the daily doyle

Death Doctor Dead as a Doornail
June 4, 2011, 1:22 am
Filed under: General stuff

Just how dead IS a doornail anyway? And what the hell is a doornail?

I had to look it up. That phrase, dead as a doornail, has been in use since about 1350. Even Shakespeare used it.

Evidently there is some question about its exact meaning. It could be a real nail, as used in a door that would be driven through the door and pounded flat on the other side. You could never use that nail again so it would be “dead”. Then again, some think it was a word used for the piece of metal or nail head where the door knocker landed each time someone announced his arrival. After being repeatedly knock in the “head”, it could be considered very dead. Other references say it came from a time when nails weren’t used in doors at all. So “dead as a doornail” would be dead as something that never even existed.

Ok, enough of that.

What about Jack?

He’s dead, as of today. May his soul rest in peace if that’s what souls do. I figure he’s off to the next adventure.

There are few people who have ever existed that were as polarizing as Doctor K. People either hated him with a passion, or deeply respected him as a freedom fighter. Jack, as you probably know, was renowed as the “doctor of death”, the nation’s most prominent supporter of assisted suicide.

Does that mean if someone had a bad day or experienced a known side effect of psychiatric drugs, suicidal ideation, that the good doc would help them position the gun and pull the trigger? No. Kevorkian helped terminally ill patients who were staring down a short and painful life path to end their suffering. And, of course at the time, end their life.

It’s a tough question, suicide. I’m strongly opposed to suicide, in general. In the vast majority of cases, suicide is simply a non-confront of the situation, an attempt to escape, a computation of the lowest order that makes everyone else wrong.

I’m not pro-suicide but I’m very much pro-freedom. If someone has the right to life, and we do as affirmed by the Constitution and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he has a right to not have life.

If this is a controversial position, so be it. I am in favor of assisted suicide in cases of terminally ill patients with no hope of recovery and no likelihood of an acceptable life in their own estimation.

I have great respect for Jack because he chose to fight for this right despite all the controversy and opposition. He even went to jail for his dedication.

“The American people are sheep. They’re comfortable, rich, working. It’s like the Romans, they’re happy with bread and their spectator sports. The Super Bowl means more to them than any right.” -Jack Kevorkian

So we’re left with Jack’s legacy, and hopefully a little more freedom for all. He also left some fascinating artwork; he was a painter. His work is, well, memorable. Some pieces are definitely along the “doctor of death” theme. And some others are pretty good; I wouldn’t mind owning one.


3 Comments so far
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Even if not terminally ill you should have the right to not live if you choose so.

Comment by morena

From a viewpoint of liberty and freedom, I can’t argue that. But there are far too many suicides perpetrated by people who just need help, not death. There is no point in making it illegal to commit suicide I suppose. Yes, somebody does have that right. But if the dude (or girl) is up on the bridge and threatening to jump, I’d like the police and whoever is available to encourage them to exercise their right to live over their right to die. The real problem with non-terminally-ill suicides is psychiatry, psychiatric labels and psychiatric drugs. Most of the drugs they give for depression, anxiety, psychosis have depression and suicide as some of their known side effects. Whoever thinks that’s a good idea, please stand up.

Comment by doylemills


I am with you on this one! I admired his passion. My father died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and I know the pain and suffering first hand; I am sure if Doctor K had been prominent at that time, my father would have considered that option. Like you, I don’t support suicide as a cop out on every day life, but I DO support assisted suicide with the terminally ill.

Thank you for this blog.


Comment by Yvette

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