Thursday, July 28, 2011

Euthanasia- By Allyson New

Providing assistance to one’s suicide, regardless of age, is a very controversial issue in the United States and in other parts of the worlds. While others disagree, under certain circumstances Euthanasia is a personal, dignified choice and should only be considered as a last resort option, when death is inevitable, and the suffering is too much to bear.
            When pain becomes constant in a person’s body and their quality of life is slowly wearing down, euthanasia can begin to seem like a reasonable solution. “The principle of mercy requires that pain and suffering be relieved to the extent possible.”(Battin, Margaret). Whether the situation involves a young, terminally ill child, or an elderly person whose every breath is dependent on a respirator, they along with their families are forced to realize their paths of life are soon to end. Although letting nature take its course, is the opinion of some on the issue of assisted-suicide and that doctors should not be at the hand of death, others believe “physician assistance in bringing about death is to be provoked just when the person voluntarily seeks it and just when it serves to avoid pain and suffering”(Somerville, Margaret). Death at the hands of a doctor can be unimaginable and some might even say it’s unethical. But, when life can no longer be lived, or for that matter enjoyed, why should physicians be criticized for being so-called murderers? They were respecting the patient’s wishes, and what was best for them was kept in mind. “A typical case might involve an irreversibly brain-damaged newborn, who, instead of dying as expected, lingers on, suffering terribly. In such cases, some doctors feel obligated to hasten death”(Magne, Charles).
            Infants are obviously not given a choice when it comes to the issue of assisted-suicide, and can’t defend themselves when euthanasia is presented as an option but, for older patients, they’re given a choice. “Proponents of assisted-dying point to autonomy and mercy. The principle of autonomy holds that people are entitled to be the architects, as much as possible, of how they die.”(Battin, Margaret). It is not always logical but, we live in a world today that allows it. Euthanasia “may feel like something the patient can openly choose…we live in a society that tolerates many obfuscation and hypocrisies, and this may be another we ought to embrace” (Battin, Margaret). Instead of recognizing the negative possibilities to assisted-suicide, “a better approach might be…developing quality palliative care programs that can address the holistic needs of seriously ill and dying persons as well as the concerns of their families”(Hamel,Ronald). Individuals don’t choose life but, they have a choice in how to live it. No matter how far they travel, when someone decides the end of the road is near, their paths should not be blocked by laws and ignorance.
            The financial costs of a long-term illness can be overwhelming and “leave people in debt. That makes ethicists fear that euthanasia might be requested for financial reasons”(Magne, Charles). Assisted-suicide is not the greatest solution for getting out of debt but, in the long-run, it can free up medical funds to help others. The life of a person should not be reliant on machines or constant struggles with disabilities. “The mere fact that a means was capable of sustaining life did not necessarily mean it was beneficial to the person” (Hamel, Ronald). Life is an incredibly valuable thing, and those who make it worthwhile are worth even more. But, what happens when the weak cannot get stronger and the sick can no longer get healthier? At that point, medical funds would be of much better use benefitting life, rather than sustaining one that can no longer be helped.
            On October 5, the Oregon law allowing doctors to prescribe lethal injections for dying patients will be challenged by the opponents who strongly believe it is murder. Although “most states…recognize a patient’s right to withdraw unwanted life support machinery”, they prohibit the action of hastening death (Lavi, Shai). Dying is a natural process, and many believe it should remain that way. A major concern for doctors injecting death is the abuse of power and it “risks undercutting the integrity of the medical profession”(Battin, Margaret).  When all the options have been weighed and debated on whether or not machines and hospitals should run the rest of what very fragile life elderly and terminally ill patients have left, it is no surprise to hear “institutional or social pressures might make people victims of assisted-dying they did not want”(Battin, Margaret). As euthanasia became more and more accepted in society, peer pressure became constant for the lives of patients who were consumed by the walls of the hospitals. With no way out for the terminally ill, they were unable to escape the words they tried so hard to block out. The walls of their hospital room transformed into a high school, full of pressure and the inability to decide for themselves.
            Not only does euthanasia end life, but, it manages to devalue humans in the process. Experiencing pain is part of being a person, so why should lives have to and want to end of something we were created to experience? Rabbi Michael Goldberg, a former hospital chaplain believes, “A great deal of the suffering at the end of life is either self-inflicted or inflicted by friends and relatives, it’s not due to disease.” The option of death appeals to patients because they may feel they do not want to burden their families. Lives should not end because the pain is persistent, and for lives to reserve the right to commit assisted-suicide, pushes the limits on freedom of choice.
            Whether or not doctors should inject lethal medication in patients who might or might not have requested it is a widely discussed topic, and will continue to be for years to come. There is no right or wrong, Euthanasia is a difficult decision, and when doctors, religion, families and hospitals are all a part of the discussion of assisted-suicide the choice becomes even more painfully difficult. Many forget patients are human beings capable of making life changing decisions and although the answer will not be easy for everyone to digest, the best thing to do is respect the last requests of their patient.

