Suicide beLegalized?Throughout the twentieth century, major scientific andmedical advances have greatly enhanced the life expectancy of theaverage person. However, there are many instances where doctorscan preserve life artificially. In these cases where the patientsuffers from a terminal disease or remains in a “persistentvegetative state” or PVS from which they cannot voice theirwishes for continuation or termination of life, the questionbecomes whether or not the patient has the freedom to choosewhether or not to prolong their life even though it may consistof pain and suffering. In answer to this question, proponents ofphysician-assisted suicide, most notably, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, areof the opinion that not only should patients be able to abstainfrom treatment, but if they have a terminal and/or extremelypainful condition, they should be able to seek out the assistanceof a doctor in order to expedite their death with as little painas possible.
Contained herein are the arguments for and against thelegalization of doctor-assisted suicide, as well as where thestate courts stand in respect to this most delicate of issues.
In the hopes of clarification, we must first distinguishbetween active and passive euthanasia. Passive euthanasiainvolves the patient’s refusal of medical assistance. Itinvolves the right to die which is protected by the United StatesConstitution clauses of due process liberty and the right toprivacy (Fourteenth Amendment). The right to doctor-assistedsuicide, or active euthanasia, consists of, “…a patient’sright to authorize a physician to perform an act thatintentionally results in the patient’s death, without thephysician’s being held civilly or criminally liable for havingcaused the death” .
The “passive” form of euthanasia was first deemed legal bythe New Jersey State Supreme Court in 1976 In re Quinlan . Inthe Quinlan case, the court allowed a competent patient toterminate the use of life-sustaining medical machines to prolonglife. Since New Jersey’s decision, all fifty states have enactedsimilar statutes which contain living will provisions. However,although the United States Supreme Court upheld the Quinlandecision in re Cruzan , it changed the parameters of passiveeuthanasia . With the Cruzan decision, the Supreme Court heldthat passive euthanasia was legal but only for competent adultsor those who are incompetent but have previously procured aliving will. However, if the patient is without a living willand incompetent, it becomes the burden of the family to provethat there is “clear and convincing evidence” to the affect thatthe patient does not want to continue living in a vegetativestate.
As to active euthanasia, there has been no Supreme Courtruling determining whether the right to die, as understood inpassive euthanasia cases, can be bound over to active euthanasia.
The decision is thus left to the individual states. Currently,thirty-one states have criminalized explicitly the act ofassisted suicide . Physician-assisted suicide is generallyrecognized as illegal under the parameters of homicide, howeverit is very difficult to meet all of the elements of the crime andconviction subsequently becomes nearly impossible. The fact thatthe U.S. Supreme Court has not reviewed a physician-assistedsuicide case, which would create precedent, constitutes a dilemmafor the state courts in that there is no uniform test or rulingby which to decide.
Most states have developed their own laws to, more oftenthan not, make doctor-assisted suicide illegal. However, when acase comes to trial it is usually dismissed either by the judgein a pretrial motion or by the jury. For example, in at leastthree of the assisted suicides which Dr. Kevorkian was involvedin, all criminal charges were dismissed. So, the laws have beencreated, but when it comes to convicting a doctor and sending himto prison, in lieu of the circumstances, the law often breaksdown and the charges are dismissed or the doctor is acquitted.
In the case of the nineteen states which have not delineatedthe criminality of doctor-assisted suicide, the issue becomesless clear. Many of these states have a hard time groupingphysician-assisted suicide with homicide. The case whichMichigan judges cite in refusing this linkage of criminality isthe People of the State of Michigan v. Campbell . In theCampbell case, the “court found that ‘the term suicide excludesby definition a homicide’” . Since, suicide is not a homicide,then an assisted suicide cannot be deemed a homicide. At thetime of the appellate courts hearing of the Campbell appeal,there was no other codified law expressing what crime an assistedsuicide would fall under and the homicide charges were dismissed.
