Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Philip Nitschke much different than William Melchert-Dinkel?

A comment in the cnet news;txt#comments got me thinking. Is Philip Nitscke, (Australia's Dr. Death) actually different than William Melchert-Dinkel, the Minnesota nurse who counseled and abetted Nadia Kajouji, a first year Carlton University student, to commit suicide in 2008.

William Melchert Dinkel
Philip Nitschke
Melchert-Dinkel provided information and encouraged Nadia Kajouji to commit suicide. He did this over the internet through online chat. Kajouji was experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts. Melchert-Dinkel trolled the internet to find someone like Kajouji because it appears that he enjoyed encouraging and watching death.

Nitschke promotes his online books and has a website that encourages methods for people to commit suicide. He claims that it is all about freedom, but he is not concerned whether the person who downloads his suicide information is depressed, drugged out, or dying. It appears that he is using the terminally ill to accomplish a philosophical goal, that being the right of anyone at anytime to die. Nitschke was reported to have said in a National Review article concerning the "Peaceful Pill" that it should be available to troubled teens.

How are these areas similar?

Melchert-Dinkel and Nitschke both have a history of taking advantage of suicidal or depressed and vulnerable people.

Both use the internet to protect them from the law or social recrimination.

Both have been directly connected to the deaths of people who were vulnerable and needing help.

At least Melchert-Dinkel was willing to seek help for his crime.

Link to previous articles about Philip Nitschke:

Link to a previous article about Melchert-Dinkel:
Did students commit 'suicide by laptop'?

Whatever happened, no one may ever truly understand.

The facts, as reported by the Daily Mail, suggest that two students from Scotland checked into a hotel around 80 miles from Edinburgh University, where they were both studying.

When staff were concerned that Robert Miller, 20, and James Robertson, 19, were still in their room after check-out time, they reportedly opened their door and discovered them both dead.

Police reportedly examined a laptop in the students' room and, after police said they were not treating the deaths as suspicious, there are reportedly fears in the students' home communities that the dead men may have been influenced by the ideas of Dr. Philip Nitschke, an Australian campaigner for legal euthanasia.

In 1996, Nitschke created the Deliverance Machine, a device that involved a laptop that was connected to a syringe driver. With just one push of a key, the device, outlawed in 1997, delivers a lethal injection.

Edinburgh University is reportedly working with the authorities to try to find more evidence of what might have led to these students' deaths.

These reports will inevitably lead to renewed debate about the Web offering more information, both "bad" or "good," being made immediately available to those who seek it, or even to those who merely happen to come across it by chance.

Should information about assisted suicide, self-harm and other difficult societal aspects be freely available?

Link to the original article in the Daily Mail:

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