Euthanasia is the term for a mercy killing where one murders out of compassionate effect. Quite the contradictory term. To kill, but for a good cause. How may one find such an act justifiable? However, being able to justify taking a life depends on the situation, and what is justifiable, what is not, and who decides that? Nevertheless, one may find that there isn’t any single definite answer, instead, there are millions of opinions and differing circumstances. Nevertheless, there are many factors that sway the opinion of justifying assisted suicide; human morality, the very gravity of the situation, and what affected parties may benefit from the euthanasia.
A single human’s opinion should never be the answer to a factual question, for an opinion is tainted with emotional influence, naivety, and wishful thinking. A scientist once classified humans as the most dangerous species alive, for their ability to distinguish well and evil, which no other species can do. Inga Clendinnen says, “The concept of evil cannot explain the performance of actions because it is an essentially dismissive classification. To say that a person, or an action, is evil is just to say that that person, or action, defies explanation or is incomprehensible.” During the third chapter of Of Mice and Men, Carlson suggests killing Candy’s dog to put him out of his misery, yet Candy replies with, “Maybe it’d hurt him. I don’t mind taking care of him.” Candy is reluctant to kill his dog because he had become attached to it, and had his judgment clouded
In any case, even if one may find taking a life to be a challenging task, the question arises; why would one commit such an act in the first place? How may the gravity of the situation justify it? As there have been many incidents of euthanasia worldwide since as far back as the fifth century when infanticide, abortions, suicide, and mercy killings were an accepted part of society. Augustus Ceaser’s death was even labeled a euthanasia. Carlson is a character who suggested killing Candy’s dog, for he states, “Look, Candy. This ol’ dog jus’ suffer hisself all the time.” Carlson was able to comprehend the direness of the mutt’s situation and therefore thought that dispatching it would be a justifiable action.
It is one thing for the situation to call for a mercy killing, and it is also another thing for the individual being affected to call for one. Early on during the year, fourteen-year-old Valentina Maureira who was living with an incurable disease, cystic fibrosis, asked the Chilean president to be euthanized. She revealed that she was tired of her limited choices and wished to have a painless sleep. When asked if he would kill his dog, Candy is hesitant, and says, “No, I couldn’ do that.” Yet later he admits, “I ought to of shot that dog myself.” Before one attempts to justify an assisted suicide, they must first try to stand in the situation from the affected party’s viewpoint, for a decision on another’s suffering cannot be fully understood by an unaffected individual. Therefore, a mercy killing should be justified by a willing being.
Euthanasia formed of the two Greek roots, “eu” and “thanatosis”, which put together mean good death, is a literal translation to a positively connoted example of death. Which makes it curious as to why the justification of euthanasia is questioned in the first place when it so obviously means a good passing. However, one cannot ignore the fact that to perform a euthanasia is essentially taking a life, and that is where the effects of human morality, the gravity of the situation, and the benefit’s the affected parties may receive from the experience come into play. When the decision to perform, or justify an assisted suicide is being made, one will usually consult their morals, the situations gravity, and how it would benefit the affected party. I think that if the situation or affected individual demands a mercy killing, regardless of moral obligations, euthanasia should be performed.
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