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Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri wants to live

Lawyer Barbara Waller reports on her visit to Terri Schindler-Schiavo Friday morning before the slow-motion execution by starvation began:

"All morning long, as I was in the room with Terri and her family, we were telling her that help was on the way. Terri was in good spirits that morning.
... At one point, I noticed Terri’s window blinds were pulled down.  I went to the window to raise them so Terri could look at the beautiful garden outside her window and see the sun after several days of rain. As sunlight came into the room, Terri’s eyes widened and she was obviously very pleased. At another point, Suzanne and I told Terri she needed to suck in all the food she could because she might not be getting anything for a few days. During that time, Mary Schindler, Terri’s mother, joined us for a bit, and we noticed there were bubbles in Terri’s feeding tube. We joked that we didn’t want her to begin burping, and called the nurses to fix the feeding tube, which they did. Terri’s mother did not come back into the room.  This was a very difficult day for Bob and Mary Schindler. I suspect they were less hopeful all along than I was, having lived through Terri’s last two feeding tube removals.
Suzanne and I continued to talk and joke with Terri for probably an hour or more.  At one point Suzanne called Terri the bionic woman and I heard Terri laugh out loud heartily for the first time since I have been visiting with her. She laughed so hard that for the first time I noticed the dimples in her cheeks.
The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri’s bed next to Suzanne. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair. I stood up and learned over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, 'Terri if you could only say "I want to live" this whole thing could be over today.' I begged her to try very hard to say, 'I want to live.'  To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, 'Ahhhhhhh.' Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, 'Waaaaaaaa.' She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne’s husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri’s door, clearly heard her. At that point, Terri had a look of anguish on her face that I had never seen before and she seemed to be struggling hard, but was unable to complete the sentence. She became very frustrated and began to cry. I was horrified that I was obviously causing Terri so much anguish. Suzanne and I began to stroke Terri’s face and hair to comfort her. I told Terri I was very sorry. It had not been my intention to upset her so much. Suzanne and I assured Terri that her efforts were much appreciated and that she did not need to try to say anything more. I promised Terri I would tell the world that she had tried to say, 'I want to live'."

Take it for what its worth, but it is certainly worth a court investigating, don't you think. I plan to have twice daily updates on what people are saying on this rush-to-kill case at Sobering Thoughts (for example here and here). Also check out Blogs for Terri for the latest breaking news.

Posted by Paul Tuns on March 21, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

I have alot of sympathy for Terri’s parents and supporters but this seems to be a case of hope and love finding functionality where none exists.

It reminds me of the heartbreaking situation where some parents of profoundly autistic children, contrary to scores of medical findings, insist that their child has higher functioning than is possible. If, by coincidence, a child should let out an involuntary yelp or grin as they pass wind at the same time someone tells a joke the parent , ignoring the obvious odor in the room, takes that as evidence that they understood.

Some will use picture boards so that - with the help of the parent to steady the hand- the child can actually communicate. This has been shown to be nothing more than a Ouija Board effect whereby the parent actually provides the answer.

If Terri showed even one of the degrees of functionality described above she would not have been diagnosed as PVS. Injecting false hope into the debate clouds the issue - which should be, given the diagnosis and circumstances what is the proper course of action?

Posted by: nBob | 2005-03-22 2:00:24 AM


I think everyone is missing the whole point in Terri's case, IT IS NOT AN EXCEPTION. All across Canada and the U.S. there are countless continuing care facilities that are home to countless persons who are the victims of M.S., Alzhiemer"s disease, stroke, auto accidents and just plain old age who are mostly or completely incapacitated and require getting their life resources (food and wwater) from a nurse, volunteer feeders or family.
Terri's feeding tube is the tip of the iceberg that places all of the above persons on death row if the family decided gramdpa or a mentally challenged sibling or child just costs or is too much burden to keep alive.
Come right down to it, it's all about the money isn't?

