SH*T MY UNCLE SAYS: Long Live Dr. Death Dignity

Kevorkian_Painting.jpg

[Artwork by JACK ROUX]

BY WILLIAM C. HENRY We ought to declare Friday, June 3rd, National Human Rights Day and nickname it JK Day in recognition of one of the human rights movement’s most honorable, tireless and least appreciated champions. It’s the day Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the perennially outgunned “David” in his valiant war against the rights robbing Goliaths of government and religion, finally got his oh-so-ShitMyUncleSays-FINAL_2.jpgwell-deserved enduring day of rest. God knows he gave it his best. I, for one, would like to express my sincerest sorrow over the passing of a man willing to spend more than EIGHT YEARS of his life behind bars for a cause he felt was damn well worth every second of it: the altogether inalienable right of ANY person to choose when and how he or she may elect to END their life. Personally, I’ve always looked upon this particular human right as the least we should demand from a God (whatever or whomever you may perceive him, her, or it to be — or not) who never bothered to consult with us as to “IF” we wished to ARRIVE here in the first place!

Little has been written of Dr. Kevorkian’s career as a pathologist, and perhaps for good reason. It’s immaterial. All we really need to know is that he was willing to put his comfortable later life and livelihood on the line in order to provide a peaceful and permanent end to the suffering of others — 130 to be exact. Not all were later deemed to have been terminally ill, a fact which the good doctor readily acknowledged and to which he responded: “What difference does it make if someone is terminal? We are all terminal.” It WAS later determined, however, that EVERY ONE of them had had the presence and clarity of mind to implore his assistance in terminating their suffering. Dr. K’s luck finally ran out in 1999 when the state of Michigan, frustrated over 3 previous Kevorkian acquittals and a mistrial, and needing to show the world that it was not an entity to be trifled with, tried and finally convicted him of second degree murder in the assisted death of a man succumbing to Lou Gehrig’s disease. By my tally the final score was: Kevorkian and the cause of human rights = 129, Interlopers = 1. A pretty impressive record. He received a sentence of 10 to 25 years. He was released in 2007.

How should Dr. K. be remembered? Certainly not for the moniker “Dr. Death” he so undeservedly bore over the years. No, Jack Kevorkian merits a far more worthy title. For my taste, “Dr. Dignity” wears just fine. He made the world face up to the nonsense of bearing constant suffering as some sort of “badge of honor” or “will of God.” He brought awareness to our not having to endure suffering for the sake of others, or as part of some higher power’s grand scheme of things. Perhaps his most important contribution was in making it manifest to our collective conscience that, in his words, “dying is not a crime.” Because of his efforts hospice care flourishes today. Physicians are more attuned to the pain of the terminally ill and more willing to prescribe medications to relieve it. Oregon and Washington states passed Death With Dignity laws which were upheld by the Supreme Court as “protecting a legitimate medical practice.” All of this as a result of the dogged efforts of a man who refused to be cowed by the institutional powers amassed against him. Not bad for a son of Armenian immigrants and once-upon-a-time nondescript pathologist from Detroit. You had principles Jack, and we’re all the better for it. R.I.P. dear doctor.

PREVIOUSLY: Pounding Sand

PREVIOUSLY: Big Brother’s Holding Co.

PREVIOUSLY: Goldman Sachs Of Shit

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.

1,604 = The number of Americans killed in action in Afghanistan
11,191 = The number of Americans  wounded in Afghanistan.
0 = To date the number of financial industry kingpins indicted for having committed the most massive FRAUD in American history.

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