Friday, January 27, 2012

Yesterday morning at 5.20 Chris and Douglas were both woken by an earthquake, 5.2 on the Richter scale. (There’s a coincidence.) For the second time since coming to Crete I slept soundly through an earthquake. I remember the first time I knew nothing about it until I came across all our neighbours standing at the bottom of the lane in a state of great excitement and they immediately asked the question , ‘Did you hear the earthquake?’ to which the answer was ‘What earthquake?’ Strange way of putting it, did you hear rather than did you feel. Anyway this one was evidently half way between Crete and Santorini and not very far down so Heraklion and the eastern end of the island would have felt it more than us. As far as we can ascertain there has been no damage. Phew! If we were badly damaged by a quake we would be in deep shit and no mistake. Earthquake insurance is very expensive and we’ve never had it.

A further mention on the euthanasia debate: Seven years ago, former rugby player, Tony Nicklinson was the victim of a stroke and suffers from locked-in syndrome, a paralysed body able to move only his head and an active mind; he communicates by using a computer that detects his blinking. In a statement, he described his life as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable." and he wants to die. He cannot speak and obviously needs constant care. He recently asked Britain's High Court to declare that any doctor who gives him a lethal injection with his consent won't be charged with murder. Under U.K. law, anyone who helps Nicklinson die could be charged even if they are carrying out his wishes. A murder charge has a mandatory life sentence, regardless of motive or circumstance. Nicklinson’s argument is that British law hinders his right to a "private and family life" — guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights — on the grounds that being able to choose how to die is a matter of personal autonomy. Since my previous Blog I have discovered that apart from Holland and Switzerland, euthanasia is also legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the state of Oregon in the United States. So what is the position in the UK at the moment? Evidently there have been forty cases of assisted suicide in the not too distant past but no one has been prosecuted so isn’t it really time the law was changed? Unfortunately for Mister Nicklinson even if it is changed the way the reformers want, suffering as he does from locked-in syndrome, sadly he would still be denied his wish.

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