Firebrand, crazy people and a hero

Charles Cowling

Three items of interest today.

First, if you have followed the life and times of Jack Kevorkian, aka Dr Death, and the effect he has had on the assisted suicide debate, you will be interested to read the latest post on the Death With Digity blog, which concludes:  Firebrand, hero, crazy man, renegade, zealot. No matter how you describe him, Kevorkian got all of us to think about something we never want to face, and by talking about death our end of life options are improving. Read it here.

Speaking of those he helped on their way with his Thanatron and Mercitron, Kevorkian said: My intent was to carry out my duty as a doctor, to end their suffering. Unfortunately, that entailed, in their cases, ending of the life.

There’s a good roundup of newspaper reports of his death at the excellent Exit blog here.

Second, an eyebrow-raising insight into the sort of nimbyism which must have put a stop to, or delayed the opening of, many natural burial grounds. You can’t say ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ anymore, but you can say ‘No Dead’ – and they do. Inhabitants of the leafier part of Ajax, Virginia (why didn’t they call it Brobat or Izal?) are in uproar over a proposed NBG at the bottom of their gardens. Among imbecilities which they have vocalised are: “When a body decomposes, the rotting creates maggots and flies and attracts rodents, which will attract foxes and coyotes” “What happens if someone has AIDS and that gets in the water?” “From a scientific perspective, thousands of bodies in a mass grave decaying simultaneously into the watershed is very unnatural … and unprecedented,” and “That’s all we need, is to see a coyote running by with an arm or leg in its mouth.” Read the whole sad story if you can bear to here.

Third, and I direct you to this because I believe that there’s nothing the public sector cannot do better than the conscienceless for-profit sector (you’ve been following the Southern Cross scandal, I’m sure), an account by a proud public sector worker of the death of his grandfather. He concludes What drives me, the organisation I work for and hundreds of others like us, is ensuring that everyone has the best chance of being as fortunate as my dad was at the time they need it most – not just in social care, but from public services in general.’ Read the blog here.

Fourth (I never said I was numerate), at the funeral in the US yesterday of a young man killed in a car crash the mourners wore green – for life and renewal. Now, that’s a good idea.

 

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