Saturday, June 27, 2015

Legal suicide and it's implications

There are 5 US states that allow a person who is suffering physical pain to end their lives at the time that they choose. They receive a lethal dose of a medication that they can take when the joy of living is overshadowed by their body's suffering.

I read the story of Brittany Maynard, Whose entire family moved to Oregon to take advantage of the legality of Doctor assisted suicide there.  You can read about it here:

washigton post article

There are some side issues that are worth exploring. For one, there are the problems that have cropped up with our Capitol punishment. Manufacturers of drugs do not want their brand used for executions, so we have been torturing convicts slowly to death while the families of the victims watch in horror. there are several ways to fix this, but they require an open mind. For one, they could be put into the same legal category as Brittany, and issued a similar dose to take within a certain time window to avoid an hour of choking to death in front of strangers. The popularity of assisted suicide suggests that some people are more comfortable choosing their own time, instead of experiencing a long, painful, and undignified decline.

Heroine could also be used, and the inmates who chose that somewhat attractive method could work themselves up to a lethal dose within a given time limit. Death row would be quite a different place in that case, with inmates issued syringes and seized drugs of known purity. I sure don't mind if they have a little bit of pleasure during their punishment, instead of the horror that we have been reading about in the media.
If they persisted in getting high without a lethal OverDose, they could then be compelled in the normal way.

There are inmates that maintain their innocence, and hope for a pardon until the last moment. But, there are convicts who do not relish the years of waiting in a cage. Aside from ridiculous religious arguments, there is no reason to require such persons to suffer like that.  Waiting for some officers to strap them down, and inject a non lethal dose of the incorrect drug into them is most likely more cruel than allowing the guilty party to choose the time in a somewhat dignified way. I can only imagine that it would save the executioners some stress and mental illness as well.

Another issue is mental anguish. One can not [at present] be assisted in their suicide efforts while suffering purely mental anguish. There is every chance that such suffering will end. The mood could lift, or the unpleasant situation could end. There is some question whether a mentally anguished person is qualified to judge when to quit this realm. In any case, it is not a terminal physical illness. Perhaps normal aging could be considered a terminal illness, and a person who is elderly might prefer to move on instead of living a life that is no longer rewarding.

There is the question 'is mental pain real'? To this I would reply that all pain is mental, whether it be caused by nerves signaling the brain, or, is born within the brain. There is the issue of the 'loved ones' of the sufferer, who sometimes feel that there is no reason at all for the unhappy human to depart before the heart stops of it's own accord. These questions can be debated legally and morally, but i would simply point out some practical matters.

People do commit suicide. Sadly, sometimes they take others with them, as in the case of suicide bombers, and those that drive into things with their car. Males often do it with a pistol, and i imagine that this is not pleasant for the loved ones. Sometimes it does not work, leaving the person worse off then they were before. When you think of the methods, you realize that many of them do injure others mentally or physically.

there is no up side to keeping suicide illegal, or refusing to assist those that have certainly decided on the act. Why force a suicidal person to commit a crime? does that seem like a great deterrent to one who will soon be dead anyway? Helping the depressed person to plan it out provides a chance for counseling, and an opportunity for the loved ones to have their say. It is easy to trot out faith based answers to this, and of course, they do not have to make any sense.

But, practically speaking, is there any real reason to force people who are qualified to make the decision perform the act in secrecy and utter isolation? I can think of one, and it is similar to the last minute pardon argument for assisting capitol punishment. Unassisted Illegal Suicide is hit and miss. The man might jerk the pistol at the last moment, and the woman might take the wrong number of pills or be discovered in time. If they have not converted themselves into a vegetable, they could go on to solve their issues and live a great life.

This leads directly to thoughts of the fake suicides, that are really cries for help. Legalizing suicide for the general public would at least remove the ambiguity. Folks who are committed, [and have already received professional help] could just take the pill, surrounded by loved ones if desired. All others would immediately be seen as showy cries for attention or help. It is possible that the number would decline, and that more people would receive the help and attention that they need without the fake attempt. This would eliminate some of the fake attempts that prove successful.

Again, here are some of the benefits of legalizing suicide:

A reduction in second hand deaths or permanent mental damage to witnesses of messy suicides.

A reduction in population, with the people who do not wish to stay here being allowed to depart legally.

A more pleasant experience for the dissatisfied person.

A better experience for those that would like a chance to discourage the act, or would like to offer support during the last moments.

a possible reduction in the number of suicides by reducing the number of fake suicides that succeed.

another possible reduction in numbers from the approval process, where a trained professional would caution against spur of the moment decisions, and offer other solutions.


I would offer this final thought experiment: In many parts of the US, a competent person may carry a deadly weapon, and use it when their life is being threatened. So, it seems that this person knows [at a moments notice] when to kill another person. Can they not be trusted to figure out when they would like to kill their own person, and leave this very crowded planet? Is a carefully premeditated killing of ones self not within the rights of that same person? The question is asked without reference to a person's religion. Our laws are not made to conform to the dogma of a particular religion. They are intended to form the boundaries of what a human may do and may not do within the border.

