Sunday, January 24, 2010

Euthanasia and Sampedro

Brittany Liebenow

Class Entry

24 January 2010

Euthanasia and Sampedro

Euthanasia is a fine line between suicide and homicide. I say this because, in most cases of euthanasia, the person who dies is not the one who kills. In class we defined euthanasia as “good death.” Note in the definition how the word death is used instead of the word homicide or the word suicide. The word homicide usually has the connotation that some person (person A) is ending the life of another person (person B). Suicide in comparison is, by definition, when one person kills himself or herself. Now the word death has a completely different connotation and, as a result, colloquial meaning. When someone says the word death, it is usually used when someone died in a sad but mostly unpreventable way: “there was a death in the family,” “the explosion resulted in two deaths,” or “her cause of death was leukemia.” Death leaves victims, not killers.

Euthanasia, then, is characterized not by a killer and a dead person but by countless victims. With euthanasia everyone is a victim. The person who dies is a victim not of death but of the situation that brought that person to death. The people who assist in the killing are victims because they have the “blood” of the victim on their hands. The family members, friends, and loved ones of the person who dies are left alone knowing that someone so dear to them wanted nothing more than to part from them. Euthanasia, as a result, draws closer ties with suicide than with homicide.

Ramón Sampedro is the perfect example of the effects of euthanasia. He left the friend that helped him die and all of his close friends and family to face the rest of the world. He deprived them of his company and left them with scars and memories. Is this fair to those people that loved Sampedro? The more hairs that are split regarding euthanasia and suicide, especially in the case of Sampedro, the more euthanasia begins to look like a fancy-titled form of suicide. Sampedro wanted to die like a suicidal person would. Sampedro wanted the attention of friends and relatives before he died like a suicidal person would. Sampedro made the decision to kill himself like a suicidal person would.

If you wonder about the attention line of my last paragraph, then I have evidence. Sampedro left all of these notes for his friends and relatives, made a video of his death, and consulted multiple people, including family, friends, and legal advisors, about how his death should be carried out. Whether it was his intention or not, he sought attention in his death.

Was Sampedro’s attention seeking really a negative thing? Seemingly everyone wants to make a mark in the world, something immortal that will live on after that person has died. In my opinion, this controversy, essentially Sampedro’s death, was his way of leaving a little piece of himself behind in the world. Deprived of his ability to live his life to the fullest due to his handicap, did he really have any other option?

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