Port Arthur Killer Martin Bryant & the "Right To Die" (1 Viewer)

ur_inner_child

.%$^!@&^#(*!?.%$^?!.
Joined
Mar 9, 2004
Messages
6,084
Gender
Female
HSC
2004
Martin Bryant's death option
Linda Smith
June 12, 2007 12:00am

LONG-serving prisoners such as mass murderer Martin Bryant should be legally allowed to die instead of serving their full jail sentences, says euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke.

Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Tasmania, Dr Nitschke said incarcerating prisoners for life was equivalent to "eternal torture" and should not be tolerated by society.

He said prisoners should be given the option of taking a drug to peacefully end their lives, especially Martin Bryant, who has made six suicide attempts in Tasmania's Risdon Prison and has been treated at hospital twice this year after slashing himself with razor blades.

In previous attempts to harm himself Bryant swallowed a toothpaste tube, took an overdose of Rohypnol, and tried to choke on bandages.

"Locking prisoners like Martin Bryant away is all to do with punishment, and if you punish them forever you are effectively torturing them forever," said Dr Nitschke.

"People say you should not let that bastard off the hook so lightly. They want to see revenge forever and they want to see that revenge played out in front of them.

"But let's be honest about the fact that when we put people in prison forever, it's tantamount to torture. What we're doing to people like Martin Bryant is punishing them forever.

"And I don't know if I feel terribly comfortable with the notion of endless revenge."

Dr Nitschke said there was no denying that Bryant -- whose prison papers were marked "never to be released" after he received 35 life sentences for killing 35 people at Port Arthur 11 years ago -- had done terrible things.

But he still deserved the right to end his suffering.

"He's done evil and horrible things and deserves a huge incarceration," Dr Nitschke said. "But either there should be a plan for his rehabilitation and release or infinite incarceration plus or minus the chance to leave with death."

He said there would need to be safeguards, including assessments of a prisoner's physical and mental wellbeing before assisted suicide could occur.

And it was not intended as a quick fix for prisoners who were having adjustment problems in their early days in prison...

Let Bryant take own life: Dr Nitschke


Australia's worst mass murderer should be allowed to die following several attempts to kill himself in his prison cell, euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke says.

...Tasmania's Director of Prisons Graeme Barber earlier this year confirmed that on one occasion Bryant secreted a blade in his body and later recovered it to slash his neck.

...Mr Nitschke has been in Hobart to address a University of Tasmania bio-ethics forum... said today the state had no interest in rehabilitating Bryant.

"The sole goal of his (Bryant's) imprisonment is punishment and punishment without hope of release is tantamount to torture," Dr Nitschke said.

"As a society we should admit we are sanctioning torture here and in those circumstances we should allow him to die or provide him with the means to obtain a peaceful death."

He said that giving Bryant an opportunity to end his life would quickly determine if he wants to kill himself.

"Some people claim his attempts at suicide are merely attention seeking gestures, which is possible, but providing him with the means of reliably ending his life would soon make this clear.

"As a society we go to great lengths to prevent him from being able to harm himself but in my opinion putting him in a safe stainless steel box with no hope of escape is nothing more than torture.

"As a society we should admit this is what we are doing."

Prison Action Reform spokesman Greg Barns agreed with Dr Nitschke.

"If right to die legislation was introduced prisoners like any other citizen ought to be able to utilise such legislation.

"I agree with Dr Nitschke that in the case of Martin Bryant his life behind bars amounts to torture because there is no interest in rehabilitating him."

A controversial how-to manual on killing yourself written by Dr Nitschke was banned in Australia in December 2006 and in New Zealand this week.

The Peaceful Pill Handbook was given an "objectionable" rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

Censor Bill Hastings said the "well-intentioned" book was banned not for instructing people how to kill themselves, which was legal, but because it provide information on how to get away with other crimes.
Issues to consider:

  • Adequete punishment for criminals of horrendous crimes
  • Justice for the victims and their families
  • Idea of "endless revenge" and torture
  • Principles of gaol and rehabilitation
  • Euthanasia

Thoughts?
 

DeathB4Life

Bánned
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
591
Gender
Male
HSC
2006
i believe that they should atleast have to serve a certain amount of time in prison, taking into account the crime and whether or not theyre remorseful, before theyre given the option of suicide.

by allowing one to unconditionally end their lives after commiting a crime, the law is basically giving suicidal people -who are already suffering from mental instability and would probably want nothing more than to inflict pain on others- the right to go on killing sprees for as long as it takes for them to be detained.
 

