Human Exceptionalism

Terminal Non Judgmentalism in Action: Kill the Sick–Do Not Go to Jail

Courts continue to support euthanasia by not meaningfully punishing people who murder their loved ones who are sick or disabled. The latest example of this terminal non judgmementalism comes out of the UK, in which a husband was not put in jail despite murdering his wife, who begged “No, No,” as she was being killed. From the story:

An Alzheimer’s sufferer was smothered with two plastic bags by her husband who feared after he would no longer be able to look after her. Eric Norton, 86, blew a kiss to the public gallery at the Old Bailey after hearing he was being spared jail for killing his wife.

Other patients at Lewisham Hospital heard 84-year-old Betty Norton whimper “no, no” as she struggled for several minutes as her husband tried to kill her. The retired civil servant was handed a nine-month suspended sentence after admitting smothering his ailing wife after her declining health culminated in her being admitted to hospital with severe stomach pains.

Oh Wesley, you are so mean. He’s 86 and clearly loved his wife! The guy deserves a break.

But the murder not only killed Betty, it was a stab in the heart of the intrinsic importance of each human life. Moreover, the court’s leniency praised the act with faint damnation, sending a powerful message that Betty’s life–and those of people like her–don’t matter all that much. This, even though she was clearly not asking to be killed–the usual excuse for countenancing mercy murders.

So, this crime was greater than the sum of its parts. The more we wink at these murders, the greater the threat to vulnerable people like Betty, and the increased respectability accorded to the view that such people have lives less worthy of being lived.