baby." Mrs. Latimer said that she was re-lieved to find Tracy dead when she arrived home and added that she "didn't have the courage" to do it herself. Mr. Latimer was tried for murder, but the judge and jury did not want to treat him harshly. The jury found him guilty of only second-degree murder and recommended that the judge ignore the mandatory 25-year sentence. The judge agreed and sentenced him to one year in prison, to be followed by a year of confinement to his farm. However, the Supreme Court of Canada stepped in and ruled that the mandatory sentence must be imposed. Robert Latimer is now in prison, serving the 25-year term. Legal questions aside, did Mr. Latimer do anything wrong? This case involves many of the issues that we have already seen in the other cases. One argument against Mr. Latimer is that Tracy's life was morally precious, and so he had no right to kill her. In his defense, it may be replied that Tracy's condition was so catastrophic that she had no prospects of a "life" in any but a biological sense. Her existence had been reduced to nothing but pointless suffering, so that killing her was an act of mercy. Considering those arguments, it appears that Mr. Latimer may have acted defensibly. There were, however, other points made by his critics.
9 I Rachels: The Elements of I 1. What is Morality? j Text Moral Philosophy, Fifth Edition WHAT IS MORALI1Y? The Argument from the Wrongness of Discriminating against the Handicapped. When Robert Latimer was given a lenient sentence by the trial court, many handicapped people took it as an insult. The president of the Saskatoon Voice of People with Disabilities, who has multiple sclerosis, said: "Nobody has the right to decide my life is worth less than yours. That's the bottom line." Tracy was killed because she was handi-capped, he said, and that is unconscionable. Handicapped people should be given the same respect and the same rights as everyone else. What are we to make of this? Discrimination against any group is, of course, a serious matter. It is objectionable because it involves treating some people worse than others, when there are no relevant differences between them that would justify it. A common example involves discrimination in employment. Suppose a blind person is refused a job simply because the em-ployer doesn't like the idea of hiring someone who can't see. This is no better than refusing to employ people because they are Hispanic or Jewish or female. Why is this person being treated differently? Is he less able to do the job? Is he less intel-ligent or less industrious? Does he somehow deserve the job less? Is he less able to benefit from employment? If there is no good reason for excluding him, then it is simply arbitrary to treat him in this way.