On October 11, 2007 Dr. Jack Kevorkian will speak at the University of Florida. His resume includes at least 130 assisted suicides, several notable writings, and an eight year stint in prison (out of the 10-25 years sentenced for second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning of Thomas Youk). Kevorkian accepted my school's offer by ACCENT, which is the largest student-run speaker's bureau in the nation, as well as a Student Government agency.
Therefore, his $50,000 honorarium is subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Kevorkian's UF stop will probably be his first paid public speaking engagement since his June 1 release from prison, according to Kevorkian's lawyer Mayer Morganroth. "They were actually the first ones to call," Morganroth said of ACCENT. "They sent the request almost immediately after he was out."
Assuming he is granted special permission from his parole officer to leave Michigan, Dr. Kevorkian will be greeted here in Gainesville, Florida with open arms from many students and professors. It should be one of only a few school appearances by him, due to his fragile health (thankfully no other doctors have yet proposed the euthanasia of him!). Kevorkian is terminally ill with Hepatitis C and diabetes, stoking rumors of his own imminent death.
None of which has abated his delusions of grandeur: "I'm the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson. I'm doing what he wants done: educate and inform the whole mass of the people. That's the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." Kevorkian said during a Michigan news conference days after his release from jail. He claimed he "was going to oppose government tyranny. He said people are too willing to give up their rights and that he was going to follow in Jefferson's footsteps to educate the people about their rights," reported the North Country Gazette of New York.
Funny he should mention rights and liberty: among the many categories of people Kevorkian feels entitled to experiment on, the most troubling could be the "Suicide by Proxy" category. In his 1991 book Prescription Medicide, he lays out his prey: "Suicide by Proxy --the killing by the decision and action of another, of fetuses, infants, minor children, and every human being incapable of giving direct and informed consent." Yes, you read that right: Kevorkian believes children can be killed, experimented on, or used for organ procurement at a parent's mercy.
Kevorkian does not espouse a simple right to die or even euthanasia. He has never covered over his intentions; actually he is quite upfront about them. Neither compassion nor mercy was ever allowed to interfere with selfish and quackish experiments. He wrote an article in 1961 about his experiences doing blood transfusions with the blood of dead bodies into living people. Often times his 'patients' had no terminal disease, but were depressed.
"In actuality, most of Kevorkian's "patients" were not terminally ill, but disabled and depressed. Several weren't even sick, according to their autopsies. Moreover, Kevorkian never attempted to treat any of the 130 or so persons." said Wesley J. Smith in the National Review Online. Jack Kevorkian is a "doctor" in the same way Al Sharpton is a "reverend."
Once again my school is making national headlines for reasons that make me cringe. It very rarely speaks for me, and I am ashamed my fellow students in the governing body want the cache of Kevorkian at the expense of respect or dignity. At the same time I understand how important controversial, unconventional figures are to public discourse, which is why I will probably go see Dr. Death speak. The problem is that disrespect for any dissenters to the secular 'religion' is a given.
Terri Schiavo was euthanized in Pinellas Park, Florida on the order of Pinellas County Court Judge George Greer, a UF alum. Bioethicist Bill Allen teaches here, who said in an interview that he believed Terri Schiavo was not a person (Terri's Foundation already has an email petition setup to oppose Kevorkian's appearance at Florida). The verdict is in: UF does not value life, and espouses the "Culture of Death" Pope John Paul II warned of. How sad we no longer expect anything else from our public universities.
It reminds one of the Creationism vs. evolution debate in public science classes: should it not be mentioned that evolution is still a theory, that there are serious gapes, or that most people trust in intelligent design? According to a CBS News poll (an already liberal pool then), just 13% of respondents said they did NOT believe God was involved in the origin of the earth. A passing acknowledgement to evolution alternatives is beyond justified. The Judeo-Christian morals that all of Western society was built upon have been systematically run out of town by our colleges and universities.
I take issue with UF falling all over itself to nab Kevorkian first. What are you trying to say here, my Gators? That we in Gainesville are all so open-minded and progressive, and must prove it to the world? That we enjoy making headlines and drawing yet more ire from those backwater yokels who actually treasure life? I fail to see what good is to come from using taxpayer dollars to preach a religion of death a significant number do not subscribe to.
The obtuse utilitarian arguments, such as Kevorkian's fear of losing organs with people as they die, are utterly unpersuasive. Not enough people know that Kevorkian is actually disdainful of mercy, and is only interested in being a ruthless experimenter. What does our culture's respect for a man with so little respect for others mean for us all? Miss Emans is a junior at the University of Florida.