Thursday, 22 May 2008

Barbarism hurting both living and dying

Said Bill English when voting against the last voluntary euthanasia bill to be presented to Parliament, "Pain is part of life, and watching it is part of our humanity." That view is inexpressibly evil, and is wholly responsible for the position in which Taumaranui man Ian Crutchley now finds himself.

The conviction of Mr Crutchley on the charge of attempted murder for trying to help his dying mother highlights the urgent need to set in place a legal framework allowing those asked to assist voluntary euthanasia the appropriate legal protection.

It is unconscionable in whjat is supposed to be a civilised country that people be put in the position he was by barbaric law that says your life is not your own -- law made by politicians who insist that suffering is part of life, that watching people suffer is part of our humanity, and that you may not have your own suffering ended in the manner of your choosing.

Make no mistake, the views of Mr English are entirely consistent with his Catholic philosophy, whuch preaches that suffering is moral, that guilt is unearned and (in the words of Mother Teresa) "the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

If you feel anger at the treatment of Mr Crutchley, then this is the philosophical view you must challenge: the philosophical outlook of a barbaric age that has no place in the twenty-first century.


  1. The jury had the power of nullification. They failed to exercise it and they failed themselves as human beings.

    Turning now to the judge. In his summation he instructed the jury to ignore any moral concerns and answer a legal question, according to a specific legal context which he provided. It, perhaps, could be understood that judges do not like nullification, but to expressly forbid the very possibility of the jury considering reality (the actual situation of Mr Crutchely and his mother) in favour of a sterile and unhuman set of arbitrary rules was wrong. That judge demonstrated his nature clearly. It would be interesting were he to contract a mean, invasive and painful disease such as a terminal gut cancer himself. Would that experience alter his thinking do you suppose?


  2. I agree with LGM.

    If there will be any growth of Beauracracy in a libertarian government, it will be in employing people to find and void such cruel and unnecessary laws as these.

  3. What is sad is that their have been many advances in palliative care and pain management.

    This knowledge is not getting through to all of the hospices and doctors.

    It is quite possible that his mother didn't have to suffer during her final days, and therefore, quite possible he didn't need to kill her.

    Making it "easy" for people to kill their loved ones is the easy way out compared to improving palliative care standards.

  4. I have experienced the pains of cancer.

    To deny sufferers relief- at their request- is an atrocity against humanity.

  5. Zen you may be right, and it may be that incentives in the public health system are just so poor for this.

    However the bottom line is, if you want to die, you should be allowed to and others allowed to help with your express recorded consent. Yes there are issues about ensuring that, but the principle remains that it is nobody else's decision if an adult chooses to die.

  6. I don't know the facts of the case, and the reporting was scant on detail as usual.

    The bottom line, with terminally ill patients is that they can alternate between "end it now" and "I'm glad I made it this far to see my daughter come back from London to say goodbye".

    All I've read is that she was in pain, he killed her. I'm not sure where the "informed consent" came in and how murder is the same as suicide, and how much her feelings on the matter may have changed from day to day.

    Also, the terms "terminally ill" can still mean a period of 3 months or more, again, with a huge variety of quality of life in that period (good days, bad days, mostly bad, but sometimes people have the utmost gratitude they are given the opportunity to say goodbye and arrange their affairs during this process.

    I do agree it is likely he was emotionally unstable, and being found guilty is one thing, granting leniency in the circumstances is another.

    I'm not sure we can be certain enough about these issues to have a blanket rule like killing a sick person is OK if they are a family member.

    What we do need is better interaction with the medical staff to be able to adequately administer for pain, especially when the end is certain.

  7. It's not about "we". It's about the actual individuals directly involved.


  8. Spot on LGM. Which is why a blanket rule to allow people to kill others is a bad thing.

    In this particular case, according to a more detailed article I read (OK - that still doesn't mean I have the facts of the case), he interpreted "help me" as "kill me". Matters of life and death must be more explicit than that. He chose the time of his Mother's death. He didn't ask her, and he didn't get permission.

  9. You were there....? You saw what occurred? Oh, you read about it. I suppose the reporter was there then....? Everything the reporter wrote was true and accurate. Yeah, right.

    This was not your mother or your family. He loved her. Did you? Oh, you didn't?. You knew none of those involved? Yet here you are telling the blog what the situation was. Who asked for permission. Who did not. etc. etc. Are you a bullshit artist or what!

    This sort of minding other people's business is why troubles, such as that family's, degenerate into unnecessary cruelty.

    There is no request for a "blanket rule to allow people to kill others". That's just you being emotional and trying to alter the context. What is necessary is that uninvolved third parties do not hinder (by acting to prevent proper treatment or by preventing a merciful release of the afflicted or by persecuting family member/s in a gruesome public spectacle).


    Have you ever seen what happens when someone dies from cancer? In some cases the pain (even with pain management medications) is intense and unyielding. The sufferer has no respite and is literally "out of their head" in agony. Think about what that would be like to experience. You should go take a look and see what happens for yourself. Do that before commenting about this subject again. Seriously.



1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.