It's going to be an interesting year. We've begun a debate on death by choice, sometimes called assisted suicide. Let's hope this plays out better than some of our debates.

On one side, we hear about unbearable suffering and how right it is the sufferer end it on her or his terms since it's his or her life. The other side, says since we didn't write the beginning of our lives, we don't own the eraser to end them.

How useful would it be if each side acknowledged the truth in the other's point? That may not change conclusions, but it would enable us to be better neighbors.

One side wants law allowing us to kill ourselves if we're mentally stable, but in such physical or psychological distress we'd rather be dead. The other side objects that both mental and physical suffering can be relieved by drugs and supportive relationships. Any law allowing some of something tends to ease more of the same, known as the slippery slope.

Wouldn't it be better to feel loved if coping with the diminishment of Lou Gehrig's disease rather than be left alone, and if there was community to help sustain people? They could, try to live through dying rather than encourage its hastening.

Wouldn't life-building energy hang around to color other aspects of their lives? We've heard it takes a village to raise a child. Doesn't it take a village to sustain that child's life in its greatest need? Maybe we need a law that says love one another all the way, together.

Frank Wessling