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Do the Demented Have a Duty to Die?
Townhall.com ^ | September 28, 2008 | Ken Connor

Posted on 09/28/2008 5:14:02 AM PDT by Kaslin

A waste. A burden. That is how influential medical ethics expert Baroness Warnock views people suffering from dementia. Lady Warnock, a prominent adviser to the British government, told the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine that people suffering from dementia should be allowed to kill themselves rather than continue to burden their families and Britain's National Health Service. Sadly, Warnock's comments are all too consistent with our modern utilitarian view of life.

Lady Warnock argues that people suffering from dementia are "wasting" their families' lives and the nation's resources. She believes that merely having dementia makes one's life not worth living. She maintains that people should be allowed to give advance notice to a third party that they wish to be killed when they reach a set point of mental deterioration. And she wants to expand this "advance directive" to include just about any situation where a person believes their life is no longer worth living. Her ultimate goal is to license people to "put others down." "Put them down"—like a sick dog. At least she's frank.

Warnock's vision is particularly disturbing because she has served as a prominent moral adviser to the British government on matters of life and bioethics, having chaired the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology in the 1980s. Conservative Member of Parliament Nadine Dorries criticized Lady Warnock's comments, stating, "Because of her previous experiences and well-known standing on contentious moral issues, Baroness Warnock automatically gives moral authority to what are entirely immoral view points."

At the heart of Lady Warnock's comments (and, indeed, the entire euthanasia movement) is an atomistic, subjective, utilitarian view of life. Once one becomes dissatisfied with the quality of their life or determines that they have outlived their usefulness, the door is open for them to end their life. They are the sole arbiters of whether their life is worth living. And if they are unable to "do the deed" themselves, they should be free to select a proxy to do it for them.

This "freedom" ignores the duty and responsibility people have to their families and communities. As John Donne famously said, "No man is an island." Perhaps the greatest modern lie is that every person has the right to do with themselves whatever they please. This lie fuels the selfish desires of every person: the elderly person who is too proud to let themselves "be a burden" to others, and those "others" who don't want to have to care for a person suffering from dementia or physical maladies.

The weak are the first to suffer when a society embraces a "quality of life" standard as the measure for human worth. The truth is that the strong and the rich in society are the true beneficiaries of euthanasia. Their responsibility to care for the sick and infirm is lifted when euthanasia is encouraged. One honest British commentator admits as much: "We in Britain, and across the industrial West, have an ageing population. The old are living longer, and the young are breeding later and less. This presents a simple resource-management issue... We are heading for a situation where we're deciding between care for the elderly and education of the young; and in which the quality of life of a family caring for a grandparent or great-grandparent in an advanced state of senility can be significantly impaired, perhaps over decades."

So there you have it: Grandma's life is worth less than your child's education. Not even a hint of the value of sacrifice or self denial is included in the equation. For us moderns, it's all about me.

The "quality of life" rhetoric of the euthanasia movement is the same rhetoric that the Nazis embraced when they embarked on a policy of killing and sterilizing the mentally or physically handicapped. Genocide of the "defective" became the means of removing the "waste" from society. This same mindset was present in the sterilization of the mentally handicapped in the U.S. in the early 1900s. These historical examples show the end result of "quality of life" thinking. Grading lives on a scale of "quality" implies that some lives are more or less worth living than others. It is a natural step from such thinking to advocate that those unfortunate people leading "lesser lives" ought to be put out of their misery.

The Bible exorts us to "look after orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27 NIV), but this is hardly the message of the euthanasia proponents who want to get rid of the elderly widow who is a drain on the system. We are also commanded to help those in need: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has not pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:17-18 NIV) People like Lady Warnock tell us that it is good for society to be rid of the burden of the suffering, the handicapped, the elderly, and anyone who does not have a "good enough" life. Such a view is contrary to the truly compassionate Judeo-Christian principles which laid the foundation for our culture.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: deathofthewest; eugenics; europe; euthanasia

1 posted on 09/28/2008 5:14:03 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Lady Warnock, a prominent adviser to the British government, told the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine that people suffering from dementia should be allowed to kill themselves rather than continue to burden their families and Britain's National Health Service. Sadly, Warnock's comments are all too consistent with our modern utilitarian view of life.

