Sometimes cops nab the wrong person, even when the evidence is strong. What's important is that innocent people are never punished or held accountable for the actions of the guilty. And no, Ted Cruz is not the Zodiac Killer - probably.
I_am_js asked police officers of Reddit: What is your best "I think we have the wrong person" story?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
15. Double the fun.
I've got two, from twenty-five years ago when I was a cop, one on one side of the badge and one from the other.
The first, I got assigned a warrant service to pick up a wanted felon. Mr. Robertson was 6' tall, 250 pounds, long red hair, bushy red beard, and lived at, let's say, 123 Elm St. Pretty distinctive dude.
So I roll up to 123 Elm Street, and sure enough, there mowing his lawn in the front yard is the man himself, 6', 250, red hair, red beard. I make contact with him, "Hey, Mr. Robertson? You got warrants and it's time to go to jail."
Hook him up, take him to jail, and in central booking I get his property off him and while filling out the inventory happen to notice this guy is Mr. Robinson, not Robertson.
Sure enough, the wanted guy was my guy's landlord, and his twin-brother-from-another-mother doppelgänger. When I'd said Robertson, Robinson didn't even twig to the fact I hadn't said his name, he just heard the similar sounding name as his own. We had to walk the whole thing back and reactivate the warrant, then kicked him loose with a handshake and an apology.
The one from the other side, I had just gotten off duty at 2 AM and was driving home still in uniform. There wasn't any other traffic on the road, so I wasn't really surprised when a police car turned in behind me and started following me. I figured he was trolling for drunks and I was the only thing moving on the road, so he was just going to follow me a little to observe my driving, and he'd realize pretty quick I was sober and peel off.
Instead another patrol car joined him.
And another. And another.
Then all four lit me up, and spread out behind me, blocking the road in a full felony stop.
Well, this just got interesting.
They went through the whole procedure, and I carefully followed their instructions. When they finally got me out and saw my uniform, they just stopped for a few seconds while I was trying to figure out just what the hell was going on. Then three of the officers got in their cars, turned off their lights, and took off, while the original officer told me I could put my hands down and explained what was going on.
My car was a spot on match for the suspect vehicle in an armed robbery and shooting that had just occurred right up the road. I'd driven right by the scene before the cops even got there a few minutes before the officer in the next district spotted me and thought I was the suspect.
It was an interesting night.
14. Nine-year-olds rob candy stores, Marv.
There had been a string of robberies (7 in 2 weeks) in my neighborhood, so everyone was on high alert. I was home by myself, and one of my dogs started puking, so I rushed to let him outside, forgetting my dad had set the alarm. We had a silent alarm, so I had no clue it had been tripped, sending out a dispatch request to the local 5-0.
5 minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I'm young, home alone by myself, and had been told to never answer the door if I was alone. So I didn't. They kept knocking.
Long story short (they broke the door down), they thought they had caught the burglars. Multiple cars, I vaguely remember there being a K-9 unit involved, and the police had their suspect; a 9-year-old girl, crying her eyes out.
I was not the group of thieves, who ended up being caught about a week later.
I'd like to imagine them putting you in cuffs, high-fiving each other and telling you you'd be going to jail for a long time for your crimes.
I remember them being just as confused as I was. But, I did get to be 'put into custody', as it was looked down upon to leave a young child (under 12) by themselves, so they had to talk to my dad before they left. He had gone to work, and I was waiting for my mom to get home. So they both came home to cops in their house lol.
13. I didn't do that, I did *this*.
Two of my colleagues (murder squad detectives) attended custody to meet a defendant answering bail - when they arrived at the custody desk there were a couple of people hanging around, waiting for their solicitors - they told the custody Sargent they were there for (insert name) and he pointed one of the guys out. They went up and introduced themselves and said they they would be questioning him at another station, so all three got in the car and headed off.
Whilst driving, they told the defendant what would be happening - on arrival he would be arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, questioned and either bailed or remanded. The guy was like "you've got to be joking, attempt murder? I was shoplifting!" - he was relatively calm, half laughing and shaking his head. A short time later one of the officer got a call from the custody Sgt - their actual bail appointment had arrived. There were two defendants with the same name answering bail that day.
They apologized to the non-murderous shoplifter, turned the car around and headed back to bring the right person in for questioning. Keystone cops to the max.
Did that count as a confession that he had been shoplifting?