_dhj_

-_-
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
1,562
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
It's one thing to argue that terminally ill individuals, tragically and involuntarily placed in the predicament that they are in should to allowed, even assisted, to take their own life. But you can't just take the euthanasia concept to its extremes. The difference between terminally ill individuals and criminals is that the former is placed in the situation through no legal fault of their own. Secondly, incarceration is the punishment for their criminal actions, the punishment being not just in the physical conditions of incarceration but the denial of freedoms. This follows on to the third, and perhaps the most significant reason. If the right to take one's life is not given to free, law abiding citizens, why should it be given to criminals whose freedoms are taken away for the purpose punishment? This leads me to believe that the euthanasia advocates have an insidious long term agenda - if euthanasia of criminals are facilitated they will argue that euthanasia should be facilitated for all.
 

circusmind

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
330
Gender
Male
HSC
2006
He already has the "right to die". He's just shown himself to be woefully incompetent at topping himself.
 

KFunk

Psychic refugee
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
3,323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
I am still unsure what my true thoughts on incarceration are. However, I find my self leaning on the side of rehabilitation (versus punishment), on the grounds that free will (and hence ultimate responsibility) is a load of bunk.

I argue against free will on the following grounds: any given action either falls within a deterministic or an indeterministic framework. If an action is determined then I do not believe that the agent who performed the action can be held properly responsible, in the same way a soccer ball cannot be held responsible for its movements once kicked. The action can be bad, not the agent. If an action is indeterminate then the situation reduces to a dice role and, as best as I can judge, randomness does not confer responsibility.

Suppose that our actions are caused by our values, beliefs and sense of reason - we should then ask 'are we responsible for these things?'. My answer is no, we inheret them from our social environment (our parents in particular) and our genetic allotment. If our actions are ultimately free/indeterminate (they may, of course, be restricted without being determined) then we once again have randomness - decisions which bear no true relation to our internal state.

Given the above I think that the concept of responsibility, while socially useful, is an extremely shakey one. To appropriate a nice illustration: a novel called 'Erewhon' by Samuel Butler picks up on the absurdity of punishment by depicting a society in which people are punished for illness (e.g. on the grounds that they chose to eat badly, smoke, approach the infected etc.) and put into a rehabilitation program if they commit a crime.
 
Last edited:

Not-That-Bright

Andrew Quah
Joined
Oct 19, 2003
Messages
12,176
Location
Sydney, Australia.
Gender
Male
HSC
2004
Given the above I think that the concept of responsibility, while socially useful, is an extremely shakey one.
I agree with what you wrote above KFunk and have thought about it before, but what gets me from going too far down that road is that 'usefulness'. While I do believe our lives are fairly much determined by our upbringing/genetics etc I then come to asking myself what's left to call yourself? While we have no real choice over whom we've become, we are nothing more than that which we are (our actions, genetics etc) and therefore can only be judged by that standard.

decisions which bear no true relation to our internal state.
I guess I'm questioning whether such a thing can be said to exist outside of genetics/environment? If not then don't somewhat artificial concepts become necessary or at the very least pragmatically expediant?
 

banco55

Active Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
1,577
Gender
Male
HSC
2006
KFunk said:
I am still unsure what my true thoughts on incarceration are. However, I find my self leaning on the side of rehabilitation (versus punishment), on the grounds that free will (and hence ultimate responsibility) is a load of bunk.

I argue against free will on the following grounds: any given action either falls within a deterministic or an indeterministic framework. If an action is determined then I do not believe that the agent who performed the action can be held properly responsible, in the same way a soccer ball cannot be held responsible for its movements once kicked. The action can be bad, not the agent. If an action is indeterminate then the situation reduces to a dice role and, as best as I can judge, randomness does not confer responsibility.

Suppose that our actions are caused by our values, beliefs and sense of reason - we should then ask 'are we responsible for these things?'. My answer is no, we inheret them from our social environment (our parents in particular) and our genetic allotment. If our actions are ultimately free/indeterminate (they may, of course, be restricted without being determined) then we once again have randomness - decisions which bear no true relation to our internal state.

Given the above I think that the concept of responsibility, while socially useful, is an extremely shakey one. To appropriate a nice illustration: a novel called 'Erewhon' by Samuel Butler picks up on the absurdity of punishment by depicting a society in which people are punished for illness (e.g. on the grounds that they chose to eat badly, smoke, approach the infected etc.) and put into a rehabilitation program if they commit a crime.
Sounds like sophistry more then anything else. If people don't have free will then how can someone make the choice (ie use their free will) to be rehabilitated?
 

