John Hofsess

By the Time You Read This, I'll be dead

Between 1999 and 2001, I helped eight people die, including the poet Al Purdy. Now, as I prepare to take my own life, I’m ready to tell my story

I met the Québécois filmmaker Claude Jutra in 1963, when he visited McMaster University for a showing of his first feature, À tout prendre. Years later, when I was the film critic at Maclean’s magazine, I visited Jutra on several occasions in Montreal, and he invited me to preview his film Mon oncle Antoine prior to its release. In 1982, he read an idealistic article I’d written about assisted dying. He had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and wanted help to end his life, but I put him off. I couldn’t bring myself to convert my words into actions. Jutra’s condition deteriorated until at last he had to act alone. On November 5, 1986, he leapt from the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal. Punishing winter weather surrounded him: fog, icy rain and snow. The desperation of his suicide altered me in ways I did not fully realize at the time.

Five years after his death, I established the Right to Die Society of Canada. I was a reluctant activist, and initially, I invested my energy in law reform. In 1992, the Society initiated a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on behalf of Sue Rodriguez, the Victoria woman who had been diagnosed with ALS at age 41. We attempted to strike down Section 241(b) of the Criminal Code, which made assisted suicide a criminal offence. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected the challenge in a 5–4 ruling. It would be many years before it would accept a comparable challenge—I foresaw a painful future for thousands of Canadians.

I was horrified anew in 1999 when the gifted conductor Georg Tintner, who was dying from a rare form of melanoma, jumped from the balcony of his 11th-floor apartment in Halifax to end his agony. Many Canadians would hear such news, shake their heads, utter a few sympathetic platitudes and move on. But I couldn’t just sit back and wring my hands. That year, I went from advocating for assisted suicides to facilitating them. Let’s not mince words: I killed people who wanted to die.

Nothing in my background prepared me for what needed to be done. I’d heard numerous horror stories about people who relied upon advice from do-it-yourself suicide books, such as Derek Humphry’s Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying. He prescribed a plastic bag over the head to hasten death. That technique often created so much discomfort that many people failed.

I created an underground assisted death service that offered innovative non-medical ­methods of dying to Society members. My partner was Evelyn Martens, a retired office worker who’d watched her brother die in agony from bone cancer (she died in 2011). Following Jack Kevorkian’s example, we didn’t require clients to pay for our services. We operated on the Robin Hood principle: members who could afford to cover the costs of our illegal ­operations helped compensate for those who couldn’t.

All of this took place in secret. Between 1999 and 2001, we provided eight members of the Society with assisted deaths. The celebrated Canadian poet Al Purdy was one of them, and he authorized me to publish this posthumous account. The question of when, he left to my discretion. “You write it. You arranged everything. Wouldn’t be possible without you,” he said in his famous gravelly voice. “I don’t mind a bit being labelled a suicide.”

When Al Purdy joined the Right to Die ­Society in 1997, I had long been familiar with his work and his place in the CanLit firmament. Back in the early 1970s, when I was at Maclean’s, Purdy had written a series for the magazine exploring West Coast life. Our professional paths crossed again later, when we both wrote for Weekend and The Canadian magazines. Al received the Right to Die Society’s news bulletins and our quarterly magazine, Last Rights. In early 1999, he wrote to me requesting a private visit. At age 81, he was gravely ill with metastasized lung cancer, among other ailments: severe arthritis, peripheral neuropathy and atrial fibrillation, plus what he called “that Biblical prophet age.” He was worried about how his life might end.

Al and his wife, Eurithe, had taken to spending half the year on Vancouver Island and the other half at the A-frame house they’d built in Ameliasburgh, in Prince Edward County. When we met at his winter home near Sidney, BC, he was emaciated and pale, but he still had a sharp mind and keen sensitivity. He had shone brightly as a creative force for decades; now, with his energy in steep decline and pain intensifying, it was sunset time.

Al told me he wanted to die, the sooner the better. Eurithe did not fully share his views; it was only when she left the room that he spoke candidly. “She wants to explore all avenues of survival,” he told me. “But nothing is going to save me. I’m fed up with dying slowly.” I mentioned that another poet, P. K. Page, was also a supportive member of the Society. Al responded, “Knowing Pat, I’m not surprised.”

We discussed the novelist Margaret Laurence, one of Al’s close friends. After her death, in 1987, the media reported that she had died of lung cancer. Ten years later, James King, in his biography The Life of Margaret Laurence, revealed that she had actually taken her own life using information provided by the Hemlock Society, a right-to-die organization in the United States. In an interview, King said that some of Laurence’s friends were opposed to the revelation of the true cause of her death. Apparently they regarded suicide as a sign of shameful weakness.

Al Purdy letter
LIFE AND DEATH A 1999 letter from the poet Al Purdy to the author, in which he expresses his wish to die (Image: Troy Moth)

In mid-1999, as Al’s health failed and his energy waned, his notes to friends became shorter and more poignant, suffused with the recognition of his numbered days. To his friend Margaret Atwood, he wrote: “I go into hospital June 21, surgery next day. I hope and expect to come out of it, but you never know. Unknown country. I’ve had a lot of respect for you over a long period of time…. So if I don’t come out of this surgery session as ‘expected,’ your own eventual arrival will be attended with drums and flutes, welcoming signs. Love, Al.”

The next time I saw him, in early 2000, he was in much worse shape. “I hesitate to propose my death very strongly in the face of my wife’s resistance,” he had written in a letter. “Every day is agon­izing. I’m fed up with suffering,” he told me later. In the intervening year, as a concession to Eurithe, he had tried vitamin therapy and other dietary treatments in which he had no faith. After all his efforts failed, he made a firm decision to end his life. Eurithe seemed willing to comply.

By the time Al approached me, I had spent years researching how to end a person’s life in a quick, painless and spiritually pleasing way. I worked with engineers, physicians and right-to-die activists like Derek Humphry to develop these methods—we called our organization NuTech. Along with the late Gordon Smith, head of a diving equipment manufacturing company in Port Moody, I had developed a helium method, which involved placing an “exit bag” over a person’s head, pulling a drawstring and inflating the bag with the inert gas. When Al asked about the method I’d use, I suggested he might begin by drinking a glass of his favourite wine laced with Rohypnol, a potent benzodiazepine that’s about 10 times stronger than Valium. It’s tasteless, colourless and quick acting. In addition to its sleep-inducing hypnotic effects, ­Rohypnol quickly reduces feelings of anxiety. It’s the perfect medication for an assisted death.

In Europe, Rohypnol is a widely prescribed sedative. In the United States and Canada, it has been branded a date-rape drug. It is banned in the US, and in Canada, a person may possess a small amount obtained outside the country with a foreign doctor’s prescription. I had in my possession a large supply of Rohypnol obtained through a fellow right-to-die activist in France. Since I was already violating the law by assisting suicide, possessing illegal drugs to ensure a more pleasant death seemed to add little additional risk.

With Rohypnol in his system, Al would pass out in minutes and have no further awareness. I recommended he do this in private with Eurithe; he would thus be anesthetized during the brief clinical procedure of assisted death. I viewed my actions not as defying Canadian law but rather as placing ourselves into the future—setting an example of how it was possible to die in a voluntary, compassionate way. My allegiance was to Al Purdy and his wishes, not to the preservation of outmoded laws or the hypocrisies of Canadian politicians.

The maximum penalty for assisted suicide was 14 years in prison. I was raising the stakes: by giving Al a pre-death sedative, my actions could be construed not as assisted suicide but as premeditated, first-degree murder, with a mandatory life sentence. Looking into his eyes, respecting his intellect, hearing his wishes repeated over time, knowing him to be an independent person and thinker, I needed no further assurance that he, in a rational state, had authorized me to be his agent and partner in ending his life. All he would have to do was sip his wine and say farewell to the love of his life while his favourite music played quietly in the background. I felt honoured that he delegated the technical details to me.

I told Al that Gordon Smith and I had developed another method, called a “debreather.” Gordon manufactured ­rebreathers, which process the exhaled breath of a diver, remove the carbon dioxide and return to the diver a purified air supply (with additional oxygen). I asked him if a modified version could be made, capable of causing death without discomfort. A debreather, as I envisioned it, would absorb carbon dioxide but not add more oxygen; a person would inhale a rising level of the inert gas nitrogen and declining levels of oxygen. As long as one can continue to breathe, there is no discomfort. The oxygen declines; the person passes out. A debreather provides a comfortable death within 30 minutes.

Gordon had created prototypes that didn’t work properly—one overheated the air as it scrubbed carbon dioxide—but, I told Al, we finally had a working model: compact, lightweight, comfortable and lethal. The debreather had been deployed several times in assisted suicides in 1999 in the US and worked precisely as Gordon had predicted. I showed Al the latest model. Each unit cost $250 for parts; Gordon did not charge for his labour. I also offered to show Al a short video of another Right to Die member trying out the debreather and saying that he found it comfortable.

“This is all good news to me,” Al said. “But why do you do it?” At first, I wasn’t sure what to say. There’s a great deal of suffering in the world about which I could do nothing, but there’s one critical area, at the end of life, where I could help.

I told him about Georg Tintner’s death and how it had affected me profoundly. If only he had known how to find me. I’m not assuming he’d have wanted an assisted death, but at least he’d have had a choice, I told Al. I had bought all of Tintner’s Bruckner recordings and listened repeatedly to each symphony in a room with just a few candles. Al smiled. I knew that he, a declared ­atheist, had his own intense experiences when he listened to his collection of spirituals by Paul Robeson and Mahalia Jackson. “People like Georg became a permanent part of my consciousness,” I said. “They helped define my purpose. As do you.”

Al looked thoughtful. Finally, he said, “I’m very interested. You’re the only one who talks to me like this.” He told me he had made up his mind: he would entrust me with his death. A choice between methods was his last decision: he chose Rohypnol and helium. Sedation appealed to him.

Al Purdy
Purdy in 1978, at age 60 (Image: David Boswell)

In the last weeks of his life, perhaps comforted to know that a worrisome issue had been resolved, Al seemed more relaxed. He wasn’t passively making peace with death. Far from it—he was denying death its sting, rejecting its indifference to him. Being mortal did not mean he had to accept prolonged suffering or have his life micromanaged by the medical profession or the government.

We agreed on the date: Thursday, April 20, 2000. A few days beforehand, we discussed the pros and cons of revealing the details of his death. There were three options. First, we could make it appear that he’d had a natural death—that he’d passed away in his sleep. I thought there was a 99 per cent chance a coroner would buy it, due to Al’s age and advanced illness.

Second, he could appear to have committed suicide on his own. I described how a woman we’d helped who was dying from ovarian cancer had followed such a scenario. Although she was suffering greatly, it was implausible that she would die in her sleep. She was considerably younger than Al, and her heart was sound. I suggested we create the impression that she died alone by her own hand.

She ingested a modest amount of a slow-acting barbiturate she had obtained in Mexico. I then gave her Rohypnol, which put her quickly to sleep. Once she passed out, helium was administered, quickly causing her death. Gordon provided a small high-pressure helium tank. Evelyn, Gordon and I all wore plastic gloves and paper booties over our shoes. We made sure there was no trace of our visit. We had parked discreetly in a garage under the house.

Her husband wanted to be with her throughout, but we advised him to go out before we began and obtain timed receipts from various sources (ATM, supermarket). When the husband returned, we left, and he called 911. He was later questioned by the RCMP; officers were satisfied when he produced receipts showing he had not been present during the time his wife supposedly took her life. No further questions were asked.

I wanted to create the impression that she intended to take her own life. She wrote a suicide note that we placed on the bed beside a copy of Final Exit and an emptied box of Mexican pills. A regular non-helium exit bag was left around her head. These items were props. If an autopsy were performed, the small amount of barbiturate in her stomach should be sufficient to convince a coroner that she had followed the classic formula of Final Exit. I wanted to conceal the true cause of death so that the helium method would remain unknown and no suspicion of assisted suicide would arise. I successfully followed this scenario on two subsequent occasions.

I told Al he might consider a third option—one that was deliberately provocative. Immediately after his death, I could tell the authorities exactly what had transpired. This might well lead to criminal prosecution; I was willing to stand trial for his death if such a trial might lead to law reform. The downside of full disclosure, besides possible incarceration, would be that I would be unable to help anyone else—and I believed there would be many Canadians in the years ahead who would want my help. I knew of no one else in Canada who offered active end-of-life assistance to those who desired to die on their own terms. This third option would end what I considered an essential service, provoke an investigation into Al’s death and cause Eurithe distress on top of her grief.

We discussed each option. Eurithe preferred giving the impression that Al had died in his sleep. She was not in favour of any plan that involved controversy, police or a media frenzy.

The final decision was Al’s. He deferred to Eurithe’s sensitivities, and we agreed that we would stage his dying as a natural event at his home on Vancouver Island.

On the evening of April 20, 2000, Al Purdy drank a glass of Chilean wine laced with Rohypnol. Murphy’s Law offered one last demonstration of its quirky power: the wine was corked. He sipped it anyway, in the company of his love of almost 60 years. There was no rush, no timetable. The last piece of music he heard was Paul Robeson’s best rendition of “Ol’ Man River”—his favourite singer performing one his favourite songs.

During that final communion, Al passed out. Soon afterward, Eurithe left his bedside, walked down the hall and entered the living room. Evelyn and I went into the bedroom. I gently pinched Al’s skin at various places; there was no response. The only sound was his slowed breathing. I waited for his unconsciousness to deepen.

We worked as a team, silently, efficiently. We had brought two helium tanks in bulky boxes labelled “party balloon kits.” Evelyn placed them beside Al’s bed. She attached plastic tubing to a Y-connection joined to both tanks, so the contents would feed simultaneously into a plastic bag. Our exit bag was 56 centimetres by 91 centimetres, with elastic sewn into a flannelette collar; a Velcro strip was used to seal the bag snugly around the neck.

Evelyn placed the exit bag around Al’s forehead, and I inflated it with helium. I waited a few minutes longer, still pinching his skin to make sure he was deeply sedated. The inflated bag rose above his head like a chef’s hat. It had to be fully inflated before being pulled down to minimize available oxygen. Evelyn pulled the bag down over his head and sealed the collar. I increased the helium flow.

The body shows no adverse reaction to pure helium. It responds as if the person is breathing normal air, except that the lack of oxygen causes the brain to black out within seconds. Al took a deep breath, and his body went limp. After two or three minutes, he seemed to draw a final breath, but this may have been purely reflexive. I allowed both tanks to empty into the exit bag. Then we removed the tanks and put them back in Evelyn’s van for disposal. We had chosen a secluded dumpster in advance, one with no surveillance cameras.

On the way out, around 11 p.m., I stopped to speak with Eurithe, who was dwelling deeply in her own thoughts and feelings. (A family member was present to comfort her.) I nodded and said, “It went well.” I did not need to remind her that, in the morning, she was to call 911, as if she had just woken to discover her husband’s lifeless body. No questions were raised. The media reported that Al Purdy died in his sleep from lung cancer.

His assisted death was the fifth of eight that Evelyn and I provided. The poet Susan Musgrave, who knew Al well, wrote of his final months: “Al looked at death the same way he has always looked at life—right between the eyes.” That was my impression as well.

John Hofsess, 1992
THE CANADIAN KEVORKIAN The author pictured in 1992 at Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria (Image courtesy of John Hofsess)

Eurithe, Al and I agreed to conceal the true cause of Al’s death for an unspecified time; there was no intention to create a permanent falsehood. I favoured concealment for one reason only: I wanted to see our assisted death service continue for as many years as possible. Had my life’s work remained in my control, I would have continued to help people die. However, in 2002, Evelyn ­Martens was charged with two counts of assisted suicide involving women about whom I knew nothing. As a result of having our office located in Evelyn’s home, all of our initiatives collapsed. All records, including membership and mailing lists, correspondence, and all ­supplies—even postage stamps—were seized and never returned to me. (I could hardly inquire about them without raising suspicion.) A bequest of nearly $50,000 from a Right to Die member in Nova Scotia disappeared without any accounting. The service that provided great comfort to Al Purdy, a man sometimes called the Voice of the Land, was no longer available to the rest of the land.

It was two years before Evelyn’s trial began. In November 2004, she was acquitted for lack of evidence. But the authorities’ awareness made it impossible to revive our assisted death service. Since then, many Canadians have suffered greatly, trying to have a meaningful choice in dying. They include such prominent names as Donald Low, the Mount Sinai micro­biologist who died from a brain tumour in 2013; Gloria Taylor, the ALS patient from BC who petitioned the government for her right to die; and Kathleen Carter, a woman suffering from degenerative spinal stenosis, whose federal challenge finally convinced the Supreme Court to lift the ban on assisted death. Each left a message on the wall of human suffering. Each sought an assisted death. Some received publicity, but Canada denied them the help that we were able to provide Al Purdy.

Last year, while preparing this account of Al’s death, I consulted two lawyers, one a widely respected expert on constitutional aspects of criminal law. There’s no statute of limitations in our Criminal Code. Nor is there recognition of “euthanasia” or “mercy killing.” I was told that, upon publication of this article, I could be arrested and charged with crimes ranging from assisted suicide to first-degree murder. If charged, I would immediately lose my passport. If bail was prohibitively high, I could languish in jail indefinitely. Under current Canadian law, there’s no apparent difference between me and killers such as Robert Pickton, Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olson.

In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that a general prohibition of physician-assisted suicide was unconstitutional. It violated the rights of “competent adults who are suffering intolerably as a result of a grievous and irremediable medical condition.” Within a few months, there will be systems in place to help people achieve a good death in Canada. I will not be here to see it. At age 78, I have been diagnosed with two terminal illnesses (pulmonary fibrosis and prostate cancer) and an unstable heart. As I complete this article in February 2016, I have learned that, for the third time in six years, the electrical system of my heart has become unstable, and I may need a third ablation procedure. I’ve had undiagnosed rectal bleeding daily for two months. My quality of life has disintegrated.

On February 23, I will fly to Switzerland to die. The latitude of Swiss law appeals to me—laypersons are permitted to assist voluntary deaths—and I wish to end my life in the company of good people. By the time this story is published, I will be dead. Every day that I am able to write, I work on completing a book, The Future of Death: True Stories About Assisted Dying, to be published as an e-book by Canadian Humanist Publications after my death. It’s the last best thing I can do to give Canadians a deeper understanding of right-to-die events during the last 25 years.

I belong to Eternal Spirit, an organization near Basel, Switzerland, that provides voluntary assisted death services to foreigners. They’ve vetted me on medical grounds for a legally assisted death. I’ve chosen Eternal Spirit because its founder, Dr. Erika Preisig, developed an innovative IV infusion technique for the barbiturate Natrium-Pentobarbital, which causes a peaceful passing within a few minutes. I have an iPad app that counts down the time I have left. Dr. Michael Irwin, a respected figure in the right-to-die movement in England and a former medical director at the United Nations, has offered to be with me and to pay half of Eternal Spirit’s costs, which total around $10,000. A trust in Switzerland related to Eternal Spirit will pay the remaining half. I bought a $1,200 round trip fare to Basel—a return ticket looks better as one passes through the scrutiny of officialdom.

Someday, doctors will offer assisted death services much more sophisticated than anything I created. Providing others with humane deaths at a time of their choosing will be seen as an important public service. I imagine a time when the progressive features of Al Purdy’s death will become end-of-life options for all Canadians. My actions will be considered unremarkable.

Editor’s note: John Hofsess died at 4:45 p.m. ET on February 29, 2016, as planned, in Basel, Switzerland.

624 thoughts on “I helped eight people end their lives. By the time you read this, I’ll have ended mine

  1. This man encouraged vulnerable people to give up on life – and then he killed them. Not surprisingly, when he was himself sick, he too gave up on life and asked someone else to kill him. In the ideas he has put forth and in his actions, John Hofsess cheapened life and worked to put in place a movement which will result in the death of many people who might be saved if only they fought to stay alive. Medical cures are indeed sometimes found at the last minute. In my life, I have seen it happen. A person is sick with an “incurable” disease. Quality of life goes out the window. Despair sets in. And then, a new drug trial starts, the person goes on it, and is completely cured. Giving people the apparently easy way out will lead to many people dying who would otherwise have been cured. And it robs the world of the gifts these people might have shared in their final days, their talents, their love. Suicide is the coward’s way out. Mr. Hofsess encouraged people to be cowards and, in my view, he himself died a coward. A coward with delusions of grandeur.

  2. It’s not up to you, James. Why do little, bullying people like you always think you know better about another person’s life, dignity, or pain than they do. “Suicide is the coward’s way out?” Brave words from a man not facing an agonizing death himself. What a big, strong, righteous fellow you are.

  3. It’s up to all of us as Canadians to tell our MPs what laws we want to see enacted in this country and to provide fair and reasonable comment on matters of public interest, which this is since it affects our laws. That’s called free speech and while it may grate on your nerves, it’s a constitutionally-protected right. With regards to the meat of your comment, well, there really isn’t any meat – anything of substance – in it at all, is there? Your entire retort is nothing but an ad hominem attack, an attempt to portray me in an unfavourable light so as to infer that my statements are ridiculous. That’s both illogical and ungracious and it should be beneath you. Certainly, it’s beneath me.

  4. Disparaging suicide as “the coward’s way out” is what should be beneath you, but apparently is not. Thankfully the SCC did not take your opinion into account when deciding Carter v Canada.

  5. That’s completely correct. I do disparage suicide. I do regard ending one’s life as being something which has very little worth. I consider it to be a worthless act, a waste of human life, giving up, cowardice or a sign of mental illness. It is not something to encourage or assist. I make no secret of the fact that I value human life and consider killing people to be a bad thing.

  6. It is a hard thing to see another human being following a track of disease through a long & painful conclusion.
    I don’t believe that assisted suicide/manslaughter is the right choice.
    I’m even more concerned if it gains more momentum in the States, where underlying cultural perspective deems someone’s productivity as the valuation of their life (more and more).
    The seeds have been planted; various expressions of this; to a point where by public pressure (messages, themes in media; fictional or not; and news reporting) will advocate this as the ‘honorable’ and less burdensome thing to do… The ‘non-productive’ will -all- fall under this; the terminally ill, the mentally ill, the simply “aged”, the disabled.. it’s been simmering for quite a while, and at the same time, the value of human life has diminished. It’s a hard ‘argument’ to press for a long & painful death versus allowing the individual to choose their death’.. The ‘logic’ is persuasive; though regardless of that pressure, I still cannot agree with it, at some instinctive level. There is one thing to prolong artificially maintaining ‘life signs’; it’s another matter to draw the line back to be within too easy a reach for anyone, everyone to be ‘persuaded’ to do so. There’s such a sense of wrongness, instinctively, to me, for assisted suicide; death by ‘choice’.

  7. If you value human life and you value constitutionally protected rights, you ought to let people make up their own minds about their own lives.

  8. As the Supreme Court put it when striking down the legislative prohibition:

    “An individual’s response to a grievous and irremediable medical condition is a matter critical to their dignity and autonomy. The law allows people in this situation to request palliative sedation, refuse artificial nutrition and hydration, or request the removal of life-sustaining medical equipment, but denies them the right to request a physician’s assistance in dying. This interferes with their ability to make decisions concerning their bodily integrity and medical care and thus trenches on liberty. And, by leaving people like Ms. Taylor to endure intolerable suffering, it impinges on their security of the person.”

    I suspect you have never had personal experience with suicide or you wouldn’t be so absolutist (I have and I am not).

  9. If you had ever watched your family member die a slow, debilitating, demeaning and inevitable death from ALS, you would not have the utter and santimonious gall to call them a coward.

    Demanding that people in insufferable and painful physical conditions prolong their slow deaths so that they can share more of their talents and love with you is completely selfish.

  10. Attacking dead people is easy, isn’t it? You don’t have to follow up with reason and you don’t have to treat them like people.

    It’s very interesting that you think you have the right to pronounce judgement on the lives of people you know nothing about and on how they chose to die. Medical cures are indeed sometimes found at the last minute, but far, far more often people die in great pain having suffered needlessly – and it is certainly not for you to decide how much suffering is acceptable before they’re allowed to die.

  11. Demanding that others live out the end of an agonizing terminal illness to satisfy your own vision of acceptable ways to die is not valuing life, it’s fetishizing it.

  12. That kind of ‘slippery slope’ argument has proved to be incorrect in countries where society values a person as more than a lifespan.

  13. It feels like you didn’t even read the article, or let the facts sink in. The world is not being robbed of gifts that creative people might have created with a few more unpleasant, sad, agonizing days. Most of us would want to drag things out and not admit our mortality, but sometimes suffering can clarify our feelings about end of life. Good for brave, compassionate people like John Hofsess for helping people take control of their lives.

  14. Ive known John since the early 1980’s. He was a kind and gentle soul. He encouraged me to become a social worker as a result of the ADS crisis while we lived in NYC. I believe he was profoundly touched by the crisis as we witnessed thousands of senseless deaths. John was a great thinker – often selflessly helping others. He was friends with the writers Quentin Crisp and Edmund White and introduced me to the world of literature and arts. We have lost a great Canadian writer and humanist. Rest in peace. Wayne Brown, LCSW. Fort lauderdale.Florida

  15. Hello James, I hope you are never personally experiencing such pain and despair from an inevitably fatal illness that you seek the relief of self-initiated end to your suffering, but I also hope that you humble yourself enough to truly consider the suffering of those who do wish for such relief.

  16. A coward, Mr. Risdon says. Well, I don’t know. From the description of Mr. Hofness’ illnesses, he could have hung on. But he didn’t want to. And so why should he? When it comes to the phase where the quality of your life is no longer meaningful to you, I feel you should have the choice to end it in a dignified way, rather than in botched suicide attempts that horrify all around you and cause you damage and more pain.
    I’ve thought about this option, as a person with MS. I have a progressive, chronic illness with no known cure and no known cause. As I get older, it becomes apparent that neither is likely to be found in my lifetime. It’s likely I shall end my days paralyzed, totally dependent, unable to feed myself or go to the bathroom without aid.
    Over the course of this illness, I’ve lost the ability to work, the ability to feel (I am almost completely numb), my walking strength, and a lot of my cognitive abilities. I struggle, do what I can to stay healthy. But it’s a downhill slide. Even if they find a “cure” it is unlikely to bring back my lost abilities.
    And at SOME point, I will want to cease being a burden on society and my family and opt out. The thought terrifies me, and I don’t know that I will have the courage to go through with it. I’m hoping I’ll be brave enough to decide for the many and go.
    I think that takes courage, rather than hanging onto life with a death grip, bankrupting all around you as you do. Of course, I will leave my body to science, so that others won’t have to decide as I do. In the meantime, I’ll fight as I can so that anyone who is certain that life is no longer worth the effort can make that decision, in peace and with love. I’ve seen far too many people die the other way (I am a nurse) to wish a long drawn out death on anyone.

  17. My dog got bone cancer last year. We tried to treat it, but it was in her spine and it spread fast, and she quickly lost the use of her back legs. She was in terrible pain when she wasn’t drugged into oblivion. It was unbelievably hard, but after a week of futile treatment, we had to make a decision to let her go. We held her as the vet slipped a needle into her leg and injected a drug that stopped her heart. There was no pain or distress. Her pain was over and she was gone in a few minutes.

    We deny that same basic, humane exit to people who suffer from bone cancer, or any other terminal illness that will kill them slowly and in great pain. Why is this? Why are we able to make a “compassionate choice” for our pets, but not our parents, or our friends, or ourselves? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Do we like seeing people suffer? If you let an animal suffer the way we let people suffer from terminal illness, you’d be jailed for animal cruelty.

  18. Different thinkers have often been judged by mainstream society throughout the history. However, they frequently proved to be a generator of change. RIP John Hofsess.

  19. It’s clear you’ve misunderstood my position. Let me be clear: I am not calling anyone who suffers a slow, debilitating death a coward. Anyone who can face such a condition and rise above it, as did Jesus Christ, has my utmost respect. The gesture I find cowardly is to flee that situation by committing suicide. And the act I find disgustingly morally reprehensible is to go about killing vulnerable people who, feeling they have no other choice, accept this entire “dying with dignity” claptrap. In places where assisted suicide has been legalized, perfectly healthy people have asked and been allowed to have themselves killed because they were suffering emotional distress. In doesn’t take a genius to realize that a person suffering from a psychological problem should get psychological treatment and not the death penalty. It should also be fairly easy to understand that many people who suffer what are commonly thought to be “incurable” illnesses or conditions are routinely saved through the fine work done by medical researchers to develop new cures. Under the “dying with dignity” paradigm, a person facing a so-called incurable illness would be expected to choose to end their life when in the few short weeks after they have been killed a cure could well be introduced which would save their life and give them decades more with their friends and families. The “dying with dignity” movement has already led to the premature deaths of people who would have been cured. When society’s values get so twisted and perverted that a call to save people’s lives is seen as being selfish, well, that’s a new moral low. The “dying with dignity” movement’s attitude towards human life is callous and caters to the most vulnerable people in society’s fears, encouraging them to take the coward’s way out. What these people need is good palliative care, medical research, and spiritual and emotional support – not a death sentence.

  20. That’s exactly the type of illogical, emotional response I would expect from the “dying with dignity” movement. A cowardly, anonymous attack on my reputation from the anonymity of an internet discussion forum. No rational arguments. No logic. Just a vicious personal attack in a desperate attempt to prop up an untenable position. It’s a comment that speaks volumes of the “dying with dignity” movement.

  21. So, is it your position that it’s okay to kill some people needlessly and prematurely, depriving them of the life they would have had due to the discovery of a medical cure or a spontaneous remission, just so other people can choose to commit suicide? Tell me something. How many people are you willing to see killed for the convenience of those who would choose to “die with dignity”? Is it okay to kill, say, 1,000 people? How about 100? How about one? Who are you willing to sacrifice and deprive of life, tearing them away from their loved ones, in order to further this “dying with dignity” cause?

