Monday, January 14, 2008

Lost in "Translation"

The People's Temple Reverend Jim Jones developed a belief called “Translation” in which he and his followers in Jonestown would all die together, and would move to another planet for a life of bliss. They practiced mass suicides in which his followers pretended to drink poison and fell to the ground. The former Hemlock Society wants people with disabilities, terminal illnesses, and seniors lost in their "translation."

The basis of the Initiative rides on their translation of the word “dignity.” "Dignity" is a word that hasn't changed much since the 13th century, it means:

“1: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed 2 a: high rank, office, or position b: a legal title of nobility or honor 3: formal reserve or seriousness of manner, appearance, or language”
They have decided whose life is "worthy" and they want to use the Initiative as a means for government to sanction their beliefs about whom is "worthy" and who is not. The Hemlock Society's need to hide the true meaning of the Initiative proves that they know Washington voters would not support their radical notion if the ballot language told the truth by including "assisted suicide" in the ballot title.

The Initiative will change Washington law that prevents someone from prosecution for “Mercy killing or physician-assisted suicide” (RCW 70.122.100). Current law reads:

“Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or physician-assisted suicide, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.”
It would also create confusion and complicate the state’s ability to take criminal action under RCW 9A.36.060 to prosecute someone for "Promoting a suicide attempt.” Current law reads:

“(1) A person is guilty of promoting a suicide attempt when he knowingly causes or aids another person to attempt suicide.

(2) Promoting a suicide attempt is a class C felony.”
The laws changed if the initiative passes reference "mercy killing," "physician-assisted suicide," and "aids another person to attempt suicide." So, it's ridiculous for the ballot title not to include a reference to "assisted suicide" because that’s the dictionary's definition of what becomes legal if the initiative passes.

In America the dictionary is what the people use to define words and here is how the dictionary defines assisted suicide:

"Assisted suicide: suicide committed by someone with assistance from another person; especially : physician-assisted suicide

Physician–assisted suicide: suicide by a patient facilitated by means (as a drug prescription) or by information (as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient's intent"
Since doctors are rarely in attendance when an assisted suicide occurs, the correct words to include in the ballot title are assisted suicide.

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