Death With Dignity? Not Here.

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The following is by Scott Adams (the creator of “Dilbert’). It was published on his Dilbert blog on November 23, 2013. The raw emotion of this piece deintellectualizes the general arguments around death with dignity carried out by politicians. My condolences to Mr. Adams on the death of his father, and my empathy for his father.

I Hope My Father Dies Soon

I hope my father dies soon.

And while I’m at it, I might want you to die a painful death too.

I’m entirely serious on both counts.

My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s as close to a living Hell as you can get.

If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon.

Because it’s not too soon. It’s far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent.

I’d like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can’t make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.

I’m a patriotic guy by nature. I love my country. But the government? Well, we just broke up.

And let me say this next part as clearly as I can.

If you’re a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won’t do that, because I fear the consequences. But I’d enjoy it, because you motherfuckers are responsible for torturing my father. Now it’s personal.

I know that many of my fellow citizens have legitimate concerns about doctor-assisted suicide. One can certainly imagine greedy heirs speeding up the demise of grandma to get the inheritance. That would be a strong argument if doctor-assisted suicide wasn’t already working elsewhere with little problems, or if good things in general (such as hospitals and the police) never came with their own risks.

I’m okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too. You and the government are accomplices in the torturing of my father, and there’s a good chance you’ll someday be accomplices in torturing me to death too.

I might feel differently in a few years, but at the moment my emotions are a bit raw. If I could push a magic button and send every politician who opposes doctor-assisted suicide into a painful death spiral that lasts for months, I’d press it. And I wouldn’t feel a bit of guilt because sometimes you have to get rid of the bad guys to make the world a better place. We do it in defensive wars and the police do it daily. This would be another one of those situations.

I don’t want anyone to misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration. So I’ll reiterate. If you have acted, or plan to act, in a way that keeps doctor-assisted suicide illegal, I see you as an accomplice in torturing my father, and perhaps me as well someday. I want you to die a painful death, and soon. And I’d be happy to tell you the same thing to your face.

Note to my government: I’ll keep paying my taxes and doing whatever I need to do to stay out of jail, but don’t ask me for anything else. We’re done now.

[Update: My father passed a few hours after I wrote this.]

Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert.

2 comments on “Death With Dignity? Not Here.
  1. Right on, Scott. I’m an activist on the pro side of physician aid in dying (a less loaded term than suicide) who has seen two family members suffer your father’s fate Here in California, too, where I think we both live. So let’s join forces with LA Times columnist Steve Lopez and bring our state into the civilized world. I’m game for the fight if you are.

  2. well, Scott, it seems he is finally free, but it is still a loss to you, however grateful you might be. My condolences. For myself, if infirm, I hope to avail myself of the “self help” recently documented on “PBS Frontline” about a society which assists their members with leaving ‘on time’. Or, to live in a state which allows for euthanasia, or at the very least, like here in Montana, does not specifically prohibit it.

    I recommend that all who read this article get a copy of “Five Wishes”,
    and end of life directive which specifies what the signer would like
    in case he is not able to direct it himself. One picks who and how and when and copies can be kept on file where ever one is treated. It is most useful to family members who may not know what you want in the end.

    Best wishes to you.

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