The End,
Alf





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Colorado Ugly

Why are people in Colorado mean?
There are a number of reasons why colorado folks are less friendly than other Americans. First, I would like to describe the problem, and show that I am not the only one who believes this [from reddit.com]:


I'm trying to like Colorado but I don't. (self.Colorado)
submitted 1 year ago by the_iceman_shruggeth
I have been living in Colorado for about 8 or 9 months now, and as much as I love the sunshine, the mountains, the snowboarding, the hiking, etc., I am just miserable here. The people here are some of the rudest, if not the rudest, I've ever come across, and I don't understand it. I've tried so hard to make friends, but no one will even talk to me outside of being drunk at a bar. I went to a very strange, pretentious art school in Chicago, so I'm pretty used to pretentious douchebags, but here, it's above and beyond what I've experienced. Denver is literally the only place where I've walked up to people, introduced myself, and had them look me up and down, turn around, and ignore me. And this is at events, not at nightclubs or anything like that. I'm a fairly attractive lady who smiles a lot, so I don't understand what is wrong. Why is everyone so mean here? What should I do to make friends?(I am trying to get work elsewhere but my circumstances leave me stranded here. Most Coloradans respond with a "please move" (which is a fucked up thing to say) if you don't like the state, but I really can't.)
End of excerp.


    I will not list more, but there are a wealth of these kind of reactions to the state with the green licence plates. I lived in Telluride from 1978 - 1986, and returned for visits until about 1995.
    After i began to be mistreated by the newer residents, and stopped visiting, I wondered how the condition had come about. I researched the history of the state, and found that it had been settled by miners. The California gold rush had started first. In California, the gold could be found in elemental form in streams, and then traced upstream to a vein. It was typically mined out of hillsides with large hydrolic operations. Such operations were large, cooperative efforts, that resulted in the freeing of many slaves, and the forming of long lasting partnerships.
    So, finding the gold vein was of little use to the loan prospector with his mule. He could dig up or pan a little of it near the surface, but exploitation of a large vein was to be done by a community. The gold in Colorado was a different story. It was discovered after the California gold, and attracted miners that had failed in the earlier gold rush. Exploitation required hard rock mining, and sadly, the gold could not be freed from the resulting ore by means of a stream of water. It was frustrating for prospectors and miners alike, as they could dig the ore with explosives and machinery that was already available, but were unable to the free the gold from the ore for further shipment. it was not economic to ship the ore elsewhere for processing, and new, large scale technology was needed. It was really not profitable to find a great vein, unless you could protect your find, and sell it to someone from out of state who had the funding to bring in giant stamp mills to crush the rocks, and to devise new processes for freeing the elemental gold using very hazardous chemicals like arsenic. Thus, new words for invented for the sort of behaviors that worked for preserving 'your' find: backstabbing and dry gulching.
    The areas where miners could live in Colorado were drastically different from the rolling hills where the minerals were found in California. Large mountains cut with tight valleys necessitated awkward makeshift towns with all kinds of sanitary and land issues. The miners were not freeing elemental gold from the sides of gentle valleys to sell on their own. They were working for a wealthy company that was often based elsewhere, and were exploited and even beaten and killed by hired thugs when they tried to get better pay. The tight living conditions meant that the native American residents of the valleys needed to be forced out rather harshly. This can be seen as the start of the forceful real estate mentality.
    It is reasonable to assume that behavioral shaping that occurred over 100 years ago could still affect modern people? I believe that it is. People do not leave all at once, to be replaced with all new people that are friendly and unaffected. Residents who leave are replaced piecemeal, more like cells in the body. The except at the start of this article is from a new, hopeful person who is being retrained reluctantly. If she stays, she can grow a spiky exterior, or become a sort of amazing, anomalous Bodhisattva who can remain, unaffected among less evolved souls. I know some of these shining examples, and worship them myself!
    It is interesting that the mining magnates have, to some extent, just been replaced by a different kind of well moneyed exploiter. The land disputes have not ceased with increased population pressure. And, the type of people who dream of moving to Colorado are under the same kind of economic pressure to relocate. Starry-eyed new Coloradans are met in overcrowded valleys by less recent arrivals who are not so welcoming. The Colorado born often do not defend their real estate as violently as 'natives' that have arrived from 'Back East' within the last decade or 2. It might be similar to 'hazing' at a fraternity, where the students hazed last year are well motivated to haze new arrivals.
    There has got to be more to it! There must be a selection process, and it would likely work in 2 directions. In one direction, new arrivals feel comfortable there, and decide to stay if they are compatible with the Colorado mindset. It is obvious that the often smiling young lady would have bounced out of there quickly were she not trapped in some committing situation. She would leave too quickly to contribute her smiles and social skills to the community. A person who felt immediately at home in Colorado would be unlikely to change the community mindset. In the other direction, what will become of ms. smiles if she stays? Is it possible that she will overcompensate, like a recovering alcoholic behaves around alcohol?  That is what i would guess.
    In this case, we would have a self perpetuating cloud of meanness. I live on the edge of it, and it is blatantly obvious to us here. Don't get me wrong, this rant maniac of an author is about the meanest, nastiest curmudgeon of them all!
    PS... This post is not open to aggressive comments from young Colorado males. We are tired of your mean attempts to dominate the internet with foul language and threats. Should you write something that has content and and shows your even temper, it will remain here for years, and I will reply respectfully. Thank you for reading!



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About Me

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I am a fine art photographer and filmmaker. Lately, I have been doing panoramic images of the Canyonlands area, and printing them using archival materials. These large images are placed in work cubicles and homes, and can sometimes briefly transport the viewer to a contemplative location.