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Passions in Poetry

A Touchy Subject

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Edward Grim
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since 12-18-2005
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Greenville, South Carolina


0 posted 07-02-2007 02:06 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

I didn't want to title the post "Why is Suicide illegal?" because it'd be nixed in two shakes of a lamb's tail. But that is nonetheless, the question I am posing.

I realize that "suicide" is one of those touchy subjects on the list of touchy subjects here at pips (Ayn Rand is making her way on that list as well, heh). In this thread's defense, the post isn't about wanting to commit suicide or the process of killing oneself or anything that might infringe the guidelines we've all come to love, respect and tickle on occasion.

I'm simply curious as to why suicide is illegal. I am being serious by the way. There is no funny stuff, at least not from me.


Let's look at all the legal ways to kill:


  • Abortion
  • Euthanasia
  • Self-defense


Abortion -

It is apparently a woman's "right" to destroy her unborn child. The logic behind it is that the child is being produced by her body and is a part of her body so it is her right to kill the child or not.

Euthanasia -

A person who is suffering from an incurable illness is put to death by a medical doctor with either the consent of the patient or the patient's representatives with documented proof that that is what the patient wants. That is within the boundaries of the law because it is considered "mercy killing."

Self-defense -

Killing when a person intends to either harm or kill you is legal for obvious reasons.


Euthanasia is what interests me the most. A person can be assisted with his/her "suicide" if he/she has an incurable illness. Is that not still suicide? So is the legality of suicide based entirely on conditions and technicalities? You can only kill yourself if you are terminally ill and have a person with a PH.D. help you with it? Can't mental illnesses be considered as incurable "diseases?" If someone has a heightened and irrevocable mental illness, why can they not apply for euthanasia? Does it only apply to physcial maladies? No, Terri Shiavo proved that.

Abortion is "legal." A woman can kill her child legally but not herself? Their rationalization is that the child is a part of the woman so it is the woman's right to do whatever she wants to her own body... except terminating her body that is. That doesn't make much sense.

Killing out of self-defense is fairly legal, given the right conditions. So it is within the law to kill someone to protect yourself; but at the same time it is outside of the law to kill yourself to "protect yourself from yourself?"

Today, killing of any kind isn't really about what is moral or what is right; if it were, we wouldn't have abortion or euthanasia. It is about what we think is lawful.

The immorality of suicide is obvious; it's the legality I'm questioning. Is it because you are still killing and ending a human life? You're ending your own life, not another's, so how can that be classified as manslaughter? Is it because you are causing harm to yourself? No. It is not illegal to smoke or privately drink in excess, or bungee jump or rock climb or any of those dangerous activities. Drugs are only illegal because the addict can cause harm to others while under the influence (and because Uncle Sam can't put taxes on narcotics )

So tell me: Why is suicide illegal?

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

Susan Caldwell
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since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


1 posted 07-02-2007 03:42 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

I'm not sure it matters.

If you succeed what ramifications, legally, do you receive? (morality or one's personal beliefs are another matter).

If you don't succeed most often you aren't labeled a criminal in any way but rather given some sort of mental health help.  



"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~
Edward Grim
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since 12-18-2005
Posts 1112
Greenville, South Carolina


2 posted 07-02-2007 03:54 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Attempted suicide is a crime in some states and is listed as a felony. There isn't any punishment to the crime but is still labeled as a criminal act.

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”
Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
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Statesboro, GA, USA


3 posted 07-02-2007 04:10 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If you don't succeed most often you aren't labeled a criminal in any way but rather given some sort of mental health help.


Which is, for all practical purposes, about the same as being labelled a criminal.


I work in an ICU, where we get people in all the time who have attempted suicide.  They are made a "1013" status which means they are escorted via police custody (often handcuffed) to a mental health facility, as soon as they are medically cleared.  


So, for whatever it's worth, I'm telling you theres not much difference.


Stephen
oceanvu2
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since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


4 posted 07-02-2007 04:29 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

ED:  RE: "A person who is suffering from an incurable illness is put to death by a medical doctor with either the consent of the patient or the patient's representatives with documented proof that that is what the patient wants. That is within the boundaries of the law because it is considered "mercy killing."

Doctor-assisted suicide, or "mercy killings" might be socially accepted or discretely tolerated in some places under some circumstances.  Dr. Jack Kevorkian, recently released from prison after I think, 6 years, would probably take issue with you on the "legality" of physician assisted suicide.

It is a very complex area in medical ethics and law.  I would just like to have the choice available when it comes time.

Best, Jim
Susan Caldwell
Member Rara Avis
since 12-27-2002
Posts 8464
Florida


5 posted 07-02-2007 05:10 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

I don't work in an ICU so I have never seen that.  What I have seen is people that have attempted suicide being given a review by some sort of mental health professional and then there is a determination of their risk to themselves in the future.  

Often times, in my experience, they are then released with a strong recommendation for continued mental health care.  There is little to no follow through via police or probation, there is no jail time or prison time.  

