lunes, 8 de agosto de 2016

BioEdge: 19 intellectually disabled murdered in Japan

BioEdge: 19 intellectually disabled murdered in Japan

19 intellectually disabled murdered in Japan

Prayers at the care centre   
Japan’s biggest mass murder since World War II has provoked a debate over the notions of “mercy killing” and eugenics. Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old with a history of mental instability, broke into a home for the disabled in Sagamihara, a city near Tokyo on July 26. He stabbed 19 residents to death and seriously wounded 25 others. He then turned himself into the police. “I did it,” he told police. “It is better that disabled people disappear.”

In February Uematsu had been committed involuntarily to a psychiatric hospital after writing a letter to the Japanese parliament outlining a plan for killing the disabled. “I envision a world where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanised, with an agreement from the guardians, when it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities,” the letter said. The deaths would promote world peace, benefit the global economy and prevent World War III. He wrote that he would kill 470 patients in two facilities during a night shift.

However after short time Uematsu was discharged as psychiatrists believed that he was not dangerous.

On Twitter and in major newspapers the murders were condemned as a hate crime and as a revival of Nazi ideology. “With this, we can also catch a glimpse of the philosophy of eugenics, which sought to eliminate the ‘inferior presence’ of the disabled,” the Tokyo Shimbun said in an editorial. The National Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities issued a statement stressing the unique value of the victims’ lives, no matter how disabled they were:

“The suspect in this incident has made statements to the effect that he denies respect for the lives of disabled people. However, each one of our children, whatever their disability, regard their lives as important and live eagerly. We families care for them, supporting their steps one at a time. Each life that was cruelly taken was irreplaceable. The person who committed this crime must face it squarely and recognize the gravity of his act.”
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The Games of the XXXI Olympiad have just started in Rio de Janeiro. A few thousand young men and women will be sweating in their competitions; a few billion people will be watching them on television screens; and a few bioethicists will be disputing the merits of taking drugs and human enhancement. Stretching the body to its limits, going "Faster, Higher, Stronger", is a thrilling spectacle. But -- this is just a personal crochet -- I've always sought out the human drama in the Olympics, which sometimes has nothing to do with record books. 
My favourite Olympic moment comes from the marathon at the 1968 Games in Mexico. John Stephen Akhwari, of Tanzania, began to cramp up because of the high altitude conditions. And then at the 19 kilometre mark, he fell and badly injured his knee and shoulder. But on he ran, or stumbled, and as dusk was falling, he hobbled into the nearly empty stadium, a bandage flapping around his leg, and crossed the finish line an hour after the winner. When they asked him why he bothered, he replied, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race."
You can enhance stamina and speed, but can you enhance courage and loyalty? 
Have you any favourite Olympic stories? 

Michael Cook

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