  22. When life ceases to be a positive value in an of itself and this nebulous “quality of life” thing is put in its place, then society as a whole suffers. There are those who, seeing themselves confined to a wheelchair or a bed, decide that their “quality of life” is no longer acceptable and, feeling despair and pain and fear, choose to end it all. So, what are those people saying? Are they saying that people like Stephen Hawking, who has contributed greatly to human knowledge, is living a life not worth living? Are they saying that Christopher Reeve, who is best known for playing Superman but who also inspired millions with his commitment and work to advance the cause of research into spinal-cord injuries, should have been put down like a dog? Years ago, ignorance of where the “dying with dignity” movement was leading could possibly have been used as an excuse for supporting it. But now we know because some other countries have legalized the practice of assisted suicide. We know that it has led to people being killed for purely emotional distress, something for which a person should get therapy instead of a death sentence. We know that there has indeed been a slippery slope and that this “dying with dignity” movement is leading to the deaths of people who can be helped with psychotherapy, with palliative care, and sometimes even cured with new advances in medical research. While I can’t stop anyone from killing themselves, I can certainly exercise my constitutionally-protected freedom of speech to comment on a matter of public interest in a fair and reasonable manner and denounce assisted suicide and this “dying with dignity” movement as a callous and selfish and cowardly practice which cheapens human life. It is, quite simply, wrong and bad public policy.

  23. There is nothing brave about killing sick and vulnerable people after having convinced them to end their lives.

    Of course, there are many people who do regard murderers as their personal heroes. Most of them are criminals serving time in jail.

  24. That’s a lovely strawman you’ve levelled at me. Too bad I’m not interested in discussing it.

    If you don’t have a rational argument and must instead resort to the kind of silliness you’ve just posted, you probably shouldn’t post at all.

  25. Speaking of illogical, emotional responses, your attempted implication that I’d be content to see hundreds or thousands of people wrongly killed certainly fits that bill.

    Your attitude speaks volumes of the people who oppose the informed choice to end one’s life instead of suffering for no reason. It must be truly breathtaking to be so arrogant that you think you can impose an agonizing death on anyone.

  26. For someone who was whining about a purported ad hominem attack you certainly do indulge in them a lot.

  27. And so you have exercised your right to speech, as have I. Perhaps you misunderstood me. I have no desire to inflict this choice on others, and yes, good palliative care is essential, including pain relief and all of that, and I would encourage more investment in it.
    I would agree with you, except that we have evolved medical science to such an extent that we can keep people alive far past where they normally would be, even if their condition is incurable, even if they are in pain, even if they have long since “left the building”. For a while, we weren’t even allowed to refuse medical treatment, which seems to me far more inhumane than the alternative.
    I do take issue with your denial of emotional distress as being a reason for assisted dying. Mental illness is as real an illness as cancer, and kills people in inhumane and cheap ways all the time. I have known people who have suffered their entire life battling it, and are just as tired as someone with stage 4 cancer. They should also be afforded a dignified alternative to slitting their wrists or whatever.
    There is no evidence of the “slippery slope” in countries where assisted death has been implemented.
    As for my personal point of view – well, I’d rather have my health care dollars spent on others than me, but that is solely MY choice, and I hope to be able to legally make it.

  28. Well, let’s see how reasonable that is.

    Should I encourage the 13-year-old girl whose boyfriend has broken up with her and says she wants to die kill herself?

    Do I encourage the businessman who has lost all his money can’t go face his wife and kids kill himself because he’s depressed?

    How about the athlete, the champion runner, who loses his legs in a car accident and falls into depression?

    Should I respect these people’s desire to die in a moment of vulnerability?

    You see, I think that the idea that people should be free to make up their own minds about dying is a crock. Everyone has moments in which they feel depression. And in places where assisted suicide has been made legal, those people are allowed to ask to be killed – and they are.

    There is in Canada a constitutional right to life. It’s in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    There is no right to death.

    That’s a fiction created by the “dying with dignity” movement. It’s a lie based on nothing but fear and cowardice. And it’s a lie that’s killing people.

  29. All of which just goes to show that the Supreme Court is fallible.

    In the past, there have been court decisions and laws supporting slavery and other such horrible things. An appeal to authority, which is what you are making, is an error in logic.

  30. That is not the fallacy of appeal to authority. The SCoC is an actual authority on matters like this.

  31. We know what you want and feel, but I do not think you care about what others besides yourself want and feel. Read the stories — many people want to commit suicide because of quality of life, not because
    of lost productivity. Most of the stories you read of these kinds of suicides are of people who have already been retired for many years. I have considered suicide as a possibility for people like myself: I’m 55 and have multiple sclerosis. Prolonging such a life helps no one but an outsider like you feel better for yourself. I do not want to live, I want to thrive, and if I was confined to my home or bed because of my condition, that would not be thriving — but what do you care about my quality of life? You don’t want me or need me or love me. Then to make matters worse, a loved one of mine would have to do all the dirty work of cleaning my bedsheets or clothing or cooking because I could not — but what do you care about what my loved ones have to go through? You don’t want them or need them or love them as I do. And I could not afford the many escalating bills. There is expensive rehabilitation and hospitals (for the exacerbations) and so on. Where does the money to pay for that come from? I want to leave my wife with a house and a car that I worked hard to get, but with forced payments to Obamacare (which is a joke) and other institutions trying to bankrupt me first, I need to put an end to that highway robbery.

    Speaking of insurance, no matter what insurance you have, they will not pay the cost of any of the horribly expensive MS drugs used to reduce exacerbations (e.g. — Tecfidera @ $50 a pill, taken twice a day, costing $36,500 a year for something that could be synthesized in a High School chem class for about 50 cents a pill).

    The world needs more wonderful people like John Hofsess. Most people love to, or at least approve of, killing other people for very stupid and flimsy reasons — say like the Gulf War was fought over — and they do it to people who did not want or ask to be killed. They approve of the death penalty, which has to hire good ol’ fashioned killers to perform the deed. Yet they still delude themselves in believing that they are “moral” people standing on higher “moral ground” here in regards to assisted suicides. But when a truly compassionate person kills others in order to help end their never-ending suffering and pain, people who wanted and asked to be killed, that compassionate person is condemn by the “moral” people. I suppose those same “moral” people would not complain if the killer had used an AK-47 or an M16-A1 to kill their clients. Then it would suddenly become a “morally proper” thing.

    At least this article gives you enough information to know how to do it for yourself. It makes me wonder if you killed yourself, would that make you a killer who deserved to be killed?

  32. Well, my goodness. That’s certainly a profound and insightful comment – particularly with the stylish little edit. I wonder how many minds you’ve changed with your perspicacity?

  33. Oh, DO tell us more about “ad hominem attacks”, please – the irony is just delicious.

  34. You think these people were convinced? You don’t think any of them convinced themselves, new what was best for them, made the decision themselves to go out with dignity? Everyone would agree (including the late writer of the article) that people suffering from depression and not terminal disease should be deterred from suicide and treated for their illness. The people discussed here are those for whom there are no better days around the corner, people who know there’s only days that fall increasingly below their threshold of acceptable quality of life. The worry of lawmakers is that legal assisted suicide could be abused, but that is clearly not the case with those whose stories are being told here. I understand the challenge lawmakers face. I don’t understand those who deny that this is ever a decent and compassionate thing.

  35. I’m past 60 and have Systemic Lupus. I’m in pain all the time. As it is right now, I am losing the use of the right side of my body. All I want in the world is to see my children happy. One is married and reasonably happy and the other just graduated from college in a field he loves and once he gets a good job, He will be happy. I am a freelance writer, and every day it gets harder to get my brain to work and to make a living. A simple 500-word project can take me hours to write, because the brain fog completely negates my ability to put words into any intelligible form. I’ve written something, gone to bed, gotten back up the next morning and been shocked at the gibberish I see on the screen. It sometimes takes me four rewrites to turn in anything decent. The last large project I had, I figured out that I made $4 an hour. That just isn’t acceptable, but I have no choice. I have to keep on doing what I’m doing until I can’t do it at all.

    Once I see my children happy, I will end this farce of a life. If I cannot contribute anything of value to society, there is no need to be alive, at least not in my eyes. I know they will be sad for a long time, but I also know they will understand and eventually accept that begging me to stay alive for their sakes would have been selfish.

  36. No, it doesn’t – it might tell you something about “butters”, but that’s all. If a verbally abusive twit showed up on this discussion who happened to agree with you, would you contend that his lack of civility told us anything at all about you, or your beliefs? At least try to stick to logic, please.

  37. I have no such good wishes for you. I hope you die in agony screaming for someone to kill you. I realize that is not a kind thing to say, but you are advocating that for others, and your karma will give you what you deserve. You look a bit overweight there. I foresee heart problems or diabetes in your future.

  38. I totally disagree with you James. Your thoughts of a last minute cure are simply a pipe dream. Have you watched a friend or family member spend the last 3 months of their life totally drugged up to ease their pain? Have you watched them disoriented and upset because they are confused beyond comprehension? Have you watched their painful struggle for that last breath of air? Share their love and talents in their final days? Are you frigging kidding me? You have obviously not watched enough human suffering. People who commit assisted suicide, or suicide by their own hand, are not cowards, James Risdon. They are intelligent, brave people, who have made a choice. Yes, James, we as human beings should be legally allowed to make that choice.

  39. My terminally ill father starved himself to death in the hospital, refusing food because he knew my mother was too frail to care for him, 24-7, as she had done for the last three years of his life. He did not want to go to the home. His “care” involved continuous medication with morphine and the occasional forced drink of water. Was he brave? No. Was their love beautiful? Yes. Was it tragic? Undoubtedly. But you have no right to judge others, their lives, or their passions. If he had chosen suicide (an impossibility for him, which in fact, did become possible because he made the choice to sign the DNR that prevented forced feeding), did that make him less of a man in your eyes? Perhaps we should have petitioned the court to force food into his body via tubes, reanimating his sickened and emaciated body? Surely the kind of care a staunch champion of values such as yourself would admire. Go be with grace, and try to be a better person.

  40. “Should I encourage the 13-year-old girl whose boyfriend has broken up with her and says she wants to die kill herself?”

    Why would you even bring that into this conversation? It’s like asking whether people think she should undergo chemo and radiation therapy for her sadness.

  41. I’m thankful for James Risdon, without whom this comments section would just be a boring stream of comments saying “Wow, what a moving, thought-provoking article.”

  42. James, the one and only thing that is absolutely yours is your life. You get to decide what you do with it.

    The thing that I find interesting is that you probably support people like police officers and fireman, maybe even soldiers. Those people lay down their lives for your safety everyday. They chose to die so that you can live. Sounds to me like you’re ok that people can chose to die in the line of work they chose for themselves, but when they chose to die for any other reason, it isn’t ok.

    Another way of looking at it also that people who quote the Bible should think about. Christ CHOSE to die on the cross. He knew Judas betrayed him and he knew what was coming, so rather than struggling to live another day, He CHOSE to die. He committed suicide by not walking away and living on to continue preaching. So are you saying that Christ was wrong to chose death?

    And if no, then why is it ok for Christ to chose death but not anyone else?

  43. Hmmm yes well… I’ve personally witnessed several people commit suicide as they jumped in front of my train. The looks on their faces certainly were so much more different than the people I’ve hit who took a misstep.
    It was courage I saw.
    Indomitable courage. Bravery to overcome the innate reflex to survive.
    It wasn’t my choice to be involved but I accept I was just a means to an end for people who genuinely believed in what they were doing.
    It was their choice for what ever reasons they had. I always felt differently about these people than the ones who made a horrible mistake.
    To be clear: I’m not saying it was a lovely experience or that I’m advocating for people to use the train to end their lives .
    What I am saying is that to call people who decide to end their lives, cowards is ridiculous and it’s a flagrant lie. It’s also very shameful for someone sitting behind their keyboard to judge those who have opted to take their lives into their own hands because there still isn’t a cure for their disease and maybe they are done waiting.
    Your bellowing judgements sound like a flat fart in an empty room.

  44. Now you are being facetious and bullying. You say you value human life but you do not respect others’ opinions. That makes you a hypocrite, and your arguments empty.

  45. I have suffered with chronic depression for most of my life. “Psychological help” has come only in the form of medication which has taken away most of my few pleasures. I have carried on because the one person I love is not ready to let me go.

    I am lonely and isolated and certain that the quality of my life is mediocre on the best days.
    Both of my parents have/had Alzheimer’s. I have seen the terror in my mother’s eyes when she had moments of clarity and understood, fleetingly, what was happening to her.

    Should I be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I will end my own life on my own terms. It will spare my loved one the pain of watching helplessly as I drift away, locked in a body that I don’t even recognize in the mirror. There will be no moral vacillation and I will never subject my decision to the condescending opinions of people like this Risdon character. If there is a Jesus Christ, he/she will certainly understand.

  46. Andrew, thank-you for shining light on the hypocrisy of those advocating war and the death penalty while simultaneously refusing a gentle death for those requesting one. Apparently, their role in life is to maximize the suffering of others, either through forced death, or forced life. No doubt, their faulty moral framework is based on some ancient text that has been used over and over again to justify disgusting actions.

    And yet we continue to provide tax breaks and charitable status to this nonsense.

  47. Great DIY guide for depressed people wanting kill themselves. Is this responsible journalism?

  48. People. Do you not recognize expert trolling when you see it? This one person is following the Internet Troll Guide Book to a T: outrageous and inflammatory statements; ad hominem attacks; bullying; dismissal of others’ views; condescension; wildly inappropriate “examples”; slippery slope arguments … He is an expert troll and you are feeding him. I’m sure he is sitting happily and safely behind his computer, gobbling up the attention, wondering how else he can trigger your outrage.

  49. Translation: “I insist on shoving my values down other people’s throats. Fuck ’em if they’re suffering.”

  50. … Because depressed people have never been able to figure out how to do that?

  51. Curumno was not “appealing to authority”, but simply quoting from the decision. The only error made was yours, in claiming that this was an appeal to authority. Nice try, though.

  52. Here is a description of what the appeal to authority logical error is:

    The argument from authority can take several forms. A legitimate argument from authority can take the general form:

    X holds that A is true.

    X is an authority on the subject.

    The consensus of authorities agrees with X.

    There is a presumption that A is true.

    The argument is fallacious if one or more of the premises are false, OR IF IT IS CLAIMED THAT THE CONCLUSION MUST BE TRUE ON THE BASIS OF AUTHORITY, RATHER THAN ONLY PROBABLY TRUE. (emphasis mine).

    Even if we were to accept that the Supreme Court of Canada is indeed an authority on matters of morality, end of life, etc. – which I do not concede since it is only a judicial body and not a moral authority – then the appeal to authority logical fallacy would still apply. An appeal to authority cannot be used to insist that something must be true.

  53. James, get one thing straight: no one is trying to “convince them to end their lives”. What we are trying to do is to give people options, to improve the quality of their lives, and the quality of their deaths. This is an expression of empathy and compassion — something that all of your posts lack.

  54. I am not the one claiming that others are being “facetious and bullying” or calling others “a hypocrite”.

    Your name-calling is nothing more than an ad hominem attack, an attempt to discredit my position by trying to tarnish my reputation. It is illogical and ungracious.

    Your comment provides absolutely nothing of substance towards the reasonable and civil discussion of this matter of public interest.

  55. You’re absolutely right; it isn’t a kind thing to say.

    It’s a pity you are choosing to make this personal and trying to insult me and curse me.

    But then, that seems to be a common response among the “dying with dignity” crowd.

    Personally, I think it speaks volumes of the callousness and disrespect for life of the movement.

  56. And here we have a strawman attack, another logical fallacy, being used to try to discredit my position without actually addressing what I have stated.

    First of all, I certainly did not use such vulgarity.

    Secondly, I never expressed a disregard for human suffering. I have explicitly stated, for those who can read and comprehend what they read, that I support proper palliative care. To suggest otherwise is, quite simply, putting words in my mouth.

    Finally, there is absolutely no difference in me expressing my position on this and other people expressing their position on it. It is no more “shoving values down other people’s throats” to express on position more than another.

  57. It’s not a strawman.

    We know because it has already happened in other jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal that perfectly healthy people have been killed in the name of dying with dignity because they were depressed.

    If we allow this to happen here, then the best information we have indicates physically healthy people who are depressed will seek out assisted suicide and will be killed.

    The question then becomes: how many of them do you want to sacrifice in the name of allowing “dying with dignity”?

    How many deaths will it take?

  58. Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to face up to it.

    Your mother showed courage. She had moments when she was afraid but she faced her fears.

    I hope you find the courage to do the same should you unfortunately face a similar situation and/or that you have good people around you to support you and help you to continue to treasure life.

  59. Public policy cannot be made based on the extremely few exceptions which sometimes arise challenging the common sense of any given law.

    We have, for example, speeding limits. We have them despite the need to sometimes exceed the speeding limit for a very good reason. A mother and father race to get to a hospital to save their child’s life. Good reason. Do we eliminate speeding limits? No. Why not? It’s simply not good public policy for a number of reasons.

    In the same way, assisted suicide is bad public policy. Even if there were an exception which warranted such a course of action – and I don’t concede that there is – it would still not be a normal or reasonable process to base public policy on that exception.

  60. How are my beliefs or experiences important in terms of discussing the points I am making?

    The points in a discussion should either stand or fall on their own merit, not because I have or do not have a particular set of life experiences or beliefs.

  61. Not a pipe dream. I’ve seen it happen.

    In regards to your questions: Yes. Yes. Yes. And Yes.

    No, I’m not kidding you.

    They may be intelligent, wonderful people. They are, however, not being brave. They are being duped.

  62. You’re quite right that you should and do have the right to comment on public policy. I’ve seen no one disputing your right to do so. They too have the right to describe your position for what it is, an attempt to impose your values and decisions onto others. What constitutes unbearable suffering is inherently 100% subjective. That you would condemn others to such suffering is unconscionable. Thankfully, our Supreme Court has finally determined that individual freedom and bodily autonomy trumps the dictatorial, cruel practices that you espouse.

  63. Yes, it is a strawman; you made up a situation where I want to see people killed and asked me to defend that nonsense. I’m again going to decline to engage with your nonsense.

  64. No, it does not apply. Using entirely relevant SCoC rulings as support for an argument is what we call ‘relevant’.

  65. Prove it. You want to impose your will on people dying slowly and in great pain, so you get to demonstrate that your opinions are supported by something more than “I think so”.

  66. Name calling is not ad hominem.

    You really need to learn the meaning of these fallacies you keep throwing around. You haven’t had one correct yet.

  67. “Anyone who can face such a condition and rise above it, as did Jesus Christ, has my utmost respect.”

    Jesus did not have the option of ending things early.

  68. Enjoyed this colloquy on Appeal-to-Authority, from the man who also accuses another of ad-hominem — but only after himself labeling a whole class of thinkers as ‘cowards’. That was rich.

    Maybe you have a point or two, but a better, logically consistent, messenger is advised.

  69. If a depressed person wants to die they should be able to, without resorting to dangerous unreliable methods. Who are you to force others to live against their will?

  70. Like dogs we are an animal, just a different sort. Just like dogs we suffer and die. We have the ability to talk and have opposable thumbs, other than that though we are no better than dogs.

  71. Plants also suffer and die but I’d like to think that we’re not vegetables.

    Look, you may regard human beings no more highly than the average backyard mutt – and that’s your right – but I consider people to be capable of much more, as witnessed by the rise of religion, scientific thought, art, culture, technology, and philosophy.

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no dog philosophy or space program.

  72. Impossible to say.

    Mind you, if you weren’t concerned about the ability of my comments to change people’s minds or at least make them think about this issue more deeply, it seems unlikely you’d be bothering to make sarcastic comments about my position on this issue.

  73. Plants suffer do they? I am interested in reading whatever scientific study you have read that backs up that assertion.

  74. I would love to agree with you if you were right.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There is indeed evidence of a slippery slope in countries where assisted suicide has been legalized. What started as a proposed solution for people with incurable physical illnesses has now been extended to people who are just depressed and who could benefit from therapy and medication.

    Mental illness is very much real. That’s one of the reasons why assisted suicide should not be legal. Emotional distress is not a valid reason for helping someone kill themselves.

    The solution to a psychological problem is psychological intervention, not helping them commit suicide.

  75. I have not labelled an entire class of thinkers as cowards. I have labelled people who commit suicide out of a fear of the future as cowards.

  76. Fellow MSer here. I’m 57. Like you, I want to thrive, not just live, and I don’t want to be a burden on my family or society (well, except for that son of mine who deserves a burden…;-) )I hope there is hope for a gentle exit when I need one.

  77. “Giving people the apparently easy way out will lead to many people dying who would otherwise have been cured.” I disagree. You may be right that some people will die when if they’d only waited it out, they might have been cured. But at what cost, the waiting? I don’t think any of us can know how we’d react, what we’d want if we found ourselves in a situation like Purdy’s, like any number of people who have suffered from ALS, etc. I suspect the potential for being pain-free when you’re suffering pretty much 24/7 might be quite the impetus. But I don’t know. I found this to be a powerful, disturbing article. But I defend anyone’s right to make the decisions that were made here, as I defend yours to disagree.

  78. Anyone, who is sensitive enough, or, foolish enough to ask to leave, should have the door held open.

  79. “There is in Canada a constitutional right to life. It’s in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    There is no right to death.”

    Well, to quote the relevant portion from Carter:

    “In short, the case law suggests that the right to life is engaged where the law or state action imposes death or an increased risk of death on a person, either directly or indirectly. Conversely, concerns about autonomy and quality of life have traditionally been treated as liberty and security rights. We see no reason to alter that approach in this case.

    This said, we do not agree that the existential formulation of the right to life requires an absolute prohibition on assistance in dying, or that individuals cannot “waive” their right to life. This would create a “duty to live”, rather than a “right to life”, and would call into question the legality of any consent to the withdrawal or refusal of lifesaving or life-sustaining treatment. The sanctity of life is one of our most fundamental societal values. Section 7 is rooted in a profound respect for the value of human life. But s. 7 also encompasses life, liberty and security of the person during the passage to death. It is for this reason that the sanctity of life “is no longer seen to require that all human life be preserved at all costs” (Rodriguez, at p. 595, per Sopinka J.). And it is for this reason that the law has come to recognize that, in certain circumstances, an individual’s choice about the end of her life is entitled to respect. […]”

    IIRC, McLachlin J (as she was then) specifically indicated something to a similar effect in her dissent for Rodriguez, so observers of the SCC saw it coming (at least I certainly did).

  80. Wow! What an article. An amazing man….hopefully our laws will continue to change in the right direction. I have always believed we are kinder to our animals than to our fellow humans who for valid, human reasons deserve this choice.

  81. Glad, you’re thankful, I’m not. I’m not in favor of legislating personal choice. If James Risdon doesn’t believe in suicide, he doesn’t have to kill himself.

  82. I am a person who values life and compassion towards the mentally ill, helping them even when they are incapable of making proper decisions for themselves.

  83. This isn’t the only person from the pro-assisted suicide crowd that has launched a personal attack against me. Their vulgarity and curses cannot be overlooked at this point as they show a trend.

  84. Suicide is personal interest, not public interest. Suicide should be legislated as a medical procedure, not as a social issue. You and your MPs should keep your noses out of other people’s business that doesn’t affect you.

  85. I’m not the one calling others trolls or wishing them to die agonizing deaths or calling them pieces of shit.

    You and the rest of the pro-assisted suicide crowd might not like my pro-life position on this issue but the unpleasant feeling you get when someone disagrees with you in a civil conversation does not in and of itself make you right. Nor does it discredit the other’s position.

  86. All that shows is that plants transmit electrical currents not that they suffer or feel pain. Once again waiting for any scientific study that shows plants suffer or feel pain.

  87. You ask what these people are saying that choose not to live with what they consider an acceptable quality of life? They are in no way saying that someone else that finds a quality of life with the same condition should be “put down like a dog”. They are saying they should have the choice to live or die if they do not want to live with that quality of life. Your argument is like saying because I dye my hair from brown to black that I think all brunets should have black hair. It is an individual choice. The woman who is gang raped and burnt with acid and takes her life is in no way saying that the woman who was gang raped and burnt with acid who now travels the world bringing awareness to it should have died. She is only saying she can not live with that pain. Not that others can’t or shouldn’t.

    Yes you have the right of free speech but if that ever encroaches on someones right to choose to live or die then it crosses a humanitarian line and no longer is free speech but forcing your morals on another. The movement is not callous or cowardly. Yes it is selfish and to choose to die and not force yourself through more pain for others benefit is not a bad selfish. To demand someone live in daily torture so you don’t have to deal with their death is a bad selfish and demeaning with a hint of narcissism. You don’t want to die – then fight. But to try to put down others who have fought many for decades or that know there is only more pain ahead and choose to end their lives in peace instead of pain, fear and often a shell that has failed and helpless just shows how out of touch you are with your fellow humans.

    When legal assisted suicide is done right there are several backstops in place – In 2006, Belgium partially legalized euthanasia with certain regulations:

    The patient must be an adult and in a “futile medical condition of constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated”

    The patient must have a long-term history with the doctor, with euthanasia/physician assisted suicide only allowed for permanent residents…..

    There need to be several requests that are reviewed by a commission and approved by two doctors.

    It isn’t rocket surgery to diagnose someone who is in a form of pain that can’t be alleviated and to force them to hang on just in case demeans them and is not in their best interests.

    How many messed up attempts that cause brain damage or harm innocents could be avoided if we allowed assisted suicide? Many…..

  88. And when Psychological intervention fails? It is not guaranteed and fails often.

  89. Wow. So many personal attacks on Mr. Risdon. Is not our collective national identity based on tolerance? While I, personally, do not necessarily agree with Mr. Risdon’s seemingly black and white view of the subject, I can appreciate a well written and respectfully expressed opinion. This discourse is how the big decisions should be made. Too often on the internet, comments are merely an opportunity to jab and thrust… and not with any particular discipline. A national debate should have a high level of clarity, care, thought, and meaningful expression put into it. Then, the result will be what it will be. To be sure, with an aging population, many of us will face the turbulence of emotions mixed with the need for clear-headed decision-making in our own families and close circles. It is not an easy road. I have just faced it recently in my own life. But to discourage and attack someone with a different point of view–especially someone who expresses it using actual grammar (sorely lacking across the online world)– is the real mistake here, in my humble opinion.

  90. That’s just a bunch of ridiculous presuppositions which I do not hold at all.

    First of all, I am against the death penalty.

    Secondly, I am not in favour of a war unless it can be shown to be a just war meeting all four criteria for a just war. (The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.)

    While I realize that ascribing such ridiculous notions as the ones you have proposed to me can help to build a persuasive case to undermine my position, the simple fact of the matter is that your statements are blatantly false and without merit.

  91. You talk in circles, and thank God your opinion is the minority. Legislation will move forward James, like it or not.

  92. Have you considered the possibility that your interpretation of the looks on their faces may have more to do with helping you live with the fact that your train killed people than in any sort of accurate interpretation of what they actually felt?

    I find it entirely plausible that a decent human being would find it very difficult to cope with the idea that they had helped end another person’s life. The driver of a vehicle that kills someone is bound to suffer some kind of psychological trauma.

    But, if that person were capable of re-interpreting the death as something desired and something noble and even courageous, then they would presumably no longer feel guilty about their part in it. In fact, they might even come to see it as them helping someone.

    I suggest to you that the cognitive dissonance you experienced when your train killed someone may have affected the way your brain has interpreted the experience, allowing you to cope with a tragic situation.

  93. Haha. James you have a condescending way about you that makes people dislike you very much.

  94. With regards to “attacking dead people” and how easy it is ….

    I wrote exactly the same kind of thing back in 1993 or so in a newspaper column. At that time, Mr. Hofsess was still alive. And, yes, I got the same kind of comments then as I am getting here now.

    I have no qualms about stating my position to anyone who is alive. I am pro-life. I am against assisted suicide.

  95. Are you seriously invoking God, Who commanded “Thou shalt not kill”, in order to justify the killing of the sick and vulnerable through assisted suicide?

    That’s a neat trick.

  96. I find it hard to take anyone with the nickname of Lucifer, the “Father of Lies”, and the mark of the beast very seriously when they are purporting to tell me what’s good or bad.

    Is it revealing of the morality of the pro-assisted suicide camp that one of its adherents identifies with the Devil?

  97. Let me get this straight. You’re not in favour of legislating personal choice.

    Does that mean you’re in favour of decriminalizing all drugs, allowing prostitution as a legal business, removing age of consent laws for sexual activity, letting people engage in sexual acts with the animals they own (assuming the animals are consenting), getting rid of speed limits, permitting public nudity and sex acts in public, doing away with mandatory seatbelt laws …. and generally removing all legislation which restricts personal freedom in any way?

  98. Pain is transmitted in the human body through bio-electrical signals.

    When one of the plant’s leaves was burned, it transmitted bio-electrical signals.

    What part of that is difficult to understand?

  99. Thank you, Heather, for that refreshing comment.

    I agree 100 per cent that people should be able to disagree without launching into personal attacks and curses.

    In civilized discourse, people should be able to talk about the issue and the points supporting or against a particular position – and not resort to personal attacks.

  100. Sorry, my fault. At first i thought you were just ignorant. Now i see its much more than that. To suffer one must have consciousness. You are now saying that plants are conscious beings? Yes, plants sense stimulus but that doesn’t mean that stimulus is felt as pain and that the plants then suffer.

