Tag Archives: death

The Unfortunate Case of Charlie Gard

This is an unfortunate story to be sure, but in England, young Charlie Gard was born with a very rare genetic disorder.  He was born seemingly normal, but quickly started to deteriorate.  He now has severe, irreversible brain damage, cannot move on his own, and has to be on a ventilator to breathe and IV fluids to survive.  His parents initially wanted to take him to America for an experimental treatment, but the British medical establishment stopped them over fears that it would be “cruel” to Charlie to allow him to be experimented on.

I guess dying isn’t cruel, especially when it’s unclear whether or not he’s feeling pain.

But this isn’t about governmental stupidity, it’s not even about experimental medical therapies, it’s about the cry to keep people alive who simply have no hope.  Charlie, at least at this point, is doomed to death. An American doctor, Michio Hirano, went to London to check on Charlie’s status and stated that while he might have been a candidate for the treatment at one time, he’s now beyond hope.  His parents have given up the legal fight to keep Charlie alive, which is probably the best thing that could happen to him at this point.

My question is, why do we keep seeing these cases, where a government or a society, desperately tries to keep these hopeless cases alive at all costs?  In fact, in every high profile case where someone is absolutely going to die, we get people demanding that they be kept on every machine in the hospital so their living nightmare can continue unabated.  It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Brittany Maynard, who was going to die of brain cancer no matter what anyone did and just wanted to die on her own terms, or Terri Schiavo, who was forcibly kept alive for a decade against the wishes of her husband and legal representative, these cases are utterly disgusting.

It is none of society’s business what people do with their own bodies, or through their legal representatives.  It just isn’t.  The abject fear of death causes not only physical and mental torture to those afflicted, but it imposes absurd costs on society in a ridiculous pursuit of healing where no healing is possible. After all, it isn’t the parents or the individuals who are paying for these absurd life-saving measures, it’s the taxpayer.  Sorry, I don’t want my tax money going to pay for pointless and irrational moral crusades.  I just don’t.

I hate to say it, but the best thing that can happen to Charlie Gard now is that he dies.  Quickly and as painlessly as possible.  He couldn’t be saved.  In fact, British society actively killed him by keeping him from the only hope he had.  I hope they’re happy with themselves, but I suspect they don’t care. There will be another crusade to go on soon and they’ll cause more pain and suffering when it does.  People suck.

Dealing With Death: The Pet Edition

The absurd fear of death is everywhere, I just managed to piss off a bunch of people after someone posted that John Hurt had died and I said “people tend to do that”.  I also wondered when they were going to start with the incessant whine that “2017 is the worst year ever”, like they seem to do every single year.  These are people who just can’t live with the reality that things die.

Well I can.  In fact, I’m probably going to be dealing with it very soon, at least with my cats.  I have three elderly cats, one is almost 19 and the other two are 15.  They’ve all had very long, happy lives, but they’re starting to get thin and my 18 year old has largely stopped eating well.  By the time this posts, I’m sure he’ll be gone.  And I’m okay with that.

Sure, I’m going to miss him, he’s been a good cat for a long time, but things die.  That’s just the reality. Unlike so many hyper-emotional people I see online that are crying and begging imaginary friends to save their pets and writing odes to some farcical rainbow bridge, I simply accept reality as it is.

And when he’s gone, we’re not replacing him.  We decided a long time ago that having 6 cats was just too many.  They tend to come in waves, right now we have an elderly wave and a relatively young wave, just a couple of years old.  We don’t need that, so we’ll cut down to 3 cats through attrition.  I’m fine with that too.

I honestly don’t get people who are terrified of anything dying, be it pets or celebrities or anything else.  How is it that these people are completely incapable of coming to grips with reality?  What is wrong with them?

I really wish I knew.

Addition:  Yes, as expected, he died in his sleep on August 4, just before this article posts.  He was just about 2 months short of turning 19.  He’ll be missed.

