Monday, March 21, 2005

Killing Her Softly

This piece started off as a response to Dave Justus on his great blog site Justus For All, but turned into a full-on rant by yours truly.

Those of you who have read my words in the past know that I am all for freedom. One freedom I support is the right someone has to have a living will that says in a situation where they are brain-dead, or a vegetable, that they give their approval to “pull-the-plug”.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, this is not what has happened, but this is what the husband and judge want everyone to believe has occurred.

The argument that the law states that the husband, being her legal guardian, has the right to essentially kill his wife medically is outrageous.

Laws are man-made, which means they are far from perfect. As such, laws do not cover every single facet of every possibility that can occur. This case just smells wrong. You cannot argue that we should kill people just because their caretaker wants it that way.

The huge fact in this case, which you just mentioned, is that people should have a living will if they choose to be “unplugged” in cases such as this, but Terri had no such will. This case is being argued on what the husband thinks she might have said one day.

Regardless of that, Terri is far from being completely brain-dead or in a total vegetative state. The family was awarded a large sum of money because it would cost a lot to have her go through therapy to even attempt to see if she would be able to respond and become better in some form or another. The husband did not use the money for her, he used it for himself, and actually refused additional medical opinions and has banned her family from helping her.

What caring spouse would not only do this, but date and have two children with another woman while his wife still lives and all of this is going on. Sure I can understand his situation, but it further shows the devotion to his wife and her needs is even weaker still.

I agree that sometime lawmakers and the government overstep their bounds, but when there is an extreme injustice about to occur, I think it is heroic that the government has stepped in to slap this so-called judge and loving husband. If a law will put an innocent person to death, when they have people who are willing to care for them, then that law needs to be closely looked at.

I can’t stand idiots at work who claim that a regulation, or rule must be adhered to like it was written by Zeus himself, rather then using common sense to follow the intent of the rule, or in this case the law.

The intent of this law was not to allow someone a legal way to off an innocent person who is still loved and supported. Furthermore, this is not a case of us versus them like some right-to-life argument. Simply put, this is legally sanctioned murder, and it’s disgusting that there is even a legal loophole that allows it to happen.

For once I’m glad the government has stepped in and prevented this from happening, and I hope it embarrasses the hell out of the judge who made the ruling, and the rights for her husband are yanked and given over to her parents. If nothing else based on his infidelity to his wife their marriage should be annulled removing any burden on this poor slob from having to make such a difficult decision.

Terri Schiavo is not a vegetable, nor is she clinically brain-dead. She responds to certain stimuli, and seemingly knows when her family is there with her. On top of all of this she did not have a living will, which would be the foundation on which her husband could legally make this move.

As Americans we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Notice the first right? LIFE! Terri has the right to live, and no court, or pretend husband, should be able to remove that right from her.

You can also read my previous article, A Matter of Life and Death from June of 2004 when they tried this once before.


  1. I have stated elsewhere, that the facts of this case are difficult to determine. Is Michael Schiavo a cad who, as you put it, simply wants to off his wife or is he a loving husband who wants what is best for her? Is she a vegatable or far from that state? Because this issue is so emotionally charged, even experts will likely impose their own morals on their diagnosis.

    However, the case has been adjuticated on several levels and the findings of the courts are that their is no good reason to remove Michael Schiavo's responsibility to act in his wife's interests (yes, as he sees them) and that she is medically a vegetable.

    Leaving aside the particulars of this case though, you general principles for situations like this leave something to be desired.

    While I accept that it is best if everyone has a living will, We must deal with the fact that not all people will. In some cases, minor children for example, it is not even possible. So, I think, we must either accord the responsibility to some other person or declare that all people who can be kept alive, through any means, are maintianed. Or we must craft some sort of law where in this situation and that situation they can be removed from machines but in these other situations they cannot.

    I strongly favor the former, as I think there are plenty of times when removing from the machines is the humane and moral thing to do and I don't think we can build laws that will effectively be able to determine when it is appropriate in a general sense.

  2. Dave,

    My 'general principles for situations” is that defenseless people do not get murdered by their estranged husbands for profit.

