The state of Connecticut has dropped charges against a Massachusetts man who was accused of helping kill his Alzheimer's stricken father - a Marine Corps combat veteran of the Korean War - in a case of so-called mercy killing - assisted suicide - or euthanasia.
The state's decision not to pursue a conviction in the case effectively paves the way for generations of disaffected youth to off their parents with little fear of retribution.
Parents who have limited or no parenting skills may want to look closely at the case of Bruce F. Brodigan of Somerville, MA, who previously pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of his father George D. Brodigan, who died at the age of 82, on Sept. 14, 2010.
George Brodigan died of an overdose of alcohol and amitriptyline, which was prescribed to Bruce Brodigan, police said. However, press reports say the state Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine the manner of death.
In dropping the most serious change against Brodigan, the state also paved the way for him to apply for a program termed accelerated rehabilitation on three lesser charges - tampering with evidence, making a false statement to police, and interfering with police.
That means - if the program is granted - that he will have to promise not to help anyone else pass over to the promised land ahead of schedule. If he is a good boy for a year, the charges will be dismissed and his record erased.
Police initially alleged that Bruce Brodigan assisted in the death of his ailing father. The elder Brodigan also was a retired West Hartford lawyer and former interim Superior Court judge.
Hartford Superior Court Judge Arthur P. Gold accepted the state's decision Tuesday and said in court documents that the manslaughter case will be "reopened and pursued" if Brodigan is not successful in the pretrial intervention program. I have no idea how you would fail a pretrial intervention program if you know that to do so will put you on trial facing an extended prison sentence.
Basically, Bruce Brodigan will have to say "yes" at the appropriate times, and "no" at the appropriate times and be sent on his way to wait out his one-year probation. Then he'll go on with his life in Massachusetts and the state of Connecticut will be left wrestling with the issues of assisted suicide, mercy killing, euthanasia, call it what you will.
We will be seeing escalating numbers of the elderly being "put down" as if they were family pets. Inevitably issues will arise where some people will say the dead person was in pain and only hours or days at best away from dying naturally, while those who opposed the "procedure" will maintain that was not the case at all.
The debate on euthanasia is just getting started and while it may seem clear cut to some people, I challenge them to define at exactly what point in their lives they want a friend or relative to pull the plug on them. The definition of "terminal" is bound to find some very wide interpretations.
According to news reports Bruce Brodigan described the end of his father's life as the "most beautiful, loving moment I had with my father" throughout his life.
Frankly, it sounds a lot more like a Charlie Sheen moment to me. Not the kind of moment where Sheen is in a motel room with a bevy of hookers and a kilogram of cocaine, but a moment out of the movie Platoon. where Sheen is in a massive firefight firing weapons and screaming "This is f'ing beautiful man!"
I can relate to that somewhat because as a .50 caliber machine gunner on Marine helicopters in Vietnam, I had a few of those moments. It's easy to have a feeling of euphoria when you have the biggest weapons and the battle is going your way.
But one thing I never saw was the communists come running out of their jungle positions yelling "Shoot more, shoot more, this is f'ing beautiful man!" Being on the losing side of a deadly encounter generally is less exciting than being on the side where death is inflicted.
As a wounded combat veteran the elder Brodigan probably knew that.
Now I know that there are going to be people reading this who say I am being flippant and disrespectful. So what? If it gets people talking about this, so much the better.
Because this week, the state of Connecticut quietly moved the goalposts in the euthanasia - assisted suicide - mercy killing debate and most people didn't notice. We deserve far better. We deserve a full, transparent, free wheeling debate on this issue and thus far we have not had it.
Oh, and would everyone who is reading this please print it out and save it in a safe place. Then 30 or so years from now if you see a death notice about me, and it says alcohol and drugs were involved, please press for a forensic autopsy and make sure they identify the alcohol as GlenMorangie single malt scotch, at least 12 years old.
If they say it is anything else, press for a full investigation!
Thursday, April 14, 2011