How do we respond to situations like Robert Latimer

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Ritafee

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With apologies to @Ritafee (because this is the only way I can figure out how to add a comment at the beginning of a moved thread) I have moved all the posts (I hope) having to do with the Latimer family in the MAID thread to its own thread. I have included the argumentative posts for flow. Please note, discussion is expected to be respectful. Any post that suggests another member cannot comment will be removed. Thread reply bans will be used in the event such comments are made.

Robert Latimer is a convicted murderer because he couldn't handle the fact that his daughter lived with pain (and required 24 hr care).
“Robert Latimer’s story is the ultimate antidote to the tendency to see the law in abstract terms. The supposed virtue of our legal system is its ability to temper law with justice. This book sets out clearly the many barriers to that goal — naïveté of accused, pop-psychology misconceptions, prosecutorial zeal, professional incompetence, uninformed and biased political and media pressure- among many others. Gary Bauslaugh has written a book that should be on every law school curriculum and on every politician’s and justice professional’s reading list. The questions he raises about end-of-life issues deserve wide debate, but at the end of the day, as the Latimer case illustrates, even if we do change our laws, we will always need to find justice for those good people who are on the wrong side of the law for the right reasons.”
—The Honorable Kim Campbell, former Justice Minister and Prime Minister of Canada

 
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“Robert Latimer’s story is the ultimate antidote to the tendency to see the law in abstract terms. The supposed virtue of our legal system is its ability to temper law with justice. This book sets out clearly the many barriers to that goal — naïveté of accused, pop-psychology misconceptions, prosecutorial zeal, professional incompetence, uninformed and biased political and media pressure- among many others. Gary Bauslaugh has written a book that should be on every law school curriculum and on every politician’s and justice professional’s reading list. The questions he raises about end-of-life issues deserve wide debate, but at the end of the day, as the Latimer case illustrates, even if we do change our laws, we will always need to find justice for those good people who are on the wrong side of the law for the right reasons.”
—The Honorable Kim Campbell, former Justice Minister and Prime Minister of Canada

I don't agree that he did the right thing. And...Tracy was a fellow human being not a pet or a farm animal.
 

Northwind

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The Robert Latimer case is an excellent basis for discussion on this issue. It highlights how each side of a black and white argument will have serious flaws. Saying he is a criminal and murderer is wrong for many reasons. Saying he did the right thing is also wrong for many reasons.

I can't imagine what it was like for these parents having to watch their daughter suffer to the degree she did. They had to watch how interventions that were supposed to help only caused more problems. They seemed to have no supports in their caregiving. Were there caregivers who could come and share the load with them? Was there respite available to them? They must have been exhausted. That exhaustion would make them less effective as parents/caregivers. Then there was her birth and the broken heart monitor that lead to the birth injury.

Frankly, I believe they were in an impossible position.
 

Ritafee

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Saying he did the right thing is also wrong for many reasons.
What if he did a wrong thing for the right reasons?

Restorative Justice options?

It’s past time to bring the humanity back to our criminal justice system.

Restorative Justice is the positive path forward.
 

DaisyJane

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I have read Bauslaugh's book. I have written papers on Latimer, and I am quite familiar with what happened.

I don't condone what he did. But as a mother who has had to advocate constantly for adequate pain control for my child, I can understand reaching a place where you just can't watch your child suffer any longer. Research is very clear that people with profound intellectual disabilities who are non-verbal often do not have adequate pain control, and that children with Tracy's combination of issues often live with chronic pain.

Me entire doctoral dissertation can trace its roots back to a situation where I struggled to get adequate pain control for my child. Here are the opening sentences of my PhD proposal.

"Several years ago I brought my son, a non-verbal teenager who lives with profound physical and intellectual disabilities, to his pediatrician to try to diagnose and treat what appeared to be chronic pain. Matthew wasn’t sleeping at night and spent his days crying, sometimes even screaming, for hours. He was clearly miserable, and by extension so was I. Despite numerous medical tests his primary physician was unable to identify the problem and initially refused to treat pain he could not diagnose."
 

Northwind

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Restorative Justice is the positive path forward.

I agree. I liked that there was a desire for him to only serve one year rather than the mandatory ten. After all, was he a risk to society?

Restorative justice would be an excellent option. I imagine he would be a great advocate for changes in how non-verbal people are treated for pain.
 