KFunk

Psychic refugee
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
3,323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
banco55 said:
Sounds like sophistry more then anything else. If people don't have free will then how can someone make the choice (ie use their free will) to be rehabilitated?
Of course they wouldn't make the choice to do so on such a model. However, that doesn't mean you can't set in action a deterministic process which is likely to rehabilitate them.
 

KFunk

Psychic refugee
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
3,323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Not-That-Bright said:
I guess I'm questioning whether such a thing can be said to exist outside of genetics/environment? If not then don't somewhat artificial concepts become necessary or at the very least pragmatically expediant?
Yeah, they do become necessary to a point. For example, if we reject responsibility then we loose blameworthiness and praiseworthiness. Think of relationships - does it make sense to thank someone (and lable them as praiseworthy) for acting kindly towards you? I think we derive a lot of meaning from the concept of responsibility and so there are good practical arguments for keeping it around as a socially valuable concept (see an interesting essay: meaning in life without free will ). Nonetheless, when we are looking at things like solitary confinement, substandard food and the death penalty then I think we have a moral obligation to analyse concepts like responsibility in order to determine whether we use them to our own moral detriment.
 

_dhj_

-_-
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
1,562
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Not-That-Bright said:
I agree with what you wrote above KFunk and have thought about it before, but what gets me from going too far down that road is that 'usefulness'. While I do believe our lives are fairly much determined by our upbringing/genetics etc I then come to asking myself what's left to call yourself? While we have no real choice over whom we've become, we are nothing more than that which we are (our actions, genetics etc) and therefore can only be judged by that standard.



I guess I'm questioning whether such a thing can be said to exist outside of genetics/environment? If not then don't somewhat artificial concepts become necessary or at the very least pragmatically expediant?
In general though, the scientific truth and 'human nature' don't come in conflict in the technical sense. There is an objective truth - and imo KFunk correctly states part of it. Another part of the objective truth is that most humans by nature, although peripherally attempt to seek the objective truth, are not troubled by the fact that their actions are generally not taken in reference to that objective truth.

In regard to individual responsibility - objectively, there is no such thing, but it is a necessary fiction in human consciousness for society to not collapse on itself. One of the deterministic factors is the incarceration and societal stigmatisation of certain actions that tend to disbenefit our species as a whole (such as murder). How do we justify incarceration and create stigmatisation? We do so by saying that it's wrong.
 

iamsickofyear12

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2004
Messages
3,960
Gender
Male
HSC
2004
If he wants to die that means the punishment is working.

That should be the goal of all criminal punishments.... getting the prisoner to want to die but not be able to kill themselves.
 

Raginsheep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,227
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
What if a terminally ill cancer patient is too sick to carry out suicide themselves?
 

Raginsheep

Active Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,227
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Many cancer patients may live with pain for long periods of time and may linger "close to death". If they all were to die in a short period of time, then there would be no need for any discussion on euthanasia.
 

Serius

Beyond Godlike
Joined
Nov 10, 2004
Messages
3,123
Location
Wollongong
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
oh so the poor didums wants to kill himself. Maybe he should have thought about how bad prison would be before he executed 35 people. You guys do realise this is more than the recent v-tech shootings right? and that had enough public backlash against anything that could have possibly caused it. For one, he singlehandedly got rid of my right to own and maintain a gun and for that he shouldnt just be kept in prison which is "tantamount to torture" but he should be actively tortured every day[ i recomend sleep deprevation and water boarding] then theres also the fact that he killed so many people.
Maybe punishment rather than rehabilitation isnt particularly moral, but iam not a particularly moral person and it makes me feel good inside knowing the life of this killer is so bad that he wants to end it.
 

iamsickofyear12

Active Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2004
Messages
3,960
Gender
Male
HSC
2004
Serius said:
oh so the poor didums wants to kill himself. Maybe he should have thought about how bad prison would be before he executed 35 people. You guys do realise this is more than the recent v-tech shootings right? and that had enough public backlash against anything that could have possibly caused it. For one, he singlehandedly got rid of my right to own and maintain a gun and for that he shouldnt just be kept in prison which is "tantamount to torture" but he should be actively tortured every day[ i recomend sleep deprevation and water boarding] then theres also the fact that he killed so many people.
Maybe punishment rather than rehabilitation isnt particularly moral, but iam not a particularly moral person and it makes me feel good inside knowing the life of this killer is so bad that he wants to end it.
If it was up to me I would do the following (for serial killers, serial rapists, serial child molesters etc):

Halve the size of the cell
No bed, just sleep on the concrete floor
No lights
No tv, books, absolutely nothing to entertain themselves with
The would be given most basic food that they could stay alive with
They would be allowed come out once every couple days to shower (for 20 minutes or less)
They would be regularly tortured (as in physical beatings with weapons)
Constant sleep deprivation, they would basically never know what time it was
Obviously no visitors
Basically anything and everything would be done to make sure that within one week of entering prison they wanted to die and to make sure it stayed that every single second until they did.

