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Government Medicine United States

Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad 961

Posted by timothy
from the righteous-anger dept.
theodp writes " I hope my father dies soon," Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote Saturday in a frustrated, angry, and poignant blog post. 'My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get. If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon. Because it's not too soon. It's far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent. I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.' Adams also had harsh words for those who would oppose assisted suicide, 'I don't want anyone to misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration. So I'll reiterate. If you have acted, or plan to act, in a way that keeps doctor-assisted suicide illegal, I see you as an accomplice in torturing my father, and perhaps me as well someday. I want you to die a painful death, and soon. And I'd be happy to tell you the same thing to your face.' His father passed a few hours after Adams wrote his screed. Challenged later by the SF Chronicle's Debra J. Saunders, an opponent of assisted suicide, Adams stood firm on his earlier words. So, can Adams succeed in convincing the U.S. where Dr. Jack failed?"
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Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:54AM (#45526597)

    This is one of those things were I think it should be legal (free will) but only if the person left instructions stating so in their will. "I, So and So, being of sound mind, state that if I'm ever in a coma with less than 1% chance of coming out of it (by the doctor's judgements) do so hereby state that I wish to be 'put down'" or some such.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:02PM (#45526707) Homepage Journal

      I think he should have just condemned the "bad guys" to forced watching of the "Dilbert" television series, for the rest of their natural lives.

    • by Score Whore (32328) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:05PM (#45526729)

      It's not about comas. It's about terminal illnesses where there is no chance of recovery and the only thing for the patient and family to look forward to are pain, loss of dignity, loss of autonomy, and significant emotional, personal and financial burdens. Assisted, end of life suicide already legal in Washington and Oregon and some parts of Europe.

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:30PM (#45527175) Homepage

        Yep. $8,000 a month to watch somebody die slowly, painfully and inevitably. When the person being kept alive doesn't want it.

        After a year of watching this person's misery, they die and you're left with a bill you might never be able to pay off.

        They dies. Your life is in ruins. The mental scars of watching it for a year are far worse than if you just said goodbye and did it. Does that make sense to anybody at all?

        • by Frobnicator (565869) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:44PM (#45527437) Journal

          Yep. $8,000 a month to watch somebody die slowly, painfully and inevitably. When the person being kept alive doesn't want it.

          If the person doesn't want it, they have the ability to create a living will (advance healthcare directive) and to designate someone with a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

          Although it is generally not allowed to have a "kill me" suicide directive, you can include things like not using medical devices, not resuscitating, and not providing food or water or I/V nourishment while still getting pain medication.

          No need for $8000/month. A natural death can follow quickly, especially if your order says to give you no food or water.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:06PM (#45527757)

            So you get to starve to death or dehydrate.
            Excuse me if I don't consider death by organ failure over several days as "quickly". I don't think anyone would call that humane.

            We would put down a dog in that condition. Not let it starve or die by dehydration.

          • by Tanktalus (794810) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:13PM (#45527893) Journal

            Note that "not resuscitate" and "not using medical devices" are already legal. So is "sufficient pain medication to keep pain at bay, even though it may end my life earlier than not using it." Meanwhile, things like "starving to death" (withholding food, water), which, I'm told, is much more tortuous, or KCl, are not legal, as they have no purpose other than causing death, and, in the case of food, is not considered "extraordinary" effort - because we all eat, every day (for most of us), that's quite ordinary. Most of the discussion about assisted suicide is already moot, because a) it's legal, and b) it's not suicide (refusing extraordinary care is already legal).

            I would suggest that emphasising, and strengthening, normal palliative care, would take care of almost all "assisted suicide" requests. Education about what are already legal options would then neuter most of the assisted suicide arguments, especially the ones that seem to be most persuasive.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Withholding food and water that are delivered by feeding tube or the like is legal. Most of us do not receive nutrition via a plastic hose into our stomachs.

              Assisted suicide is not legal, your doctor cannot give you enough morphine to kill you.

