ethel’s words

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THE TORTURE OF BARZEE (Or anyone else)

Forcing medication is torture; there can be no doubt about that. Beyond the terror at loss of freedom (as the freedom reflex sets in) there is the cognitive question: Is it to be a fatal dose?

Administering concealed medication can induce torture, also: remember the young man who committed suicide due to fearful psychotic experiences after the military dosed him without telling him (during the Viet Nam era).

Torture is now, and always has been, valued in Utah as a behavior-directing practice, whether in the nursery or the state penitentiary. Results with torture seem to be varied, from totally broken spirit and subservience, or suicide, to rebellion and aimless violence.

The enabling court has more to think about than whether torture is acceptable. The real problem with Barzee, I suspect, is that she will say only what the Powers don’t want said--ever, at all. But the court must decide whether the centuries dripping with bloody examples can justify this modern mode of torture, and more importantly, how it will meet the test of the U.S. Constitution--if anybody cares.

If a physician does it, does that make it okay? A physician is not permitted to deliver mercy, but then, who is? A judge? “May God have mercy on your soul.” (“Inasmuch as I didn’t.”)

Ethel C. Hale


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