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The Right to Live

Insightful conversations in a Taxi cab, driven not in small part by a communal acceptance of the widespread use of cannabis has led me to this... my partly open-minded view of a subject that I am admittedly too violently opinionated about. Bear with me.

The general consensus is that pot is good for us, it has medicinal properties (so say even those who hate medicines) and can easily replace so many lab-created pills with half as many side effects. The rumor is also that it creates such an atmosphere of love and acceptance that it lowers crime rates, violence and assault. I suppose that remains to be proven, especially after hearing that car insurance rates have almost doubled in Denver since legalization because of the increase in car accidents (and despite it still being legal to toke and drive). But even with all of the panacea publicity, who is regulating what is actually being used on this glory plant and eventually being inhaled in the same puff of pleasure? And why doesn't anyone care to find out?

It has long been a concern of mine the disinterest for the things we introduce into our bodies. I have occasionally shrugged it off as a simple trust in the government entities that have been set in place to fulfill this task for us- to decide what is okay and what is poison (I recognize that I am publicly distrustful, myself). Then why do we automatically grant the same amnesty to any new product coming in to the market? Even when the FDA is involved, and in this case, they are, does that really guarantee us a safe product? The reality is that new products have little to no proven history, ESPECIALLY something that was grown and distributed in illicit networks until so so recently. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, why not make it at least taxable? Why not cut out the hundreds of underground meth labs burning babies and condemning buildings and paste a label that says: contains: Acetone. Lithium. Toluene. Hydrochloric acid. Pseudoephedrine. Sulfuric acid. A label that says: this product contains a chemical that has been proven in the state of California to cause cancer. Is it even my problem if other people don't care?

If I am to take the position that it is not my problem because if does not involve me (except, everything actually does involve us all), then maybe I can also make the argument that a person deciding to commit any slow painful form of suicide does not affect me. The woman in hospice, begging her nurse for a gun, should she not be granted the same respect for her choices and a less violent and more traumatic end of life option? If it is not my problem which drug you burn your brain cells with, and the population's acceptance of cancer causing additives in our medicines and food.... why would it be my problem when a person decides to die?

The further thought is: if assisted suicide is legal, really legal, what are the criteria to be eligible? The states that currently allow it (California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington) are doing so in cases of terminal illness: but can depression be considered a terminal illness? On that same token, perhaps even life can be considered a terminal illness. Who is to say? If it is your physician, do we then go back into the issues that truly inspired the Roe v Wade case and start holding doctors legally accountable for such a subjective decision already? Clearly, that is an issues that should rest where it lays.

To avoid the whole thing, maybe we should respect people's choice to stay alive at any point- the argument for covering abortions carries even more weight when we so avidly support "life" that we are willing to protect it at any fucking cost, no matter the decision of the person being alive, their quality of life or their quality of mind. Forcing someone to stay alive against their will is not possible- we have criminalized suicide but for some shocking reason, it does not deter those that actually want to commit it. If we made it just as difficult to commit suicide than we do abortion, that doesn't seem like that big of a stretch: travel to a specialist to get a mental evaluation, hear about your choices, about the pain you will endure, wait the mandated 24 hour waiting period (during which someone will assist you will your funeral arrangements), pay your murder fee (the clean up is included) and get it done. Imagine the amount of trauma we would spare the world. I know one too many humans who have witnessed suicides and found dead bodies. All spared.

When we consider the habits of a person who does not care to stay alive, examine the decisions and risky behaviors they are most likely to engage in, it does not seem that important to keep people alive against their own will. While women at 90% more likely to attempt suicide than men, only 10% of women succeed. Over 80% of men manage to commit suicide on their first try, preferring more drastic and violent methods. Will some regret it? Will some go in to make a decision about their own life and never come out- with their final thought having been "this is a mistake"? Hey, I can't police you already.

What are your thoughts about assisted suicide and drug legalization? Where do you draw the line? Comment below!

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