People Die, Get Over It!

I write this just as I heard that Carrie Fisher has died and frankly, I don’t particularly care.  But to hear the collective whinging of the fanboys, you’d think the planet was ending.  And of course, this has been a year of people bitching and moaning that famous people have dropped dead so it’s nothing new.

But guess what?  People do that.  Stop being an idiot.

Honestly, people need to get a grip on reality.  Death is a natural part of the life cycle.  Everyone does it.  Everyone you know, yourself included, is going to die and it isn’t a tragedy, it’s reality.

At least this year is almost over so I don’t have to hear that “2016 took someone else from us!”  Now it will be “Oh no, 2017 is horrible!”  Let me let you in on a little secret.  2016 can’t do anything.  Reality did it.  There’s a reason that lots of famous people you grew up with died in 2016, because they are old and people do that.  I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone did a study, back in 2014 or 2015 I think, where they compared the ages at death of celebrities during the year and found that they averaged out to near the average life expectancy of humans.  In other words, people died about when we would expect them to die.  And this is somehow a revelation?  A lot of the people you grew up watching on TV or in the movies are reaching that age, so yes, they are dying.  Why are you surprised?  Why is this a shock to you?  Why all the crying and gnashing of teeth?  It isn’t like you didn’t know it was coming one of these days.  These people aren’t going to live forever.  Why are you pretending that they should?

It isn’t a tragedy, it’s part of being alive.  Grow up and deal with reality.  You didn’t even know these people, why are you acting like your dog got run over by a car?  I mean, I even met Carrie Fisher many years ago, talked to her for a while, and I don’t feel particularly bad that she had a heart attack and dropped dead.  Why should I?  I have no personal stake in her survival.  It doesn’t matter that she was in some of my favorite movies of all time, it doesn’t hurt the movies any that she’s gone, any more than it hurts them that Sir Alec Guinness is dead.  He doesn’t suddenly fade away from the work he’s done.

Isn’t it a better idea to celebrate what she did in her life than to whine about her death?  That seems pretty anti-climactic to me.  Besides, exactly where do you get off being sad about the death of Carrie Fisher or anyone else?  You didn’t know her.  Certainly it is a sad time for her friends and family, the people who actually shared her life, but you aren’t those people.  Your sadness is self-centered.  You’re only sad because she won’t be in any more Star Wars movies.  You’re a dick.  Get over yourself.

And that goes for everyone out there.  Stop whining that people die.  Grow up.  Deal with reality. Accept the inevitable.  Mourn people that you actually knew, but more than that, celebrate their lives. Laud their accomplishments.  Don’t cry over their deaths.  Everyone  dies.  Even you.  Get a grip.

News Flash: Actions have Consequences

Had an interesting experience today, I was on the way back to the office after having taken an employee out to lunch.  We were late getting back and were driving down a busy street with a lot of traffic with a speed limit of 50.

There was this guy who was clearly drunk or on drugs or insane, who was just running out in traffic.  I trust you can see where this is going.  He ended up getting plastered by a truck right ahead of us, and let me tell you, ragdoll physics in video games  gets it exactly right.  This guy went flying and got folded in ways that nobody ought to ever get folded.  He was dead on impact and probably better that way.

My employee was a bit traumatized, I guess he’s never seen a dead body before, but I’ve seen more than my fair share.  I’ve dragged bleeding people out of burning cars, I had someone try to kill themselves on my property last December and she crawled up to my door for help.  I saw someone in a sports car ram into a brick wall at full speed while not wearing a seat belt and became a bloody smear on the wall.  If you live long enough, you see your fair share of death.  Most of it is due to human stupidity.

But this isn’t about people dying, it’s about people realizing that actions have consequences.  Now I have no idea what was wrong with that guy, but if you go running around in busy traffic erratically, something bad very well may happen to you.  You need to consider the potential consequences of your actions and decide if those consequences are acceptable before you act.  Keep in mind, this isn’t some guy just jaywalking across what is essentially a 6 lane freeway, which is idiotic in and of itself, this is someone who was playing chicken with cars, running back and forth.

