Things That Matter
Charles Krauthammer
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
Chapter 9

The author made life and death the central themes in this chapter. He starts by talking about assisted suicide. In the modern world, the term is familiar to many individuals, and it is widely used around the globe. The issue here is the legalization of the process. Usually, assisted suicide is there to help those with terminal illnesses. However, other individuals may seek the services concerning the mental torture they undergo concerning various issues of life. The writer gives the example of a Dutch woman who sought to die after losing her two sons (Krauthammer 135). Therefore, he thinks that the same might happen if America legalizes the issue. Apart from that, he tackles the issue of stem cells and the false promises made by John Kelly in his campaigns. The author expounds on the complexity of the approach, as it is one of the solutions under research among many other possibilities.

The end-of-life counseling also holds ground in Krauthammer’s work. He sees it as an essential process that needs attention, as the sick need to know their futures more so if they suffer from terminal illnesses (Krauthammer 139). Apart from that, the family members should have a say and should be involved to ensure that a good death prevails. Besides, mass murder is a serious issue and making it a medical issue may create the wrong impression. The author thinks that medicalizing mass murder not only exonerates, but it also turns the murderer into a victim, which is not usually the case (Krauthammer 141). Again, on death, it is good when the dying choose how they die. However, some never get the chance to do so, as they meet different tragedies that end their lives instantly. This may occur through murder, a situation where the victim has no say on the death terms. Lastly, Krauthammer gives an analysis of embryonic research, a complex and complicated subject that scientists feel proud of discovering (Krauthammer 145).


The issue of death concerns many individuals in the world. This comes because of its inevitability and universality. Assisted suicide aims to help the dying escape pain. However, there are those suffering from mental pain and torture and may not be eligible for the service. This issue makes the author question the purpose of the service, as mental pain may last longer while pain from a terminal illness is only for a period. Due to the inevitability of death, counseling the dying on the issue is an important aspect. This is because it helps them approach death positively, and they can handle the issue with fewer complications. It also helps those left behind to cope with the absence of their loved one with ease. Those who deny people this chance mainly through murder should receive sever and proper punishment for their actions. The author uses the case of Kitty Genovese to explain his point and stand on the issue of double tragedy (Krauthammer 143). The embryonic research is a way used by scientist to help bring forth life. Nonetheless, the concept has ethical issues that require close attention, as it is not nature’s way of reproduction.

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