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Terry Pratchett Considers Assisted Suicide

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the making-the-best-of-the-worst dept.

Medicine 838

cHALiTO writes "Beloved science fiction and fantasy writer Terry Pratchett has terminal early-onset Alzheimer's. He's determined to have the option of choosing the time and place of his death, rather than enduring the potentially horrific drawn-out death that Alzheimer's sometimes brings. But Britain bans assisted suicide, and Pratchett is campaigning to have the law changed. As part of this, he has visited Switzerland's Dignitas clinic, an assisted suicide facility, with a BBC camera crew, as part of a documentary that will include Britain's first televised suicide. Pratchett took home Dignitas's assisted suicide consent forms."

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Try Homeopathy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440556)

Try homeopathy

Re:Try Homeopathy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440730)

Try homeopathy

Russian roulette has a better chance of success for getting rid of $AILMENT, as well as the idiocy behind believing in homeopathy. Try it.

Re:Try Homeopathy (2)

Zcar (756484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440776)

Maybe he was saying homeopathy is legal assisted suicide?

Re:Try Homeopathy (2)

quantaman (517394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441180)

You mean like throwing him off a boat?

Yeah, that would probably be effective.

Well shit (4)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440568)

Well shit that sucks.

Re:Well shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440812)

This really sucks. In 50 years, we'll laugh at Alzheimer's because it will be fully curable.

Re:Well shit (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440960)

Don't say that. It's false hope. You don't know that for sure, and neither does anyone else. We still haven't cured the common cold. The best we can do is address the symptoms. Treating Alzheimer may involve just that as well. Treating the symptoms, but not the direct cause.

Re:Well shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441092)

If I ever do anything half so ballsy I hope you won't focus on the part that sucks.

If you do something ballsy like this I would prolly say: "Hard Fucking Core." Then I would hope you would somehow see my comment and know that I saw something admirable in you.

Re:Well shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441192)

No kidding but she really hasn't done much since Lois and Clark, except for Desperate Housewives and that frankly is past it's prime. Though never thought she'd try this though.

Well damn... (3)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440612)

Half of me wants to cheer him on in the name of "the good fight." The other half wants to cry. I read a hell of a lot, but Discworld has given more joy than probably any other series.

Every person's right (5, Insightful)

smileygladhands (1909508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440616)

It is every person's right to decide how they die. Not the governments.

Re:Every person's right (1)

Reibisch (1261448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440698)

This. +4 million

Re:Every person's right (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440742)

It is every person's right to decide how they die. Not the governments.

Its the UK, a different culture. There they believe its the governments right to totally control how you live... death is just the endgame, and not surprisingly, the govt wants to stay in charge right till the end.

The situation in the USA is weirder, with religious whackos trying to write their gods words into law, kind of an "American Taliban" thing.

Neither side understands each other.

Re:Every person's right (3, Insightful)

EVOL_HEL (1480145) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440878)

While I agree with the arguments outlined, I can also see the governments point of view. Certainly there are those in government that because of whatever personal views or beliefs they hold, they are opposed to assisted suicide. But perhaps others see that if such a thing were legal, it could be easily abused. Basically, people could get away with murder by forging the docs, or forcing people to sign them. If the process were highly controlled, it might be more difficult to do so, but once it's legal, you need an abundance of laws to control the process. It just becomes a slippery slope. He could always go the DIY route. He's a creative guy, I'm sure he can think of plenty of painless ways to end his life.

Re:Every person's right (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441070)

I've thought about this before. Perhaps if there were more of a process than just filling out some forms (perhaps a court appearance, although some of that may be able to be fudged as well), it would be plausible.

Re:Every person's right (5, Informative)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440930)

Its the UK, a different culture. There they believe its the governments right to totally control how you live...

With respect, that's horse-shit.

Re:Every person's right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441066)

Its the UK, a different culture. There they believe its the governments right to totally control how you live...

With respect, that's horse-shit.

With respect no it isnt. Ive seen enough complainers on TV insisting that we need more Labour governance to control and dip into every aspect of our lives.

Re:Every person's right (3, Interesting)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440810)

Making suicide legal is giving the 'right' to decide when to die to the government , not the person, because the government will always decide , who is eligible for that 'right'. More so , it destroys protection for the vulnerable and the week, because it de-facto places the 'guardian' ( often the state) of a person in the place of deciding if they 'would want' to live.