  101. Prostitution is legal in Canada, and children and animals are incapable of consenting (hence why they have parents sign permission forms for children). You don’t know very much about Canadian law, do you?

  102. Mind you, I don’t agree with him in the least, just saying (a bit cheekily) that without him we’d have no one to argue with.

  103. Ah. I see. You reserve pain for those creatures you consider to be more like us, sentient beings.

    I suppose if you see pain as something of which one has to be aware to feel, then you’re right. Plants probably do not feel pain in that sense.

    The examples I have provided would only demonstrate that plants feel pain in the sense of a measurable reaction by a living organism to violence against it.

  104. Your initial comment was that plants suffer. All lifeforms have protective measures they use to ensure survival. You cannot compare human suffering to the electrical stimulus that plants sense whether you want to call it pain or not.

  105. Coward no chance!….not hardly…rectal bleeding for two months….There is no way I would wait more than a few days of uncontrolled rectal bleeding….he still suffered greatly to finish detailing his life’s mission, book and article. I second you DA!

  106. Risdon’s opinion included directly implying that I (and others) would like to see hundreds of people murdered to bring assisted suicide to legality.

    Please, tell me how respectful that seems to you.

  107. No, you’re just implying that people who support assisted suicide would murder hundreds, or see them murdered, to bring it about.

  108. Solar panels transmit electrical signals when exposed to radiation levels that would burn a human’s skin.

    Are they feeling pain?

  109. If you lack the ability to comprehend what I have written, I cannot be responsible for the inaccurate inferences you draw.

    There is no such implication.

  110. “The question then becomes: how many of them do you want to sacrifice in the name of allowing “dying with dignity”?

    “How many deaths will it take?”

    Why must you lie about something so easily confirmed?

  111. There’s no point in much debate, except to allow everyone to make her/his own decision and then to provide the required help, if any is needed, to act accordingly.

    And James, there’s nothing wrong with public nudity, except some bodies look better than others. You need to visit more European saunas and you’ll loose your fear of it.

  112. James, I realize you are a terrible troll (by which I mean, you are terrible at not even hiding your obvious trolling) and I’m wasting my breath. But if you had ever see someone die of cancer, emaciated and barely able to breathe, you wouldn’t say this. Sorry your patent ignorance is such a barrier to you reaching any kind of understanding of any world outside your own narrow view. It must be terrible to wake up every morning, and live the life you’re leading.

  113. Dude. For real. I know you’re TRYING to appear deep, you’re TRYING to make it seem like you have something profound to say, but instead, you’re just making yourself look even more callow. Go do some reading, take a class at the Learning Annex, and buy yourself a clue. Then come back and try again. Maybe then you’ll say something worth paying attention to.

  114. Oh, I love it when the troll starts getting on his high horse, like he’s so much better and smarter than other people. Except YOUR OWN WORDS ON THIS PAGE are proof positive of what you DON’T know.

  115. And the discourse you’ve been providing is so much better? Check yourself, dude.

  116. Hey James Risdon – are you an MRA? A lot of this wannabe Spock-like “that is NOT logical!” stuff strikes me as similar to the stuff I’ve seen MRAs post on articles about feminism.

  117. Ah, I see. Now you’re accusing me of being a liar. I knew there was still an insult or two the pro-assisted suicide crowd had not yet dredged up to try and besmirch my character. Touche. You’ve reached a new low.

    Now, with regards to your comment ….

    Allowing someone to be sacrificed, allowing them to be killed at their misguided request, by doing nothing to stop assisted suicide or even by promoting its legalization is not murder. It may possibly be “see them murdered” if pro-assisted suicide people are working outside the law. But I am assuming, hopefully correctly, that pro-assisted suicide supporters would still obey the law in the vast majority of cases and are pushing for widespread legalization of assisted suicide. Under that scenario, it could not be said that this would then be “see them murdered” since the homicide would not be illegal.

    Homicide is the killing of people. Murder is a legal term which implies there must be an intent to unlawfully deprive someone of life.

    Certainly, allowing and promoting assisted suicide is akin to allowing and promoting homicide. It is, however, not promoting murder, except in those rare situations where it can be shown that someone acted outside the law to kill someone.

    If you read what I wrote, digest it and understand it, it will help you in avoiding these misleading statements.

  118. Yes, I said you were a liar, because you lied about what you wrote, as I proved. If you have a problem with that, don’t lie.

    I’m not interested in the rest of your excuses, as you are not honest enough to admit what I’ve already plainly demonstrated. I suggest you make the effort to be honest in the future.

    The only besmirchment to your character was what you committed.

  119. I’m sorry to see that you apparently cannot stand to have someone disagree with you without insulting them repeatedly and wishing upon them great suffering.

    But, then again, this seems to be a common attitude among several of the people who have expressed a pro-assisted suicide position in this comment section.

  120. Clearly what I am saying is worthy of your attention as you have left several comments – or insults – for me.

    The question remains, though: Do you actually have any points to make in support of your position?

    Or is your entire position based on simply insulting people who disagree with you?

    I suppose that’s two questions….

  121. That’s just so completely over the top in terms of being cruel and callous and ignorant and vulgar as to actually be funny.

    Do you get paid to write this stuff? Because, you know, you have a talent for it. I’m sure you’d make a very decent living as a writer for adult comic books.

  122. Ha ha! So you really believe that my comments were all about you. Although you will deny it, I bet you believe that the entire Universe revolves around you and your little causes. In real life though, my article wasn’t about you at all. I know it pains you to hear that, but sorry ’bout that. My comments were actually in regards about lots of people I (and other people with MS) have had discussions with and I don’t think you could qualify as “lots of people I’ve had discussions with”.

    And don’t worry about me being out to undermine you, because you are doing a good job of that all by yourself. Your unprompted, hostile, and conceited comments here are a fine example of that. You absolutely do not sound like a compassionate or kind or moral person. Not even close. So keep the comments coming so we can watch you repeatedly shoot yourself in the foot. I know I could use the laugh.

  123. Every human being has the right to die at their own hand under certain circumstances.

    Every human.

  124. Yes, you did imply that. What a shame you’re not honest enough to own up.

  125. The instances you mention in your original comment aren’t the ones that I think assisted suicide is intended for. You argue that the greater good of society is served by denying individuals of the right to kill themselves when faced with a terminal illness. However, the examples you cite do not relate to a terminal illness, but rather to disability. How about just saying that if the medical establishment says a person will die shortly in a brutal and painful manner, then they should have the right to forgo needless pain and suffering and that society is not better served by forcing them to endure the unendurable. When you’ve watched someone you love die slowly and painfully from something that’s totally incurable, then you might understand how the word ‘coward’ is completely inappropriate and incendiary in this context.

  126. It’s just a name. An ancient name that predates the Christian lore that has hijacked it. People’s reaction to it helps me to understand the perspective they are commenting from.

  127. Well, I do agree that a person is under no obligation to continue treatments which have little hope of extending their life and which cause them pain and suffering. At some point, the patient receiving ineffective chemotherapy has a right to say “No more” and accept a natural death with the pain managed as well as possible with good palliative care, including pain medication.

    That, however, is a much different matter than actively committing suicide or having someone kill that patient at his or her request. The former accepts a natural death, the latter seeks out a human-caused death.

    An important consideration in this discussion is that a not insignificant number of people do have spontaneous remissions late in the game and others are put on clinical trials when they are at death’s door and experience a medical miracle. I have personally seen this happen with someone who was very near death who went on a clinical trial and made a complete recovery. Had this person been offered legal assisted suicide even just a few weeks prior to those clinical trials, I am sure this person would be dead today. I have also seen a case of person who was not expected to survive even one year live many years and have many great experiences during that extra time. What is incurable one day becomes treatable or even curable the next.

    As someone who cares about life and does not want to see people die needlessly, I cannot condone the killing of these people.

    The words “coward” and “cowardice” – while not nice words to hear – are completely applicable here as cowardice is defined as a lack of courage to face pain or danger, etc. Cowardice is not the absence of fear but rather the courage to see something through despite the fear. When someone fears the pain associated with their illness and chooses suicide to avoid it, that’s cowardice.

  128. Yes, you ARE “wishing them to die agonizing deaths”. That’s the whole point! People should not have to die agonizing deaths!

  129. I am not wishing anyone die an agonizing death.

    I am simply stating that killing people who are sick is wrong, even if they ask to be killed.

    I am not suggesting anyone be refused proper palliative care or pain medication. I am not suggesting anyone be refused medical care.

    Your statement is simply false.

  130. Common human decency and pure will.

    No person has the right to tell another person what to do with their own body.

    That’s a right worth killing for, “James”.

  131. You do know that we all die – it’s just a matter of when and how. Even you James.

  132. Why would they need to suffer a natural death? If they’ve decided to not continue treatment, and the only possible result is death, why not just do it straight away? Seems that’s the decisive and bold choice. But that’s cowardice in your opinion I suppose, but I still think the use of the term is pejorative with the intent to goad people. Someone who’s fought cancer for months or years, and undergone that pain, done trials and attempted new cures, has already bravely shown fortitude. To call them a coward at that point would not be the right thing. The word is an insult, and whoever would insult dying people who are enduring the awful effects of terminal illness is an insensitive ogre. You can chose how you express yourself, and you chose that. In my experience, most people who use that word are bullies who trying to control and dominate others, the weak.

    Ultimately, you say that sometimes a miracle cure comes along at the last minute, sometimes the person just gets better, so let’s make a blanket rule that nobody can ever take advantage of assisted suicide. Blanket rules ride roughshod over particular human situations. Some cases require a humanitarian response because the last minute cure won’t come fast enough, or if it does, the person will be a huge burden on their families or the medical system. To some people, this is reason enough to want to die. Why spend 100’s of thousands saving the life of an octogenarian who’s done with it anyway, when that resource could be put towards ushering in and preserving the next generation? You take an absolutist position when all situations are relative and have to be understood in their context. This again, is a characteristic of someone who is illiberal and dogmatic, i.e. a bully.

  133. Are these your actual views? Do you realize what an antagonizing lunatic you are presenting yourself as?

  134. I wish this James Risdon a long, slow and painful death. Only then will he understand the error of his cruel statements. I hope that my life could be ended with the gentle compassion that I would give my beloved dog.

  135. But the plant doesn’t transmit its bioelectric signals to a processing and interpretation center (i.e. a brain)

  136. First person to legally commit assisted suicide:
    From the G&M: “A woman suffering from the paralyzing degenerative disease known as ALS has become the first to receive a judicially authorized assisted death in Canada.”

  137. This is an extremely sensitive, personal and difficult discussion, one that merits more than strokes on keyboards. Death comes to us all and we all hope for dignity, awareness and minimum suffering in the end. A fullsome, open, face-to-face discussion around kitchen tables, in bedrooms and homes, around classrooms and town halls, among friends, in our libraries, coffee shops, research labs, design rooms, leadership gatherings, places of worships, courts … Productivity is a complex word to define; it has human, economic, scientific, social, funny, artistic elements. Let’s generate talk with each other, those that matter to us, about dying … and living.

  138. That’s a major component of the bill, but selling sex is still legal. And given how the SCC decided Bedford, you can bet that Bill C-46 isn’t going to survive the next Supreme Court challenge (if the Trudeau government doesn’t act first).

  139. Sarcastic? Whom, I? My dear sir, I assure you I’m utterly sincere. I am overwhelmingly impressed with your apparently unwavering commitment to logic and reason, as well as your staunch refusal to level personal retorts at those who belittle you. I’m sure such an august publication as the illustrious NB Daily Star is grateful on a daily basis that one such as yourself takes pride of place at the top of the masthead.

    Now please pardon me while I go off to think more about this issue, VERY deeply indeed.

  140. Agreed, Wayne. I knew John – he wrote for me – back in the late 60s and early 70s, and (strangely) I was thinking about him, and even Googled his name, just this past weekend. Perhaps a little too sensitive for this world, but his insights were valuable, and I am pleased to hear that he left us on his own terms.

  141. John would have been pleased at the discussion his article has generated. Perhaps somewhere he – and possibly Al Purdy – are reading this and giving each other high-fives.

  142. You’re entitled to your own opinion James Risdon, but you’re not entitled to your own facts. Australian broadcaster Andrew Denton has recently travelled to various countries that allow physician-assisted death and he was unable to find any evidence to support your claims. So put up or shut up, you claim to have facts but you don’t present them. I want to see them.

  143. Wow, based on your examples, you seem to have more than your fair share of sexual hang-ups.

    Speed limits are in place so that one person’s personal freedoms don’t have consequences for innocent victims. Seatbelt laws save lives and protect the rest of us from paying higher healthcare rates.

    Drugs should be decriminalized and regulated in the same way that alcohol is. It’s a tricky issue though, because drug abuse by the masses (especially alcohol and painkillers) affects healthcare costs so there is reason for study to see where to draw the line.

    Prostitution is legal in Canada, and should be. Regulation for the purpose of protecting others from STDs should be implemented. Don’t confuse prostitution with pimping or human trafficking.

    Nudity never hurt anyone, nor did witnessing a sexual act. However, both should be regulated because your desire to be naked and have sex in public conflicts with my desire to not witness it. The keyword is ‘public’, which means ‘not personal’, which means it affects other people.

    Minors should be protected because their critical thinking abilities are still developing. Not just protected from premature sex, but from other things too, like religious indoctrination.

    Do you see a theme emerging? Regulation applied to personal freedoms should be focused on protecting people from the consequences of other peoples personal choices.

    Personal choices like suicide do not have consequences for those not involved so you and your kind should butt out. My life. My body. My choice. My reasons and my circumstances are none of your business.

  144. And I’ve demonstrated that it’s true, your silly excuses notwithstanding.

  145. Just because some guy failed to find the evidence doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Here’s one case of a physically-healthy woman getting killed via assisted suicide:

    Here’s another case:

    Here’s another example, this one of people facing disability but who were certainly not facing death, choosing assisted suicide:

    All of these people needed psychotherapy, counselling, emotional support to help them deal with life. They certainly did not deserve to die because they were going through a rough patch.

  146. It’s certainly true that if society kills people legally, then those people will not have to live with the consequences of trying to kill themselves illegally.

    But they’ll still be dead.

    As for the safeguards being put in place in Belgium, let’s be honest. What started out as something reserved only for cases where the person was dying of a terminal illness and almost completely guaranteed to never, ever be able to survive and in incredible pain, has now been loosened up a lot. Now, perfectly healthy people who are depressed are being killed. People are being killed just because they fear old age.

    There is indeed slippery slope. We have seen it in action in countries where assisted suicide is legal. And to pretend it isn’t happening is simply to deny the cold, hard facts.

  147. Despite the last sentence of his letter, John Hofsess’ actions will never be considered unremarkable.

  148. And there you have it.


    Your argument, at least in part, is that you don’t want to see money spent to keep an old person alive if he or she is going through a rough patch and, during that time, asks to die.

    Essentially, you’re putting a price tag on the life of an elderly man or woman and saying they’re just not worth it.

    I have more respect for the value of the elderly than that.

    As for the idea that we can’t have “blanket rules”, well, that’s just nonsense. Almost every law we have is a blanket rule. No-one is allowed to rape. No-one is allowed to murder. No-one is allowed to assault another person and cause them bodily harm. Canadian law doesn’t pick and choose who gets to rape. We don’t have laws that say: “Well, you know, you’re pretty stressed out and you’ve had a rough childhood and your dad modeled rapist behaviour to you so, for you, it’s okay to rape. We’ll allow you to rape, say, three women, and only send you to therapy instead of jail because you’re special case.” We don’t have a murder law that says: Well, you know, Joe Schmoe was kind of a bad guy. He sold drugs and was a thief so if you kill him, that’s okay. You’re free to buy a gun and kill people as long as they’re all drug dealers, okay?”

    Assisted suicide is the killing of human beings. It’s homicide.

    And choosing death because of a fear of illness or pain or old age, that’s cowardice.

    It’s not a nice word, true. It’s not supposed to be a nice word. It’s not a nice trait to have. There’s nothing wonderful or warm and fuzzy about cowardice. People are supposed to be ashamed of their cowardice.

    If people feel bad about undertaking an action which is cowardly, then the thing for them to do is simply not do it. That bad feeling they have is their conscience speaking up and telling them that what they are doing is wrong.

    Whenever someone wants to try to convince others to do something wrong, one of the first things they do is try to make it seem like a virtue instead of a vice. And so sexual perversions become labelled sexual liberation. Being selfish becomes described as being smart and looking out for number one.

    And now, the killing of vulnerable people is being called “dying with dignity”. But, you know, it doesn’t change what it is. It’s still convincing old people, mentally-ill people and people with disabilities to let themselves get killed by people who will happily do it for money.

    A person can squat down and take a dump and label their feces “organic fertilizer” all they want. It’s still crap.

  149. Yes, it is my actual view that we should not kill people.

    It is my actual view that depressed people, either because of mental illness or a physical ailment, should not be allowed to conned into having themselves killed.

    It is my view that killing people prematurely will deny many of the life-saving treatments which they could have accessed due to medical research.

    It is my view that rushing to kill elderly people and encouraging them to kill themselves in order to save money is callous and shows a blatant disregard for them as human beings.

    Of course, I believe that human life is valuable, that people matter, that their lives are worthy even when they are disabled or old or sick.

    For people who view other human beings primarily as cogs in a giant machine designed to produce goods and services and grow the GDP, I realize my views must seem extremely radical.

    But, then again, that’s not how I see human beings.

  150. :-) I see. So your position is that prostitution is legal because selling sex is legal even though the buying of sex is illegal.

    You do understand, I hope, that you can’t sell something that people won’t buy? Right?

    I mean, come on. Let’s get serious here. Prostitution is effectively illegal in Canada. At least admit the facts.

  151. You think that – if there IS an afterlife – someone who killed people is there enjoying himself in heaven?

    God is quoted as saying: Thou shalt not kill.

  152. It is a unique and bizarre interpretation of Scripture that tries to portray Jesus Christ as having committed suicide, especially considering that He literally sweat blood while praying to the Father to not have to undergo that trial while accepting the Father’s will.

    Since you have raised the subject of Christianity, I am reminded of Isaiah 5:20 – 21:

    “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!”

  153. Sorry: but your view strikes me as that of a person who is unwilling to recognize the independence of thought and self-determination in another. I know what is best for me. This is my body. It’s the purest form of self-determination. But if you only see the world in black and white, with an idealistic tinge to it (not everyone is Stephen Hawking), then we won’t have anything to discuss. I don’t want to make the decision for anyone else: I want the right to make it for myself. To end my suffering if and when I want to. There has been no slippery slope, as you call it. I understand that for you it is a frightening thing, filled with pitfalls and immorality – but can’t you see that being forced to live when your body is failing, slowly, is just as frightening to me, filled with pitfalls and immorality?

    Let us each choose our sins – and our version of salvation – without limiting the other past reasonableness.

  154. Not really.

    I take these insults for what they are: a desperate and emotional reaction from people who, realizing their position is untenable, have no logical or reasonable points to make.

    Besides, this is the bravery of the internet. People say things here under the blanket of anonymity that they would not dare say outside the internet.

  155. I said what I needed to say. Attention is obviously what you crave so badly that you’re willing to stay on a website ALL DAY, and then INTO THE NIGHT to respond to people’s comments about you. Some of us have jobs and families – sorry if you don’t. As I said elsewhere, it must be terrible to get up every morning and live your life, if this is the way you have to seek out any kind of acknowledgement or reinforcement. I am sorry you are so lonely.

  156. Canadian law is replete with examples of telling people what to do with their bodies, including the ingestion of illegal drugs, wearing of seat belts, when and where to cross the street, appearing nude in public, etc.

    Unless you’re against all of those laws, your position is inconsistent.

    But, out of curiousity, why did you put my name in quotation marks?

  157. Your previous comment was at night. Your comment now is during the day. This indicates that you too are on a website during the day and into the night.

    So, it seems we have something in common.

    Is this why you think I am lonely? Are you projecting your emotional state onto me because of the similarities in our behaviours?

  158. You jumped on ‘money’. That was an example I gave of why an individual might think that it wasn’t worth continuing. Of course, if they want to, then it’s not even in question. I’ve met 80 year olds who are like, why are you wasting so much money on keeping this wasted body going when you could use it to run a NICU.

    “If people feel bad about undertaking an action which is cowardly, then the thing for them to do is simply not do it. That bad feeling they have is their conscience speaking up and telling them that what they are doing is wrong.”

    No,it’s about people like you making them feel like they ‘should’ do something they don’t want to. You’d like to control them. Thankfully you won’t be able to. And what in your mind is ‘sexual peversion’? I think you have some very antiquated ideas. Thanks be that you are not in any way in a position of power over people.

    Not sure why I bothered trying to reply to you. You, Risdon, are risible in your obtuse hammer logic. Your straw man, reductio ad absurdum arguments show how you put yourself before the debate. This is more about you than anything else, and tomorrow you’ll find another controversial article to promote yourself. I’m not sure what your point is, but you are quite unable to make it in a way that would convince anyone else. So you’re own your own.

    I’m glad people like you are in the minority here in Canada. You can blow against the wind all you like, it’s already happening:

  159. No, your responsibility is to own up to your dishonesty. Better get a start on that.

  160. No, I’ve spent about ten minutes, total, reading through the comments and commenting myself over the past 24 hours.

    Reading down the thread, it’s obvious you’ve spent a LOT more time than that on here. And the fact that most of your replies come mere minutes after people have posted comments indicates to me that you are monitoring the thread pretty closely. Hard to do that if you have familial or professional responsibilities.

    Before you disabled your Disqus profile, I saw that you are an “award-winning journalist” in New Brunswick. Are you currently employed? This is you, correct?

    And this is you, right?

    If that is you on Facebook, and that’s your family – they look like nice folks. Maybe you should spend some time with them, instead of trying to engage total strangers in point-by-point arguments about assisted suicide online? Just an idea.

    Have a great day, James. I hope whatever’s going on in your life that is causing you to act like this gets resolved and happier times are in your future.

  161. I don’t believe you value human life at all: you value your own certainly. And your opinions. But I don’t believe that you’ve seen life degraded by suffering and death. Your sincere and profound lack of empathy is showing, sir, and you shouldn’t be the type to make laws. Absolutism is not a moral position – it’s narcissism.

  162. Reading through his comments, James Risdon is a troll seeking attention. Fortunately, he has no power to shape public policy and must confine his rantings to these forums.

  163. I see. So, in your world view, anyone who disagrees with you must be “desperate and emotional”, with a position that’s “untenable”. What an interesting way to go through life.

    And actually, everything I’ve said here I’d be quite happy to say to your face. Would you be willing to tell John Hofsess’s family and friends – to their faces – that you believe that he was a coward? If so, then I encourage you to do so and let us know of the outcome. I’d be curious to know of how it goes.

  164. 23 years ago, just about now, my wife killed herself in her second attempt. Her dead face in the ambulance was horrifying. Dying alone from carbon monoxide ain’t pretty.

    She suffered from Lyme disease for nine years. Life-giving doctors (sarcasm intended) first diagnosed depression. One suggested she have a baby. Really! Another supervised a long series of electroconvulsive treatments. It was seven years before Lyme was identified and high-dose antibiotics were prescribed. But by then it was too late and muscular and brain degeneration was far advanced.

    Who can say when life isn’t worth living? Who can dissect the difference between mental and physical disease (if there is any). Only ourselves.

    My hands are raised to the life and death of John Hofsess.

  165. It’s a bit creepy that you would start looking me up on LinkedIn and Facebook to find out about my personal life. Smacks a bit of cyber-stalking.

  166. Ah, there we go. Another pro-assisted suicide person turning a civil discussion about the issue into something personal and cursing me.

    It’s sad to see so much hatred.

  167. Rodriguez breaks from euthanasia group: [1* Edition]

    The Vancouver Sun [Vancouver, B.C] 15 Mar 1993: A3.

    “Her decision comes about six weeks after Hofsess forged her signature on
    a column submitted to The Vancouver Sun that contained information that
    was not cleared by Rodriguez beforehand.”

    Sue Rodriguez ended her relationship with the Right to Die Society Sunday after the group’s executive director John Hofsess made comments about her committing suicide in public without consulting the terminally ill woman beforehand.

    Her decision comes about six weeks after Hofsess forged her signature on a column submitted to The Vancouver Sun that contained information that was not cleared by Rodriguez beforehand.

    NDP MP Svend Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway) has also resigned as political advisor to the society.

    “I deeply regret that John Hofsess has made statements regarding my life are that both inaccurate and made without consultation with me,” Rodriguez said Sunday. “In light of concerns raised by my experiences with John, I have informed him that my relationship with the Right to Die Society must end.”

    The split came about after the Canadian Press distributed a news story quoting Hofsess saying that more than one doctor may assist Rodriguez, 42, who is dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease, when she commits suicide.

    “All will go public at the time,” Hofsess added. “There will be no secrecy or attempt at a coverup.”

    Hofsess could not be reached for comment late Sunday.

  168. A) I am not the one who first brought up the subject of the afterlife. The original poster did that and I was merely responding to his post. Therefore, if you have any objections with a discussion of the afterlife, please direct them to the original poster.

    B) In Canada, we all have the constitutionally-protected rights of freedom of religion and freedom of expression. There is, however, no such right for someone’s feelings to be spared due to an apparent over-sensitivity to religious discussions. While I feel a certain sympathy for your plight if this is the case with you, it is really something for you to resolve for yourself.

  169. You asked: Who can say when life isn’t worth living?

    The answer, obviously, is the Person Who gave the life in the first place: God.

    When Job was struck down with illness, his own wife told him to curse God and die. I suppose her sentiments would be shared by many in the “dying with dignity” movement today. But Job refused to curse God and die and the Bible tells us he answered her: “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”

    And then the Bible tells us: “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

    Certainly, it is not up to the creature to tell the Creator what to do.

  170. Anyone who lashes out with insults, cursing and expresses a desire that the other person in the conversation suffer a horrible, painful death is clearly being desperate and emotional. You’ll note, if you bother to read my comment, that I was referring to the insults.

    Also, in the absence of points presented to back up statements, the logical thing is to assume there are no such points. Those people who have not presented points to make their case must therefore be considered to not have any points to make. That makes their position untenable.

  171. John brings up an incredibly important point in this article: Nobody should suffer from decisions they did not make for themselves. It is not okay that we treat aging, dying people with not a shred of diginity, and leave them to their agony when they expressly wish to have their suffering ended. I tried to honor John’s memory in a recent article talking about this specific issue, as can be found here:

  172. Really? THAT’S your comeback?

    Is there ANY reputable translation of the Bible in which God does not tell Moses that it is wrong to kill people?

  173. Actually James, if you read the post I responded to, you were the one to bring Christ into the discussion. I simply expounded on it.
    Throughout human history people have chosen to die so that others might have a chance of living. The Medal of Honor has been awarded to many posthumously for the act of throwing themselves on top of an explosive so that their companions nearby would survive.
    Countless missions have been made by people that knew going in they had no chance of survival, yet they did it anyways because they knew what they were doing was going to save lives. Commonly called Suicide Squads or Suicide Missions.
    Firemen die in blazes every year guarding the way for someone else to get out.
    Policemen walk into homes looking to help victims of domestic violence and end up dying, one just happened in Virginia last week on her second day as a police officer.
    People chose to die so that others might have life constantly.

    So the question still stands, If it is ok that Jesus decided to die why is it not ok for anyone else?

  174. Hello Kendrick. Absolutely right from my point of view and vast experience in palliative care and AVD)! The doctors should listen what the patient wants, after telling him/her about the options truthfully and then also RESPECT the patients wish! I really hope the laws that are worked on in Canada are liberal enough not to restrict AVD (assisted voluntary death), so that patients that do not have a terminal illness (to die within days or weeks) can also have the right to determine for themselves when and how to die (such as motor neurone desease (ALS),etc.) Has someone seen the documentary on BBC “Simon’s choice”? The only bad thing about travelling to Switzerland is the (under certain circumstances horrible) journey and the very high expenses. I really do hope that this is not necessary anymore for the very few that have the wish and the courage to relieved themselves from their agony without jumping under a train or shooting themselves, but with a very peaceful dying in midst of their loved ones.

  175. James Risdon you are naughty aren’t you. The facts don’t support your argument so you offer a few anecdotes. And your anecdotes don’t even support your argument! Here’s a quote from one of your references “she would still be alive if Britain allowed people to make living wills asking they should be helped to die if they lost the ability to kill themselves”. Here’s another quote that’s relevant “I’m still waiting for you to say something of substance”.

  176. You asked for evidence that healthy people are being killed in countries where assisted suicide is legal.

    I provided you with three examples that this is happening.

    You then reject those examples and accuse me of being “naughty”, whatever that means in this case.

    Clearly, if these perfectly-healthy people were killed via assisted suicide, then that is evidence that perfectly-healthy people do in fact get killed via assisted suicide when that option is provided.

    It boggles the imagination as to how you can refuse clear evidence provided to you.

  177. I have provided on this very discussion board three examples of perfectly-healthy people being killed via assisted suicide, a measure originally introduced only to end the lives of those with terminal illnesses. This is clear evidence that there is, in fact, a slippery slope.

  178. My mother died of lung cancer, and she went out the slow hard natural way…..and did it with unbelievable grace despite her extreme degradation. Assisted suicide is a mercy that should be legal to terminal illness and cases of extreme disability. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t understand and doesn’t have the experience to have an opinion.

  179. Your silence regarding my question speaks volumes. “Bravery of the internet”, indeed. It’s always at least a trifle amusing when someone like you comes along – all too willing to hurl insults and opprobrium, but oh-so-SENSITIVE when it blows back on them.