Further, and correct me if I'm wrong, when your criminal record is ran, there is no mention of suicide attempts or convictions of such.  

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

Ron
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6 posted 07-02-2007 05:52 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Abortion You're allowing your own private definitions to intrude into your argument, Ed. Not everyone, clearly, is going to agree with your definition of "unborn child," and indeed, the courts are very clear that by the time a fetus is declared a child it is absolutely protected by law.

Euthanasia Thirty seconds on Google, Edward, was all the research necessary to discover that mercy killing, as you call it, is illegal in all but one state and three countries. As Jim already mentioned Kevorkian was released just a few weeks ago (about 25 miles from where I live as coincidence would have it) after being convicted of assisting others to commit suicide. Terri Shiavo? That was neither euthanasia nor assisted suicide because no one killed her. Right or wrong, she was simply allowed to die.

Self-defense There's a reason they don't call it unself-killing, I think. Self-defense isn't about taking life, but rather about protecting life. It's also more than a little difficult to prove in a court of law. Rightfully so, I suspect.

In my opinion, people aren't legally allowed to kill themselves for the same reason a twelve-year-old isn't allowed to drive a car. They may have to the physical capacity but most are sorely lacking in sound judgment. Just because a blind person wants to walk into a busy intersection doesn't necessarily mean you should let them.

The vast majority of people who try to kill themselves need your help, not your permission.


Edward Grim
Senior Member
since 12-18-2005
Posts 1112
Greenville, South Carolina


7 posted 07-02-2007 10:08 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

Hello Ronald,

quote:
Abortion You're allowing your own private definitions to intrude into your argument, Ed.


Oh I am, am I? Excuse me. Next time I'll be sure to put your definitions in my posts. I didn't realize my definitions were biased. Maybe my definitions are just my opinions; yep that's it. And any opinion that doesn't match up to yours is wrong. Gotcha!

Abortion - since you asked - is defined by the Random House Unabridged Dictionary as:

"any of various surgical methods for terminating a pregnancy"

Terminating a pregnancy? What's a pregnancy? Oh "pregnant" means:

"having a child or other offspring developing in the body"

So "terminating a pregnancy" means terminating a child. Oh ok... Wait a sec. What's terminate mean? Oh yeah, it means:

"to bring to an end; put an end to"

So "terminating a child" means to put an end to a child. Got it. But what's a child? That's right, a child is:

"a person between birth and full growth"

Oh, so a child is a person! I get it now. So "putting an end to a child" means putting an end to a person. Putting an end to a person? Doesn't that mean killing a person; ending a person's life? Yeah it does. But hey, those are only the dictionary’s definitions; what the hell do they know? Am I right or am I right?

quote:
Not everyone, clearly, is going to agree with your definition of "unborn child,"


Oh ok, it's all about the adjectives is it? Unborn child. Nice adjective to rationalize killing. You have naughty children, playful children, sticky children, loud children, wild children; but are they still children? Yes siree Bob, I mean Ron. Is it just because the child is still in the womb and they're not sucking oxygen yet? Ok, what about fish, are they alive? They don't breathe oxygen; they must not be alive. See, all of your liberal adjectives aside, an unborn child is still a child, my friend. Weird how people get so confused with that.

quote:
and indeed, the courts are very clear that by the time a fetus is declared a child it is absolutely protected by law.


When's that? When they can pay taxes and get their fingerprints registered? I'm glad "the courts" are wise enough to know when a human being is a human being.

quote:
Euthanasia Thirty seconds on Google, Edward, was all the research necessary to discover that mercy killing, as you call it, is illegal in all but one state and three countries.


Thanks Ronald! I'm too lazy for Google. Thirty seconds of my time is too precious.

quote:
Terri Shiavo? That was neither euthanasia nor assisted suicide because no one killed her. Right or wrong, she was simply allowed to die.


Allowed to die... Oops! Ron-man, you're twisting the definitions here. Here's the def of "euthanasia:"

"Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition."

Just in case you don't believe me:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/euthanasia

Notice the part about "withholding extreme medical measures." It's right before the part about "allowing to die" in the definition of euthanasia. You should really spend more time on Google, Ron; you might've caught that.

quote:
In my opinion, people aren't legally allowed to kill themselves for the same reason a twelve-year-old isn't allowed to drive a car. They may have to the physical capacity but most are sorely lacking in sound judgment. Just because a blind person wants to walk into a busy intersection doesn't necessarily mean you should let them.


Thanks for your opinion to my honest question. You have a great point.

quote:
The vast majority of people who try to kill themselves need your help, not your permission.


Couldn't agree with ya more; I was just curious, as usual.


Have a good one Ronald...

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

Drauntz
Member Elite
since 03-16-2007
Posts 2907
Los Angeles California


8 posted 07-03-2007 02:52 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Murder is illegal

Suicide is self-murder.
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


9 posted 07-03-2007 03:03 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Euthanasia isn't legal- hence the above examples of Kevorkian.