Re:Every person's right (3, Insightful)

SaroDarksbane (1784314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440904)

he government will always decide , who is eligible for that 'right'

As opposed to right now, where they decide that no one has that right? You could make that same argument against every protection in the bill of rights, and it would make just a little sense.

it de-facto places the 'guardian' ( often the state) of a person in the place of deciding if they 'would want' to live.

Nonsense. Someone deciding if someone else lives or dies is not suicide, by definition.

Re:Every person's right (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441088)

Congratulations! That's the most twisted "logic" I've read on the internet in weeks.

Re:Every person's right (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441166)

I would respectfully point out that giving the government the authority to forbid and even punish suicides and those who would assist them takes the rights away from the individual in the first place. The government already has the right to kill you through legal means, and it has the right to forbid you to end your own life if you are in a position you find to be a 'fate worse than death'. Neither political party seems to be interested in fostering or supporting individual rights, but rather want to take rights away. The concept that suicide is an unforgivable sin comes from an attempt to control the lives of people who have no hope; that we continue to foster this method of keeping slaves from escaping into death hints at a very distasteful framework supporting our society.

Last Wishes (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440624)

If I were in his situation, I'd do about the same thing. I'd fill out the forms to be carried out in a few months. That way if he stopped progressing he could just do whatever, but if he kept progressing he may not be lucid so they could do their thing.

We'll miss you, Terry, but you have the power over your own life and I respect that.

Re:Last Wishes (4, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440826)

If I were in his situation, I'd do about the same thing. I'd fill out the forms to be carried out in a few months. That way if he stopped progressing he could just do whatever, but if he kept progressing he may not be lucid so they could do their thing.

Not as simple as that. AIUI, you have to be able to get there under your own steam and take the drugs (or at least ask for them to be administered) in the full understanding of what they are.

So you can't leave instructions with a relative to cart you off when you get to the point that you're lucid for maybe an hour a day. You more-or-less have to go over there earlier than you'd otherwise like.

(ICBW, mercifully it's not something I've ever had to look into in great detail).

Re:Last Wishes (5, Interesting)

SMoynihan (1647997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441080)

I heard an interview with Pratchett on the radio (Ireland). He stated that the singular tragedy was this: The guy in this film had to cut short his life while he could still enjoy it, for this very reason.

He had to travel, and to end his existence, while still lucid and still capable.

All for fear he would reach a point of no return, and no hope of exit.

He can forget being allowed to leave the country (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440648)

The powers that be do not like individuals making such important choices for themselves. They know what is better.

Re:He can forget being allowed to leave the countr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440758)

If his Alzheimer's progresses, he *will* forget being allowed to leave the country.
It's a shame that it's happening to anyone, but especially to this man.

Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440664)

It's one thing to have a live news camera on scene when a crazy person jumps from a ledge or immolates themselves, but it's quite another when a show is being created with the purpose of people profiting (non-profit? Ha!) off a man's death. Western civilization is going down fast; I remember a time when this very scenario was the nightmare end of a slippery slope argument...

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (3, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440766)

The end of Western Civilization's downward slope is televising a man making his own decision about how to die in dignity, fighting for all the others that are denied this right today? That's what you call da nightmare? I seriously don't want to know the rest of your so-called "morals"...

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440808)

The end of Western Civilization's downward slope is televising a man making his own decision about how to die in dignity, fighting for all the others that are denied this right today? That's what you call da nightmare? I seriously don't want to know the rest of your so-called "morals"...

Possibly is the type that doesn't want "people profiting off a man's" life, either. From each according to their ability and to each according to their need, and all that.

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441046)

Nah, communists have always been for suicide. I'm thinking that this guy smells like "religious whacko".

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440780)

Western civilization is going down fast; I remember a time when this very scenario was the nightmare end of a slippery slope argument...

Conversations about difficult subjects mean that civilizations are going 'downhill'? How is that again? Yes, there are some important moral, social, political and practical questions about assisted suicide but not discussing them doesn't help answer any of that.

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440854)

It will be acceptable, because he is humble enough not to profit from his own death.

The question is, how well will the video be edited? The application of the suicide machine itself may appear peaceful and quiet, but when the lack of oxygen kicks in the body will start twitching and jerking in death spasms. His flailing limbs might even knock over a vase or an I.V. or something. Will they show that part? I'd totally pay five bucks to see that.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

SoothingMist (1517119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440858)

The slippery slope has already been foretold in the Bible, '... thorns and thistles will rise up upon their altars and they will say to the mountains, "Bury us!" and to the high places, "Fall on us!"' As we push God further and further from our lives, we gradually perish. This applies to individuals, societies, and nations.

