Keep the fear alive


Death is always difficult, even when someone has suffered so and needs the relief.  The hardship remains steady for those left behind.  Consequently a couple of items in the paper have gotten me thinking about the impact of lives lost.

The right to die, death with dignity, has been in the Canadian media fairly extensively lately.  This is such a challenging topic.  It is also one where I believe it is impossible to objectively set standards.  How one person suffers versus how another does is as different as you and I.  What you think is right and what I think is right, again, different – based on our experiences, our personal beliefs, on who we are.  Ironically, though, determining whether life should be sustained or terminated happens all the time in the hospitals, usually driven by cost.  The same physician who ordered life support may also influence the termination of such a provision.   Here the individual doesn’t have any say, on occasion the family doesn’t either; the system may decide based on a dismal prognosis with no hope.  So what about those terminal patients with a dismal outlook, whose suffering is evident, and where the future includes a whole bunch of agony?  Individuals who with great deliberation determine that they want to end their life on their own terms.  This could be you or it could be me some day, life doesn’t play fair.  It’s not easy to know what is right and what is wrong.  This to me is a matter where intellect needs to be tempered with compassion, where external factors, like what a healthy me versus a healthy you believe, need to be shed.  It’s not about what we think. It’s not about us.

Then there is the senseless shooting at the nightclub in Florida.  People out for a good time, in a place that should be safe.   An attack designed to unsettle the general public and to make people live in fear.  Extensive media coverage that keeps the fear alive, increases it, something that the attacker banks on.  By the end of the media coverage we will know far more about the attacker than we will about any of the victims.  We will see the victims’ families on television, briefly, we will see their pain, but too soon we will forget about them.  We will forget about them because some other crisis or tragedy will happen, lives will be lost and the world, through the media, will be riveted briefly on that next catastrophe.  The victims become numbers and they shouldn’t.  They leave behind a gaping hole within circles of families and friends.  I can’t imagine how it would be to have someone ripped away, arbitrarily, simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Death is beyond devastating when it visits your home.

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