Not admissable as he wasn't under caution, but TBF he may have said "I was nicked (arrested) for shoplifting" or something. Can't remember specifics, had forgotten all about this until this post cropped up
12. When it comes to addiction, nobody wins.
Old neighbor accused me of stealing from his house and eating his food and stealing his dead wife's jewelry. He said I matched the build and clothing of the thief.
Police came to our house and they knew my dad and were skeptical to me being a criminal, I do pass the guys house when I walk home but I didn't even know someone lived there.
Neighbor was adamant when they showed my face to him and said his oldest grandson is going to stay with him so he could be safe.
Grandson arrives and police notice he looks like me, the build and clothing especially.
Yeah, turns out his grandson would come to sneak into his house and steal stuff to feed his drug habit.
11. Numbers don't lie.
In our family we had a great uncle who tattooed his name and Social Security Number to his shoulder. Apparently he had the same name and birthday as another guy with a prison record, and had kept hearing about it. It came in handy at least twice when he was pulled over and the cops started arresting him. Each time he got out because he had his social security as proof that he was innocent.
10. The naaaaame gaaaame.
There is another man two years younger than me who shares my first and last name, exact same spelling. the only difference is the middle name.
Police were investigating a county trustee who was giving people housing assistance checks they didn't qualify for; they would cash the assistance and give the trustee a percentage back. One of the civilians being investigated was the other guy. A plainclothes cop in an unmarked car shows up with a female holding a clipboard, identifies himself as a state trooper, and within five minutes is asking me for copies of my bank records. He's threatening to subpoena if i don't comply.
This isn't the first time i've been mistaken for him (I used to get his mail all the time) and I even asked if they were looking for me or the other guy, pointing out our different middle names. I got really suspicious really fast (a high pressure situation, demanding access to my financial records, threats of subpoenas and further legal action) so i started to doubt this was an actual police officer and was in fact just a scammer. The badge he showed me was just a plastic square like my drivers license, further muddying the issue.
I told him I wanted to speak with the police and called dispatch; two uniformed officers showed up fifteen minutes later and confirmed the guy was an officer. The woman with him was some kind of auditor and records keeper. After a further 15 minutes of questions the woman pulled the guy away and pointed out something on her phone.
Yep, they wanted the other guy.
9. Saved by the doppelgänger?
A Missouri man spent nearly 17 years behind bars for robbery until his doppelganger was discovered — and the other guy looked so much like him that authorities decided to toss out his conviction.
Jones, 41, had been serving a 19-year jail sentence for a 1999 robbery when he heard other inmates buzzing that another prisoner looked just liked him — and even shared his first name, Star said.
It's unclear what the other man was locked up for, and Jones never saw his doppelganger. But he told two legal interns assigned to his case about the rumors, according to Alice Craig, one of Jones' lawyers.
The interns brought the message back to their superiors at the Midwest Innocence Project and the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project, who dug further into the case.
It turned out that not only did the other man bear an uncanny resemblance to Jones, he also lived closer to the site of the crime.
Jones' doppelganger, Ricky Amos, used to live with his mother in Kansas City, Kansas, near the address of the incident, Craig said. Jones lived across the state line in Kansas City, Mo.
"When I saw that picture, it made sense to me," said Jones, who has denied committing the robbery, to the Star.
"Either you're going to think [we're] the same person, or you're going to be like, 'Man, these guys, they look so much alike.' "
His lawyers showed the two men's photos to the victim, two witnesses and the prosecutor in Jones' case — and all four admitted they could not tell the pair apart, according to the Star.
8. There are some systematic issues to address here.
I live in a neighborhood in Indy that is going through a major revitalization right now. So it's very much in a transitional phase. We rent a house from a good friend of ours. He bought the house from some garbage people who had lived there for a long time. These people did, sold, made drugs, there was violence, prostitution, everything. In general the house was disgusting, unlivable, really. Just the worst. Well the scumbags who lived here still try to use our address even after 5 years. About a year and a half ago one of the dudes used our address to renew his driver's license at the BMV.
He even had the audacity to leave a note for us to call him when the license came in. Fast forward a few months, around Christmas time, we are all sitting around, watching TV when we get a knock on the door. My husband answers it and it's a SWAT team with guns drawn. They see my husband, who does not look like a methed out crack head, and inside are our 2 little boys, my parents, and me nursing our baby plus the Christmas tree and all the lovely trappings of our home. They immediately put their guns down and my husband and I have a lovely chat with them. Yeah, they had our house surrounded, guns drawn, the whole shebang, looking for this dude who was wanted on some kind of violent felony. We were pissed at this dude who I refer to as Big Nasty.