And the "modern utilitarian view of life" is a direct outcome of putting health care under the aegis of government and taxes.

When the only way you can cut taxes going to a wasteful bureaucracy is by killing people or allowing them die, then people will be killed or allowed to die.

2 posted on 09/28/2008 5:16:07 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: Kaslin
Do the Demented Have a Duty to Die?

Um, let me think about this for a moment......

....Yeah, they do.

3 posted on 09/28/2008 5:28:01 AM PDT by Leisler
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To: Kaslin

Nothing better that visions of ‘Logan’s Run’ for breakfast.
So the demented have a duty to die. Maybe it would be easier to do away with those over 50. They have a much higher rate of disease. Well, how about 40? Very few breeders, lots of aches and pains. Hey, how about 30....?

(btw. I’m nearly 48.)


4 posted on 09/28/2008 5:28:09 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Hope is not a strategy, change is not a destination.)
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To: Kaslin

She’s not heavy (or a burden) - she’s my mother.


5 posted on 09/28/2008 5:40:43 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: Kaslin
Do the Demented Have a Duty to Die?

That'd pretty much empty out Congress.

6 posted on 09/28/2008 5:44:40 AM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Kaslin

She needs to have tea with former Colorado Gov, “Duty to Die,”
Dick Lamm.

No one on the planet has peddled more death (he passed the nation’s first
abortion law.)

Joined by George Soros, who put in place all the laws to allow starvation/dehydration of the gravely ill and disabled, and you’d
have a truly satanic trifecta - tete a tete.


7 posted on 09/28/2008 5:54:09 AM PDT by Lesforlife
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To: Kaslin
I'm curious.

Do any Freepers truly hope or wish that their lives end before they succumb to dementia? And if there was a way,consistent with each person's conscience, to at list tip the scales to ensure that it happens, would anyone take that way?

As an example: to take up base jumping, where each jumper packs their own chute, and where there is no time for a reserve chute to open - if done on a regular basis, a deterioration of memory would catch up very quickly.

Again, just curious.

8 posted on 09/28/2008 6:08:44 AM PDT by Castlebar
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To: Castlebar
Do any Freepers truly hope or wish that their lives end before they succumb to dementia?

Very good question, especially for those of us who care for Dearly Demented Ones. I'll get back to ya in (hopefully) 20 years or so..unless I forget!

9 posted on 09/28/2008 6:13:22 AM PDT by blu (Last one out of Michigan, please turn off the lights.)
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To: mvpel
the euthanasia proponents who want to get rid of the elderly widow who is a drain on the system

Yes, when we're all just cogs in "the system" instead of individuals in relationship with other individuals, it's very easy to declare whole groups "expendable."

When the only way you can cut taxes going to a wasteful bureaucracy is by killing people or allowing them die, then people will be killed or allowed to die.

They won't cut taxes. The System is about perpetuating and expanding itself; the purported "beneficiaries" are just the excuse. For example, do you see taxes/expenditures being cut in school districts with falling enrollment? Nope - they just want more revenue to keep the district's employees on the rolls.

10 posted on 09/28/2008 6:15:49 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Senator McCain is right." ~ B. H. Obama)
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To: Castlebar; Kaslin

I was shocked when so many of the men on the President’s Bioethics Council said that they did not want to be a burden to their families.

However, my mother’s long illness and dependency taught me that I am a better person than I thought. I have more reserves than I ever thought. And it was confirmed that my Daddy is a very good man for taking care of her demands as well as needs 24 hours a day for those last few months.

In a way, we owe it to our family to let them take care of us. It’s a lesson we can teach.

(Besides, isn’t employment for the caretakers important to Warnock?)


11 posted on 09/28/2008 6:16:01 AM PDT by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org (I've got a mustard seed and I'm not afraid to use it.))
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To: Kaslin
It is morally wrong, but would cause a decline in liberalism.
12 posted on 09/28/2008 6:16:56 AM PDT by Ukiapah Heep (Shoes for Industry!)
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To: Castlebar
Do any Freepers truly hope or wish that their lives end before they succumb to dementia? And if there was a way,consistent with each person's conscience, to at list tip the scales to ensure that it happens, would anyone take that way?