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441104)

The bible also says we shouldn't ever need to masturbate, after all....

"It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper..."

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440890)

If he helps win this fight then the people profiting most will be the terminally ill who want to go out with dignity and without unnecessary suffering. If a television company makes some money while helping the effort, thats completely fine in my eyes.

Im sad that he got such a terrible disease and Ill miss his wit and wisdom, but I also think this is a great thing of him to do and a Very Pratchett Way to go.

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (2)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440926)

When a man makes a conscious decision that he wants to die, and asks them to film it so as to spread his political beliefs, they're hardly taking advantage of him.

The death is happening regardless of it being filmed. You make it sound like the BBC offered to pay a family a million dollars for exclusive rights to make a movie so that they would change their minds and pull the plug. Western culture is doing just fine, despite countries like Britain and fundamentalists like you who can't handle letting people with a different view make their own minds.

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440962)

Then you are welcome to fly (by using that Western invention, the airplane) to any place on Earth with the morals that please you, you sick fuck.

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441028)

Firstly, it was on the BBC. So they don't take advertiser's money.

Secondly, the BBC arguably has an obligation to raise important issues rather than pretend they don't exist.

Thirdly, the man who committed suicide must have agreed to all this. So while I concede it's a little ghoulish to film it, it is a hugely important issue and he (and his family) should be respected for having the balls to say "Not only am I ending my life in as dignified a fashion as possible, I'm prepared to bring television cameras in to raise the wider issue".

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441038)

While western civilization is certainly doing its part to invent the dystopian future, I'm really not seeing it here.

An adult gives his informed consent to appear in a documentary about assisted suicide, in order to stimulate national discussion(and presumably advocate for his side against the current ban) of the individual's right to make medical choices according to their perceived good. Horribly, the documentary included a section chronicling the (not unmixed) aspects of the process, the emotional difficulties, and so forth.

Umm. Ok? Person dies the death they chose, to avoid an outcome they considered worse, and voluntarily appears in a documentary about that. That hardly seems like moral decline... compared to the fairly-recent-history of horrible death by untreatable disease, barbaric executions carried out as public entertainment, a few bouts of genocide, rampant lynchings(at the better of which, one could purchase commemerative photographs...) and so on and so forth.

Even if you consider assisted suicide morally equivallent to outright murder, the idea that western civilization is somehow inching its way up the murder-ometer is empirically nutty. The 20th century is a tough act to follow. If you don't hew to such a view, the idea that this is somehow a depraved occurrence becomes even harder to justify...

Re:Britain's first televised suicide. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441190)

I've sat with someone as they died.I don't care to repeat and so will choose not to watch this. Nonetheless Pratchett will raise a lot of awareness this way - awareness of how the government is trying to dictate the terms of a person's death, and in its infinite wisdom is determining what can only be a very personal decision. I applaud this action; if it is the end of a slippery slope argument, I fail to see how - this isn't The Weakest Mind where the loser wins a free public suicide. Sure, there will be twisted fucks who take some weird pleasure in it. And there will be other twisted fucks who think the aforementioned game show is the next big thing -- when *they* succeed I'll concede we're at the bottom of that slope. (But not that it's a bad thing - after all it is your choice, and such commercialism can ease or eliminate the massive expenses you otherwise accumulate and leave behind when facing a fatal disease. ) But in this action today,I see bravery - to the ends of making this choice available freely. (we're always a hair's edge from outlawing assisted suicide here in he US and some states already have - so I'm interested in ramifications from tht angle too.)

Hmmm (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440674)

Conan the Barbarian and most of the characters of discworld would disapprove. If you're going to die, do it AWESOMELY.

Re:Hmmm (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440754)

Cohen the Barbarian

Re:Hmmm (3, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440798)

Rincewind would disapprove as well. If you're going to die, you're not running fast enough...

Re:Hmmm (2)

TheLuggage2008 (1199251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440806)

Conan the Barbarian and most of the characters of discworld would disapprove. If you're going to die, do it AWESOMELY.