I live in a small town in rural England, and we used to get some trainee's/ new police officers from the met there for their training.
Me and some of my friends were teenagers we were walking to the supermarket, because what else is there to do in a small town pre-internet? Suddenly from out of nowhere this police car comes screaming out of nowhere, sirens going and screeches to a halt in front of us.
A young guy, must have only been about five years or so older than us jumps out and starts giving us the whole hairdryer treatment. He lines us up and starts taking our statements of what we had been up to in the last hour/gloating at us "You lads are in trouble now, criminal damage, trespass, theft. You have really screwed up!" With him was the local bobby and he came up to each of us in turn after the younger guy had grilled us and said very jovially "Now don't worry lads, I'm sure it's a misunderstanding, we've had some reports of a break in. You don't match the preliminary description, and I'm sure we'll get this cleared up when we get the more detailed description come through."
So the more detailed description comes through the radio and the young guy is wearing the biggest sh*t-eating grin you've ever seen. The description didn't even remotely match, and honestly the young guy looked so disappointed we all ended up feeling sorry for him.
So yeah, that was probably quite embarrassing for him.
6. I didn't do it, my head is bleeding.
Since everyone else isn't a cop...
I was 16 and worked at a golf course mowing lawns and such. We got a call at home from the cops that said I'm a suspect in a hit and run accident because my plate #s were on the car that drove away without stopping. The cops said the car was maroon colored; my car was gray. We told them and figured that was that.
The next day at work there was a minor accident. A dumbass coworker pulled a metal rake too hard and the rack holding it came down onto my forehead. It wasn't a deep wound, but it bled A LOT. My boss took me to the ER to get my head super glued, and to be safe, took me home too. Thus my car stayed at the golf course.
That evening a cop comes by and finds me with a head wound and my car is missing. I look quite guilty. By sheer luck, the cop calls someone after talking to my parents and discovers they got the guy and the plate numbers were close.
I probably would've been arrested.
5. Yeah, totally understandable mixup.
Obligatory "not a police officer, but.." I travel frequently across the Canada/US border, sometimes by bus. On one bus trip, the whole bus was held up by one woman, who was pulled back to be interrogated. An hour later, she gets back on the bus, announcing that there was a person on the most wanted list with her same name. HOWEVER that person was a 5'4 white male, and she was a relatively tall (probably 5'10?) black woman. It took them an hour of interrogating her to realize they had the wrong person🤦♀️
HOWEVER that person was a 5'4 white male, and she was a relatively tall (probably 5'10?) black woman. It took them an hour of interrogating her to realize they had the wrong person🤦♀️
4. America's Most Wrong.
I'm not a cop, but my mom had a story for this happen to her. Basically, it revolves around the show "Americas Most Wanted."
A woman who looked almost EXACTLY like my mom was featured on the show. She had the same hair, same face, and the kicker, same name. They even showed my moms actual information (which I won't list here) as being the criminal's.
The story ended like every story on that show does. "If you have ANY information regarding the whereabouts of this dangerous criminal, please call this number"
Now onto my moms perspective.
She was just sitting at home on a Saturday night alone, as she lived alone. She was reading a Stephen King book, when she hears some commotion coming from the hallway. She ignores it. Lots of yelling. She had not seen the show which painted her as a criminal.
Then suddenly BAM!!! Her door is knocked down in an instant. About 10 cops flood into her 1 bedroom apartment, and she is arrested.
She explained they had the wrong person. They claimed everything matched. Social security matched. DNA matched. Name matched. Photo resemblance matched.
It turns out the woman was basically stealing my moms identity, and intentionally making herself look like my mom. The end result is that when they created a profile for the criminal, they used my moms information to start with. So when they arrested my mom, of course the information matched.....it was her information originally.
They kept her in jail for 2 weeks. It wasn't until they took fingerprints from the scene of a crime they said she committed, and the prints didn't match, that they realized she wasnt the criminal.
It's scary to think if they had used her profile prints, rather then crime scene prints as the set to compare to, that she would have been still in jail today. It was basically a life sentence.
3. Oh sure, blame the little kid.
I was a curious little kid. My father stopped at a the local liquor store to grab a bottle of wine and I was poking around. The door to the office was unlocked and I wandered inside, sat in the chair and spun around a few times, got bored, wandered out.
