Tag Archives: mercy killing

An impossible decision

24 Oct

Tracy Latimer died eighteen years ago today.

Do you know who she was?

The heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne has written a number of songs about real life people…such as Aleister Crowley, Charles Manson, and Jimmy Swaggart.

So, when I heard the song “Latimer’s Mercy” on his latest album “Scream” I suspected it was about someone named Latimer.

So I checked the internet. Sure enough, it’s a song about the case of the mercy killing of twelve-year-old Tracy Latimer by her father Robert.

Have you ever heard of Robert Latimer?
After I read about this case, the lyrics to the song suddenly made sense.

It’s a sad story. No parents should ever have to even contemplate such a decision.

Although, I can understand Robert Latimer’s motives to end his daughter’s suffering, I can’t say whether it was the “right thing to do” or not.
I could never make such a decision, though.

Tracy Latimer was born in Canada in November 1980 with Cerebral Palsy, which meant she would never be able to walk or talk or even feed herself. It also caused her to have severe muscle seizures for which she needed medication.
In addition, she often dislocated her hip which caused intense pain but she couldn’t take pain killers because of her anti-seizure medication.

In her short life, Tracy had already undergone many major surgeries and doctors had told her parents that she would need more surgeries.

While the rest of his family was at church on Sunday, 1993 October 24, one month before Tracy’s thirteenth birthday, Robert Latimer put his daughter into the cab of his truck and ran a hose from the exhaust.
Tracy Latimer died of carbon monoxide poisoning and her father went to prison for her murder.
But many people in Canada supported his decision to end his daughter’s pain and believed Robert Latimer shouldn’t have been convicted.
Robert Latimer was released on parole last year.

Here are the lyrics to “Latimer’s Mercy” by Ozzy Osbourne:

Another day, another full seizure,
Another pill, you spiral down deeper,
Another cut by a surgical butcher,
It’s just a way of prolonging the torture

*I won’t say I don’t know what I’m doing,
I won’t say that I’m sorry (I’m sorry)

I can’t bring you back,
I can’t leave you helpless (helpless),
I’ll make the pain rest in peace (rest in peace)

I’ll turn off the lights,
Swallow your last breath (last breath),
So close your eyes, fall asleep (close your eyes)

I’ll never hurt you (hurt you),
I’ll never hurt you (hurt you)

The sun shines on this deadly new morning,
The church bells ring an early warning,
Your eyes shine as I turn on the motor,
The tears fall as the mercy gets closer

(repeat *)

You can listen to it here:

Tracy Latimer, 1980 November 23 – 1993 October 24, RIP