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Thread: Should suicide be legal?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    However, here is a case of a woman in 2004 who was arrested in Georgia for attempted suicide. It looks like she was arrested rather than just let go because she had attempted suicide before, and was pregnant:

    http://www.modernghana.com/news/6030...d-suicide.html
    This appears to have happened in Ghana, not Georgia.

  2. #17
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Some people whose suicide attempts have killed others have gone to court. However, AFAIK in that case, I believe the charge is murder or manslaughter, as in this case with the guy who derailed a train:
    Well, yeah, they aren't just taking their own life, they could potentially take the lives over others... that doesn't surprise me that they're in court... but like you said, it wasn't for attempted suicide...

    Sometimes, people have been arrested for suicide:
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...619C94659FD7CF

    The above is an NYT article from 1884.

    Another from 1904

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...609C946597D6CF
    Well, yeah over a cenurty ago... I can see it being a bigger deal "back then"

    However, here is a case of a woman in 2004 who was arrested in Georgia for attempted suicide. It looks like she was arrested rather than just let go because she had attempted suicide before, and was pregnant:

    http://www.modernghana.com/news/6030...d-suicide.html
    this is more surprising... but she's a pregnant woman... again she is not just potentially taking HER life.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by John King View Post
    As in all things about legality, I am/was referring to what adults are legally allowed to do. Children are not adults, and parents who bring them into the world have an obligation to raise them until they reach the age to fend for themselves (and if they can't, give them up for adoption). As for the elderly with dementia, my paternal Grandmother had that, couldn't take care of herself, which was why we had her committed to an institution. The point is, she lacked the mental faculties to object, which made the whole question of 'consent' a moot point. This is different from a grown adult whose distress had taken priority over their otherwise normal mental faculties. As for exposing oneself in public, that again is a separate issue of mores while in public.
    Under the law, psychosis is one of the categories of mental incapacitation. It can be temporary and happen to otherwise normal people, but it is pyschosis nonetheless. In its temporary form, it's called a psychotic episode.

    The difference between a neurosis and a psychosis is that the latter crosses the line to where the person can no longer make rational decisions, and in the process, becomes a danger to either himself, others, or both. Extreme mental anguish leading to suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide characterizes a psychotic episode. A family member of mine--smart, with many friends, and successful now about eight years down the road--had such an episode, which caused dramatic changes in his behavior and emotions. He was able to speak coherently even while mentally ill, but this did not mean he was thinking coherently--mental anguish is not a particularly coherent state of mind, and many people who have it benefit from the psychological equivalent of pain relief.

    The danger of legalizing suicide is that it would turn a formally protected group--those who are mentally ill and desire to harm themselves--into one unprotected under the law. Hospitalization for a week for one person costs thousands of dollars, and so does outpatient care--a particularly mercenary person could argue that legalizing suicide would save public health funds that would otherwise go to treating mental illness. Saying that suicide is a rational choice removes responsibility from society for treating the underlying psychological condition.

    Suicide being illegal does not affect the person committing suicide--as another person said, few people contemplating suicide would decide not to do it simply because it's against the law. But if suicide were legal--a lawful activity which people could be aided in, lawfully look the other way toward, or even experience social pressure to commit--the depressed who place little value on their lives would be the last people to find freedom in this. They'd experience lack of funding, lack of programs, and lack of help. Is this supposed to be about their freedom, or society's freedom from the obligation of helping them? In words, it's all about the former, but in practical terms, the second option is the reality.

  4. #19
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    When caught in a political, criminal, or social deviant scandal, will drive some to suicide or at least serisously think about it. Would counselling help?
    If so then the saved person has to face all that agony. Quality of Life?????

  5. #20
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    When caught in a political, criminal, or social deviant scandal, will drive some to suicide or at least serisously think about it. Would counselling help?
    If so then the saved person has to face all that agony. Quality of Life?????
    Honestly, like others have said, i don't think it would matter to a person faced with any of the situations you have posed up there whether suicide was legal or not and whether they would go through with it. Would a criminal (clearly morally content with breaking the law) be any more phased if suicide was illegal?