A few days later my father gets a call from the police, and we go in. As the officer is speaking to us I proceed to spun around in the chair and pick up and look at everything on his desk. After about a minute the officer says, "thank you for coming in. I see what happened. You can go."
Turned out the owner's teenage son stole a few grand from the store and tried to blame it on the handsy 5-year-old.
2. Filing a false report is a crime, and rightly so. Too bad stupidity isn't.
Not a police officer, but I was the wrong guy once.
I was dating this girl and when things didn't work out, she got vindictive. She had a copy of my car insurance and got a guy friend to pose as me to call the police and report my vehicle stolen. I go be-bopping out of work one glorious Friday afternoon and get felony stopped by about 10 Dallas, TX PD officers. Guns drawn on me and everything, right outside of the large office complex I worked at. Turns out the people who reported my car stolen used their own phone number when filing the report and eventually got caught and charged.
1. We gotta stop traumatizing innocent people.
Well like many other posts I'm not a PO but I did get felony stopped while on Las Vegas blvd. I left work pulled out of the parking garage and turned right on Tropicana. I then see lights behind me and start to pullover thinking it was an emergency vehicle. I am then surrounded by police with guns drawn. This was like midnight on the strip so it was intense. Police make get out walk backwards with my hands on my head. They cuff me and tear into my car almost immediately.
Long story short it was another Mustang with out of state tags involved in a robbery. That was an intense evening.
Have you ever known an innocent person that was charged with a crime? What happened?
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Lies. Life and "wisdom" is littered with lies. Simple, everyday truths we tell ourselves and others are just a fabrication.
I know we want everyone to stay upbeat throughout our time on this Earth, but how desperate do we have to be to swallow some of this poppycock?
It gets better. Times heals wounds. Alcohol doesn't help with weight loss. I love you. Nonsense! Maybe I'm in a mood and exaggerating a smidge, but not by much. LOL
Redditor u/OptionsTrader14 wanted to gather up intel on what parts of popular chatter are just not up to snuff these days by asking:
What popular sayings are actually bulls**t?
Seriously, looking back, how did we not start questioning the origins of these sayings long before we tried to implement them? Or at least when we reached ages when we should know better. Cue the gaslight...
I'll take an Orange!apples caities classroom GIF by Super SimpleGiphy
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Damn, the older I get, the more I wish it were that simple."
"Love is never having to say you're sorry." I think from the movie, Love Story. Stupid and ridiculous."
"Said to Ryan O'Neil in "Love Story." In "What's up Doc?" Barbara Streisand quotes the line to Ryan at the end and he replies: "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard"
The past year it has been "We're in this together."
"NO F YOU!"
More than Twice
"The lightning never strikes twice in the same spot." Yes, it does. Especially if that spot is a high metal structure, it will be struck twice, even more than just two times."
"Without a lightning rod, these strikes would ground themselves through the building's wiring, or through the people working on one of its 103 floors, causing untold amounts of damage."
SnuffWhich Way Flex GIF by HollyoaksGiphy
"That'll buff right out."
I do love apples. And I don't have to see the doctor often, so maybe there is merit there. Plus that one is easy, somebody just wanted somebody else to eat healthier. Just say that! And I like to focus on a different kind of buff.
like an adult...cry baby GIFGiphy
"Sleep like a baby. A more accurate description for it would be pissed the bed twice and woke up screaming."
"We're all in the same storm together. But most of us are in rowboats, a bunch are treading water in the waves without so much as a life jacket. Meanwhile a handful are in their mega yachts looking down on everyone else, talking about how terrible the storm is."
"Finish what you started. No, sometimes the thing I started was a bad idea and maybe I should do something I like better."
"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. Well, I do what I love and I'm an unemployed alcoholic. Somehow, I don't think whoever said that first had this in mind."
"Do you really love it if it involves a lot of tasks you hate? I feel like that's just a job you don't love if you're not enjoying the bulk of it. Sounds just like you love the results of it, love the impact, not that you enjoy the day to day. Then you're just not doing what you love on a day to day basis."
"I've had a lot of jobs I hated and loved, currently love. It makes a HUGE difference, between being depressed and not. I knew my life would be way better when I found a good job I loved. Now I'm getting over alcoholism and cut way the heck down, and don't feel like I need to drink to cope."
"The "never work a day in your life" just means you'll never feel that stress of hating your job every day like many do. It doesn't literally mean you won't work, just that those stresses of work will be so unimportant and not make you feel like crap."