So when we got back to work and were relaying the tale, people were asking if I felt sorry for the dead guy.  Nope, not a bit.  He got what he had coming to him.  The one I do feel sorry for was the guy who hit him, who was totally blameless in this situation.  Now he’s been traumatized and probably has extensive damage to his vehicle caused by some imbecile who did something utterly stupid.  He’s the one who deserves sympathy, not the moron who went for a ride 20 feet straight up.  People die every day.  Some people deserve it.  This was one of them.

I get why people get upset seeing this kind of stuff, what I don’t get is why people get overly emotional. You didn’t know said person, the person really had it coming and this walking advertisement for the Darwin awards has no one to blame but himself, if he could blame anyone, which he no longer can.  It’s time to move on and worry about the people who don’t deserve to be victimized rather than cry for the ones that did it to themselves.  I’m sure I’ll get called all kinds of names for saying so, but that’s an emotional reaction to what is really a wholly rational decision.  Hold people accountable for their actions.  They have consequences after all and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that playing in traffic is a really bad, and potentially deadly, possibility.

Crazy Celebrity Death Cults

Hey, guess what, Harper Lee died.  So what?  Yeah, that’s what I said, but apparently there are a lot of people who are just totally broken up about it because someone who once did something might have finally died of old age.  Unfortunately, these people act like it’s a national tragedy.

Why?  I will never understand why people get so broken up about people they never met, who never had the slightest impact on their lives, but whose name they’ve heard so all of a sudden, we have to dress in sack cloth and ashes and cry about it.  I mean, in the discussion I was watching, half the people literally didn’t know that Harper Lee was a woman.  Seriously.  They had no real clue who she was, but it’s a horrible catastrophe that “he’s” dead.

Honestly, more than 56 million people drop dead on this planet every single year.  Nobody laments the overwhelming majority of them.  It isn’t like people are watching the obituaries and crying because Fred Johnson of Tallahassee dropped dead at age 96.  Nobody, outside of Fred’s friends and family, give a crap, nor should they.  People die.  It’s a natural part of the life cycle.  People are born, people live and people die.  The whole crying and gnashing of teeth thing gets old really, really quick.

Besides, as I said, most of these people really had no clue who Harper Lee was.  She wrote a book called “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960.  She didn’t publish another book until 2015 and it wasn’t particularly well received.  It isn’t like she was a literary legend.  She didn’t change the face of literature through her lifelong contributions.  Most people have probably never even read her book, or if they did, they were probably required to do so in high school and forgot about it immediately thereafter.  She was no J.R.R. Tolkien and even if she was, I wouldn’t be crying about it.  People die.  Get over it.

I always find this phenomenon bizarre.  Whenever someone who ever did anything remotely noteworthy kicks the bucket, they come out in droves, whining that the world is a worse place without them.  It’s usually someone who drops dead of old age or after fighting some disease.  I might be able to see it if they met a violent end, but for natural causes?  Why?  And it’s usually someone who did something once upon a time but has not done anything worthwhile since.  Oh no, they were in a band 50 years ago but haven’t played a note in decades!  Horrors, someone who was in a movie I once saw, but who hasn’t acted for years is gone!  Seriously, I think that when Tommy Wiseau, who did the execrable The Room or James Nyugen, who created the craptastic Birdemic, die, we’re going to get calls for a national day of mourning.  It really is that ridiculous.

Here’s a news flash for you.  People die.  Every day.  It happens.  It isn’t a big deal.  Oh sure, if you are a close personal friend, it’s probably meaningful, if it’s a family member, you ought to mourn, but otherwise, shut the hell up and get on with your life. Grow the hell up and deal with reality.  Here’s a way to know if you ought to care if someone dies.  Ask yourself if you’ve even thought about that person in the past 10 years.  If not, knock off the crocodile tears.  They don’t impress anyone.

