Google “assisted suicide” on Google News and you can scroll through a number of current cases which have been discribed as “assisted suicide” or “mercy killing”. As a particularly sordid example of how assisted suicide can be abused, consider the case of Gerard Curran and Paul Stephen Bricker, two American sailors living in Virginia. The 45-year-old Curran was separated from his wife and drinking heavily. He wanted to commit suicide, but he also wanted to ensure that his family would receive benefits after his death. So he asked Bricker, who had served with him as a junior sailor on the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, to kill him. In 2009 the two men went to a park. Curran strangled himself with a yellow physical therapy band until he fainted. Then Bricker stabbed him in the chest. 

The assisted suicide was entirely altruistic. Bricker had even refused Curran’s offer of US$5,000. His attorney stressed that “he is not evil. He did not do it with malice. He was trying to help.”However, Curran’s widow pointed out that Bricker should have reported his friend’s bizarre request. “That’s what a real friend would do,” she told the court amidst tears. “I find assisted suicide the equivalent to murder.” Bricker received a 10-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter, with 5 years suspended. ~ Virginian-Pilot, Aug 7

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.