    Personally I think counselling can certainly help anyone invovled in political, criminal or social scandals. The point of counselling is to help people cope with all kinds of stress including the ones you mentioned. Dealing with what life throws at you is really one of the main points of being here. If suicide is illegal then the greater message sent out to people is that continuing in life is of utmost importance, that you should fight to keep track with things rather than give up and committ suicide. For the ones who truly believe suicide is the only option they will continue regardless of the law.

    But it is worth baring in mind that most "suicide" attempts are cries for help not actual attempts to take ones life. If it was legal to committ suicide what would others duties be in relation to that? If a relative finds a family member with their wrists slashed/by an empty bottle of pills and that family member is still alive, if they phone for emergency services would emergency services simply answer - they've clearly attempted suicide, it's perfectly legal so leave them to die? How would that make the relatives feel?

    Ant

  6. #21
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    ^^^
    Try reading the whole thread.

    A 75 year olf man wants suicide because his beloved wife died a few years ago, and he is now alone He has no other family, no friends. Why continue? is the question. Playing checkers in the park with strangers just won't do if that is what conunselling will get him. Counselling is a method - not necessarily one that will work. If it doesn't what then? Is suicide ok? if counscelling failed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    ^^^
    Try reading the whole thread.

    A 75 year olf man wants suicide because his beloved wife died a few years ago, and he is now alone He has no other family, no friends. Why continue? is the question. Playing checkers in the park with strangers just won't do if that is what conunselling will get him. Counselling is a method - not necessarily one that will work. If it doesn't what then? Is suicide ok? if counscelling failed?
    Is it okay for strangers, for people in general, to tell him it's okay for him if he says he's considering it? I'd say no. Playing checkers in the park might not be enough right then--but two years down the road he might be volunteering at the library, acting in community theatre, learning about the internet for the first time, or whatever else strikes his interest once the period of grieving lets up and allows him to feel better. ( The "strangers" in the park won't be strangers, either, once he has played checkers with them all summer.) He can't see the possibility for this, because depression makes him lose interest in activities that used to give him pleasure. An outsider can see it though. A mental health professional can see it, and help him move past the stage where he's suicidal.
    If counseling doesn't work--if it doesn't help him feel better immediately--it's to be expected. There's a grieving process to go through. There are also medications that can help if there's a physiological problem in the brain causing the depression. No man is an island, and no one has to be without friends, at 75 or not...this is not to say that it doesn't happen, but it is by no means a permanent or necessary state. Change is possible the whole time a person is alive.

  8. #23
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    ^^^
    Try reading the whole thread.
    I did thanks Captain Condescension! You might have noticed i had when i said "as others have pointed out in this thread".

    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    A 75 year olf man wants suicide because his beloved wife died a few years ago, and he is now alone He has no other family, no friends. Why continue? is the question. Playing checkers in the park with strangers just won't do if that is what conunselling will get him. Counselling is a method - not necessarily one that will work. If it doesn't what then? Is suicide ok? if counscelling failed?
    In your scenario i'm not really sure what anyone else's opinion would count for and while the circumstances point you in direction, ultimately those circumstances could change.

    Why continue, to me is the most pertinent question. That has nothing to do with the legal or moral position. If that man has no family is genuinely alone then who will ever know he has committed suicide except for the nieghbours who report the build up of milk bottles/newspapers/smell and the emergency services that pick up the body. It's a bit "if a tree falls with no-one around".

    In reality though i wonder how likely it is that a 75 year old man will really have no family, friends or anyone at all left who knows him. In my limited experience most of the people i know of in their 70s have a wide circle of friends of varying ages and most have already been through the loss of a loved one and weathered the storm. In the majoirty of cases they have children and grandchildren who are in regular contact with them and/or look after them. In a couple of cases of those who have just turned 70 they have only just lost their elderly parents themselves and were looking after them.

