Reason First: The Doctor of Deliverance-Jack Kevorkian
How can assisting someone in death be criminal?
Jack Kevorkian was a hero. While the media outlets may have disparaged him as “Dr. Death” and the “Angel of Doom” his work superseded these grisly monikers. By permitting an individual the right to have a say in ending their life in a dignified manner, Kevorkian should’ve been hailed as a trailblazer in the field of assisted suicide.
His technique using his Thanatron (derived from “thanato-” meaning death and “-tron” meaning a device or apparatus) he ferried at least 100 people through their final stage of existence. Once he could not secure the necessary drugs from the state of Michigan, he opted to employ the Mercitron (“mercy” being key here).
For his role in assisted suicide, Kevorkian received trial but was acquitted each time. He went so far as to allow 60 Minutes cameras in November 1998. Less than a year later, the authorities charged Kevorkian with first degree murder.
Representing himself in court did not help matters this time and the jury found him guilty and the judge sentenced him to 10-25 years behind bars. The main gripe? Kevorkian was not licensed to perform such acts of dignity and mercy.
This case brings into focus two fuzzy areas: whether one should die on their own accord or waste away in anguish and whether there should be licensing laws for anything from braiding hair to helping someone close the book on their existence.
Kevorkian did nothing wrong. In fact, his actions remain to be virtuous. After his parole in 2007, he would die almost exactly four years later. This man of quiet fortitude and grace permitted people ailing from terminal illnesses to be taken out of this life. Where is the horror in that? He wasn’t an axe murderer or even a vicious doctor who poisoned his patients. Kevorkian was an honest fellow who saw the value in halting the fact that old age and disease wreak havoc upon the body and mind. To permanently assuage these conditions, he wanted to show to the world that it is possible to peacefully and quietly aid in the death of another human being.
It’s sad that only five states and the District of Columbia in America recognize this right today. It should be as widespread and just as effective as abortion and for similar reasons. In one case, an individual mother is ridding herself of a potential. In the other case, the cessation of a full grown life should be viewed as something to champion, not to denigrate. If both are done with capable, knowledgeable people not license holders, then the procedures should be strictly guarded and embraced.
The fact that Kevorkian didn’t possess a license at the time of most of his assisted suicide cases should have had no bearing in thos situation. The expenses that it takes to acquire a medical license can be in the hundreds of dollars just to apply. Clearly, the State is running a racket. Kevorkian could have afforded the license but with its revocation, he still went forth on the strength of his own conviction.
By not recognizing the licensing system, he heroically helped in the end of life actions of people wracked by pain and the burdens of advanced age.
What Kevorkian did to the field of medicine should have garnered him a Nobel Prize. Not too many people would be so confident and sure in a practice that some would see as taboo and in Kevorkian’s case, criminal. But he was no real criminal. He lacked the trappings of a cold-blooded murderer or a killer who acts out of passion. He was a thinking man who just wanted to see that misery and affliction be eradicated from the people that trusted him to guide them through the steps to their terminal breath.
And whatever idealism about the unknown and unknowable in this case should be removed from the discussion. This country was not built on anything “supernatural” or superstitious. It was founded on the premise that life belongs to the individual and if she feels like she wants to end her own life with the assistance of a physician, then this should be the state of affairs. Doctor Kevorkian delivered these people through his power as a healer all the way to the end.