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Elderly Aussies build clandestine drug labs

They’re making Nembutal for euthanasia purposes.

Nembutal is a venerable barbiturate with a variety of uses, from sleeping aid to seizure control. It’s used to euthanize animals. Also people in Australia until ten years ago when, I gather, their assisted suicide law was struck off the books.

That latter fact is significant here, I suspect. Per the article, twenty Aussies chipped in $2,000 each and spent two years of painful trial and error learning to make the stuff. They have plans for four labs. They name the people involved and the location of the proposed labs. Why, after all this toil and sweat, would you nark your operation out the moment you achieve your goal? It smells of publicity stunt.

And that’s a shame. Because this is a significant conversation the West needs to have with itself, and we need to do it without posturing, bullshit or book burnings.

When I was younger, I was strongly pro-euthanasia. It was entirely selfish. I am a coward. I wanted to be sure there would be an easy way out if I ever needed it. Something that didn’t involve leaving behind a really icky tableau for somebody else to clean up. I still think the only moral dimension to self-murder is the mess you leave behind. If you don’t have ultimate ownership of your own life, what rights can you possibly have?

But I have changed my thinking about what constitutes a life worth living. I don’t have much experience of death, thank the whatevers, but I have seen a little. More than once, I have watched, amazed, as someone turned and fought keenly to hold onto a life I would have thought nothing but misery. My faith in the welcomeness of death has been somewhat shaken.

I once thought the only moral delimma surrounding euthanasia would be crafting the law controlling how we choose death for someone else. You know, “yeah, oh sure…Grandma always said she’d rather die than be an inconvenience. Trust me.” But there’s something else in this article that’s a real craw-sticker.

One of the illegal manufacturers, Bron Norman, said the drug should be available for those who wish to commit suicide when they have outlived their useful life.

Useful life. I fucking hate that expression, and not merely because I am, personally, useless. It’s like “giving back to the community” — it implies that a human being is a net negative until he proves otherwise. I cannot tell you how violently offensive and wrong I think this idea is. I’m an atheist; I’m not arguing from some traditional notion of what a God thinks life is worth. It’s entirely possible to develop a belief in human exceptionalism entirely by way of being one and observing others.

I might even go so far as to measure the worth of a society by how it treats its useless. Haven’t we dug up Neanderthals who were clearly so crippled they were in the care of others for years?

If we’re developing a climate in which people are encouraged to value their lives by the contribution they make, then I don’t think we’re ready for legalized euthanasia. We’ll have to wait until we level up to Neanderthals.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 8, 2007, 12:09 pm

Crap. Drudge has picked up the story. I hate it when I think I’ve mined a sweet little nugget of weirdness and it goes flyin’ out into the meme.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: May 8, 2007, 12:26 pm

Does Nembutal come with propellers?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 8, 2007, 12:33 pm

You could probably make them spin ’round and ’round on a glass table top. One of my favorite places to window shop. Probably NSFW, if you want to stay off The List.

Comment from Pupster
Time: May 8, 2007, 1:19 pm

Nice article Weasel.

“That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

“Die m*****f***** die m*****f***** die!” –
Dr. Philip Nitschke

Weasel, you big teaser, I looked and looked, and I STILL can’t find the ‘Place Order’ or ‘Add to Shopping Cart’ buttons at that last link in your comment. They could use some expert web page design advice.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 8, 2007, 1:54 pm

Well spotted, Pupster. I thought the name “Nitschke” was pretty inauspicious, too. Check out his bio. Dude’s been a leftoid looking for a cause his whole life. Beware of doctors in love with death.

Speaking of Kevorkian…whenever his name comes up, I always point to this PBS Frontline program gallery of his creepy artwork. Dude is right where he belongs.

I still don’t want to close the door to a nice, painless way out for myself some day. That’s partly why these morbid ass-clowns piss me off — their antics are drowning out the serious discussion we need to have.

There was an article in one of the Brit papers recently about how hard it is to find an abortion doctor there. (I almost posted about it, but…abortion. Meh. I just didn’t want to get wadded up with that one). Anyhow, the Brits don’t have anything like societal angst we have about abortion. Ironically, that means performing abortions doesn’t have the tinge of ‘heroism’ it might have to a young American doctor. British doctors just find it depressing. A total downer. Something you wouldn’t want to talk about at a cocktail party. They’re allowed to refuse to perform abortions, and a great many of them are doing just that.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: May 8, 2007, 1:57 pm

That link looks like ‘Partier’s Warehouse’ or ‘We Be Drugs’ or sumpin.

