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March 25, 2005

Today's Obligatory Terri Schiavo Post

It's required of us, you know. Miss one day and the powers that be send over little guys in jackboots to trash the house. Ngnat calls them the Media Elves.

It strikes me that the controversy over Terri erupted and continues, not because of a concern in the mind of the public over a "culture of life," nor because some large number of people believe that Terri is still resident somewhere inside her crippled body. They may well even believe that she is indeed in a completely non-functional, vegetative state. What they do not accept is that her husband can be trusted to make decisions about her care.

I suspect that had Michael recused himself from the decision some years ago, her parents would have come to accept that their daughter was gone, acceded to the decision to remove the feeding tube, and Terri would have been long dead by now.

Posted by Bigwig at March 25, 2005 02:20 PM | TrackBack
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Thirteen years ago when our son came home after 6 months in the hospital with the same sort of brain injury as Terri, he was still on a feeding tube. But with a little effort we were able to teach him to eat and drink everything by mouth, and soon took out the tube and his stomach healed naturally. All of which is to say that Terri would probably be in much better shape now if her parents had been taking care of her. That's my guess.

Posted by: Tom McMahon at March 25, 2005 03:33 PM

Tom, you should read the GAL report. I don't have the link but perhaps BW does.

Great blog, love the title.

Posted by: DudeSucker at March 25, 2005 10:36 PM

Bigwig's on to something here. I personally would be alot less exercised about the court's decision if Michael Schiavo wasn't such a callous, disgusting lout.

America just endured a made for TV trial in California where an adulterous husband killed his wife in order to escape his marital obligations, marry his skanky ho, and collect the insurance money. To me, the parallels are obvious.

Posted by: Captain Holly at March 26, 2005 07:13 AM

Well, I would agree - I think a lot of people, including some folks I know in Ann arbor, who are extreme leftists, share the concern as to whether the husband in this case is the most credible source about what Terri Schiavo's requests were.
Though, Captain Holly - there are a few folks in our LDS Ward who agree with the husband's position andthe legal rulings that have gone his way.

Posted by: sid at March 26, 2005 08:11 AM


That's not really surprising, considering up to a year ago I sided with the husband in this dispute.

The Lefties have a bumper-sticker that says: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention". I think most Americans, like me, just assumed that Michael Schiavo was a decent, respectable husband who wanted the best for his wife, and didn't bother to get any more details. The Media certainly haven't said a harsh word about him.

But the more I learned about Mr. Schiavo, the more obvious it became to me that he's little better than Scott Peterson, other than he is clever enough to turn his wife's murder into a right to die issue.

I'll go out on a limb here, and predict that within a year Michael Schiavo will be seen as another O. J.; someone with a smart lawyer who killed his wife and got away with it.

Posted by: Captain Holly at March 26, 2005 11:16 AM

Read the background info on this case before making decisions about Mr. Schiavo and his intentions. We should all hope that we never have to make a decision like this for our loved ones.

Posted by: GC at March 26, 2005 11:45 AM

Have you considered who is spreading all this stuff about Mr. Schiavo? It's Mrs. Schiavo's parents, who have mightily changed their tune since the malpractice trial, when they testified he was a wonderful, loving husband. Mr. Schiavo says they turned against him when he refused to give them any of the settlement, which was put in a trust for Mrs. Schiavo's benefit.

Posted by: Kai Jones at March 26, 2005 01:18 PM

I've thought long and hard about this, and I've decided I'd probably be okay with Mr. Schiavo doing what he is trying to do, so long as it involved him with a pistol, pulling the trigger.

Oooh, what's that, it makes you squeamish and that's not what he asked for? Well, why is that? Assuming she has enough brain power to be "suffering," and her suffering is the primary rationale for killing her, then wouldn't it be much more merciful, and far less cruel, to just shoot her, rather than letting her starve for a week?

The really big problem I have is actually a culture of life problem. All the euphemisms employed by her husband's attorney ("we're the only ones standing up for poor Terry's civil rights" etc) and the others rooting him on to "just end it" cover up a really harsh reality, and that is that she is being killed, rather than being "allowed to die." It's not particularly passive, like withholding heroic measures such as ventilators, defbrilation, and complex transplant operations. This is just the same as if you stopped feeding your infant child - you would kill that child, not "allow it to die." This of course assumes that there is an affirmative duty to take minimal steps to keep someone under your guardianship alive. What Mr. Schiavo (and apparently 2/3ds of the country, if you believe ABC) want to do is an act of volition, stopping a minimally difficult routine of providing food and fluids.

And here's my culture problem: in cloaking the true nature of this act, the euthenasiasts, the death lovers, win another little victory, and get us just a little bit more used to offing the "useless eaters." Death with dignity my ass; Terri Schiavo is bleeding from the mouth, last I heard on the news. These nihilists aren't that much different from the Al Qaida lunatics we worry about; who was it that said "we will win because we love death more than you love life"? In devaluing life, the euthenasiasts jettison something that is at the heart of the humanistic western world view, and in the process become much more animalistic and less civilized.

The culture will be hurt because the next time a similar case comes up, we'll have precedent to rely on. "Oh, she's been in a coma five years..." or "six months" or "a month." Karen Ann Quinlan was brain dead. Terri Schiavo is not brain dead, otherwise she would need to be on a respirator. Given the pace of social change (or deterioration as Cap'n Holly and I would probably agree, we won't be waiting 20 years for the next case. In fact, you should look for the state of Oregon along with our robed master, Justice Kennedy, to try to constitutionalize euthenasia in an upcoming Supreme Court case. (Let me be clear - I believe that if the state wants to do that, it's a state's rights issue - but the Court, if it follows past patterns, will not decide the case on federalism grounds but will instead find some fundamental right to euthenasia.)