    You reap what you sow, friend – and you’ve just experienced a bumper harvest. Best get used to it if you insist on continuing to act this way.

    And my question still stands – not that I expect you to have either the courage or the decency to respond to it.

  180. A fireman who braves the danger of a burning building to save people is not going in there to die. He or she is going in there to save lives and is willing to take a risk so others might live. But the goal is to get out alive.

    A soldier who jumps on a grenade is accepting to have greater damage to his body and die in order to save others who would have been injured by that grenade, a grenade which would also probably have injured him and maybe killed him anyways in the field.

    Jesus Christ accepted to die for our sins, so that we can have eternal life.

    In all three cases, the person did not want to die, did not seek it out, but accepts it if it comes for the greater good of saving other people’s lives.

    Jesus literally sweat blood while asking His Father in heaven to take that cup from Him. He was not giving up on the gift of human life. He was offering it up to the Father for the remittance of sins. And His death did not come with a some kind of drug or device to eliminate the pain of death. Jesus’ suffering during His passion was so great a new word had to be invented to describe it. That word excruciating.

    Assisted suicide is the complete opposite of what happens in the cases above. In assisted suicide, there is no desire or sacrifice to save others. There is no bravery. There is no facing hardship for the greater good. Assisted suicide is the running away from pain, from old age, from having to live with a disability, or from having to feel depressed and into the arms of death for nothing more than selfish reasons.

    It does a great disservice to our firefighters, police officers, soldiers and Jesus Christ to try and pretend that their sacrifices are somehow no more than the selfish suicide of someone who has given up on life.

  181. So when my terminal cancer gets to the point that I choose to be medicated to avoid the “pain associated with my illness” I will be a coward? And when I choose to end my life to limit the suffering of those closest to me I will be a coward? Then so be it. I will choose when I will drag out my life no more. And I will be dead and you can label me however you wish. Those who I leave behind that I care about will have been talked to and left long letters explaining my actions. I hope they will be comforted by those communications. They may choose to label me a coward and they will have such a right. You sir have no such right.

  182. Condolences on the passing of your mother.

    Your final statement, however, incorrectly presumes that anyone who disagrees with your position somehow lacks understand or has not lived through a similar experience.

    That is quite simply not the case.

  183. Yes, the fireman’s goal is to come out alive, but some have taken action that they knew was going to cost their lives so that they could save others. That was my point.
    And Suicide is Suicide regardless if it is assisted or not. If you don’t turn away from a situation that you know will kill you, you have participated in your own death. That is suicide.
    Once you admit what the definition of suicide is, you then have to ask yourself, at what point does it become wrong?
    It wasn’t wrong for Jesus. It isn’t wrong for the firemen or policemen. It also isn’t wrong to dive on a grenade instead of diving the other way.
    So you are saying that it is when it is for the good of others that suicide is ok?

  184. If someone disagree’s with someone having an assisted suicide after having experienced a death from terminal illness, then their logic is born of selfishness and lack of understanding.

    One may not want a loved one to go as soon, but they are also not the owner of that person and their time. There’s always more to say eventually, but you can’t cram all of that time in a limited window, nor should it attempt to be forced…because even after they are gone, you will always have more to say to them. Forcing it just ruins the much needed perception of our true nature; we live, we die, and what we can do in the time we have is limited. And it’s that limit, that makes everything so precious and important, that guides us to appreciate and make proper decisions about what we do in our lives. Not wanting to let them go, is no excuse to say they should be kept here.

    ‘Natural’ death is never without suffering. To be immobilized 24/7 waiting for death day in and day out, is unfathomably horrible to the one experiencing it. It can be a literal waking nightmare, just hoping you go to sleep and don’t wake up again….only to wake up and realize you’re still here. Then there’s the physical suffering part….you don’t just stop breathing and then black out like it’s some peaceful sleep. Even people who die in their sleep, often wake up in the middle of it and realize they are dying. When it comes to things like cancer….you don’t die from the cancer really….you die from all of the side effects it causes in your body, which can be quite painful. It can be like dying from a slow poisoning, literally.

    There’s a point where being alive isn’t enough to live for, where you’re just there, breathing, but not actually living….this point comes well before death in most cases, and it is worse than death.

    We live in a world where people often confuse having an opinion, with being right. Assisted suicide in the face of terminal illness isn’t just an opinionated thing to do, it’s the right thing to do for those who choose it, regardless of anyone elses opinion to the contrary. It’s that absolute truth, that anyone who believes otherwise, doesn’t understand. There’s no debate to be had on whether it’s right or wrong, but rather, when it’s right or wrong, and the artificial legalities of it.

  185. The substance is, Mr. Risdon, that another person’s choice to live or die simply isn’t your decision to make. That you want to live is fabulous–how nice for you! I expect that you will hold on to your life with every withered, grasping, painful finger. Let your family listen to your moans when fentanyl isn’t enough to even dull the pain. But you don’t get to make that decision for me and you do not get to decide if I have suffered “enough” to allow me to exercise the ultimate in my personal autonomy.

  186. There are many DIY suicide guides out there that are much more thorough and instructive. This is as James Risdon says, a personal narrative. I think it is his last strike at bringing the topic up for debate in public because lately it seems to have fallen out of favor in the political discussion realm.

  187. I just wanted to state that the Daily Mail UK is a British tabloid…not much different than our National Enquirer, so maybe you could provide evidence from more reliable sources, such as articles from medical journals or other credible places when trying to validate your point to others. I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I also believe that respect is a two-way street..something that should only be given if it is received. We should listen better so that we can learn more, because I also believe that almost everyone has something that they can teach others based on their own life experiences! Have you at least maybe learned something from all of these comments? Compassion would be an excellent choice..

  188. I was ready to respect your opinion even though I don’t agree with it.

    But then you tossed in your “constitutionally-protected freedom of speech” line and that all went out the window.

    You guys just can’t help yourselves, huh?

  189. There’s the fact that the original word used in the Torah, ‘ratsakh’, applies only to illegal killing. It’s never used in reference to justice or war, for example. The translation is incorrect.

    But since you apparently think the Bible was written in English, that’s going to go way over your head, isn’t it? Yes, my comeback is to actually reference the original writing.

  190. You would wilfully and without compunction compel people who are dying slowly and in agonizing pain to remain alive against their will.

    Please, do explain how you’re NOT wishing that death on them.

  191. I agree with Mr. Risdon. Pain and the thought of living with a debilitating disease clouds a person’s judgement. The thought of been a burden to your family makes suicide appealing but is not the answer. The terminal have something to contribute to society as you never know what you say to someone that can change their life. The example they set by their courage to live and endure life teaches the young courage as Christopher Reeve did. Been a coward is not the issue as that is open to interpretation. DA Brown I believe you will find the strength to endure your life and death. I think Stephen Hawking is a very dignified man; it’s not your body that is dignified but you character.

  192. A distinction without a difference.

    Assisted suicide is neither the administration of justice nor war. So, clearly, those exceptions to the commandment, if you accept that these are exceptions, are not germane to the discussion at hand about assisted suicide.

  193. Hello SalishSeaSam: Who can say when life isn’t worth living? Who can dissect the difference between mental and physical disease (if there is any). ONLY OURSELVES! Absolutely right !

    And, dear James, get out of it! Enough dogmatic BS was forced upon me in my childhood and later on, I was brought up very religiously ! I honour your religious believes, but please keep them to yourself….

  194. I live in the U.S., where laws on assisted suicide vary by state. That allows, in effect, a choice, at least for anyone capable of travel. I therefore take no side in this dispute in our neighbor country — my opinion does not count in Canada, and Canadian law does not affect me. As we say in the States, I have no dog in this fight.

    However, I’m drawn to comment on this discussion. Having read through the 200+ comments so far, I am struck how vituperative have been the responses to James Risdon, who seems to have made very cogent points. Apparently he’s much in the minority in this readership, and therefore I presume he should have expected opposition. And that’s fine, but I am amazed how many (though not all) have tried, not to counter his points, but to denigrate or dismiss him as a “troll,” as a bad person, etc. It’s as if those folks are labeling him as not just wrong, but evil.

    And that, I believe, really is wrong. Regardless of how you define your ethics — whether by spiritual guidance or functional practicality — it is wrong. No spiritually-guided code of ethics I know of allows such slander, and just practically speaking it is a bad idea to shut down, insult, or denigrate someone merely for offering a differing or competing idea. If we have learned anything at all from the development to modern civilization, it is the value of allowing, even encouraging, competing ideas. We do wrong, or commit a disservice (take your pick) when we try to shout down opposing views or ostracize or denigrate those who hold them. It lessens all of us.

    Frankly, I think Mr. Risen is owed an apology, at least by some. He may disagree with most here (keeping in mind that the commenters on this article are self-selected by the strong viewpoint of the article), but I, for one, welcome his view and how cogently he has stated and defended it. It is an enlightening thing to have both sides of a controversial topic be well represented.

    (Of course, for all I know, disagreeing with some of disagreers will get me flamed too. So be it. But in reading through all this it struck me that it is a harm to all of us when discussions go this way by some of us, therefore I was moved to comment.)

  195. Ah, more insults from a pro-assisted suicide supporter.

    Tell me something. Does it make you guys feel special in some way to use vulgarity and curse someone, wish him a horrible death, cast aspersions on his character?

    So many of you have done it now in this discussion that it clearly seems to be a pattern with pro-assisted supporters. I’m just wondering what you guys get out of it.

  196. Dear James, get out of it! Enough dogmatic BS was forced upon me in my childhood and later on, I was brought up very religiously ! I honour your religious believes, but please keep them to yourself….

  197. It’s quite amusing that you would first describe religion as “dogmatic BS” and then pretend you “honour” my religious beliefs even as you’re telling me to shut up about them.

    That’s just so twisted it’s funny.

  198. Brett: My dog, who is “reading” over my shoulder, is now looking at me funny. Maybe we’re missing a whole spectrum of opinion here. :-)

  199. “The guys” who would evoke freedom of speech over something as utterly insignificant as leaving a comment on a forum.

  200. Aw….did the big bad man try to take away your rights?

    Let me add something to “the guys.”

    “The guys” who need enemies so they can blame something or someone for their own feelings of failure. And if they don’t exist they’ll make them up. Some people have a real need to be persecuted.

    Not saying that’s you of course. But it is “the guys.”

    I’m done now.

    Of course, you’ll respond to get the last word in.

    “Guys” like you can’t help yourselves.

  201. I promised myself I would not mention this, but after reading the foregoing, as points of fact I will:

    – In 2011 I collapsed in my home at night, alone. I have no memory of the next 2-1/2 days, but I’m told I was found the next day, taken to Intensive Care, and at that hospital I learned I had advanced spinal stenosis, same thing that Kathleen Carter (mentioned in the article) suffered. I’d had problems with my spine for some time and one prior arthoscopic surgery, but the stenosis was undiscovered until I collapsed and more detailed diagnostics were done.

    What was then proposed to me was very complex and risky surgery. Combined with the recent unexpected death of my wife of 34 years, I wanted to die, and mentioned that to a couple of friends. But given the risk of the surgery (a 5 to 10 percent I would not survive due to various complications), I was hoping I would not survive the surgery, and put my hope on that. (I was thus probably the only patient the surgeon ever had who was disappointed when I woke up.~)

    As it happened, over the next three years I underwent 9 more operations. None as complex as the first, though they did include multiple amputations and I am now permanently in a wheelchair. As someone who was once very active and outdoor-oriented, I feel daily the frustration of that. But I am now glad that, in my moment of despair, I didn’t die. I still feel pain every day, but medication makes it manageable. And though I need daily, at times almost-constant care (which bothers me more than anything else), I’ve since re-married (to another disabled person) and I much enjoy our life together. My happier life now is not what I expected, and I’m glad I did not die.

    – My mother died 4 months ago at age 91. She had been very healthy all her life (a dietician, she ate like a bird and was very fit), until 2 years ago she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She tried chemotherapy for a time, which made her so miserable that she decided it was not worth the slim chance of being cured. She therefore discontinued the therapy and moved into a hospice program, given 3 months to live. She in fact lived another 6+ months. Unlike me, she never wished for an earlier death, so hung on until she slipped away one night. But though greatly debilitated and though she suffered falls twice, she did not die in great suffering or pain — she had free access to strong pain medication and palliatives (such as special digestive medication) that allowed her to pass away quietly, not in great pain.

    i mention those two experiences not to sway this debate, but to point out that good palliative care can make an enormous difference in quality of life, even for someone who would otherwise suffer greatly.

    I don’t know much about Canadian health policies, but in the U.S. in the last few decades we’ve undergone a huge revolution in pain management, particularly for those facing end of life. Whereas palliatives, particularly strong pain medication, were once tightly limited in those situations, the general policy now is do whatever is needed to relieve pain. Looking back, it’s hard to believe we *didn’t* do that all along. I’ve had multiple surgeries on bone, including on my back, which used to result in extended excruciating pain, yet in all those, though I have indeed had pain (at times quite severe pain), I’ve never faced pain that I could not endure, and only for limited periods (typically *before* I got medical care, such as the night I collapsed).

    To those much more young and/or active than I am now it may seem that a life like mine is not worth living. But though I once thought that and wished my own death, I am very glad I’m still to enjoy my children’s lives as adults and particularly life with my second wife.

    Take that for what it’s worth, someone else’s experience.

    A question: Here in the U.S. a common device after surgery or similar pain-inducing situation is a pushbutton device located at the patient’s bed that dispenses intravenous pain medication whenever the patient pushes the button. It’s a God-send: feel pain, push the button, pain medication and relief arrive within seconds. Is that the same in Canada?

  202. Your hatred is only too clearly evident. Please spare us the bible phrases, oh sanctimonious one.

  203. Tommy Vee: Out of curiosity, how many people have you seen killed by your train? I ask because my son-in-law is a train engineer and has never seen a train kill anyone. Is it so common? Is it more common in some places than others? It seems a remarkable thing that you have (as I read it) witnessed multiple people killed by accident and multiple people killing themselves on purpose; others, none ever. My son-in-law should be very thankful, I suppose.

    Not much to do with the topic, perhaps, but it startled me to read it, ergo my question.

  204. Now the distinction between murder and an accident makes no difference. You literally think that purposeful and planned killing is the same as a death caused by an accident.

    You’re a loony. There’s no other way to put it. If you think that the administration of justice is not germane to the right of self-determination then you can have no meaningful or informed opinion on this matter.

  205. I find both the article and the comments fascinating. Mr. Risdon you have my respect. Your comments are fact based and well thought out and you do not hide behind an anonymous name. Your detractors seem to have a few things in common – a propensity for anger and a desire to insult you while remaining anonymous. I personally am entirely conflicted on this topic. I tend to lean towards the right of the individual, with death being another choice for the individual to decide. However I also agree with James Risdon about the slippery slope argument. It is real and it is very troubling.

  206. If my free expression of my position on this issue were due to a need to “blame something or someone for their own feelings of failure”, then it would seem that you too suffer from some sense of failure and a similar need to blame others for it as you are doing exactly the same thing as me, commenting in a discussion board below an article.

    So, on behalf of all “the guys”, let me be the first to welcome you to the club.

  207. Your comment makes no sense whatsoever. It starts off by putting words in my mouth. Then, it launches into an insult. And then you put more words in my mouth and infer another insult.

    You can do better than this.

  208. I think we do.

    The Canadian Cancer Society’s website describes such devices.

    I’m sorry to hear about your health struggles but I’m glad you’ve been able to find love again and are enjoying time with your family.

    In speaking with someone who had undergone incredible suffering due to cancer, I once commented that I didn’t think I would ever be able to undergo the same thing. But this person just looked at me and said with the voice of experience and wisdom that you can usually do much more and withstand much more than you ever thought possible. No-one ever thinks this kind of thing is something they’d be able to tolerate. But with the proper care and support, many do and go on to have fulfilling lives in spite of all their health issues.

    And it’s important to remember that it isn’t just the patient that benefits from being able to adapt to his or her new circumstances. I am sure your children are also very happy and appreciate still having you around and that you contribute things to their lives on a regular basis.

  209. To make sure all is known about John Hofsess, he bilked my aging grandmother out of tens of thousands of dollars by pandering to her and moving in to her home for about a year. He convinced her to take out a reverse mortgage and then secretly drained almost all the value of her house and ran up all her credit accounts. This was in San Diego about ten years ago and there’s plenty of hard evidence. In fact, the $10,000 he mentions in this letter most likely came from her, as he (openly, this time) asked for just that amount as a “cushion” in case he had to leave someday. He may have been very intelligent and done some things people regard as good, but he was also morally reprehensible.

  210. The ‘slippery slope’ argument isn’t enough to say we shouldn’t have that option. There would be laws, after all, that could be implemented to help safeguard that from happening.

    Of course, would it be perfect? No. Would some people fall through the cracks? Probably. But IMO, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
    In the end, if there truly is no hope for that person, then why not fulfill that wish? It’s immoral not to. I would certainly want that option (of course as a last resort).

    And I won’t name names, but labeling someone a ‘coward’ for wanting to follow through with such an act (after fighting and suffering [sometimes for years] through some of worst things imaginable), is a pretty below-the-belt move.

  211. Frank and honest, your comment is refreshing.

    It’s nice to see someone who supports the idea of assisted suicide, admit openly that they are willing to see some people die who could otherwise have had their lives extended by new medical cures or psychotherapy or counseling in order to have the convenience of assisted suicide made available to them.

    For you, this is a cost-benefit situation and you are willing to accept the risks, the needless deaths, for the convenience of being able to end your life and for others to end theirs instead of enduring physical or emotional pain.

    That’s not my position. I find it morally wrong to see a vulnerable, sick person be offered an option which will lead to their premature death and perhaps encouraged to choose that option for financial reasons or pressure from family and friends. I also find it a huge waste of human life to see people who could be helped with new medical cures or psychotherapy or other counseling killed before those cures or therapies can be applied to help them. Finally, I find it rather disgusting to put a price tag on a human life and decide that a disability or old age or sickness makes someone less valuable as a person and therefore not worth keeping alive.

    I shudder to think what the world would be like with the Stephen Hawkings or Terry Foxes or Grandma Moses of this world.

    As I say, I have completely different position on this than do you but I respect your willingness to honestly admit you are putting a price tag on human life and that you’re willing to accept that you consider it acceptable that some people who might have been saved are killed in the name of offering assisted suicide to everyone.

  212. I put no words in your mouth. YOU said there was no difference.

    Honestly, what does lying about that gain you?

  213. Clearly you should have revealed at the outset that you have strong RELIGIOUS convictions, which is fine. Everyone wondered why you were so irrational, as though you could be convinced, but your opinions proceed not from logic, but from faith, two very different concepts and ways of arriving at an understanding of a situation. Fine for conversation, but for the creation of laws, there’s a separation of church and state. This is so that laws can represent all individuals in society, whether they believe what you believe or not. With any luck, law will never again work for religion, other than to allow it to continue to exist in the way self-expression of all social groups is protected by the law.

  214. Yeah, but they’re not fact based! They’re based on his religious beliefs, which he’s used to wind everybody up in this comment section. Why doesn’t he have an icon that says ‘Organised Religion Follower’? Then everybody would’ve been, oh right, I’m not dealing with a rational person and move on. Risdon hides his dogmatic religious beliefs behind a pretence at logical argument. And you’re okay to remain anonymous as long as you’re agreeing with him? Isn’t that agreeable of you. I’m to assume if you didn’t agree with him, then you’d put your real name to it, tirwin1? Right.

  215. Assisted death is also possible thank heavens in case of mental illness. How can you Mr Risdon, be so arrogant to think that when you are suffering from mental illness you should never be allowed to finish your life? Do you really think that when you are suffering from mental illness that you do not suffer? What a dumm and backward way of thinking. Just because you think procedures do not exist and that everyone is granted their wish without asking ,only proves that you are very ill informed.

  216. I know. When I’ve got my bf at that point of no return it would be immoral for me to stop. Some things in life just need to reach a climax.

  217. No no no, not too much morfine because it shortens your life! Pain management only works so far and in general the last bit is without dignity ,with pain and physical discomfort. What a polite word for stating that you simply disintegrate. Clearly you have not a lot experience with pain, dying and the lesser nice things that go with it. I am happy to nurse you to your very bitter end and withhold every mg that might cause you to die quicker because that would be assisted death right mister Risdon? Apparently you have know idea of pain.

  218. What a nonsens. Here in the Netherlands we have assisted death too, if people want. The rules are strict and the protocols severe. We lived through WW2, thank you very much. Why do you assume our protocols are not proper, also for those with mental health sickness? The rules for them are even stricter.
    Assisted death is not a chocolate granted to everyone who wants it. That is how you present it is but it only makes you a liar.

  219. I agree. I had one bf who really loved the chocking thing when we were doing it. I kept telling him to stop but he didnt listen. I can still remember the look of surprise on his face when he blacked out. The doctors said he almost assfixiated even though it was his neck, not his you-know-what that was chocked.

    People need to be careful and take responsibility for their actions.

  220. I KNEW it. You couldn’t help yourself. Man, too easy.
    Bet you don’t even know your response made zero sense. I’m not blaming anyone. I’m calling out a self-important, foot-stomper.
    Let me guess. Religious?
    Yeah. I’m pretty sure about that one too.
    Now. Let’s try this again.
    Show me that you really DON’T need enemies to drive your world.
    Don’t respond back.

  221. To call someone a troll is really not very nice. But I do doubt that mr Risdon has any idea about the cruelty he thinks is okay….. Pain is awful, and sometimes nothing works anymore then a pump with dormicum and Morfine. But then you will die sooner and that is not okay in mr Risdon eyes. ????? We call that crepe ten in Dutch and you would not put a dog through such misery but with a human that is okay????? Do you lot have any experience with death, with pain, with the process of dying?

  222. No, if someone in in that much suffering and pain, he just better stop eating and drinking because that is the only option you provide.

  223. Nice profile pic. Why do you keep your comments private? I really wanted to read some of your other gems.

  224. I’m a girl with a past that I don’t want to share with everyone – know what I mean?

  225. Hello! We all die sweetie. Palliative care can be very okay in many cases and help you to your death without much pain, excellent care and a natural death, nothing wrong with that. You will be taken care of and cared for at home or in a hospice of your choosing. There are diseases though where this will not,will not, work. For those a passive assisted death as in mentioned pain pump is helpful, or an active one if they do not wish to wait until the very last day…For those that get Alzheimer’s and do not wish to turn into a full blown dementia patient, an active assisted death is the only option because you have to be able to state to at least two independent doctors during a series of appointments what you want so you can not wait until you to far gone. For mental health patients the protocols are even stricter and normally here also the judge looks into the file before granting a yes or a no.

  226. Yes I’m for real – and my old bf did almost die so I can sympathize, ok?

  227. Really? I would have never guessed. I thought you were a computer given how non-sequiter your comment was. I’m trying to imagine this; he was strangling himself until he blacked out while having sex with you while you’re telling him to stop strangling himself. Sounds like quite the scene. I think you’ll find he almost asphyxiated precisely because it was his neck, not his johnson, dear. You can’t suffocate from chocking that, you know?

  228. Thank you for proving my point. You respond with anger and complain about how Mr. Risdon “winds everybody up” in the comment section. He has his beliefs and has stated them calmly and coherently. You seem to be unhappy because he doesn’t agree with you. Since he is apparently unbowed by your posts, then you must assume he isn’t rational – in this case motivated by religious beliefs. You characterize his comments as “a pretence of logical argument.” This is incorrect. His comments are logical. You just can’t deal them. For the record my name is Tim Irwin. I’m willing to post my name. Do you have the courage to do the same or will you continue to be just another angry anonymous commentator?

  229. Please I don’t want to re-live the experience. I just wanted to share but obviously there are mean-spirited people who just want to use big words and put other people down.

  230. I’m not angry at all. That was just a bit of sarcasm which I save especially for religious nuts.
    Thing is, he didn’t state his RELIGIOUS beliefs at the outset, which led to a lot of crossed wires.

    Incorrect? It appears you wouldn’t even know what a logical argument was if it hit you across the face like a wet fish. Here’s an example of Ridson’s:

    “You asked: Who can say when life isn’t worth living?
    The answer, obviously, is the Person Who gave the life in the first place: God.”

    I like his use of ‘obviously’. It’s a self-evident truth. Perhaps you’re right though; if in a statement one uses a lot of capital letters and respect, that statement is true. Yes, that sounds about right. It’s true because I believe it to be so. Thank you for clarifying that for me Tim Irwin!

    As for the username? I tip my hat to you sir for your transparency and following through on your claim. I am Raphael de La Vega, a man who speaks to you thusly not from of anger, but incredulity at the lunacy of men!

  231. There’s an appropriate time and place for everything though, isn’t there?

    Sorry for being a jerk…that’s just a default mode when I read drivel.

  232. The bottom line is, a person’s suffering is their own. Not yours. If someone decides that their suffering has become too great, and the medical community agrees that their condition is untreatable, who are you to force them to continue suffering?

    No one cares what your opinion is, least of all those in agonizing pain. Mind your own business.

  233. You are correct. I do not want to endure physical and or emotional pain until my last breath (if there is no treatment). And I suspect most feel the same way (except maybe the God fearing types…). No? Is that not a rational reasoned response felt by most? I mean, whats the point of suffering in your end of days? Life is to be lived, not stuck in a hospice bloated on pain killers hoping for that ‘cure’ that will (lets be honest) more then likely never come. What is it, 7-8 million people in the world die every year from cancer? That’s a lot of suffering.

    I do value life. But if modern medicine has failed, and all options have been exhausted for lil Jimmy (a patient who is riddled with tumors, organs failing, in constant pain, has weeks to live, and wants to die), then by all means, we should help him fulfill his wish.

    The encouragement for financial reasons or pressure from family (you brought up) is something I’m sure will happen, and of course should be addressed and dealt with accordingly, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker IMO.

    And as for those celebs you mention:
    – Fox beat his cancer at first and started living and fighting for others with similar disabilities (ie. running for cancer awareness). Props to him.
    – Stephen Hawkings still works despite his condition. So props to him as well.
    – And I’m not sure how Grandma Mosses passed, but it seems she just ‘wore out’ at the ripe old age of 101. So major props to her.

    But alas, I’m not talking about any of those incredible people or the ones like them.

    ps. I can see why some people are pretty hostile towards you. You really can be a pretentious, arrogant, condescending, Bible thumping, little (fill in appropriate expletive as you see fit here) at times. It’s entertaining, nevertheless. :)

  234. James you speak with all the wisdom and knowledge of youth; I remember it well, I was much like you. The wisdom that comes from watching others live with humiliating losses in quality of life as they suffer increasing and intractable pain has convinced me that I was wrong. We all have the basic human right to have control over our bodies. The right to assisted death is merely an extension of that basic right.

  235. All I can do is to share my experience. I was 50 when first diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. O.K., so I had wrist surgery to take care of it and it worked out well. In the back of my mind though was this a symptom of something worse. 5 years later, I was diagnosed with small fiber peripheral nuropathy in both feet. I started trying different methods of pain relief, none really seems to work. I am now on morphine which takes the edge off but does nothing to solve the pain. Shortly after I attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. Obviously I failed. I placed myself into the psychiatric unit of my local hospital. There I learned that I have severe depression with associated personality mental illnesses. I also was diagnosed with dysthymia which has been a permanent feature of low level depression that I have had all my life. I finally have a diagnosis which makes sense in terms of my experiences as a child and adult. (Neither of which have or were positive).

    I just wonder how others that do not experience constant and severe pain can even begin to know what it is like. One gets very, very, very tired of the daily grind of living with the pain.

    Now I’m 61, having been forced to retire 6 years due to my illnesses as I am no longer able to deal with the issues with employment.

    I can no longer workout and I have gained a whole bunch of weight which in turn causes more pain and anxiety about my illnesses.

    I am in therapy and am taking my prescribe medications. I have no intention on suicide right now or in the near future. But I must admit I can’t predict the future. So, I won’t say that I won’t do so in the future. I don’t mind mentioning it now as I suspect no one will care if I do commit suicide. I have no family and I’ve been a bachelor all my life. There are days that I just want to end my life as I get so tired of everything but I manage to pull myself out of that by distracting myself, watching a movie or doing something online or house work, or ??? My psychiatrist asks me why I haven’t followed through and I can’t give him an answer. He does say that it would be a shame if I did follow through with suicide but really, is he just saying that so he doesn’t have to admit he failed to keep me alive. I don’t know.

    Well, that’s a synopsis of my experiences…

  236. What “insult”? Pray tell, exactly, what was “insulting” about my last post?

    What vulgarity? What curses? What wishes for a horrible death? What aspersions cast on your character?

    You seem to be conflating my comment with others, which is not only not terribly fair, it’s terribly silly. It’s as if I accused you of fascist sympathies based on something I saw in someone else’s message – and I dare say you’d take considerable offence if I were to do something so foolish.

    And my question STILL stands – and your silence regarding it STILL speaks volumes.

  237. ???
    First of all, I’m extremely confused by what your reply even means and second, what it has to do at all in response to norview’s comment? I’m not trying to be condescending or seem cruel…maybe I am the only one who doesn’t get it…. wouldn’t be the first time and most definitely won’t be the last!

  238. Stories of incidents like this abound. Anyone can find them if they look on the web.

    I’m not going to get into a game of finding evidence for what I say and then someone saying, “Oh, well, I don’t like that source. Find me another one.”

    You have two examples there from the Daily Mail, which you reject, and one from the National Post.

    Besides, Canada’s special committee to look into physician-assisted suicide is itself proposing that our country’s laws allow people who suffer from nothing more than mental illness but who are physically perfectly healthy be allowed to get physician-assisted suicide. So, clearly, that is the way this is going. The committee is even extending that to children.