At Capacitybrain power GIF by nogGiphy
"Teacher of mine have a good metaphor to illustrate the non sense. He said "areas of the brain not being all stimulated at the same time might sound like a non optimal way of using a machine."
"But now take a traffic light, we can say I works 1/3 of its capacity at time (one color represents a signal) and if it worked 100% all the time, putting all the colors at once, you agree it could be very dangerous for the traffic right?"
That baby one is so true. I never thought about that one. And now I'm going to stockpile a list of sayings and begin origin research. Expose the lies! And just use common sense.
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Whenever I visit clothing stores, I make it a point to fold the clothes I unfurl. That is apparently my downfall as a customer.
Because of this, fellow customers often peg me as an employee and always ask me questions like where the bathroom is, or if the store has certain sizes left in stock.
Umm, no, I don't work here. I'm just a responsible customer. As you were.
Many of us make assumptions about other people just by looking at them. Who knew we were so presumptuous?
Curious to hear the experiences of strangers online, Redditor lilmizzvalz asked:
"What do people assume about you, based on your appearance?"
People often misinterpret moods based on how someone looks. That's unfair, wouldn't you say?
"That I'm caring and supportive. I have a resting nice face."
"That I am always mad. Nope just dissociating and staring off into space."
Not Meaning To Be Mean
"That I'm mean. I have a resting mean face for a dude I guess. Also lately it's worse because I'm bigger now. I don't really notice how my face appears but apparently, I seem angry when I'm looking at stuff."
"'You should smile' and 'are you ok?' comments followed me from busboy, waiter, bartender my whole career."
When it comes to measuring intelligence of others, some people are just way off.
Hard To Live Up To Expectations
"That I'm clever. People keep saying it to me, but I'm dumb and that sh*t is hard to live up to."
"I have glasses."
Eyes Full Of Wisdom
"I apparently have something similar going on mixed with looking like I know sh*t, because people come up to me in public and ask about directions, bus schedules and stuff all the time. Like, they'll deliberately avoid other people to ask me. Including when I'm abroad and should look a bit out of place."
"They assume I have an intellectual disability. (And also that I'm deaf, since I'm not able to speak.)"
"No, I am a person with two university degrees who happen to need a wheelchair because of a nasty neurological illness."
People don't always look their age. Some don't even act their age. But these Redditors have gotten their fair share of wrong guesses for their ages.
"That I'm 15."
"I'm 38 and a doctor. 'Did you just finish school?' EVERY DAY."
"This thread was depressing to read as I am 38 but often get mistaken for 50. I hate y'all and your youthful beauty."
Some people are typed out as certain types of people with just one look.
Watch Your Tone
"That I have a southern accent. Not one stranger has ever suspected that I have a 'New Jersey' accent (Born and raised in New Jersey before moving south)"
Not A Biker
"That I ride a Harley and/or work on them. I'm bald with a long goatee and tons of tattoos, but I'm in IT for a living and don't ride motorcycles at all."
Like others have expressed in the thread, I've also been accused of having "resting b*tch face."
You know, that neutral expression where you're not smiling the one time you're not in a situation where you have to be "on" for other people?
Yeah, that one.
If someone's resting face comes across as unfriendly, well, perhaps it's best not to upset them by asking them what's wrong all the time. Just sayin'.
Ideally, a teacher should take the job because of a genuine interest in helping students, furthering their education as well as their self-development. Of course, it's not as simple as that (administrative issues aside). Unfortunately, there are some teachers out there who aren't cut out for the job––and they even have a mean streak when it comes to their students. The effects this can have on the learning process are dire.
Teachers don't get paid well, and they're well aware. Many stick with the job because they have a passion for teaching; many others stick with the job because of the position of inscrutable authority it offers them over helpless students.
People shared their experiences after Redditor Ara-Rat asked the online community,
"What did your teacher do that made you call them 'the worst teacher ever'?"
"Questioned 5th-grade teacher's manner of pluralizing a word on the board. Got sent to the library to look it up in a dictionary and report my findings to the class.
Decades later and I'm still mad at that woman for trying to publicly humiliate a ten-year-old student."
That's awful. What is with adults who try to deliberately an example out of children?
"My old band teacher..."
"My old band teacher threw a projector at his students. He left the district later that year."
That was... probably for the best, when you think about it. (I had a teacher who threw a girl's pencil case out the window when she wouldn't stop talking; no, he was not fired.)
