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Hemlock

December 16, 1990

To correct an error in the letter regarding euthanasia (Dec. 2), it was of course not Plato who drank the hemlock but Socrates.

He was not "executed for crimes against Athens," but drank the hemlock voluntarily as a final gesture of honor for having offended the city by speaking the truth, as he saw it, concerning the gods.

The Hemlock Society also attempts to tell the truth as it sees it, which is that it is inhumane cruelty to prolong the degradation, pain and agony of terminally ill people who beg for release from intolerable suffering. No compassionate person would let a dog or any other animal without hope of recovery needlessly suffer a slow, agonizing inevitable death. Yet this is precisely what is done to humans who have not had the foresight to prepare a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care while they are still of sound mind and body.

ALICE MACQUEEN COX

La Jolla

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