For years I saw no reason to quit smoking since there is Alzheimer's on both sides of my family. I've seen cancer and Alzheimer's both, up close and personal, and I assure you that cancer is BETTER. I don't know if you'd count that?

I did quit smoking last year, when my husband developed cardiac problems. He hasn't quit yet himself, but I read that spouses of non-smokers tend to become non-smokers as well within a few years, so there's hope.

13 posted on 09/28/2008 6:19:34 AM PDT by nina0113 (If fences don't work, why does the White House have one?)
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To: Kaslin

Society will be measured by the manner in which it treats the weakest of its citizens. And this definitely includes those with dementia.


14 posted on 09/28/2008 6:32:14 AM PDT by hershey
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To: Kaslin

I think she was making the point that a person could sign an agreement requesting life not be continued after certain set of deterioration is met.

My father-in-law developed dementia in his early 80’s. My husband and I spent three years visiting him in a lockdown unit for dementia sufferers in a nursing home. All I know is that he would have hated what he became. We saw several people in that unit slowly descend to a state in which they ended up bedridden, sleeping most of the day and not interested in anyone or anything. My father-in-law’s case reminded me of someone whose brain was dead, but his body was on life support since he continued to receive blood pressure meds, heart medications, etc.

Maybe someone would not have to sign an agreement authorizing euthansia when certain criteria are met, but I would certainly sign something that provided I receive no medication to prolong my life after a certain point.

After one of our depressing visits I asked my husband what I should do if he developed dementia. He told me to put him in a car, put a rock on the accelerator and send him over a cliff.

I am only relating our personal experience and I realize it probably will not be a popular view on this board.


15 posted on 09/28/2008 6:34:34 AM PDT by MRobert (MRobert)
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To: Leisler

Which, of course, begs the question: What’s keeping THESE TWO alive?


16 posted on 09/28/2008 6:35:08 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: Kaslin
I love you forever
I love you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be ...

When the "system" becomes more important that the people the system serves, then its the system that needs to be allowed to dissolve and be replaced by a new system.

For those that have relatives that are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, please consider helping by joining the FReeper Folding@home team.

About 200 FReepers run F@H consistently, and the work has already contributed to over 55 published and peer reviewed papers helping to advance basic research in Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease and many others.

We would love your participation in memory of a loved one, in hope for one currently passing through its dark tunnels or in anticipation that each of us could be susceptible to its ravages.

17 posted on 09/28/2008 6:39:48 AM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Kaslin
Photobucket

“UF COURSE ZE DO. YOU MEAN ZERE IS STILL SOME QVESTION ABOUT ZIS?”


18 posted on 09/28/2008 6:44:28 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: Dick Bachert

Yes, that is who I ment as prime examples. Otherwise, I disagree with the notion. However if there is a list being made up of people to go to make society better, I have my own personal one and you woulnd’t want to be a lefty.


19 posted on 09/28/2008 6:44:36 AM PDT by Leisler
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To: Leisler
Only if they are lib dems.
20 posted on 09/28/2008 6:46:16 AM PDT by mimaw
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To: Kaslin

Tell her to go first. Maybe others will be inspired by her act. /sarcasm


21 posted on 09/28/2008 6:48:16 AM PDT by comps4spice (Democrats caused the current financial mess. Do we really want to give them the Oval Office?)
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To: mvpel

One can only hope that she gets to experience dementia herself, (if she isn’t already.)


22 posted on 09/28/2008 6:55:51 AM PDT by richardtavor (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem in the name of the G-d of Jacob)
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To: MRobert

I am watching a dear friend care for a demented parent and another parent in the early stages. Both are in their 70s. My friend is the very best nurse practitioner and trauma nurse I have ever seen. She served in Gulf War I and is now diagnosed with MS as a service-related disabilty brought on by exposure to chemicals encountered by the troops, who came into the hospital in their field uniforms/gear which were full of the poisons. She is only 54.

