October 1, 2022

“Right to die” tweet debate

UK man Tony Nicklinson has suffered from locked-in syndrome since he had a massive stroke.

UK man Tony Nicklinson has suffered from locked-in syndrome since he had a massive stroke. He describes the last seven years of his life as worthless. He has decided he wants to end his life. He is physically incapable of doing so — and needs another person to do it for him. Under current British law this would be classified as murder. While this seems like just another “right to die” story, Nicklinson, who can only blink, has discovered Twitter. Technology has made it possible for Nicklinson to communicate — which he does by blinking at a computer which turns his thoughts into words. He made his first tweet on June 13 and has reached almost 200 in the past two weeks.

An Al Jazeera essay commented on the case, pointing out that Nicklinson’s newfound ability to speak to anyone on the internet serves two ends: it promotes the cause of assisted suicide but it also gives a victim of locked-in syndrome a reason to live:  

“So perhaps if there is something to hang on to in this moral maze it’s this: technology has at least the capacity to alter peoples’ opinions of themselves, even in desperation: and that things which until recently were scarcely imaginable are now facts of life. And if Mr Nicklinson’s mind were to persuade him that life is still worth living then wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?” ~ Al Jazeera, Jun 18

“Right to die” tweet debate
Jared Yee
Creative commons
euthanasia
locked-in syndrome
Twitter
UK