  239. On the other hand, I’m not the one launching a personal attack against someone rather than simply doing the civil thing and just talk about the topic at hand.

  240. Since it seems to be a major preoccupation of yours and I don’t want to see you suffer unnecessarily, I am perfectly happy to tell you that I am a practicing Roman Catholic. My religious beliefs can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Bible.

    There is no subterfuge in terms of me “hiding” my religious beliefs. There just wasn’t any need to start talking about them earlier, much as there is no need for me to state that I am a Roman Catholic when I am talking about biology or astronomy or home repairs. It wasn’t germane to the conversation.

    When people did raise questions or did open up the topic of religion, I honestly stated my beliefs at that appropriate time.

    If religious belief is really something that sends you in a tizzy like this, you may want to speak to someone about it as it probably hampers your ability to interact in as beneficial a way as possible with other people. There are a lot of people who have religious beliefs and if you can’t accept that and have reasonable conversations with them, well, that would seem to be a problem for you.

  241. Nah, you’re entitled to believe what you want, just don’t pass it off as something to base secular law on, or as an informed perspective on whether people should be allowed to have abortions, undergo assistant suicide when faced with terminal illnesses or do whatever they want in their bedrooms with consenting adults.

    In this discussion, you should tell people that you, apriori, will not countenance or believe in certain things because they run contrary to your religious faith. If they choose to try and dissuade you of your belief, let them, but don’t pretend to argue with people on a level playing field when the deck’s already stacked for you. It’s an important detail.

  242. Not a problem for me at all. Do you notice how much frustration you inspired in people? Ever wonder why? Maybe it’s because you came across as obtuse and insensitive in your argument. If at the outset you’d been clear that you took the positions you did as a practicing roman catholic, then you’d have been fine. People would’ve said, ho hum, well that would be his opinion because of his beliefs. It’s not a good or a bad thing, it’s just important to know that at the outset so it’s understood.

    Your professed religion is actually important when it comes to an understanding of biology or astronomy, because it defines the parameters of what you are prepared to consider as an understanding of the world around us. Remember Galileo? It was a catholic pope that had him sent to prison for stating the earth went around the sun, so don’t tell me it has nothing to do with science. And particularly don’t tell me it has nothing to do with this very debate. If you insist on that, you’re delusional, which is something I’m ready to believe about you. Home repairs has sweet FA to do with anything, but I would remind you that Jesus was a carpenter, so perhaps your religion does even come into that.

    You didn’t state your beliefs at the appropriate time so people could understand where you were coming from, and that’s why you had so much anger directed your way.

    At any rate, you believe what you want to believe. I’ve enjoyed our commentary debate and feel, at least from my part, that I’ve isolated the cause of the misunderstanding. Who would bother trying to persuade a true believer anyway?

    Ultimately, we’ll see what happens according to the legal system and the electorate, not according to God, which is fine by me.

  243. You seem to think you know and understand everything…even other people’s suffering and how they view it. You seem to me a bully who is very full of himself with the illusion that you are somehow omnipotent. There is nothing cowardly about taking ones own life when faced with an inevitable suffering death. Why should someone who does not want to experience that be forced to? Just because you object? How smug you are in your little world. I was an oncology nurse for 30 years. I have seen some things you never would want to. It seems to me you are merely a judgmental. likely religious person who thinks suffering is somehow better in the eyes of God., than someone exerting their own will to end what they feel they can no longer deal with.

  244. You of course are changing the subject like the religious holier than thou people do. This is about determining ones own choice and path. Only folls like yourself would bring up subjects like you have. No one is killing people like you might suggest. Read about how this works in Oregon and WA. And my best advice to you is that you get over yourself as morally superior to anyone else.

  245. There are no words for you that can be stated here. You just like to hear your obnoxious self go on and on. And feel superior to anyone else with an opinion. Really find you offensive and haughty.

  246. You are launching an attack on anyone who states an opinion here even though in your snugness you would never agree.And you have the nerve to pervert what others are saying to you and act like you are a victim.

  247. It’s such a shame Canada is too cold for my desert-bred constitution. I think I’d like it there. People seem much more reasonable, on the whole, than in the States. Case in point: this issue isn’t even slightly in the public’s consciousness, despite the fact we’re slogging through an election year right now, when it would be mostly like to be. But being DIY sort of folks, I wonder how many underground organizations like Mr. Hofsess’s are operating here at this moment?
    However, if you need to die in America, just put on a hoodie, take a walk through a rich neighborhood at night, and don’t comply when the police–who will inevitably arrive–tell you to get down on the ground. This method will work more quickly and surely if you’re a person with darker skin color, but even if you’re caucasian it’s pretty reliable when performed in the right (or wrong) jurisdiction.

  248. I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that you want to provide nursing care for me that will ensure I endure the most suffering imaginable in my final days?

  249. When my faith is directly relevant to a discussion, I mention it. An example might be if we were talking about God or Scripture.

    In this case, the position I have taken is based on other criteria. My beliefs are not directly relevant to this discussion and so there was no need to get into them, much the same way as I would not enter into a discussion about astronomy by saying, “Hey, guys? Before we start talking about dark matter, I have to tell you all I’m a Christian.” That just wouldn’t make any sense.

    And neither does your insistence that I have to somehow identify my faith in all discussions.

  250. Well, let’s see.

    Maybe you can explain to me how I have misunderstood and erroneously interpreted to be insults such comments as:

    “You’re a piece of shit”
    “Your hatred is only too clearly evident.”
    “shut up”
    “antagonistic dick”
    “flatulent fart”
    “I wish this James Risdon a long, slow and painful death.”
    “You really can be a pretentious, arrogant, condescending, Bible thumping, little (fill in appropriate expletive as you see fit here)”
    “You absolutely do not sound like a compassionate or kind or moral person. Not even close.”
    “There are no words for you that can be stated here. You just like to hear your obnoxious self go on and on. And feel superior to anyone else with an opinion. Really find you offensive and haughty.”
    “you’re delusional”

    I’ve probably missed a few. But if you can tell me how it is wrong of me to interpret these as intended insults, then I will be much better position to understand how I have, according to you, perverted what others were saying.

  251. You do not listen to anyone else thinking only you know what is right or feel your opinion is so much superior to others. You also changed the topic and started in on roads no one else is suggesting. We are talking about autonomous people who are making their own minds up about what they would do if their life was unbearable. I think many were kinder to you than they wanted to be. You never stop pounding your opinion on others. They are tired of listening to your never ending monologue. Maybe f you listened to some other points of view….and there were many people who tried to reach you…you would not get so many negative responses to you personally.

  252. I work out of Toronto. In 29 years, I’ve had two suicides, one attempted suicide who lived but was horribly injured; hit and killed an 11 yr old boy on a bridge, had 7 public crossing at grade accidents in which 3 were killed and 4 survived with injuries. This doesn’t include close calls which are too numerous for me to remember. I’ve hit everything from little street cleaners with the vacuum to open-top tractor trailers carrying boulders to tractors. One of my close friends has had 13 kills out of 21 accidents. She is a mess. I got help. I’m one of the lucky ones. I wish a long and accident free career to your loved one. I knew one fellow who in 43 years never had a fatality but he is the exception.

  253. “gifts to share” you mean watching people wearing catheters and diapers and dying of hypoxia, starvation and dehydration. I get it, you’re scared to die so try to rationalize your living to the bitter end as a “gift to others”. Never a thought to the army of mostly women who have to caregive you either, it’s all about you, you and you. I find most people that are so vehemently opposed are the cowards and selfish ones, they aren’t doing the 24/7 caregiving and they are the ones who are afraid to die and cloak that fear under a mask of moral superiority.

  254. An eulogy to John Hofsess…

    John Hofsess never killed a single person in his life. What John Hofsess did is what most of the world calls an “assisted SUICIDE”, and not an “assisted MURDER” — and remember, to commit a suicide means to kill yourself, and not have someone else kill you (which would be murder). Therefore be on guard for any argument that alludes to John Hofess being a killer, as they are only dishonest arguments meant to manipulate you by way of deception and not any actual reason or facts. It would be more accurate to call John Hofsess a suicide consultant. If you want to commit suicide, who better to ask how it is done? If you want to commit suicide, who better to ask to buy you the supplies you would need? But because suicide is a religious and/or emotionally charged topic, and because most people have a difficult time controlling their most debase feelings, catering to the needs of the suicidal takes lots of courage. If you choose to become a suicide consultant, expect lots of hostility, name calling, libel, slander, and even…get this…death threats. Except for that last item, just take a look at the posts in this forum for proof of this kind of hateful onslaught.

    Suicide harms no one, not even the person committing suicide, since suicide is a relief or release from suffering for them. So how can people pretend to be offended by something that cannot affect them in any real life negative way? That is why I hope and pray that more and more obviously brave people like John Hofsess come forward. The population demographic is shifting more and more towards the high end of the age scale, and we can thank technology for that, but while technology is helping people live longer, it cannot change who people are on the inside, where it really matters, and therefore it cannot raise their quality of life or give them a reason to live or end the hate. But thanks to people like John Hofsess, it can be used to end their suffering in a peaceful, quiet manner.

    I am happy John Hofsess died in a peaceful, quiet manner. His death harmed no one, not even John Hofsess himself. More importantly, I am happy John Hofsess lived an exemplary life. If only there were more people like John Hofsess. The world would be at least a little better place to live…and die… in.

  255. Yes, I guess the ‘coward’ labeling and the ‘price tag on peoples lives’ rubbed be the wrong way.
    But be that as it may, not everything fits into one perfect box. Your guide, from what I’ve gathered, apparently is God. He dictates what you can and can’t do. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But there should be a separation of church and healthcare unless the patient asks for it. After all not everyone follows His path.

    If ones path ends at the hands of a doctor giving him/her a pill to help end the suffering (like that lady in Portland Oregon with terminal brain cancer) then so be it. To each their own. Interfere if you think all options have not been explored, but you can’t throw God into the mix if that person doesn’t believe.

    Terminally ill patients should never be forced to stay alive against their will. It’s inhumane.

  256. You’re okay with starving and dehydrating people to death though which is what they do in palliative care today. Nobody would die at the exact minute they do if they weren’t deprived of all necessaries of life. Not sure how that is acceptable to you. 99% of people who die in a palliative ward actually die that way. If they had fluids through an IV they would have lived longer. So maybe ban that method of death.

  257. Unfortunately heart problems is a quick death. Diabetes maybe, you get a few body parts lopped off eventually.

  258. Excuse me? Where and when exactly did I insult you? It is clear you have no correct information about the protocols and procedures in the Netherlands and what you state about assisted death,that it is provided to people who are tired of living is simply untrue. As a RN since thirty years and as proud citizen of the Netherlands I do know this better. I advise you to tread very carefully as I do not appreciate someone insulting my country.

  259. What a nonsense. I am not of the pro suicide movement. Personally I am in favor of good palliative care. It is just not always possible. But on those problems with pain and suffering you have no answer, because there none but one.

  260. What an absolutist this Risdon fellow is! Absolutely against the Culture of Death in this latest manifestation.

    What an arrogant jerk!

  261. Toronto Life – killing me softly…with their perversions, killing me…softly…with their perversions…(with apologies to Charles Fox)

  262. Mr Risdon sees no harm in slandering the patients, the dying, who suffer. Or in slandering me, and my country.

  263. Apparently that is what you want is it not? Any mg extra might shorten your life. God forbid it might be seen as passive euthanasia.

  264. Well said. I am happy to see unnecessary suffering brought to an end (severe mental illness for example) but this is so open to abuse such as killing people who are simply depressed and who could be helped with proper care that it’s not worth entering the slippery slope. It’s a first world problem brought about by over-privileged intellectuals who have nothing else in their comfortable lives to do but “talk suicide”, and yes that is cowardice. Nietzsche, the most intellectual of them all, seemed to do a pretty good job of it when he took to his bed to die – and he did it without any need for a “government programme” or telling anyone else how stressful his comfortable life had been.

  265. I mean there are things in life that are natural, like death sometimes and sex. Do I have to go into detail?

  266. i absolutely understand where the writer is coming from. as an ms patient that’s been battling this”system” for 20 years, i feel that i can honestly speak about it. who is to say when someone else has ‘had enough’? how can any person think they know when i have suffered enough? any lawmaker? it is NONE of their business, nor anyone else’s, when that decision is made FOR ME, BY ME. if this system wasn’t such a (completely terrible) comedy of errors this never would have gotten this far in the first place. CANNABIS is THE answer and no matter how far someone’s body & mind has been ravaged by this terrible disease, cannabis can help. i encourage everyone to learn all they can about how cannabis can help them. it was put on this earth for a reason- our esteemed officials took it away, made it a crime- A BUSINESS to lock up our brothers & sisters, our sons & daughters. & created a landslide of illness & heartbreak for us all, as we continue to pay for it. it is nobody’s else’s business when i decide i’ve had enough of this crap.

  267. It’s always nice to be considered young since, at 56 years of age, that happens less and less often these days.

    Hopefully, I will grow in wisdom as I get older.

  268. You called me a liar, zorgje.

    That’s an insult.

    I’m glad I was able to provide you with this information so that you will know in the future.

  269. I assure you, Paula, that I have read every comment addressed to me and given each one all its due consideration.

    Yes, I have proposed other scenarios than those commonly put forth by the pro-assisted suicide movement. Their most popular scenario, the one they want everyone to remember, is that of the terminally-ill, 90-year-old patient with multiple diseases who has no chance at all of ever surviving and who is in excruciating pain despite the strongest medications known to medical science and who will somehow suffer for years like this unless delivered by assisted suicide. That’s the one scenario in which compassionate people, including me, go, “My goodness! That poor man shouldn’t have to suffer so much. It’s breaking my heart. Let’s look at solutions we would never otherwise consider.”

    But that’s not the truth, is it?

    The truth of the matter is that people are now seeking assisted suicide and having it provided to them just because they’re sad. There was a woman a few years back whose twin died of cancer I believe it was. She was heartbroken and couldn’t accept facing the world without her sister. She asked for assisted suicide and was granted that request. She’s dead now. With counselling, she would certainly have lived and in all likelihood been happy again one day.

    And then there’s the people who have a single disease and who, yes are dying and in pain, but for whom a cure is in the works. By killing these people early through assisted suicide instead of having them hang onto life, all of these people will miss out on the medical cures which would have restored them to health. These people too will be lose their lives needlessly.

    Finally, there’s the elderly and the handicapped who require expensive healthcare to stay alive. For those of them who have limited financial means, there may be a great deal of pressure to just call it quits early only to be able to pass on money to their children and others in their estate. It may also be that those very family members will encourage grandma and grandpa or the severely-handicapped brother or sister to just end it by painting a picture of a horrific future for everyone. That’s devaluing the lives of the elderly and the disabled and it’s a pretty scary prospect. You can rest assured that family members who pressure an elderly person to request assisted suicide will not be going up to the doctors and other regulatory officials to say, “Hey, guess what? I pressured my grandpa to get himself killed! That was me.” No, these people will seem like willing people eager to get assisted suicide and they will be killed prematurely for the selfish reasons of others.

    I care about the suffering and the disabled and the elderly. I want them to have great palliative care. But I don’t want to see someone killed just because they’re sick or old or disabled or mentally ill. And all of these things will most certainly come to pass if assisted suicide is legalized in Canada.

    How do I know this? Because it’s already happened and is still happening in other places that have legalized assisted suicide.

    The comfort of some patients cannot justify the killing of others.

  270. I have answered your questions in a reply to another post you made up top.

    There is no need for insults. “A bully” “Very full of himself” “Smug” “Judgmental” are insults and they do nothing to advance a civilized discusion on the top.

  271. “This would be a horrific change in Canadian culture.”

    Not horrific at all. Maybe for cowards like you who fear change, but not for those who seek to take control of their life and end it on their own terms. Your opinion piece in the NB Daily Star is nothing more than the opinions of a narrow-minded little man. That’s just my opinion though…

  272. No mention of his initial insults to those who choose suicide? I might agree with some of what you have said here, but I do not think Mr. Risdon is owed an apology at all. He gets what he dishes out. This is a personal matter for many people who comment on it, and he knew full well what he was doing when he posted. Death is something many people are too afraid to even discuss, and here we are discussing a right to physician assisted suicide. Even when it gets heated or emotional, it’s being addressed and that is a good thing regardless of what side anyone is on. When someone steps in and opens with insulting those who choose death over suffering, they are generally aware of what their opinion will bring. You obviously feel inclined to step in defend his position because you agree with it. no shame in just admitting it outright. You need not dress yourself up as a white knight. I agree that he is not a troll, but he is choosing his words in such a way that it does make him seem like a troll to others.

  273. Sorry to say it doesn’t look like that’s happening for you, the growing in wisdom part I mean.

  274. You made claims to knowing what mentally ill folk in Sweden/Netherlands etc can and cant tolerate as far as their suffering goes (a.k.a speaking for people you do not know), and then you go on to accuse someone else of putting words in your mouth. I get that you feel passionately about this topic, sir. I really do… it’s just that you are being a bloody hypocrite and your narrow-mindedness is frustrating people. Your opinion piece comes across as preachy and faith based. Too heavy on the hypothetical and anecdotal, not enough of the evidence and studies. Yes, it’s an opinion piece, but if you are truly behind what you are saying it would serve you better to actually study what the other side has to offer as well. Right to Life (something every life already has) organizations are not going to give you unbiased information on anything and neither is the other side, but it’s YOUR responsibility to be informed. Please stop spreading misinformation.

  275. “nothing more than mental illness”

    I’m bipolar. I’ve seen my life collapse because of this f****** disease. You should avoid talking about subjects you know obviously nothing about.

  276. If you want to insist that God have the last word on peoples’ lives, you get to supply a way to verify his position on the matter.

    Otherwise your fantasy counts for precisely nothing.

  277. You are allowed to make YOUR OWN DECISION – nobody is trying to make you adopt any particular methodology – but I hope if/when you find yourself in horrific circumstances you think with mercy, of those who decide to end things before they no longer can determine their own fate. They have that right in my view, and I hope to have that right myself when I have had enough of this planet – I would rather go gracefully, generously, knowing I am leaving room for someone else, than hang on by the skin of my teeth just because current ‘medical practice’ can drug me up and keep me alive for no point !

  278. If you were well informed about all the different horrors that mental illness
    can create you would not be so quick to speak.
    Assisted suicide should be available to all who wish to end their life in
    dignity. It is not any of your business to tell others what to do or think.
    We do not try to force this act upon anyone, we simply want this option for ourselves.

  279. What a brave and important article. Material like this is important in times of
    too many delusions.

  280. Perhaps not.

    Mind you, the insult wasn’t really necessary either, was it? If you were sorry to say it, you wouldn’t have put it in writing and broadcast it over the internet. So your apology rings hollow.

  281. It is certainly as much my business for me to express my views on this subject as it is yours to express you point of view.

    How is my self-expression less worthy than yours?

    And, by the way, the implication that I’m ignorant of mental illness is unfounded and ungracious. It should be beneath you.

  282. Ah, more insults from the pro-assisted suicide crowd.

    Why is it that so many of you cannot seem to express yourselves without resorting to personal insults?

  283. If there is any misinformation in the column, please point it out and indicate why it is false and I will be happy to rectify the situation.

    With regards to your personal insults, well, you’re not even original with them. If you’re going to insult someone, at least try to be interesting about it. It’s bad enough that so many in the pro-assisted suicide crowd can’t seem to make a comment without resorting to personal insults but to be dull and boring in those insults is almost an unpardonable sin.

  284. Since you asked …. In the Bible, it is written:

    Exodus 20:13: You shall not murder.

    Matthew 5:21: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’

    Matthew 19:18: “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony,

    Mark 10:19: You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”

    Luke 18:20: You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

    Romans 13:9: The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    James 2:11: For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

    Genesis 4:23: Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.

    Genesis 9:5: And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

    Genesis 9:6: Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

    Exodus 21:12: Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.

    Exodus 23:7: Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

    Leviticus 24:17: Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.

    Deuteronomy 5:17: You shall not murder.

  285. As a Canadian, engaging in the public discussion over the future laws which will be passed by my country’s Parliament is not only my business but my duty.

  286. Describing a person as narrow-minded is an opinion and an insult both. How could the notion that a word can carry two different functions elude you?

  287. It’s hypocritical to defend the use of the word “coward” as you did and then not use that same approach (literal meaning), to understand that “liar” is being used, from zorgje’s perspective, in a similar “I’m not being insulting; I’m being specific” mode.

  288. Nah, it’s more like you have zero self-control. The satisfaction of proving someone wrong isn’t even enough. Usually, non-sociopaths would take that bait, out of sheer principle.

  289. You’ve now used two comments to try and convey that calling someone “narrow-minded” and a “liar” is somehow acceptable.

    Really? Are you going to continue with this absurdity?

  290. Ah, I see that my earlier post was a waste as you are answering my previous question and continuing with even more absurdities.

    Well, enjoy.

  291. No, merely reminding you that you own words behold you to enduring that experience without protest, since you’ve sought the same for yourself in a similar context with a different word.

  292. CalsignMissing: I think you’re saying James’ views are, at least in part, based on religious belief and therefore not empirically, objectively verifiable by a disinterested third party observer, and can therefore be dismissed. But as a scientist I can tell you that science yields no absolute truths. Science is a set of man-made rules intended to be applied only to a limited set of of observations and topics.

    Specifically, scientific method is validly applied only to observations that can be materia topics and phydical observations that can be repeatedly rendered on demand in ways readily communicable via the five human senses. (Wow – my former writing profs would thrash me for that sentence.)

    Science does not claim that all truths are detectable or verifiable by scientific method. Science’s valid use is limited only to thet limited set of topics and perceptions that are purely physical. Science does no have, and cannot render, verdicts on anything beyond the purely physical and humanly perceptible.

    Therefore your assertions of truth are not objectively true or verifiable any more than James’s are, and your rejections and denigration of his views as “religious” is fallacious. That’s because the underpinnings of your world view are no more empirically verifiable than his. A bit of mutual respect is in order, I think.

    If this is a bit strange and new to you, may I suggest a bit of grounding in scientific epistemology. The works of Karl Popper would be a great start, as well as Thomas Kuhn’s seminal “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” Popper’s works are good reads, mostly; with Kuhn, bring lots of coffee and a notepad.~)

  293. I feel no need to respect the viewpoint of someone who would demand that others suffer in deference to his religious convictions, especially when he puts those convictions forward as if they’re empirical truth.

    BTW, I have a degree in physics, so there is no call to lecture.

    “Science is a set of man-made rules intended to be applied only to a limited set of of observations and topics.”

    That is a limited and ultimately unsatisfactory idea of what science is. If James wants to declare conclusions based on his idea of the existence of a deity, it is certainly not unreasonable to demand that he furnish some evidence.

  294. You have supplied no evidence that any god was instrumental in any of those views. Can I assume you will not?

  295. James Risdon, it appears that you are importing into this discussion a Puritan type of religious mindset. I’m going to go on a limb and guess Roman Carholic. If so, have you not stopped to consider how many historical abuses have been perpetrated by religious Catholic dogmatists bent on taking personal autonomy away from any individual the church encounters?

    If you don’t like assisted dying, guess what, you don’t have to do it. If you don’t like same sex marriage, don’t enter one, if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one. Nobody has the right to force you to do anything that take away your personal autonomy and rights as a free human being. By the same token, don’t take that autonomy away from others by applying your own dogmatic religion onto them.

  296. You asked for a way of verifying God’s position on the issue of the killing of people via assisted suicide.

    The Bible references provide a very clear picture of where God stands on the issue of killing people.

    You did not originally ask for evidence of God’s existence. This is why I did not provide any.

    Of course, the entire issue of God’s existence is not germane to my position on assisted suicide. It is a side issue which you are using to sidetrack the conversation rather than deal with the salient points. By noting that I am religious, you and others have purported, erroneously by the way, that my position on assisted suicide is fueled only by my belief in God and without that belief there is no substance to my position. Since this is a false assumption, there is no need to dwell on it with regards to this conversation.

    Should you wish to undertake a spiritual journey and consider Christianity as the way to the Truth, I would be very happy to discuss Jesus Christ, one of the most documented figures from antiquity, with you. Jesus is the evidence for the existence of God. He is the Way and the Truth.

    Are you seriously interested in discussing Him?

  297. I’m 87 years old with a long list of ailments and could die at any moment. I have quit taken medication that might prolong my life. Am I committing passive suicide? I hope so.

  298. Who are you to say ANY reason for suicide isn’t valid. It’s like pro-lifers, quick to have a negative law, but unwilling to do anything to change society to make it better. So if some of us want to exit, so be it. Let it be.

  299. People who believe in imaginary beings have faulty thought patterns. Yours are well displayed.

  300. So what. There are WAY too many people on the planet and in our countries. I have no desire to spend the 20 last years of artificial medical life sustenance. You people are obsessed with quantity of life, but always fail to acknowledge quality of life. This attitude is ruinous to the planet. Let us go. If you want to live past your life expectancy fine, but stop imposing it onto others.

  301. I’m glad to read it. Why are you so overbearing towards depressed people. We live in a disgusting violent vain destructive society, and you think you are allowed to impose that onto people who don’t want it????

  302. He has bullied 100s of times on this thread. If it had just been one post… sure.

  303. Same insipid arguments against abortion — people are still their own keepers, and “mental illness” or not people are still going to kill themselves. If it’s legalized at least a portion of the veil of shame will be lifted & that person can discuss their want with others, family & trained professionals — and they might even change their minds.

    Make something illegal that should be legal & personal choice & history shows the same things happening over & over — accidents, poor decision making in private do to feeling ashamed, etc.

    Your argument is idiotic.

  304. A) We’re not talking about abortion.
    B) You haven’t addressed the points of my position.
    C) Legalizing something just because some people will choose to break the law is absurd. By that reasoning, Canada would have to legalize murder, rape, assaults, drug dealing, etc.

  305. Is it your implication, then, that we should allow people to kill others in order to curb what you consider to be an excessively-large world population?

    Is that the thrust of your argument? Assisted suicide as population control?

  306. That has got to be about the worst argument I’ve read in months. “You sound like you argue from a Catholic position, Catholics have done some bad things, therefore your argument is bad.”

    Your argument regarding autonomy has to move beyond the cliche “If you don’t like Act X, then don’t do it.” I don’t think people should abuse their bodies with alcohol, nicotine, or harder drugs, and so support laws that in varying degrees limit people’s access to these drugs. Is anyone seriously arguing we should have no restrictions on drugs of any kind for use by any autonomous adult?

    We don’t live in some libertarian paradise where we can each do with our bodies as we like – we live in an organic society where our moral choices over our own bodies affect others.

  307. A) You have not provided an ounce of evidence of any faulty thought patterns on my part.
    B) God is real.
    C) People who believe in God essentially built the western civilization you now take for granted.

  308. Since I’ve already stated I’m Roman Catholic, it didn’t take much of an effort for you to determine that.

    The historical abuses of the Roman Catholic church are so completely irrelevant to this conversation that it is difficult to fathom why someone would bother to bring them up.

    With regards to personal autonomy, our society is full of laws which take away personal autonomy. These include everything from speeding limits and jaywalking to laws prohibiting murder, assault, drug dealing and illegal drug use, the criminalization of certain sex acts, etc.

    It’s absurd to argue, as you seem to be doing, that personal autonomy is some kind of absolute right in our society. It just isn’t so.

    Laws exist to protect the vulnerable. And, in the case of assisted suicide, I have explained – through reasons that have nothing in particular to do with the Roman Catholic church’s teachings – that a law legalizing assisted suicide would be dangerous for the vulnerable members of our society.

    If you want to make a cogent argument about any of the points I have made, I will be happy to read it. But bringing up same-sex marriage, abortion and what you consider to be the historical abuses of the Roman Catholic church in a discussion on assisted suicide is really ridiculous.

  309. Phallic, the argument is that religion and Catholicism especially has always attempted to assert its control and power over others including those who don’t subscribe to its beliefs.

    The Christian churches are really having a hard time accepting the loss of this power. That’s why the opposition to this issue and many others. It’s simply about control.

    If the family members of a person wanting assisted dying are supportive then how does that persons choice affect others beyond his or her family? It’s no one else’s business.

  310. You who read the comments below, know that there once was a civilization of people who valued life, in sickness and in health, who pursued meaning both in pleasure and in suffering.

    These euthanasists want you to believe life is about physical ability and choices and “autonomy”, and not about sickness and dependency on others and degeneration. They will recount admittedly heart-breaking stories of decent people who similarly did not know the fullness of what life brings us, and so could not handle the eventual loss of autonomy.

    There is no arguing this position. There are those who variously subscribe to the Culture of Death – who see in suffering and pain only the necessity of ending it by any means necessary. Then there are those who subscribe to the one Culture of Life – who embrace the wonders of running through a field, and the anger and pain of losing that ability, who can enjoy the ups and weather the downs, who love life and then do not go gently into that good night.

  311. The Catholic Churches involvement is completely relevant. It’s the most vocal opponent of assisted dying, LGBTQ equal rights, the right to divorce (as in its sad history in Ireland), and on it goes.

    And a culture does not need the voice of revealed dogmatic religion to distinguish the differences in the application of autonomy between thing like murder of an innocent person, and the choice to die early by ones own hand in the face of terminal suffering. Society is quite capable of knowing where the rights of an autonomous person can be applied and cannot be applied.

    You don’t actually believe that the Israelites (and ancient society in general) did not know that murder was wrong until the tablets came marching down from the mountain do you?

    A society is quite capable of making those distinctions without the errant and presumptive hand of the church to say where and when autonomy may be applied. My point of history is to show hat the errant hand of the church has always been exactly that.