Anti-active euthanasia proponents feel that it is the dutyof physicians to help and heal patients as opposed to hasteningtheir exit from this world. They also fear that the legalizationof doctor-assisted suicide may be abused by doctors who do notfeel that there is any hope for the patient and counsel them toterminate their life. The state also has an interest in the lifeof the individual. The individual state was originally set up toprotect the rights of individuals and to see that “the value ofan individual’s life…and the value of life to society as awhole” is protected. The value of an individual’s life includestheir personal well-being and safety from harm, even if it isself- inflicted. So, it has now become the duty of theindividual states to balance the interests of the state againstthe interests of the individual patient in order to come up witha law which is accommodating to both.
Persons who are for active euthanasia believe thatlegislation against it is “violative of the fundamental conceptsof liberty, freedom of choice, and self-determination” They basethese beliefs on the text of the fourteenth amendment to theUnited States Constitution. The voluntary choice between lifeand death is, to them, a basic human right which the governmenthas no right to legislate. They often compare this choice ofeuthanasia to the right to abortion.Judge Lynn Comptonembodies these views in her opinion in the case of Bouvia v.
Superior Court , “If there is a time when we ought to be able toget the government ‘off our backs’, it is when we face death-either by choice or otherwise” .
The trend in the law seems rather obviously to be againstthe legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This is cleardue to the thirty-one states which have already incorporated theact into their penal codes as being illegal. As to the otherstates, there is much controversy as to it’s legalization.
Although in popular polls, the general public seems to be infavor of active euthanasia’s legalization, the courts in all ofthe states find that the possibility for infraction of thestatute supersedes the wishes of the patient. The courts aim toprotect doctors from civil suits, patients from doctor’s advisoryabuse, and the country’s general policy of the sanctity of life.
In the courts view, passive and active euthanasia are twoentirely different things. One involves the withholding orcessation of care which may or may not end up in death and theother involves a doctor’s administration of a lethal substancewith the specific intent of impending death. In other words, oneentails allowing death to occur without doctor intervention andthe other is killing, albeit “mercy” killing.
Based on my research, it seems clear that the effort tolegalize active euthanasia is one that is not going to go away inthe near future. This is especially due to the spread of theAIDS virus and other incurable diseases. However, although Ifeel that it should be legalized with certain provisions, Icannot foresee it’s uniform, federal regulation in the nearfuture, especially with a conservative Supreme Court as issitting today.
Presently, there are twenty-one states which allow citizenlegislation through the use of the general election ballot. Inthese states, special interest groups which support activeeuthanasia have placed initiatives on the ballot. An example ofone of these groups is the California based Americans for Deathwith Dignity or ADD . The DDA designed a statute, proposition161, that would legalize doctor-assisted suicide. The statutewas also created “with extraordinary care to provide allreasonable precaution to protect against the risks” oflegalizing the practice of active euthanasia. One of the clausesof the statute which aims at the prevention of abuse is that thestatute would only allow licensed physicians to partake inhelping someone end their life. Although proposition 161 was notpassed, it is a reflection of the general population’s sentimentthat active euthanasia should not be illegal. At the time of thepublication of this article, California, Washington, Oregon, andMichigan were preparing or has already proposed general electioninitiatives which would permit aid-in-dying by physicians.
The act of taking a life is a serious one. The Americanpeople are notoriously weary of it’s implementation, as can beseen in the case of capital punishment. Although, activeeuthanasia is consensual, the paradox which lingers in the term”physician-assisted suicide” is difficult for lawmakers andcitizens alike to consent to.
An American Tragedy: Comparing The Crucible And
An American Tragedy: Comparing “The Crucible” and “The Scarlet Letter”An American Tragedy: Comparing “The Crucible” and “The Scarlet Letter”by: Jamie NewlandsTwo American authors, of two distinctly different time periods had onevery similar task, to turn a piece of American History into a believable tragedy.
Arthur Miller with The Crucible and Nathaniel Hawthorne with The Scarlet Letter.