Cults in our Society- by Allyson New

    On November 18, 1978 the need to escape society, that consumed the minds of more than nine-hundred people, quickly became a reason for mass suicide. A reason the world would never quite understand. Millions of shocked people around the world would forever question as to how the power of one man convinced a village of mothers and fathers to kill themselves along with their innocent children. The mixing of cyanide in fruit punch brought the dreadful end to this small community and raised awareness around the world about cults and their deadly effects on society. Cult leaders will search for the weak and lost souls and soon a plan of control and power will start to play out. When the desire to fit in and the need for control over society are combined, dangerous cults and their leaders appear out of nowhere, hungry for power and preying on the young and old who are lost in a society where happiness feels out of reach.
            “An estimated three-thousand destructive cults now operate in the United States, involving as many as three million people” (Hassan, Steven). Cults are a society built by a city of small, powerless people with the exception of their leader of course, such as Jim Jones and the ever-so famous “Jonestown”. “In this type of society most people behave like little children who do not dare express their feelings because of their fear of a terribly punitive father”, says University of Miami Psychologist, Jose L. Lasaga. His cult members never became powerless or fearful of their leader because they never had power to begin with. Their biggest fear was ending up alone in a world they could not understand so listening to a so-called leader such as Jim Jones, was a part of their everyday lives. Jones would constantly air long speeches over an intercom as a form of brainwashing to his people, making sure they would never leave his cult, as this was the only way to assure this pathetic and sick man still remained in control. The brainwashing that was inflicted upon the minds of these cult members “caused in many cases a problem of cognitive dissonance ( a state of tension caused by conflict between one’s attitudes and behaviors”, says Jose Lasaga. Sooner or later followers would be converted into full blown believers as a result of this. Ways to join cults have been the same for years. No one goes seeking to join a cult, instead the members go searching for the innocent minds and youthful faces hoping to bring back a fresh pack of members before the day is over. “One type of cult recruits members and exposes them to psychological and social processes that cause major shifts in perception, attitudes and beliefs”, cults are the new way of kidnapping and holding hostage the minds of willing and able-bodied participants.
            Any intellectual and seriously committed cult leader knows the way to seduce the minds and hearts of potential followers is to separate them from the pack. Cult leaders must be the only influential person in the lives of their followers and it is impossible to be such a leader when family and friends are a constant threat in the capturing of their next victim. It becomes impossible not to ask how one person can leave everything behind and “no single theory could possibly explain the many complex and related issues that led the members of the People’s Temple to leave family, friends and church communities to take residence in the jungle of Jonestown” , says Archie Smith Jr. (Hatfield, Larry). The word “cult” is not appealing to the ears because of the negative publicity it carries with it, so it is only normal for destructive and even satanic like cults to use their creative thinking a produce a more attractive word. This creative idea has more appeal to the adolescents of today’s society. Teenagers are constantly searching for a place to fit in, going from one group to the next until they find people that won’t reject them. They easily become susceptible to the deadly arms of cult leaders for the simple fact that their undeveloped brains connect with the falsely caring elder and buy into their every word about feelings and being forgotten and angry. Not only must cults form a type of bond with their recruits but a cult also “has to have original revelations, a new twist on reality that no one else has”, Tal Brook, a former follower of the Indian Guru cult (Charles, S. Clark). These outrageous ideas do not come out of nowhere; they come from the minds of sick individuals who are desperate for attention and power. As individuals leave their lives to join these unknowingly dangerous cults the “friends and families of people who join cults have watched many of them abandon their jobs and turn over their savings to a newfound family” (Charles S. Clark). One popular example of this type of manipulative and dangerous cult is Marshall Applewhite whom convinced his followers to turn over all their money in order to use it to pay for their housing and also for internet sites the infamous cult had created that told the world aliens were coming.
            From extra-terrestrials among the human race to the satanic cults who commit crimes such as killing their family dog, the extent of unhealthy teachings and practices of cults comes to no end. When comparing the unhealthy teachings and practices of different cults, not many can stand up to Jim Jones. The activities that would ensue at the Guyana campground were humiliating and dangerous to say the least. Although it shouldn’t come as any surprise knowing the mastermind behind these rituals just happened to be a drug-addicted, mentally unstable man. According to members from Jim Jones’s cult, he would have members remove their clothes and proceed to have them compete in boxing matches. Another ritual that is the most haunting of all, were the frequent suicide rehearsals Jim Jones would have members practice. Sirens would blare as all the members would gather and they were told to expect death at any minute. Jim Jones kept his cult members on their toes at all times, as a sure way he would never lose the power of instilling fear into brain-washed human beings. “Destructive religious cult members claim special exalted status or powers, manipulate and exploit their members, do harm to others and use mind-controlling techniques”, this was exactly how Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite ran their dangerous cult for years. When members of cults disobeyed, severe and sometimes deadly punishments were put into effect one such “case involving the beating to death of a thirteen-year old boy” (Charles, S. Clark). “Corporal punishment within cults has been reported regularly by former members for years” (Charles, S. Clark). As well as controlling all aspects of an individual’s daily activities and lifestyle, Applewhite took a more personal and evasive path when he forcefully “made all the male members (including himself) go through castration to suppress their sexual desires after they had all decided to become celibate”(Hewitt, Bill). 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Life- Just now thought of this :)

