Thursday, May 12, 2011

Minnesota Assisted Suicide Verdict Makes Assisting Killing Palatable

I've long been on the case of the deranged male nurse from Minnesota William Melchert-Dinkel who encouraged at lest two people to commit suicide over the internet. Minnesota law says that aiding in a suicide is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. What did Melchert-Dinkel get? A year in jail. I wish I was making this up. Now, the Time story looks more at the legal intricacies of this case, but let's just say it like it is: There's something seriously wrong with a society that slaps a man on the wrist for egging people on to kill themselves. It's verdicts like this that will have more people thinking it's OK to help others kill themselves, unfortunately.
Assisted Suicide Goes Digital: When Is a Chat-Room Post a Crime?
On Nov. 27, 2005, a man in Faribault, Minn., received an e-mail with a subject line that read, "Melissa goodbye to Li Dao." It was a suicide note, scribbled digitally, sent by a woman to her online pen pal who had actively encouraged her to embrace death. The only catch: Li Dao was not a real person, and, according to authorities, the virtual advice was not an act of empathy but an attempt to manipulate Melissa into taking her own life — all for what the man told the police was the "the thrill of the chase." more

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