              Refusing extraordinary care may still leave you dying over a period of months or years. Ever see end stage bone cancer? Not fun.

              • by mschuyler (197441) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @04:37PM (#45530789) Homepage Journal

                Watched my father die by his refusing food altogether. He was still lucid enough to do this. The "rule" in my state apparently is that you can offer food three times, and if it is refused, you need not offer it again. I realize he was 'in the driver's seat,' so to speak because he was lucky enough not to be already hooked up to tubes and such.

                The medical people were giving him morphine and told me I could ask them to give him more if I wanted. I really didn't understand what they were telling me at the time. Today I understand there was a lot more behind this statement than I realized.

                Also, though I appreciate Adam's lament that his father's estate was being burned up at $8,000 a month and that he was probably speaking as if his father was average, the fact is Adams is a multi-millionaire several times over and could easily afford to subsidize his father's care. Few of us are in that position. I think Adams' failure to at least acknowledge his father's true financial position is a bit disingenuous on his part. He could still make his case with full disclosure.

          • Needless cruelty (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:34PM (#45528231)

            If the person doesn't want it, they have the ability to create a living will (advance healthcare directive) and to designate someone with a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

            That's not the same thing as having the right to pull the plug on someone. Furthermore many people are not able to create a living will. Children and those who are legally considered not competent or incapacitated (think coma) cannot authorize such a document. Furthermore while living wills and similar directives are a very good idea, they aren't appropriate for all circumstances and all people.

            No need for $8000/month. A natural death can follow quickly, especially if your order says to give you no food or water.

            I've had to watch close family die in exactly this manner through hospice. I wouldn't call it a quick death and it certainly isn't a particularly pleasant way to die. Basically the person is drugged up with opiates and they starve to death. I have nothing but respect for hospice and the service they provide but when the best they can do is let a person starve to death, that is to my mind needlessly cruel.

      • by PNutts (199112) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:42PM (#45528377)

        Assisted, end of life suicide already legal in Washington and Oregon and some parts of Europe.

        So glad I live in Oregon. "Come for the cheap weed, stay for the assisted suicide."

    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:15PM (#45526905) Homepage Journal
      That's the importance of having a DNR statement on your papers, will and have it available to the person with Power of Atty over you.

      You can state you want no heroic measures taken to prolong life and they will let you go. They won't kill you, but they won't go out of their way to keep you alive on machines.

      • by bitslinger_42 (598584) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:59PM (#45527657)

        I have a buddy who went through this with his mom. She had a DNR, as well as detailed instructions about what conditions she didn't want to be saved from, and shared them with her GP.

        His response was "That's fine, but I don't agree with it, and feel that DNRs fundamentally are in conflict with my Hippocratic Oath. If you are brought to me, I will do everything I can to keep you alive. You can sue me later, if you live." She would have changed doctors, but the next nearest was more than 60 miles away.

    • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:19PM (#45526967) Homepage

      I think comas are pretty rare. It is more the years or nearly mindless torture that modern medicine can create for a large number of people.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:55AM (#45526613) Journal

    "I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

    "If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out."

    I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:57AM (#45526637) Journal

      For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:09PM (#45526801)

        For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

        I personally think he went overboard too, but it is not exactly the same as 'not sharing your views'. Adams is making the point that it is _not_ an opposing viewpoint, it is actively harming other people. Something I agree with. I do not equate euthanesia opponents to torturers, but for the sake of argument: we would not let someone get away with torturing helpless people*, just because their view is that it is perfectly ok to do so. And yes, people do get punished, put in to jail or even put to death because their 'views' are unacceptable to civilized society.

        * Yes... I realize the irony there when it comes to the US treatment of certain terror suspects.

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Killing someone is also actively harming them, wether by killing them you are harming them more or less than allowing them to live in pain is highly subjective and down to the individual case.

