Dispute over chess move ends with murder and cannibalism

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An Italian man was arrested in Dublin on Sunday and charged with killing his Irish landlord and attempting to eat his heart after an argument about a game of chess.

Police said that 34-year-old Saverio Bellante admitted to killing Tom O’Gorman, 39.

O’Gormans body had been stabbed dozens of times and his chest cavity was opened up. Although the heart was still in his body, a lung was missing…

“The victim’s heart was intact but the post-mortem confirms that a lung was removed from the body and has not been located,” the source said. “The investigation is following a definite line of inquiry.”

At his arraignment on Monday, Bellante requested to represent himself and offered no plea. According to Det. Patrick Traynor, when Bellante was charged with murder, he replied: “I am guilty.”

The argument allegedly occurred over a move in a chess game that Bellante and O’Gorman had been playing for a year.

This blog and those involved with its production are all friendly to the discipline, skill and history of chess. At least one of us is damned good. It ain’t me.

We all understand that things like this can happen. They also happen between people watching telenovellas. We don’t approve of either circumstance allowed to descend into violence. 🙂

New Mexico judge rules for physician aid in death with dignity

Click to enlargeI’d prefer to die in our back meadow

A District Court judge ruled today that it’s legal for doctors in New Mexico to prescribe medication so patients with terminal illnesses can end their own lives.

Judge Nan Nash wrote: “If decisions made in the shadow of one’s imminent death regarding how they and their loved ones will face that death are not fundamental and at the core of these constitutional guarantees, then what decisions are?”

It’s called “aid in dying”—not “assisted suicide.” One distinction being that patients would administer the life-ending medicine themselves.

Though New Mexico had an Assisted Suicide Statute on the books, advocates argued the law does not encompass aid in dying. “If it does does indeed cover this practice, we believe the statute is unconstitutional,” said Laura Schauer-Ives, legal director with the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the case.

There are several key differences, she said. First, motivation—in aid-in-dying cases, the person wants to live but is facing imminent death and looks to avoid a loss of autonomy and increased pain. Second, the nature of the act—patients aren’t typically alone, and go through a collaborative process with their families and physicians. Finally, she said, the effect on survivors is different, and these situations don’t typically bring on immense regret and guilt.

The New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops has led the charge opposing aid in dying. I’m not wasting time and space here to repeat their objections. They have sufficient power over press and politicians to be heard everywhere.

Executive Director Allen Sanchez [has what he calls] logical and ethical issues at play as well. None of them offer sufficient concern for dignity or individual choice. The accurate description is sophistry but most folks don’t pay much attention to what that describes philosophically.

It will be interesting to see what happens to official Catholic opposition to an individual’s right to die with dignity in the era of Francis. I live in a more-or-less Catholic state. That means the same in New Mexico as it did in southern New England. Bishops and priests have beaucoup political power – and a flock that turns their back on outdated crap ideology sufficiently to be called “American Catholics” in my catechism.

I’d presumed the Bishops of New Mexico would cause their usual uproar when the state Supreme Court agreed that same-sex marriage must be the law of the state on the basis of our national Constitution. They didn’t. They even made noises like my old acquaintance Willard Uphaus during his years as a defrocked Methodist – “Ain’t nothing wrong with old-time religion if it’s old-time enough!” He forgave his church’s cowardice, blindness. Who knows – maybe the Catholic church will someday earn the same forgiveness.

Perhaps the Bishops will reconsider individual freedom and choice on this question, too?

There are a couple of asides from religious opposition. The local DA’s office can appeal and, of course, the state’s attorney general has the same authority. Action from either of these is more likely to concern nothing more than whenever and whatever is the next election they confront. I don’t know squat about what the DA may do. Our attorney general is the scion of one of New Mexico’s ranching/politics families associated with the core Democrat Party machine. Gary King is a creepy sort of politician, seemingly governed most of all by his feelings of inherited power. Not that he has any sense of what to do with that power, how to lead or guide change in the state.

Opportunism rules his political life especially when prompted by pressures that range from dynamic changes in the electorate – to the money boys that float his electoral boat. The latter providing the motivation typical of most American politics.