By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC
I have embedded the trailer for the upcoming puff HBO bio of the murderer Jack Kevorkian, entitled, You Don’t Know Jack, at the bottom of this post. Before viewing it, take a look at a few of the key aspects of Kevorkian’s “career” that I have listed below. Anyone want to bet whether the movie will bring these facts up?
1. Before assisting the suicides of disabled, terminally ill, and the non sick despairing, Kevorkian went to most prisons where executions are conducted asking to experiment on condemned prisoners.
2. He never limited his killing practice to people with terminal illnesses. About 70% were disabled. Five of Kevorkian’s patients were not sick upon autopsy.
3. Kevorkian took the kidneys from one assisted suicide victim–a man with quadriplegia–and held a press conference offering them “first come, first served.”
4. Janet Good (played by Susan Sarandon), conspired with Kevorkian in his reign of lawlessness, even planning to help kill a patient and then, with Kevorkian, rush the cadaver into a hospital, so organs could be procured. (They never carried out the plan). She committed assisted suicide and her autopsy showed that her pancreatic cancer was not near the terminal stage.
5. Kevorkian did not care much about alleviating the suffering of patients, (he once said he couldn’t remember their names) but rather called it “a first step, an early distasteful professional obligation” toward obtaining a license to engage in human experimentation, writing further:
What I find most satisfying is the prospect of making possible the performance of invaluable experiments or other beneficial acts under conditions that this first unpleasant step can help establish–in a word, obitiatry–as defined earlier.” [Kevorkian liked to coin terms. Obitiatry is the word he invented to describe experimenting on people as part of the practice of human euthanasia.)
6. Kevorkian wanted to experiment on the brains and nervous systems of people he was euthanizing, writing in his 1991 book Prescription Medicide:
If we are ever to penetrate the mystery of death–even superficially–it will have to be through obitiatry…But knowledge about the essence of human death will of necessity require insight into the nature of the unique awareness of consciousness that characterizes cognitive human life. That is possible only through obitiatric research on living human bodies, and most likely by concentrating on the central nervous system
Jack Kevorkian is a dangerous nut who should be shunned, not celebrated. But you won’t see any of this in the movie, because HBO, the producers, and Pacino don’t know Jack. And the worst part is that they–and the popular media generally–don’t want to know Jack. They have a story they want to tell and facts would just get in the way.
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