          While i agree that people should be allowed to kill themselves should they wish to die (and should state this in advance incase they end up in a situation where they are physically unable to express their desire to die), it has to be the choice of the individual and not their family or doctors. Were I a doctor, i'd not

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            Killing someone is also actively harming them, wether by killing them you are harming them more or less than allowing them to live in pain is highly subjective and down to the individual case.

            The person *will* die. There's nothing you can do about it. So this isn't a question of "killing them", but of allowing them to have input into their imminent demise. You are dead the moment you are born, some just take longer to realize it than others.

        • by boskone (234014) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @02:16PM (#45528885)

          I thnk he underreacted.

          You are using the thread of prison, loss of freedom and potential death, to tell me my loved one must lie in pain for an indeterminate amount of time. Why don't you (the general you, not this poster specifically) statists go do something else and meddle with your own affairs?

      • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:18PM (#45526949) Journal

        Opposing views, sure. But is wishing a painful death on those causing your father an awful death wrong? That the connection is just "informational" rather than physical is a rhetorical conceit.

        • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:37PM (#45527281)

          But is wishing a painful death on those causing your father an awful death wrong?

          Yes. If you're not a preschooler you would understand that two wrongs don't make a right. Revenge is evil you twit.

          I don't wish ill of those that sought to injure me directly -- I did not act with malice towards them, but in defense and with compassion I dealt only as much as required of my safety, nothing more. To harm without need goes against my fibre.

          Rallying opposition to the laws you oppose does not require wishing the poor fools who wrote them to die. Yes, if I realized that I would be dead either way in such an assault, I would not try to kill my assaulter and drag them into death with me. Life is too precious a thing for questionable fucks like you to cheapen it.

        • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:47PM (#45527479)

          Adams has a history of defending really stupid ideas (intelligent design etc.) on the basis of his personal philosophy, then walking the argument back as being an attempt to play devil's advocate or stimulate debate when it turns out he's off in contrafactual la-la land. I wouldn't take this as much more than an emotional internet outburst, and you can understand why he'd be emotional in this instance.

      • For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

        That's not how I read what he's saying at all, but maybe I just need more coffee.

        It read to me that he is saying that he wants those that voted against euthanasia to go through the experience of it being withheld when you or your family would want it. Not killing them right now, but when your time comes, hoping they get the same experience his father has.
        As for the watching them bleed out, is contrary to his wish for them die a long slow death, so I take this as him saying he wishes a long slow death for t

    • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:02PM (#45526699)
      Dialing it back would probably be a good idea, but this type of rhetoric is pretty normal. Look at any news story involving rape, murder, torture, etc, and the comments section is filled with people who wish pain and death upon those responsible.

      In this case you have a group of well intentioned people who's activism is resulting in pain and suffering. While the activists involved try to see themselves as disconnected from the consequences and keep it impersonal, to someone where it is personal, that separation is rather false.
    • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:04PM (#45526725)
      No, he really doesn't. This is exactly the kind of political discourse our nation has desperately needed for several decades. Can you think of a practical way to get billionaires to listen to people other than pointing guns at them?
      • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:13PM (#45527887) Homepage
        Well, let's see, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have both been heavily involved in massive charity to the developing world, especially in regards to malaria. Apparently some billionaires are more than willing to do so without having guns pointed at them. And then there's the Giving Pledge http://givingpledge.org/ [givingpledge.org] where a group of wealthy philanthropists have committed to giving most of their wealth to charity. That motivation is clearly partially out of peer pressure. So apparently peer pessure and empathy both work to get billionaires to listen, which is just like how normal people work. Imagine that. Of course, none of this is at all relevant to the issue at an, since neither assisted suicide laws nor the vast majority of our other laws are decided on by billionaires.
    • by janeuner (815461)

      > I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone...

      Considering what he probably experienced in the weeks leading up to the blog post, I choose to cut him some slack, and not quote that statement when describing him in the future.

      Saunders, on the other hand, was downright petty to "win the debate" with Scott Adams while he was probably working out funeral arrangements. What a @#%@5.