"My 3rd-grade teacher..."
"My 3rd-grade teacher got frustrated with a kid's stutter and started pounding the kid's desk with a closed fist while mocking his stutter."
Hopefully this teacher was disciplined and/or fired. That's the sort of behavior that thankfully would not fly today––it would go viral so fast.
"The worst were the teachers..."
"The worst were the teachers who would take books away from me and hold me up for ridicule because they disagreed or didn't approve of the genre or subject material. I was always into science fiction and horror genre's and many of them didn't consider it true literature worthy of reading. I remember my father getting into it with one of the teachers who disapproved of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, to which he pointed out it was on the required reading list of a lot of major universities. Dad was awesome like that, and chewed the teacher and principal out for having the temerity to try to stop any student who wanted to read, regardless of what the genre was."
Teachers who mock students for reading are the worst. Reading is one of the best things any student can do––there are so many benefits! Hopefully you have not lost your love of reading.
"When I'd instinctively try..."
"She tied me to my chair. I was hyperactive, and also 5. She would also hold my hand during formation in the mornings and squeeze so hard my tiny knuckles would crack. When I'd instinctively try to pull my hand away, she'd hold onto it and smile at me and ask me if it hurt."
The abuse here is almost incomprehensible. But it happens: a few years ago, a teacher made headlines for hanging a student by his coat on a coatrack. You can bet there were lawsuits.
"I was in the only dress I owned..."
"Tried to get me suspended for a dress code violation when I was 15. I was in the only dress I owned at the time because I was going to my best friend's funeral. She'd committed suicide two days before. I was crying and begging her to just let me stay till my mom picked up my remaining friends to go to the funeral. Said teacher then took me to the office and I had to sit in the front office under a tarp until my mom picked me up."
"My 8th grade English teacher..."
"My 8th grade English teacher never published grades and every time I'd ask her about it she'd answer with, "I don't know, what do you think it is?"
IF I KNEW WOULD I BE ASKING?!"
I've had a few teachers like this. Makes one wonder: Are you actually grading anything? WHAT are you doing, exactly?
"My biology teacher..."
"My biology teacher took my yearbook away right before the summer break. I didn't put it away in time.
That year my parents divorced and I was moving away. I told her this after class and she didn't care. She kept it until the last day. I didn't get any signatures.
Ended up throwing it away. What a witch."
"My university lecturer..."
"My university lecturer was the most incompetent bloke I've ever met. He taught I.T and for the life of me, I can't figure out how he got that job.
- In the first lesson, he got us to sign up to Twitter so we could share lesson content, tweet at each other so we'd get to know one another, and also tweet him. Everybody, including the lecturer, used Twitter once. We just used the university intranet to share stuff.
- Again, during the first lesson, he announced he was going on holiday for four weeks during our first term.
- All of his lessons were PowerPoint presentations, each slide had about a paragraph of text written on them which he would read out loud while awkwardly looking over his shoulder. Once he was done doing that he would essentially repeat what he had just said.
- One day he asked us for help in booking his airline tickets online because he couldn't figure out how to use the website.
As sad as these stories are, consider that these teachers are very much the exception to the rule. The majority of the teachers I have known over the years genuinely care for their students, work tirelessly on their lesson plans, and would never tolerate a single moment of the behavior featured here. Thank you to those teachers for doing their jobs––we appreciate you. (And ya'll deserve a raise, it's honestly messed up how little lawmakers understand about how hard your jobs actually are.)
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide refer to, as defined by Medical News Today, as the "deliberate action taken with the intention of ending a life, in order to relieve persistent suffering." It's a controversial topic. As of 2021, active human euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, Canada, and Spain. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, the Australian states of Victoria Northern Territory, and Western Australia.
But this issue has many passionate supporters who often know what it's like to care for someone who would have benefited from the practice. They told their stories after Redditor Random2328 asked the online community,
"What are your thoughts on medically assisted death?"
"She was able to go to a place in Switzerland..."
"My grandma was 89 and wasn't dying of anything in particular—she didn't have cancer or dementia or anything—but her memory was slowly failing and her body was generally falling apart from old age and a leg injury from fifty years prior. She had been a widow for fourteen years. She was lonely and in pain all the time and her family lived across the ocean so we couldn't see her as much as we'd want to.
There was nothing actively killing her, but she did NOT want to be alive anymore. She wasn't depressed, just old and in pain and ready to be done.