Stephen- in my experience, suicidal patients are protected by guards, but I've never seen one taken out in handcuffs. However, if someone who was on suicide watch got combative, we'd either 4-point them or pink-slip them to Rescue Crisis, a local mental health facility. So not much difference, I guess?

But I don't see that as the person being legally punished so much as medical necessity. I mean, we tie perople detoxing from alcohol down and put them on ativan drips- not because it's illegal to be an alcoholic, but because they'll likely harm themselves or others. Same thing with the suicidal patient.

I personally see no good reason to have suicide be illegal- however, I see no good reason to make a move to legalize it either. In any case, it's pretty "decriminalized" the way pot has been decriminalized in certain communities... still illegal, but not often with legal consequences.
Edward Grim
Senior Member
since 12-18-2005
Posts 1112
Greenville, South Carolina


10 posted 07-03-2007 03:53 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

quote:
Euthanasia isn't legal- hence the above examples of Kevorkian.


Purposely letting someone die is a form of euthanasia and is legal. I don't like it or condone it, but that's how it is.

quote:
Stephen- in my experience, suicidal patients are protected by guards


That's an interesting way of looking at it. I did read that attempted suicide is illegal in certain states, but enforces no punishment. So what's the point of it being illegal if there's no punishment? Maybe they just "discourage" it, ha.

I see your point.

Have you ever seen on Cops or the news, when someone is threatening to jump off a bridge or building? I've always wondered why the police department puts so many officers and negotiators at the scene to talk the guy out of it. I don't know why that seems strange to me. It's like we don't really care about a guy until he threatens to kill himself or is in harm's way. Odd...

Thanks for the reply Hush

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


11 posted 07-03-2007 04:18 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

You ought to say "in the USA".  Suicide itself is not illegal in Canada.  I don't believe it is in the UK either.
Edward Grim
Senior Member
since 12-18-2005
Posts 1112
Greenville, South Carolina


12 posted 07-03-2007 04:26 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

I said:

quote:
attempted suicide is illegal in certain states


States as in the U.S.

“Well all the apostles, they’re sittin’ on the swings, sayin’ I’d sell off my savior for a set of new rings.”

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


13 posted 07-08-2007 09:15 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

What is worst is an obscene romance
that surrounds suicide; that someone
can absolve if not sanctify
a life of even vicious stupidity
if it is his own simply by taking it.


.
Denise
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since 08-22-99
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14 posted 07-08-2007 10:03 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

As much as I dislike debating moral and social issues anymore since it usually proves to be non-productive, I have to go on record to disagree, Ron, that nobody killed Terri Schaivo, and that she was simply allowed to die.

Those who deliberatly deprived her of food and hydration, the only "life support" that she was receiving, and those who instigated and/or facilitated that action, via court order, are the ones responsible for ending her life, from her husband (by legal definiton only), his attorneys, the various judges, local and federal, right on down to the nursing home staff and armed guards outside her door. And let's not leave out the politicians who stood by and allowed this killing to take place, either through misinformation of her true condition, or through moral bankruptcy.

I guess deliberate dehydration could be considered a mercy killing without the mercy. And I believe that the length of time that it took her to succumb is a testament to her will to live.

Not that it matters now.

Ron
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15 posted 07-08-2007 10:52 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

That's not what this thread is about, Denise. But . . .

While I feel saddened by the fate of Terry Schaivo, I certainly don't feel guilty. I didn't give her water. I didn't give her food. Neither did you, Denise. I will not, however, accept responsibility for the decisions she made while she was able. I don't think you should either.


Denise
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16 posted 07-08-2007 09:17 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

No it's not, Ron, but it was definitely a side issue that was brought up in the discussion.

I don't feel guilty or responsible for her fate either, just saddened, like you. No one on the sidelines could have given her food or water anyway due to the armed guards and a court order to arrest anyone who tried, so no one would have been able to succeed.

We'll never know what decisions she made when she was able. All we had was hearsay. On the one hand, a comment attributed to her that was only "remembered" after a ten year lapse in time by her husband and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and on the other hand comments attributed to her by her family and close friends that contradicted the husband's and in-laws' belated remembrance. There was nothing in writing, and the court only allowed the testimony of the husband and in-laws into evidence. It's frightening that such a thing could happen, considering the consequences.
Tears-of-Sanity
Member
since 09-05-2007
Posts 121
Kingdom Hearts


17 posted 11-05-2007 06:26 AM       View Profile for Tears-of-Sanity   Email Tears-of-Sanity   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tears-of-Sanity

Suicide huh!!

I don't think the one who committed suicide would mind if anything happens after he is gone, because he is already not there to be asked about it or judged!  I don't know, because I have never committed suicide, but I do know that in my religion it is prohoboted and so I just never thought of doing so.  

I do agree that suicide is self murdur and that murdur is illegal.

I also believe that our soul and body don't belong to us, but to the one creator who made us, by committing suicide or killing other people we'd be messing with other's property...

That is all I have!

Tears of Sanity~

 
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