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Don't Rush Me


Kevorkian, cicadas and skunks, oh my!



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June 08, 2011 - Around 2:30 in the morning, in a hospital bed at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, private citizen Jack Kevorkian died – quietly, peacefully and in his sleep. He was 83-years-old.

According to reports, the retired pathologist who gained notoriety as "Dr. Death" for helping (by his count) 130 people commit suicide, died when a blood clot in his leg broke free, lodged in his heart causing pulmonary thrombosis.

Whoopee . . . I only bring it up here, because two of the folks he helped, he did so locally.

On October 23, 1991, in a primitive cabin located in a serene section of Orion Township's Bald Mountain State Park, Sherry Miller, 43 and Marjorie Wantz, 58, ended their lives. The story made it into our publication, The Lake Orion Review, on Oct. 30.

For the record, Miller died from breathing carbon monoxide – ending her life with multiple sclerosis; Wantz died from lethal injection, ending her "painful pelvic disease."

Kevorkian snubbed the local law, judges and the like by helping folks end their lives despite being told by the law, not to.

He was convicted of the 2nd degree murder of 52-year-old Thomas Youk (who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease) in 1999. He spent eight years in the hoosegow, and upon his release traveled the country talking about assisted suicide.

Something I read last week kinda rubbed me wrong. The comment was by David Gorcyca, the Oakland County prosecutor who sent Kevorkian to the big house.

When asked about Kevorkian's death, Gorcyca called the dead guy a hypocrite for not committing suicide, even though he suffered from liver cancer.

I don't know why, but my senses were irked.

First, a blood clot ending his life is not a planned thing; secondly, maybe Kevorkian didn't want to commit suicide himself.

Maybe he thought he could do more good by being alive as long as he could? Maybe he had hope? Maybe he had something the others did not. I don't know. Gorcyca doesn't know.

Nobody knows, the guy is dead. So, I reckon I just thought it was crass of Gorcyca to call a dead guy something without asking him first.

What are my thoughts on this? My own.

* * *

Last week, I mentioned the shortage of skunks in these parts. This is the first year I can remember not seeing nor smelling the black and white critters. I wondered, "why?"

A number of you wrote me saying it might be a new strain of the canine parvo virus. I did some research and found this interesting paragraph on parvo virus:

Parvo virus is a highly contagious and all too often fatal disease that attacks the gastrointestinal system causing severe diarrhea and vomiting. This virus can live in the soil and surrounding environment for years and years and still be very contagious.

Interesting and if there is any doubt you need to make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations, this should help make up your mind.

And, this from longtime reader Dan Stanko, of Leonard:

Dear Don . . . just a though . . . maybe the May 21, 2011 "Rapture" (end of the world) was meant for them (skunks) only?"

Point taken, Dan. Thanks for reading.

* * *

I heard recently the 13-year cicadas were coming out this year. Which got me thinking: I always thought it was "17-year" cicadas.

Which then led me to think: Wait a cotton-pickin' minute, I hear cicadas almost every year.

How many darned types of these shrill noise making bugs are there?

Well, depending on where you go to do your research, there are anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 different types worldwide; up to 150 variations in the United States; and ten types of cicadas in Michigan. We got both 13 and 17 year types and thems that sound-off every year.

Here is some more: "Nearly all cicadas spend multiple years growing underground as juveniles, before emerging above ground for a short adult stage of several weeks to a few months.

The seven periodical cicada species are so named because, in any one location, all of the members of the population are developmentally synchronized—they emerge as adults all at once in the same year.

"This periodicity is especially amazing because their life cycles are so extremely long—13 or 17 years.

Cicadas of all other species (perhaps 3,000 worldwide) are not synchronized, so some adults mature each summer and emerge while the rest of the population continues to develop underground.

Many people refer to these non-periodical species as annual cicadas since some are seen every summer.

The life cycles of most annual species range from two to ten years, although some could be longer."

Just thought you'd like to know.

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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