X-Message-Number: 20022
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 14:50:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jeff Davis <>

Subject: political approach to legalizing self-termination and suspension 

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> Message #20014 
> Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 08:38:47 -0400 
> From: Thomas Donaldson  

> It is a real pity that both Scott and J Corbally 
> look only at the scientific issues involved, when the real problem is 
> that of  legal possibility. I detest politics, but would have 
> to say that  this is one problem which can only be solved by some 
> astute politics. 
> And after all, if we are allowed to be suspended 
> while alive, there  is no reason why the suspension team could not 
> simply commence the  operation of suspending us, probably with the 
> patient (us) under  anesthesia. Looking for complex ways to commit 
> suicide misses the issue entirely. 

For the purpose of discussion, allow me to suggest the following 'political' 
approach to a solution.

Contact your legislative representatives, fed and state, four senators and two 
house members (I'm speaking for Americans, here.).  Request narrow legislative 
relief, ie a bill for you and you alone.  By limiting the application of the 
legislation, you can position yourself to exploit the individual rights issue.  
Show that you respect the traditions and the rights of others, the rights to 
freedom of belief, and to the free exercise of those beliefs. Leverage this into
an appeal for the reciprocal consideration.  Demonstrate as unequivocally as 
possible the intent to prevent any imposition or impact of your beliefs on 
others.  Not that it won't, inevitably, have an impact on others, everything is 
connected and society is constantly evolving, but you get points for trying.

Though there should certainly be one, I have no plan for the media campaign part
of this effort.  Feel free to make suggestions.  

Save the paperwork.

If the legislative-relief approach works the first time out, great.  If not, you
can and should "try, try again".  But, supposing that you do not succeed 
immediately and that the legislation you seek is not forthcoming, then fork the 
effort to the next step.

The larger scope of this--that is, encompassing more than just the appeal to the
legislative reps--is to build a record of the orderly and respectful pursuit of
your aim.  Make the attempt through proper channels.

When the legislative approach proves initially unavailing, then seek out and 
begin a dialogue with the State Department.  Explain to them what you're trying 
to achieve, and inquire as to how the legal details of citizenship effect the 
effort.  What I'm getting at here is that if you can't legally and optimally 
self-terminate in this jurisdiction (where US law applies), then one option open
to you is to seek a jurisdiction where you can.  But, your citizenship follows 
you wherever you go, and with it the obligations of the US Govt to "protect" 
you.  So you need to confer with the State Dept to find out how to achieve your 
aims without 'affront to the law'.  I don't know if this is grounded in reality,
or is just my naive 'notion' of the way things work, but the intent here is to 
build a relationship with the various interested and powerful parties.  A 
relationship characterized by a demonstrated respect for their 'turf'.  The 
kinds of issues you want to discuss are:  "Can I achieve my aim by renouncing my
citizenship?"  "If so, how do I go about it most effectively (*and without any 
inference of hostility)?" "If my 'remains' are repatriated from another 
jurisdiction, how can I prevent autopsy?"

Conferring with the State Dept can achieve several aims.  The first is the 
establishment of a relationship of mutual respect.  The second is the creation 
of a documentary record--the more documentation the better:paper, audio, video, 
(other?)--of the effort.  The third would be the actual achievement of your aim:
to gain the approval and cooperation, of the Govt, and a knowledge of the 
details of how to go elsewhere, and, without affront or conflict with the laws 
of the US, to optimally and legally self-terminate.

Now supposing that Bhutan, Burundi, Belgium,or Belize provide a legal climate 
appropriate for you purposes, what next?  Traveling to some remote jurisdiction 
is inconvenient, even if you are healthy enough.  Then there is the problem of 
performing the suspension procedure in that far-flung locale, or, alternately 
flying your body back to your cryonics service provider.  All of these 
logistical hurdles are both hugely inconvenient, costly, and most important, 
likely to compromise the quality of suspension to well below optimal.  The 
solution (I hope and propose) is to be found in the laws applying to ships at 
sea.  Isn't a ship considered to be the territory of the country of the flag 
under which it flies?  If so, then all you would need is a boat large enough to 
conduct a suspension on, and which flies the flag of a country where you can 
legally self-terminate.  You get on board, sail out twelve miles, carry out the 
suspension, return to port, and transport the patient to storage.      

If you have done all that is required to accomplish this legally, then you can 
keep all the various interested parties apprised of the undertaking,  ;-) , at 
all stages; even invite representatives of interested parties to attend as 
observers.  Of course, the procedure would be thoroughly documented at all 
points.  This, added to the previously compiled documentary record, should serve
to establish the legal propriety of the action, providing evidence in support 
of your case in the event of subsequent legal challenge.   

Best, Jeff Davis

"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. 
And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences."
                    P.J. O'Rourke 

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