Friday, January 22, 2010

For Frances Inglis and Her Supporters, Murder is Merciful Love

Frances Inglis, a UK mother who attempted to kill her severely medically disabled son, and then slipped past nurses a second time to finally dispatch him, has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The comments on my previous post about Inglis are overwhelmingly sympathetic to her actions. Frightening.

I think we are in very dangerous waters when the pro-death lobby has twisted public opinion to where cold-blooded murder is viewed by many as an act of love and motherly concern.

I am not kidding, wish I were.

Here’s one person’s take:

I am disgusted with these selfish people who insist that all life should be maintained, no matter the cost to the person who is actually living with the injury/disease.

Oh, I get it. There comes a point when you are severely disabled beyond which you should not live.

Here’s another:

If you were Thomas Inglis, and you were living this way, how long would you like to do that. One year, five years, 20 years?

Reminds me of the doctor’s line in a Nazi propaganda film pushing euthanasia: “Would you, if you were a cripple, want to vegetate forever?”

How about this justification:

Yes, she sounds a bit mad. As you or I might be too, given a year and a half of the horror she had lived through.

Poor Frances, so tormented that, why, of course, murder was the obvious solution – ends Thomas’ “suffering” from his nonresponsive state, and ends Frances’ suffering of having to put up with him.

Sounds like a deal to me.

And one more excerpt from the comments to my previous post, which, I think, is the epitome of upside down thinking:

She needs our compassion, not this ugly political posturing. What exactly are the tenets of a civilized society, does anyone remember?

Ah, I get it. Compassion for a murderer so intent on killing her offspring that when she at first did not succeed, she persisted until she did.

Better still: It’s actually “civilized” to kill the medically vulnerable and defenseless and uncivilized to care for them instead.

With this kind of thinking, and I’ll wager it’s very widely shared, we are at the bottom of the slippery slope and teetering on the brink of descending into a bestial depravity where when people are suffering, different, a bother, or perhaps even if they just upset us, that they need to die.

This time it was Thomas in an unresponsive state.

Next time. . . well, fill in the blank.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frances Inglis Does Not Deserve to be on Trial for Murder. . . No, wait . . .

The UK press has been all atwitter about a sensational murder trial now under way in London. I’m not sure why, given the general cheerleading done by the UK media for assisted suicide and euthanasia.

On trial at the Old Bailey is Frances Inglis:

In 2007, Inglis’ son, Thomas, had been involved in some kind of altercation and was being taken to hospital by ambulance. His injuries were apparently minor. However, Thomas jumped from the ambulance, hit his head on the road, and sustained severe brain damage. He’s been in a deep coma ever since, although medical consensus was that since the accident he had been making some improvements and could well have recovered some function.

Too bad his mother was Frances Inglis. She immediately became obsessed with ending his life, repeatedly making the case to anyone who would listen that she did not think any treatment was in her son's best interest. She visited her son almost constantly and was described by Thomas’ brother, Alexander, as “obsessive and negative.”

She took matters into her own hands – twice.

Only 10 days after the accident, Inglis decided that she had to “put her son out of his misery.” So she injected him with a lethal dose of morphine. While Thomas was successfully resuscitated, he had been without oxygen long enough that his brain damage was much worse.

Frances Inglis was not a happy camper.

Not because she was arrested for attempted murder, but because her son was still alive.

What’s a mother to do?

Why, try again, of course.

And she did.

Out on bail, a condition of which was that she go nowhere near Thomas, she disguised herself as Thomas' aunt, fooled the nurses, and injected Thomas with a fatal dose of heroin.

Horrific, I think we can all agree. However, I must say that I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

Let’s be clear, shall we?

Frances Inglis and the pro-euthanasia and assisted suicide crowd are pretty much on the same page of the playbook:

They both see killing people as a way to put them out of their misery.

They would both agree that Thomas’ life was not worth living.

They would both think killing OK because there’s little or no quality of life for people in this condition.

They would both acknowledge that people in persistent nonresponsive states are as good as dead, so killing them is not a problem.

I think Frances Inglis is getting a bad rap.

If she had pulled a Debbie Purdy and fought passionately in the press to take Thomas to Dignitas in Switzerland for assisted suicide, just as the parents of Daniel James did, she’d be a free woman.

She’d also be a hero instead of a murderer.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gotta Love the Dutch, Those Merciful Killers!

Let’s open the New Year as we left the old year, shall we?

You know - that part about how we are now becoming quite accustomed to killing people because somebody has decided they are not worth keeping alive.

All in the decedents’ best interests, of course.

Media in the Netherlands reports that there was an increase in the number of people euthanized in 2009 – including people in the early stages of dementia. No surprise there, but I think it’s instructive to look at what is reported, and the subtle subtexts that are nevertheless coercive in slanting a favorable impression of medicalized killing.

Sidebar: I’m not suggesting that the reporter deliberately thought this through, but I think it’s obvious that things in the Netherlands are so pro-euthanasia that the article’s bias is assumed to be “balanced coverage,” which it’s not.

From a piece DutchNews entitled More Cases of Euthanasia in 2009.

First, the obvious is reported, that there were more 200 more cases of euthanasia in the Netherlands last year than 2008, where the killing total was 2,500.


It is not known how many cases of mercy killing there actually are in the Netherlands, but in 2007 experts said around 80% of instances are registered with the monitoring body.

Well, mercy for whom, exactly? What exactly is the nature of this “mercy?” How can we be assured that the “mercy’ is not for those left behind who found the patient too much of a burden? What about the survivors benefitting from such “mercy” as they inherit goodies from the person they coaxed to assume a duty to die? No way to tell, of course.

“Merciful” because people are in unbearable pain and suffering? Not exactly, because many people who are euthanized are not in pain, and because, in the Netherlands, you can request euthanasia for just about any reason at all, pain or no pain.

Also, after all the fanfare in the Netherlands about making euthanasia legal so that it could be officially controlled, what do we find? Well, it’s not controllable.

Remember, too, that the registering “monitoring body” (sounds so nice, certain, and transparent) is a review panel that examines the circumstances of the killing AFTER it has occurred.

Now, here's the next snippet that contradicts the whole pain-and-suffering angle:

There were also six registered cases of euthanasia on elderly patients with senile dementia, all of whom were in the early stages and able to make their wishes known.

Ah, I see. Where to begin? Dementia, though tragic and unfortunate, is not physically painful (originally, at the top of the slippery slope, euthanasia was ONLY for untreatable physical pain among the terminally ill). Psychologically painful? Clearly, for persons who are aware that their faculties are diminishing, but how do other people make this determination? (Those with dementia don’t euthanize themselves, after all). Where is the bright clear line between someone with early dementia who requests euthanasia (in their right mind, so to speak) and someone who’s condition is more far advanced and is judged not competent to request euthanasia?

Don’t worry, the Dutch doctors have a solution for this latter group – they kill them too. The explanation? Had these people been in their right mind, they would have requested euthanasia anyway.

On we go:

The law states a number of criteria, which must be met before euthanasia can be administered. For example, the patient must be suffering unbearable pain and the doctor must be convinced the patient is making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.

More shooting fish in barrels here: Where’s the “unbearable pain” in dementia? How can a doctor ever possibly be sure that, knowing a diagnosis of dementia has already been made, calibrate that the dementia is not affecting the request for euthanasia?

Short answer, I’m afraid: All the contortions of logic and single-mindedness betray, with increasing smugness, that in many places we have decided who should live and who should die.

First those who are terminally ill and in untreatable pain. Then people who are not terminally ill but who might have physical or psychological pain. Then people who are judged to never be able to have a better quality of life. First adults. Then children.

Who’s next?