While she has been prepared to continue her practice from a wheelchair, the organ most affected is the optic nerve.She has 20/20 vision, yet her visual field is full of what she describes as *holes*.

None of us are assured that her 25-year-old daughter will be able to care for her, should she need that care.

She didn’t even tell anyone until the MS became obvious. While she would never in a million years allow either of her parents to be *put down*, she herself will quietly do whatever she must if she can when the time comes.

I have had someone I loved ask me to end their life. It would have literally involved pulling the plug on life support equipment. I could not do it. It is not that easy to take that responsibility. For me, it was impossible.

There should be no state coercion in such matters. They must remain in the hands of each individual and apply only to themselves. The corruption that would ensue from any sort of mandate by so-called objective observers is far more frightening to me than the conditions being endured. And those conditions are indeed quite horrible.

I think I would agree with you that I would not want to have my life prolonged if I was extremely debilitated. But we must each make that decision and not give it up to anyone at all. The outsider cannot weigh the value of a stranger’s life if they have no connection to them. The close family cannot be made to bear that burden of being the one to end a loved one’s life.

I think no one wants to have to make such a decision for anyone else.


23 posted on 09/28/2008 6:56:13 AM PDT by reformedliberal (God bless Saracuda America, speaking truth to power.)
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To: mvpel; All

And the "modern utilitarian view of life" is a direct outcome of putting health care under the aegis of government and taxes.


Secular humanism/Godless liberalism has destroyed Europe. The final chapter we see unfolding now is the vaccum being filled by Islam.

When the only way you can cut taxes going to a wasteful bureaucracy is by killing people or allowing them die, then people will be killed or allowed to die.


I can tell you that in this country, specifically in the Atlanta area, my experience has been the opposite extreme. Misguided families who don't know better and doctors sometimes either consciously or unconsciously exploiting those medicare payments. Elderly people being kept alive against their will is about 99% of the problem the way I see it. Frankly, it's unconscionable. Being force-fed with stomach tubes and essentially preserved while their bodies break down, they get bed sores, which is very costly, very painful and unnecessary. Admittedly I have no idea what's going on in England but there's a happy common sense median everywhere and it's called hospice!

24 posted on 09/28/2008 7:27:40 AM PDT by tpanther (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke)
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To: Kaslin

Sure, liberals should off themselves.


25 posted on 09/28/2008 7:43:10 AM PDT by CodeToad
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To: reformedliberal; MRobert
There should be no state coercion in such matters. They must remain in the hands of each individual and apply only to themselves. The corruption that would ensue from any sort of mandate by so-called objective observers is far more frightening to me than the conditions being endured.

Worth repeating.

End of life care, or life ending care, is not a decision that can be made objectively. Every individual has their own wishes and how they are to be carried out should be arranged privately with trusted individuals of their own choosing.

The only duty anyone should have is to know when an elephant in the room should be ignored.

26 posted on 09/28/2008 8:18:28 AM PDT by Clinging Bitterly (Oregon - a pro-militia and firearms state that looks just like Afghanistan .)
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To: mvpel
I can sympathize with people who don't want to go through the horror of dementia and I can even sympathize with the would-be caretakers. I'm very torn about this and I don't know if I'd have the courage to be either one, patient or caretaker.

What I do take issue with it the way the elderly have become marginalized. It used to be the elderly were revered and looked up to for wisdom. They were protected as they protected when they were young. Now, they're constantly bombarded with propaganda telling them they're useless and a burden on family and society. No wonder so many are willing to let go of life.

How horrible it must be to have a family member ponder between your life and your grandkid's education.

27 posted on 09/28/2008 8:20:11 AM PDT by DancingMyRainbow
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To: wagglebee

ping


28 posted on 09/28/2008 8:27:50 AM PDT by sionnsar (Obama?Bye-den!|Iran Azadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY)| The New WSJ Magazine is disgusting)
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To: Kaslin
Let her get hit on the head or get in a car accident and not have her brain working for a while. She'll experience the silent scream as they come with the big needle to put her away.

