Suicide is the desire for, and acts of self murder. The causes and circumstances of the act itself, and the aftermath of suicide are much more complex than is often thought. Suicide contains many emotions, responses, and reactions in those affected by death. Most often and common are anger, discouragement, helplessness, worthlessness, hopelessness, depression, fear, tragedy, mystery, shame, revenge, protest, resentment, release from pain, search for solutions, unanswered questions, unfulfilled dreams, mistakes, desperation, bitterness, hurt, tears, and regrets. Although it presents the illusion of being a solitary act, in reality it has enduring consequences for many.
Lust for death and self destructive thoughts are the products of our fallen nature. Most suicidal people do not want death; they only want to stop what they consider to be unbearable emotional pain or psychological distress. Every suicide has its own peculiarities. Both men and women threaten, attempt, and complete the act of suicide. Suicide is not a gender-specific problem, nor is there a suicide gender. It is an equal opportunity crisis for individuals. It is true that five times as many men as women commit suicide gestures and attempts, but suicide affect both genders.
As individuals, families, cultures, and nations, our beliefs regarding the subject of suicide, lust for death, assisted suicide, and mercy killing are critical. All of these, attempts to address legitimate concerns in voluntarily taking human lives. Assisted suicide, may it be physician assisted suicide or withdrawing treatment or apparatus to stop the continuance of life by the nearest of kin of the sick or even dying person, is a highly charged subject with enormous moral, religious, political, social, medical and legal concerns for every nation and people. Physician-assisted suicide is when the physician provides the assistance. Of course, the people who assist suicides need not be physicians only, but they maybe health care professionals, pharmacists, nurses, friends or family members. Much of the suicide debates involve either the affirmation or the denial of the right to die. The central ideas of the right to die philosophy come from the concepts of the primacy of autonomy and the self determination.
Three of the major dangers of accepting a right to die attitude, morrow’s broader problems with the increasing openness to advocate self killing is a good option.
First, the right to die, especially to embrace a right to “aid in dying” or assisted suicide, will translate into an obligation on the part of others to kill or help kill. Second, the vast majority of persons who unknowingly are candidates for assisted deaths are, and will increasingly be, in capable of choosing and effecting such a course of action for themselves. Third, the medical profession’s devotion to healing and refusal to kill will be permanently destroyed, and with it, patient trusts, and physicians, self restraint.
The slogan “the right to die” contains the subtle suggestion of “the obligation to die”. We as individuals and a culture must draw a line in the sand and say NO. Rather than right to die, we have an obligation to LIVE. If we truly care for ourselves and others, as people and patients, then we must reject the right-to-die notion and its false promise that we can aid or help the person by eliminating the person.