It’s sure easier to be called a hero than it should be Witness the case of Sue Rodriguez.

The latest, and most highly-publicized Canadian “hero,” Rodriguez died over the weekend – or had somebody help kill her – in her Victoria-area home.

Rodriguez, who was 43, became a cause celebre when she took her fight for legalized euthanasia to the courts to change Section 241 of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicides after she was diagnosed with Lou Gebrig’s disease.

She lost in three courts, including the September 1993, 5-4 ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Police at the moment say there is reason to suspect she did, in the end, get help.

And so the media are filled with tear-jerking stories about this woman’s plight.

Well, who can’t fee sorry for her?  We would have sympathy for anybody in her situation.  Unfortunately, legalized euthanasia isn’t always as clear cut as some think it was in the case of the articulate and determined Rodriguez.

Many of the old and infirm who would surely be victimized by legalized euthanasia don’t have lawyers and politicians fronting for them, and don’t rate front pate news coverage.

In the Netherlands which allows assisted suicide, one per cent people are killed every year under a law which purports to protect those who don’t agree to be killed.

Newborn babies with physical or mental deformities are also killed under this law.

Rodriguez, of course, wasn’t the only Canadian suffering from this disease, formally called amyotrophic lateral scierosis (ALS).  Thousands of others are afflicted by this horrible degenerative disease.

Yet we don’t hear them demanding assisted suicide.  Indeed, we hear many of them going to extraordinary lengths to cope while their bodies disintegrates around them.

So who is the hero?  Those who fight to live or those who fight to die?

The same day that Rodriguez died, the Globe and Mail carried a review of a book written by ALS sufferer Dennis Kaye, titled laugh, I thought I’d Die: My Life with ALS.

Kaye was diagnosed in 1985 when he was 30.  He was given three years to live.  He has a wife and two daughters.

As his ody deteriorated, he learned ways to cope and now he’s written a book which, among other things, asks why more than $3 billion has been allocated to fight AIDS in North America, while only a couple of million has been put into ALS, a disease which ills as many North Americans as AIDS.

His point isn’t that AIDS should get less, but that ALS should get more.

There’s a hero to me.

In the Commons on Monday, Justice Minister Allan Rock repeated that he wanted the whole euthanasia issue debated soon.

He dismissed a Reform request for a referendum, calling instead for an informed discussion” with parliamentarians.

Apparently Rock believes that people who would vote in a referendum aren’t “informed.”

Which is to say, the majority probably wouldn’t believe in what obviously is his positioin in liberalize euthanasia.  And why not?  The Liberals were the ones who not only opened up abortion, they actively encourage it.

So if they’re happy to endorse state killing at one end of the scale, why be surprised if they support it at the other end?

Rodriguez to me was a sad, lonely woman who was dealt a bad hand and wanted out of it the quickest way she could.  I feel sympathy for her, but not hero worship.

This column was reprinted with the permission of Claire Hoy, a columnist for the Southam Syndicate.