Human Exceptionalism

FEN Leader Not Guilty in Phoenix Assisted Suicide

The Phoenix case of the mentally ill woman assisted in suicide by Final Exit Network zealots–what else would you call people who aided a mentally ill person kill themselves with helium instead of calling in suicide prevention?–ended in a not guilty verdict for the distant leader of the activists, and a hung jury about the guilt of the on site suicide “counselor.”  This, after two guilty pleas earlier in the case.  From the story:

An Arizona jury on Thursday acquitted a doctor of manslaughter charges in the suicide of a Phoenix woman who authorities say had help killing herself. Dr. Lawrence Egbert, who also is indicted in Georgia on charges that he helped a man with cancer there kill himself, was one of four people charged by Arizona authorities in Jana Van Voorhis’ death. Jurors could not reach a verdict for a co-defendant, Frank Langsner.

Authorities say the four were part of a Georgia-based right-to-die organization called Final Exit Network, which has been investigated by the FBI and authorities in Arizona and seven other states. Maricopa County prosecutors said the other two defendants in the case — Wye Hale-Rowe and Roberta Massey — had pleaded guilty to one count of facilitation to commit manslaughter and agreed to testify in the case. Authorities believe Van Voorhis placed a plastic hood over her head that was hooked up to helium tanks. She was found dead in her Phoenix home on April 15, 2007. Prosecutors said Van Voorhis was not terminally ill at the time of her death, but suffered from mental-health issues and depression.

I don’t know if this tells us anything or not.  It could be the evidence wasn’t strong enough for a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt for the acquitted FEN activist, who wasn’t present at the death.  Or, it could be that the jury took pity on the defendant’s, who I believe, are all in their 80s.  Or, I am afraid, this could be a rearing up of the Kevorkian Effect–that people are so now into killing and suicide being an acceptable answer to human suffering, that they will not enforce the law unless the dead person was someone they don’t think should have died.  And of course, as I noted the other day, the jury was not allowed to learn about the decedent’s mental illness.

In any event, when societies refuse to protect their most vulnerable and at risk members from suicide and/or homicide, those in such circumstances (and those who love them) have much to fear.  These anti sufferer attitudes won’t just play out with the shrugging off of illegal assisted suicides.

This much seems sure to me: The work of suicide prevention is made far more difficult by dedicated pro suicide zealots and a media that tend to boost assisted suicide as “compassion.”  Society is sending despairing people a message that suicide is okay.  That’s the last thing they need to hear.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
U.S.

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
PC Culture

Merciless Sympathy

Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**. Who will bell the cat? Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category ... Read More