End of Life Choice Bill – 1st Reading – Chris Penk (National)

first_imgThank you, Mr Speaker. I rise to speak against this bill. At the heart of this bill is the question of choice, and yet we must all acknowledge that assisted suicide, or euthanasia, by whatever name we call it, is a choice to end all choices. It is, by definition, irreversible, the end; that it shares with any other form of suicide. As such, we should proceed exceedingly carefully before even considering whether safeguards, so-called, may mitigate some of the worst aspects of it.It is this nature of choice that is being promoted by those who have brought this bill to the House that we must attack. We must understand clearly the concepts of undue influence and coercion that undermine choice and that play on the minds of those who are vulnerable, and those who are vulnerable are the very ones who would be wanting to access this in that moment of time in their vulnerability.In their depression, people are vulnerable. To be depressed is literally to be pushed down. When one is pushed down, one is not capable of making good decisions. One is not capable of understanding fully the consequences of one’s actions, and yet this bill would allow people the ability to make, in that vulnerable state, in that vulnerable condition, a choice that would end all other choices.So many of our fellow New Zealanders, young and old, have already made that choice; they have no further choices left. It is a subject that this House rightly concerns itself with and should continue to do so. We must do more to discourage suicide and other forms of ending life prematurely, and not encourage more of it.Much has been said on the subject of dignity, too. Those in favour of the bill, at least to the first reading stage, have described a situation of a life that they say lacks dignity at that point. Disabled constituents of mine have said to me, “Do not let anyone tell you that certain conditions equate to a lack of dignity. They are describing my life.” They say to me, “This is my life. I am happy with it. I have dignity, and for anyone in the Parliament to suggest otherwise is, quite simply, intolerable.”We’ve heard about so-called safeguards; for example, the suggestion that one might be able to exercise this choice if one has a terminal illness. One might have a diagnosis of a terminal illness but not, in fact, have a terminal illness. One may have a mistaken diagnosis or, indeed, a mistaken prognosis, and one might make a decision based on that. And if that factual basis is proven to be incorrect, what recourse then does that person have? The answer is none, because the person will have died. Our criminal justice system admits the possibility of mistake as to facts and as to law. Among other reasons, this is why we do not have a law of capital punishment; mistakes are made. If anyone in this House doubts that, they should ask Mr Teina Pora if that is so. If we allow people to be pressured into making a choice or to make the choice seemingly of their own volition but based on a mistaken assumption as to facts, and if the facts, so-called, prove to be incorrect later, there is no recourse, there is not opportunity to turn back the clock. They are, at that point, dead.The intersection of our terrible rate of suicide in this country and our terrible record of elder abuse and neglect is this bill. There is much work we have to do in this Parliament on these subjects and, indeed, mental health in general. Will this bill encourage or undermine efforts to promote the real dignity, the real protection of life, the genuine role of the medical profession? I say, no; I say we reject it. And if you are in favour of euthanasia as a principle, I say to members of this House: this bill is not the one for you; it is far too broad. We should reject it.last_img read more

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MLAX : 5 years later: Duke rebounds from crippling scandal to return to top of college lacrosse

