Monday, November 3, 2014

Brittany Maynard has died...

I just read about Brittany Maynard's passing.  I was actually a little surprised, since she had said a few days ago that Saturday, November 1 would not be the day she would choose to die.  I guess she changed her mind.  It sounds like she enjoyed a peaceful passing.

I know a lot of people think Brittany's decision was wrong.  A lot of people believe that the time of a person's death should be up to God.  While death itself is probably peaceful for many people, the process of getting to death can be miserable.  The prospect of losing one's faculties and enduring pain and suffering is terrifying and leads some people to make the decision to choose their own exit.

I think people should have the right to end their lives if life becomes unbearable for them, especially if it's caused by a terminal illness.  In fact, I find it offensive when healthy individuals, prompted by their religious beliefs, dare to challenge someone who makes the decision Brittany made.  If you're not experiencing the pain and suffering a sick person is dealing with, how can you determine whether they are right or wrong?  Are these people who think assisted suicide wrong going to be there when things get really bad?  Or are they just going to offer their opinions about something as personal as a person's health?

I think it's tragic that Brittany Maynard is dead, but not because of assisted suicide.  It's tragic because there was nothing that could be done for her medically.  She was too young to die, but what a blessing it is that she didn't have to suffer for weeks or months on end, dying a little bit more every day.  Her death was gentle and humane.  We should all be so lucky.

May she rest in peace.


  1. I agree. I'm not thrilled with the idea of people ending their lives because of temporary things that might get better (but then,who the hell am I to interject my views into their situations) but when death is a medical inevitability in the foreseeable future, how and when should very much be the sufferer's decision. .I, too, am sad that more could not have been done for her,

    1. I just feel so sad when I see people saying she had no right to end her life. It was HER life. And sadly, everybody dies. We'd be in trouble if no one died.

      I wish her family peace.

  2. hi Knotty. I just discovered your page and really look forward to reading it. I am not LDS or former LDS. I'm Catholic and like you I'm glad Brittany's suffering is over. I think she was thinking not just of herself but also of her family when she made her decision. Sunday I went to church with my family and picked up a copy of "The Pilot" (the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston). They had an article about Brittany written by a priest who opposed her decision (obviously no surprise). It wasn't until I got a couple paragraphs in that I realized how sadistic his thinking was, not because of anything he said about Brittany but when he really revealed the root of his thinking. He started talking about the victims of 9/11 who were pushed out the windows by the approaching flames and how that was a mistake. He didn't use the word "mistake" (I'm paraphrasing) but here's what he did say: "their agonizing choice to hurl themselves out of the building to their deaths below would be, objectively speaking, a suicidal act and would not represent a morally good choice." (wtf?) He did however graciously go on to say that they were probably driven by raw terror leading to psychological disturbance which MAY cause their moral culpability to be diminished if not eliminated (wow thanks). Apparently if they were all thinking clearly they would have remained inside to burn to death instead of the somewhat less terrifying death which would result from falling 104 floors. The scariest part of the article is that this isn't some eighth grade drop out who got himself published. This man holds a P.h.D in Neuroscience from Yale. So is he a sociopath? a malignant narcissist? depraved indifferent? or just totally lacking in compassion? What he's clearly not is typical. I would think an article like this would drive even most people who started the article generally opposing assisted suicide right into the opposite opinion (in fact for this reason I'm still a little surprised it made it past the editors at the nation's oldest religious newspaper...every week since 1829). His is a radical and very disturbing view, in no way typical but it's coming from the Director of Education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. It makes me think that even though there can be compassion from most people who oppose assisted suicide there may not be any from those at the very epicenter of the movement. I hope I'm making sense here. I'm going to compose a letter to him and try to send it. I may even get a response but right now I'm still too pissed (and this is three days later). It's said that sociopaths are drawn towards careers in religion (just like they are drawn to politics). Along those lines, I found Jocelyn Zichterman's book "I Fired God" a very worthwhile read. She left the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church (IFB) with her family. By the way IFB is the Duggar's church and boy does she paint a scary picture of that environment. I really appreciate the opportunity to comment and look forward to reading your future posts.

    1. Hi Clare! Glad you found my blog. You'll find that I write about a lot of stuff besides religion. I happen to be Presbyterian-- or at least that was how I was raised. I don't really go to church anymore. I do find religion interesting, though, particularly when it's used as a justification for shitty behavior.

      Welcome to my blog! Hope you'll stick around and offer your comments.


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