Fame if Want to Die: Obscurity if Want to Live

By Wesley J. Smith

Jerika Bolen

Jerika Bolen

A disabled fourteen year-old girl named Jerika Bolen is being celebrated in the news. Why?

Because she wants to stop medical treatment to die.

From the USA Today story:

Yet more than 1,000 people showed up for the party, with police and firefighters providing a motorcade. She received cards and gifts from around the world and shout-outs from a number of celebrities.

Think about this: If Jerika had chosen to carry on, nobody outside her family and community would know about her struggles.

But as soon as she chooses to die, she becomes a celebrity.

Look too at Brittany Maynard: Had she had lived until she died naturally in hospice instead of committing assisted suicide, nobody would have ever heard of her.

But suicidal intentions caused the media to boost her to celebrity fame around the world. I understand that people carrying on through illness and disability is, to some degree, a dog bites man story.

But I worry that these repeated media celebrations over people who plan to die are generating quite a damaging undertow that could affect others struggling through intense difficulties to live.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Wesley’s great blog.