Once again, I ask you, what is the value of a human life? Each and every one of us has to determine this in our own hearts and minds. You may ask, “Why do I have to determine anything”. Quite honestly, if we don’t decide to choose for ourselves what this worth should be, the status quo will turn even more chaotic than it is.
In my previous articles I have laid out several points of discussion and also what I see as a possible aid to dealing with the issue, but the prevailing deterrent is our system of laws. Our laws state that each person “has the right” to refuse whatever treatment would help them with their problems. So we can do nothing against their will.
It is only my opinion, but anyone who drinks or injects themselves into a state of mind where they lose all sense of responsibility has given up the right to control their own will. For instance, a drunk person climbs behind the wheel; goes for a drive and in an accident kills two or three people. With our current system it is ruled as accidental manslaughter because in his inebriated state he was not responsible for his actions and walks away a free man after three years. Murder is murder is murder! The drinks were not forced on him.
A person that has OD’ed two or three times in rapid succession, in my mind, has also forfeited his free will. Under our current system we might dry him out; shake our finger at him and pick him up again a short time later for doing exactly the same thing. Talk about a vicious cycle! A flat tire is a flat tire, it has to be fixed. If it isn’t, the authorities will remove us from the road till repairs are made!
By doing nothing but accommodating these destructive habits, are we actually not just saying, “Your life really doesn’t matter or have much value; go ahead and kill yourself”? What we are doing is condemning them to a horrendous go no-where life. I’m not referring to the handicapped or the working poor, just the addicted and destructive ones. The cost of damage done by these folks in order to exercise their “rights” is enormous, and mounting daily.
I am not saying that some of the current agencies such as Safe Harbor are not helping; they really are, but I feel that to work within the current system they have at times to compromise their own way of thinking. Somewhere along the line we have to put on the brakes and take a no-nonsense look at the facts. I really don’t like the idea of involuntary incarceration but nothing else has worked. For sure, we can all claim some small victories but overall the cost per saved person is no longer within reason. So where do we go with this?
Assuming that those readers following me here have all placed a high value on human life, how can we attempt to change the current structure to better serve this fair city in a compassionate and equitable way? We have the resources and the will but if change to the legal system is the only way to proceed, why are we so reluctant to do so? We are not really treading on human rights here, because if those human rights are used to violate the law, they have rejected that right which then should be changed or removed, even if for a short period of time.
Whatever we do, it has to be done in a caring yet forward looking manner, but doing something is paramount.
After all, each and every person created has enormous value, and we have to protect that to the best of our abilities, even if the cost is high!
Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.