There is not something that they can do

There isn’t any doubt in our mind as citizens that murder is
a crime and should result in penalty. Even when the murder is a result of a
crime or passion, or an accident like vehicular situations, or even warranted
in self-defense situations, we still understand that murder is a crime and will
result. The same black and white philosophy is not applied when it comes to
suicide, which is an act that results in death but is not legally defined as
murder or even criminal. Although it is not illegal to commit suicide, it is
however illegal to assist someone with suicide. How can it be illegal to assist
someone with something this is technically legal? Well, ultimately it boils
down to the preservation of life being a high priority in any country with a
fully developed government and judicial system. Crime is not a black and white
term that can easily be defined. In fact, what is criminal in one state or
country can be completely legal in another. As Lynch, Stretesky, and Long
explains in, ”What is Crime?”, most criminologists would probably argue that
the definition of crime is defined by the state and is not something that they
can do much, if anything, to change or influence. Crime is what the law
states”( 27).

In a study done by Hayes, Hennessy,
and Prenzler on crime and its definition, they explore in their book, ”An
Introduction To Crime And Criminology’, how society does not have a firm grasp
on what crime really means and because of that, it is extremely detrimental and
dangerous. In their article,  ”An Introduction
To Crime And Criminology”, Hayes, Hennessy, and Prenzler explains how despite
widespread agreement in the criminological literature that crime is a violation
of the criminal law, the question “What is crime?” remains relatively
understudied with a few notable exceptions such as Lanier and Henry’s study in
2001, Quinney’s study in 1970 (2). According to Hayes, Hennessy, and Prenzler,
”limiting the definition of crime to a violation of the criminal law rules out
the legitimate criminological study of certain kinds of harmful behaviors that
have the same characteristics and effects as behaviors defined as crime by the
criminal law” (3).
            When it comes to the act of
assisting an individual with suicide, it is a very controversial subject that
warrants many debates, protests, and discomfort. It differs from state to state
as to what exactly assisting an individual with suicide entails but generally,
any of the following constitutes as assistance with suicide: being involved in
an act which causes someone to die, an example being administering to someone
lethal amounts of detrimental drugs. Additionally, knowingly providing any
tools which you understand will assist someone in committing suicide, offering
advice on effective ways to commit suicide, and agreeing or encouraging someone
that they should commit suicide all can lead to you committing the crime of
assisting an individual with suicide.
There are, of course, a few exceptions to being illegal in your assisting with
the act of suicide but overall, most states have laws intact which will
incriminate you and find you to be breaking the law if evidence comes forth
which proves you assisted in any successful suicide attempt.

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The biggest exception which can
impact whether or not you will be incriminated for a helping hand with suicide,
is if you are in a state which has special laws put in place for the allowance
of assisting an individual with crime. To date, Oregon, California, Colorado,
and the District of Columbia all have passed laws making it legal to assist
with suicide in very specific medical circumstances.  Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act allows grants
physicians permission to  prescribe
lethal medication to terminally ill individuals who wish to end their lives.
California’s End of Life law grants physicians the same permission and  Colorado and the District of Columbia carry
similar laws.

Despite those few states which have made
exceptions to the general rule that assisting with suicide is illegal, it is
still extremely taboo and leaves many of the community members which reside in
those states with unease and discomfort. Overall, it is a resounding sentiment
that it is morally wrong to assist with any act that will result in the loss
life of an individual. As stated prior, the preservation of human life is an
utmost and valued principle to the United States.

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