    Personally if an anonymous 70-odd year old man committs suicide - it will not affect my life in anyway whatsoever, so i don't really need to pass an opinion on whether it's ok or not. If one of the 70-odd year old men or women I knew told me they were seriuosly conisdering it, i'd certainly put myself forward as an listening ear and try to help them explain why they feel that way and what if anything would make them not feel that way and try to help them not feel that way. Taking your own life (if terminal disease is not the reason) is a sign of a great desperation. Whatever you believe about death and what happens afterwards, passing on in that state of mind can only be a bad thing.

    Ant
    Last edited by antmanb; 07-29-2009 at 11:20 AM.

  9. #24
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    ^^^
    What is the point of talking a person out of suicide? Will the Counselor be a PHD and how does the bloke get to him? Not all professions are excellent.

    Why be comfortable living with ALS?

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    ^^^
    What is the point of talking a person out of suicide?
    The point is to stop a human being from taking their own life. If life is one of the most important things we have and is to be protected then it is just as important to protect someone from taking their own life as we we protect people from having their life taken by others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Will the Counselor be a PHD and how does the bloke get to him? Not all professions are excellent.
    I don't know what's it like in the US but in the UK Counsellors do not have PHDs and they might not even have a university degree rather they have a vocational qualififaction and training. Counsellors here don't pass opinion on what you tell them or try to give you an answer - they are more there just to listen, repeat back to the "patient" what they patient says which nearly always results in the patient getting a greater insite into the troubles and resolving them/working through the issues by themselves. Most importantly counsellors here to not have the power to prescribe drugs so the help offered is truly an "organic" self-help model.

    Psychiatrists and Phycho-analysts often do have degrees and PHDs. but these people asses the "patient" diagnose him/her and suggest solutions and can prescribe drugs too.

    As with anyone providing a service - you don't know what kind of service you will get from anyone and recommendations are usually the best way to go. Just because there are not so good therapists out there, that's no reason not to seek help from one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Why be comfortable living with ALS?
    What's ALS?

    Ant

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    ^^^
    What is the point of talking a person out of suicide? Will the Counselor be a PHD and how does the bloke get to him? Not all professions are excellent.

    Why be comfortable living with ALS?
    I had to look up ALS, and found that it is another name for Lou Gehrig's disease, and is the same condition Stephen Hawking suffers from: http://health.howstuffworks.com/als2.htm

    Interestingly enough, this article says that while it is devastating to the body, the disease leaves the mind intact. Hawking has certainly lived a full life and made a tremendous contribution to the world, surviving for 45 years with the disease. So why encourage someone with the disease to not value themselves and not live?
    Last edited by debdelilah; 07-30-2009 at 12:09 PM.

  12. #27
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    I always find it incredibly... arrogant... for someone to say/imply when they are completely healthy that it's not worth living with this disease or that...

    Kudos to those that aren't considered "normal" health wise who rise above the malady/disability!

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by debdelilah View Post
    I had to look up ALS, and found that it is another name for Lou Gehrig's disease, and is the same condition Stephen Hawking suffers from: http://health.howstuffworks.com/als2.htm

    Interestingly enough, this article says that while it is devastating to the body, the disease leaves the mind intact. Hawkins has certainly lived a full life and made a tremendous contribution to the world, surviving for 45 years with the disease. So why encourage someone with the disease to not value themselves and not live?
    The disease is called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a devastating disease. One can take care of a person with ALS by emptying his bowels by hand every day, feeding him, letting him watch TV if you know what channel he wants, and use the computer with a pointer in his mouth (as Hawkins did). He will never be able to get out of bed by himself. There is no muscle that works. Not everyone with ALS will have the celebrity status of Hawkins, and the financiall strapped families will not be able to take care of the chores required.

    Some people believe there is an after life where all this will be considered for saving someone who manages the agony and pain of devastation on earth, no matter how long. Not everyone believes that, and the question is, should they be forced to believe? Free will is out of the question.

