A direct action group calling itself Not Dead Yet held its first national protest last June on Kevorkian's lawn, reports Incitement, the newsletter of American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT). In late July, reports the September issue of Horizons, the group picketed the National Press Club where Kevorkian was speaking and held a sidewalk press conference.
A furious parrot
t was important that some of us with disabilities were there to greet Dr. Kevorkian as he entered the National Press Club. The following day there was a paragraph about the demonstrations in an excellent analysis of Dr. Kevorkian's rantings by Richard Leiby in The Washington Post.
... Mr. Leiby is the reporter who exposed the lack of postmortem evidence of multiple sclerosis following Rebecca Badger's death. His analysis was dismissed as "lies" at the luncheon, although Mr. Leiby had included a quote from the county medical examiner, Dr. L. J. Dragovic: "I can show you every slice from her brain and spinal cord, and she doesn't have a bit of M.S." ...
What bothers a growing number of disability advocates is the extent to which the Death Team [of Jack Kevorkian and his attorney Geoffrey Fieger] dominates the media and escalates the general public's fears and justifies their abhorrence of becoming disabled. ...
The Not Dead Yet leaflet we handed out on July 29 included Dr. Death's statement that "The voluntary self-elimination of individuals and mortally diseased or crippled lives can only enhance the preservation of public health and welfare." On the other side, we asked the question "Why have the views of the qualified and experienced people with disabilities been ignored during the assisted suicide debate of the past decade?"
... Do [right-to-die advocates'] toileting concerns make sense to people outside our community? What might have been her impression as she watched Christopher Reeve on her television screen? Did this rather elegant and eloquent man cause her to think, "How undignified he must be on the toilet! How disgusting!" ...
A friend and I arrived early, before a small crowd of colleagues from various disabilities organizations had taken up their posts. ...[We saw] Dr. Kevorkian, accompanied by a reporter from the New York Times ... leaving a taxi to make an early entry into the Press Club. I gave him a copy of my July column. ... He spit out what [was] apparently [meant as] an insult: Then you are an activist!" I said I wasn't sure what he meant by that word but that certainly I was active and happy. After a few exchanges I felt I was talking to a furious parrot [who was] hurling out phrases unrelated to our encounter ...
They're singing those ol' Kevorkian Blues.
Paul Longmore talks about terminal illness and how society misses the real issues.
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