By Bill Peace
I am opposed to assisted suicide legislation. In the last month end of life in the form of assisted suicide has been at the forefront of my mind thanks to Tim Bowers and Brittany Maynard. Maynard's story has gone viral and millions of people have seen her video created with the assistance of Compassion and Choices. Bowers was briefly in the news a year ago. Bowers was an avid hunter who fell from a tree stand and experienced a severe spinal cord injury. He died within 24 hours of the injury. What makes Bowers death unusual was that his family requested heavy sedation be lifted so he could decide if he wanted to live or die. Bowers chose to die.
Any nuanced effort to analyze why Bowers died immediately after a spinal cord injury is perceived to be in bad taste if not cruel. Any criticism of Maynard’s highly public end of life replete with two tear jerking videos is also thought to be cruel. How can one criticize Maynard and others who are terminally ill? Criticism is needed. Without criticism and serious discussion end of life issues will remain obscured. This criticism is not about Maynard or Bowers directly. I do not in any way criticize the Maynard or Bowers families. Maynard can legally die in Oregon via the Death with Dignity Act: that is her legal right. Bowers family had the legal right to ask Tim Bowers if he wanted to die. Both the Maynard and Bowers families did what they thought was right. Again, I do not question this. Maynard and Bowers were loved by their families. I accept this as a given and they have my deepest sympathies.