Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy


Paul Gruchow writes in his book, Letters to a Young Madman, A Memoir, about sanity and insanity.

I see that someone actually investigated and reported what it would cost to put a guard in every CA school: One billion dollars.  $1,000,000,000.  Do I have the zeroes right?  This in a state desperate for money for education.  I realize it won't happen, but I also realize this is where dialogue gets stopped, in the realm of insanity.

Here are two comments by Paul Gruchow on the subject of insanity in this country.  He died in 2004.  What would he say today?

Sanity by Paul Gruchow:

   The United States Supreme Court has decided to let stand a ruling allowing prison officials to forcibly medicate a man in order to make him sane enough to execute. Of course, medications won't make the man sane. There is no known medical cure for insanity. The drugs will merely alleviate the active symptoms of his illness. So the law of the land is that you may not execute a man who is insane unless prison officials drug him into appearing to be sane, in which case his killing may proceed. The state killing, in turn, is motivated by the fact that the man in question killed someone. It is illegal to kill someone. To do so is morally repugnant, unless the state does the killing, in which case it is justified by the need to discourage killing.

Sometimes it is hard, without a program, to tell what's sane and what isn't.  

Death by Paul Gruchow:

   A woman has occupied a living corpse for a dozen years. Her husband believes that she would not have wanted to survive in this way.  Few people would.  Her parents accuse her husband of wanting to resume his own existence. They are willing to hold his potentially beneficial life hostage to her machine-assisted one. Some say the husband is selfish, but no one makes the same charge against the parents. A legislature and a governor rush to their assistance. The governor orders that the woman's feeding tube be reinserted. Some say this affirms the right to life. I say that it affirms the right to delusions.

It is an odd fact that in the history of humanity that we have been dying for millennia, without exception, and yet we still cannot face the fact that this is not a tragedy.

I assume he is writing about the Terri Schiavo case.  I think he makes a good point when he says it is time to face the fact that death is not a tragedy.  I loved the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild,  though I understand not everyone does.  There is one image of a six year old child observing those "plugged into the wall" in a hospital, that is particularly strong for me.  I think each of us needs to look at what life and death mean to us.  I have my wishes signed - no feeding tube.  I request respect and release.  


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