Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tracy Latimer was human

Gary Bauslaugh has written the unauthorized biography of Robert Latimer, the man who killed his daughter Tracy, who had cerebral palsy, in 1993. According to a recent article written by Ian Mulgrew and published in the Vancouver Sun, Bauslaugh's book is simply preaching to the converted.

Mulgrew states in his article:
The facts of their horrible struggle are here, and there are quotes from him and her, culled from public sources. But the couple that captured a nation's emotional attention for so long is not to be found

Latimer makes it clear he didn't want to share his soul with author Gary Bauslaugh, and who can blame him? And for her part, Laura has fiercely defended the family's privacy for nearly 20 years.

Theirs is a story we all want to hear, but their voices remain muted.

What B.C. humanist academic Bauslaugh offers, instead, is a polemic in favour of more liberal euthanasia and assisted-suicide laws. It's a sermon for the converted.

Unfortunately, I found much of Bauslaugh's argument self-indulgent. Why, for instance, did an editor not cut the invented five-page speech he wishes he could have made to the second Latimer jury?

Bauslaugh frames his narrative with a Biblical quotation. Like Abraham in the Old Testament, Latimer felt commanded to kill his child. But while the patriarch's hand was stayed, he intended to carry out the killing. Still, Abraham never explained his plan.

What explanation is possible? Perhaps what Latimer has lived through is beyond the capacity of language to convey. Perhaps reverential silence is more appropriate.

What upsets me about those within the euthanasia lobby who are trying to rewrite history or use this case to promote the legalization of euthanasia, is that they ignore that Tracy was a human person deserving of love and compassion, but not death.

Tracy has been dehumanized by the media and even this article compares Tracy to a guinea pig.

People with disabilities recognize that the acceptance of Tracy's death will lead directly to the acceptance of their deaths.

The fact is that Tracy deserved to be protected. When she was killed, everyone in similar conditions deserved to have the killer, Robert Latimer, convicted and serve the same sentence as any other killer.

Tracy Latimer RIP

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