    • by Racemaniac (1099281) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:17PM (#45526921)

      I don't agree
      If someone is torturing your family, are you gonna say you respectfully disagree with them, or honestly from the depths in your heart wish them a long and painful torture death too?

      He's just being honest, and maybe it's hard to understand if you don't share his situation and view where he holds these people responsible for causing his father unfathomable pain. But if you look at it from that perspective, his words make perfect sense.

      If someone came to your house and tortured your father to death, what would you wish upon them? Just because people are causing others a long, painful death in a less direct way, doesn't imo change the way i should feel about that. So to me his emotions make perfect sense, and i wouldn't think twice about saying the same thing in the same situation.

      It's great that you have your personal beliefs, act on them for yourself, but if it makes my family suffer, please die a fuckin painful death, asap. Sounds very reasonable to me, and i wish the same on those people.

    • by wickerprints (1094741) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:17PM (#45526925)

      No, I don't think he needs to dial it back. He is right, because it is only when we experience such things first-hand that we realize the truth. That is why he says what he says. When someone makes such a radical statement, don't just take it literally. Try to understand the context, and try to appreciate the underlying meaning.

      Those who oppose euthanasia are people who either (a) have dogmatic reasons for doing so (e.g., religion), or (b) have never witnessed a loved one go through a protracted and painful terminal illness. They aren't able to comprehend because they live a comfortable life and cannot imagine what it is like to be terminally ill and incapacitated.

      This is about the right to self-determination. It is about being able to have one's wishes respected after all self-control is lost. It is about the right to choose for oneself, as opposed to allowing the ideologies of others (complete strangers whose beliefs may have no bearing on your own) to legally prohibit you to make that choice because to them, it is about THEIR own abstract, moral discomfort, and not your own, REAL pain.

      I would not want such a thing for myself. But that's a decision I'm making now, in good health. Personally, I'd rather be made into a popsicle. Freeze me and thaw me out like a cheap TV dinner when mankind figures out how to cure what ails me. However, I absolutely would not stand in the way of someone else's decision. Who am I to decree what is right and wrong for other people? What gives me the moral right to claim that I know better than the family that is going through such a difficult time?

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:21PM (#45526991) Homepage

      My problem with this 'debate' is the hand-wringing by unaffected parties, and the inevitable illogical leap that next we'll be killing the old and infirm because they're inconvenient.

      Nobody is saying we're going to kill you, and nobody is suggesting we make this easy or something hospital staff can decide when they get tired of changing your sheets.

      But the people screeching the loudest about ensuring that other people do not have the right to choose their own death with dignity aren't even affected by it.

      If I was terminally ill, and would rather die at a time of my own choosing, that should be my right. It should not be someone else's right to prevent this from happening based on their moral objections to it -- because it's none of their fucking business.

      Usually when I hear someone fighting against doctor assisted suicide, they're doing it on purely religious grounds and expect the rest of us to care. It's usually just a much of moralizing old bitties who have said "killing anyone is bad, so you have to suffer, and if we let you die by your own choice next it will be us". I rank it right up there with someone trying to pass laws which define my morality and which has nothing to do with them.

      I've known a few people who have died after the long, protracted palliative care which didn't serve any purpose but to prolong suffering and keep up the pretense it's a better option than dying.

      And, I must confess, I share some of the same rage as Adams does on this. What your religion tells you about how you want to die has nothing at all to do with if I want to die in a long drawn-out process that serves no purpose. So I'm of the opinion that you don't get a vote about how/if I get to choose to die with some dignity.

      And if you want a vote in that, my vote is that you should also die a long and horrible death.

    • by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:21PM (#45527005) Homepage
      He didn't threaten anything. A politician who has voted against euthanasia has voted to force some people who want to die to suffer an incredibly degrading and sometimes inconceivably painful slow death which could easily be avoided. They've taken action to make that happen. Scott stating that he would enjoy killing someone who does that is nothing by comparison.

