The right to die…

Nicklinson_2317396bIt’s hard to think that one day any one of you reading this may be in the situation where your health is so dire, that you may request the right to die.

It’s a solemn topic for a Monday but the issues surrounding legalizing Euthanasia are hard to ignore; we tend to put these issues to the back of our thoughts, not wanting to face the reality of life and those tough decisions.

One of the main case studies that is surrounding this issue in the media is that of Tony Nicklinson, a man who has a condition called Locked In Syndrome;  Nicklinson previously worked in Dubai as an engineer before his stroke led to him having an active mind locked inside a paralysed body. The story pulls on the heart-strings of anyone who can imagine how devastating it would be to be fully aware of how unimaginably helpless you are.

Nicklinson’s family are fighting for his right to die; the question remains, not just in this case but in most cases of severe health conditions, is it ethically right to allow medical staff to facilitate the death of a patient?

There are many factors to consider when trying to come to a conclusion, there is of course the suffering of the patient, whether their situation is terminal, religious views and whether the patient is able to make their own decisions and are whether they are in the right emotional state of mind to be able to cope with these type of decisions. With issues so delicate like these I try to put myself in the mindset of the people involved; for example a sports junkie who looses the use of his legs and is now unable to play the sport that he loves.

The example above could cause a debate, I myself feel that although the situation is dire the patients emotional state of mind would play a massive part into why the victim of illness may feel like giving up, but with time and support from friends, family and mental health specialists, perhaps the quality of life can be improved and the moments of weakness could be overcome?

Let me know what you think, would you like the option to end your own life if it came down to it? Or do you think that there are grey areas?

Written by Stephanie Birch

“When a burglar invades your home they give up their rights”

After recently reading an article in The Telegraph which can be found here:

It raised the question, “Is it ever okay to harm, or kill someone?”

The ethics in this case appear to be situational, for example, if you are at risk, then yes, however if it is simply for the sake of harming another this is not ethically acceptable.

David Cameron UK Prime Minister is currently trying to provide householders who are confronted with force with more legal protection. The current law states that anyone in England and Wales can use “reasonable force” to protect themselves or others. Householders are protected from prosecution as long as they act “honestly and instinctively.”

After stating that he had been burgled many times, it is clear that Cameron is taking a stand on the matter stating that:

 “When a burglar invades your home they give up their rights.”

An issue is rarely straight forward, which is the case for this one in particular. By changing the amount of force the law allows, there may be repercussions. It is argued that providing people with more rights to fight back may have the opposite effect than intended in which people may take advantage of their new found lenience. For example, knowing that they are more protected in terms of using self-defence, people may use this inappropriately as they feel they would then be held unaccountable for their actions and can claim their actions were defensive when in reality they were not.

However, the possible change in law does state that it is okay to fight back as long as it is not with “grossly disproportionate force.” I feel that this statement provides boundaries for this potential issue as it proves that there will still be consequences if things were to go beyond self-defence.

To further complicate things, if the change were to take place, it is a possibility that it may increase violence on both sides of the spectrum.

Does this mean burglars will come more prepared with weapons knowing that householders may be more likely to fight back?

Will this lead to more victims being killed trying to oppose the burglars?

It is a difficult issue as it may ultimately encourage people to fight back which may be harmful or fatal. However, I feel that the change in law is more about educating people about their rights, dispelling any doubts about what they are able to do to protect themselves and what they are not.

Do you think Cameron is acting as the householders Superman, or is this the start of a more violent culture?

Written by Amy Lee.