As much as our world changes and the values and morals alter concurrently, sometimes it is good to see that embedded deep within us is a natural understanding of how we should respond. Many health situations that create controversy and endless disagreements often start from a good intention that is found within us as human beings. The push for assisted suicide generally comes from seeing someone suffering and acknowledging that things shouldn’t be that way. Our desire to eliminate suffering in others is good, but we don’t always pursue the correct course of action.
What this tends to create in society is the belief that each individual should be able to do what they think is best. As an individualistic society, we are quick to argue that nobody can force their beliefs and opinions on me. I am free to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Sometimes we will add the caveat “as long as I am not hurting anyone,” but often, culturally, we see our freedom as the one objective truth.
Do you remember hearing roughly a month ago about a MLB umpire who saved a woman from jumping off the Roberto Clemente bridge in Pittsburgh? I found the story a beautiful testament of someone caring about a stranger and doing something when others just walked by. What I find particularly interesting about the story is how it was reported. People came together to help a woman who was trying to jump off the bridge and commit suicide. John Tumpane, the man who first started helping the woman, is spoken of as a hero and as someone who saved another person’s life. These weren’t Christian news agencies, but this event was reported very similarly in several mainstream secular articles.
I agree that he was able to help save someone’s life, but I find the cultural inconsistency obvious.
This woman didn’t want to live. She made a plan, she started to carry out that plan, and then she was stopped by someone walking by. Most people will look at this as a positive ending to a story that could have been tragic. We see someone wanting to end it all and we rejoice that someone noticed and she was able to hopefully receive the help she needed.
In a purely individualistic sense, what I see is a woman who was not allowed to make a choice she wanted to make. She wanted to end her life, but other people decided that her life was worth living, worth saving. To us, it is easy to see this as heroism in action.
Why do we as a culture not view this as an infringement on her rights? Continue reading “Heroic Action or Infringement of Rights?”