Letters to the Editor

Letters for February 17, 2000

No Exit
In South Florida the new killing fields are filled with sick, depressed senior citizens who make self-inflicted death their final ally
By Bob Norman

Breaking the Assisted-Suicide Media Embargo
The article titled "No Exit" (Bob Norman, January 20) dealt with an important subject, one that will probably become more important as our population ages and as medical science finds ways of prolonging the number of days but not necessarily the quality of life.

Although there are strong historical, religious, and other pressures against the right to die with dignity, I hope that New Times will continue to report on this important matter.

Martin Shames
Hollywood

The Right Way to Say Goodbye
At one time I lived in the Miami area, but now I live in the Midwest. Last week I was visiting family in Florida and picked up the New Times because I have always enjoyed reading it.

Your article about the elderly committing suicide ("No Exit") was one of the most interesting I have read in a long time. As a side note, I would like to state how well I thought it was written. The reason why I feel compelled to respond is, in many ways, I have a tangent to that story, a spinoff, as one might say. I am currently 25 years old. When I was 22, I lost my husband, Joe, to cancer. He was 26 when he died, 23 when he was diagnosed, and 25 when he was labeled "terminal." After reading your article, despite the fact that I am not elderly, I couldn't help but feel as though I understood why this was happening in our society. Am I an advocate for euthanasia? I don't know. But I wouldn't say I am against it either.

If I were to get diagnosed with the same cancer Joe had, I would contemplate suicide because of what I saw him endure. I do know one thing for certain, after what I was witness to during the few years my husband was sick, as well as the final months that were absolutely, unbelievably gut-wrenching for me and torturous for him, I don't blame those gentlemen who ended their lives. At the same time, even though my husband was sick, I was grateful for every moment I had with him. Basically, it remains a difficult topic with opinions swaying to and fro.

Though I am not an older person, I want to thank you for writing that article; I am sure it brought about awareness. Young widowhood is about as obscure these days as elderly suicide; it is great to see something less mainstream out there on the front page. (I haven't seen a front page from the New Times in years, great timing for me! I seriously doubt my hometown paper would bother with a story that wasn't about a Clinton scandal or how much our new stadium is going to cost the taxpayers.)

Death comes to us all, but what about when he lingers at the door for months or years? Thank you again.

Lisa Heck
via the Internet

Night of the Living Heads
What's it like to ring in the new millennium with 80,000 drug-addled Phish fans? Expensive. Noisy. Crowded. Uninspiring.
By Bob Whitby

Generation Zzzzz
Dearest Bob Whitby: I recently read a copy of your article on the New Year's Eve Phish concert ("Night of the Living Heads," January 13). I imagine that you have received much mail on the subject, at least I hope you have, for most devout fans will stand up for their passions.

Bob -- may I call you Bob? -- well, some remarks in your article led me to guess that you are probably a generally intelligent man. I think you made a mistake, however, when you presumed that because you are generally intelligent you have any sort of real grasp of the intricacies of true music. I must admit I know not your credentials, but I believe one is more fairly judged by his recent acts than by his past diplomas. I have, therefore, judged your critical ability solely on this article.

I assure you, Mr. Whitby, that you have greatly missed the point of this music. I drew from your comments that you were searching for some kind of philosophical meaning or political substance from the Phish scene. Not finding any you instantly dismissed the band's devoted fans as hippie holdovers and burned-out youths. Perhaps if you would have spent a little more of your time actually at the show, you might have begun to understand what the music is about, but perhaps you wouldn't have, since you obviously lack a clear comprehension of true musical genius. I think, sir, that you sought to find out what the scene was about. Not finding your socially reforming cause, you jumped to say the scene was without substance. But you don't get it. It's not about politics or social causes, it's about music. You dismiss that as unsubstantial? Bob, it's a concert; it's about music; is that so surprising? It's about taking music to a new level. It's about beautiful, complex, transcending music. But still, it's about music.

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