PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE: Mercy or mayhem? (Series)

Physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients is legal in four states — Vermont, Montana, Oregon, and Washington — as well as in one county in New Mexico. On the following pages, students debate the pros and cons of this life-altering practice.

  Believe the reality. Don’t live in the dark. Physician-assisted suicide is ethical because peace can come to your spirit and your legacy can be honored by your family as they remember you in a good way. Some people think that this decision is not correct. They say that God is the giver of life and therefore the only one who can remove it. But if you are terminally and suffering, you have the right to make your own decisions.
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  This one song by the group Stravaganzza -- “Hijo de la Luna” or “Son of the Moon” -- tells quite the myth. The story is said to be the explanation of why the moon goes crescent. It starts off with a slow ballad-like intro, the lead singer’s voice soft and eerie.  

“Tonto el que no entienda cuenta una leyenda que una hembra gitana onjuró a la luna hasta el amanecer llorando pedia al llegar el dia desposar un calé.”

    The song talks about a lonely gypsy woman praying to the moon for a husband. The moon agrees -- but only in exchange for her first born. As the music continues to intensify, going from lullaby to heavy metal, the lyrics tell of the gypsy woman meeting a man of dark skin and marrying him. When the child is born, he is albino -- resembling not the father but the moon itself. In a fit of rage, the husband kills the woman because he believes she cheated on him. He abandons the child. As the song nears its end, it begins to explain why the moon becomes crescent -- a result of it lessening to make the crying boy a cradle.  

“Y en las noches que haya luna llena será porque el niño esté de buenas y si el niño llora menguará la luna para hacerle una cuna y si el niño llora menguará la luna para hacerle una cuna.”

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“In this life,” Walker says, “we must have responsibilities, but we should still have time to have fun.” For teens, the meaning of life is very much something they want to figure out for themselves. Rosauri Lara, 14, from South Boston, says she knows many older people who complain to her about all the things they wished they’d done when they were young. “I don’t want to end up like that,” says Lara. “I believe that you’re able to do whatever you want to do only if you decide that’s how you want to live your life. Your life is what you make it.” Keahja Pittman, 14, from Dorchester, says many teens are up to the challenge. “Every day we take chances to go out and explore the world,” says Pittman, “we are getting closer to figuring out the meaning of life.”
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  A teenage girl was walking by a group of guys at Ashmont station recently when one of them called out: “Dusty” – street slang for ugly. The teen became furious. “Why are you calling me dusty when you don’t even know me?” she yelled back. Doesn’t matter why, but boys all over town are disrespecting females for no reason. They act like it’s their right, girls say. Serena Gorash, 14, has been on the receiving end of this random rudeness, too. “One time I was walking in the hallway with my friend and this dude out of nowhere says I have fat calves,” says Gorash, who goes to Boston Community Leadership Academy. “I felt disrespected in some sort of way.” Soleen Balata, 15, from BCLA, had a similar experience. “I was talking to my friend about a hypothetical question and a boy came in the middle,” Balata says, and made fun of her body. “It made me upset. I think it’s unattractive….It’s a bad quality in a guy.” Grace Richard, 14, from BCLA, has advice for those targeted by such crudeness. “Tell them off,” she says, “because it will make you feel better.”
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“If you’re comfortable with your surroundings, then your interactions will be more positive,” says Robin, who goes to the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. There are a lot of different emotions that come with being the new guy or girl on the block. You may have to act a certain way based on the setting and the type of people you are surrounded with. It sometimes requires you to step out of your comfort zone. Some teens can turn what may seem like a disadvantage into their favor as 16-year-old Asa Stephenson did while in the seventh grade. He says he was the only person of color in his New York school – but he made it work. “I was better at basketball than everybody,” says Stephenson, from the O’Bryant. Evens Louis-Jean, 16, from the O’Bryant, got his first job last summer, working in a communications position. He didn’t know anybody. “At first,” he says, “it’s like I’m not there.” But time passed and everything seemed normal. “After,” he says, “I act lively because I have adapted.” This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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