there's a big difference in allowing someone to die without medical intereference or intervention. My mother had an advance directive and a DNR. We (hospice was with us at the last) followed her wishes. They made her as comfortable and clean as possible, and let her be. She went quite peacefully. But to actually kill someone, even if it was know to be that person's wish not to live in a vegetative state, is farther than I'm willing to go. In other words, for Mom, we wouldn't have allowed treatment for her or life support, but I wasn't going to take a pillow and smother her, or inject her with poison to end it for her. I do believe that people have a right to assisted suicide if they choose, however, and if they are mentally competent to make that decision.

Dirk Buchholz said...

As a person with disAbility,well written.One of the best posts I have read yet on the Latimer matter.Not bad for an "Abled" ;)

JimBobby said...

Thanks, Dirk. I've heard us referred to as TAB's. Temporarily Able Bodied. If we're lucky enough to live long enough, most of us will develop some sort of disability.