Cohen the Barbarian would probably be much more upset about you messing up his name, and for my money, dying on your own terms and in a method of your own choosing IS dying awesomely. I applaud you, Sir Terry

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440948)

To be quite honest, this is *exactly* the way CoHEn the barbarian dies in the books. Awesomely and on his own terms.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440968)

On that note - why note go out in a blaze of glory doing something fun like jetpacking over the grand canyon or something.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441144)

I think Granny would understand though.

pterry (4, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440682)

I was deeply saddened by the news last year when i heard of his illness. Terry Pratchett is still one of my favorite authors and i wish him a lot of time left.

But i have to confess that i understand his reactions 100%. Rotting away with Alzheimer is my personal worst nightmare. Though i am not allowed to vote in the UK, i will give his initiative my full support whereever i can.

I believe that, if you have don't have the right to end your own life, you are not free at all. My life belongs to me, but to no goverment, to no society and to no god.

Yours, Martin

Suicide (0, Troll)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440694)

Suicide is mans attempt to keep control of what he never had any control of. Himself.
Legal suicide is an invitation for the 'state' to decide who is worthy to live and die because it immediately puts law makers in the position of deciding who's life is worthy of being required to live. As has always happened in the past legal suicide will not be fully voluntary for long , because it will be used as an excuse to not take care of those people who choose not to use the 'option' when they are no longer 'worthy' of support.

Re:Suicide (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440732)

We do that already in America when Blue Cross puts the big "Denied" stamp on your insurance request.

Re:Suicide (2, Interesting)

JordanL (886154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440934)

Incorrect. Or at least missing the point.

For all of its failings, in the United States a hospital is required to do anything within their power short of "experimental procedures" to stabilize a person, regardless of their ability to pay, legal status, race, gender, or status as a wanted criminal. This doesn't help with things like cancer or such, as treatments for the cause are all experimental, and the treatments for the symptoms are superficial.

But if you are say, in a car crash and suffer nerve damage, the ER will attempt to save your nerves before they check your insurance. Basically, in the United States, you cannot be denied treatment for conditions for which we understand the root cause because of your ability to pay. And this fact has actually caused ERs in some parts of the country to shut down occasionally, as illegal aliens sometimes bring come in to the ER for things like an ear infection because they cannot be denied treatment, and without any sort of paper trail they also cannot be billed.

Re:Suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441096)

This doesn't help with things like cancer or such...

Or with Alzheimer's, which is very much not missing the point.

Re:Suicide (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441196)

This doesn't help with things like cancer or such, as treatments for the cause are all experimental, and the treatments for the symptoms are superficial.

So... they have to pay to keep you alive, except in the cases of things that will actually kill you slowly enough for them to have time to refuse you?

From a pragmatic perspective I don't see much of a meaningful difference in your version vs. his.

Re:Suicide (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440800)

Your post makes just as much sense as your sig... which means, none. How many people need to die in a horrible, unfree manner, because of paranoiacs like you, before we finally can move on to something resembling civilization?

Re:Suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440900)

Actually "fish_in_the_c" has a point. The internet was free but government would love to control it absolutely. Hey the corporation was created to allow free slaves to own land now who owns the land. Never underestimate the power of corruption. It does not matter how much it cost - just print more money.

Re:Suicide (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441194)

How long must we endure every liberal arts student's interpretation of "civilization" as being the one and only correct one?

I'm tired of the pro-choice, pro-life, vegetarians, vegans, assisted-suiciders, anti-death penalty groups and every other group insisting that we must adopt their own little viewpoint to be "civilized".

Re:Suicide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440910)

Eat a cock, you worthless bag of meat.

I hear they started to sell Soylent Green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440928)

in Switzerland... *facepalm*

Re:Suicide (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441168)

Legal suicide is an invitation for the 'state' to decide who is worthy to live and die

You use the word suicide, yet I don't think it means what you think it means.
And what is this "As has always happened in the past". If you are referring to anything that the Nazi's did, then that was not Legal or even assisted suicide. It was simple and plain murder.

Re:Suicide (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441188)

Suicide is mans attempt to keep control of what he never had any control of. Himself.

I guess I'll assume you're speaking for yourself... Because I have pretty much full control of myself.

Legal suicide is an invitation for the 'state' to decide who is worthy to live and die because it immediately puts law makers in the position of deciding who's life is worthy of being required to live.

Right... Because legalizing marriage put law makers in the position of deciding who I have to marry, right?