The Irrational Fear of Death

grave stoneI was in a discussion recently where someone suggested that we, as a species, might want to rethink the practice of burying our dead because it wastes valuable space that could be used for something better.  It’s not a bad question to be sure, although I don’t think we’re out of usable land quite yet so this might be a premature consideration, but one of the people in the discussion completely freaked out and said that we should never, ever do that, that anyone who doesn’t want to be buried and have their body preserved has something wrong with them and that everyone ought to go spend tons of time hanging around with their dead relatives and friends so they can remember them.  Nobody can be cremated, nobody can donate their body to science and nobody can possibly disagree because this woman is absolutely right in her assertions.

Yeah, not so much.  I had to point out that the only reason humans do this is because they tend to have this really irrational, bizarre fear of death so they want to keep their deceased loved ones close so they don’t have to feel they’re truly gone forever.  That’s why we, at least in the United States, tend to put dead people in a box, pumped full of chemicals to retard the natural decomposition process, with stone markers so you don’t forget where they’re buried.  People go out and put flowers on graves for years or decades after their death, just to let the dead know we’re still thinking about them.

But why?  It makes no sense.  Personally, ever since my father was buried over a decade ago, I have never once gone to his graveside, not since the funeral.  Why would I?  He’s dead.  I don’t need to stand in the vicinity of his remains to remember him.  And when my mother dies and gets put into the same hole, she’s got some over/under shared grave thing set up, I’m not going to go see her either.  So far as I know, she’s never gone to the graveside either.  What’s the point?  It doesn’t really matter what your perspective is on the whole thing, if you’re religious, then the soul has left the body and it doesn’t matter.  If you’re not, whatever brain activity that made that person who they were, that stopped at death, the piece of meat in the hole really doesn’t mean anything.

Let’s be honest, it’s all about fear.  You can claim that it’s about respecting the dead and all that but that’s bullshit.  If we’re going to be rational, there’s no point in respecting a hunk of dead meat, any more than we respect a hamburger.  Personally, I couldn’t care less what happens to my body after I’m dead because I’m dead and won’t be aware of it.  Therefore, what difference does it make what’s done with the dead bodies of others?  They’re gone!  What made them who they were isn’t there anymore.  It’s just a shell.  Use it for something worthwhile.

So let’s get back to fear.  I suppose I can understand that fear, although I don’t share it at all.  That doesn’t mean I want to die right this second but when that time comes, I’m not afraid of it, any more than I was afraid of not existing before I was born.  Death is a natural part of life.  Everything that is alive will die.  Everyone you know will die.  In 1000 years, it’s likely that nobody will know you were ever alive or care.  Learning to deal with the reality that actually is, rather than the reality they wish were true, is part of the maturation process.  People who have these strange beliefs and strange fears that make no sense whatsoever really haven’t grown up and become adults.

People really need to knock this stuff off and grow up.  Death isn’t scary.  Non-existence isn’t a big deal.  As Samuel Clemens said, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”  Neither will you.

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #76

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It’s another all news show!  This week, a Tampa church cancels a gay man’s funeral at the last second.  Ken Ham hates Atheist TV.  An Oklahoma church allows a known registered sex offender to play with their children.  A Texas court rules against homeschoolers who stopped teaching their kids because Jesus is coming back.  Archie Andrews is corrupting our children!  And Pat Robertson is the master of the crazy conspiracy theory.  Don’t miss it, this is a good one.

Make sure you direct comments to the website, linked above!

What’s Wrong With Medicine?

homeopathyI originally thought this was yet another one for the Religious Horror Show, but it turns out that there is no demonstrable link to religion.  There is, however, a very strong link to homeopathy and that’s yet another irrational belief that no intelligent human being ought to hold because, as we’re about to find out, it can and does lead to death.