My life is like a swinging door, you walk out on me, you walk right through that swinging door, it comes back to hit me in the face, reminding me of everything I did wrong to make you leave, to make you not want to stay, to make you never want to see me again.
 My life is like a swinging door, it doesn't stop swinging as soon as someone walks through it, it keeps going, back and forth, back and forth, getting slower and slower as the person who walked through it becomes a spot in the distance, never to be seen or heard from again. 
  My feelings represent a swinging door, my emotions go back and forth, back and forth, unable to decide who deserves to be in my life, who really wants to be with me or who just wants to pull my strings back and forth, back and forth until my feelings and emotions are in their control. 
   I stand too close to the swinging door, too desperate to turn my back on the ones who turn their back on me, not afraid of getting smacked in the face, yet too afraid to leave the swinging door, in case they ever decide to walk through it again. 
  Why can't I leave? Why can't I turn around and walk away like everyone else in my life has done? Why can't I move on from the past, meet new people, let my guard down in hopes that one day my door will stop swinging and I can finally lock it and throw away the key? 
    I stand to far away from the swinging door, too timid and frightened of who is gonna walk through it next. Could it be him? Could it be her? Will they stay for a while and knock me down some more? Or will he leave me again, with the promise of seeing me very soon?
  My life is no longer like a swinging door. You walk out on me, don't you ever come back because whatever made you leave in the first place is always going to be there and it's always going to be apart of me. My door will slam and lock right behind you so don't you dare think about turning around, about saying your sorry. My forgiving days are over and you will never again take advantage of my vulnerability, of my shyness.