And I don’t mean Karl Rove:
Pathologist, angel of mercy, advocate, lightning rod, scofflaw, punchline — to Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s long resume of sobriquets we may now add ex-con.
After serving 8 years of a 10-to-25-year sentence for second-degree murder, the doctor walked out of the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Mich., and into the predictable media frenzy. He had only a few offhand, characteristically vinegary remarks for the legions of reporters and camera crews on the scene, but there will be all manner of TV appearances and news conferences in the days and weeks to come, one may be sure.
Seventy-nine and not in the best of health himself, Dr. Kevorkian returns on parole to a society that still hasn’t figured out what to do about one of the great unintended consequences of modern science: The growing number of people with profound illnesses whose death can be staved off indefinitely but whose suffering and misery, physical or psychic or both, cannot be meaningfully relieved.
I used to have very strong feelings about this- I was an unflinching supporter of the notion that we should be able to make our own decisions about our destiny, but firmly against people behaving in an illegal manner. In other words, I agreed with what he was doing in the generic sense, but did not approve of the means.
I need to think about this for a while and see if I still believe the same things. I am sure the culture of life nitwits in the blogosphere will have a great deal to say in between breathless posts supporting the death penalty and the necessity of torture, and their opinions will probably influence me, although not in the way they hope or intend. Only one aspect of this debate is simple for me- life is more than a pulse.