Posted by: Lyle | 2005-03-22 6:05:12 AM


Terri is not brain-dead and her body is not terminally disintegrating in extreme pain (as was the situation in the Robert Latimer/Tracy Latimer case - where Latimer was trying to end his daughter's pain).

She simply 'is'. Therefore, why should we, who can run about, express ourselves with language - reject her? I don't see that we have the right to say to someone else: Unless you can feed yourself, and express yourself, you must die.

I'm against the slippery slope analogy, which is almost always a fallacy, but in this case, I think a 'slippery slope analogy' has merit. What is the difference between Terri's situation and that of our elderly parent's Alzheimer induced senility? What is the difference between that parent who cannot feed themself, cannot recognize you or talk...and even..needs other physical 'hook-ups'? Will we define them as 'unfit to live'?

What puzzles me is why the various disabled and handicapped groups are not active in this situation - as they were in the Tracy Latimer case...which was not about disability but about extreme terminal pain.

The parents have said that they will care for her. The husband does not want her to live. Why not? She is not in pain. How can he make a choice of death (which is a choice, while life is not a choice) for another human being? Some reports have said he'll benefit financially. I don't know.

My point is that we, who have average IQs, which enable us to communicate and take action, have no right to reject the right-to-life of someone, a member of the same species as us, who for whatever reason, lacks those benefits - and will always lack those benefits. That is, I'm not saying to keep her alive in the hope that she will recover those abilities; I'm saying to keep her alive because we have no right to condemn her to death for being unable to live 'our kind of life'.

Posted by: ET | 2005-03-22 6:13:40 AM


Is Terri completely paralyzed? Can she blink? Why can't they do the old "blink twice for Yes" "blink once for No"? Sure there is *some* way for her to express herself... if she can yell, then that right there could be used as a mechanism to get a yes/no answer!

It seems that in all the disgusting politics and everything, the actual condition of Terri Shiavo has been lost or misrepresented.

Posted by: Chris Alemany | 2005-03-22 6:53:12 AM


About the Tracy Latimer case, my understanding is that the court rejected the contention that she was in extreme, incessant pain. She was found to be in intermittent, though at times intense pain, comparable to someone with severe arthritis, and it's hyperbole to describe her body as "disintegrating".

Obviously her life was no bed of roses. But the interesting point is how virulent the incessant-extreme-pain meme has proved to be. I'm not ascribing sinister motives to ET, whose post I find to be compassionate and well argued on the whole. But in my opinion many people want to believe her condition was worse than it was, because they want to believe there was justification in killing her... because they are distressed by the idea having people like her alive.

You know, the very severely disabled are disturbing. In fact, they can be physically disgusting. Establishing a loving or respectful relationship with someone like that, in which one genuinely and inwardly acknowledges their value as a human being, is easier said than done.

I'm not talking here about talking here about people like Latimer's father, whose level of engagement puts him in different category than us. I'm talking about us in the general public, who largely form our opinions from media coverage of events like the Latimer and Schiavo cases. The danger with us is that we will cloak an underlying hostility to the severely disabled in a ostensible concern for the disabled person's suffering. Euthanasia ethics provide a template for getting rid of people like Tracy Latimer (or Terri Schiavo), if we can bend our view of the facts to fit it. That way we can preserve our sense of ourselves as good people while killing.

(Yes, I know the Schiavo case revolves around people disputing the court's findings about the patient, while my critique invokes the court findings in the Latimer case. But all doubts in these cases should be resolved in favour of letting the patient live.)

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-22 8:28:40 AM


Imagine a person with an old dog that has become sedentary and non-responsive, after a prolonged illness. The owner, who we will call Bob, decides that the humane thing is to stop feeding the dog and allow it to die by increments. A week or so later, a neighbor finds out about Bob's starvation regimen and reports him to the SPCA and other animal "rights" organizations.

After these watchdog groups set the wheels in motion, the law and the press swoop down on Bob's doorstep. Newspapers feature headlines such as "Heartless Owner Attempts to Starve Beloved Pet to Death" ... "The Animal Torturer Who Lived Among Us" ... "The Fiend Next Door". Bob in short will be demonized like there is no tomorrow.

