local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs

 email us:
 arts and events


Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Gary Carr...The Carr Man!

Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho


For the week of  September 5 - 11, 2001


Debate over physician-assisted suicide should continue

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Kelly Coles and his family now know in excruciating and painful detail what thousands of other U.S. families experience each year.

"Those who were close to my Dad knew how his health was getting worse," Kelly Coles recalled. "His quality of life was very poor. He put on a great front in public …

"It’s obvious," he added sorrowfully, "that his suffering became too much to bear."

The suffering that was too much to bear is what apparently led Ketchum Mayor Guy Coles to do what 30,000-plus other Americans to do every year ¾ take his own life. In his case, with a gun.

Mourners who turned out to fondly eulogize and remember Guy Coles, their mayor and friend, were far different in their reactions from the reactions of others just a few generations ago. Suicide once was a disgrace, cowardice, even morally unacceptable to some religions that refused to even provide comforting words and a place of burial.

Probably no one could’ve prevented Guy Coles from ending his life, not even suicide prevention programs. He was in desperate pain from years of illness and failing health, he’d developed breathing difficulties, he was despondent.

The National Alliance for Mental Illness’ Wood River Valley spokesperson, Tewa Evans, says Idaho’s suicide rate is the fifth highest in the nation. In 1996, the state’s suicide rate was listed as 12th by one anti-suicide organization. It’s the ninth leading cause of death in the state, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Suicides are increasing, especially among the elderly, where despondency and illness have a deteriorating effect on the quality of life, as well as the ability to pay for adequate health care. The suicide rate in western states is higher, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Despite the best intervention efforts of mental health groups and families, suicide seems inevitably the only solution for those who feel life is too painful to bear.

This is why the debate over physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill should continue without being rejected out of hand as unthinkable.

If someone who is hopelessly ill is determined to end life, surely a decent and humane end is more desirable than ugly and violent self-inflicted methods.

Several Ketchum businesses as well as at least one government building seem to be improperly displaying the American flag by leaving it hoisted on a pole at night and during inclement weather.

Title 36 of the U.S. Code Chapter 10 specifies in Section A "it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness."

Section C requires that "the flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed."

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.