Readers write: Sickness and Death with Dignity, the Kyle Rittenhouse Case, Teachers, Tolerance
I applaud the Nov. 14 Variety article (“Choosing to Die with Dignity”) on VSED – the process of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking – for people with terminal Alzheimer’s disease. Our society has a long way to go in accepting individual decisions about death and death. Having had two parents with Alzheimer’s disease, I can attest to the challenges and difficulties families face in making decisions about how their loved ones wish to die. I firmly believe in the choice of the patient and his family. Healthcare guidelines are an essential part of the process. Yet we also need health and long-term care professionals to understand, encourage and support non-judgmental patient and family-centered choices. Thanks to the Hauser family for sharing their personal story.
Andrea Kaufman, Minneapolis
As a terminally ill patient with ALS in 2000, my dear mother, who wanted to die on her terms, unfortunately did not have the option of VSED. She was forced into hiding, using the Kevorkian network of compassionate souls who were willing to risk prosecution in order to help her. The procedure was performed according to strict protocols that had to be followed up to a “T”. We couldn’t be with her or that would put us in danger of prosecution as well.
Terminally ill patients should have the right and the choice to die with dignity and on their own terms. I wish Cheryl Harms Hauser a painless and peaceful transition. God protects you.
Mary Kelly Jaeger, Aitkin, Minn.
Kevyn Burger wrote a nice article on Hauser and his intention to avoid food and water to escape the long ravages of Alzheimer’s disease faster. Oh, that takes courage. My grandmother decided on this and succeeded at age 90 in 1980 under the care of a doctor. With her family’s steadfastness and daring determination, death came after 20 years of cardiovascular heart disease, but it’s not an easy choice. There is suffering. It is painful to starve and go without water.
My mother, who was languishing at 97 with congestive heart failure, wanted and was ready to die. She tried to stop eating but couldn’t. She had long chatted with her family and written in her health care guidelines to allow no extraordinary measures to be taken to keep her alive. We told the doctor to stop all the drugs and turn off the machines. He accepted. She died a natural death, and with what I believe to be a joyful release, went to her God in 2012.
EugÃ©nie de Rosier, Saint-Paul
We control all aspects of our adult life – who we marry, have children, our careers, our friends, etc. Why shouldn’t we have the same control over our inevitable dying process? Hauser has chosen a different path, but it is accessible to everyone at the time of their choosing. The important point is that it is her decision. There is no one size fits all to die, but some would have you believe that there is – the so-called “natural death” where one can linger, suffer for months, resulting in a quasi-torture for oneself and those close to them. . I fully support Cheryl’s decision and will likely follow in her footsteps if I reach the stage where she is.
Another end-of-life option legal in 10 states (not Minnesota) for a terminally competent adult is physician-assisted dying. In these conditions, a person judged to be terminally ill by two doctors (six months or less to live) who is sane can obtain medication to end their life if the suffering becomes unbearable. It would not apply to a person with dementia. A person should be able to self-administer the end-of-life medication, but this provides great comfort at the end of life knowing that this is an option. VSED is an option available to anyone wishing to die with dignity. Medical assistance in dying is not yet an option in Minnesota, but it absolutely should be.
Dave Sturgeon, Tonka Bay
KYLE RITTENHOUSE CASE
If anyone is surprised by the not guilty verdicts in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, they have likely been fooled by the coverage in this document from news services such as the AP and The New York Times, which used the short cut of Jacob Blake being a black man shot by a white cop. Or that the riots were about âracial justiceâ. The truth is, Jacob Blake was wanted for sexually assaulting his girlfriend. There was an arrest warrant against him. He refused to cooperate with verbal instructions from the police. He fought physically with three officers. He was tased and shook the teeth of the Taser. He then attempted to enter an environment – a car – not checked by police, where a knife was located, with three young children in the car. It was only then that he was shot. The protests started when people saw, again, partial video and racializing criminal behavior. Kenosha burned down.
The incompetence of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was just behind that of Gov. Tim Walz during the Minnesota riots, but remains stark. Evers sat down as Kenosha burned after his inflammatory claim that the shooting was racial.
The lawsuits against Rittenhouse were devious, if not deceptive, unethical and ultimately bizarre: Prosecutor Thomas Binger downplayed the damage caused by the riots in Kenosha to an Kenosha jury. Prosecutor James Kraus argued: “Everyone takes a beating.” It is a closing argument that is too stupid to live. If “everyone takes a beating,” I’m glad that’s the accusation. Readers of the Star Tribune should branch out and seek out non-traditional sources of information.
Alex Andrea, Woodbury
Whatever else could be discussed about the trial, a black man killing two white men would have been found guilty on all or most of the charges. It would have been within four hours, not four days.
Larry Johnson, Golden Valley
The November 14 front page article titled “The Hardest Year for Teachers” was very informative. The teachers are really exhausted, as the article points out. Often they have to take on a heavier teaching load when replacements cannot be found. Hopefully all teachers in Minnesota will get more than the 5.9% cost of living salary increase (which we Social Security recipients will receive in 2022) when salary negotiations take place. They deserve it.
Ruth Thorstad, dresser, Wisconsin.
A letter from November 18 that spoke in favor of a sense of collective responsibility for our human community in the face of inconvenience (“We could all show a little patience”) reminded me of an incident years ago. . Starhawk, a national leader in women’s spirituality, was speaking at Plymouth Church in Minneapolis. The audience was predominantly female. A baby started to fuss. Starhawk stopped speaking, asking us to just listen to the baby. Everything was silent except the crying baby. Then, from the audience, a woman began to gently sing a lullaby. Others joined us, and soon the whole room was singing for this baby. The baby has stopped crying. Starhawk resumed his presentation.
This event, which still brings tears to my eyes in the reminder, speaks of being present, of being up to what is necessary in the moment and of loving.
Nadja Reubenova, Minneapolis
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