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Northwind

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Despite numerous medical tests his primary physician was unable to identify the problem and initially refused to treat pain he could not diagnose"
That's appalling.

When I worked in a hospital in Newfoundland, there was a young man who was in hospital after a car crash that left him profoundly disabled because of a brain injury. He was well known in the community and got decent care for the most part. Still, the doctor(s) did not seem to recognize that he needed good pain management. He had boils which they lanced. I can still see his face and the look of terror as they wheeled him to the place where they would treat him. He clearly understood what was going on around him. The fact that his main form of communication was non-verbal was tragic. He communicated clearly through facial expression and breathing. I learned a lot from him.
 

DaisyJane

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I'm not entirely sure that Latimer belongs in a MAID thread, and I'm worried it could confuse the issue. MAID is for people who can consent to doctor assisted suicide and Tracy never could. I wonder if a separate thread would make more sense.

I would also like to make clear that Latimer's decision to end Tracy's life was about suffering and pain, it was not because Tracey was perceived as a burden or because she required 24-7 care. People will throw caregiving into the conversation because it often suits their purpose in making Robert, or his wife Laura, appear that they were motivated for their own gain. Information from the trial make it clear that was not the case.
 

Ritafee

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This thread is about 'legally' sanctioning euthanasia or assisted dying.

The disabilty concerns around the 'slippery slope' are consistent with the Latimer case.

Active non-voluntary euthanasia would allow for a 'legally-sanctioned' way for a desperate person like Robert Latimer to explore the situation he faced with Tracy. This is what @Kimmio Laughterlove is trying to warn us against. I think it belongs in this thread.

It is not hard to imagine that had such a possibility been open to him he might have been able to explore this 'legal route' to providing his daughter with what she needed.

Even if the case failed to meet whatever high standards had been set for such action, and euthanasia was disallowed for Tracy, at least Latimer would have been able to feel he had 'legally' tried.

If unsuccessful with his application, he might have been helped to find other options for Tracy.
 
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The Robert Latimer case is an excellent basis for discussion on this issue. It highlights how each side of a black and white argument will have serious flaws. Saying he is a criminal and murderer is wrong for many reasons. Saying he did the right thing is also wrong for many reasons.

I can't imagine what it was like for these parents having to watch their daughter suffer to the degree she did. They had to watch how interventions that were supposed to help only caused more problems. They seemed to have no supports in their caregiving. Were there caregivers who could come and share the load with them? Was there respite available to them? They must have been exhausted. That exhaustion would make them less effective as parents/caregivers. Then there was her birth and the broken heart monitor that lead to the birth injury.

Frankly, I believe they were in an impossible position.
Saying he's a (former) criminal and a murderer is a fact. Even when it was reviewed many years later it's still held by the court to be a fact. He served his time - but his criminal record for murder stands.

They were not in an impossible position. They were in an ignorant position. Tracey was in an impossible position.

I can't discuss this. I took a nap and had nightmares that I was being chased by violent zombie murderers who blended in with the mainstream, and held information sessions with free lunch to lure the public to hear their propaganda about joining their cause. Nobody believed me that they were breaking the law even when they were doing in plain sight. My only allies were those few who'd been attacked and made it out alive without being zombified.
 
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Ritafee

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Saying he's a (former) criminal and a murderer is a fact.
And ... another fact is hardly anyone in Canada lives or dies naturally these days.

Tracy Latimer would have died at birth were it not for “unnatural” hospital interventions.
 
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I agree. I liked that there was a desire for him to only serve one year rather than the mandatory ten. After all, was he a risk to society?

Restorative justice would be an excellent option. I imagine he would be a great advocate for changes in how non-verbal people are treated for pain.
But he's not. He still believes he's innocent.
 
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And ... another fact is hardly anyone in Canada lives or dies naturally these days.

Tracy Latimer would have died at birth were it not for “unnatural” hospital interventions.
So would I.

And most people in the world would've died as children if not for discovered (including natural discoveries) and invented interventions. If no one had learned how to splint a broken bone or rinse a wound with clean water to treat infection at the most basic level we'd still be apes.
 
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Others' belief in his innocence.
He believes he's innocent and has become somewhat of a hero figure in several people's minds - as though he's a poor martyr. When in fact, if anyone was, it was Tracey. So he is currently going around acting as better advocate for "mercy killing" than for advocating for ways to help the non-verbal. I don't think he's doing that at all, is he?
 
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