James Palmer Jason Witt Writing 2 November 11, 2010 Mercy killing is it justifiable? There are many perspectives on the issue of mercy killing and if it’s justifiable. Mercy killing is the killing of another human being. As this issue is closely monitored we see that, euthanasia involves the ethics of doctor’s practices, and many other problems that may come up in this controversial issue. Three main perspectives are mercy killing is not justifiable for any reason, mercy killing is justifiable, and mercy killing is justifiable to a certain degree.
The mercy killing issue has been brought up in many articles. Some articles are pertaining to military personnel. Other articles are according to health circumstances. Also some information can be gathered throughout several cases in federal and lower courts. These articles seem to come more frequently though when wars appear. When the most recent wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan war came about there were several articles published about this very issue of mercy killing.
First of all, we see the different sides of the issue, as is related to mercy killing, euthanasia is one such word strongly used. Euthanasia is used to describe mercy killing it is interpreted by the following: “Euthanasia is the act of killing someone painlessly (someone suffering from incurable disease)” (Word net web Princeton). Involuntary euthanasia is “euthanasia conducted without the explicit consent of the individual concerned” (Word net web Princeton). The medical dictionary term for euthanasia is “the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment”(Medical-Dictionary).
Mercy killing is a decision many people face today. Throughout the years there have been cases within the military with this very issue, and cases involving other people. Some of these cases that come up a lot involve military personnel in other countries. One instant would be a military person shooting a kid due to them being impacted by an IED bomb. The military person kills the boy to put the boy out of his misery because the kid is slowly dying. When the military person returns back to the United States he gets court marshaled. A story in 2005 that was in the newspaper was about a sergeant in the armed forces that killed a Iraqi teen due to the teen being burned alive in a bus, he was beyond the stage of help and was screaming the sergeant felt sorry and put the teen out of his misery. There are many stories like the above that have been published throughout the years, but they all seem to come to the same conclusion “unethical” and jail. Is what the military person did okay? What would you do if you were in the military personnel’s position? We may ask ourselves what do we as humans believe is justifiable? What do we believe is ethical? Do we believe we can play God, who should live and who should die? As we look into this issue we see more cases not just in America but in many other countries. Americans see this as unethical especially if this is done to a civilian even under the circumstances. According to the military there are rules of conduct one must abide to while on foreign soil. Abiding by rules of conduct means military soldiers are liable in which they are court marshaled when returning to the United States. These cases have been going on a lot especially through the Iraq and Afghanistan war. The first perspective on mercy killing is that mercy killing is not justifiable for any reason. If we look at this perspective, we see that all life is precious and we do not have the right as humans to choose who lives and who dies. When someone is dealing with situations according to death, people think our love ones have no right to make life ending decisions for the individual. What happens if the individual that is suffering is rich and the loved one wants the individual’s life to end in order to accumulate the wealth? We see that this could influence the decision to kill the individual, which is an unethical reason. We also see under military circumstances that killing a civilian under the circumstances mentioned above is unethical because citizens from that country might take it as Americans want to kill people. We also see that it is unjustifiable because of doctor’s ethical values. Doctors are held to high standards and in their professions there suppose to save life at all cost and to do everything in their ability to keep their patients alive. So even if there is a possibility that the patient won’t last, they are supposed to do everything they can to keep the patient alive as long as possible. If a doctor lets a patient die, than that act will be questioning their medical practices. So we see that this perspective to mercy killing is unjustifiable. We see this as a very good point, no one a can play God according to who should live and who should die. We also see that doctors can’t possibly allow the individual to die because they would be questioning their practices. The second perspective we see is that Mercy killing is justifiable. We see that mercy killing is necessary in some cases. Such cases are life threatening diseases which cause the individual to endure horrific pains. This is when mercy killing should be legalized for legitimate circumstances. When someone is in so much pain and knows they’re going to die they should have the right to choose to die if they want to pass away early to stop the pain they should have that right. Many people have been diagnosed with Stage four cancers and have been in hospitals for months waiting for a miracle a sign of hope in their dark hours. Many people have had tumors, blood diseases, and many other forms of incurable body diseases. People take life for granted today we don’t realize how lucky we are to live each day. Others are unfortunate and die younger but this is life, when one life ends another begins the saying goes. We need to think what is best for the patient suffering what he/ or she wants. How long must a loved one wait lying in a bed helpless in excruciating pain? This perspective believes it is when the person feels like he/she can’t tolerate the pain. No one likes pain or wants to endure pain at any level. We need to think about that and consider what if we were in pain what would we want done? What would be the right thing to do? The third perspective is, mercy killing is justifiable to a certain degree. As we look at this we see that some believe that mercy killing may prove useful in certain situation. Although how can we determine what the situations would be? How much pain do they actually have to suffer from in order to be killed in humane way? Should we entrust another human with another human’s life? This side of the issue believes in mercy killing but at same time dislikes the idea. They are caught between the ethics of the situation. So as we look at the word ethical we see it means the right thing to do, how do we determine what is the right thing to do? Everybody has a different perspective and opinion on things how can one possibly agree? We have to really examine all possibilities in order to decide what our choice will be. We have to examine what degree is justifiable. This perspective is hanging on both the other perspectives it is touching the issue but using the other two perspectives to justify their perspective. When we look at how the United States, they kill people on death row by lethal injection. So why can’t we do the same to others? The United States and other countries have over the years done many things to kill people on death row from hanging, shooting, torturing, drowning, and many other things to kill these violent people. Although over the years the United States have narrowed their mindset to lethal injection. This theory is due to the public believing that lethal injection is more ethical instead of the other above listed ways. So as we look more into this area, can we use lethal injection for mercy killing to those whose lives are at stake? Why would it be okay to have mercy killing justifiable to people on death row but not to the people that really need it under their circumstances? We see that mercy killing is allowed in death row and that is justifiable to a certain degree according to the people of the United States. So the United states could try to use the above as a option to the families who’s loved ones are suffering and in the greater circumstances it would be justifiable to enact mercy killing. In Conclusion, we see that there are many perspectives to if mercy killing is justifiable? We see that mercy killing is not justifiable for any reason, mercy killing is justifiable, and Mercy killing is justifiable to a certain degree. Mercy killing is a very strong and controversial issue in our time. As we think about it our society and government has changed a lot today from years ago we frown upon ideas such as gay marriages, legalization of marijuana ect. We have to realize that we can’t just push these issues under the rug because they will keep on coming back. We have to look at these issues and be proactive and do something about them. At least come to an understanding among the different points of view of the issue in order to come to a valid conclusion together. With ought coming to an understanding all sides will be unheard and the issue to will prolong. I agree with all sides no one is completely wrong and no one is completely right. Every perspective has their strong points and every perspective has some bad points. The real Strength about the perspective will come when they choose what they will actually do about the problem pertaining to the valid issue. Euthanasia is something we the people of the United States have been left with for a long time. We need to come to a resolution since there are so many perspectives as you can already see. No decision will satisfy everyone but a decision must be made. We know America is not alone many other countries face the same issue. The only difference we can make is what we will do as the body of the United States to come to an understanding about the issue. Work Cited Albertson, Tory. “Counterpoint: Euthanasia: Mercy Killing or Murder?. ” Vanguard University of South Alabama (2010): 1. Web. 15 Nov 2010. . “Newspapers:Mercy Killing. ” Times 16 August 1966: 1-4. Web. 15 Nov 2010.