Terri is a daughter and a wife. She was and is greatly loved. The only way I can relate is to put it into a personal context. If my wife was similarly afflicted and I saw even a flicker of response in her eyes. If I sensed that within her broken body, there was a spirit ... awareness .... consciousness. If I sensed there was still a will within her. How in the name of God am I supposed to give the nod to a callous scheme to end her life. I could never live with the aftermath of such an act. It would haunt me forever.

America is a powerful nation, and one of the marks of true strength correctly used, is the ability to be an implacable foe of those who would destroy you while also showing compassion to your weakest and most vulnerable.

I am certain of one thing ... Terri may not be able to respond on a cerebral level ... but she is capable of receiving love. You can see it in her eyes in the press photos. To deliberately kill this woman is to bring shame on all of us.

Yes it's hard to grapple with the issue of the disabled ... yes it puts a burden on our resources ... yes it would be so much easier to pull the plug in some of these cases ... but is it ever only about expediency? And when we start accepting the mind-set that permits "mercy killings" how much closer are we getting to the heartless utilitarianism that characterized nazi logic.

I'm not being indiscriminately "soft" either. If it is clear that a case is hopeless and the person is in terrible pain and seeks the release death brings, then of course, the line of action is clear. However, in Terri we have a child-like soul. My instinct is to protect her and try to give dignity to a life that is lingering on the border zones of existence. In granting her love and dignity, we elevate ourselves.

Posted by: raskolnikov | 2005-03-22 8:32:59 AM


Imagine a person with an old dog that has become sedentary and non-responsive, after a prolonged illness. The owner, who we will call Bob, decides that the humane thing is to stop feeding the dog and allow it to die by increments. A week or so later, a neighbor finds out about Bob's starvation regimen and reports him to the SPCA and other animal "rights" organizations.

After these watchdog groups set the wheels in motion, the law and the press swoop down on Bob's doorstep. Newspapers feature headlines such as "Heartless Owner Attempts to Starve Beloved Pet to Death" ... "The Animal Torturer Who Lived Among Us" ... "The Fiend Next Door". Bob in short will be demonized like there is no tomorrow.

Terri is a daughter and a wife. She was and is greatly loved. The only way I can relate is to put it into a personal context. If my wife was similarly afflicted and I saw even a flicker of response in her eyes. If I sensed that within her broken body, there was a spirit ... awareness .... consciousness. If I sensed there was still a will within her. How in the name of God am I supposed to give the nod to a callous scheme to end her life. I could never live with the aftermath of such an act. It would haunt me forever.

America is a powerful nation, and one of the marks of true strength correctly used, is the ability to be an implacable foe of those who would destroy you while also showing compassion to your weakest and most vulnerable.

I am certain of one thing ... Terri may not be able to respond on a cerebral level ... but she is capable of receiving love. You can see it in her eyes in the press photos. To deliberately kill this woman is to bring shame on all of us.

Yes it's hard to grapple with the issue of the disabled ... yes it puts a burden on our resources ... yes it would be so much easier to pull the plug in some of these cases ... but is it ever only about expediency? And when we start accepting the mind-set that permits "mercy killings" how much closer are we getting to the heartless utilitarianism that characterized nazi logic.

I'm not being indiscriminately "soft" either. If it is clear that a case is hopeless and the person is in terrible pain and seeks the release death brings, then of course, the line of action is clear. However, in Terri we have a child-like soul. My instinct is to protect her and try to give dignity to a life that is lingering on the border zones of existence. In granting her love and dignity, we elevate ourselves.

Posted by: raskolnikov | 2005-03-22 8:34:59 AM


Terri screamed 'Ahhhhhhh.' and 'Waaaaaaaa.', and the writer automatically assumed that means that Terri is telling her that she wants to live? Don't get me wrong, I think starving this poor woman to death is repulsive but I don't think it is fair to assume that is what she meant. I guess that is the whole predicament though. She can't tell us what she wants so the creepy husband is making a decision for her. In the absence of a legal document stating that she'd rather die then I can hardly understand how they can kill her like this. It's heartbreaking.

