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Code Words for Murder

May 29, 2012
by Ron Manderscheid
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Are we in imminent danger of becoming like the Third Reich?

Today, America is at imminent risk of falling down a very slippery slope into a dark, dangerous abyss from which we won’t be able to recover. The consequences for us and for our society are so repugnant and so far-reaching as to be absolutely unacceptable in every sense—humanly, morally, socially.  I speak here of the murder, the so-called euthanasia or mercy killing, of disabled persons.

Our slippery slope is developing quickly and quietly over time. Several different levels can be easily discerned:    

“They are a real burden.” First, the concept of burden—financial, social, personal—becomes part of a calculus in which burden is perceived to outweigh the value of continued life. This calculus then provides justification for falling to the next level.

“They really wouldn’t want to live that way.” This rationalization is used to impute the desire to die onto the disabled person. This second level absolves the person making the observation of any guilt, while appearing to make the disabled person complicit in the action.

“Doctors will make the right decisions for them.” The third level makes the death seem routine, even, dare I say, trivial. Clearly, doctors have expertise. Hence, they make appropriate decisions.

This seductive but irrational logic is precisely that used by Hitler’s Third Reich to murder disabled persons, particularly those with mental illnesses and those with so-called “hereditary illnesses”, such as intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Between 1939 and 1945, the antiseptically named “T4” Program murdered more than 200,000 child, adult, and elderly patients, with doctors making and carrying out the decisions.

Why raise this issue now? Two recent examples are cause for great alarm.

On April 13, the Dr. Phil Show aired a segment which presented the idea that parents should be able to euthanize (murder) their children who have intellectual disabilities. The show focused on Annette Corriveau, mother of two adult children who have a progressive genetic condition, Sanfilippo Syndrome. The show describes the progression of the disease in both children as they developed into adulthood. Now, Ms. Corriveau wants to euthanize (murder) them. Dr. Phil indicated that he “would not want to live like that.” He was supported by Geoffrey Fieger, Dr. Kevorkian’s lawyer, who argued that what Ms. Corriveau wants is “perfectly reasonable and merciful”. How absolutely abhorrent!

Another more subtle illustration is a May 22 Letter to the Editor in the New York Times. Cary Riker of Happy Valley, OR, describes her grandmother’s slow death from Alzheimer’s disease, and the burden that she perceived it caused her family over the past ten years. She concludes by saying, “Having witnessed the disease firsthand, I can truly say there is something worse than death.”  This letter is a clear example of the logic employed in first step on the slippery slope.

We do have a choice that we must make. Unless we want to end up taking the same abhorrent actions as the Third Reich in the name of eugenics, we must vigorously oppose decisions to murder made by relatives, friends, doctors, or the government, at whatever level. We must vigorously support end of life decisions made in living wills and advance directives. Our actions must be direct and unequivocal.




Thank you Ron for speaking out so clearly. Call it what you will... we are - in fact - talking about murder. We need more people to stand up for what is right NOT what is popular. Pastor Niemoller's quote echoes the sentiments of Edmund Burke the Irish Philosopher of the 18th century - "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Paul McBride, Pennsylvania

First they came for the disabled and elderly
then the communist and so on and so one. We lost prospective of what the cost and the human slaughter in word war II. In every war mongering country it is always the disabled and elderly that the society beliefs that they are a burden.

We are there already. Drug companies that are not held accountable for falsified information of their drug studies.Ghost writer who have no clue what they are writing except for the drug companies information.

Every person has the right of self determination this includes death with dignity, but with drugs that make you suicidal, drugs that basically are a chemical prison so the sick person does not want to live or has delirium from the drugs that where supposed to help them. (what became self determination is now blurred is it the drugs or the treatment that makes them feel this way.

Then the sick person is put in a state hospital completely away from their belonging and person life that loved ones cannot visit. The only one that does (if any) is the very special person in their life's who is not heard of what is happening to their friend and so have barely a clue how their treatment is basically a ware housed.

Our fourth Reich is well under way. As we do not care even for loved once anymore. Society has broken families apart so they do not know or care what there loved ones are going through until it is to late.

Then their loved one gets so sick from looking at the abuse that is happening. This person becomes desperate and labeled depressed. Now, No one will listen to the only advocate as they are labeled with a mental disease also.

Niemölle kept this out on purpose as it is the decline of caring that makes fascism corporatism or what ever you would like to call a warmongering society that raps its self in the flag and can say under God we trust and it is even on our money so it is the money that we belief in not God.

Dr. Manderscheid's warning is most welcome. We in the USA must not forget that the Nazis used euthanasia projects done earlier in the USA to justify their own.

However, end of life decisions can be psychologically much more complex than what is indicated in using living wells and advance directives, as helpful as they may be. When one becomes very sick and death seems more imminat, desire can change and an earlier projection be no longer so relevant. What becomes important to family is a relevant factor when mental incapacity starts to emerge, though fmaily members can conflict among themselves. Expanding use of impartial ethics committees can help.


Ron Manderscheid

Exec. Dir., NACBHDD and NARMH

Ron Manderscheid


Ron Manderscheid, Ph.D., serves as the Executive Director of the National Association of County...

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