Which explains why there's so much opposition to legalizing gay marriage - if that happens we'll all be required to marry same-sex partners.

it will be used as an excuse to not take care of those people who choose not to use the 'option' when they are no longer 'worthy' of support.

We already do that here in the US.

If the insurance company decides your treatment costs too much, you're on your own. And if you aren't wealthy enough to pay for it out-of-pocket, you're as good as dead.

Not much else to say. (1, Interesting)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440740)

Re:Not much else to say. (0)

mapnjd (92353) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440912)

Thank you so much for posting this.

As an English Catholic convert, I am too scared of getting slapped down on /. to post anything on such subjects. You've got guts.

nic

Re:Not much else to say. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441176)

Never be afraid of voicing your opinion, especially on an internet forum, and doubly especially on one where being anonymous is a click away.

Re:Not much else to say. (5, Informative)

Yxven (1100075) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441052)

For those that don't want to read it, this is the argument:
"If we adopt a law holding that a person has the right to kill himself, soon we will also adopt euthanasia; because if the individual has the right to say when his life is no longer worth living, soon society will claim this right as well."

The rest just bashes the media, liberalism, and socialism.

Re:Not much else to say. (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441060)

Well, I read the article you posted... It kind of makes assisted suicide out to be murder. I don't really understand that. If someone chooses to die, that's their decision. Why would it be immoral to kill yourself?

Re:Not much else to say. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441086)

That article is a barrel of crazy. Conflating suicide, removing life support from permanently unresponsive patients, abortion, the holocaust, and finally murder of people that disagree with the government. Where does their supposed slippery slope begin? Why should their hyper-religious dogma impede the right of this clearly-lucid and clear-thinking man to plan an end to his pain? Why don't they spend the same amount of energy decrying the death penalty, if they're worried about a slippery slope from assisted suicide to the "murder of the political incorrect"?

Re:Not much else to say. (1)

doob (103898) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441120)

Umm, that's a bit of a leap from "a terminally ill person should be allowed the right to decide when they die" to "the government are going to start killing mental patients".

Re:Not much else to say. (1, Troll)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441140)

That article is a compendium of slippery slopes and the usual Catholic bullshit. Schiavo as an example? She was meat by the time they stopped feeding her.

They also fail to note how the process runs in Oregon works. It's not as if one could wheel grandma in today and collect the corpse this afternoon. Most who eventually receive their medication don't actually use it. Yes it can be abused, but Catholic logic kissing in public is something that inevitably leads to blowjobs on buses.

Fuck Catholics. If they can make a good argument supported by something more substantial than scare-mongering conjecture and sanctity of life at all costs then let's hear it. If all they have is sanctimonious platitudes then they should note that their ongoing protection of men who rape children places them pretty low on scale of people who we should give a shit about listening to on matters of ethics.

Re:Not much else to say. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441156)

I like how this post completely ignores assisted suicide or tries to lump it in with euthanasia. They are totally separate issues. Terry Schiavo has nothing to do with assisted suicide, and neither does abortion. My life is my own. Not yours. Not your god's. Not your government's nor any governments. Mine. If possible, the choice of when my life should end is mine. There is no slippery slope. The fact of the matter is simple: your morals aren't the same as mine. Yours are dictated by a god I don't believe in. You are forcing your beliefe on me and infringing upon my very most personal freedom.

Re:Not much else to say. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441174)

Thoughtful, unbiased, objective... Yeah right, I stopped reading at "Nazis".

Re:Not much else to say. (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441182)

The article seems to argue that the next logical step to allowing people to chose when to die, is to remove that choice. It doesn't seem too logical to me.

Why is suicide illegal? (1)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440764)

I've often wondered if it would be possible to set up a legal suicide service. Put checks and balances in, as well as a cooling off period, and let people who choose to die, die with grace, We are going to have large amounts of death due to climate change, and some people who survive will suffer. Countries have had policies on who would live/die in disasters for years. We need to stop thinking of a life as sacred and see it as it is.

Re:Why is suicide illegal? -- to protect YOU (0)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440950)

In a world where 'suicide' is legal, the government decides who has a 'right' to die, and adopts laws to hurry you along and out of the way. Those in 'charge' of the weak , the disabled, and children, decide if those vulnerable groups are wroth allowing to live.
The short of it is suicide is and should be illegal because it is immoral , if you don't believe in morality then there is no foundation for any law, and arguing about what 'should' or 'should not be' legal is vacuous, because thing only are or are not and there is no such thing as 'should be'.

