Letters – Volume 39 No. 2

“The Signature of Freedom,” by Tom Flynn

After reading Tom Flynn’s editorial, I wanted to respond because although it could be argued that the right to suicide might indeed be the ultimate right and “signature of freedom” as Tom Flynn describes it, it still may be an enormous mistake and loss for the individual and for others.  For many individuals, there is no doubt that committing suicide is the result of a momentary lapse of reason or a sudden poorly thought out decision due to an emotional shock. There is no doubt that for many, preventing their deaths is a huge moral good. Unless we can devise a way to know in advance whether this choice was rational or instead drug impaired or brought on by a crisis that would eventually pass, I believe it is best to err on the side of prevention.

The compromise would be to decriminalize, remove the stigma, and not necessarily brand suicide as a mental illness while at the same time offering all the assistance to prevent it, even if, at the time, the individual protests. The concession would be to allow a form of assisted suicide that would not be abused by others and not be the result of a rash decision-making process by an individual. That would be the best of both sides of the argument.

Gerry Dantone
Cofounder and former coordinator for CFI Long Island

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