      He had to stand by and watch his father suffer because other people who didn't know his father decided that not only didn't he have the right to help him but that doctors are legally obliged to keep the suffering going for as long as possible. It's sick and it's wrong on a level that is hard to match.
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:34PM (#45527233)
      Religious nutters have taken away your right to control your death... and you are concerned with the victim talking politely? Fuck that. He's not making threats either.

      If anything, the threats being made are AGAINST HIM. If he were to assist his father's death, the government would arrest him with guns and send him to jail, where he would be subjected to further threats. Foes of euthanasia were threatening him with force.

      If it's the indirectness that matters, pretend Adams said he would vote for a politician who would make it illegal to vote against doctor assisted suicide, under pain of long horrible death in a federal prison. Would that have been better? To me, that's a worse threat than the one he did make, but it's the one his opponents are essentially making.
    • by miltonw (892065) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:12PM (#45527859)
      Scott Adams did not "threaten to kill someone". Read what he wrote. He only wished that those who actively oppose assisted suicide be condemned to experience the same agony and suffering they have imposed on others. Actually, I think that's probably exactly what's going to happen for some of them.
  • Been there. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:55AM (#45526621)

    My dad degraded to the point where I just went crying to my (now) wife and told her I felt terrible but I just wanted him to die. (And long before that I wished that we had universal health care so it wouldn't have gotten to this point).

    He ended up dying Thanksgiving day at home while trying to make it to the bathroom. But unlike Scott's dad there was no hospital, no hospice prolonging anything. However it got to the point where I honestly started looking into trying to get morphine such that it'd make his final days a bit easier.

  • Kill pact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:56AM (#45526629)

    In that situation, I'll kill my wife or she will kill me. Otherwise I wouldn't have married her.

    I am not sure what she'll do after but I am positive I'll commit suicide after killing her.

    I've lived something close to what Mr. Adams describes and I now need such certainties to live in peace.

  • by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:57AM (#45526631)

    For the most part, while there are exceptions, active suicide is almost unnecessary for someone in a grossly debilitated state. As a physician, I both have a living will and my family is well-informed that if I ever lose the ability to function mentally, in a way that is not reversible, I am not to receive ANY life-prolonging treatment. That means no artificial hydration, no feeding, and no antibiotics. Many of my physician colleagues have made similar arrangements. That's why MDs are the group in the population with the lowest end-of-life cost. While a surrogate or healthcare proxy may not make a decision to end a life, they are certainly within their rights to do the abovementioned, unless a person's living will specifically forbids it. In general, this means a person will pass away within days. For the most part it allows the family time to fly in, and make peace with the inevitable.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Agreed on all points, but letting a loved one literally die of starvation while you watch is a cruel legal reality.

      That you can't simply pick quick and painless death at that stage by some sort of overdose or lethal injection is inhumane.

      • by TheMeuge (645043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:11PM (#45526831)

        I think you're making a lot of assumptions that are fundamentally false by projecting your imagination into a situation that is very different.
        People with mental status that is sufficiently compromised to fall under the category I am describing are not really able to feel hunger the way we do. Actually, starvation due to decreased drive to eat is one of the primary mechanisms of end-stage dementia.
        Also, appropriate end-of-life care within the palliative setting involves very aggressive pain control.
        At no point should anyone in hospice care die in pain.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:31PM (#45527191) Journal
          "At no point should anyone in hospice care die in pain."

          It's absurd; but I've actually heard people fretting about the risk of addiction presented by suitably aggressive pain control.

          Now, obviously, (for the sake of people who have painful but either temporary or chronic-but-livable-if-the-pain-is-managed), aggressive painkillers that aren't also hardcore opiates would be a nice thing to have in the pharmacy; but what kind of insane do you have to be to worry about whether somebody who is going to die, relatively soon, is going to develop a dependence on painkillers or not?
    • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:05PM (#45526735) Homepage

      Yes, but why should you have to suffer through the pain of a slow death by dehydration or infection rather then a quick painless overdose of anesthetic?