    There is no reason to kill a woman because she is handicapped, I don't care who is the guardian for her. Parents are the legal guardians of their children too, but that still does not give them the right to end their life.

    Their LIFE Dave.

    Terri IS NOT ON LIFE SUPPORT. Her feeding tube is only there because her so-called “guardian” has instructed the hospital to not allow her to eat normally, not go out of her room, not to have visitors, etc... She is a handicapped individual who is being treated worse then a prisoner.

    Why in the world would anyone refuse treatment for someone they truly loved. Again, this is not a matter of unplugging a machine that is keeping her alive (which incidentally is what a living will addresses), it a matter of providing her with basic therapy and caring that any handicapped person should have the right to.

    In my eyes, a legal guardian has lost the right to be a guardian when their actions bring harm to their charge. If a mother allows her children to live in a dirty home, or does not feed them properly, these kids are removed from her care, and she loses the right to make further decisions for their well-being. These laws are on the books.

    The actions of Terri's husband, in my eyes, removes his right to act as her guardian. To stick with the argument that no matter what, because he is her husband he has a legal right to kill her, is sorely missing the more important point of this case. Terri is not being maintained by a machine, she IS NOT brain-dead, she IS NOT in a complete vegetative state. She interacts with her parents, recognizes people who she knows when they come to see her, and even tries to communicate with them. This is not the actions of a brain-dead person. Severely handicapped, but not so far gone that she cannot still enjoy listening to her parents as they speak with her and tell her that they love her. Not so far gone that she cannot hear a television, enjoy a cool breeze, or some soft music.

    Where do we stop in killing the handicapped? I see people daily in wheel chairs that truly do not enjoy the quality of life everyone who wants to kill Terri is touting, but they haver living families who are truly their guardians caring for them. Terri's husband does not want the burden of caring for Terri, so why doesn't he allow her parents the opportunity?

    As I have stated in other writings, in baseball the tie goes to the runner. Shouldn't an dual-sided argument like this, that is seemingly a tie, go to life?

    I heard a woman on the radio today that I simply could not believe. She said that seeing the before pictures of Terri she knew she had to have been a vain person because she was so pretty. As a vain woman herself she told her husband that if she ever looked like Terri with bad hair and acne to kill her rather then let her be seen on television like that. Her stance is, Terri should be killed because she looked bad on television. What the hell kind of world are we living in?

    What handicapped group[s should we target next? There are many handicapped folks that just don't look normal, where should we begin?

    When someone has a loving family that wans to care for their well-being, regardless of how they look, or how handicapped they are, shame on anyone who tries to stand in their way!

  3. I believe that Federal Courts have ruled that a feeding tube is 'life support' and I know that their are many times when people in situtions like Terri's are removed from their feeding tubes and they starve to death.

    Granted, in most of these situations their is a living will or agreement amount the family that this is what the person would have wanted so their is no legal challenge to it.

    The only differenct between those situation and this one is the disagreement between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents.

    From your comments you must disapprove of all of these actions as well, but they are established and supported by the majority.

    I find the 'for profit' and the idea that Michael Schivo hates his wife to be very unconvincing. He has been offered a million dollars to sign over her care to her parents, he as been vilified by huge numbers of people. It would be far easier for him to just walk away from this. The only motive that makes sense to me is that he believes this is best for Terri and cares enough about her to fight for her wishes.

  4. In the end, I hope her husband is truly doing this out of his love for his wife. If this is the case, then he is not the low-life I assume him to be, but instead, perhaps a hero.

    I still stick by my intial stance on everything though, and I enjoy having these discussions with you.

    Thanks Dave for staying the course and allowing me to vent even though I think we agree to disagree on some things.

    I enjoy the chance to not only spew forth my logic, but to read and understand other points of view as well.

  5. From the beginning I have felt that this is a tough case. Terri Schiavo's life is in a gray area where there are no easy answers.

    I don't know if I would make the same decision Michael Schiavo has or not.

    I am also sure that we are getting a lot of disinformation about what is really going on.

    It is important to remember though that Terri is not the first to be removed from a feeding tube and she will doubtless not be the last. The extraordinary circumstances in this case is really a disagreement between her parents and her husband (along with a lot of media.)