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Oct. 12, 2017: Letters To the Editor

October 12, 2017 GMT

Op-ed on Vegas hit home

Michael Gerson’s op-ed piece in the Herald was without a doubt, one of the most beautifully written pieces I have ever read (“Tragedy brings short, fragile unity,” Oct. 4).

The horrific tragedy in Las Vegas has truly stunned the world. Gerson’s very touching thoughts were meaningful and really hit home.

We need to see (and read) more from this very talented writer.

— Ellen O. Walsh, Wellesley

Of death and choice

As a physician living with a terminal illness, I wanted to respond to J.J. Hanson’s op-ed opposing medical aid in dying (“ ‘Terminal’ can mean life left to live,” Sept. 30).

I support medical aid in dying and the End of Life Options Act, which would authorize it in Massachusetts. It would give terminally ill, hospice-eligible adults the option to request medication they can decide to take to peacefully end their lives if their suffering becomes unbearable.

I want this option for myself one day, because I have seen that even Massachusetts’ world-class medical care doesn’t always provide relief from suffering, and studies indicate that 25 percent of cancer patients die with uncontrolled pain.

Unlike Hanson, I have treated both people who were dying and others who were depressed. My patients with cancer didn’t want to die. They wanted options to end suffering, not to kill themselves, as my suicidal patients wanted to do. I’m happy that Hanson is outliving his prognosis, but having a brain tumor doesn’t make him an expert in how others should die. Each person is different, and we should have the wisdom to permit people to approach their (our) deaths differently.

— Dr. Roger Kligler, Falmouth

Senator rapped for bill

The Catholic Church has no political power in this state and hasn’t had any for decades (“Right to die co-sponsor pushes back against church,” Sept. 23) The media persists however, in framing every debate over a moral issue as someone standing up to the Catholic Church.

The co-sponsor of the assisted suicide bill, Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), identifies herself in the story as a Catholic. Most people in Massachusetts have, by now, figured out that the only time Bay State politicians calls themselves Catholic is when they are about to betray the faith of their baptism.

— C. J. Doyle, executive director, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, Boston

Pride, prejudice, country

The Patriots did disrespect the flag (“Pats fans torn on issue of anthem protest,” Sept. 25). I recall what Muhammad Ali, when he was still Cassius Clay, said at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he won a gold medal in boxing.

Ali was asked by a correspondent from a communist country about racial prejudice. “Tell your readers,” Ali replied, “that we’ve got qualified people working on that problem, and I’m not worried about the outcome. To me the U.S.A. is still the best country in the world, counting yours.”

— Ned Byrne, Weymouth