Posted by: rhebner | 2005-03-22 9:53:40 AM


Paul Tuns says calls the Schiavo case a "rush-to-kill case" that is "worth a court investigating". Many others on the extreme Christian right have said similar things. "Give her due process", "what's the rush", "give life a chance".

I admit to having deep qualms about the end of her life. Absolutely, we would want every channel explored, every due process fulfilled. But what Tuns and these other fundamentalist right-to-lifers are not saying is that they don't think there is any process that would satisfy them or any time period that would be long enough. Why don't they just be honest and say what they really believe: no one under any circumstances should be allowed to die for any reason, and all medical and governmental interventions should be undertaken to keep the body "technically" alive regardless of any other reason.

The truth is that, after 14 years in a vegetative state, there has not been any "rush". The truth is that, after almost a decade of court procedures and independent and court-appointed first-hand medical review and countless (and consistent) court rulings, not one but several courts have undertaken extensive investigation and due process has been served. Terri has had three separate legal guardians as advocates. There has been hearing after hearing, appeal after appeal. With the amount of scrutiny of this case - legal, medical, media and political - if there ever was one that had been provided due process, Terri has had it. And yet another judge - this time a federal judge - has concluded the same thing yet again yesterday.

Which raises the question of why this family's story has taken on such unprecedented attention? Why has there been unprecedented and unconstitutional federal incursion on state law by a party that purports to be state rights' strongest advocates? Obviously there are many many committed believers who believe that all life is worth fighting for and they are to be encouraged for the most part. But don't be mistaken, Terri is a secondary concern here: this is a political fight over power. It reminds me of the anti-racism marches over alleged white violence. The alleged victims then were always just political tools for a larger fight to wrest control of decision-making in the country.

This is a tragic tragic story. No one wants Terri to die (except, if you accept her husband's contention and that of some of her friends, Terri herself), or at least no one prefers her to die over having a life. But in the US, as in Canada, society has given legal recognition to certain circumstances that, after careful review and inspection and counselling and legal process, we accept that a life is more than simply living tissue and, when the spirit and the person have already departed, we allow the body to follow. If you think the law is wrong, take what measures you want to change it. But through democratic means, society has passed these laws, and as a society grounded in law we must allow the law to run its proper course and, having done, live by its conclusions.

By all accounts - other than those of Terri's ultra-religious family and the ultra-Christian extremists for whom Tuns speaks and their puppets in the US Congress - Terri's spirit and person have already sadly departed long ago. The politicization of her case is simply sad and cruel.

Posted by: Ted | 2005-03-22 10:21:01 AM


Ted,

The issue of legal finality is an important one, no question. But there are people better qualified than I to discuss it.

Let's address the issue of sentience: is Terri Schiavo sufficiently sentient to suffer from death by dehydration? Your comments evade that issue, by implying that she is "simply living tissue", from which "the spirit and the person have already departed." That implies a level of functioning close to brain death. I'm sorry, brain-dead people don't move or vocalize, whether purposefully or not (a point of intense debate in this case).

This is what I'm talking about in my earlier post: in cases like these, some people seem compelled to represent the patient's condition as worse than it really is, in order to stifle their qualms about killing them. Some lay the sugar syrup on a little thicker than others.

To put it another way, whatever the legal, moral or evidentiary factors that come down in cases like these, some people (usually the same people) will always find a way through the maze to verdict of death.

Do some people err on the other side? Sure, but, you know, that's the side you want to err on.

