By Wesley J. Smith
Australian scientist David Goodall has committed assisted suicide at a Swiss death clinic, and the media are swooning.
It is worth noting that there were apparently no suicide-prevention attempts and that he was accompanied to Switzerland by Australian suicide guru, Philip Nitschke — who once told NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez that he thought “troubled teens” should have access to suicide pills “available in grocery stores.”
Goodall held a last press conference, complete with a media photography feeding frenzy of popping flashes. From the New York Times story:
Mr. Goodall spoke on Wednesday before a phalanx journalists and photographers in Basel, Switzerland. That the inquisitors had come from around the globe to hear what would be most likely the last public words of the man once called Australia’s oldest working scientist was evidence that his campaign to end his life had captivated audiences worldwide…
Keenly aware that the news conference on Wednesday was one last opportunity to help promote euthanasia and assisted dying in his own country, Mr. Goodall withstood the barrage of questions, squinting because of the flashing cameras and sometimes struggling to understand because of his hearing loss.
No, media types were enthralled, most of whom are wholly in the tank for assisted suicide. So transgressive, don’t you know!
This is all very destructive because it boosts elder-suicide specifically — and suicide generally — as a positive. As does the (constantly repeated in the media) headline phrase, “die on his [own] terms.” Heck, everyone who commits suicide dies on their own terms!
It also totally violates World Health Association media guidelines for reporting on suicide state quite clearly (my emphasis):
Sensational coverage of suicides should be assiduously avoided, particularly when a celebrity is involved. The coverage should be minimized to the extent possible… Photographs of the deceased, of the method used and of the scene of the suicide are to be avoided. Front page headlines are never the ideal location for suicide reports.
Detailed descriptions of the method used and how the method was procured should be avoided. Research has shown that media coverage of suicide has a greater impact on the method of suicide adopted than the frequency of suicides.
Oh pshaw. There’s a cause to boost!
Goodall was not terminally ill, but wanted to die because he couldn’t do most of the things he enjoyed. And that is being celebrated – -meaning, assisted suicide isn’t about terminal illness and never was.
The point of all this is to push Australia into legalizing euthanasia:
He said he hoped his life story would “increase the pressure” on Australia to change its laws. “One wants to be free to choose his death when death is at the appropriate time,” Mr. Goodall said.
That’s death-on-demand — and it is the ultimate destination of the euthanasia movement.
The proper societal response to this tragedy shouldn’t be to make it easier for the ill, elderly, disabled, and mentally ill to obtain death, but for government to state clearly that it will seek to prevent all suicides for whatever reason they are desired.
To see how radical things euthanasia have become, check out my current article in the current issue of National Review.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with permission.