Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Killing a spouse is not loving nor compassionate

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

People Magazine published an article on August 1 by Emily Palmer stating that David Hunter (76) who was recently convicted of manslaughter for killing his wife Janice, on December 18, 2021; did so "out of love."

The story of David and Janice Hunter will be used by the assisted suicide lobby to justify the concept of "compassionate homicide."

David Hunter was convicted of manslaughter, meaning that the judge determined that it was not a pre-meditated murder, and sentenced him to two years in prison. He was then released after being credited for serving 19 months in jail awaiting trial.

A previous article by Ryan Fahey published by the Mirror on May 10 reported that Hunter confessed to killing his "terminally ill" wife. Haematologist Dr Ourania Seimeni said Janice had myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which is not necessarily terminal. The doctor admitted that 30 per cent of cases of MDS lead to leukaemia.

Fahey also reported that Hunter tried to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter but the charge of murder went forward to trial.

According to the accepted statement of facts, David Hunter killed his wife Janice by asphyxiation and then attempted to cause his own death by consuming a large amount of pills, but medical staff saved his life.

Research by Donna Cohen, a suicide researcher, and others prove that murder / suicide is rarely related to "compassionate" homicide.

Cohan stated the following in a Minnesota Tribune article from March 2009:
When people read reports of a murder-suicide they will often ask the question, was this an Act of love, or desperation? Cohen who has researched this question tries to find answers. 
She stated in the article:
That notion is common in murder-suicides, said Cohen, who has testified before Congress, written extensively and helped train families and physicians. She is a professor of aging and mental health at the University of South Florida and heads its Violence and Injury Prevention Program. 
"If they were consulted, families usually would try to stop it,'' she said. "In fact, murder-suicide almost always is not an act of love. It's an act of desperation."
Cohen also recognizes that murder-suicide does not equate with assisted suicide. Cohen stated:
Some people equate murder-suicide with assisted suicide and the right to control when you will die, Cohen said. "It usually is not the same. This is suicide and murder.''
I accept the idea that David Hunter was emotionally moved by his wife's "wish to die" but I do not accept the concept it is loving or compassionate to kill her.

A loving and compassionate response would be to help her receive pain and symptom relief and to assure her that her life had meaning, purpose and value.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What kind of man kills his wife? One who wants to get rid of her and will use any means as an excuse. Is dealing with your wife when she is suffering from Cancer easy? It sometimes is not. Dealing with anyone who is in the midst of any long term disease is not always easy. Life is not always easy. Some people think we treat animals better by putting them out of their misery, but not all animals are that callous. I had the opportunity last summer to spend some time observing a flock of about 20 Wood Ducks residing in a backwater of Lake Hamilton, Arkansas. Certainly, the ducks had their pecking order, and they exercised their territoriality over a group of Canada Geese.
But one thing about the ducks amazed me. There was a duck that was disabled with a bad leg, circumstances I do not know. but this duck certainly had no problem flying, but it could not swim or dive as well or as fast as the others. I certainly could not keep pace walking, even at a duck's pace. But interestingly, as this duck maneuvered within the flock, a couple of other "able" ducks stayed with it, giving it some consideration in eating, swimming, moving around. When the flock decided to fly off to another part of the lake, these "care-giver ducks" stayed with the disabled duck so that it was never alone. When the geese would try to come back to the backwater, the "caregiver ducks" would move closer to the disabled duck and chase off the interloper geese until such time as the disabled duck could take flight. I had seen such behavior before among cattle, bison, horses, and even wild boars, but not among fowl.
I have to then ask, if animals truly are compassionate and caring so as to not abandon the disabled or challenged even without hands and arms to offer comfort and assistance, why should we think that killing off our own serves any interest other than sheer selfish interest, that some people cannot even be as compassionate and respectful of the personal dignity of another than a simple Wood Duck.

Dcn William Orazio Gallerizzo