Perhaps one might wonder which author did a better job in doing so, but withsuch different pieces of work, this is hardly a question that can be answered.
Miller’s the Crucible was written in the nineteen-fifties, with adefinite purpose, to remind Americans of the horrible witch trials that tookplace in Salem, even before the American Revolution was a thought. It served asa tool to warn against the same thing happening with the Communist hearingsgoing on in our country at the time it was written. Miller wrote a play, whichwas not well received by the first audiences to witness it, but none the less isnow recognized as one the finest pieces of literature written by an American.
Hawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter was written in the eighteen hundreds,with no other purpose but for Hawthorne to write a novel. Hawthorne perhapschose this dark subject to convey his contempt for Puritanism. He was a manpreoccupied with the hidden sin which is illustrated in not only the ScarletLetter, but also in The Minister’s Black Veil. One might even say thatHawthorne’s ancestry (Hathorne) is what he might consider his own “Pearl”, andthis is why he changed his name.
Like Miller’s the Crucible, The Scarlet Letter takes place in PuritanSalem and has a tragic hero, but these are the only similarities between the twogreat works.
In Miller’s play, the tragic hero is John Proctor, a man whose pridecauses the demise of many women, tried as witches. Had Proctor chosen to revealhis sin of lechery with Abigail Williams before the problem got out of hand, hewould’ve saved several women from being hanged. But Proctor, instead chose tokeep quiet about it until it was his own wife’s destiny at stake, and then itwas too late.
In Hawthorne’s novel, The tragic hero is Dimmesdale, who wouldn’t admitto being the father of Pearl. But Dimmesdale’s silence, and that of Hester’slead only to his own demise. Pearl went on to live a very productive life fullof luxury, marrying nobility as well as inheriting riches of her own.
A person reading Miller’s play and Hawthorne’s novel one right after theother might be tempted to say that the two are similar but this is very much adebatable subject. Although in both works, forbidden love is absolutely centralto the plot, the actual concrete similarities beyond that are few. If these twoworks could be associated, one could associate any two works with a dead guy atthe end and love society won’t allow in the middle. For example, the musicalWest Side Story, The tragic hero is Tony, a young man who has hated PuertoRicans his whole life, until Maria. They meet, fall in love and plan a lifetogether all in two nights, but alas Tony’s forbidden love for Maria and hisloyalty to his friend, Riff, is the cause of his own demise. What person wouldassociate this story with The Scarlet Letter? The similarities between the twoare just the same as those between The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter. BothWest Side Story and The Scarlet Letter have a tragic hero, as well as aclimactic ending where the reader (or the auditor) actually thinks things may goas planned. But, in the end the hero dies and the heroin is left alone. No onewould ever think to associate a musical with such an icon in AmericanLiterature, and in turn, shouldn’t associate the Crucible with it either. Tosay they are so very similar due only to the setting is as juvenile as sayingtwo people must be twins since they are wearing the same sweater.
Though both fine pieces, the Crucible and the Scarlet Letter are notcomparable beyond a very vague look at the settings and plot skeletons of thetwo. One a drama, the other a romance novel. One written almost a centurybefore the other. One might refrain from saying they are similar beyond a verybasic level. English
Negetive Affects Of Television
Influence of TelevisionI hear the door slam abruptly and a thud from something hitting the ground. Its about 3:15, so my sister should be home. I bring her backpack into the living room as I see her fixated on the television. I tell her to put it away and she says ok, whatever. She gets to her room and not two seconds later does her TV click on in her room. I ask her if she wants to play catch, No thats alright. She always loved to play catch, what about some basketball I ask her, No, maybe some other time, she says as her eyes are glued to the box. Is television so addictive that it makes everything else look unattractive? It is very well maybe Marie Winn agrees; she names television the plug-in drug. Although not as lethal as drugs and alcohol, television can have many effects too, and not necessarily good ones. According to authors in this section television has made reality seem second best, children more violent, and has made reality a world of advertisement.First, television has made reality seem second best. The real world is filled with many emotions including anxiety, depression, and stress. Who wants to deal with any of these problems? Youve had a hard day at work, so why not flick on the television and not worry about anything? As Marie Winn describes, the television experience allows the participant to blot out the real world and enter into a pleasurable and passive mental state. For some people life without a television is less than complete. Winn says television will lead to the addiction of it because it becomes part of your life, and soon the real world is too boring to live in all the time. Winn observes a heavy viewer and they find the television irresistible, when its on they cant ignore it, and cant turn it off. Winn also says that with television pleasures available and other experiences seem less attractive. The viewer eventually gets so addicted that they put off all other activities and feel that they can live in a less careless style. On the same note Rita Dove agrees with Winn by saying, Its not that we confuse television with reality. But that we prefer it to reality-the manageable struggle resolved in twenty-six minutes.(Dove p408) People like to see the climax, stress and problem solved in a short period of time.Dove says that television an easier tale to tell, her daughter can recite a television program better that how her day at school was. The world is ugly and television is always invigorating, thats all people want to see.
