'I make it look like they died in their sleep'
May 12, 2008 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Death's Midwife: Jon Ronson meets the Reverend George Exoo, controversial right-to-die activist.

Exoo faced extradition to Ireland on charges of aiding and abetting or procuring the suicide of Rosemary Toole who died in Dublin in January 2002, but a West Virginia Judge blocked his extradition on the grounds that 25 of the 50 states do not criminalise the conduct with which Exoo was charged in Ireland. The full text of the judgment here (warning, pdf). Reverend Exoo continues with his work.

Jon Ronson previously. Assisted suicide previously.
posted by tiny crocodile (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Read this this morning, Ronson again proves his genius.
The good Reverand is probably just deluded and has a super creepy fixation with sending people to the better world, but the apprentice he trained up... well, let's just say it's at times like this that I really wish there is a hell, because people who help the mentally ill commit suicide for profit, really do deserved a special place there.
I look forward to documentary... but I doubt it's going to be exactly fun viewing.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2008

The soul is death's baby.
posted by jamjam at 8:51 AM on May 12, 2008

I wonder if people will stop mistaking him for Louis Theroux and start mistaking him for John Oliver.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on May 12, 2008

I missed the "for profit" part, though I see he got his plane tickets reimbursed. Do you think he ended up financially better off for having done what he did?
posted by small_ruminant at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2008

Exoo's not doing it for profit...

Exoo was paying for the petrol even though he was broke. He said he asked for donations from his clients but often didn't get them, but he didn't care because this was his calling.

Though 'Susan' on the other hand...

"I see this as a business," she said. "George sees it as a calling. There's a big difference there. For me it's no cash, no help." She said her price was approximately $7,000.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2008

That 'Susan' character is very scary. Ronson explains that prior to interviewing her he had given her assurances that he would conceal her identity - hence the quotation marks around her name. Although he does mention that she flew to New Zealand to help a depressed woman who had 'some sort of breathing disorder' commit suicide. Ironically, she helped her overcome her breathing disorder, but assisted her suicide anyway. When the irony is pointed out, she says 'Somebody's got to pay the bills'.

I hope the New Zealand authorities are taking note.
posted by tiny crocodile at 10:06 AM on May 12, 2008

Holy crap! I was going off the other article, that only talked about Exoo. Yes, Susan needs stopping. Yi!
posted by small_ruminant at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2008

Am I right in thinking the number one reason for assisted suicide is because you want your family to reap the life insurance benefits?

Seems to me that perhaps the true evil in the case of assisted suicides would then be life insurance companies. On the surface, they can pretend that someone's "cheating the system" if they buy a huge life insurance policy and then off themselves, but on quite the other - that person's dead. And life insurance is supposed to help the family prepare them for burial, and (in a best-case scenario) use some of the funds to put into pursuing things in their life that might have a better chance of possibility had the person still been alive.

If the purpose of assisted suicide is more commonly because the person looking to shuffle off the coil but they don't really have it "in them" to do it themselves - or want a more professional and painless death - then it's a lot more likely the person looking for help in that department is being taken advantage of, as they probably don't really want to die that badly.
posted by revmitcz at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Revmitcz, I think that the insurance question is a bit of a non-issue. It doesn't appear that being an "assisted suicide" as opposed to a regular suicide would affect the payout on any life insurance policies. I'm no expert in this area but the straight dope, for example, suggests that, as long as the suicide occurs more than two years after the policy was taken out, there will be a payout. This is true in most American states as a result of regulation by those states of the contents of life insurance policies.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:42 PM on May 12, 2008

Wesley J. Smith's book - http://www.amazon.com/Forced-Exit-Slippery-Assisted-Legalized/dp/0812927907

The best argument against assisted suicide I've read.
posted by pianomover at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2008

Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder

Wow, now there's an unbiased, reasonable book title! I think I'll write a book on the subject, too.

I'm planning to call it Ad Hominem: Why Jack Kevorkian Is Horrible, No Good, and Very Very Bad, So His Argument Is Too.
posted by vorfeed at 12:26 PM on May 13, 2008

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