Search the Web

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Mercy Killing for Fun and Profit

What has the politically correct "right to die" movement to do with sexual predation? Nothing, one might think; one would be wrong. Now that society has increasingly accepted the idea that murder is right as long as the victim wanted to be murdered, killing is being not merely tolerated but sanctioned for a whole lot of motives that don't necessarily involve mercy.

We've been watching the drama play out in the Terri Schiavo case. We know that her husband, Michael, stands to inherit the rest of her million or so dollars supposedly earmarked for her rehabilitation, if he can only convince the courts to starve her to death. What once was promoted as a humanitarian movement now often bears little resemblence to any effort to improve the lot of the suffering. Society has come to accept when motives of mercy for the victim cross over into motives of selfishness on the part of others.

You might think that one case hardly constitutes a "slippery slope." Think again. Now the humanitarian argument is being used as a defense in a German case involving a cannibal who videotaped himself mutilating, killing, and eating a willing victim. (Warning: the full story may give you nightmares. Do not let your kids see this.)

It seems this man of (ahem) unusual appetites placed a personals ad on the internet seeking "young, well-built men aged 18 to 30 for slaughter." Since the victim answered the ad of his own volition, and declined opportunities to back out, the defense is arguing that this was killing, but not murder. "Killing on demand" is what Germany calls it. I think it obvious that the phrase was coined to encompass euthanasia, not sexual deviancy, but even so it is a crime. It carries a much lower penalty than murder, however, because Germany has bought into (or continued to buy into?) the idea that some lives are worth less than others.

I hate to put it so bluntly, when referring to a nation that has struggled to overcome the history of the past century; but the legal system bears out that in today's Germany, it is still possible to take some lives without it being called murder.

What we have to remember, though, is that as a nation we are in no position to cast stones. Our (United States) courts have allowed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to removed before, and may yet again. Our courts have ruled that the lives of the elderly, disabled, and unborn are less valuable than those of healthy members of the workforce. And our courts have repeatedly ruled that those whose lives pose an inconvenience to others may be disposed of.

And most of us sit by quietly, lamenting but doing little.

The only way we can ease our collective conscience is if we speak up for the value of every person's life.