    • Generally you need two documents, both the living will ('advance healthcare directive') and a legal representative ('durable power of attorney for health care'). Usually if you get a will drawn up the lawyer will help with these as well.

      Without them, doctors generally must assume you want to live.

      I agree in the general sense, it is a good idea for doctors to try to save lives. That's the thing they do. If I get hit by a bus I would really like to go to the hospital and get fixed up, rather than just sit t

  • ahm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:58AM (#45526661)
    Saunders's response was rather confusing, esp the closing "Me, I don't want to live in a world where one group of people decides when another group should die."

    I guess it is not oppression as long as the choice you want is the one being mandated.
    • Re:ahm. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:08PM (#45527791) Journal

      Saunders's response was rather confusing, esp the closing "Me, I don't want to live in a world where one group of people decides when another group should die." I guess it is not oppression as long as the choice you want is the one being mandated.

      I'm not sure whether she is just unbelievably oblivious (to the fact that she is deciding when another group should die) or whether she is falling prey to 'default blindness'.

      For whatever reason, it's not uncommon for people, when faced with or analyzing a decision, to treat the 'default'(the option characterized by perceived inaction, not necessarily actual inaction: 'life support' is a lot more active than 'not supporting life', indeed it's quite sophisticated and tricky in very sick patients; but it merely maintains the status quo, rather than changing it) as not being a 'choice' or a 'decision' and to characterize whatever outcome is defined as the 'non-default' as a 'choice' 'decision' or 'imposition'.

      Especially in situations where there really aren't any good options, this tendency can be as powerful as it is dubiously intellectually honest(or just confused, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between mendacity and incompetence). If 'euthanize' and 'do not euthanize' are judged as equally 'chosen', they both have their major downsides, and you don't really feel good about choosing either; but nobody asked if you wanted to choose, they asked you what you wanted to choose, so what's it going to be?

      If 'do not euthanize' is treated as the 'default' and 'not chosen', then (however serious the consequences), that's just the way these things go, while anybody who opts for 'euthanize' is judged not against the standard of having chosen 'don't euthanize'; but against the (fictional) standard of having 'not chosen'. And, against that standard, they will look pretty dubious. It's just that that standard is fiction; because you don't get to not choose. There may be one choice that requires you to actively request, sign on the dotted line, whatever, and one choice that you can make just by inaction and letting the system grind on its inertial way; but both are choices, and you cannot escape making them.

      Again, I don't know about her specifically; but this sort of 'default blindness' seems to color a lot of analysis of 'no good options' situations, since if you think of only one of the options as a 'choice', and none of the options are good, obviously anyone who 'chooses' that option is going to look like a monster(and arguing otherwise is going to be an uphill battle, since it is the case that both options suck relative to not dealing with the situation, the issue is that 'not dealing with the situation' isn't an option, it's just a passive way of choosing one of the options that is on the table...)

      Anybody who knowingly exploits 'default blindness' is the worst sort of charlatan; but it seems to creep up on people without their noticing it, as well, which is what makes it so effective. Unfortunately, it's nonsense, a cognitive error.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:58AM (#45526663)

    People should have the right to die, and more so, people should have the right to pass on that right to someone they know in the event they are unable to make that decision.

    Deaths such as that are absolutely agonising not only for the person, but for the people around them.
    It solves NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING. It is, as he said, quite literally legal torture. Fucking prisoners of war got less than that!
    No, they aren't going to pull a fucking cure out of their ass for most reasons someone is slowly dying like that, be is degenerative diseases of the brain or cancer slowly devouring them away or the countless others.
    If they found a cure for cancer literally right now, you'd still probably die from an already active cancer simply because of how long it would take for it to go in to not only phase1 trials, but actual public use. (given it was going to kill you in the first place that is)

    Yes, there are a billion and one legal loopholes that would need to be fixed, but that can be dealt with IF IT WAS ACTUALLY LOOKED IN TO.
    But no, too many religious nutjobs in government will prevent such a thing.
    Thanks, jebustards.
    It sucks because most religious people in general are pretty sensible and just use religion as guidance, but these fucktards ruin it for everyone else.