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-22 10:53:16 AM


http://www.terrisfight.net/

Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle | 2005-03-22 11:31:35 AM


http://www.terrisfight.net/

Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle | 2005-03-22 11:33:13 AM


In reply to Chris Bird, I'll disagree with his assessment that Tracy Latimer was only in 'intermittent pain'. No, it wasn't the same as extreme arthritis, and yes, her body was disintegrating; they were talking about another operation to replace the bone, but warned that this operation would have a long and painful recovery - and only a partial recovery - and, that no painkillers stronger than regular Tylenol could be given (because it interfered with her anti-convulsive drugs). The court suggested 'other pain killers' but refused to say what those 'others pain killers' were, when the doctorts themselves could not define any 'other pain killers'.

And, my response to the Latimer case has nothing to do with any 'underlying hostility' to the disabled. It has to do with the reality of physical torture and whether we are willing or not, to submit someone to such a state.

I don't agree with Ted that this is a fight over 'power' - other than power over her inheritance, which, if I understand it correctly, her husband will inherit. I don't understand what democratic process to which he is referring.

As for Terry - I find it absolutely 'unreal' that there is any argument or debate. The reality is, she is alive and we have no right to define the nature of that life. She is NOT in pain; she is NOT in a vegetative state; she is NOT brain-dead. Therefore - how can a society actually insist that someone starve to death? Let me think of other scenarios where people starved to death: the Holocaust concentration camps; Somalia; Ethiopia; Stalingrad and Leningrad.. Now- are we actually going to say that this is the way it should be?

Are we going to do the same with Alzheimer's patients who can equally be in such a state for over a decade (wasn't Ronald Reagan suffering from it for about 14 years?).

Are we actually going to condemn a person to death, by starvation, because they are 'not as alive as we are'?

I don't even understand how there can be a debate.

The husband's statement that 'Terri would want to die' is unacceptable; he can't know what she would want. No-one can. Therefore, we don't have the right to condemn a person to death. And a death by starvation. It's so immoral it's mindboggling to even discuss it.

Posted by: ET | 2005-03-22 1:31:08 PM


Actually, ET, I exempted you from my suspicions about people's motives in these cases. I called your post "compassionate and well argued". But I still think you're overstating Latimer's condition in a way reminiscent of people whose motives I do suspect.

Posted by: Chris Burd | 2005-03-22 1:52:31 PM


ET:

You said:

The husband's statement that 'Terri would want to die' is unacceptable; he can't know what she would want. No-one can. Therefore, we don't have the right to condemn a person to death. And a death by starvation. It's so immoral it's mindboggling to even discuss it.

Who are you to judge that. What if at some point Terri and her husband sat down and discussed, verbally, what they would want the other to do if one of them was incapacitated like Terri is now.

My wife and I had exactly that discussion last night. She said that if she was in Terris' state, especially after 14 years, she'd want to die.

We don't have that in writing, so if, god forbid, something were to happen to my wife that put her in a Terri Shiavo-like state
then what would I do?

I would be compelled to end her life.

It's a terrible possibility, but a possibility none the less.

Needless to say, we're working on our wills right now.

Posted by: Chris Alemany | 2005-03-22 4:11:10 PM


I understand ET's frustration with the debate. It seems that he/she feels as some do on this matter: that under no circumstances shall a person who is alive - no matter how technically or narrowly - be allowed to die. Most of this view would also say: whether or not the person consented to it beforehand or not. This is not so much a debate about how vegetative; as I said, most of those who argue for putting the tube back in, don't care about that question. And that was part of my point about the politicization of this issue.

The ultra-right disagrees with the existing laws that would allow Terri's husband or any other husband/spouse/guardian to be able to make that choice over another, no matter how clear the victim's desires in a living will or "do not resuscitate" order. These laws exist in Jeb Bush's Florida and in Canada, and even Dubya Bush himself passed laws as governor of Texas to allow this. That is what I meant by democratic process. Granted, these laws were probably opposed by these same right-wingers when they were passed, but they were passed and they do allow Terri to decide what she would like to happen in this scenario and they do allow her husband to act on his beliefs of her desires. That you disagree with these laws does not mean that the debate should not happen or that the courts should not enforce those laws.

