Saturday, March 19, 2005

Popping the Safety Valve

A lot on my mind today. I'll do 2 posts so Good Carter and Bad Carter can each have their say. It's only fair. First, 2 rants. Do 2 rants make a rave? Anyway, here's a word from our sponsor.

These rants presented by Depression. Depression--for those times in you life when you just can't cope. Ask your Doctor about Depression today.

WARNING: Side effects include lethargy, disrupted sleep patterns, disrupted eating patterns, uncontrollable crying for no apparent reason, skewed thinking, and self-harm. These side effects may be treated by medication and/or therapy.

Cruel and Unusual

Terry Schiavo's feeding tude has been removed. Now we just wait until she starves to death. I actually think she will die of dehydration. This is too much for me.

There is a huge difference between letting someone die and making someone die. I am a firm believer in the right to die with dignity. Living wills are the best step in that direction that this country has ever taken. However. Allowing a non-funtional body to die and forcing a fully functional body to die are very much separate issues. The first is humane and makes sense. The second is usually defined as murder.

Who will be charged with Terry Schiavo's death? Her husband? Her doctor? The nurse who actually removed the feeding tube? The judge who ordered her to be killed? What did she ever do to deserve to be tortured to death? We treat our pets better than this. If you starve a dog or cat to death, you can be charged with a felony and put in prison. Is a human life worth less? Worthless?

All else being equal, if she could sit up and drink from a straw, this issue would never have arisen. If she was no longer able to sit up but could still drink, would food and water be withheld from her? Where is that line? At what point does life end? If a body still functions, even without signs of consciousness, is it alive? We're in some very murky water, here, and caution is definitely called for. It's a very small step from here to considering incorrigible criminals to be hopelessly brain-damaged. Then we can lock them into cells and forget about them. Just come back in 6 weeks and gather up the bones.

I think Terry Schiavo deserves at least as much consideration as a mass murderer. If you're going to kill her, at least do it with compassion and humanity. Drugs are available that will let her ease on out of this world without pain. Is there anybody involved in this case that has big enough balls to admit to what they're doing and at least try to make it right?

On Ethics, Morals, and the Day Job

This rant inspired by recent frustrations and aggravations at work.

Payment for service rendered implies a contract. That is the law. If you accept someone's money, you are contracting to perform certain services for them, and they have the right to set the rules under which those services are to be performed. If you don't like the rules, don't take the money. Once you take the money, you are committed; it's too late to back out. Just ask Judas Iscariot.

Any employer worth their salt will have a Mission Statement that defines their aims and ambitions. Every employee has a responsibility to uphold that Mission Statement and to do the best they can to fulfill it. When you accept your employer's money, you are agreeing to put aside your personal business and adopt an attitude of cooperation and a work ethic appropriate to the job you are being paid to do.

Unfortunately, all too often the upper levels of administration have a tendency to ignore the written mission and concentrate on other issues. This attitude infects the whole system faster than the flu virus. When the administration places its biggest emphasis on bringing in money, the educational values of the institution wither and will eventually die. The purpose of a school is first and foremost to serve the educational needs of its students. Period. Everything else is secondary. Decisions made without considering this are guaranteed to have detrimental side effects. Ignoring those effects has both short-term and long-term consequences.

People, if you're not going to serve the needs of the students, get the hell out of education!


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