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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Helping hands

What's that old quip, "With friends like that, you don't need enemies"?

Police were called to the home of Robert Crow, 38, at 116 E. Willow St. around 8:20 p.m. When officers arrived, they found Jaime Gasso, 43, dead from a single gunshot wound.

Crow made the 911 call, and was arrested for assisting in a suicide. That is a Class C felony. Thursday the Dekalb County coroner confirmed Gasso's death was a suicide.

[. . .]

Heffelfinger said Crow and Gasso were friends from work. Wednesday night Gasso went over to Crow's house.

"At some point, Mr. Gasso expressed the desire to commit suicide at which time Mr. Crow provided him the means to do that," Heffelfinger said.

Police said Crow gave Gasso a handgun.

[. . .]

 A friend of both Crow and Gasso called NewsChannel 15 and said Gasso was going through some tough personal issues. He said he talked Gasso out of killing himself several times in the past. The friend added Gasso would have likely taken his own life at some point without Crow's gun, and Crow shouldn't be to blame.

So Gasso was depressed. That being the case, he might have felt very different about his life the next day, as attested to by the mutual friend who had already talked him out of suicide several times. People depressed about life in general tend to change their minds more often than, say, those who are terminally ill. And no matter what the mutual friend thinks, it's not certain Gasso "would have likely taken his own life at some point." He might have had life-changing therapy or a change to better drugs. Lots of potential suicides have been turned around.

But now, Gasso doesn't have the chance to change his mind. That finality is one reason (but only one) assisted suicde is so morally problematical, and why it is appropriately labeled a crime. The moral dilemma is something we need more debate on as assisted suicide becomes more and more a legal option (Montana just became the third state allowing physician-assisted suicide). I suspect it's not very far at all from "Oh, you poor old thing, may I help you die?" to "Why don't you hurry along instead of taking up space and costing money?"


Bob G.
Fri, 01/08/2010 - 12:16pm

Makes me wonder if this particular event is not a microcosm of this health care debacle.
Let someone ELSE "take care of you".

Interesting to say the least.