A 44-year old mother, Tamara Lovett, from Calgary, British Columbia, is facing, and has probably already been convicted of, charges of negligence and failure to provide the necessities of life in connection with the death of her seven-year-old son, Ryan Alexander Lovett, who died of a treatable bacterial infection in March.  Lovett failed to take her sick 7-year old son to the hospital, instead choosing to treat him with homeopathic drugs, which are essentially water.  The boy, who had been sick for at least 10 days before his death, looked very ill and several of the mother’s friends had seriously advised her to seek immediate medical treatment.  On the boy’s final day, she called 911 and when paramedics arrived, he was pronounced dead on the scene.

Lovett“It should absolutely serve as a warning to other parents,” said Calgary Police Service Staff Sergeant Michael Cavilla. “The message is quite simple: If your child is sick, take them to see a doctor.”  According to officials, Ryan Lovett had absolutely no medical records, he has almost certainly never been to a doctor in his entire life. The autopsy revealed that Ryan died of a Group A Streptococcus infection which was easily treatable, had he been taken to a credible doctor.

I’m sorry, but why is that a message we have to give to parents?  Why are there still people in the world who can’t figure out that medical quackery and religion don’t actually solve any problems?  This shouldn’t be an issue in the modern world.  At least in Canada, it is illegal to deny children food, shelter, care and medical attention necessary to sustain life and protection from harm, regardless of one’s beliefs.  That’s something we really need to have in the United States and I’m not sure why we don’t.

“If you do not provide medical attention for your sick child, you will be held accountable,” said Cavilla. “The legal requirement is that she get medical attention through traditional western medicine to deal with the illness. And in this case it was a bacterial infection that could have been easily treated with antibiotics such as penicillin.”

So here’s another dead kid, killed by the woo-beliefs of his parent and while she’s likely going away for a long, long time, that doesn’t bring him back to life.  It really doesn’t matter if it’s religion or not, it’s all asinine, absurd and utterly indefensible.

Why won’t these people just recognize reality?

 

Death is the End, Deal With It!

dead-end-sign1On a recent Atheist Experience, an atheist called in and said that she was twisting quantum mechanics around as a way of coming to grips with the death with her mother.  Now I understand that some people have a really hard time letting go of deceased loved ones, but let’s be honest here.  From every shred of evidence we have, we understand that when your brain dies, everything that could be considered “you” is now gone.  “You” cease to exist.  “You” do not go to heaven, “you” do not go to the great beyond, “you” stop being anything meaningful, except in the memories of those who knew you.

From what I recall, this atheist started out as a theist and rejected Christianity because she was having trouble coping with the loss of her mother.  Then she became an atheist and was trying to argue quantum mechanics as some sort of apparatus which would allow her to believe that her mother’s “spirit”, for lack of a better word, was still floating around out there somewhere.

Somehow, I don’t think this individual has really gained anything by getting rid of religion, they’re seeking the same kind of irrational belief using a different system and that, as far as I’m concerned, is problematic.  I’m certainly sympathetic toward someone who has suffered a tragic loss and misses their relative but what I’m not sympathetic toward are people who just can’t make it through the day without some sort of absurd woo.  Dressing up quantum mechanics in supernatural clothes is woo, like it or not.

Unfortunately, there are doctors like Robert Lanza who put forward this quantum mechanics “life doesn’t really end” nonsense but it just isn’t justifiable.  You are a complex organism, your mind is a convoluted mix of electrochemical and biological parts, the specific arrangement of chemicals and neurons make up this thing called “you”.  If something dramatic changes, if the brain gets damaged, then “you” are no longer “you”, you are someone else.  We’ve known this for a long time, we’ve seen case studies where people’s entire pasts have been erased and they’ve developed as an entirely different person.  We know that there are split-brain patients who develop two completely different personalities, including people who have one side theist and the other side atheist.  The idea that disparate atoms that may or may not have some kind of “paired memory” actually represent some part of “you” is really absurd.  In the end, they’re just clutching at straws, trying to weave a web of ideas that might make the gullible happy, but doesn’t really solve anything.