  312. Mr. Risdon has made my point better than I can. You present a straw man fallacy (I’d be inclined to say “phallacy”) about the Catholic Church .

    Rather than rehashing hundreds of years of history and whole areas of theology, how about just going at his basic moral arguments?

  313. Well discrediting you was easy. That’s all it took? And no, I’m hetero. But thanks for so easily stepping out of the shadows where the uninformed dwell.

  314. James while I disagree with you I think you have a done a pretty good job of remaining civil while being constantly insulted. A few things for you to consider. First keep in mind that calling people who choose suicide cowards might be as insulting as the various things that people have called you. You may not feel that way but I would equate assisted suicide to “dying for a cause”. Possibly you think no cause is worth dying for? Second you say allowing assisted suicide is a slippery slope. From what I can tell all laws are slippery slopes of one sort or another. Same sex marriage – are we going to allow people to marry their pets? Pay taxes – can the government just take whatever they want? Your point that dying is final has some validity but the government takes time from us in a variety of ways and with current technology we cannot get that time back. Finally I cannot think of many strong arguments against assisted suicide that do not rely on supernatural ideas about life. Unless you believe in something like a “soul” losing brain function is pretty much losing your identity. Many people seeking assisted suicide are not killing the selves that they enjoyed but rather a new self that they do not want to be. Can you explain what is wrong with a terminally ill brain cancer patient seeking assisted suicide?

  315. I would like you to provide any evidence that the Bible provides a viewpoint from any deity. Please do so.

    “You did not originally ask for evidence of God’s existence.”
    Untrue. Verifiable evidence of a deity’s position requires that the deity exists.

  316. Not at all. I am a former cancer nurse. I believe people should have a choice always. I really was absolutely sick and tired of listening to someone blather on constantly about something he likely knows little about other than he own religious views.

  317. So someone just has to live in hell for their entire natural life? Just because you say so? What if the patient does not want to and has exhausted all treatments? Just suffer? Because you say so? What does that make you?

  318. Wishing you a full moon on every dark night,many friends and love and the road home all the way as easy as possible.

  319. Well assisted death is usually requested by those in a terminal phase of severe disease with hard to treat pain/ wounds and so forth. The few patients with mental illness that get permission,are just a few a year. At least in the Netherlands, I do not know the numbers in Belgium.

  320. Revealed at last, a bible thumping religious freak imposing his views on others regardless of whether they share your beliefs

  321. Then you cared one patient too far. Because of witnesses like yours, now the Belgian floodgates open: “But our seven-year-old was in such pain, and he wasn’t going to live long anyway.”

    Yeah, there’s always an exception driving a change to the rule.

  322. I’m too pro-death to actually be convinced by you, but I just wanted to say you have a very praiseworthy approach to Internet argument. Relying on logic and sources, identifying the core of your opponents’ arguments, and maintaining neutral tone the whole time mean you score points every time you post.

  323. I think the point of any law is to keep the free will of us protected, while blocking the usurping force of another. Simply put. a law if created should of itself not usurp the freewill if the freewill does not usurp the free will of others. I have been reading the comments for 20 minutes now, and unless you focus on what is free will, do we have the right to use our free will if it does not usurp the rights of others, and do we need to have a law in this choice? James, what is this two edged sword that defines the line between your right and another mans right? Where do we draw the line between making a law, or being driven to improve the options alone, so others can use their free will to make the choices. In other words work hard to empower the individual with more to choose from, but do not over step the line of limiting or blocking the choices they may wish to make. keeping in mind that any of the choices they may make do not put others at risk or usurp their free will. In my opinion any laws that cross that line are unnecessary, Who are these laws here to protect? You may feel that you are trying to protect these people seeking assisted suicide from themselves. As much as you may feel that is a good thing, that is not your job. and it is not the job of a law. The biggest fight that we can fight, is to protect our free will and to protect the will of another from overwhelming that with their own.

  324. John Hofsess, I’m sure you are in the heaven right now because you helped so many people to end pain and suffer. You are a true hero and a good person may God bless your soul. Your work and your story must be heard and remembered. Hope your work will help Canadians and other people of other nations and will help to change the Canadian law.

  325. Don’t you understand that people who follow a religion derive their moral code from their religion? His basic moral argument is that suicide is never a good thing. Yes, personal liberties are restricted so they do not infringe up on others personal liberties, however, assisted suicide does not infringe on any one individual’s rights and liberties.

    Back when Christianity was invented, the realised they’d made a basic people management error in telling people that there was a heaven after death where things were marvellous. Surprise, surprise, poor and desperate people figured they’d just go there sooner than later. Oops. So they made suicide a sin that precluded the suicide from going to heaven. Problem solved. Religion, particularly the Catholic church, wants to control and mould society according the assumptions handed down from up on high, as has been seen in many, many instances.

    If you are a devout Catholic, which Risdon appears to be, then under no circumstances can suicide be contemplated, not for the comfort of the individual certainly. This is how religion is directly tied to this debate about assisted suicide i.e. there is an apriori determination that it will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Who enters a debate where they have said prior to discussing it that they will under no circumstances conceed any points to the other side? Why bother debating with a true believer? They will never be persuaded, never use proper logic. It’s like talking to a wall.

  326. Asking for God’s position on something inherently assumes that God first of all exists. If God did not exist, your request to know His position on an issue would be nonsensical.

    Since you have apriori assumed God’s existence, there is no need to prove it. It is already assumed by you.

  327. Canadian law is replete with examples using legislation to protect people from themselves: speed limits, laws against ingesting illegal drugs, laws requiring products meet certain safety standards, motorcycle, bike and skiing helmet laws, jaywalking laws, laws against certain sexual acts, against public nudity, against, well, a myriad of behaviours which are deemed to be harmful to the individual.

    It is simply not the case that individual free will is king in Canadian society. There are laws which limit that individual freedom to protect people from harm.

    And winding up dead is pretty harmful. For this reason, assisted suicide should not be legal and, yes, it is perfectly within a government’s purvey to pass such a law.

  328. That is about the stupidest thing I have ever read. Cite me one source for the proposition that the early Catholic Church experienced numerous people committing suicide, and hence the need to come up with a rule banning suicide.

    Before Christianity was “invented” as you say, there was this thing called the Hippocratic Oath, which said in part: “Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so.” So how did the Catholic Church “invent” that retroactively?

    We have kept to this code of preserving life for over two millennia, but in our collective wisdom, in the Year 2016, we have become Advanced Autonomous Human Life Forms (“AAHLF”). And as AAHLFs, we can decide when Death is permissible before the end of our natural lives.

  329. Yes, the hippocratic oath states that doctors should do no harm, but there are no blanket rules. Things change and certain circumstances require more than just a blanket law to refer to. This is why common law is a mix of laws as they are written and law as it applies in different specific situations, the results of which then go to redefine laws as they are written. To update them, shall we say, according to real life situations. That’s the basis of the legal system we have here in Canada.

    I couldn’t be bothered to do advanced scholastic research on the origins of the Christian forbidding of suicide, but it was surprisingly easy to find some basic info. Here’s a quick link to wikipedia on a subject you can further explore if you like:

    This is very basic, but the origins of the Catholic church as an organised religion arose out of many different sects at the time. If you have a brain with a bit of probity, you can understand this. Not everything is linear.

    To quote:
    “The most notable pro-suicide group was the Donatists, who believed that by killing themselves they could attain martyrdom and go to Heaven. They were eventually declared heretics. Most early theologians of the Catholic Church considered suicide as murder and thus a mortal sin in the absence of circumstances that could mitigate the sinfulness of the act.

    In the fifth century, St. Augustine wrote the book The City of God, in it making Christianity’s first overall condemnation of suicide. His biblical justification for this was the interpretation of the commandment, “thou shalt not kill”, as he sees the omission of “thy neighbor”, which is included in “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”, to mean that the killing of oneself is not allowed either.[1] The rest of his reasons were from Plato’s Phaedo.

    In the sixth century AD, suicide became a secular crime and began to be viewed as sinful. In 1533, those who committed suicide while accused of a crime were denied a Christian Burial. In 1562, all suicides were punished in this way. In 1693, even attempted suicide became an ecclesiastical crime, which could be punished by excommunication, with civil consequences following. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas denounced suicide as an act against God and as a sin for which one could not repent. Civil and criminal laws were enacted to discourage suicide, and as well as degrading the body rather than permitting a normal burial, property and possessions of the suicides and their families were confiscated.[2][3]”

    Perhaps you should do some research before committing to angry statements on stuff you know, apparently, very little about.

  330. It makes me a person who values life and who has hope in the possibility of medical cures being discovered at the last minute and who encourages the humane treatment of dying patients through the provision of the best palliative care.

    It makes me someone who believes that even the sick have something valuable to offer society and that even in their final days, as difficult as they may be, these people can still find things to enjoy and grow as people and derive satisfaction from the life they are living.

    It makes me someone who wants to protect those who are vulnerable, the elderly, the sick, the mentally ill, from being pressured into seeking premature deaths by overcrowded hospitals and overextended healthcare budgets, from making decisions because of mental illness that they would never otherwise make and which they would regret, from losing their families and friends and years of their life because someone killed them only days before a new medical cure which could have saved their life was unveiled.

  331. If you’re 87 years old and could die at any moment and have quit taking your medication which could prolong your life, I suggest you spend your time doing something greater than this.

  332. The position I advanced on assisted suicide was not based on religion. It was based on points which I made.

    I understand your exasperation. I also understand that it is easier for you to try to dismiss me, based apparently on some sort of anti-religious bigotry whose cause escapes me, rather than actually address in a cogent fashion the points I have made.

    Certainly, it is your right to disagree with me. But you can’t expect me to take seriously an argument that amounts to you responding like a child: “Well, you’re wrong and I’m right and you’re probably stupid and weird!”

    I am prepared to listen to the points others make. They, however, have to make them.

  333. Whether or not society needs the Catholic church is completely outside the realm of this discussion on assisted suicide and indeed of the case I have made against the legalization of assisted suicide in Canada.

    I can only assume that either you are incapable or unwilling to actually stick to the issue at hand or that you are deliberately trying to muddy the waters by bringing completely unrelated subjects so as to sidetrack the conversation.

    You might as well introduce Star Trek into the conversation. It would have as much relevancy to what we’ve been discussing.

  334. That’s an interesting, if bizarre, thought process. It’s also wrong.

    While I am flattered that you consider me to be a devout Roman Catholic, I have expressly said in other posts in this discussion that I will gladly consider any points anyone makes and any arguments they have against the points I have made.

    Furthermore, I am completely open to anyone pointing out any errors in logic or unreasonable aspects of any points that I have made.

    What I am finding, however, is that many people on the pro-assisted suicide side are quite simply refusing to discuss the points made or offer cogent arguments for their position and instead simply looking for reasons to discredit me personally. That is a logical fallacy. Even if I was the stupidest, vilest, more unprincipled person on Earth, the logical thing to do would be to examine the points I have made to see if they can stand by themselves. Who makes a point is inconsequential – and so is his or her religion.

    Trying to make this about my religious beliefs is nothing more than a red herring – which makes it all the funnier that one of the criticisms leveled against me in your comment is that I will never use proper logic.

  335. Dude – you link to a book, and cannot cogently repeat any of its arguments.

    You are a tool.

  336. While it would be great if everyone accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and became Christian, I have not in any of my posts even remotely suggested that others must share my religious beliefs.

    The fact of the matter is that this conversation is simply not about religion. It is about assisted suicide.

    May I ask why you would resort to an insult, calling me a “freak”, rather than simply address the points I have made?

    Are you capable of addressing those points?

  337. Dude – you cite one Wikipedia entry about the Donatists, who arose 300 years after Christ, were viewed as heretics, and to this day have no influence on Christian doctrine. How that is relevant to Christian doctrine on life issues such as suicide is beyond me.

    I can quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which represents a summation of almost 2,000 years of Christian theology. Start at Chapter 2258 for Life issues. Chapters 2276 to 2279 cover the sins of euthanasia.

    Apparently, I seem to know something about consistent Catholic teaching. You know how to cut-and-paste.

  338. You seem to be right.

    Certainly, I have not heard cogent arguments or valid points from the pro-assisted suicide movement, the Culture of Death people you describe. Instead, many of them have launched personal attacks and insults against me for daring to say that assisted suicide is wrong and explain why it is.

  339. I adopt the Biggus Dickus persona, because I find publications like this one have pre-detemined the outcome of a moral debate. Just think of the resources required for the editorial board to send a Cultural Marxist journalist like this one, to interview another Cultural Marxist on a topic like this – this was a con job of a story. And then all of the lemmings who read this drivel ooh and aah over how liberated they become.

    I admire people like you who take this fight seriously.

    Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.

  340. You mix origins with the manifestation of the thing itself. The fact that the Donatists were 300 years after Christ doesn’t in any way refute the argument. Of course, people who are heretics are said to be bad, and so doctrine is created to define what is right and wrong. You need the heretics in order to define what you would like. That’s why they burnt the gnostics at the stake, because only members of the church were allowed to have knowledge of the divine. Christ didn’t start the Catholic church, Phallus. Things don’t just pop into existence fully formed, the Catholic church and it’s catechisms. The early church had, as I said earlier, had archaic origins.

    so you can look up some Catechisms. So what? I know how to remember something I read at school, bring it up in an argument and then when challenged, cursorily find you the one link you asked for.

  341. The Wikipedia article you cite has only one useful citation, which
    happens to be wrong in asserting St Augustine first said suicide is a
    sin. Here is St Clement of Alexandria from the late 100s:

    “Now we, too, say that those who have rushed on death (for there are
    some, not belonging to us, but sharing the name merely, who are in haste
    to give themselves up, the poor wretches dying through hatred to the
    Creator) — these, we say, banish themselves without being martyrs, even
    though they are punished publicly. For they do not preserve the
    characteristic mark of believing martyrdom, inasmuch as they have not
    known the only true God, but give themselves up to a vain death.”

  342. Tell me why your religious beliefs, which explicitly forbid suicide of any form, have no relevance to a debate about assisted suicide.

    Just saying something is wrong doesn’t make it so, except in the church.

  343. Oh, here is another pre-Augustinian reference to suicide being unChristian: Irenaeus “Against Heresies” – Book 5, Chapter 12, paragraph 3 at the end, where he quotes the “apostle” (being St. Paul) in saying we must lay asiide “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscience, and covetousness”, but notes that we cannot cast off our humanity, “…for in that case it would be incumbent on us to rid ourselves of its company by committing suicide” (Kessinger Publishing). His pejorative reference to suicide indicates the Christians of the 150s-180s (our best estimate of the date of Irenaeus’s writings) viewed it as sinful.

  344. Let me quote your initial proposition, so we are on the same page:

    “Back when Christianity was invented, the realised they’d made a basic
    people management error in telling people that there was a heaven after
    death where things were marvellous. Surprise, surprise, poor and
    desperate people figured they’d just go there sooner than later. Oops.
    So they made suicide a sin that precluded the suicide from going to
    heaven. Problem solved.”

    I asked you to cite me an early source of how Christians committed suicide en masse, and you cite Donatists that arose 300 years after Christ. I then later cited you two Church Fathers from the late 100s who referred to suicide as sinful.

    Get your facts right, and then we can debate.

  345. I never said wikipedia was the ultimate authority (who would), and I certainly didn’t say I stood behind everything in that article. The ethics of suicide has been discussed since time immemorial. I said I didn’t have time to find more particular research. You asked for a link to what I was talking about, I gave you one. The Dontatists were just one example of a group of Christians who decided to martyr themselves for glory. There have been others.

    Nothing you’ve said invalidates my point that at a certain point in time, it was a consideration that to have people committing suicide to get to heaven quicker was a bad idea, so it was forbidden. There’s loads of references to it if you look online. Here’s another link to an interesting article:

  346. Well James, let me try from another angle. Can you tell me what other point of view could possibly come up with denying a free adult with autonomy, rights, and capacity the individual choice to end their life before the final agonizing suffering comes on them from terminal illness such as ALS?

    I’ve already established that society itself can distinguish between a consenting adult with capacity and the vulnerable and weak, so no sense arguing the over used and well worn, as well as false, idea that it’s a “slippery slope” towards euthanizing anyone who can’t speak for themselves.

    My point is anytime you find the congenital pattern of behaviour that denies human rights, as the church has done, you will find the organized voice of the church attempting to overreach and extend its control into the personal lives of free people even if they don’t belong to the church.

    What other point of view is there that would oppose, and what other perceived immorality is offended by assisted dying than the opinions of holy religion?

  347. I found this line particularly revealing:

    “The North African writer Tertullian praised thousands of Carthaginian Christians who supposedly approached the Roman governor en masse to request execution—the governor is said to have declined—and there were reports of similar incidents”

    The article was written by a university professor that knows more about this, I would assume and hope, than either of us.

  348. You know Tertullian died out of communion with the Church, don’t you? His early writings are considered Catholic, but many of his writings are not. I would not quote him as an authority on the early Catholic view on suicide.

  349. St. Augustine wrote against the Donatists for their extreme views that were outside the Catholic Faith (including the need to rebaptize the “traditors” – this the Catholic Church has never accepted).

    So when he lambasts them for their view on suicide, yeah, I’m thinking that ain’t Catholic either.

    Try again.

  350. You wanted some evidence of mass christian ‘suicide’. I gave you one. You read on in the article and it talks about how in reaction to this sort of thing, the church forbid suicide as a mortal sin. However they may have wanted to characterise this, the intention is partially there. My initial premise was that creating an idea of a perfect heaven led to people killing themselves to be martyrs or whatever, and that the church, or whatever the religious organisation was called at the time, made moves to stop this.

    I don’t need to prove anything else. I’m right. I’ve found examples that show this. You originally said that what I wrote was the most stupid thing you’d read. I’ve proved to you that there was substance to what I said.

    Your objection to the ancient witness to Christians offering them up for martyrdom is fantastically and completely irrelevant to what we were talking about. So is your noting St. Augustine’s objections to this. The fact is the same: a concept of heaven led to people trying to kill themselves to attain it, something the church didn’t like, so sought to curb it by making suicide or other forms of self-destruction a sin. I’m sure that’s not the whole story, but it’s an important part of it.
    Keep up.

    P.S: Your snotty style is super irritating. You are indeed a massive cock.

  351. These are the ones that suffer the most,have exhausted all treatments and are deemed untreatable with any available possibilities. They have my blessing if the procedures and protocols are properly followed. My heart bleeds for them as we have so little to offer to help. Those few are human beings with wishes ,thoughts, feelings I have the feeling you put salt on every word wherever you can.They deserve our respect and help if they wish no to go on anymore. As do the very sick. You seem to have a romantic idea of sickness and the process of dying. It just is not so funny when you know you will die bleeding out of your orphices and vomiting stool out of your mouth just to name one. Or to cough up all your blood from a lung bleed. Or to have so much pain,nothing helps in any amount. It not be able to move any muscle, give any form of signal at all, all you can do is breathe. Totally dependable on your caregivers.

  352. I did not use French slang, I used French language. Apart from being a RN, I am a teacher and am fluent in Dutch, German, French and English.

  353. Religion was the worst invention ever. Any religion. I enjoy our discussion but please leave religion out of it. It truly makes me vomit.

  354. And in the Netherlands to,we also have these push button pumps for surgical care,and they are a wonderful thing. But, if we use pain medication for the terminally ill as much as needed without looking at the risks of dying a bit quicker then you would without it( in practical life that will be a day or two quicker,sometimes.),we call it passive euthanasia. It is also a choice of words I suppose. But there are still diseases that deliver an awful death process and for those I do feel understanding if they choose not to wait for that. Also what people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s do these day prohibit caregivers and family to feed them actively. They put that in a document at their attorneys office. They choose if they forget to eat/ drink, just to let nature take its course.

  355. You can go to the Dignitas Klinik in Switzerland,but I hope you will enjoy your family as long as you can.

  356. At least now we all understand why James is who he is…..I detest religion, I honestly do….It only brings misery and war.

  357. I raise my glass to your mum and my dad who also died of lung cancer the slow natural way, I nursed him to the end and put him in his coffin myself.

  358. There are a number of things you must not do with your body. As a nurse and a mum, it makes me angry. Please give your fb a good hard smack in my name and tell him to never do such dangerous things again.

  359. The care of handicapped is in the Netherlands paid out of our taxes and the care of the elderly by their healthcare insurance. A nursing home is paid by themselves and if they have no more money it is paid out of our taxes. What financial burden? We do not know that. I have no knowledge of your system but if your family has to pay for all of it, that just seems weird.

  360. When I was born I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Since then I decided religion brings misery and war. No more religion for me in any shape or form.

  361. It is not nice to wish that to anyone , but if he follows his own convictions to the end that is exactly what he will get because every caregiver will be to scared to give him one mg pain reliever to much because mr Risdon could charge them with attempted murder or something like that.

  362. Well no doctor would give an okay for any of your examples stated here above simply of none of them follow the criteria for an assisted death. They would get a ticket to see a psychological caregiver though.

  363. ALS is awful awful…I feel for you. Make sure you follow medical progress about ALS as they is some thought it is inheritable. We have it in our familie to.

  364. I agree, those are many. I always say what I would straight into face to,hopefully accompanied by a large coffee and cake.

  365. Where do you get that I’ve assumed the existence of anything when I ask that you furnish evidence for your belief in that existence? Damn, that position you took is both silly AND lazy.

    “Asking for God’s position on something inherently assumes that God first of all exists.” Wrong.

    I will assume from here forward that you cannot provide any evidence to bolster your belief, and that you assume that belief because you’re grateful for the opportunity it provides for you to duck responsibility.

  366. Even if someone’s using their real name so it’s technically not doxxing, posting a link to their social media pages is creepy and invites harassment by others. I don’t think it would add anything to the discussion if I were to look you up and say, “I see you live at 44 Green Avenue next to a park, shouldn’t you be going outside to play?”

  367. The federal CPC caucus seems to be in a lot of pain. I’ll keep watch at the door while one of you good citizens puts them all out of their misery. Maybe run an endless loop of video showing Justin rising to every occasion. That should cause every con caucus crank and buffoon to implode into a slimy mass of bigoted bs.
    Oh yeah…it would save the maintenance staff a lot of trouble if a nice thick sheet of plastic was covering the floor prior to the con hacks slithering into their caucus snake pit.

  368. A rough patch? We’re talking about pain that never goes away. I take 150 Vicodin monthly and Ambien to help me get a few hours sleep. I run out of both because the pain is so great. The doctors are getting nervous about so much drugs are being prescribed. Without Medicare I could not have the doctors or the drugs. The pain has increased exponentially and there is no cure. I have watched people with ALS die and they are in pain and terror as they lose the ability to breathe etc. I am in good shape compared to many but unless and until your quality of life nosedives and severe pain is a 24/7 life struggle no one has the right to tell another when they want to terminate a hell on earth.

  369. If Stephen Hawking couldn’t go on, or if Christopher Reeves was still here and felt he could no longer handle being kept artificially alive, then I would have no problem seeing them wanting to end it. It’s their choice.

    You know, Christopher Reeves contemplated suicide. And his wife, Dana, sided with him on whatever decision he would have made. Obviously, he chose to carry on, but in the end, it was his choice. And considering how Dana loved him unconditionally and supported him until the bitter end, it’s evident that the “slippery slope” argument would not have applied to them had he gone the other direction. Something I believe would apply to most people in similar situations.

    But however small I think the risk is, further reducing the chance of a ‘slippery slope’ should be paramount. Can safeguards be put in place to help prevent tragic scenarios from happening? I believe there can be, if the will is there. But then you have the hurdle of people bringing up, “thou shall not kill”, and “God should have final say”. Which is silly, given the context and the fact that not everyone believes in God.

    For that ‘cure’ scenario in your blog, I would have a pretty clear conscience telling a grieving family the news about that newly discovered cure, post assist suicide. Sure, cures are inevitable. But ‘inevitability’ doesn’t do anything for anyone who’s in the middle of a drawn out death. So lets be realistic here since an around-the-corner-cure is pretty unlikely. This scenario would be really played out where ones conscience would be struggling with the fact that current laws have forced this patient and his family to suffer for absolutely nothing. I mean, what do you say? “Sorry he was forced to die the way he did….At least he will be regarded as a fighter and not a coward. Right?”?

    No, that’s not how I want to go.

    Under those circumstances, it’s on my terms, thank you.

  370. The only point that matters in this discussion is that every individual has the absolute inalienable right to determine their fate and as as long as that individual has given their consent freely and without coercion, they have the right to an assisted death. Furthermore the criteria of being terminally ill should not even be part of the equation because there are numerous people that suffer from chronic pain and debilitating diseases and injuries that do not classify as a terminal illness. Remember the old adage ” walk a mile in my shoes” before pontificating and objecting to the right to an assisted death.

  371. Karen I’m in total agreement with your eloquent opinion. Your opinion was intelligent and rational.

  372. James your arrogance knows no bounds. Your religious dogma is nauseating and not relevant to this discussion.

  373. Is there not a difference between putting other people at risk and putting just yourself at risk. most of these laws are to protect citizens from others like quality standards and safety. Risk assessment is necessary on all levels, and should include not only risk to self, but to others. How does assisted suicide put others at risk? And just curious, Is there any scenario where you could see yourself in a position of wanting the right to choose this option? I do not include the idea of others making these choices for you, that is another conversation. What do you think? “Waiting for Godot”, that perfect timing of the newest cure, may just be too much to embrace, too beyond reach. What then, would you ever see yourself in a positions of wishing you could choose this as an option? If a law is in place that is not a good law, eventually the worth of that law should be questioned. We should be able to change as we see the need to change.

  374. I’m describing you – not deciding your fate. Stay logical. And if you can’t, remember empathy.

  375. So you keep subtly shifting your argument, one I have a hard time understanding because it is so nuanced to require a PhD to understand it.

    You now say:

    “My initial premise was that creating an idea of a perfect heaven led to
    people killing themselves to be martyrs or whatever, and that the
    church, or whatever the religious organisation was called at the time,
    made moves to stop this.”

    You initially said:

    “Back when Christianity was invented, the realised they’d made a basic
    people management error in telling people that there was a heaven after
    death where things were marvellous.”

    Do you not see the difference? The latter implies there was no coherent Church teaching on the value of life, so that the early “inventors” of the religion mis-calibrated how their followers would react and so changed their doctrine. Your more recent assertion is that the Christian ideal of martyrdom led to “people” (a few? many? – you don’t say) killing themselves to be martyrs. The latter is your concession that the early Church knew what it was on about, and when Donatism reared its ugly head – with all of its puritanical heresy – none less than St Augustine shut it down.

    Nice perusal of Church history. Sorry you have to literally cherry pick small details to create crass generalizations of the Catholic Faith.

    So speaks Phallus Magnus, who was big since birth.

  376. I agree. But suiciding yourself when the pain is too much is okay, right? I have an IQ of 83 so I am trying to understand what is okay and what isn’t.

  377. If the thought of religion makes you vomit, then you may be suffering from some type of phobia that would best be treated by a professional in the mental health field.

  378. If you ask what a person said, then that assumes you accept that the person exists to have said it.

    That’s not wrong. That’s just common sense.

  379. Yet another insult from the pro-assisted suicide crowd. It’s a pity so many of you can’t or won’t have a civil discussion.

    But I agree that this issue should not be decided on the basis of religion. That’s why I didn’t mention mine in the first place. It wasn’t germane to the conversation. Instead, I made several points.

    Your comment addresses none of those points. It only reflects anti-religious bigotry.

  380. I’m just pointing out to you, Cindy, that you seem at least as “certain” of your opinion of me – which is wrong by the way – as I am of mine. It therefore seems a tad bizarre that you would deride me for my “certainty” when you share exactly the same trait.

  381. You’ll have to actually put words in your sentences if you want me to answer your questions.

    I have many fine qualities but mind reading is not one of them.

  382. James your response obviously indicates that you have not read any of my other posts which directly pertain to your so called points. The same way you are entitled to your opinion and sarcastic remarks, I should be entitled to the same privilege. Your so called points are not concise and consist of an array of disparaging comments about other people’s opinions. You convey an image of superiority and a very pompous attitude. You claim that the issue should not be decided on the basis of religion however you seem to integrate religion in all of your comments. In essence, what is the point that your are trying to make!!! For your information here is some of my comments”The only point that matters in this discussion is that every individual has the absolute inalienable right to determine their fate and as as long as that individual has given their consent freely and without coercion, they have the right to an assisted death. Furthermore the criteria of being terminally ill should not even be part of the equation because there are numerous people that suffer from chronic pain and debilitating diseases and injuries that do not classify as a terminal illness. Remember the old adage ” walk a mile in my shoes” before pontificating and objecting to the right to an assisted death.”

  383. Are the few examples that you provide (from the Daily Mail, a news source that cares little for journalistic integrity) more important than the numerous tales of suffering relayed by the author? I also hope you realize anecdotal evidence does nothing to advance your case.

    If your concern is about those who are “merely” emotionally distressed, Do you disagree with a system that verifies someone’s terminal illness before allowing them to seek help with suicide?

    James, I can’t help but feel that you’re the sort who doesn’t believe in things like harm reduction for drug users because it “feels” wrong, regardless of the what the evidence may actually be. The danger you cite is the perennially unverifiable “it will lead to a decay of society”.

  384. The amount of money spent on the dying in intensive care is disproportionately large, and gives people little in the way of quality of life.

    By investing so much money in those places we are forced to ration care in other places. Its an unpleasant truth, but we don’t have unlimited medical care. It’s not inhumane to say that money spent on providing the terminally and painfully ill a few additional days of life could be better put to use on the young and non-terminally ill.

