April 12, 2007

Moral Issues

There's a guy named Randy Cohen who writes an Ethics column for the NYT. I like it. People write in with something that is perturbing them, ethically speaking, and I get to point and giggle, metaphorically speaking, if I can't believe they'd have to ask.

I took a Moral Issues course at McMaster, and Professor Thomas quietly, as was his way, but forcefully, taught us the true nuts and bolts of ethical dilemmas: If the answer was easy, humans wouldn't struggle. It's not about the wide open spaces on either side of an issue, it's the tiny, tiny stretch of no-man's land that extends along the filament in the middle. The thinnest wedge must bear the greatest weight.

There is a really riveting report in New York magazine about a serial killer, Charles Cullen, who wanted to donate a kidney to a dying father of four. The writer, Charles Graeber, writes an engrossing piece - it's several pages and worth it to find the time to read it.

Cullen may be the worst killer in U.S. history (not sitting in the White House). As a nurse, he killed anywhere from 40 to 300 people - heinous, unthinkable, and for which he's been sentenced to several hundred years in jail. In one of those quirks of fate or nature (take your pick) he ended up being a perfect match for a kidney needed by an ex-girlfriend's dying brother.

He wanted to give it; the judicial system, the hospitals, families of victims and pretty much everyone but the dying guy didn't want him to. They felt they would be 'rewarding' a killer by making him feel good.

I have never lost a loved one to a murderer. But if some sorry, twisted sack of garbage who has stolen so many innocent lives can be used to save one, I'm not sure where the dilemma lies. There is very little creeps like this are worth - I say take what we can as a payment for those lost, not as a redemption for the guilty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine, you are sooooo right! It's a no-brainer in my mind, too.

April 13, 2007 8:05 PM  

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