Red_pill___Blue_pillPeople really need to get a grasp on reality.  Sure, it might not always be happy, sure you might not like what happens.  People die.  All people die.  Eventually, you will die.  So will your pets, your kids, everyone you ever know and love.  They’re all doomed.  Welcome to the real world.  Wishing you could take the blue pill instead of the red one doesn’t change anything.  But you know something?  Nobody ever promised the planet was going to be puppy dogs and unicorns.  We’re animals, just like every other species on the planet.  Every other species goes through the same general things we do.  They all get hungry, they all get sick, they all drop dead and so do we.  Of course, there’s plenty of good along the way too, we have good experiences, we form close relationships, we have children, we grow old together, those are the good parts of being alive.  That doesn’t change the bad things and the bad things don’t change the good things, we need to be intellectual, rational beings and be able to deal with both of them equally.  Pointing out this reality doesn’t change the reality any, nor does it make me a mean, awful person, it makes me a person with realistic expectations.

So please, if you’re an atheist, just deal with the world as it actually is instead of how you wish it was?  People die. You can, and should, miss them.  You can, and should, remember them.  What you ought not do is to pretend they’re not really gone, to think that they await you in some quantum mechanical wonderland somewhere or to pretend that a particle here or a particle there actually represents the sum total of your lost loved one.  That makes you no better than the theists who are convinced that the dead are either singing God’s praises in heaven or screaming in pain in hell.  It’s all bunk.  Let’s be realists.

Death is a Part of Life

We lost a cat today.  He was old and it was natural causes, but we’ve seen it coming for months.  He slowly started to lose weight, even though he was still eating, but his energy levels went down to the point that he could hardly move on his own.  My youngest daughter took on the job of feeding him three times a day and giving him his medicine and that alone probably extended his life for a couple weeks, but this afternoon, he finally succumbed to mortality and died.

Smokey was a cool cat, the only polydactyl we ever had, but he was never as social as all the other cats in the house.  For years, he wouldn’t come near anyone but my daughters, then he realized one day that affection was actually a pretty cool thing and he became a much more loving cat, seeking some loving at random, but never wanting to sit in your lap or sleep at your feet.  Still, he was a great cat, I’ll miss him.

Over on Atheist Camel, he had a post a couple of days ago about how atheists deal with death.  My answer then is the same as it is now.  It’s accepting reality as it is.  Death, whether you like it or not, is a natural and normal part of reality.  It’s coming no matter what you do.  Whining and crying and bitching and moaning about it won’t change a thing, so what’s the point of it?

Let’s be pragmatic about the whole thing, shall we?  Life is what life is.  Reality couldn’t care less what you think about it, it happens as it happens and there’s no point whatsoever about complaining about it.  Fearing death doesn’t stop death.  It just ruins your life and waste your time while you’re shivering in a corner.  Why not just accept that death is coming and enjoy the life you have to the best of your ability.  Death comes when it comes.  Life ends when death comes.  If you wait until death looms to enjoy life, you’ve wasted the majority of that precious resource.

So while I am absolutely going to miss my cat and he’s going to leave a hole in my heart for a while, he was fantastic while he was here and now, effective this Saturday, we can go to the shelter and adopt a new little ball of fluff and love it and care for it for another 14 years.

And the circle of life continues.

Fear of Reality

In a recent debate, someone asked what we all thought happened after death.  Most, thankfully, said we simply stopped existing.  Then she asked if that bothered us.

My response was “who cares?”

What difference does it make whether or not reality bothers us.  It’s reality!  Reality is not up for a vote, it doesn’t matter if it makes you happy or sad, it is what is.  It doesn’t matter if you scream or whine about it or embrace it as inevitable, reality changes for no man. Continue reading Fear of Reality