    Do some real research (e.g. not reading articles in the Daily Mail) on the huge financial issues with end of life care and then participate in the discussion. People with your uninformed mindset are causing more damage than you know.

  385. Walker – I think people are worked up because James’ viewpoint willfully ignores the mountain of evidence provided by experts because it disagrees with the way he feels – “its just wrong”. And this isn’t a silly meaningless debate, huge numbers of people are enduring unimaginable suffering because they are unable to seek help at the end of their life. And people like James are contributing to that pain. I have little tolerance for that sort of behavior.

  386. Stupid. That means that if someone asks what Rhett said to Scarlett, they must think Rhett Butler is real.

    Stop with your obvious and desperate avoidance. Present evidence that your or any god exists, OR admit that you invoke it in order to avoid responsibility for your choices.

  387. Actually, putting a price tag on people and suggesting the elderly and terminally ill have less value and aren’t worth keeping alive is very much inhumane.

    The claim that the resources just aren’t there is a red herring. There are billions of dollars spend on other things which certainly are not necessary to sustain life.

    Let me give you an example. Total healthcare spending in Canada was $207 billion in 2012. If you’re worried there’s not enough money in Canadians pockets, consider this: Canadians spend roughly $5.3 billion annually on cosmetics, spa and beauty products and services alone every year. The US/Canadian box office, the money spent on movie tickets annually, is $10.4 billion. Want to save a person’s life but can’t find the money? Ask Canadians to skip buying a tube of lipstick or stay in and watch TV instead of going to the movie theatres once in a while and you’ll have all the money you need.

  388. If you ask what Rhett said to Scarlett, then, yes, it’s because they consider the character of Rhett to be real.

    As for presenting evidence of God’s existence, I’d be happy to do so if you are sincerely seeking Him. But that’s another discussion.

    This discussion is about assisted suicide.

  389. Whether or not I should ever wish to kill myself is besides the point.

    Let me use an analogy. There is a law against murder. Have I or any of us who are law-abiding, decent people ever wished there was no law against it and we could just kill someone who really, really angered us? Has any of us ever thought, “I’m going to KILL that so-and-so?” Probably a lot of people have thought that. But that’s not a reason to make murder legal.

    And the fact that some people may want at different times in their lives to commit suicide or have someone kill them is similarly immaterial.

    In fact, I would argue that it is in part precisely because some people may have moments of despair or pain or sorrow or hopelessness in which they want to commit suicide that we have to keep it illegal. We have to ensure it is unavailable as an option so that people will work through those moments and not die when they are vulnerable.

  390. You acknowledge some people would be saved by last-minute cures.

    You acknowledge there is a slippery slope and that some people can wind up being tragically killed, even by your standards.

    And yet, despite all those needless deaths, you still want assisted suicide to be legalized.

    I care too much about those people who would die needlessly to agree with you.

  391. Ah, Jeff, I assure you I have read all the posts addressed to me and given each of them their due consideration.

    That being said, several of the posts are essentially nothing but insults or attempts to sidetrack the discussion – or claims that all Canadians must have some inalienable right to commit suicide or have their request to be killed honoured and paid by Canadian taxpayers.

    This latest post of yours is a perfect example. In it, you insult me – among other ways – by alleging that I have been sarcastic, pompous, and disparaging. You also wrongfully allege that I have incorporated religion into all my comments, which is clearly untrue. There is throughout your post an attempt to besmirch my character. It’s quite unbecoming.

    You make the unsubstantiated claim that everyone has a right to assisted death. You don’t support that claim. You don’t address any of the points I have made.

    In essence, your strategy is to attack my person and then claim that you are right because you say you are right.

    I’m not sure if that’s laughable or just pathetic.

  392. There is no such “inalienable right” in the Canadian constitution. There is a court judgement in which there was a dissenting opinion and that court decision led to our present predicament through a somewhat strange interpretation of the security of the person.

    And, of course, that is hardly the only point that matters in this discussion.

  393. Mr. Hofsess killed people. The Bible says: “Thou shalt not kill.”

    I’m not God so it’s not up to me to decide where Mr. Hofsess will spend all of eternity. But I wouldn’t automatically assume he’s in heaven smiling down on us.

    And I sure wouldn’t award him a medal for killing people.

  394. It is quite clear that John Hofsess, based on his own account, killed eight people. It is also clear that in at least some of these cases, he knew that what he was doing constituted premeditated murder.

    “… by giving Al a pre-death sedative, my actions could be construed not as assisted suicide but as premeditated, first-degree murder, with a mandatory life sentence.”

    Mr. Hofsess was himself aware his actions were the killing of another human being and that legally they would constitute first-degree murder.

    To claim anything else is nothing but historical revisionism in the interests of political activism.

  395. James there you go again with your sarcastic riposte. If anyone is pathetic in this group discussion,it certainly is you. Your coment about Canadian taxpayers is misleading and illogical for the simple reason that the person who may request an assisted death is also a taxpayer. In no manner have I attempted to besmirch your character. I do not know you personally so therefore I would not attempt any character assassination. My claim that everyone has a right to an assisted death is very well substantiated by the Supreme Court in the Carter judgment. I would be more than happy to address all of your points however I find it difficult to extrapolate what are your points. Stop behaving like a buffoon and make your point(s) in a concise summary and then we can have a civil discussion as you have requested .

  396. When John Hofesses says he killed someone, he is only speaking in hyperbole. Technically and legally, it is quite clear that John Hofesses never actually killed anyone with his own hands. John Hofsess only just told his clients how to do it and then let them do all the dirty work. That’s why the legal authorities recognize what John Hofesses did as ASSISTED SUICIDE and not murder or even assisted murder. It was the same successful tactic taken by Jack Kevorkian, that is until Kevorkian himself administered a lethal injection to Thomas Youk.

    Not one authority ever had John Hofsess arrested for a murder, much less eight of them. Law enforcement could not and would not arrest him for any of that because they can’t arrest someone for a crime they didn’t commit, hence the reason John Hofesess was never arrested, tried, or convicted of any murders whatsoever. John Hofesses’ legal record is as clean as a whistle.

    “…COULD be construed…” is not the same thing as “…ACTUALLY committed…”. Anything could be construed by the authorities (which they are known to often do in a negative manner), but making that construal stick would be another matter.

  397. I’m reading Mr Hofness’ from New Zealand where we are trying to gain our own rights to die with dignity. Our local End of Life Choice Society has been going for some 30 years, always hoping for a legislative solution and always disappointed in spite of increasing media focus on specific cases entirely worth of medical assistance in dying.
    It’s wonderful that Mr Hofness was willing to describe his life actions and his own demise so frankly. I wish I could somehow constrain every Member of Parliament in New Zealand to read it.

  398. “If you ask what Rhett said to Scarlett, then, yes, it’s because they consider the character of Rhett to be real.”

    No, it’s not. Jesus, you are an idiot. There’s no other conclusion to be made when someone actually writes something that silly. There is absolutely no reason to assume that asking what a fictional character said means that someone considers the character to be a real person. Your claim that this is so makes me think that you need some solid psychological/psycho-pharmaceutical help for your delusional state.

    This just in; the writes of ‘Jeopardy’ think that every fictional person they’ve ever featured in a question on the show is real, according to James Risdon.

    Now, let’s see your evidence – or will you simply deflect again, since you have none? I know where my bet is placed.

  399. I also acknowledge that there are many who end up not cured. Those you seem to forget.
    What about those needlessly drawn out deaths?

    I also acknowledge that safeguards can be put in place to help minimize the effects of said ‘slippery slope’, which you also seem to forget.

    How about acknowledging that assisted suicide shouldn’t be thought of in terms of black or white – that there is a lot of grey?

    Your reasoning is such that if driving, for example, kills so many every year, then why have cars? Or that there are some risks to vaccines, so why have them? It’s silly reasoning.

    There are many who have no options left; who don’t want to suffer to their last breath; who don’t have a sinister family with underlying motives; who don’t want to do it simply because of a lost job or loved one; who don’t believe God has much say in the matter; and who don’t believe a cure is realistically ‘just around the corner’. So to deny them their right to die on their terms, IMO, is a pretty hefty slap in the face and wrong.

    Sorry, but I care too much about those people who are ignored and forced to carry on needlessly to agree with you.

  400. I would like to know if you have precedent for this scenario that you outline in your column:

    “A strong, healthy man suffers from a disease. He wastes away to a shadow of his former self. He is all skin and bones. Death is imminent. The doctors are telling him there is no cure, no treatment left. At this point, he considers assisted suicide to avoid the pain and suffering and maybe to save his family some of the money being spent on his care. He goes through with it. In a short time, he is killed by a physician. And the very next week, a new drug is discovered which could have allowed that man to make a complete recovery.”

    Of course, that is always a possibility. But is it a realistic one? Or even remote?

    To me, this reads like a fantasy. You are talking in absolutes. If only someone didn’t kill themselves, a miracle drug would have been created a week later!

    At best, I think the likely scenario is perhaps there is a drug created that prolongs their life for a short while. And that is no guarantee of an increase in quality of life.

    I believe assisted suicide is a compassionate law that will need to be strictly enforced. Making it law is no more “idiotic” (from your column) than legally allowing people to purchase cigarettes.

    I’m noticing a theme from the right to life crowd, which is that they claim putting this into law will make suicide and assisted suicide one in the same. I have yet to see any convincing argument as to why that is true. I also find it interesting that they say you have a right to life, but apparently you don’t have a right to choose.

    I, for one, am thankful that our government isn’t basing our laws on some words printed on paper that some person once declared was the word of an imaginary, non-physical being. I prefer our laws to be based in reality.

  401. James Risdon,
    your Roman Catholic faith teaches you that life is a gift from God
    only to be taken away by God. What does your faith teach you about
    acute sickness and extreme suffering?
    It is a result of our free will and sin or it is a test from God?

  402. It is still TECHNICALLY and LEGALLY quite clear that John Hofsess never actually committed a single murder in his whole life. That’s because providing someone who wants to kill themself, with the means to kill themselves, is not called premeditated murder or even assisted murder, it is called assisted suicide. The fact that no legal authority ever tried to arrest John Hofesess for murder of any kind, much less eight of them, clearly demonstrates the legal authorities do not agree with your assessment that John Hofesess was ever a murderer. Whatever John Hofesess or you say to the contrary will not ever change those facts. To try and claim anything else to the contrary of those facts would be a demonstration of intellectual dishonesty instead of an honest search for truth. Maybe you or John Hofesess could find a lawyer willing to construe what John Hofesess did as being premeditated murder, instead of actually being assisted suicide, but lawyers do not have a reputation for being intellectually honest.

  403. Thanks for your reply, I have a different respect for death. I see a huge difference between murder, taking the life of another against that person’s will, and a choice of death with the will. I see death and life as worthy choices when the choices are your own to make. I don’t see Murder and choice as equal. they are two very different issues. I value death as a choice. sounds odd I know, but if I am ever in a place where I would like to choose how I leave this life, I would love to have the freedom to do so. You do not have to agree with me, that is what I love about a conversation with a diverse group of thinkers. I like to ask questions and be asked them without worry of how to answer. By the way a movie I saw a long time ago might be worth watching. “The Gods Must Be Crazy” Enjoy.

  404. Nietzsche was actually something of an idiot and his philosophy a jumble of disconnected thoughts linked together by a vision of the human being as acting purely in his or her self interest. In other words, Nietzche’s ideal man was little more than a psychopath, hardly a model to emulate.

  405. There is no need to provide you with evidence because a) you have apriori assumed God to exist and b) the existence or lack thereof of God is not germane to this discussion.

    Are you honestly on a spiritual journey and eager to know God?

  406. You may think that Canadian law is not in the business of protecting people from themselves but, if you do think that, then you are wrong.

    Canadian laws prevent people from ingesting dangerous illegal drugs, from failing to wear seat belts and helmets, from swimming in dangerous places or walking on thin ice, and from having sex with animals, among other things. There are many laws which serve to protect people from themselves.

    It is astounding that you are implying you do not recognize this role which Canadian laws also play.

  407. I see you have failed to understand – or are choosing to mispresent – the point I was making.

    I was not saying that assisted suicide or suicide are same thing. My point was that it makes no sense to abolish a law simply because some people choose to break that law.

    Your entire argument boils down to “I want to be able to choose suicide”.

    But that is not a rational argument. Laws are not passed solely based on your personal preferences. The consequences of those laws have to be weighed.

    In stating my position, I have noted several serious and negative consequences of legalized assisted suicide. For all of those reasons, assisted suicide should be illegal.

    A personal desire to be able to commit suicide and a flagrant disregard for any vulnerable person who gets killed as a result of assisted suicide being made available is hardly an argument for its legalization in Canada.

  408. The people who you describe as having “needlessly prolonged deaths” are people who get to live longer than they would if they were killed under a legalized assisted suicide scenario.

    Being alive is not a curse. It’s something any normal, sane person struggles to do. It’s a biological imperative. It’s quite a bizarre way of thinking that views life as some kind of curse.

    The comparison you are trying to make with cars and vaccines is absurd. Clearly, vaccines are legal because they save far more lives than they endanger. The same is true of cars. Motorized transportation has allowed people to have much better and longer lives than in the past through the many benefits it provides and it also saves a great many lives.

    Assisted suicide, on the other hand, saves absolutely no-one’s life. Even if it works perfectly, assisted suicide means people are getting killed. No-one gets to live a day longer because of assisted suicide. Quite the opposite. Assisted suicide shortens people’s lives and means many people will die who otherwise would have been saved.

    Caring for people takes on many forms, providing them with medicine, healthcare, companionship, spiritual services, etc. But one thing that is most definitely not a sign of caring for someone’s life is killing them.

    Killing someone is not a caring act. It is homicide. That’s all.

  409. It’s interesting that you would try to maintain that you have not attempted to besmirch my character.

    Here are just a few adjectives and sentences you have used to describe me.

    “James your arrogance knows no bounds. Your religious dogma is nauseating …”

    Look, I don’t attach any particular importance to these insults. They are clearly an attempt to deflect from the meat of the conversation and besmirch my character in order to imply that what I am saying is without merit.

    But, come on. At least be honest about it. You’ve clearly been insulting me.

  410. There are probably many people who kill other people and get away with it. But the fact that a murderer has done a good job of covering his or her tracks does not change the fact of what he or she has done. It’s still murder even if you don’t get caught.

    John Hofsess was very careful to not get caught. He was, by his own admission in this last article of his, aware that what he was doing was legally premeditated murder and that is why he took forensic countermeasures to avoid being caught and charged with murder.

  411. you noticed Mr. Risdon completely avoided answering your very astute question.

  412. “There are probably many people who kill other people…”, but John Hofesess is not one of them. You are beating a dead horse. John Hofesess TECHNICALLY and LEGALLY did not commit murder in any way, shape, or form. You cannot change the law and you cannot change the definitions of words, therefore you will never be able to transform John Hofesess from being a suicide consultant into a premeditated serial killer. The two terms are not technically or legally interchangeable.

  413. Faye if Mr. Risdon answers that it is a test from God then ask him what kind of God would test all the sick and suffering children lying in the hospitals.

  414. “There is no need to provide you with evidence because a) you have apriori assumed God to exist”

    That is a lie, as I have already shown. Why are you lying?

    Wait, it’s because you have no answers you can give. Gotcha. I’m done with you; you are devoid of considered answers or justification, and I have demonstrated that to a fault. You may have the last word; I’m sure it will be as spiritually and logically empty as your first word, although I’m sure you will congratulate yourself.

  415. Mr. Risdon if my memory serves me correctly, you were the one who called me pathetic. I was just returning the favor. Except for me calling you a buffoon, my other remarks are my personal observations concerning your attitudes and are not a reflection upon your character nor insulting. I admit that I should have not called you a buffoon. What you are saying when you base your replies upon religion is definitely without merit. I am still trying to comprehend what is the meat of the conversation as you put it. I am still waiting to hear what is your opinion without basing said opinion on your religious dogma. You never disputed that a person who is requesting an assisted death is also a taxpayer nor did you dispute my interpretation of the ratio decidendi of the Supreme Court judgment in the Carter case. Ratio decidendi (Latin plural rationes decidendi) is a Latin phrase meaning “the reason” or “the rationale for the decision”. The ratio decidendi is “the point in a case that determines the judgment” or “the principle that the case establishes”. The Supreme Court judgment is one of stare decisis. Stare decisis is a Latin term meaning “to stand by that which is decided”. Stare decisis is a legal principle which dictates that courts cannot disregard the standard. The court must uphold prior decisions.

  416. A) What you try to nicely call “personal observations” are, in fact, insults.
    B) Yes, the person who is requesting assisted suicide is a taxpayer.
    C) Read my other posts to understand my position. Clearly you have not taken the time to do this if you erroneously think my position is based on religion. It is not.
    D) Yes, the court has ruled and set a precedent. But, no, that decision does not mean that the court will always have to come to the same conclusion and make similar decisions in the future. There are many instances of courts coming to one decision on an issue and later in another case coming to a different decision on fundamentally the same issue. A court decision is not a constitutionally-enshrined right. To pretend otherwise is to be sadly mistaken.
    E) I am tired of responding to someone who seems to do nothing more than put forth insults and is unwilling or unable to comprehend my position as I have explained it in other posts in this thread. Therefore, I will no longer be answering any further comments from you.

  417. It seems you may need to read that story again. John Hofsess clearly describes how he and his companions, with forethought and intent, killed a man.

    Here is a relevant passage:

    “We worked as a team, silently, efficiently. We had brought two helium tanks in bulky boxes labelled “party balloon kits.” Evelyn placed them beside Al’s bed. She attached plastic tubing to a Y-connection joined to both tanks, so the contents would feed simultaneously into a plastic bag. Our exit bag was 56 centimetres by 91 centimetres, with elastic sewn into a flannelette collar; a Velcro strip was used to seal the bag snugly around the neck.

    “Evelyn placed the exit bag around Al’s forehead, and I INFLATED IT WITH HELIUM. I WAITED A FEW MINUTES LONGER, STILL PINCHING HIS SKIN TO MAKE SURE HE WAS DEEPLY SEDATED. The inflated bag rose above his head like a chef’s hat. It had to be fully inflated before being pulled down to minimize available oxygen. Evelyn pulled the bag down over his head and sealed the collar. I INCREASED THE HELIUM FLOW.

    “The body shows no adverse reaction to pure helium. It responds as if the person is breathing normal air, except that the lack of oxygen causes the brain to black out within seconds. Al took a deep breath, and his body went limp. After two or three minutes, he seemed to draw a final breath, but this may have been purely reflexive. I ALLOWED BOTH TANKS TO EMPTY INTO THE EXIT BAG. Then we removed the tanks and put them back in Evelyn’s van for disposal. We had chosen a secluded dumpster in advance, one with no surveillance cameras.”

    Mr. Hofsess did indeed, by his own admission, kill a man. He then took measures to ensure the authorities would not find out. And he admits this act would have been seen as premeditated murder.

  418. Well I agree with you there.
    Most don’t bother participating, exercising their rights, etc.

  419. Responding to each paragraph:
    1- Exactly. We don’t want them to live longer.
    If you haven’t figured it out yet, the point of assisted suicide is to help put those who want it, out of their misery.

    2- Never ever said being alive was a curse. Now being alive with the curse of a fatal illness is a different story. Do you not understand the point of assisted suicide? Doesn’t seem like you do.

    3- What I was trying to illustrate with those comparisons, was the fact that not everything can be viewed in terms of black and white – there is a lot of grey. For example, a car brings risks of accidents and death, but it also has all the benefits you mention. Therefore it makes more sense to add preventive and protective measures such as seat belts, traffic signals, speed limits, etc., instead of just saying that we should never be allowed to drive.
    Get it?

    4- Exactly! That is what assisted suicide does! It ends someones life. Does that not make sense?

    5- “Caring for people takes on many forms, providing them with medicine, healthcare, companionship, spiritual services, etc. with the final option being assisted suicide, if the patient so desires.”
    There, fixed it.

  420. You are the jerk that I thought you were and you talk about a civilized conversation. You are a bloody hypocrite!!!!!!!!!!!!

  421. He took to his bed to die because he was “bored of life” and managed it – point being no government programmes were needed nor did he feel the need to narcissistically tell everyone of his first world problem/angst by writing things like “By the time you read this I’ll be dead” (drama drama)- he got on with the job honestly without any ego affectations. That was the point I was trying to make, and whilst I do not entirely disagree with your abbreviated 3 line Cliff note’s version of his philosophical life, the point and its relevance to the initial comment are things you appear to have missed.

  422. That is called a MERCY KILLING and not a murder. You need to look up the definition for “technical” and “legal”, because your past and present arguments still have failed in addressing those aspects.

    Could a mercy killing be construed as murder? Yes, it could, but once again, “construe” doesn’t mean “fact”, it means a lawyer or a layperson twisting the facts around so it could sound like it could be something else that it actually isn’t. It is a very common tactic used by lawyers and intellectually dishonest people.

    Furthermore, your latest argument contradicts your earlier blatant assertion that the reason John Hofesess has never been charged or arrested by any law enforcement agency for murder is because John Hofesess, “has done a good job of covering his or her tracks”. That example you just now gave is proof of the opposite of what you stated previously.

  423. The issue of assisted death must be a welcome distraction for all the supporters of the organized pedophile ring known as the Catholic Church. Given that the long term policy of covering up child rape by thousands of pedophile priests constitutes organized crime, why isn’t this evil enterprise being liquidated in order to help the victims? And why would anyone be proud of their membership in this creepy cabal of pederasts and their enablers?

  424. On the subject of moral authority, Jimmy the Risible, does your Catholic Church qualify as one? Or does their chronic child raping habit preclude them from that lofty perch?

  425. I believe that the quality of life a person has after being diagnosed with a terminal illness is completely in their hands. I support Physician Assisted Suicide, but ONLY for those who have been told they have less than 6 months to live. These people are required to get not one but 2 doctors to agree that the illness they have can not be cured and that it was kill then in less than 6 months. 8 years ago a woman very near to my heart (she was like a mother to me) was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, it was so advanced that they couldn’t even tell where it started at because it was in more than 60% of her body. It wasn’t found earlier because her doctor was a quack and kept telling her she had Fibromyalgia. This was so not the case. Doctors gave her options, one of them being radiation and chemo. She opted to go for it. After just 3 treatments, she was not herself and was not liking the life she was living and the pain she was enduring. She was diagnosed in October of 2008. By mid November she was already thinking of committing suicide because the pain was so intense. After many discussions with her husband, sister and doctor, she opted to stop treatment. Knowing this would cause her death at only 49 year old. Her battle didn’t last near as long as some peoples does. She died on hospice care in her own home in mid January 2009. There was not a time in those last 2 months that she didn’t think about suicide because of the pain she was in. At the end she was constantly on high doses of narcotic pain meds that cause her brain to become fuzzy. Hearing her voice during this time was hard because she wasn’t the same woman I had met just the year before. I am certain that if our state had passed a “dying with dignity” act that she would have gone that route. I believe this only for those who are terminally ill and they are looking at a lot of pain and suffering if they wait out their illness. If I had to make that decision I would probably do the same thing but I don’t know exactly because I am perfectly healthy at this point in my life. My sister lives in Oregon (which has the physician assisted suicide) She is a nurse practitioner, last year she had a friend who had been diagnosed with a massive brain tumor and melanoma he was only 33 and was suffering with massive headaches and pain from both the tumor and the cancer. He opted for the PAS. It wasn’t something that happened overnight it took awhile before the medication was prescribed to him. Medication that is not covered under medical insurance. He paid for it out of pocket, almost $800 I think is what I was told it was. He chose the day he was to die and asked certain people my sister included to be there with him. his wife, mother and sister all around his bed as he took the medication and slipped into a deep sleep and passed within an hour of taking the pills. Had he not done this, he probably would have died in so much pain and anguish. His mother was grateful he had this choice and that she was able to watch him just slip away.
    Yes PAS isn’t for everyone, but I wholeheartedly believe that everyone should have the option, the doctors are required to follow the law and if it is followed only those truly dying of their illness will be the ones that these meds are given too. Other countries may not have strict requirements for their PAS. I just hope that more states and countries get this in their law books. So its so long but I wanted to express why I believe it should be available. Thank you :)

  426. I believe in this law..however spiritually, I have mixed feelings and many questions about the new,law in california

  427. I am extremely PRO assisted suicide (to the point I have Kevorkians portrait permanently on me and fight for the cause in every way I can) nonetheless I too must say that I am able to appreciate the way in which you present your argument and support it as well as your ability to stay calm while debating this, which idk that I’d be able to do while others respond with unnecessary intolerance. I can see where your coming from and understand your point of view. Especially on the area of mental illness and the hope for emerging cures and medics discoveries.

  428. I completely agree and I don’t even share his viewpoint. He makes others who share my view appear like intolerant assholes that’s can’t express themselves without first insulting those who don’t agree with them. Such intolerance and snarkiness isn’t necessary and I’m sorry that so few were able to take your points into consideration rather than slinging mud.

  429. Well, clearly, it depends on the specific circumstances of that person’s life. One person may benefit from suffering because it tells him to turn away from something sinful, such as when a glutton begins to feel the effects of poor his poor physical condition and this lets him know he can change his lifestyle, eat better, exercise more, etc.

    In other cases, a person might not be particularly sinful. In fact, they may be very righteous and then the suffering might be to strengthen their faith in God. It’s easy to have a friend who gives you everything. It’s tougher to still love that friend when he’s broke, sick, and just a pain to be around because he’s no longer doing well. When God sees a faithful person, sometimes He may leave them on their own for a bit to let them grow in the faith. We don’t grow muscles from just lying around; we need resistance to grow them. Similarly, we need challenges to grow in the faith.

    The fact of the matter is that there are many reasons why any one person might be suffering. Spiritually speaking, the suffering we see is only a symptom of something larger and you can’t always tell what the cause is from just one symptom.

    It’s a bit like someone who has a runny nose. A person’s first thought might be that they have a cold. But, then again, they may have an allergy. It might be a flu. Perhaps something more serious. The Mayo Clinic website lists 36 causes for a runny nose. As casual observers, we want to be able to say, “Hey, I see this symptom. I’m calling it suffering. So this must mean that the cause of it is this.” But just like a runny nose can have many causes, so can suffering.

    I’m reminded of the Book of Job. Job was a rich guy, a righteous guy. Blameless. And God allows Satan to strike out at Job in different ways. To make a long book short, Job winds up with sores all over his body, in the dirt, having lost all his sons and daughters, homes, and cattle, all his wealth. He’s such a pitiful creature at that point that his own wife urges him to curse God and die. But Job refuses to do that. And then four men come to visit him. And each one of them tries to show how Job must have failed spiritually in some way. All of them are looking for a reason why Job is suffering. In the end, God tells them all that they were wrong. He restores Job.

    When we suffer, the best we can do is to ask ourselves what God might be wanting to do with us through this suffering. What do we have to learn? Are we being tested? Are we being punished so that we can turn away from sin and do the right thing? Are we simply suffering the consequences of humanity’s fallen nature?

    In the same way as a hammer can be used to build a house, protect oneself against an intruder, prop up the leg of a table, pull out a nail, serve as a counterweight on a balance, dig a ditch around tent, or many other uses, so to can suffering serve many purposes.The same tool, in this case suffering, can be used to do many different things.

    So, you see, Faye. It depends.

    It depends on the person and where they are at. And it depends on what God is calling them to do.

    Regardless of where we are and what we are living – or suffering – we are all called to answer God’s call for our lives with heroic virtue.

  430. Perhaps because it’s not an “evil enterprise|” or a “creepy cabal of pederasts”.

    While there have undoubtedly been pedophiles and other abusers within the Catholic church over the years, the actual incidence of pedophilia among priests is about half the incidence of pedophilia outside the church in the general population.

    The pedophiles and other abusers need to be punished. No doubt about that.

    But it would be absurd to destroy the Catholic church, which counts 1.2 billion adherents, for the actions of a relative few who clearly and explicitly went against church teaching on these matters.

    To use an analogy, consider the school system. There have been incidents of pedophilia among teachers towards their students. Many actually. So, what is the proper response? The proper response is to punish the perpetrators, improve policies and monitoring to reduce the likelihood of this happening again, and continue educating our children. No-one is seriously proposing to abolish the school system because of some teachers who broke the law. We see these incidents and realize most teachers are decent, hardworking professionals who deserve our respect.

    And so it is with priests and the Catholic church. The vast, vast majority of priests are amazing people who have not harmed anyone.

  431. He avoids answering people because he has no answers and no wish to assume any responsibility.

  432. Evelyn Martens, a suicide consultant just like John Hofesess, was arrested and tried under the construed charges of the “murder” (instead of the assisted suicide) of Leyanne Burchell in 2004, and found NOT GUILTY.

  433. Faye I do not know if you have read Mr. Risdon’s reply to your question but I have read it. As you can see it is the same radical religious nonsense that has no factual basis. Once again Mr. Risdon has avoided answering some very pertinent questions such as ” Is God testing the child(children) who are deathly ill and suffering in the hospitals?” Is God testing the children who are molested and raped?” Is God testing the children who are sold into prostitution?” Is God testing the child whose parent will not take them to a doctor when they are seriously ill because they believe that God will cure their child?” Is God testing the parent whose child has died?” Mr. Rison wants all of us to believe that he is the only rational and logical person and the rest of us are just ignorant and uneducated.

  434. Furthermore he is simply a fanatical religious demagogue who turns every question into a spewing of his religious dogma.

  435. Some of the diseases cause suffering so immensely, it is impossible for another to comprehend. Hard to have faith in God when each moment experienced is hell. It is “God take me!” A person with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is taken when he or she chokes to death.
    We should leave judgment of those who elected to end their lives humanely to God.

