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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shall I kill myself off, then?

I hope I shocked you with that heading. It's the conclusion that comes to mind when you read stories of so-called 'mercy killers'. You know, those people who kill off someone close to them or someone they know because they're convinced that they would be 'better off' dead. The worrying fact is that, in mostt cases, the victims tend to have impairments, or chronic conditions. People just like me...

The  worse thing of all is that mainstream society appears to sympathise with the killer, without even considering the value of the person killed. On the contrary, people who kill off their loved ones or, if doctors, their patients are even applauded for this heinous deed. The fact is that the life of those having impairments or chronic conditions is misconstrued to a life of continuous suffering and thus an unbearable existence which leads people to justify our extermination.

Hard words, I know, but the reality today calls for hard terms. If you look at our lives by only considering ourr impairments, then you might conclude that our life is really unberable if you had to live it. Of course, I'm assuming that you don't have an impairment... The fact is that my life, with all its impairments and chronic conditions, is good and I'm not about to kick the bucket, meet my maker or pass away, any time soon.

On the other hand, I can't deny that I'm concerned by the increased support for euthanasia. I am afraid to consider the eventuality of being unconscious on the verge of death with a team of doctors who do not know a single thing about who I am having to decide on whether I should live or die. A team of doctors that can only see a man with a mobility impairment and who has a visual impairment. I shiver at the prospect of being regarded as a life not worth living.

Unfortunately, with all our technological progress, the eugenic idea is still with us and growing. This idea, that we should 'improve' the human race - thus implying people with impairments should go - is manifested through abortion legislation permitting fetuses with impairments to be killed off at a later stage than non-impaired ones, and growing support for more lax euthanasia.

Worse still, the justification for these actions is framed as 'doing what is good for us'... to relieve us from an unbearable existence... but have you considered what may be causing the greatest pain? It is the fact that mainstream society fails to acknowledge our value or our place within it. Buildings with steps are still unchanged, information and communication systems are improving but can still be exclusive, what about attitudes? I am not sure...

I believe the factor that leads disabled people or their family members to choose death is the lack of support that is available. This is not just the support in terms of personal assistance and the like, but also includes the understanding of society that is ready to be sentimental and 'caring' when they read a story of a desperate father who kills his 18-year old son with epilepsy (a case which happened in Toronto a few years back) but, yet, this same society that pretends to believe in equality and human rights sometimes avoids recognising us when we're alive - thus creating our disabilities.

I ask then, what are we doing now to improve on the lives of those at risk? Will we accept the fact that disabled people's lives are unbearable and the only solution is to end them? Are we considering the real problem? And those of us who are disabled by society, do we really have to kill ourselves off?