Tuesday, February 19, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 96



Suicide attempts should not be illegal

Randy Woock

If we're supposed to be free to live as we will in this country, I can't imagine why we shouldn't be allowed to die as we choose. It is, as you probably know, illegal to
attempt to kill yourself in this country. 

Mind you, that's only to attempt to kill yourself; there's no law that deals with what to do to you if you actually succeed.

For once in the history of Western civilization, common sense has prevailed over the modern man's tendency to legislate everything under the sun. I mean, it wouldn't
make much sense to haul your corpse over to the county jail after they scrape you up from the spot where you just completed the most beautiful swan dive of your entire
life. Sure would feel sorry for anyone who had to share a holding cell with the remains of someone who stepped in front of a subway train.

So why then is it illegal to attempt to kill yourself? Why are we not supposed to have the option to take that one-way ticket to Nirvana Central whenever we feel like it?
Why is suicide so looked down upon in our society (unless, of course, it's done by empty-headed rock stars or manic-depressive poets)? Why do most of the major
Western religions condemn it so vehemently?

Jeez, according to those chaps, killing yourself gets you sent to someplace where you burn and burn and never stop; I imagine it must be like Houston before the
invention of air conditioning. I don't really think that an omnipotent god should punish you for snuffing yourself. If you did so, it's likely that the life your god gave you was
sucky beyond all reckoning. You should get a refund, not eternal damnation.

I know Oregon has instituted a "physician-assisted suicide" law which I suppose is a step in the right direction. The more legal something is, the more widespread its
acceptance by the population at large. 

Despite the old notion that you can't legislate morality, there's a decent percentage of the population that uses legality to classify all of the moral questions not defined in
detail by their holy text of choice.

But there's just something about the very idea of physician-assisted suicide that strikes me as being kinda funny.

Seriously, how difficult is it to munch a handful or three of Valium? Do you really need a doctor to shoot yourself in the head? Or maybe you want to go more peacefully;
your friends don't need to have gone to med school to give you a morphine overdose, do they?

The average person's inability to do anything independently notwithstanding, your life ought to be yours to end at your own discretion. 

Sure, your friends and family might beg you not to kill yourself; the suicide of a loved one is a pretty painful thing to deal with. Of course, if they really did love you, they'd
stop making such selfish demands and let you do whatever it took to escape the living hell that your life has become. Right? And considering that you never asked to be
born in the first place, it ought to be your call as to when it's time to exit stage left.

Now, I'm not trying to advocate suicide. Sure, the rest of us could care less if you live or die, but unless you're doing it to escape unbearable physical pain or just cutting
to the chase with some terminal wasting disease, suicide's typically a bad case of taking yourself way too seriously.

C'mon, you're a sexy young college student in one of the most affluent countries in the world; how bad can things really be for you (and please, no one write in with their
personal version of "Why Life Sucks")?

Woock, a senior psychology 
major, can be reached at nrrandy@hotmail.com.

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