Forty Shades of Mercy
From: The Right to Die
In all of the examples in this chapter we see deaths caused by acts of mercy, and we see mercy shown to those who caused the deaths. In none of these cases was the full force of the law applied to the perpetrators of the supposed crimes. These serve as examples of a changing public attitude to assisted death — that at times it would seem, whatever the law says, morally wrong to allow suffering to go on unabated, and unjust to punish too severely those who help those who are suffering too severely. Examples used: Eerkiyoot 1949, Ron Brown and Ronald Lambert 1977, Lois Wilson and Victor Hayes 1985, Nancy B 1992, Jean and Cecil Brush 1994.
GARY BAUSLAUGH is the author of The Secret Power of Juries and Robert Latimer: A Story of Justice and Mercy. His writing has appeared in many publications and he has served as the president of the Humanist Association of Canada and editor of Humanist Perspectives. Gary, who holds a PhD in chemistry from McGill University, was a teacher and administrator in Canadian colleges and universities for many years. He lives in Victoria, B.C.