Sunday, August 22, 2010

Alcor Membership Dues (Passive Resistance)

Why would anyone pay dues to Alcor? They've proven, time-and-time-again, there's really no need to. Just throw a grease-stained note in your trunk, and find a relative to promise payment to Alcor in the event of your demise. Alcor will rush right over, to pick you up in a private jet. (Or does that only work for legendary baseball heroes?) Did Ted Williams ever pay membership dues? Not that I know of, so why should anyone else?

How about Mary Robbins? Was she paying Alcor membership dues, just prior to her death? Her family claimed she had changed her mind, about cryopreservation. Wouldn't knowledge, regarding whether she had been paying her Alcor dues, or not, have been evidence of her continued interest, (or lack, thereof)?
Alcor successfully argued, in a court of law, that Ms. Robbins' contract was required to be revoked in writing, which it had not been. So, Alcor was able to collect their "anatomical gift," even though they, subsequently, elected not to pursue the collection of the cryopreservation fee. Interesting! Ms. Robbins may have been paying her dues, but she didn't pay for her cryopreservation. Fancy that! Why should anyone pay Alcor, for anything, since they are so willing to give away their services? What other companies, (if any), operating under the UAGA, requires people to pay for "donating" an anatomical "gift," anyway? That's bizarre.

I'm not a lawyer, but isn't it true that a party cannot use an argument to win a legal decision, and then use the same argument to win a contradictory decision, in another court? (I think there's a name for this...I just can't think of it, at the moment.) In other words, Alcor won the battle over the possession of Ms. Robbins' "anatomical gift," by proving she had not revoked her gift, in writing. So, I'm wondering, if someone else, (or everyone else, for that matter), who has made arrangements for an Alcor cryopreservation, was to quit paying their membership dues, how successful would Alcor be at arguing that they were not obligated to perform a cryopreservation, because a person had failed to pay their membership dues? Maybe Alcor can cancel their contracts, in writing. Would they? If they have John Doe signed up for a $150,000 procedure, and he doesn't pay his "$478 annually or $120 quarterly," do they cancel his contract, in writing? It's a fascinating question, isn't it?

"Transparency" is a word you hear, a lot, in cryonics. How transparent is it, to fly across the country to pick up a celebrity, who has never paid a penny in membership dues, or bothered to fill out Alcor's paperwork? Pretty darn transparent, if you ask me. How transparent is it, to accept other last-minute cases, performing procedures for people who have never paid membership dues? Crystal clear, again, in my opinion. So, I ask, "Why should ANYONE pay Alcor's membership dues?"

Of course, the REAL question is, "Why should anyone pay Alcor for their pseudo-medical procedures, at all?" For $150,000, you might get something like a dialysis tech playing vascular-/neuro- surgeon, and something like this: By the way, how much did they make Ted Williams' family pay? According to several accounts, they accidentally cut off his head, making him a "neuro" case, even though his son had signed him up for the "whole body" procedure, which costs nearly double the price of a "neuro." (Current Alcor prices are $80K for a "neuro," and $150K for a "whole body.")

Alcor has been around for approximately 40 years, and it looks, to me, like they charge some really high fees, while not promising anyone with even a high school diploma, much less any sort of medical credentials, will show up to attempt to preserve their members' brains. Their Chief Medical Advisor has proven over, and over, and over, again, he doesn't have a complete understanding of vascular cannulations and perfusion, (the medical procedures required to deliver preservative solutions to all the cells of the body). What a joke.

I think it's time for Alcor to improve their services, and thinking along those lines, maybe it's time for some "passive resistance." After all, "money talks," so maybe there are Alcor members out there, willing to let their membership dues speak to Alcor's directors. OH...and if you get some polite request, from Alcor, asking you to sign documents, revoking your cryopreservation contract...well, I suggest you make note of the Williams' and Robbins' cases, and other "last-minute-not-really-signed-up-for-Alcor's services" cases, and consult with your attorney.

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