Killing is Wrong.
Unless of course some wacko breaks into your house in the middle of the day, wearing nothing but a ten-gallon hat and a pair of flip-flops. Then you pop a cap in that nutjob, before he gets to your Labrador and starts doing unspeakably inappropriate things.
Or unless someone assaults you in the mall parking lot, and you “accidentally” hit them in the temple with a jagged brick. Cause that’s self defense.
And you know, I mean, who wouldn’t kill Hitler, if given the chance?
The point is, it is universally recognized that sometimes taking the life of another human can be justified. Sometimes it may even be lauded. So, in a system where the taking of a human life is only criminal in a case by case basis, I want to know why I can’t kill my Grandma.
My grandmother is ninety-seven years old. Her mind is sharp – sharp enough to know it’s not as sharp as it used to be. Her only passions are painting and reading, which of course she can’t do because of arthritis and near-blindness.
Her husband is dead. Her sisters are dead. Her friends are dead. Everyone she cares about is dead. (I know, you’re all “But K. Jean King, she still has you!” Yeah. She doesn’t care. …Love you too, Grandma.)
So all she is left with is eighteen waking hours a day to sit around on her memory-foam donut-cushion and “pray for the good lord to take her.” Every moment of her life is torture because she is literally being tortured by life.
My question is, if she wants to die, and all of those who love her agree she would be happier dead, why can’t we kill her?
Let’s call it a living will. Usually a person draws up a living will so that their family has explicit, legally-binding instructions, should that person become a bed-laden cucumber being kept alive only by mechanical assistance. The idea is that no one should have to be kept alive against their will. I suggest this qualifies, with the minor difference being that, instead of being kept alive artificially by machines, she’s being kept alive by some cruel, cosmic joke.
Or maybe we could call it a kind of preemptive last will and testament. A person draws up a will in order to ensure that their affairs are properly handled by their loved ones after they die – that everything is distributed and handled the way they want. What about an addendum saying, “I would like Brenda to get my antique bedroom set, and also dose me in case I haven’t achieved natural death by age eighty-eight.”
Then, of course, there is always suicide by proxy:
“Oh, I heard that Agnus committed suicide. That’s terrible. What did she use to do it?”
“The sympathies of her family.”
People frequently say that killing is the worst crime. I am always inclined to disagree. I’ve never heard of a “justifiable rape.” Nor have I ever heard the claim, “He staged that cockfight in self-defense.”
I don’t know when the Old Lady is finally going to kick the proverbial bucket. All I do know is that every time I visit her, surrounded by the paintings she can no longer paint, and the books she can no longer read, and the pictures of those who she wishes to meet in heaven, it feels like cruel and unusual punishment.
And that is in violation of the 8th amendment of the Constitution. Just sayin’.