Oregon lawmakers are looking at the possibility of legislation to outlaw a plastic bag with a piece of tubing sewn into it. They cite a death of a man who was suffering greatly but not terminally ill, and who’s family is blaming the existence of the mail-order plastic bag. Known as the ‘Gladd Bag,’ the ready-made assembly is seen as a time-saving device by some persons wishing to end their life by helium and unsure or for some other reason not into making their own bag.
It doesn’t come with helium. You can’t really end your life easily with it unless you buy helium and connect it all up. Of course, if they banned it and banned helium, you could always use cars, cliffs or horrific methods of suicide – which is what people do.
The decision to take one’s own life is never taken lightly – whether it be for rational reasons such as terminal or incurable illness – or for temporary emotional trauma. We have argued (in the last post) that it would be better for both groups to be able to receive appropriate support (help with dying or help with handling emotional trauma) instead of being pushed to covert, backstreet attempts. Separating emotional horror at an unfortunate death – something we all feel – does not alter the fact that the blame, if any, might have been in lack of effective suicide intervention programmes, not availability of means.
The sources for the Gladd Bag have changed from time to time. Let’s hope they will not be harassed by the current outpouring of some angry individuals, however understandable grief and anger may be.
State Senator Prozanski, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, had never heard of the mail-order helium hood kit until asked by a newspaper for his opinion about its legality in Oregon.
“We are going to move forward with legislation to prohibit this, with criminal penalties or sanctions for individuals involved in selling in the state or (from) out of state to residents in the state,” Prozanski said. “I have a bill being drafted right now. When you think about what is being marketed and to whom and in what state of mind, we need to make every possible effort to protect people’s lives.”
n.b. Even if Gladd Bags cease to be available, members of Exit can make a helium hood by attending one of our workshops (not to be confused with the seminars run by ‘Exit International’). Every person has a chance to make and test one for size, as well as trying the connections safely and in company. Our book Five Last Acts II also details this and several other safe methods with copious diagrams and easy-to-follow instructions, plus information on all the latest gadgets, equipment and addresses. Please note that Exit does not encourage suicide or give one-to-one instructions, but works strictly within applicable law.