I don't think she'll like a taste of her own medicine.

29 posted on 09/28/2008 9:33:25 AM PDT by pray4liberty (The Lord is on the side of the truly righteous.)
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To: Kaslin
When I read this, I think back to the 1960 when I helped identify likely subjects for a “Living History” project where UA students would interview elderly Arizonans for the Arizona State Museum in Tucson. I knew several older folks with knowledge of Southwest history who, in turn, identified others. Among those I talked to were people with memories of the Arizona Ranger, the Battle of Agua Prieta, the Bisbee Deportation, fighting alongside Pancho Villa, the Statehood Celebrations, and daily life in the Arizona and New Mexico Territories. Most of these people suffered from some degree of dementia — usually short term memory problems. Many would have good days and bad days. It is doubtful many of them would have survived a strictly utilitarian reckoning. Sad what some would deprive the world of.
30 posted on 09/28/2008 9:36:43 AM PDT by JimSEA (just another liberal-bashing fearmonger)
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To: MRobert

I for one (on this board anyway) sympathize. We had a tough situation with my elderly mother over the summer. I won’t go into all the details. Clearly expressed in her health care proxy were directions not to allow any medical procedures to prolong her life. DNR, no intubation, respirators, etc. (She recovered and is doing well now, enjoying her grandchildren).

She was a nurse all her life and most of her patients were elderly. She hated how families extended the lives of their very sick relations while their quality of life was horrible.

How can we not respect our parent’s wishes? If they don’t want to waste away in pain or pain-killer induced fogs they shouldn’t have to.

Just my $.02


31 posted on 09/28/2008 9:46:56 AM PDT by strider44
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To: strider44
That's what Health Care powers of attorneys/Living Wills are for.

Get it in writing and you will have nothing to worry about.

32 posted on 09/28/2008 11:46:13 AM PDT by pray4liberty (The Lord is on the side of the truly righteous.)
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To: strider44
I can just see it now.

First they came for the unborn, but I'm not the unborn, so I did nothing.
Then they came for the handicapped, but I'm not handicapped, so I did nothing.
Then they came for the mentally ill, but I'm not crazy, so I did nothing.
Then they came for the senile, but I'm not senile, so I did nothing.

Then I got old and sick and they came for me, and I could do nothing.

33 posted on 09/28/2008 11:50:46 AM PDT by pray4liberty (The Lord is on the side of the truly righteous.)
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To: pray4liberty

Read my post man. I said if the PERSON wants to go out with their dignity intact, it’s their own choice.

I’m not advocating that the hospital or the government make the decision. In my mother’s case it was her wishes, clearly written in a legal document when she was of sound mind, dictating the way she would like to be treated in the event of a medical emergency or medical condition that may cause her death.

Read with your glasses on next time.


34 posted on 09/28/2008 1:09:00 PM PDT by strider44
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To: mvpel

They will die in God’s time, not at Lady Warnock’s urgings.

Sounds like this lady needs prayers.


35 posted on 09/28/2008 2:30:40 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: strider44
If you'd been reading my posts, you'd figure I'm a woman, but that's okay ;)

I may have addressed the post to you, but it's really to FR at large.

36 posted on 09/28/2008 3:55:48 PM PDT by pray4liberty (The Lord is on the side of the truly righteous.)
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To: Kaslin

Do the demented have a duty to die?

Good question.

If the answer is “Yes”, then American will be exceeding short of Democrats.


37 posted on 09/28/2008 5:34:56 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is essential to examine principles,)
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To: facedown
Do the Demented Have a Duty to Die?

That'd pretty much empty out Congress.

Bada BING!

I'd laugh, but it's too close to the truth.

38 posted on 09/28/2008 11:28:10 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: MRobert
Well my sister and I have a pact that involves a pillow, like the scene with Jack Nicholson and the Big Indian in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.
39 posted on 09/28/2008 11:34:01 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: Kaslin; Lesforlife
Pinged from Terri Dailies

8mm


40 posted on 09/29/2008 4:05:56 AM PDT by 8mmMauser (Jezu ufam tobie...Jesus I trust in Thee)
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