Re:Why is suicide illegal? -- to protect YOU (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441162)

Suicide is not immoral and those governments who are the harshest against human rights always outlaw abortion and suicide right off the bat. Abolishing suicide is just another attempt at government control of citizens.

Once deportations and the systematic mass murder of Jews began in WW2, SS guards severely punished individuals attempting to commit suicide as it was an expression of self- determination that ran counter to the Nazi total claim over the lives and bodies of the inmates.

because faked suicides are (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441150)

a common way for gangsters, thugs, criminals, and various corrupt officials to 'do away' with those who get in their way.

if suicide is not, at some level, regulated, then every murder will overnight become a 'suicide'.

Good for him (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440820)

Speaking as a libertarian:

Unless the government is claiming ownership of your body (which apparently the UK government is), you should be able to terminate yourself any time you want - especially if you're faced with a terminal illness. By not allowing him to commit suicide the government is basically making Mr. Pratchett the property of the queen. What year is this? 1772?

"The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it's so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law." - Judge Mansfield, Queen's Bench.

Re:Good for him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440952)

He can terminate himself whenever he wants. It's just that it's illegal for anyone to help him to do so. I can see why things could get out of hand, if people were allowed to go 'help' other people to die.

Re:Good for him (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440992)

Speaking as a libertarian:

Unless the government is claiming ownership of your body (which apparently the UK government is), you should be able to terminate yourself any time you want

Nice try, but speaking as a libertarian worshipper of the free-market I would counter that you can't have a free market contractual obligation if one of the participants is bonkers crazy. And the assumption made by the doctors is anyone planning to off themselves is bonkers crazy. Furthermore that bonkers crazy dude, while perfectly sane, paid into the medical-industrial complex to receive mental health treatment when he's bonkers, just as he paid into the system to receive treatment for any other illness such as broken leg, so they need to uphold the contract and "treat" him. Much as a business contract is invalid if one of the signatories is bonkers crazy, a lunatic can't formally legally decide to off themselves.

Most of the people trying to off themselves are, in fact, bonkers, which makes this pretty complicated. I suppose a legal competency hearing would probably be required for a judge to make a judgement that the dude is not, in fact, bonkers crazy.

The place this needs fixing is in the mental health profession, not the contract upholding laws, etc. The other problem is the UK is horrifically infested with do-gooderism types of unnecessary laws, so you'd need to remove some clutter. The primary problem is the docs, not the lawyers/politicians.

Re:Good for him (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441114)

>>assumption made by the doctors is anyone planning to off themselves is bonkers crazy.

Assumption?
Law is based upon proof, not assumption. Law is also based upon the assumption that everyone is 100% sane, and capable of making rational decisions, unless otherwise proved in a court of law. The anti-suicide UK law assumes that everyone is 0% sane, contrary to ~1000 years of precedent. The UK law is an irrational law and should be overturned by a judge, the same way Judge Mansfield overturned the irrationality of slavery.

Re:Good for him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441126)

Kill yourself.

Re:Good for him (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441160)

Suicide might be technically illegal but its not like they can punish you afterward! If you used some smarts and transferred your assets to those you want to bequeath them before you whack yourself, what can the government do? Nada

What we are talking about here is assisted suicide which is a very different matter. This is not you killing yourself its you asking someone else to do so. This is where there are all sorts of risks and problems associated with: were others pressuring you, did your really ask or was the attending physician just sick of dealing with your case? I am not sure I support assisted suicide even as a libertarian.

Now you have an intrinsic right to slit your wrist (remember vertically never across!) , or take enough aspirin to aneurism, nobody can really take that away from you unless you are being held as prisoner. Frankly death and killing are naturally quite upsetting to most people, I think its rather selfish to even consider involving others in your suicide. if you are going to kill yourself have the decency to do it in private, and don't leave the rest of us with some sorry sounding note that we all have to feel bad about. Keep it brief, "I felt it was time, best wishes to all" or something.

If Terry or anyone else wants to kill himself he should do while he is of sound mind and body and able to do it himself.

Re:Good for him (0)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441178)

Hi! I remember seeing you (or another libertarian) at the Unseen University last time I was there! Are you still an orangutan? Oook.

