Wednesday, July 26, 2023

CTV News publishes irresponsible suicide article

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kenneth Law
An article written by Aisling Murphy and published by CTV News on July 25 appears to focus on the case of Kenneth Law who was arrested on May 2, 2023 for allegedly selling 1200 suicide kits online. In reality, the article promotes suicide.

The article interviews family members of victims who died by suicide after allegedly obtaining a suicide kit from Law. The article names the suicide substance and provides justification for elder suicide.

Suicide prevention guidelines clearly state that it is inappropriate to describe suicide methods or instructions or appear supportive of suicide deaths.

The article begins by stating:
Law was arrested by Peel police on May 2 and charged with two counts of counselling or aiding suicide. It’s possible more charges could follow from additional police jurisdictions – a Dutch man by the name of “Alex S.” was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison last week for similar charges in the Netherlands.

Over 40 countries and 11 Ontario police forces are now involved in the investigation against Law, who briefly appeared in court on Friday.

The prosecution of Kenneth Law is proving to be a flashpoint in two major online movements: the “pro-choice” suicide advocates, who run forums with detailed guides on how to take one’s own life, and the parents of children who lost their lives in part due to information gleaned from those sites, often with the help of people selling suicide devices online. has studied these sites extensively, and Law’s alleged businesses were frequently recommended to at-risk users before his arrest in May.
Last week, Alex S was convicted in the Netherlands for aiding suicide in at least 10 suicide deaths and sentenced to 3.5 years after he sold online 1600 packages of a suicide substance. 

Murphy interviewed Kelli Wilson and Catherine Adenekan, located in the U.S. and U.K. respectively, who are mothers of children who died after receiving the suicide substance through pro-suicide forums. Murphy writes:
“This trial is monumental in so many ways,” said Wilson. “These sites sell to vulnerable people. It’s aiding and abetting suicide, which is akin to murder.Law weaponized mentally ill people against themselves, and that can’t be allowed to continue. It’s a no-brainer. He needs to be held accountable for what he’s (allegedly) done. And the lawmakers, as well – they’ve facilitated these havens for crime.”

“What he’s (allegedly) done is one of the worst things you could possibly do,” added Adenekan. “The root cause of the problem, though, is [pro-suicide forums], which is how sellers like Law get their customers.

“We’re hoping that each and every person he has (allegedly) assisted will get justice for what he’s done,”
I applaud Murphy for interviewing families of suicide victims. However, she is irresponsible and unprofessional by naming the substance used for suicide, including an image of the package of the substance. 

Murphy also interviews Philip Nitschke, a long-time suicide and euthanasia activist, who makes a living selling his suicide book and suicide materials. 

Nitschke essentially says that Law wasn't careful because he was selling the suicide substance to everyone, including teenagers but then Nitscke justifies elder suicide. Murphy states:
While Nitschke advocates for seniors hoping to end their own lives, he says Law acted short-sightedly by allegedly selling sodium nitrite to younger individuals.
It is interesting that Nitschke is concerned about teen suicide considering he told Kathryn Lopez in a 2001 interview that he would provide the "peaceful pill" to troubled teens. Lopez reported in 2001:
I do not believe that telling people they have a right to life while denying them the means, manner, or information necessary for them to give this life away has any ethical consistency. So all people qualify, not just those with the training, knowledge, or resources to find out how to “give away” their life. And someone needs to provide this knowledge, training, or recourse necessary to anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, [and] the troubled teen. If we are to remain consistent and we believe that the individual has the right to dispose of their life, we should not erect artificial barriers in the way of sub-groups who don’t meet our criteria.

Nitscke is happy to do these interviews because it directs people to his suicide website.

Murphy and CTV  are irresponsible by publishing an article that essentially promotes suicide.

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