And the truth is, despite what is being said by every right-to-lifer, every Republican vying for the support of the ultra-Christian right for the 2006 elections, so many right-wingnut lawyers (who are grossing huge dollars in fees on this by the way) seem to be saying, Terri Schiavo IS in a persistent vegetative state with no chance of recovery, she IS brain-dead, she does NOT respond to stimuli other than reflexively. The cognitive part of her brain stem is no longer: over the 14 years of being in this vegetative state, it has liquified, an apparently unsurprising and unavoidable result of her type of vegetative state. How can we say she is or is not in this state of being way up here in Canada? We don't have to. Several teams of independent, non-partisan doctors who separately analyzed her endlessly have concluded so.

ET, I agree with you to no end that if there is hope, if the person is brain-damaged but not brain-dead, if the person is handicapped, we do not have a right to impose a death on that person (and I would apply this to prisoners as well as handicapped which I'll wager is something none of these ultra-right "defenders of life" would agree with). And the laws don't allow that. But I would add two caveats: unless that is the person's clear wish and due process has been exercised and the laws observed. And the laws do allow that.

The Latimer case is quite different because there was no consent and there was a clearly, actively living person and all medical and legal processes denied Latimer the right to kill his daughter. In that case as in this, one of the messages is: you can't ignore the law or legal process just because you disagree with it.

After exhaustive medical analysis, several courts have concluded that there is sufficient medical consensus that the case meets the thresholds established and permitted by the laws our lawmakers have passed. After exhaustive legal analysis, several courts have also repeatedly concluded that Terri did instruct her husband and that all due process has been rendered.

So, I guess I agree with you on one other point, ET: I also don't understand how there can still be a debate - let alone an international debate - about this family's tragedy.

Posted by: Ted | 2005-03-22 4:19:20 PM


Watching this drama unfold, with Congressmen and Senators flying into Washington for a midnight debate, watching the President rush to Washington to sign the bill into law with a haste that war itself has not brought to this White House, reminds me of another Republican debacle more than half a century ago.

It involved Senator Joe McCarthy, who was finally tackled with the words "Have you no decency? Have you no limit beyond which you will not go?"

The behavior of the Republicans have brought the very notion of the "rule of law" into question. It has tried to intimidate American judges to see things the way the Bush Administration wants them to see things. Its the beginning of the politicization of the American judiciary. Its the end of the "rule of law" and the beginnings of the "rule of men".

And the behavior of the participants in this sad story is equally disgraceful. Her parents, her husband, her siblings, all of them are a disgrace because they all preferred to use their daughter, their sister, their wife for this unseemly public circus. They should be ashamed of themselves. All of them.

But who messed up the most was Jeb Bush who utterly failed to provide ANY moral leadership and ANY political leadership in this matter.

The facts of this case are simple enough. Terri is brain dead and has been for fifteen years. She cannot feed herself, cannot control her bodily functions, and does not exhibit any spark that medical authorities would use to diagnose her condition in any other way except as they have.

Terri, sadly, is a living corpse. And the real question is what to do about that situation. That is what the Courts and the Congress and the Senate and the President have also utterly failed to address in a fashion that would satisfy most reasonable.

The legal problem is that Terri did not have a "personal directive" that could have resolved this legal question. And the question then is, "what is to be done"?

It seems to me that once the doctors have established that she was clinically brain dead, that all the rest should have followed in terms of the consequences of any other person who had died. The husband should have been able to remarry without all the current brohaha by Christian fundamentalist heretics like Jerry Falwell, and instead of the past fifteen years of legal circuses in Court, the State should have simply ruled that Terri will be kept alive for as long as she can live. Jeb Bush should have simply stated that this was a decision to minimize costs in a case that has no satisfactory legal outcome.

This is NOT about the "right to life" since brain dead persons are already dead. Why is that such a hard concept for Christian fundamentalist heretics like Jerry Falwell to grasp, since he preaches every Sunday that those who "sin" are already "dead"?