The slippery slope is often a facile argument, but it isn't here. When it comes to ending life, we've gone in the space of thirty short years from no abortion, to first trimester only, to 39 weeks and a wakeup, and the baby's body is 90% outside the mother abortion. Last year, Barbara Boxer made the case for infanticide on the floor of the Senate. When Dan Savage's bogeyman, Rick Santorum asked her at what point in gestation the right to life accrued to an individual, Ms. Boxer replied "when the mother decides to take it home from the hospital." Instead of shock and outrage, this comment indicating that a "woman's right to choose" encompasses infanticide passed by without notice. If we were decent, we would have run Ms. Boxer from public office. Sadly, I fear we are less decent by the day.

I'm no genius, but I am surpassingly confident that I will be proved right on this euthenasia question. We will go from Terri Schiavo to a Netherlands like debacle in short order. I would give it five to seven years, at the outside.

In short, if you feel incapable of standing there with a .45 and pulling the trigger, then you shouldn't be advocating for somebody to do it "the nice way" by pulling the feeding tube or administering a lethal dose of chemicals. And if you have qualms, you really owe to yourself and the rest of us to try to reason out to your position from first principles. It's worth thinking it through because this is a really big issue and one worth fighting over.

Posted by: Blackavar at March 26, 2005 03:58 PM


Did the Schiavos make Michael move in with his skanky ho? Did they steal his semen and impregnate her with it against his will, not once, but twice?

Perhaps the reason they have turned against Mr. Schiavo since the malpractice trial is that Mr. Schiavo, by his open and public adultery, has obviously turned his back on their daughter.

Doesn't it make anyone feel just a teensy bit uncomfortable that the only person, the only person, who says that Terri would not want to live this way is her adulterous husband who stands to benefit financially from her death?

Posted by: Captain Holly at March 27, 2005 10:59 AM


And if my wife were in the same situation, I think I would at least have the decency to divorce her and let her family take care of her, instead of insisting on dehydrating her to death.

But then, if Michael divorced Terri, he'd probably have to pay some kind of alimony or support. Not to mention he would lose control of whatever money is left in Terri's trust fund. The same thing would happen if he just let the parents take over Terri's care. So financially speaking, the only way Michael comes out ahead is if Terri is dead.

Similarly, he can't legally marry the woman he's been dorking for the past seven years, so in order to do that, Terri must die. He can't just divorce her (see above).

The prosecutor in the Scott Peterson case carefully made the same points to convince the jury that Scott had ample motive to see his wife dead. I think it's obvious that Michael Schiavo has ample motive to see his wife dead.

But since he has convinced the court to pull the feeding tube, he doesn't have to get his hands dirty.

Posted by: Captain Holly at March 27, 2005 11:16 AM

Correction to the above comment:

Did the Schindlers make Michael...

Repeat after me, preview is my friend, preview is my friend...

Posted by: Captain Holly at March 27, 2005 11:23 AM

Maybe the Schindlers don't want Terri to die because if/when she does, their gravy train ends. Donations have been pouring into them by the truckload for Terri's care. But they've never accounted for a dime. Their "fund" isn't incorporated as a non-profit. It isn't even incorporated. No Terri, no $$$.

Follow the REAL money.

Posted by: ovidsen at March 27, 2005 08:45 PM

Cuts both ways, Ovidsen.

Where's the supposedly broke, working class prison nurse Michael Schiavo getting the money to pay his high priced legal team? They ain't working for free, ya know.

Posted by: Captain Holly at March 28, 2005 07:14 AM

Actually, if they are to be believed (a large if), the lawyers on boths sides claim to be working for free for the last two years.

Posted by: Hrairoo at March 28, 2005 10:21 AM

Everyone seems to have overlooked that the protestors, those "compassionate" nutcases, in their zeal to insert their political agendas into what should be a private family matter, have forgotten, or don't care, about the impact they are having on the other residents of that hospice. All of those other residents are dying, yet most, unlike the famous politcal pawn stored down the hall, are probably still capable of reason and self awareness. Nevertheless, those residents, who more readily still meet the definition "human", are prevented from enjoying what may be their final spring of existence for the sake of what is now, and has been for fifteen years, little more than an unthinking breathing, and food processing machine.

I've only heard one media broadcast (it was libertarian conservative talk-show host Neal Boortz) discussing this other impact the nutcases are having. He reported that they are yelling at the other residents of the hospice when they try to come out and enjoy the good weather, perhaps for the last time, and that one person was delayed in getting entry to see her grandfather because of the additional security necessary and that she missed seeing him before he died because of that delay.

Posted by: DudeSucker at March 28, 2005 12:35 PM

I'm not sure where I first saw it, but I do believe, that Michael did, in fact, recuse himself, citing the appearance of conflict of interest as the reason. I think it was in one of the court reports pertaining to the malpractice suits or possibly the initial case to determine whether or not the feeding tube would be removed.

The rhetoric around this case is so angry one should be quick to dismiss the emotional ranting in favor of checking into sources.

Posted by: jack at March 28, 2005 12:55 PM

Capt. Holly, according to what I've read, the Schindlers did, indeed, encourage Mr. Schiavo to move on with his life. Are you punishing him because you don't like his morals?

And you know how the Schindlers keep saying that various care centers tried to get restraining orders against Mr. Schiavo? They never say that it was because he was rude to staffers who didn't take good enough care of his wife. She's never had a bed sore, in 15 years of bed-ridden care: that's almost unbelievable. He went to nursing school to learn to be a breathing therapist so he could help take care of her.

What about the Schindlers? They've said that even if she had told them she would prefer to die in these circumstances, they'd keep her alive. This isn't about her, it's about them.

Posted by: Kai Jones at March 28, 2005 12:59 PM
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