She was able to go to a place in Switzerland, with all four of her children, and take a pill to end her life while her children sang to her and she looked out at the mountains.
We all got to say goodbye to her and she got to be completely in control of the end of her life. I can only hope that if I am ever in that situation, then the world will be kind enough to let me close my own exit as beautifully and peacefully as my grandma did."
Your grandmother sounds like she was truly blessed. Being able to make that choice––and still have time with her family––no doubt meant the world to her.
"I don't know if I'd have the courage..."
"I just went through this with a good friend in Canada. He had glioblastoma and was given 3-6 months to live. Ultimately he lived for 15 months, but he wanted to be sure he could end his life when things got bad for him, so he made the necessary preparations. I'd long known he'd made these plans. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But as I was caring for him for the last six weeks of his life I got to witness the process firsthand.
Long story a bit shorter: Towards the end, my friend could no longer walk or speak. He could understand everything you said to him, but he couldn't find the words to reply intelligently. In his frustration, he made it clear that he was ready. So we explicitly asked him if he was ready to die. He said yes.
The next day two nurses came to his home. They talked to him and confirmed that he wanted to end his life. So, while sitting in his favorite recliner, they put in an IV. His immediate family and I sat with him. The nurses administered medication that made him fall asleep. Then they administered a second medication that stopped his breathing. In less than 5 minutes he was gone.
I don't know if I'd have the courage to make the decision my friend did, but I didn't experience his suffering. Being present for him as he ended his life has convinced me that having the option to end your life on your own terms is the absolute right thing to do. There's no reason someone should have to continue to suffer when they know all they have to look forward to is more suffering. I'm very grateful that my friend had the option available to him. Had he been in my state in the U.S. that wouldn't have been possible. But it should be."
"She made the decision to have the procedure done..."
"My grandmother passed away last week with a medically assisted death.
She had cancer that had spread to her brain, and was given a few weeks to a few months to live. From what family members said, she was deteriorating fast.
She made the decision to have the procedure done as she wanted to end her time here with dignity. The appointment was made, doctors consulted, and paperwork drawn up. 10 days later two medical professionals came by her house where she was spending time with her children. It was done quickly and comfortably.
Nana left peacefully on her own accord, in the comfort of her own home, and while she was still more or less herself. It was very strange to have a time and a date looming, but it also allowed me to set aside that time to be alone and hold a small vigil of my own (I'm currently in another country, and couldn't get back)
She lived in Canada, where this service has recently been made more accessible, and I'm all for it. If it helped my Nana, it could help so many others."
It sounds like your Nana was able to have peace––and so do you.
"It should be a right..."
"It should be a right for every human to choose when terminal. We euthanize our pets but not our loved ones. We allow our loved ones to suffer miserably at the end of life. I was a hospice nurse and saw the suffering first hand. It is inhumane to allow that."
Why do we allow it for pets and not for humans? What makes an animal's life worth more than a human's? Shouldn't they both be held in equal regard?
"I have a degenerative brain disease..."
"I have a degenerative brain disease and would very much like to die with some dignity left, so I'm all for it."
No doubt. We're sorry to hear about your struggle.
"I longed for there to be a legal way..."
"We let people die in fear and pain, but not animals. The last 6 months of my mum's life were exactly how she didn't want to live - confused, incontinent, immobile. I longed for there to be a legal way to end her suffering. She made it very clear to me during her life that this was not the way she wanted to go. I'm an RN and should make it clear I've never assisted in ending anyone's life, but I've wanted to. Medically assisted death doesn't mean more death, just less suffering."
"As someone who has..."
"As someone who has stage 4 cancer, I am in favor of having the right to die gracefully."
"If it's good enough..."
"If it's good enough for my dog then it's good enough for me."
It's truly as simple as that. We'd be doing so many human beings a favor.
"If you're not legally allowed..."
"If you're not allowed to legally arrange the end of your own life, is it actually your own life?"
"It was such a blessing..."
"My grandpa had a medically assisted death in 2019. It was such a blessing to my family as we were able to say goodbye, and knew how much time we had left.
Also it was relief from great pain for him, and I'm so glad he was able to make that choice peacefully.
Will forever advocate for it."
It's truly shocking that euthanasia is illegal in many countries––and that it can even carry a jail sentence. It is a complicated issue that polarizes many people from different walks of life.
Where do you stand on this issue? Feel free to tell us in the comments below!
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