    To make all this clearer, the public radio discussion was about choice, not about law. Does a person have the right to choose his death? The discussion centered on a 'club' which believes one has the right to choose, but ony if certain
    legalities have been met, e.g., no burden on the survivors. They also believe that a suicidal person has the right to choose counselling. No problem.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    The disease is called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a devastating disease. One can take care of a person with ALS by emptying his bowels by hand every day, feeding him, letting him watch TV if you know what channel he wants, and use the computer with a pointer in his mouth (as Hawkins did). He will never be able to get out of bed by himself. There is no muscle that works. Not everyone with ALS will have the celebrity status of Hawkins, and the financiall strapped families will not be able to take care of the chores required.
    My grandmother, who passed away of lung cancer four years ago, used to say when she was younger that she would hate to be helpless and need care in this way--help with feeding, bathing, etc. But when the time came that she did need this care, she would frequently be happy with other things in her life--family visiting, going out to eat, an old program that she recognized on TV, even having simple conversations with anyone and everyone, from neighbors to chemotherapy techs. It's possible to be depressed in relatively pleasant-seeming circumstances or happy in unpleasant ones.

    In the U.S. and I think in many other countries as well, being financially strapped does not prevent a person with this kind of disease from getting medical care and adaptive technology.

    Some people believe there is an after life where all this will be considered for saving someone who manages the agony and pain of devastation on earth, no matter how long. Not everyone believes that, and the question is, should they be forced to believe? Free will is out of the question.
    Joe, the idea of forcing someone to believe in the afterlife is an entirely different question. I have no idea how one would force someone to believe in something anyway, short of some bizarre combination of torture and hyponosis. I'm an atheist, by the way.


    To make all this clearer, the public radio discussion was about choice, not about law. Does a person have the right to choose his death? The discussion centered on a 'club' which believes one has the right to choose, but ony if certain
    legalities have been met, e.g., no burden on the survivors. They also believe that a suicidal person has the right to choose counselling. No problem.
    Under the law as it is, many people do have the right to choose their death:

    *If your kidneys fail, you can refuse dialysis

    *If you are unable to swallow(through ALS for instance) you can choose not to be tube fed. You would get hospice care to ensure your comfort in the process of dying and would have a chance to say goodbye to family members. Hospices are more pleasant places to live and die than hospitals...a neighbor and friend of mine who was awake and conscious in the hours leading up to his death died in hospice and was able to talk and laugh with friends and family, while comfortable, before he died.

    *If your illness is terminal, you can let it take its course at a faster pace by choosing the hospice route. There, comfort takes precedence over prolonging life by any means. Some people live in hospice for months.

    *You can refuse a whole checklist of "preserving life by any means" options in your living will.

    ALS varies, from what I can see. It can be a terminal illness leaving some people with two years to live. It can be a drawn out condition with people living more than 10 years. Some people, from what I have read, have experienced the illness come to a halt instead of becoming progressively worse, and have lived three times that long. For someone who has reached the point where the disease would be terminal in its natural condition without medical care, comfortable death is possible without suicide.

    Law is a tricky thing--you can change a law, and find that changing it has different implications from the ones you expected. I think that between living wills and hospice options, the balance for the right to die is currently where it should be. Giving people medically sanctioned deaths--doctor performed deaths--when their bodies are not dying opens too many doors for desperate people who are caught up in an emotional wave and who would not, in their right minds, choose to die. That includes people who are grieving for themselves after having been diagnosed with an illness.
    Last edited by debdelilah; 07-31-2009 at 04:22 PM.

  15. #30
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    ^^^
    I'm an atheist, too, and I do not want people to committ suicide without thinking it over. All I'm asking for is the right to decide when one can take his own life. The 'club', I mentioned is just for that. They do not ok it easily.

    If a person wants to lay in a hospice and be waited on, they should be able to.
    Using telephone emergency lines for suicidal intentions is ok. It does not show "wits end" so I'm all for preventing suicides. Brain dead people are another matter and very much for the living loved ones.

    But when a person has had it, and wants to let go, why not if he does not put any problems on others who are living. He many not even have others.

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