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:05PM (#45526733)

    He was wishing that his father would be out of misery and is a proponent of assisted suicide. He saw his father suffer and become little more of a shell. The "wish" was as much for himself as for his father.

    And, he's right...if it were an animal, we'd have "put it to sleep" to ease its suffering.

    We get so caught up on religious dogma and how this would be murder or suicide that we forget the person is a human being being forced to live an existence they wouldn't choose for themselves.

    The other week, my mother's partner or 13 years suffered a stroke and was on life support. Thankfully, in our state, they support the concept of a living will - it gave her the authorization to take him off of life support. She waited until confirmation by multiple doctors on his prognosis. It was difficult. He has zero higher brain function and was being kept alive artificially with zero probability of recovery. He was 86. She authorized the removal of the machines and feeding tubes...just IV and pain meds (seems he was experiencing pain at some level). In 3 days, he passed peacefully.

    My mother is a religious and moral person - but, she feels it morally wrong to keep someone in that state, given their expressed wishes prior, alive for the sake of keeping them alive. If he had a soul, it passed when his brain function ceased. His body was just a shell. And, she felt he was in a better place.

  • One Concern (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:07PM (#45526783) Homepage

    I'm in favor of someone having the right to end their own life, but I do have a concern about how easily "I don't consider my life worth living and want to die" will morph into "We don't consider your life useful and want to kill you".

  • Standards (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:07PM (#45526789)

    By this reasoning, there should be people wishing death on anyone who ever voted (directly or indirectly) for a policy which causes people to suffer.

    And if you're about to point out that the opponents of every policy claim that the policy causes people to suffer, you are of course right.

    You don't usually see people whose sons die in Iraq claiming that anyone who voted for George Bush needs to die, and when you do, they're considered nutcases.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:11PM (#45526829)

    I've always strongly believed in any adult's legal right to commit suicide (either via their own hand, or at the hand of a proxy at their request). I saw one of my relatives go with Alzheimer's and I *never* EVER want to go that way myself. There is nothing more undignified than losing your mind. And I (and everyone else) should be allowed to have a living will to specify that I be put down in such a circumstance.

    If Johnny Bible-thumper wants to live like than because he thinks Jesus wants him to, then that's his choice. But it's not mine. And it shouldn't be forced on me just because a bunch of senators need Johnny Bible-thumper's support to get re-elected.

  • by Sri Ramkrishna (1856) <sriram DOT ramkrishna AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:12PM (#45526853)
    Oregon has legal assistant suicide, the first in the nation to have these laws. You can plan and die peacefully in Oregon with your choice of a death cocktail.
  • That's why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:14PM (#45526873)

    I have 10 grams of coke hidden in my house. My dad suffered tremendously during his last weeks of life. I've seen it with my own eyes. If I'm ever in that situation, I've instructed my family to overdose me with the coke. They'll have plausible deniability (I was a junkie who wanted his dose). As for me, they say the first hit is better than an orgasm, and with 10 g, it'd also be my last, so I'd go in style.

    Of course, if I'm conscious and able to, I'll do the coke myself if I have to...

    • My only concern would be with the shelf life of it.

      Along the same lines I have heard that it is fairly common that medical professionals in cases where the patient is receiving an barely non lethal dose of pain medication and will never recover will state/ask something like:
      "More morphine won't help, would you like me to administer more morphine?"
      Which is code for this will kill them and end their suffering do you want me to do it but gets around the law. I have made it clear to those who would be making
    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      Nausea
              Vomiting
              Tremors
              Irregular breathing
              Increased temperature
              Increased heart rate
              Chest pains
              Seizures

      Yeah that's how I'd want to go. In immense pain, permanently scarring the loved one who did this to me.

      • Re:That's why (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:59PM (#45528675) Homepage Journal

        He should just keep a normal dose of coke, plus a cyanide pill. Bliss followed by a quick death.

