Death has ripped off a winning streak in March not seen since the days of Chairman Mao or Pol Pot. Death just may prove to be the growth industry to lead us out of America's recession. The Grim Reaper's schedule is so busy that he is adding extra staff daily. Frankly, I do not feel so good myself.
Death has been hosting ticker-tape victory parades from sea to shining sea with its impressive wins this week in Washington state, Washington, D.C., and in Georgia. Washington's new assisted suicide law took effect on Thursday, helping the state to follow Oregon in legalizing the encouragement of its citizens to check out. Patients immediately lined up to ask their “care-givers” to assist them in ending their own lives. Next came the announcement from the Obama administration in Washington, D.C., that it soon would lift a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, thereby funding the creation of human life merely for its destruction.
However, death saved its largest cache of celebratory champagne for Georgia. The Final Exit Network (FEN) may well have found its defining moment in the Peach State this week when four of its members were arrested on charges of assisting John Celmer in ending his own life by breathing helium last June. Celmer was not terminally ill but had been physically disfigured by surgery. In suffering from worries about how his appearance would be received socially, Celmer had become severely depressed. The Network represents a steadily growing group of activists whose motto should be, “A friend in need is a friend in dead.” Members of the FEN desire to extend the right to die beyond people who are terminally ill to include those who simply believe their quality of life is no longer worth living.
The FEN has staked out a position even Dr. Kevorkian finds uncomfortable. In doing so, the FEN makes its members available to individuals who seek coaching, advice, and assistance in ending their lives for whatever the reason. In fact, Lawrence Egbert, one of those arrested in Georgia this week, says he has rarely if ever refused the Network's assistance to any applicants seeking to die. As a result, FEN members appear to have assisted at least two hundred people in killing themselves over the past five years. I sure hope none of these folks are near me in my darker moments. Rather than lending a hand of encouragement, they seem to prefer lending a pillow of death.