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Crime of Compassion

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A Crime of Compassion or Just a Crime?

In “A Crime of Compassions” Barbara Huttman (writer) told the audience in the Phil Donahue show and every person that read A Crime of Compassion about Mac and the way Mac suffered from lung cancer. “Mac was a young, witty, macho cop who walked into the hospital with 32 pounds of attack equipment, looking as if he could of single-handedly protect the whole city, if not the entire state” (par 4). By the vivid description and effects Barbara Huttman gives her audience of Mac makes you wonder if she is trying to manipulate the audience. Barbara states that Mac was her favorite cancer patient but why? Is it to make her sound more honest to the crime she committed, or is it the truth in itself? In A Crime of Compassion we often notice she use’ the term “We” at the beginning and then automatically jumps to “I” before the sentence is finished (par 3). From the description Barbara gives of Mac was like a dog with mange, he was covered with sores, he had feces that burned his skin like lye, he had lost all ability to care for himself, he lost his hair, his bowel, bladder control, his sense of taste and smell.

When most people see a dog with mange they tend to stay away due to fear of catching the virus, so how do we know that she actually sat and held his hand? When Barbara went home she tried to scrub away the smell of Mac from her skin, her uniform and hair, it was everywhere even in the upholstery of her car (par 8). And every night she prayed that Mac would die, that his agonized eyes would never again plead with her. Were those prayers out of love as she said she loved Mac or was it her way of saying that she didn’t want to care for Mac any longer, that she was truly fed up of taking care of him? Barbara thought about standing before a judge, accused of murder, why did she think of these things? Was it because she had intentions of calling a no code? How long did Barbara think of these thoughts and was Mac the only patient she thought these things for? In paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 she tries to manipulate our minds to change how we think about the crime she committed, and make us think that she did this out of compassion. Why does she say “us” instead of “I” or “Mac and I”.

She mentions about God also trying to put us in the “What Would God Do” state of mind. When the time came to let Mac die she held his hand to only comfort him, and when he finally passed on she waited a little longer to make sure he couldn’t be revived and then pushed the button, why did she push the button if she already knew he was dead? Was it because she didn’t want to seem like she actually was guilty for allowing Mac to die. Maybe she did it to say “I tried, I pushed the button to get him resuscitated”. In the last paragraph she say’s “Perhaps I am guilty” and then changes the rest of the sentence to the doctor writing a no code. She then goes on to say “We will all of us risk the same fate as Mac. For whatever reason we developed the means to prolong life, and now we are forced to use it, we do not have the right to die.” Why does she end it with “We do not have the right to die” but she allowed Mac to die, and this was story was about her and Mac, but she made it seem like it was her, Mac and the world involved in his death. Barbara tries to show her innocence by the title “A Crime of Compassion” and that it was out of Compassion for the crime she did.

We as the audience can’t prove any of the compassion she said she had towards Mac there aren’t any facts, we can only count what she wanted us to believe. Barbara gave us a very vivid view of Mac before he found out that he had lung cancer and gave us a extreme graphic description of him before he died. Allowing or minds to form pictures, ideas and thoughts and putting ourselves into her shoes. We do not know if Barbara was fed up of taking care of Mac we do not know if she actually loved Mac to the extent she said she did, all we know is that Barbara had a way of manipulating our minds, and making it seem like we the audience were a part of her actions and not her herself. Which leaves us wondering was it “A Crime of Compassion or Just a Crime”.

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