Amazon sell plastic bags, duct tape and plastic tubing. All quite legal. But stick them together and you could have a swat team breaking your door down it seems. Sharlotte Hydorn is 91yrs-old, a retired science teacher, puts the bags together by adding some elastic and taping a bit of poly-tubing to the bag. It’s not a lethal device but, connected to inert gas, it can be used for suicide (or growing orchids). Yesterday, US federal agents raided her home and seized a sewing machine as evidence, together with her computers and some boxes of ready-made ‘kits.’ These ‘GLADD bags’ as they have come to be known, are popular with people who want to be armed against any turn of health that might turn out to be unrelievable and unbearable. And who are too lazy perhaps to make their own.
Notwithstanding the absurdity of it, or the whopping US$60 it costs to buy one, most Exit members prefer to make their own. The procedure for making (and in the eventuality using) them is very straightforward and has been described by many newspapers. For the detail-conscious reader, our book, Five Last Acts goes into every minutiae, answers every question, and in a 40 page chapter with copious annotations and 24 step-by-step diagrams. In our workshops, it often entails a fun race to see who can complete a bag and try it on for size. (I have one video clip of several elderly ladies jumping for joy and waving for the camera – all with bags neatly over their heads and somewhat resembling gerontological aliens. We’ve even put the method in our magazine. It’s not morbid. It’s not irresponsible. It’s simply KNOWLEDGE that some people feel more secure having than not having.
Does it encourage suicides in the emotionally disturbed? Not according to most of the evidence (independent meta-studies from several continents). The urge to live is strong. If a person, temporary disturbed, decides to end his or her life, they simply (and sadly) choose the most available method – which method – not if. Take away one means and the person simply uses something else.
But confiscating some harmless plastic from an very elderly lady clearly makes the security forces feel they are doing their job . . .