- Feb 22, 2007
I was in one of those moods today so I sent the below letter to CNN, Dateline, Fox News and Nightly News. :twisted:
Tom Coburn: Doctor, Senator or Terrorist
A doctor to paraphrase the Hippocratic Oath is one who cares for and protects the sick and injured. A Senator is one who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States which contains, “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Then lastly a terrorist which is one who participates in acts which are intended to create fear, are perpetrated for an ideological goal and by a member or members of a group, and which deliberately target, or else disregard the safety of, non-combatants. I would now like to introduce Senator Thomas Coburn from Oklahoma.
On December 21, 2007 Senator Coburn was the sole voice that put a hold on S.1382 the ALS Registry Act. The ALS Registry Act went before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee which Senator Coburn is a member of and all questions were answered with no recommendations for amendments. Senator Coburn had plenty of time to voice any complaints then and there but did not. Previously, the House had passed the ALS Registry Act with an overwhelming 411 – 3 vote.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) strikes silently, slowly eroding a person's ability to control muscle movement. At first, people notice subtle changes, like pain in their feet or slurred speech. But as the disease progresses, they lose the ability to move their arms, to walk and even stand. Many no longer are able to speak, eat or even wink an eye. They are completely paralyzed, yet their minds remain sharp. On average, the victims of ALS die within two to five years after diagnosis. And as their bodies succumb to the disease, there is little they can do to slow the steady progression, for there is no cure for ALS and no effective treatment.
The ALS Registry Act then came to the Senate floor on December 21, 2007 for unanimous consent. At that point following all the previous meetings which had included the silent Senator Coburn he decides to sound off and prevent the bill from passing. That was quite the holiday surprise for the estimated 30,000 – 40,000 people currently living with ALS.
Why did Senator Coburn put a hold on the only hope ALS patients have had in the past 138 years? Oddly enough the Coburn camp is silent on this issue. There are no proud ramblings of stopping this bill on his website. There is no chest pounding in the papers. It is believed that Senator Coburn’s intention is to hold the ALS Registry Act hostage as a bargaining chip. I find it odd that someone if else endangers the lives of 30,000 – 40,000 people we call them a terrorist but if it’s done in the name of cutting pork belly spending or earmarked funding it’s alright. I can’t say I disagree with Senator Coburn’s desired results but I don’t believe hostage taking and terrorist like actions are they way to achieve them.
The ALS community has asked for a chance at life for those currently struggling and those yet to come and Dr. No has answered accordingly.