When I was a just a newbie on SDMB last April or so, I tried to start a thread about the pros and cons of suicide. For some reason, the moderator locked me out and told me the discussion could not continue.
Being a new member I did not want to give him attitude, so I complied. But now I am starting to wonder why this subject should be off-limits when very little else seems to be on these boards.
Look, there is a debate about the right to die with dignity going on in western society. There are books like “Final Exit” and groups like the Hemlock Society that are fighting for the right of the individual to decide when it is their time to exit.
Baby Boomers are now moving into the age group where many will learn they have a limited amount of time to live, that they have inoperable cancers, etc. They will have to make a decision if they want to suffer an extra few months or die peacefully.
Suicide as a way of bowing out of intolerable situations of military defeat, loss of “face” or deep emotional trauma has been a perfactly acceptable, respected and rational action in societies like Japan and Scandinavia.
I would like to know why the moderators on a site dedicated to fighting ignorance, who allow members to discuss every other topic under the sun, forbid us to discuss this one.
Are you sure? My understanding was that (at least here in Canada) suicide has been legalised some time in the seventies. Of course, it might still be illegal in Illinois. If you have a reference to the appropriate law code, though, I would be interested in seeing it. (Assisted suicide, though, is illegal – for the assistant – in most places.)
This said, I can understand why some discussion of suicide is not permitted here. It could leave the Reader in potential trouble. Still, some discussion of it (the pros and cons of legalising assisted suicide, for example) should be permitted.
Quite right. It’s a hell of a criteria, though, given the sheer number of topics on this board that involve illegal activity.
You start in the BBQ Pit, wherein discussions of universally-condemned activities of sundry miscreants are minutely dissected and analyzed, with more than a few digressions into the nuts-and-bolts of the malefaction or into the how-could-someone-get-away-with-this sophistries (which might well aid someone in escaping the consequences of his crime), not to mention the inevitable “just let me at him” posturing that often explicitly describe, solicit, or even promise exotic forms of retribution that themselves constitute, well, crimes.
In Great Debates, some of our best brains use their knowledge and imagination to offer legal attacks on and defenses to various activities, thus, in theory at least, providing aid to criminals without having been retained as counsel.
In other forums, illegalities from plagiarism to stalking to public profanity to regicide are discussed with varying degrees of explicitness and honesty and sympathy, and turning the dials up or down on these categories is what makes the difference between historical accuracy and aiding and abetting.
So, the minute a thread involves illegal activity it’s shut down, except it really isn’t. Threads that draw attention to themselves by asking frankly stupid hypotheticals about “How would one…?” or “Undetectable poisons…” often die early. Threads that begin detailed discussion of extant or historical crimes mostly don’t, no matter how much or what kind of information starts popping up. The great exception is anything involving copyright and publishing law, which is a matter of some sensitivity to our good hosts.
The only grating thing is that the Chicago Reader is apparently much more protective of its own First amendment freedoms than of ours. Type the words “civil disobedience” into its search engine and you get 68 articles, and civil disobedience is necessarily illegal. Type in the words “assisted suicide” and you get 38 matches, one of which is a Cecil Adams column, which column mentions that, ahem, “In the U.S., suicide has never been treated as a crime…”
I’m less troubled about the Reader’s inconsistency than I am about its inability to form an editorial opinion and develop a spine to put behind it. If the right to die is worth discussing, it’s worth discussing here. It’s depressing to think that this board’s current administration would quash advocacy of disobeying Jim Crow laws the same as it would bank robbery, but there’s little evidence that it has the ability or inclination to make the distinction.
First, there is no jurisdiction that makes suicide illegal. It is kind of ridiculous to think of punishing a dead guy. *Atempted * suicide is illegal in some jurisdictions. In others, what is illegal is encouraging or assisting suicide in another.
Here in Canada, in my own city of Ottawa, there was a member of a a right-to-die group who publicly announced in the media about a year ago that he was going to end his life because of a degenerative disease that made his life no longer worth living. Under Canadian law, the mental health authorities moved in and did an evaluation to ensure that he was not mentally unstable. When it was determined he was sane, Canadian law LEFT HIM FREE TO DO AS HE WISHED. He ended his life breathing helium with his family present. None of them could be charged with anything because none of them did anything to assist or encourage him. The media covered his death extensively.
I have never read that there was a “copy cat” effect. Besides, a lot of this copy-cat allegation is really just a matter of perspective. If two or three other people in the Ottawa area who were in horrible pain and faced several months of agony before dying happened to read about him and followed suit, I say GOOD!
I fail to see how SDMB would be responsible for anything if they let us discuss the issue.
I am talking about voluntary, self-administered euthanasia.
If someone wanted to argue on this board that non-viable newborns should just be allowed to die, or even that their lives be terminated to spare them the pain of suffering before dying, would SDMB be responsible if some mental case read that thread and let a perfectly healthy child die (or killed it)?
Look, there is a law in Oregon that permits assisted suicide. Are the people of Oregon forbidden to discuss the pros and cons of that law here on SDMB?
If we have a thread about the pros and cons of liposuction, is SDMB responsible if some loony hurts himself by taking a vacuum cleaner and a syringe needle to his body?
I think we need some serious and certain reasons before we start restricting freedom of speech.
Okay, perhaps my original posting last April was a bit personal. I was new and I am sorry I posted it. But I was seriously asking for advice. I firmly expect that, barring my being hit by the proverbial bus, I will probably choose the time of my death when the appropriate moment comes. I did not say I was holding the razor to my throat this second, for Chrissake!
I had forgotten that the US is the land of “Whom do I sue?”. Apparently, every American believes as an article of faith that for every undesirable thing that happens to you there is a corresponding lawsuit that would make you rich.
I think the thread was locked a great deal more for reasons of “cover the Reader’s ass” than for any genuine concern over me.
What if we began a debate such as : “Are there, ethically speaking, acceptable reasons to end one’s own life? A terminal disease and the prospect of needless suffering are one reason that many people accept. What about a desire to get out of an unbearable emotional situation? Are Roman generals or Japanese samurai who committed suicide rather than face disgrace and shame to be regarded as mentally ill?”
Would the censors (sorry, I meant to say moderators) allow that kind of discussion, or does that call for a little courage and commitment to freedom of speech?
I repeat my earlier analogy. If I started a debate as to whether there could be ethically valid reasons to kill non-viable infants to spare them suffering, would the censors (sorry, I meant moderators) lock that out as well for fear that someone will kill a child?
Earlier today I posted something on how the Mohawks were an agressive tribe that nearly exterminated the Hurons. Should we lock out that one, for fear that some maniac will go out and kill a Mohawk in 2006?