Gordon McShean

Palmerston North, New Zealand

About Gordon


Biographies: (1) Operation New Zealand (also pub.as Bum Ticker: a Hearty Traveler's Tale; (2) Running a Message Parlor; A Librarian's Medium Rare Memoir About Censorship; (3) Retired Terrorist (to be published late 2009). BRIEF LIFE SUMMARY: Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1936, at 15 became active in the Scottish independence movement and began work as signwriter/display artist. At 16 took part in radical political actions (including a Scottish Republican Army action to obtain guns); avoided authorities by going to Europe, finding work in 1955 as an aircraft supply clerk in Germany with the US Army of Occupation, winning awards for improving operations. In 1958 moved to the US (working in signwriting/display), and took up study at Los Angeles - first at El Camino College, moving on to USC, gaining an AB (hons.) in English and History, then (1964) management qualifications with MS Library Science (while establishing practice in providing poetry readings - particularly Robert Burns). Married in 1963 to June Kakurai, became documents librarian at Stanford University, but after having to travel for innovative heart surgery in New Zealand in 1966 (documented in biography (1), became Head Librarian at Chavez County Library, Roswell, New Mexico, encouraging community theater and poetry programs, campaigning against censorship and subsequently becoming the target of right wing political activists (documented in biography (2), then assisting the American Library Association and becoming recognized as a significant anti-censorship activist. Then being able to obtain only minor library administrative positions anywhere in the US (and having had to rush to NZ again for heart surgery in 1973), obtained an MA in Public Service at the University of San Francisco, while my wife took up a career as a Japanese dancer; after an agreeable but regretful parting, I moved to NZ in 1980 to take a non-teaching faculty member post at Massey University, Palmerston North, providing academics with media skills. Marrying again (and gaining 4 children from Rae), we had a son, Craig, in 1984; I went on to take posts as editor of the city's weekly newspaper, The Guardian, then as administrator of the new regional mediation service of the country's housing authority. Retirement (and further extensive health difficulties) coincided during the first years of the new century. I continue to write (Retired Terrorist, the 3rd biography, is being printed currently), and remain active in numerous areas of interest.

An idea worth spreading

Activism in pursuit of any worthwhile goal. Encouragement of any belief but caution in the acceptance of faith

I'm passionate about

Animal welfare.

Comments & conversations

Gordon McShean
Posted about 2 years ago
Do you agree with euthanasia? (for humans)
I'm now 76. At 14, after suffering debilitating medical conditions, I was advised I'd be unlikely to survive 14 more years without new medical treatments. Despite continuing debility I enjoyed a life of variety and excitement until at 28 - with only 3 months to live - an innovative procedure provided another 7 years. Four additional surgical procedures in the next 46 years allowed me to live well, despite medical traumas. My life has been documented in 3 memoirs - over 900 pages!. These document the fact that when conditions have seemed unbearable there have always been lovers or medics "depriving me of release" - and that I've ultimately appreciated their efforts. But I've wondered sometimes if I might have subsequently enjoyed an early peace - or whether peace is a condition we should pursue! In considering rights and wrongs I've appreciated the interventions of those with a close personal connection. But I've asked myself about religious folks' motivations - seeming to fear "death" (I don't think I believe in death). One might think those who believe in a god would not only have confidence in their access to compatriots "the other side" but also of caring and compassionate systems allowing them to bypass death's agonies? And what of the "godless"? What makes them think that negating the old myths equates with making a determination of spiritual nothingness? I don't believe the human concept of death makes much sense, since it ignores the evidence of continuity in the universe. Many who obstruct euthanasia seem to lack a belief in continuity. Science does not allow for "nothingness." I'm confident to ask friends (or pay professionals) to help me get past unnecessary pain and to get over to the other side with priority. Using laws to require folks to suffer before they go is barbaric! My main contention is that a human-type god is laughable. "Going over," for me, is gaining access to the spiritual creatures who inhabit a boundless spiritual universe.