Secondly, television has made children more violent. Television not only makes children more violent, but it also makes children more fearful to the world around them. Cyndy Scheibe describes how parents are concerned about violence on television. A big problem is that not only does adult crime dramas include violence, but so do cartoons and slapstick comedies. Scheibe explains some other effects of violence on television are that children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others in reality and television. She also states that children may behave in aggressive and harmful ways to others. Scheibe says the reason for this is, The impact of TV violence on aggression seems to be partly due to imitation of the aggressive actions that children see (particularly if they are done by the good guys) and partly due to the message that aggression works to get what you want and its okay to use aggression it you are justified in doing so. (Scheibe p1) Agreeing with Scheibe, Talia Trigilio also says violence in television makes kids more aggressive. Cartoons carry a lot of violent content, 46% of violence is found in cartoons. Trigilio said, I was shocked to stumble across the statistic that there were more violent acts in an hour of Saturday morning television than during prime time. (Trigilio p4) A Common show like the Power Rangers is interpreting violence is fantasy but sometimes your viewers cant tell the difference. Some children experience numerous recurring nightmares. Trigilio explains that seeing so much violence promotes the false idea that violence is common-thus increases fear of crime everywhere. Since technology is so advanced in television, and parents cant be around their children twenty-four hours a day, children can find any kind of violence or content not suitable for them on television cable. Without parents or guidance, they take this violence as real as somebody getting punched or kicked and as anticipated as real world experiences. Finally, television has turned reality into a world of advertisement. Television is advertisements key source. Talio Trigilio says the main idea of television advertising is to make people want what they dont have. Networks dont want people have a mind of their own; they want people to believe they have to look a certain way. They prey on peoples insecurities. As Trigilio says, Materialism is the constant emphasis of all TV commercials. Specific advertisements run only during certain times in order to target particular audiences. (Trigilio p3) Television broadcasters dont care who they influence o hurt, they need to make a profit-thus why we see a world created by advertising. On the same token, Jerry Mander wants the elimination of television for the very reason of advertising. According to Manders views, television is a virtual reality that networks and advertisers need to increase profits, and try to promote a lifestyle for other people. Why go search for answers to personal problems? Advertisers want to provide the answers for you on the television. If you have heartburn: buy Tums, are you hungry? Drive your new PT Cruiser to McDonalds or Pizza Hut and try the new menu. Mander states, While watching television, the programs are together with the conscious attitude of promoting a consumer society. (Mander p2) Television gives you no control of the images they put up, so every time you change they channel your really watching the same thing. Television watching is a passive activity, and is filled with other peoples thoughts and images.
In short, all authors will agree that television is a very wicked and powerful tool. By watching television it can influence you to thinking reality is not good enough just so they can boost their ratings in their shows. Children have become more violent and more fearful of crime and the world itself, advertisement on television is getting worse by the day, with more twenty-second commercials that dont allow you to think. It is really a form of sleep teaching because you are not active, therefore calling it programming.