Your Views for January 4

Death with dignity

The principles of liberty, self-determination and individual autonomy are deeply ingrained in our traditions and embedded in our history.

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It is from these principles I derive the conviction that mentally competent, terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or less should have the freedom and legal right to choose to end suffering, to hasten death and to die with dignity, aided by specially trained physicians.

To deny them this fundamental human right is unjust, cruel and perverse.

In a free society, individuals must be allowed to make such deeply personal and momentous decisions for themselves, out of their own conscience and beliefs.

Their right to choose to hasten death with the assistance of licensed medical professionals should not be proscribed by government.

When a patient’s suffering is intractable and cannot be effectively managed by currently available palliative measures, and when, in the patient’s judgment, relief by early death would be preferable, then medical aid in dying should be available as a legal option. The patient’s right to choose, and not the choice itself, should be the primary consideration.

I trust that our state legislators are listening closely to the broad majority of voters who favor medical aid in dying in the Aloha State.

Ron Hart

Mountain View

Student’s letter

I commend Tarissa Williams for the letter she wrote to the editor (Tribune-Herald, Your Views, Dec. 30). She hopefully will be able to change our community’s attitude — especially in our young people.

Yes, ohana activities are needed. Miniature golf, bowling (as we once had) and other activities help our youth remember you’re only a kid once. Climb trees or hills, play a variety of fun games and just enjoy the treasure of living in Hawaii.

The iPods, computers, cellphones and other technology have taken away libraries, creativity and the joy of being young.

Mahalo, Tarissa, for hopefully giving our community a new start for our new year. “Make your gratitude your attitude” is a good start.

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Lynise Tarring

Hilo