Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Committee

Doctor Norman rolled his eyes as he walked by the protester. His sign said, "Human Beings Are Worth Preserving." He represented an archaic and hopefully vanishing attitude. The kind of attitude he had worked so hard against in establishing the committee. Humans were just another animal, and not always the most useful kind, and there were too many of them anyway. Why should society be burdened with carrying the burden of the imperfect and unfit and unwanted? Why should we, as a people, be required to pay the money required for treating the unlikely to be healed or training those unlikely to be normal? But the committee decided who should receive treatment and who, in a kind and merciful way, should be put to sleep.

"So you are out here protesting the committee," he stated to the protester. When he received merely a hostile stare, he continued, "Surely you must realize you are putting yourself on the wrong side of history."

"When history is going the wrong direction, it must be turned around," returned the protester. "And seeing human beings, who God made, as simply disposable is the wrong direction.We have no right to play God."

"So you believe in some mythical being who controls the world," the doctor retorted. "Do you not see that we are nothing but the products of nature? Mere matter and energy."

"If our thoughts are nothing more than the results of the atoms bouncing around in our brains," replied the protester, "how can we expect to know anything reliably, including that we are just matter and energy? But if we are creations of God, we cannot be treated as merely disposable."

The doctor turned away, shaking his head, murmuring under his breath, "Sentimentalism."

As approached the front door, a disheveled-looking young man jumped from the shadows. "Are you Doctor Norman?" he shouted.

"Yes," the doctor mumbled, taken aback.

"You are the architect of the committee," he shouted even louder. "You killed my wife!"

"Now, calm down," the doctor muttered, "let's discuss this."

"There is nothing to discuss. She would have lived even after the accident. I was willing to take care of her. But your committee killed her."

The distressed young man drew a blaster from his pocket. But as he fired, the protestor came running at him from the side, knocking him away. The blaster fired, but its aim was off, hitting the wall behind the doctor. The wall exploded, sending a mass of bricks falling down on him. As a brick hit him on the head, he lost consciousness.

He woke up on a hospital bed, his friend Doctor Lyman looking down over him and his wife hovering in the background. He tried to sit up, but his arms would not obey his will. "What happened," he croaked.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but your spinal cord was damaged when the bricks fell on you," said Doctor Lyman in his best medicinal voice. "I am afraid you have been paralyzed from the neck down."

He sat for a minute in shock. What good was a surgeon without his hands? But he still had his medical knowledge.

"It will be all right," he said, his eyes fixed on his wife, "I can retrain. I will be as good a doctor as I am now. Maybe even better."

His wife turned away, tears filling her eyes. "I am sorry," said Doctor Lyman, maintaining his medicinal voice, "but the committee has already made its decision. It is really what is best for all involved."


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