Also see "PBS Frontline: The Suicide Tourist" (3, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440892)

It may be "Britain's first televised suicide", but PBS made a documentary on this topic before:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/suicidetourist/ [pbs.org]

Note that it was widely slammed as being some manner of disguised snuff movie. Watch it and make up your own mind.

Personally I think such statements are more indicative of the taboo that still rests on euthanasia (and death in general) than that they have any basis in the film's content or presentation.

So, what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440918)

So what is the issue here. Are they going to arrest him if he commits suicide? This much ado about nothing. You dont need the government to approve before you commit suicide. You can just do it. You can even do it painlessly without the need of another agency helping you along.

There is no fundamental right being denied here. You already have the right to end your life whenever you want to. He can kill himself today, without any issue what so ever.

The problem is he wants the right to allow someone else to kill him on his behalf. That is not suicide. For it to be suicide you must commit the act your self.

is it really horrific to the patient? (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440924)

I visualize dementia as slipping deeper and deeper into a dream-fog. At some point I would stop caring about things. At some point I'd be incapable of executing something as complicated as a suicide. There is an intermediate state where the patient can get very frustrated and angry at not being able to do things. And possibly paranoid at the strange new things happening around them.

It is horrific to you loved ones and care givers. They'd experience you disappearing and require lots of care. If you were not rich, then any inheritance would go away too.

Late stage dementia you forget the basic functions of life like eating, coughing, defecating, breathing, etc. These cause medical complications which eventually kill you.

Re:is it really horrific to the patient? (1)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441132)

I have worked in many nursing homes and seen many dementia patients. They have all died quietly and none of them suffered particularly, cancer patients suffer a great deal more. I remember one woman who managed to lock a prayer into her mind. Long after she had lost all consistences of her environment and should no longer of been able to speak she kept reciting the prayer. There was something noble and heroic about that last battle that set an example i will always remember, which just goes to show , even if you don't think you have anything left to contribute, you still can set a good example.

Terry should look at these treatments (2)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440938)

Recently there have been lots of positive and promising developments in this area. May be he could help fund the lab battling the disease. Some examples:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602122250.htm [sciencedaily.com]
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110601075126.htm [sciencedaily.com]
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110531135714.htm [sciencedaily.com]

So... break the law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440946)

What are they going to do? Throw your dead body in jail?

Re:So... break the law? (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441020)

It would be hard for him to do once he has advanced Alzheimer, and it would be hard to find a doctor willing to do it while it's still illegal. Moreover this way he gets to stand up for a cause and make his death meaningful which might be important to him right now.

Jack Kevorkian (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440958)

As was made all too clear in the Jack Kevorkian trials (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kevorkian) assisted suicide is not legal in the states either. (Though it is allowed in specific circumstances: Terri Schiavo, Death and Dignity Act, etc.)

Rather Reminds me of Scott Adams's Solution (2)

SaroDarksbane (1784314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441044)

Since so many of the people who disagree with assisted suicide also (inexplicably) support the death penalty, all we have to do is make suicide a crime, and make it punishable by death.

If it was me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441072)

......I'd just suck-start a shotgun.

Not trolling here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441094)

I don't think a lot of people know who Terry Pratchett is or the works he has created.
Maybe this publicity will create some new fans?

"The friendly hand of death" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441098)

Ironically, just this week I finished the audiobook of Joseph Ellis's Founding Brothers, about the American revolutionary generation, which included a passage from one of Jefferson's letters to John Adams written toward the close of both their lives. I thought about Pterry's Death when I heard it:

While writing to you ... I forget for awhile the hoary winter of age when we can think of nothing but how to keep ourselves warm, and how to get rid of our heavy hours until the friendly hand of death shall rid us of all at once."

(I wonder if Death came for Jefferson holding a kitten in his hand?)

Europe: suicide legal, wearing a hijab illegal (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441124)

people need to stop acting like Europe is less corrupt, more free, and more enlightened than the united states.

its just different thats all.

Why wait for the government to give you permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441130)

Hunter Thompson got it right the first time.

Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36441158)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_a_Life_%28TNG_episode%29

...but with a whimper. (1)

SocPres (743965) | more than 3 years ago | (#36441186)

My knee jerk was that he is a coward. Having a family member suffer through dementia, I then thought perhaps it's a selfless act, to spare the agony of one's friends and family. I can empathize, even if I don't necessarily agree with the premise.

But then I realized that it's a public announcement of the preplanned televised event of one's own death. That's a motivation of twisted proportion that I hope to never understand.

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