He sought medically assisted death, but persevered to write about finding hope

Earlier this year, Tyler Dunlop gained international attention for all the wrong reasons. He was the ‘Homeless, hopeless Orillia man’ [OrilliaMatters, January 23, 2023] who was seeking euthanasia.

Now, he hopes to make a similar impact for all the right reasons. His book Therefore Choose Life: My Journey from Hopelessness to Hope, was published just in time for Christmas.

Joe Roberts, who, as well as being ‘The Skid Row CEO’ [in Vancouver], is the author of several books, says of Therefore Choose Life:

This book has the honesty of Charles Bukowski and the insight of Richard Wagamese. But it’s neither. It’s all Tyler Dunlop, and it’s a masterpiece.

Paul Copan, an American human rights scholar who teaches ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, writes of Tyler’s book, 

This is a powerful, well-told and uplifting story!” Rev. Dr. John Hamilton, a practicing psychologist, says, “Tyler’s book is forthright, frank, gripping and emotionally riveting!

In his chapter ‘Canada’s Inferno,’ Tyler – like the ancient Roman poet Virgil in Dante’s Inferno, who guides Dante through hell – escorts the reader through a different hell: the drug culture in Main and East Hastings in East Vancouver. It is probably the most powerful piece of writing you will ever read on the subject.

Here is an excerpt from it:

When, the next day, I walked down East Hastings Street, the smell of old and new urine hung in the air like the spectre of old pain that showed in the pale, drawn, scabbed faces of the lost souls stumbling by. Garbage, used condoms, needles and cigarette butts were strewn around.

The sound of shopping carts, commandeered by scavengers, shook and rattled. They contained anything the many dumpsters in the endless alleys had to offer, such as old printers and cheap paintings. Empty aluminum cans, rattling in bags tied to the sides of the carts, were a kind of chime. The sound of honking horns and obscenities filled the air. Down an alley, I saw open sex acts. Gaunt hooded figures ducked behind dumpsters.

Their crack smoke curled up and rose into the sky like mythological dragons before disappearing with the wind. People slept on the sidewalks with needles still stuck in their arms. Graffiti messages – the names and sentiments of people probably long dead – defaced the storefronts.

The loud caws of crows on the rooftops and sagging hydro lines added to the nightmarish scene. A small group of men and women looked barely human as, hunched over, they looked for pebbles of crack they had dropped. A buck-naked young man smashed his head against a wall and screamed profanities.

One time, the drug frenzy stopped as some guy started flying a toy helicopter remotely. The whole mass just stopped and looked up at the toy. As they did so, a beam of warm sun pierced through the clouds, and for the briefest of moments, amidst the backdrop of obscenities, all our collective pain did not exist.

Therefore Choose Life deals with other ‘dark’ subjects such as alcoholism, homelessness and mental illness. The book also explores such ‘light’ topics as God, grace and hope.

The book begins with the chapter ‘The MAID Who Kills.’ This chapter talks about Tyler’s decision to seek MAID [Medical Assistance in Dying], discusses how he changed his mind on the subject and ends with a scathing critique of the Canadian government’s legalization of this practice. In this and other chapters, Tyler attacks this policy as being utterly without moral justification.

Vera Petrovic, a retired psychiatrist, says

We live in a ‘culture of death.’ Euthanasia is taking advantage of the physical and mental pain of people too broken to fight and then calling it ‘death with dignity.’ What it is, is society ridding itself of ‘undesirables.’

God did not allow it in the past, and He will not allow it now. He will send those devoted to His service, those He has placed in His war against the ‘culture of death.’ He will send people like Tyler, pulling himself up to choose life despite every insurmountable personal challenge.

I also believe that God has raised up Tyler to speak against MAID. But don’t take our word for it. Buy the book and decide for yourself.

Therefore Choose Life is available from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for $20 for one book or $50 for three books (plus $5 for shipping per book): https://epcc.ca/product/therefore-choose-life/

Alex Schadenberg is Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. This comment first appeared on the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition site and re-posted here by permission. He had also written about Tyler Dunlop January 24, based largely on the OrilliaMatters article. 

For another powerful critique of MAID, also from a very personal point of view, listen to (or read) this Faith Today interview with Ephraim Radner, Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto

Joe Roberts, mentioned above, will be speaking at the Salvation Army’s Hope in the City Breakfast December 6.

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