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 30, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img For C.J. Costabile, an embrace stood out more than anything else from Duke’s first-ever lacrosse national championship.Not his game-winning goal against Notre Dame, which came just five seconds into the extra period. Not the mob of white jerseys that piled on top of him in celebration inside the net. Not hoisting up the national championship trophy.It was the tearful hug from defender Tom Clute that Costabile called ‘the coolest thing that happened’ that day.‘He came up to me after the game, kind of crying and stuff out of joy,’ Costabile said. ‘But he’s not a very emotional kid, so that really took me back to see him like that.’After his dramatic goal in last year’s championship game, Costabile talked with a bevy of Duke lacrosse alumni, ranging from former teammates to the Blue Devils who played in the mid-1990s.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textStill, Clute’s reaction stuck with Costabile above the rest.‘He didn’t necessarily get to play a lot of minutes on game day, but he gave it his all every day and wanted to be around the program,’ Costabile said. ‘He’s a guy that everyone looked up to.’Clute was one of seven fifth-year seniors last year who experienced Duke lacrosse’s highest point in the national championship win. He also experienced its lowest point in 2006 when three team members were accused of raping a woman who was hired to strip at a house party. Although all three were declared innocent of the charges in 2007, the damage was done to the rising program in the form of a swarm of negative attention.The 2006 season, which started with the Blue Devils as a leading contender for the national championship, was canceled. Head coach Mike Pressler was fired. Players were given the option to leave.But after all that, 33 of those Blue Devils chose to stay, and the next chapter of Duke lacrosse arose. And it culminated in Costabile’s goal, which delivered the program its first national championship just four years later.‘I think it meant a lot,’ Costabile said. ‘Turned the page, finally. It gave Duke kind of that storybook ending, if you will.’PrologueJohn Danowski remembers exactly when the idea was planted in his head.He had finished up one of his best seasons coaching lacrosse at Hofstra. The Pride won a NCAA record-tying 17 games before losing in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.But on a Sunday night in June 2006, his son Matt was on his mind. Sitting out on the swing on his front porch, the elder Danowski talked on the phone with Larry Lamade, whose son Peter played lacrosse with Matt at Duke. Both were on the team amid the scandal.‘We were just talking about what was going on,’ Danowski said. ‘Why was this happening? Everybody was so dumbfounded. We were all just trying to make sense of it.’Lamade then proposed the idea.You know there’s only one guy these kids would play for, Lamade told him. You.It made sense. Danowski knew the players. He knew the parents. He knew the program.‘And that did get me thinking,’ Danowski said in a phone interview Wednesday. ‘That one conversation.’That discussion came shortly after Duke reinstated its lacrosse team on June 5, 2006. About one month and a few interviews later, Danowski took over as the Blue Devils’ new head coach.‘The other part is, how many times in your life do you get a chance to truly do something good?’ Danowski said. ‘And when I say good, I mean good in capital letters.’Chapter One: The first seasonTwenty-four years of head coaching experience couldn’t prepare Danowski for his first season at the helm of Duke.‘It was really, really, really different,’ he said. ‘Everything that you did every day, you walked on eggshells.’Cameras flooded the season-opening press conference, and it was a sign of things to come. Danowski said it seemed like there were interviews every day that year. And it also seemed like the questions were never, ever about lacrosse.He would get phone calls from parents questioning or challenging a quote from him they had seen or heard on any given day. He said the school paper and local papers made some references to the scandal almost daily.‘But one of the things I would constantly realize was there was no blueprint for this,’ Danowski said. ‘I tried to trust my instinct a little bit.’And his instinct told him to let the players vent.He held meetings just to allow the team to talk about their feelings. The whole group would sit in a big circle on the field, and each player would get the opportunity to say what made him angry. The next week, they would circle up again, but talk about what made each player feel good.And it was those types of strategies, combined with Danowski’s laid-back persona, that make his players believe no one else could have handled the job better.‘I think he’s the perfect guy for the job, to be honest with you,’ Costabile said. ‘The kind of intangibles that he brings, I think was necessary to handle the situation.’Chapter Two: New facesZach Howell leads Duke with 33 points this year. He watched Costabile’s championship-winning goal from right next to the crease and was the first player to jump on him in the celebration.But after the news broke in 2006, Duke was barely even an option for Howell.‘To be honest, when the program was in limbo, I kind of put it in the back of my mind,’ said Howell, a high school junior at the time. ‘It was more of an afterthought.’Costabile said the scandal never played much of a role in his decision to play for the Blue Devils. But that didn’t stop people from reminding the long-stick midfielder about it after he committed in 2008.‘Sure, when I told people about it, I’d get my balls broken a little bit,’ said Costabile, now a junior. ‘Acquaintance people you meet random, like one time, that try to throw you a little joke or something like that, and it’s like, ‘All right, cool, dude. It’s really not that funny, but whatever.”Danowski said the allegations had the biggest influence on the 2007 recruiting class. Duke lost many of those recruits because there wasn’t any guarantee of a program until July.But since then, there have not been many problems, mostly because of the way he handles them.‘I bring it up,’ Danowski said. ‘I’m fully transparent when it comes to those things. I tell them exactly the truth and exactly what transpired.’He tells recruits and their families that there was a party. He tells them all three of the former Blue Devils were declared innocent of the rape charges they faced. He tells them about the investigators and the district attorney and everyone else ‘whose careers burned as a result of their involvement in this situation.’And from then on, it’s about playing lacrosse.Chapter Three: Moving onDuke lacrosse has taken a backseat this year to football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Danowski said the sport is truly under the radar when it comes to local media attention, despite the team’s No. 3 ranking and 8-2 record.The media circus dwindled from year to year as the Blue Devils finished no worse than national semifinalists every season. This year, it’s practically nonexistent.‘Winning did represent maybe a little bit more than it should in general,’ Danowski said. ‘It maybe represented a chance to get back to normal. Maybe it did mean more than winning a championship in a particular year.’There are no remnants of that 2006 roster still playing for the Blue Devils this year. But there were plenty of them at that championship game victory a season ago.A small group that had graduated watched from the Duke sidelines. Seven of them played on the team as fifth-year seniors.And Costabile’s goal five seconds into overtime not only gave those players the storybook ending, but also allowed the rest of the country to move on to the next chapter of Duke lacrosse.‘Those people on the outside who don’t know much about lacrosse might have seen us win the national championship,’ Howell said. ‘And that might have erased their only thought of Duke lacrosse being 2006.‘That would be my hope because we’ve come a long way since then.’[email protected]last_img read more

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