  436. To all the people here that believe they are standing on higher moral ground than anybody else…

    If we were to pretend that John Hofesess is a murderer, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? We all “know” murder is a bad thing, but what if that is only a half-truth? Can there be situations in which we could say that murder is a good thing? Yes! If a person murders someone in self-defense, we say that is a good thing. If a person murders on behalf of someone else, say like a father murdering a man trying to rape his daughter, we say that is a good thing. If a soldier murders more enemy troops than the rest of his platoon, that is not only a good thing, we say that soldier is a hero. If a certain book says to put homosexuals, or stone adulterers, to death (both of which are murder), believers of that book say that is a good thing. What we have learned from all of this is, that in addition to being a bad thing, murder can also be a good thing, all depending on the circumstances.

    So what were the circumstances behind John Hofesess and his assisted suicides? People that were terminally ill or suffering, asked John Hofesess to kill them and put them out of their misery. A common situation presented to students in ethics classes is: you are a police officer and came across an accident in which the driver of truck was irretrievably pinned down in the cab of a gasoline tanker. You can see that the driver is soaked in gasoline and a loose electrical connection in the cab has just started a small fire that is rapidly expanding. It is only a matter of seconds before the tanker flares up in flames, along with the driver. The driver asks you to kill him because he doesn’t want to suffer in extreme agony before being burned to death. You will not even have time to run away and pretend you didn’t see anything before the driver will start to scream in pain. What do you do? Some students say kill the driver and justify it by saying it would be a mercy killing. Some students say watch him die because killing the driver would be murder and all murder is wrong. Only one student said he would jump in the cab and die trying to help the driver because that would make him a hero, which is interesting because going on a suicide mission is the same thing as committing suicide, so they are saying that committing suicide would make them a hero. That might make John Hofesess a hero for commiting suicide, but how does this relate to assisted suicide? None of this actually helps answer the question, it just makes it apparent that this can never be a black or white issue with one right answer, but a personal one instead that needs to be collectively decided by a democratic vote and not by law enforcement, lawyers, judges, politicians, or wannabee moral tyrants.

  437. You’re in denial, Risdon. The Crapolic Church is a well known haven for child rapers. Your senior management, when they’re not playing dressup in their marble lined manses, are kept busy obstructing justice by transferring the pedo priests away from the reach of prosecutors. I predict the next outrage to be reported on will be the revelation that Crapolic missions in Africa are actually covers for industrial scale child raping.

    Meanwhile, back at the Vatican ranch, the head office pederasts are content in the knowledge that the public are becoming inured to, and fixated on, the issue of countless thousands of organized child rapers in cassocks while simultaneously oblivious to the fact their chief child raper enabler is implicated in the “disappearance” of 30,000 Argentinian citizens.

  438. Did John Hofesess TECHNICALLY or LEGALLY murder anyone? No, and here is why…

    The common LAW definition of murder, is when one person unlawfully kills another person, with premeditation and with malice of aforethought (see “murder” in Wikipedia). What John Hofesess did was obviously not done with malice aforethought, but with mercy and compassion. So legally speaking, what John Hofesess did does not classify as common law murder. So why did John Hofesess try to cover up his tracks of what he did? Not to hide any murders committed, but to hide an assisted suicide in the mistaken belief it could be considered as “murder” because that is the propaganda many law enforcement organizations want people like John Hofesess or us to believe. The failure of that tactic by law enforcement organizations was demonstrated at the trail of Evelyn Martens, for the assisted suicide of Leyanne Burchell. Technically and legally what John Hofesess did, could only fall under the term “homicide”, which is not the same thing as “murder”, but only if it were “unlawful”, which assisted suicide is not (yet).

    Therefore anyone who goes on and on about John Hofesess being a “murderer”, are only undermining their own argument by resorting to a ridiculous notion that is blatantly false and without merit.

  439. Yes, in terms of the state of their souls and their intrinsic worth before God, that is certainly only up to God to decide. Not us.

    That, however, in no way absolves us as reasonable people from having the responsibility to recognize what is right and what is wrong. While it may be wrong for us to judge the thief, the rapist or the murderer as souls before God Almighty, it is certainly completely reasonable for us to recognize that theft, raping and murdering are wrong.

    And so it is with assisted suicide. While I cannot judge the person’s worth before God, I can certainly say that committing suicide is wrong.

  440. Ah, more insults. I must say, though, that I’m starting to be amused by the hyperbole. Imagine that: “a fanatical religious demagogue.”

    Jeff, I answered a question about religion by talking about religion. Does that seem completely unreasonable to you?

  441. I read an article on a 24 year old in Denmark being given permission for assisted suicide due to depression. This woman has tried to commit suicide on her own numerous times, had tried medication for years,psychotherapy, etc. I have no qualms with the decision to give her a peaceful death. Not all mental health illnesses can be cured. This us a fact, not an opinion. I do want to mention about Hawking and Reeves. Each of those individuals received stellar care that the average person cannot afford.
    I guess lastly, I believe it should be up to the individual. You should get no say on how long I should suffer or if my suffering is sufficient. That should be decided by a board, 2 doctors and myself (and loved ones).

  442. The first article about the girl I read before and another article came out before or after. I’m not convinced therapy and/or meds are going to help since she was part of the psych hospital since she was 21. She’s obviously suffering and chances are she will eventually do it herself if she wouldn’t have been granted assisted death. In my case, I tried every therapy going, more meds than I could afford, meditation. CBT, and I’m still suicidal. If I had the money, I would travel to Switzerland. After all, the tax payers are keeping me going with disability. Are you cool with that? I don’t want to live. Life is tasteless, colourless, meaningless. I don’t want to be here and my suffering is suffocating. I assure you my pain is real, and considering I had it for 20+years, I think I suffered enough. Or perhaps that’s not long enough for you. No system is perfect – not the Criminsl Justice system. Not the government or even school boards. People are fallible but you learn from those mistakes. You don’t stop a humane process because of the fear of making s mistake. You learn from it and incorporate changes. I agree with Assisted Death for those who are suffering intolerably AND want it.

  443. James these are not insults but rather how you portray yourself in your replies. Yes you did answer a question about religion but why don’t you delve deeper into the philosophical questions who are sick and dying, such as God testing all the sick children who are sick and dying, the children who are molested and raped, the child prostitutes. Is God testing all these innocent children?

  444. Not entirely correct. What is important about the trial of Evelyn Martens is that it set a PRECEDENCE which influences the outcome of all similar trials thereafter. So Evelyn Martens trial does in some way help indicate for us the outcome of a hypothetical trial for John Hofsess because it would dramatically increase the chances of an acquittal

  445. Risible Risdon would have us believe that the decades (centuries) old, widespread global atrocity of child raping in the Crapolic Church is just a scattering of isolated incidents perpetrated by a handful of rogue operators.

    That’s enabling behavior Risdon. What is your stake in running interference for child rapers? An extra helping of communion wine? All expenses paid weekend retreats at Vatican owned hideouts for pedo priests? Do you get to watch? Join in?

  446. You’re assuming that you and your evil cabal of pederasts speak for a god and have some sort of moral authority. Excuse me while I rotflmfao.

    The Crapolic Church hasn’t had moral authority for many centuries, if ever.
    That means that you, Risible Risdon, as a mouthpiece for pederasts, have zero moral authority. Keep up the bad work. Every pronouncement you make is further eroding the very last vestiges of good will for your cabal.
    I predict the day is fast approaching where citizens will demand revocation of the tax exempt status the Crapolics enjoy, followed soon after by the proverbial RICO, and their equivalent, prosecutions around the globe.
    I foresee the day when all Crapolic real estate is sold off in order to make reparations to their millions of victims. Many churches will become privately owned brothels and casinos and few in these neighborhoods will be able to notice the difference except for the fact that children will no longer be constantly raped in these buildings.

  447. Give Slick Jimmy a break, Jeff. We wouldn’t want his self promoted petition to be appointed to the Canadian Senate to stall out at 129 votes, would we?

  448. Andrew I love your comment ” wannabee moral tyrants.” I totally agree with your conclusion that the question of assisted death is strictly a personal issue and if a person consents freely and without coercion and if said person is suffering from any type of illness, then they have the absolute right to choose to end their suffering and pain.

  449. How many people, at any given time in history, have been slaughtered at the behest of the pope du jour? In all honesty, Risdon, how many people were “disappeared” in Argentina while pope Francis was allegedly busy fingering leftist fellow priests to the death squads? You can round it down to the nearest 10,000 if you like. Franky the Fink was allegedly fingering non clergy as well.

    Go do something with that finger Franky.
    The Dirty War still stinks…so does Franky the Finger.

    Tomorrow will mark 3 years since The New Yorker published: Pope Francis and the Dirty War. Check it out online. No paywall through Google.

  450. A 24-year-old woman who has had depression for four years can hardly be said to have exhausted all forms of treatment. This is especially true given the progress now being made in terms of brain research.

    Of course I should get a say on whether or not assisted suicide is legal. As a Canadian citizen I have every right to freedom of expression and a duty to wade in on matters of public interest which the passing of a law like this represents. As do you.

    Now, you may wish to silence those who disagree with you. I do not. I welcome healthy public discourse on the issues.

    And I do treasure human life. I consider it important to protect such people as this depressed young woman, children, and the elderly from themselves and from others who might want to put pressure on them to end their lives prematurely.

    Certainly, I make no apologies for that desire to see people live rather than be put to death like someone’s old dog, cat or gerbil.

  451. Yes, I’m fine with Canadian taxpayers providing for your care. Your life has value and we all need to look out for each other.

    With the advances in our understanding of the human brain, new therapies are being developed and so there is most definitely hope for you as long as you remain alive.

    It may well be that, in your case, the issue some kind of neurological damage or something that is set off by a genetic. It’s my understanding that research with RNA is leading to very interesting new ideas for therapies, some of which turning genetic triggers on or off.

    Of course, if you’re depressed and suicidal, you’ll likely resist what I’m saying and find a way to quash any hope it may offer. That is exactly why assisted suicide must remain illegal, to keep you from having someone end your life when a cure may be just around the corner.

  452. When someone asks me a question in which she talks of God, I answer in the same vein. That’s only reasonable.

    This is nothing that need concern you since I wasn’t talking to you or asking you to convert or accept any of the teachings of the church.

    Of course, your comments are insulting both of my person and of my faith. But that’s okay because I realize you really don’t know much about either or, at least, are feigning ignorance quite well.

    If you did know about me, you’d know that I really don’t care if almost all the priests are jailed, provided they are jailed for crimes they really committed. I am perfectly fine with every single person in the Catholic church who has committed a crime being held responsible for that crime. I am also fine with whatever assets the church needs to sell being sold in reparation to any victims. And, if one day every single church building is sold and they become brothels or casinos or whatever their owners want them to become, that’s fine too.

    The Roman Catholic church, boris, is not its buildings. Or its money and gold. It is not even its priests.

    The Catholic church is the people of faith striving to answer God’s call for their lives with heroic virtue. And that’s something they can do whether they meet in fancy cathedrals or in people’s living rooms. Spreading the Good News can be done by the Vatican’s media facilities – or by regular Catholics and priests using the internet.

    So if there’s going to be a roundup of any and all corrupt Catholics, including priests, cardinals, bishops, nuns, lay Catholics, etc., then I say, “Bring it on!” Let’s jail the corrupt ones. Sell off any assets. Liquidate the money.

    It’ll be the best thing to have happened to the Roman Catholic church in centuries. It will wake up the faithful. It will be a call to arms to saints living among us right now. It will lead to an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a renewed church ready to go forward and fulfill its fundamental mission to make disciples of all nations.

    Do I fear this? No, boris, I do not. I welcome it. I long for the day when the Roman Catholic church will be revived and regain the missionary zeal it had during its first days described in the Acts of the Apostles when it grew by thousands of people at a time.

    Bring. It. On.

  453. You wrote: “While there have undoubtedly been pedophiles and other abusers within the Catholic church over the years, the actual incidence of pedophilia among priests is about half the incidence of pedophilia outside the church in the general population.”

    Wishful thinking isn’t reality, Risdon. Now that there’s a “Spotlight” on the rampant raping of children in the Crapolic Church, people are also looking at the systemic obstruction of justice by senior officials in the church and even by parents whose devotion to the bricks and mortar of the church ensured that they would deliver their wee children to be defiled by this monstrous and evil cabal of perverts, aka: The Crapolic Church.

    One has to wonder why James Risdon is so eager to downplay and mitigate on behalf of child rapers to the point of making absurd claims: “the actual incidence of pedophilia among priests is about half the incidence of pedophilia outside the church in the general population.”
    He also claims to welcome the criminal prosecution of pedo priests. Who would be left if that happened? The rot is so deep and pervasive. When you have bishops, cardinals and the big fancy hat all running highly co-ordinated cover for child rapers one can logically assume that virtually every Crapolic in a cape or cassock is an unindicted pederast.

    James Risdon aches to be a Canadian Senator. He even started his own petition at in an attempt to influence Ottawa to choose him. He’s really into suffering and misery and apparently wants us all to suffer in misery like he does with his tiny cabal of 129 supporters. No assisted death for this lot. No separation of church and state either. Perhaps they want to change the law to allow priests unfettered access to children. Like NAMBLA.

  454. Bring it on? There won’t be anyone left.

    If there wasn’t an extremely corrupt justice system and politicos beholden to churches and corporate interests, you would see mass arrests of:

    – senior clergy who obstructed justice by protecting child raping priests
    – child raping priests
    – parishioners who helped pedophile priests gain access to children
    – parents who knew what was going on but didn’t want to “rock the boat”
    – secular authorities who also didn’t want to “rock the boat”

    For now we’ll have to be content with the prosecutions in place but what we have seen so far is just the tip of the proverbial perverted iceberg.

  455. Clearly, you have something against the Roman Catholic church. But, nonetheless, the facts are the facts.

    The incidence of pedophilia among the Roman Catholic clergy is roughly half of that in the general population, as I have stated. Here is a BBC report which supports that assertion:

    “The Pope was recently reported to have said that about 2% of Catholic clergy are paedophiles. But how does this compare with society as a whole – is it more or less than average?

    “One person who has attempted an estimate is Dr Michael Seto, a clinical and forensic psychologist at the Royal Ottawa Healthcare group. In 2008 he wrote a book in which he put the prevalence of paedophilia in the general population at 5%.”

    With regards to my senatorial aspirations, I did indeed start a petition to be appointed to the Canadian Senate and would very much welcome such an appointment and opportunity to serve Canadians in that capacity.

    In this, I am not alone. There are many civic-minded Canadians who would welcome such an opportunity.

    It is rather bizarre that you seem to consider wanting to serve the Canadian people as a senator as something to be derided.

    Boris, I am a Roman Catholic. I am not a Jew or Muslim or Buddhist. But I certainly do not spend my time going online and trying to trash these religions and insinuate that their followers are perverts or criminals, which is what you seem to be doing with regards to the Roman Catholic church – or at least to me and the clergy.

    You may want to ask yourself why you feel a need to do such a thing. It can’t be a healthy way live.

  456. The two cases are the same: Evelyn Martins was a suicide consultant just like John Hofsess and she actually killed…not murdered, but killed…people, also just like John Hofsess.

    You are grasping at straws here.

  457. There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world. That’s about 17 per cent of the world population.

    Your claim that |there won’t be anyone left” is so outrageous and so completely devoid of common sense and support as to be laughable.

    Please, continue making such claims. They do wonders for destroying your credibility.

    And you are one of the pro-assisted suicide movement’s supporters …

  458. 2%.That’s hilarious. The poope in the bizarro hat claims only 2% of priests are child rapers. This after decades of coverups and transferring the pederasts around to avoid prosecution thereby ensuring that even more children in other parishes would be raped. 2%!!!!

    It’s far more likely that the 2% refers to the total number of priests who aren’t pedophiles.

    ” It can’t be a healthy way live.”

    Moi? I’m enjoying life immensely. I live in the natural paradise of the Gulf Islands, have a thriving art business and enjoy my hobby of shining the “Spotlight” on right wing atrocities. And the Crapolic Church is proudly right wing. I wonder what Jesus would do? He promoted forgiveness but I’m pretty gd sure he would not have been amused at the Crapolic’s track record of butchery, murder, torture and pedophilia…never mind their inability to separate church and state.

  459. It’s very clear that Risdon puffs himself up with his belief that the 1.2 billion weak Crapolic Church is behind him. He spins statistics in a vain attempt to minimize the widespread institutionalized atrocity of child raping that has come to define the church. He and his church no longer have any moral authority yet he believes it is the accusers who lack credibility.


    Just how many NAMBLA members are Crapolics? All of them? 98%?
    You’re big on stats, Risdon. Trot out some more spin.

    NAMBLA Losing Members to the Catholic Church:

    1.2 billion. In your dreams. The Vatican has a long history of exaggeration.
    They count the 100s of millions of Crapolics who are lapsed due to having their children systemically raped by priests and they also count 100s of millions of people who live in the developing world who may have attended a church once or who have been starved to the point they trade their children to an organized pedophile ring for food.

    My credibility is intact, Risdon. I’m not the one dissembling for an organized pedophile ring.

  460. Here’s some “nonsense”:

    (what’s up with the links being shortened? That should read:

    2 plus years after starting this petition himself, Risdon has amassed a total of 129 votes. This after managing to wrangle several neutral news articles highlighting his shameless self promotion. Wow..he’s really popular at home too.

    James James James. You and your doppelganger, Harper are sitting way out in far right field….sunk up to your chin in the sewage of hubris and megalomania and here you are attempting to polish the biggest turd in institutional history: The Crapolic Church.

  461. Further to the issue of Crapolic membership stats fraud:

    “UPDATED: Norwegian police raided the offices of the Catholic Church’s diocese in Oslo on Thursday, and charged the diocese, Bishop Bernt Eidsvig and the church’s finance director with serious fraud. The church leaders are suspected of wrongfully claiming as much as NOK 50 million (USD 6.6 million) in state support by presenting fraudulent membership statistics.”

  462. Quoting the BBC, the enablers of Jimmy Savile, won’t get you into heaven, Risdon.

    ‘Jimmy Savile raped children as young as nine’


    Among other atrocities committed by the BBC presenter was a show he had called: Jim’ll Fix It

    Try and fix that, Risdon.

  463. I can’t even begin to express how sick and tired I am of that same “slippery slope” argument being dragged out whenever right to life/death with dignity issues are discussed. Whoops, Gramps has a hangnail, better pull that plug….

  464. So now those of us who would have to have death with dignity as a viable option are “mentally ill” and “emotionally distressed”? Well, yes, if I were dying of terminal cancer and pain medication were not working and would continue to be less effective, then I guess you might say I would be in a state of “emotional distress” – the same way you would be if you stepped into a bear trap. But it is NONE of your business how I choose to end my life should I be in this position, just as it is none of my business how you choose to deal with your end of life decisions.
    Spend time with someone whose body is wracked with pain and only has weeks to live and then get back to us…

  465. Yes, you have a right to your opinion, but you do not have a right to tell me I don’t have a right to die with dignity. Not only is there Freedom of Religion in Canada, but Freedom FROM Religion as well – in other words, I shouldn’t be subject to your religious values any more than you should be subject to mine.

  466. Permit me to be an opportunistic bastard. I’m betting 102% of the people gathered around Sandro Lisi’s dreamcometrue.scam’s bedside are thinking in a preemptive and/or proactive way as we all live and breathe in the moment. Some of them might actually have wanted to put him out of everybody’s misery before Nick Denton got a chubby for some video from da 6ix.

  467. Sure, you’re free to believe in any religion you want – or none. No skin off my back.

    The position I have taken on assisted suicide is not based on religion. You may want to read the points I have made in my posts and actually find out what my position is rather than just make a wild assumption.

  468. As a Canadian, it is not only my right to express my views on any proposed legislation but my duty as a citizen.

    In this case, the recommendations made by the parliamentary committee on physician-assisted suicide would essentially allow assisted suicide on demand. A recent poll has shown that while 90 per cent of Canadians support assisted suicide for the terminally ill, only four per cent support assisted suicide on demand.

    Clearly, in our democratic country, the people have spoken. And what they are saying is that they reject assisted suicide on demand.

  469. The evidence from other jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal is that the slippery slope is indeed very real. People who are perfectly physically healthy have been allowed to get assisted suicide simply because they were lonely and sad that their sibling died. Mentally ill people have been killed through assisted suicide. And the parliamentary committee’s recommendation in Canada is to extend the law to mature minors within three years and to allow assisted suicide for people with mental illnesses. So, yes, there is overwhelming evidence that assisted suicide would not be limited to the terminally ill. It may bother you that the evidence does not support your position, but these are, however unpleasant for you, the facts.

  470. If Parliament’s position is that strong, then put it on the ballot. This is an issue that is too important to not be voted on during a general election. I just don’t feel that the federal or any government, for that matter, should have a voice in whether or not I choose to end my life when faced with weeks of suffering. Is that such an inhumane request?

  471. Yes, it is an inhumane request.

    It is inhumane because you or other people may not be in the right state of mind to make that decision. And in such cases you must be protected from yourself from making a terrible decision. In much the same way as the state insists you wear seatbelts even though you may think you’re a great driver and will never need them, or the way the state intervenes to press domestic abuse charges against the violent spouse even when the battered partner is unwilling to press charges but needs to be protected from potentially deadly future violence, or how the state forbids the consumption of certain substances such as hard drugs even when people think they can handle them safely so that these people will avoid a life of addiction, debilitating physical pain, and potentially death … in much the same way as the state protects you and others from themselves in such circumstances, so too the state must protect you from yourself when it comes to assisted suicide. You are not necessarily the best person to make all the decisions that affect your well-being. The old expression is “Two heads are better than one.” In this case, the collective wisdom of all people in the society can indeed be better than the thinking of one person who may may dangerous decisions when it comes to driving, using drugs, domestic violence – and, yes, assisted suicide. The only humane thing is to ensure people are protected.

    If you make the decision to end your life before you are faced with the actual circumstance of, say, a serious disability, you may be unable to imagine how you can adapt to your new circumstances when, in fact, you will likely adapt to the new circumstances with help and support, move on an have a meaningful life. The Olympic runner may wish to die when he or she faces the loss of his or her legs. But given time and counselling, that athlete can turn to other sports, heal and live a fulfilling and inspiring life.

    The patient who is “terminally ill” today may tomorrow, if he or she is kept alive, be able to benefit from a newly-discovered cure or therapy and gain back their health. In the meantime, that patient, while suffering, may be able to hang on and work out some deep-seated emotional scars, forgive people, and reach out to people and gain a profound sense of peace which might never be available to him or her if assisted suicide ends his or her life prematurely. The only humane thing is to help that patient with good palliative care, help ease physical, emotional and spiritual pain, and help them live out the rest of their lives in as fulfilling a way as possible. There are times when an estranged son or daughter comes back to the parent on his or her deathbed and they reconcile only hours before death finally comes. The only humane thing to do is to allow that patient the opportunity to seize that new cure or therapy, give them the chance to reconcile with family, friends and life, and meet death fully prepared.

    The elderly parent who is financially strapped may feel pressured to end his or her life if assisted suicide is made available to avoid being a burden on family or to be able to leave them some money or property. In doing so, that poor elderly person is putting a dollar value on their life and, in so doing, cheapening it. The only humane thing to do is to protect this person from ending their life and leaving this world feeling as though their life was now worthless by making assisted suicide illegal. The only humane thing to do is to have our society pay through taxes for all the person’s medical care so that he or she can leave this life without having to go broke and so be able to leave something of their life’s work behind for others.

    The humane thing is to protect life, to nurture and care for people, to give them a chance to adapt to their changing circumstances and misfortunes with a full gamut of services which will be provided from general tax revenues.

    Killing people or making it easy for them to have themselves killed only cheapens life and will lead to many, many inhumane acts.

    Yes, we euthanize dogs and cats. That’s because they are only cats and dogs. Human beings are worth so much more.

    Human lives matter. That’s the humane approach.

  472. James, I appreciate where you are coming from, but I wonder, have you ever been at the bedside of someone who is dying from ALS? Or someone who is delirious from pain during the end stages of cancer? Have you ever worked or volunteered in Hospice? Because if you have, you just might be able to see both sides of this argument.
    In no way am I suggesting that individuals who are “going to die anyway” be euthanized, as if they were no better than a dog or cat. But isn’t it interesting how as a society we will put an animal “to sleep” that is suffering terribly and yet insist that a loved one “tough it out” until the bitter end? (And for the record, there are dogs whose lives are far more valuable than some of the human scum I have encountered in my life. Given how we treat each other and lesser creatures down the food chain, we are the most reprehensible of species far too often.)
    Neither you or any politician has a place at my deathbed. It is NONE of anyone’s business, other than those closest to me, how I choose to leave this world should I be faced with a terminal illness, any more than it is anyone’s business should I choose to terminate a pregnancy, and I am surprised that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t extend to this circumstance.
    My husband happens to work in the business end of healthcare, and if you think you pay high taxes now, just watch over the next 5-10 years as the baby boomers enter hospital to die. At least 30% of an individual’s lifetime healthcare costs will occur in the last year of life, at a minimum cost of $1000 a day. This is ALL covered by OHIP, so no senior (or anyone else) is forced to make the decision to end his/her life based on whether or not they can afford hospitalization.
    I know you mean well, but you worry about how you wish to leave this world and I’ll do the same. Mind. Your. Own. Business.

  473. You’re flogging a dead horse in respect to your tete a tete with the Crapolic Crutch’s self appointed Prick du Jour. The main reason the would be Senator from Bouctouche’s bastard boonie buddy, Bathurst, campaigns so hard against assisted death is he presumes most people are Crapolics for the purpose of bloating fictitious membership stats for the Crapolic Church. These bozos would have us believe there are 1.2 billion Crapolics when well over half that number are people who no longer attend Crapolic child raping centers/churches due to their offspring being buggered by bestial Crapolic pedophiles. One can hardly be numbered a Crapolic when, due to impending starvation, you reluctantly traded your baby to an organized pedophile ring in exchange for a loaf of genocidal Wonderbread and a 40 year old box of death: aka Krapt Dinner.

  474. Boris, how can be so insensitive? It’s an insult to the sostoyaniye blagodati of his people.

    Boris not worry…redemption is coming for dreamcometrue.scam. All those parents of at risk kids who had to endure Mayor of Toronto putting his imprimatur on hard drug use will now be able to make their wayward spawn stare down the barrel of another media frenzy. This one will include more than a few oblique references to a crash and burn lifestyle. The sort that parents can use in a positive way. In death RoFo will live on as a PSA:

    Giant Jerk Chicken Lover on Crack & Smack = Krapt Diner on Perpetual Nuke

  475. Well, first of all, the personal experiences I may or may not have had with regards to suffering are not relevant to this conversation. Arguing from an anecdote is illogical.

    Secondly, it seems you still have to make up your mind as to the value of human life. On the one hand, you say you are not suggesting that people who would die anyways should be euthanized as if they were no better than a dog or cat. But then, in the same breath, you claim that some dogs lives are far more valuable than some people. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t hold human beings as both worth more than dogs and also worth less than dogs. That’s illogical.

    Thirdly, I have no idea why you are dragging the abortion issue into this. This conversation is not about abortion and opening up that debate will only muddy the waters.

    Fourth, I haven’t complained about high taxes. And I’m certainly not going to begrudge taxes collected to help people stay alive. I have no desire to put a price tag on a person’s life. If you’re making the argument that assisted suicide is useful because it helps keep healthcare costs down, then you may as well lobby for governmental policies to encourage obesity and cigarette smoking. A recent study has shown that the least expensive thing for the healthcare system in terms of lifetime medical expenses is for a person to smoke. The second least expensive thing is for a person to be morbidly obese. The most expensive thing is for people to be a healthy weight and have never smoked. Why? Because these people live longer and so require more healthcare in their old age. The smokers and fat people die younger. But I’m certainly not going to advocate that people should get fat and smoke so they’ll die young and save our healthcare system money. That’s a ridiculous proposition. And so is the proposition of allowing assisted suicide so that people will have themselves killed to save healthcare dollars. Let the people live. I’ll pay the taxes.,

    Assisted suicide is very much my business. As a Canadian citizen I have a duty to speak out on issues of public interest, including the passing of laws. This is going to be a law passed by the Canadian Parliament, perhaps along the lines of the recommendations made by the parliamentary committee on assisted suicide. I therefore have an obligation as a Canadian citizen to speak out on it. I see no reason why you would feel it is within your authority to try to quash my constitutionally-protected freedom of expression as I exercise my civic duty to speak out on proposed legislation.

    The fact remains that the vast majority of Canadians do not support assisted suicide on demand. While 90 per cent of Canadians support assisted suicide in cases of terminal illnesses, only four per cent of Canadians support assisted suicide on demand which is what the parliamentary committee has essentially recommended. A sizable majority of Canadians also do not support assisted suicide for cases of chronic or mental illnesses, both of which have been recommended as grounds for requesting assisted suicide by the parliamentary committee.

    Canada is a democratic county. When 96 per cent of people oppose assisted suicide on demand, that very much has to be taken into consideration. And to suggest, as you have, that this overwhelming majority of Canadians have no business voicing their thoughts on assisted suicide simply because it is inconvenient to your political agenda is absurd and the height of hubris.

  476. All that spin is going to make you hurl your communion cookies, Risdon. I’ve never seen so much twaddle in one spot. Is there a volume discount for tortured logic today?

    I have a poll question for Canadians:

    Do you think churches that have systematically obstructed justice for decades, in order to cover up child rapes and protect rapist clergy from prosecution, should lose their tax exempt status?

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