        The problem though is that both are illegal to possess and could land you in jail while you're still healthy.

        Better to keep a large container of compressed nitrogen gas in your bedroom. And make sure your bedroom is somewhat airtight (e.g. gaps in the window sills caulked, etc)

        Nitrogen is legal to own and can be bought at any scuba store. Flooding your bedroom with large amounts of nitrogen is a pleasant, quick, and painless way to die. And all you have to do is close the door and turn the valve on.

  • by kaizendojo (956951) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:14PM (#45526877)
    You don't know until you have gone through this yourself. I just did - twice within months, once for my Mother who died in home hospice and again for my Father about 5 months after she passed. I went through it alone, even though a sibling lived only 2 miles away from them. You can't imagine watching someone you love, someone you owe your whole world to waste away in this fashion. I was lucky enough that both were cognitive right up until the end; for me it was the only saving grace in all this that I could at least still communicate and interact with them up in until a day or two before each passed. I can't fathom the pain Adams went through in his situation. I understand fully why he said what he did and where it came from. To those who think they know better, be careful becuase karma has a way of administring harsh lessons of reality.
  • by NixieBunny (859050) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:17PM (#45526927) Homepage
    My name is Scott Adams. You didn't kill my father. Prepare to die.
  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:20PM (#45526979)

    I want you to die a painful death

    I don't know. But if he had left that one sentence out of his treatise\tirade, his argument would have been more convincing to opponents... perhaps. This is an emotional subject, but the discussion needs to be level-headed and practical.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      "You will die. That's not a threat, that's a fact. When you do die, I hope it's painful and long so that you have time to reflect on the choice you helped make illegal to end suffering."

      Is that better?
  • Strong words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:28PM (#45527145) Homepage

    This is just the kind of statement that we need these days to stop the deterioration of this country into the quagmire of idiocracy. I used strong words in a post against the creationists here yesterday and got modded down into oblivion. Enough with the feelings of the masses, and enough with being polite. We need some strong and nasty clue bats to wake up this country to start using their minds again instead of their "feel goods."

  • by Above (100351) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:42PM (#45527385)

    I've had the unpleasant opportunities to watch a number of relatives and neighbors spend their last months tortured by the medical profession. I really can't find a more appropriate word, even though everyone involved means well. It is hard for both families and medical providers to assert that sometimes the best thing that can be done is nothing.

    Assisted suicide is only part of the issue, but perhaps it is where the conversation needs to begin. It is an option exercised millions of times each day on every animal except Humans as being more humane. However the conversation needs to continue from that point. I think of my 90 year old neighbor who had cancer. A type that if he was 30 surgery and treatment would have cured. One doctor wanted to operate, the other did not saying he would not make it. The family, ever hopeful, pushed for the surgery. What transpired after that was 5 weeks of torture. He did not do well in the surgery. Doped up in a hospital bed his wounds became infected, requiring another surgery. That necessitated a feeding tube, which then due to his poor condition also was infected. Finally after 5 weeks he was barely well enough to go home with 24x7 nurse care where he was able to somewhat peacefully pass away a few days later. The options here were all bleak, spend 3-4 months dying of painful cancer. Spend 5 weeks in the hospital undergoing multiple surgeries, doped up beyond belief. Assisted suicide, at the right time, might have been a good option. I have no idea what bills the family was left with as a result of all of this treatment, but I bet they added further pain after the fact.

    End of life care is not a simple decision. Everyone involved, patient, family, doctors needs to realize we can't extend life forever. They need to realize that sometimes doing nothing is a better option than doing something, or that sometimes the something to do is to go ahead and choose to end life on the patients terms.

    While for me this is 99.99% a moral and ethical issue, it is also a cost issue. For many patients more money is spent on their final month of medical care than in their entire life, because of these sort of heroic measures that lead to tragic outcomes. Fortunately I don't think saving money needs to be the primary concern here, but rather it can be a happy accident of doing the morally right thing.

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