Pubdate: Sat, 24 Nov 2001
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Sacramento Bee
Aurhors: Ed Hall, Alfreda Weiss, Thomas J. Adams, Kevin K. Tarbell, Eldon 


Re "Death and dying and Ashcroft's handcuffs," Op-Ed, Nov. 20: Attorney 
General John Ashcroft's order for the FBI to arrest doctors in Oregon who 
help terminally ill patients die with dignity points out the glaring 
hypocrisy of the far right.

Historically, "let states decide for themselves" has been the 
conservatives' battle cry. But it seems that principle only applies when 
the federal government is trying to ensure equal rights for minorities or 
women, or to prevent the destruction of our environment by rapacious 
special interests.

When it comes to the simple right of individuals to choose how they die, to 
reduce their suffering, suddenly the extremist "states rights" mentality is 
conspicuously absent. What a despicable double standard.

- - Ed Hall, Sacramento

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When my mother received her death sentence from her physician, he gave her 
the possibility of two years. She talked about her fear of horrible pain. 
He repeatedly reassured both of us that he would be able to relieve her pain.

Real life was totally different. The doctor seemed to disappear, unwilling 
perhaps to risk the wrath of the government in prescribing pain 
medications. The nursing home blamed the lack of medication on the 
physician. But hospice was not allowed inside the facility because the 
contract had not been signed.

I was in the process of crashing the facility with a kind-hearted hospice 
worker who said she could obtain the necessary drugs when my mother escaped 
her horror and thankfully died. Never would I let my animals end their life 
in this hell.

I ask Ashcroft and all his many supporters to explain themselves.

- - Alfreda Weiss, Fair Oaks

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Re "The feds crack down -- on medical marijuana," Peter Schrag, Nov. 7: 
While the president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense all 
vigorously maintain we are at war against terrorists, Ashcroft has gone to 
war against dope, sending federal agents to police Oregon doctors "who 
prescribe federally controlled drugs to help terminally ill patients die." 
They have also expanded their war against marijuana in California for 
terribly ill people who benefit from its use by reducing pain.

I loathe the word "prioritize," but that is what Ashcroft has to do. We 
need more agents to fight the terrorist war, not the dope war.

- - Thomas J. Adams, Fair Oaks

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I can't believe Ashcroft, in this time of "war," is messing with assisted 
suicide and medical marijuana laws on the West Coast.

How is it we have the time, desire or resources to challenge state laws 
while international terrorists are targeting our skyscrapers and home-grown 
terrorists are targeting the Democratic leadership and the "liberal biased 
media" with anthrax?

Ashcroft has said his office will be unable to do all the things it 
normally does because of the "war on terror." I guess he thinks these state 
laws are just as much of a threat to our way of life as Osama bin Laden and 
the nut balls trying to eliminate the Democratic Party.

- - Kevin K. Tarbell, Sacramento

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The Taliban have their religious police. Now, thanks to Ashcroft and his 
uptight law enforcement community, we are establishing our own medical 
police counterpart.

Let's go round up all the doctors who ease pain and suffering with humane 
methods for those at death's door or those pulverized by pain and loss of 
appetite in need of medicinal marijuana. It seems as if ignorance has no 

The Taliban don't have a lock on medieval ignorance, as there is plenty of 
that to go around.

- - Eldon Brandenburg, West Sacramento
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom