Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It wasn't me, but...

So if you got caught in a colossal backup this morning on I-5 going North through Federal Way, I didn't cause it, but I was involved... You're probably going to want to sit down for this one...

I'm making my way through the I-5 grind this morning, as usual. The wet roads and drizzle were making the usual commute even slower. Traffic is doing the accordion thing the whole way. There's no point in changing lanes or caring about who's passing who, so I move into the middle lane and throw on NPR. Remember, it's slippery out and Seattle drivers do weird things when the road gets wet so I'm trying to keep plenty of distance between the car in front of me...

All of a sudden, *WHAM* someone glances off of my rear bumper. I look behind me and notice that rather than pulling over to the right so we can exchange information, the car appears to be ... moving past me to my left! So now I'm thinking it's probably some drunk driver who didn't notice that they hit me. But as it drives past me, I look into the car and ... *THERE'S NO ONE IN THE CAR*!

I did a double take and confirmed it; the car was *COMPLETELY EMPTY*. Could it be some remote control experiment gone horribly bad?!?!?!

I lose track of the car for a second while I'm fumbling with my emergency flashers, and then notice serveral cars are pulling over to the side. Clearly I'm not the only one involved so I pull over with the rest of the group. We all get out of our cars and confirm that, yes, the car was indeed without a driver or any other human occupant!

One of the drivers goes walking back to the end of the line of cars and actually locates the driver of the "ghost car" and pieces together the story. Apparently the driver, who turns out to be 4 months pregnant, decided that the brakes on her car didn't feel right. Rather than pull the car over and call for help, she bailed out of the car in the middle of I-5 morning rush hour traffic, crossed the HOV lane *ON FOOT* and let the car drive on by itself... empty... through morning rush hour traffic...

After sorting it all out, I asked the state patrol officer if this was the most bizarre accident she'd ever seen, and she shook her head and said yes...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Death with Dignity Slippery Slope Fallacy

The state of Oregon has an assisted suicide law that is called "Death with Dignity". This law was enacted twice by citizens initiative. It was also upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Gonzales vs. State of Oregon.

Opponents of assisted suicide have a spectrum of reasons why they're against it. Mostly they consist of:

  1. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are "terminally ill"
  2. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
  3. Euthanasia will become non-voluntary
  4. Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life


First of all euthanasia is a clever choice of words. This is a classic debate topic where word choice is used to shift the argument. Let's be clear when we say that euthanasia is not assisted suicide. They're different.

Assisted suicide is where a medical professional (MD or OD) enables an informed consenting adult to end their own life in a humane and dignified manner. Euthanasia is the same but a medical professional does the work of actually ending the persons life.

Addressing the issues outlined above are these recent studies:

The takeaway message is that as of 2007, the concerns brought up by assisted suicide opponents are provably unfounded.