How's that for immoral?
 

KFunk

Psychic refugee
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
3,323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Exphate said:
Philip Nitschke is a fool. Euthanasia and suicide are different.

Suicide was eliminated as a crime, from the NSW Crimes Act many years ago. Euthanasia is the assisting of one to take their life from my understanding. In my eyes, this is at the very lease Murder in the Second Degree. If someone is that desperate to kill themselves, then they should do it alone.
Euthanasia is largely about having the means to kill oneself in a peaceful way. This often entails having someone around who understands how to give the person the appropriate drug dose. If it's ok for someone to kill themselves then what is it that changes when they are given assistance?

One thing I would like to ask those who appose euthanasia --> What is the value of life?

Personally I don't see life as being inherently valuable, rather, it is the pleasurable experiences that can be had while alive which are valuable. In other words, life is of instrumental (rather than inherent) value. An analogy would be money, which is valuable because it can buy stuff but may as well be burnt for warmth if it lacks buying power. My argument for euthanasia is that life, like money, can reach a point where its instrumental worth is all but gone. Worse than this, life can facilitate negative experiences (such as pain). Living through weeks of an excrutiatingly painful terminal illness would be akin to carrying cash which leads to repossession of your assets. Does it really make sense to look at life/money as valuable once this point is reached?
 

sam04u

Comrades, Comrades!
Joined
Sep 13, 2003
Messages
2,867
Gender
Male
HSC
2006
iamsickofyear12 said:
If it was up to me I would do the following (for serial killers, serial rapists, serial child molesters etc):

Halve the size of the cell
No bed, just sleep on the concrete floor
No lights
No tv, books, absolutely nothing to entertain themselves with
The would be given most basic food that they could stay alive with
They would be allowed come out once every couple days to shower (for 20 minutes or less)
They would be regularly tortured (as in physical beatings with weapons)
Constant sleep deprivation, they would basically never know what time it was
Obviously no visitors
Basically anything and everything would be done to make sure that within one week of entering prison they wanted to die and to make sure it stayed that every single second until they did.

How's that for immoral?
You obviously haven't seen V for Vendetta.

How about if somebody was wrongfully convicted?
 

KFunk

Psychic refugee
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
3,323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
iamsickofyear12 said:
How's that for immoral?
See my argument against free will and responsibility on the previous page. Without a proper form of responsibility how can you endorse a painful punishment for an action?
 

KFunk

Psychic refugee
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
3,323
Location
Sydney
Gender
Male
HSC
2005
Exphate said:
Previous page? Huh am I missing something!?
Yeah - I meant the previous page of this thread (i.e. page 1 versus page 2).

Exphate said:
Assisting someone to die is against the law. Why? I don't know. When will this change? I don't know. It would seem that this is largely derived from the fact that suicide was - at one point - illegal. In which case you could argue "2nd degree suicide" or something like that. Giving assistance, well I am just morally against it. Is killing someone who wants to die, right or wrong? If you say that it is, murderers will be able3 to argue "he wanted to die", right?
Firstly, I don't think the 'it is illegal, so we should accept it as wrong' argument is a very good one. It seems to assume that a rule is morally sound simply because it is written as law. If the law is always right then why would it make sense to speak of changing, or amending, the law?

As to your point on murderers... yes, those who euthanise can use that argument. However, those who murder people who do not wish to be killed cannot validly use such an argument. If we legalised euthanasia then I expect we would have a very complex system of consent, one which would not be easily abused for the purposes of murder. Also, I think we can safetly eliminate the serial murderer, the slasher rapist, and the store clerk shooters from our list of 'euthanisers' (i.e. would you really give a "they wanted to die" argument much heed in these cases?).


Exphate said:
Life. Well, I'm not sure what the value of life is, but it is the highest of all "values" if you wish to look at it that way.

So, I get to the point I am so low with depression I can't see any future. Do you euthanase me? I have been hit by this "ongoing negative" as a result of life.
That depends on your future prospects and whether you are treatable. Don't get me wrong, I think a prediction of quality of life is an extremely difficult calculation to make. There are many cases (painful terminal illness) where things seem relatively clearcut, but the grey areas are the main sticking point of the pro-euthanasia agenda.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top