The inevitable denouement to last night’s post from Allahpundit has provided yet another twist in the twisted tale of Frank Va den Bleeken. The serial rapist and murderer demanded to be “euthanized” rather than serve a life sentence for his crimes, and the family of his victim demanded that he live out his sentence to natural death. Now, rather than having a legal judgment determine his fate, the doctors that were supposed to help Van den Bleeken get his last wish have overridden it and the law instead:
The rapist and murderer who won the right to be voluntarily put to death in Belgium this Sunday will not be euthanised following a medical decision, an official said.
Justice minister Koen Geens said in a statement on Tuesday that he would take note “of the decision of doctors treating Mr Frank Van den Bleeken to no longer continue the euthanasia procedure”. …
Van Den Bleek is not physically ill, but claims that his “psychological suffering” is unbearable and that he would prefer to die than spend more of his life behind bars.
But doctors at the specialist clinic to which he was sent for the lethal injection decided on Tuesday not to go through with the procedure this weekend as scheduled.
So far, not too many details of the demurral have been released. Did the inmate change his mind, or did the doctors pull the plug on, er, pulling the plug? The initial report suggests that doctors made this decision on their own, which throws a whole new level of hypocrisy into the mix. (Officials declined to discuss the decision on the basis of medical privacy.) Belgium, like the rest of Europe, has banned the death penalty for punishment but offers a wide range of what amounts to executions on request that are protected by law. If Van den Bleeken wanted to die, in other words, Belgium would seem to be on shaky ground to deny that demand, since they consider “euthanasia” a proper medical treatment for an increasing number of ailments, most of which aren’t fatal otherwise.
So much for the Hippocratic Oath in Belgium: First, do no harm.
On the other hand, it could very well be that Van den Bleeken changed his mind. That might account for the demurral on privacy grounds, and it would fit the profile of a sociopath as well. The worst punishment for a sociopath is knowing that no one’s thinking about them, and many of those who get imprisoned for their crimes spend years manipulating the courts and the media to make themselves the center of attention. Ted Bundy mastered that schtick right up until Florida executed him, dispensing with his offer to reveal the locations of bodies he’d left behind — at his own pace, of course. Van den Bleeken may have concocted this whole circus just to relieve his own boredom but balked at the final act. For now, anyway.
At least at the moment, Belgium can’t use Van den Bleeken to set a new euthanasia record for 2015. In 2013, they hit an apex of 1,807 medical homicides, and data is not yet available for 2014. In comparison, the US had 322 homicides by rifles in 2012 — which include only in part the kind of assault weapons that are supposedly a national health issue here — which comes to a sixth of the euthanasia incidents in Belgium. That’s a country with a population of only 11 million people, or about 1/30th that of the US. The overall US murder rate in 2012 was 3.8 in every 100,000; the overall euthanasia rate in Belgium was 16.3 out of every 100,000 people in 2013. Sleep well tonight, Belgians.