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Felo de se - A Delicate Topic

6-02-07 - Why bring this up?

There comes a time for many of us when we are ready to die, want to die, pray to die, when most are sympathetic with this wish, but keep on living. Every week or so I'm in a nursing home or retirement home or convalescent hospital or regular hospital or visit someone who's old or infirm in their home and sometimes I see people who I know want to die or who would have wanted to die before they got into the state that they're in. This isn't necessarily the person I'm visiting. It's mainly people I see in room after room who are lying there with mouths agape day after day or calling out in pain and so forth. I remember friends on deathbeds saying softly that they're exhausted and just want to die, to move on, to leave the body.

At times like this they may need encouragement to continue, they may just be going through a difficult stage in some illness, or for various reasons they may be glad at some point in the future that they weren't able to terminate their worldly existence. Many people think that there is never an excuse to willfully die. But there are many who think there comes a time when it is understandable for someone to want to go.

This section of is called Felo de se, Latin for "felon of himself," an archaic legal term meaning suicide. Suicide was a felony when this term was coined. I remember that in the Mikado (I was in the chorus in the 7th grade) attempting suicide was a capital crime. That's not as ludicrous as it sounds for some times and places - but  Japan? I'm not really intending to bring up what we think of as sad, unfortunate, disgraceful, immoral, thoughtless, pitiful, despondent suicide which almost everyone would try to stop if they could.

Even in a case where I think it's wrong or a bad idea, I feel that suicide or assisted dying, is still everyone's right at any time, but that's not really the point here. The discussion here is about people in extreme situations who understandably want to die. What are their options?

I assume that the main option that comes to most peoples' mind is the Kevorkian method.

I don't know much about it really, but even though I am sympathetic with a suffering person who's ready to die and also sympathetic with Dr. Kevorkian for wanting to help them, I have never been a fan of this method.

Or this. 

  Or this.   

  Or this.

  Or this.


Tomorrow, an alternative.

Here is what these folks have to say about it
(not me, them - DC):

Dr. Death Rides Again
Jack Kevorkian's movement has done better –without him
By: Rita L. Marker & Wesley J. Smith
The Weekly Standard
June 4, 2007

About Wesley J. Smith

His book Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder (1997), a broad-based criticism of the assisted suicide/euthanasia movement, has become a classic in anti-euthanasia advocacy

Secondhand Smoke - Wesley J. Smith's blog

This WEB log considers issues involving assisted suicide/euthanasia, bioethics, human cloning, biotechnology, and the dangers of animal rights/liberation. My views expressed here, as in my books and other writings, reflect my understanding that the philosophy of human exceptionalism is the bedrock of universal human rights. Or, to put it another way: human life matters.

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