To the Supreme Court Justices Deciding On Euthanasia

I am writing in concern of the upcoming proposed 'euthanasia' laws. The proposal which would make legal the right of certain individuals to end their lives because of dire circumstance or conditions, with which life has become unbearable. We have seen the stories and I as a person with a disability understand their plight, for I, too, have been to that same space of unbelievalbe despair. I understand what it is like having everything taken away in the instance of one breath, having broke my neck a 5th cervical level, 2 years ago. After having sustained such a high level injury, I know first hand what it is like to be suicidal in thought and hopelessly wishing for death. After injury I was unable to do my own personal basic care or take care of my own personal needs, I found myself reduced to a life of dependence. I came so very close to being institutionalized into a nursing home that I consider myself lucky even now to be out in the community.

Understand that before my injury, I was teaching martial arts, snowboarding, and was already a successfully published poet. Life was wondrously satisfying until that fateful day when we lost our brakes and went off a cliff, plunging 85-feet. I know what tragedy is and I know what hungering for death is about. If at the time of my injury and for some period after, they would have offered me the chance to 'exterminate' myself, I surely would have seen this as a blessing. For I could not bear the thought of being dependent on others the rest of my life or being locked away in a nursing institution. For at this time, I did not understand that life and the quality of life for persons with disabilities could be as rewarding or as appealing as it it and has become. If there had been a quick and easy way out, I surely would have taken it.

Before consideration can be given to rationalizing the legalization of human extermination, I think the Supreme Court Justices should consider why it is these individuals who would wish death over life, would do so. Case in point, In Georgia, there was a documented case of one Larry Mcafee who fought the Georgia Legislative court system for the right to die. He fought and won the right, but was confronted by the advocacy community who came to find out about his circumstances and true desires. It was found that Mcafee, truly desired not death, but life outside of the nursing home. Being denied this, rather than die a long intolerable stagnating daily death, Mcafee fought for the right to end his life quickly and on his own terms. But when the advocacy learned his true intentions, steps were taken to bring into manifestation his true desires. Mcafee then abstained from 'killing' himself and resolved to see how things would turn out and eventually moved out into the community. He currently resides in a group home in Augusta, Ga., appeased and satisfied by his current life conditions, being serviced by a circle of friends, advocates, and community home health agencies.

So it is my belief that we must place our focus on the conditions prior to a person's decision to end their lives. For if a person can be dignified in his/her everyday life choices and find inspiration in their daily lives, would there ever be a desire to end it all? So instead of passing judgement to determine whether people should have a right to die, I rather think focus should be placed on how to help people live and live beautifully with all the freedom of choice, right to life and oppurtunity available every human being. Instead of supporting nursing institutions, like we do in this country, we should support CASA and redirecting of funds into home health agencies which support an individuals right to personal care management. Please give consideration to the ideas placed before you.

Thank You

Zen Garcia
ADAPT Advocate
Right to Life
Freedom of Choice and Oppurtunity