The taxpayers of Florida have spent well over a million dollars in utterly wasted legal processes in this case. The US taxpayers has contributed tens of millions more in this case, not counting Emperor George Bush's "mission of mercy" to "save" a "brain dead" woman that sadly died fifteen years ago.

Eventually Terri's body will also die, but everyone has evaded the truth in this case. The truth is that we should simply maintain the level of care that has been provided, for the reason that the circumstances in this case make it unacceptable to actually end what life remains in this brain dead individual.

I am not at all sure that this is the best thing for Terri's parents, her sisters or even her husband. For its a decision that suspends any closure or outcome in this case. On the other hand, if her parents wish to maintain her "life" and her husband cannot bear to see this endless agony continue, and in the absence of any legal directives, the only decision with the "wisdom of solomon" should fall with Terri's sister. Not her parents, not her husband, but her sister. Sisters know things about each other that parents and husbands do not and cannot ever know. Terri's sister wants to keep Terri's body alive, and that makes sense to me, not because it can do anything for Terri, but because it will perhaps somehow help the family with this enormous tragedy and its maddening mental suffering.

And the public should show some civility and respect the endless grief this family is suffering. They all deserve real respect and privacy, not prime time interviews on Larry King Live.

For a judge to do that, he is going to have to overlook the fine and right details of the law, and reach deep within himself for an answer. That answer should be built on compassion for the family members trapped in this tragedy, and not some misplaced sense of "duty" to Terri, who in every medical respect is already dead.

I think the instinct to oppose Euthanasia is very strong in North America and that we strongly resist applying our humanitarian instincts to other people with the same compassion we apply to our pet dogs and cats and rabbits. Certainly starving to death, or dehydrating over a period of two weeks or more, is hardly "humane". Doing it at all is widely regarded as "wrong". And it is wrong, but not for the reasons that "neocons" advance. Its wrong because Terri's case is one where we simply lack the knowledge of what should be done.

That is why I condemn this circus in the strongest possible terms. What the Republicans are doing is the highest form of hypocrisy imaginable and I am certain that if Jesus himself were here, the Republicans would be driven from the Temple with the same anger that money changers were on that day.

I have seen "neocons" do some pretty disgusting things. I have seen "communists" do some pretty disguesting things. But I have never seen anything quite as disgusting as this behavior over the weekend which is the lowest level of human behavior the world has ever witnessed in an American Congress.

These American politicians are pandering to the most base instincts, and perverse curiosity of people. Instead of leading Americans to "broad sunlit uplands" as Sir Winston would say, they have led the country to new depths of human folly and degradation.

I think used car salesmen have more compassion.
And while this circus is going on, another two dozen innocent and functioning people are murdered and maimed in an American school. It really makes you wonder who is more brain dead, Terri, or the US Congress.

Now I am going to the bathroom to throw-up.


Posted by: Joe Green | 2005-03-22 5:13:04 PM


Just to set the record straight, the Loyalty Review Board in the USA was set up in 1947 by President Truman, a Democrat (not to let facts interfere with a rant.)

Red-hunting was a thoroughly bi-partisan affair, but the Communist Party was never outlawed in the USA and they continued to openly run candidates in elections, including those for president.

Laws, like parliamentarians and congressmen, can be changed. Judicial activism by-passes the legislative process by going beyond their mandate to interpret the Constitution or Charter to re-write it -- but their errors are not easily rectified.

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 (that's not a typo) was struck down by a Supreme Court decision in 1896, Plessy vs. Ferguson, which established "separate but equal" as lawful in "places of public accomodation." It took nearly 60 years for the Court to reverse its earlier ruling.

Judicial activism has an ugly side, too, and can just as easily restrict liberties as expand them.

On topic:

Doctors have said that Terri will not feel pain due to medical intervention, which is taken to mean sedation and pain killers.

What would be the reaction if inmates of Guantanamo were denied food and water but given medication so they didn't "feel" the effects?

I think we'd all be outraged.

Posted by: Debbye | 2005-03-22 8:09:50 PM



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