Seriously, I own a copy of “Final Exit” – not because I support gov-assisted suicide (I don’t), but because I’d rather know how to do it properly, and not leave a mess.

If ya want somethin’ done right….

BTW: Weasel – its Drudge that’s playing sloppy seconds – not you. He’s just flogging your orts and leavings, poor guy.

Comment from Pupster
Time: May 8, 2007, 3:05 pm

Creepiest thing I ever saw on TV:

“November 22, 1998
CBS’s “60 Minutes” airs a videotape showing Kevorkian giving a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, 52, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease. The broadcast triggers an intense debate within medical, legal and media circles.”

They showed the dude die. Still creeps me out.

I’m all for the “no heroic measures” and “yoink the plug in case of irreversible coma” type of living will, but I can’t imagine being in a place where you would want Dr. Jack or one of his ilk to boost you to a dirt nap. Madness.

Unless someone invents a “Viking Funeral Assisted Suicide Machine” ™, there is always going to be someone who has to clean up the mess.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 8, 2007, 4:18 pm

My stepmother did what some of the Aussies in the article are doing and for the same reason: she bought a butt-load of barbies in Mexico. Kind of surprised me. She doesn’t seem the type, in some ways, and she’s neither ill nor old. It just made her feel better to have an exit strategy.

There’s clean up and clean up. I figure somebody’s going to have to change the sheets after I go. I’d feel pretty bad if they also had to vacuum my frontal lobes out of the drapes.

Comment from Pupster
Time: May 8, 2007, 4:52 pm

Right now, somewhere in Mexico, a whole lot of Ken’s are wishing Weasel’s stepmother had a different plan.

This thread is depressing.
*locks up dog*
Say something funny Weasel.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 8, 2007, 5:02 pm

It’s a forties thing, Pupster. Enjoy!

Have you ever watched two very old guys meet on the street? Complete strangers, even. It looks to me like they give each other happy, shaky little thumbs-upses. Like, “w00t! We outlived those other sonsabitches!”

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: May 8, 2007, 6:06 pm

Hey! When old guys meet in the street it’s a tactical thing. They’re each trying to find out what’s gonna hurt or quit working next.

Comment from Gnus
Time: May 8, 2007, 6:18 pm

I dunno, McGoo. Living here in Geezerville, I see a lot of old folks. Maybe you’re right, but me, I kinda like the adventure of just waiting to see what goes out next.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: May 8, 2007, 8:23 pm

Yep – you’re right, Gnus. Each morning is an adventure. Each evening is another day survived and a job well-done.

Comment from Leeuwenhoek
Time: May 9, 2007, 5:21 am

I am having trouble reconciling the difficulty people seem to have with killing themselves and the feeling I get when I sleep in my camper with the propane heater buzzing. Did I leave enough windows open, etc. If its so hard, why do we worry so much about doing something stupid and dieing ? As for suicide in general, my opinion is as follows, its a long term solution, to what may be a short term problem. Also, hope does not die when we say it does.

Comment from mesablue
Time: May 9, 2007, 1:39 pm

I can’t wait until I outlive my ‘useful’ life.

Then I can spend the rest of my un-usefulness farting around the caribbean on a sailboat.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: May 10, 2007, 7:28 am

An excellent edifying post indeed. Enough to make me get off my lazy rear and blog about it. Thank you!

Pingback from S. Weasel teaches me that euthanasia is wrong « Muslihoon
Time: May 10, 2007, 7:46 am

[…] May 10th, 2007 at 12:45 pm (A+ Reads, Culture, Blogs, Christianity, Religion) Inspired by S. Weasel’s post, “Elderly Aussies build clandestine drug labs“. […]

Comment from mesablue
Time: May 10, 2007, 11:37 am

Ridding the world of christianity, one ex-muslim at a time.

Comment from Purple Avenger
Time: June 4, 2007, 4:35 pm

So I guess this means there really isn’t a looming social security crisis after all eh? People will be “retired” the same way mobster Sam Giancana was “retired”.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 4, 2007, 5:04 pm

Commenting on a post from a month ago? Ok.

BTW: They’re talking about BDSM clown friend whatever over at Aces. So everything continues to be connected….

Now…who can I go mess with? Newsbusters!

Comment from Frit
Time: September 14, 2010, 1:26 am

I agree, Stoaty. If and when the time comes, I’d like a nice, neat, painless way out.

Been dead twice. (Post surgery, they broke out the crash-cart, so I’m back for seconds/thirds.) I had no problem with being dead, was kinda nice actually. Since that is a rather personal thing, I suppose YMMV, but I’m not gonna worry about it.

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