Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Schiavo’s Autopsy

Would any of the contributors here care to comment on the revelations that came from Terry Schiavo’s autopsy--i.e., that there was no reasonable chance that she would have recovered? It has certainly been played up in the media as complete vindication for her husband.

I’m honestly not looking for a fight here. I have no particular competence when it comes to bioethical questions, which is why I avoided weighing in on the controversy when it was actually going on. But I would be interested in hearing from some of those who argued against removing Schiavo’s feeding tube. Do the results of her autopsy change anything, or would you still have held the same position that you did, even if you knew at the time what we apparently know now about her condition?

Discussions - 57 Comments

I predict a slew of "this doesn’t change anything" type responses...or no responses at all.

It doesn’t change a thing for me, John. It remains a fact that Ms. Schiavo wasn’t dying until her tube was yanked. I still wonder about the motives of the husband. Was there ever an effort to rehabilitate her? Have you read the article on hospice care from the latest Commentary? Too much can be made of this nebulous condition "pvs."

I hope, by the way, that this is only the first of the slew from the "it doesn’t change a thing" crowd---because it doesn’t.

Whether or not she had brain damage actually misses the primary point, which was that she was denied due process and that the court should have given her an MRI or CAT scan to determine her status before they unplugged her. The fact that the judge turned out to be right does not mean that it had to be so, or that his decision was not inadequate.

The autopsy findings have no bearing on the ominous facts that a county judge accepted a conveniently recalled ex-post-facto account by a financially interested husband who had adulterously abandoned his wife, rejected contradictory testimony, rebuffed the woman’s parents, refused to let another judge hear the arguments, and ordered a helpless woman killed. Perhaps he got his legal training while serving on a village council of elders in the hills of Pakistan.

I agree with Moe and Axel...what was "on trial" in the situation was due process and the value this society places on life. The fact that so many people are apparently gleeful that the autopsy bears out the "brain damage" defense of these actions (e.g., T Cook) shows just how sick our society has become. Let the abortionists, secular humanists, and others purveyors of the death culture celebrate. Those among us who are sensible understand the import of this affair...and we are saddened.

I agree with Moe and the gang as well- I weep for poor Terry Schiavo every day. It sickens me to imagine that liberals are actually HAPPY that the woman was beyond help. If anything, you should be relieved that it turned out you were right!

It seems to me that liberals are always happy about misfortunes that they believe prove them correct in some way. More troops dying in Iraq? Too bad, but we told you so. It is precisely this attitude that causes me to agree with Ms. Coulter when she brands all liberals traitors.

This schadenfreude will come back to haunt you some day, my friends- of that, I can assure you.

Hers was an inconvenient, unlovely life. She was denied due process and suffered an inhumane death not suffered by the most vicious killers. Those facts won’t change with any autopsy. We continue to assume the value of life is determined by the package it comes in. Perhaps the real gift of her condition was to teach real servanthood and real love. If so, we didn’t just miss the chance to love and serve, but, with her death, we took a step further away from both.

Via Southern Appeal

Fr. Frank Pavone, who was with Terri Schiavo in the final hours and moments of her life and has called her death a murder, issued the following statement upon today’s release of her autopsy report:

No details of this autopsy change the moral evaluation of what happened to Terri. Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person. No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water.

A person with a "profoundly atrophied" brain needs profound care and love. Terri did not die from an atrophied brain. She died from an atrophy of compassion on the part of her estranged husband and those who helped him to have her deliberately killed.

I had a "process-based" concern about the enormous degree of control over her that a single, essentially unchecked court gave to her obviously very interest-conflicted and shifty husband, especially when her blood family was standing by pleading & begging to be allowed to take over her care. My concern remains unallayed--indeed unallayable--by any findings of a pathologist’s report.

I’ll tell ya what, the OTHER "MSM" are the MainStream Morticians, and they’re just as liberally-biased as the media is!! Jeb should’ve sent in the National Guard to save Terri! Maybe he still could - even if she’s not breathing and doesn’t have a pulse, that doesn’t mean she has no right to life! Why are people so quick to give up on Terry??

Of course it doesn’t change anything. In fact, of course, it doesn’t even prove that she would not have recovered from her condition before the tube was removed, only that she could not have recovered after being deprived of food and water for two weeks.
But, so what? There are many conditions for which there is no cure; I hope and pray we don’t decide they are all curable with slow death. I fear that is where we are heading. We wouldn’t do to an injured dog what we did to Terry Schiavo.
One point needs to be made: there were conservatives who fought for her death and liberals who fought for her life.

The pathology report changes nothing. Terri Schiavo was a Catholic, and her faith tradition teaches that air, food and water constitute “ordinary means” and are the right of every ill or disabled person to receive, and the humane obligation of caregivers to provide, while such things as machines that actually do the work of breathing or pumping the heart constitute “extraordinary means” whose use is limited and may, consistently with Catholic teaching, be turned off or withdrawn in many, if not most, circumstances. Many other faith traditions and even agnostic philosophies share these basic ethical principles. Indeed, they used to be followed by hospitals throughout this country, including secular hospitals. What was being provided to Terri—and what the courts ordered cut off—was not “extraordinary means” at all but merely the “ordinary means” of food and water. Even if Catholic teaching allowed for a person to choose to be starved and dehydrated to death (and it does not) Terri herself eloquently testified—through staying alive so many years—and through, according to witness accounts, communicating by blinking and mouthing the words, “Help me,” that her will was to live. There existed no written document corroborating her husband’s claim about Terri’s alleged wish to be starved and dehydrated to death—a claim that he made only years into her illness, that was based on an offhand remark Terri allegedly made while watching a television program and in a context rendering it, at best, unclear whether Terri was speaking of “ordinary means” or (more likely - if thise episode even occurred) “extraordinary means,” and that was at odds with her own, and her family’s, deeply held religious beliefs. The inhumane murder through dehydration and starvation of Terri Schiavo diminishes us all.

Two clarifications: Pope John Paul II made clear that food delivered through the artificial means of a feeding tube is still "ordinary means", so the fact that Terri Schiavo had a feeding tube doesn’t change the character of the care that was denied her.

Second, I should have added that Catholic teaching does not condone one’s committing suicide, or assisted suicide, by directing that one be starved or dehydrated to death. Catholicism, like Christianity generally, does of course allow for - and indeed, salutes as the greatest gift of all - one’s freely choosing to lay down one’s life for others. This can include a starvation death; in fact, a priest who is now a saint in the Catholic Church - St. Maximilian Kolbe - while a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, volunteered to be starved to death by the Nazis in place of a married man whom the Nazis had selected for that fate; the Nazis took him up on it, and that’s how he died. (The married man survived the war.) But that, of course, is not the Schiavo case.

Even a terminally ill person should not be starved and dehydrated to death. Death by starvation and dehydration is a particularly cruel and painful death. Basic principles of humaneness dictate that even terminally ill persons should be treated with compassion and made as comfortable as possible: nourished, bathed, toileted, etc. Hastening the death of another is not our right, and it’s at odds with the Inalienable Rights doctrine of the Declaration of Independence. As John Locke wrote: "We are all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker. We are God’s property, whose workmanship we are, ... made to exist for so long as He --and not one another--pleases."

My opposition to killing Terry Schiavo did not come from the conviction that she could be cured. As she was, she was not in pain, and her parents loved being with her. Florida had specific guidelines for putting invalids to death, and they already gave far too much leeway to the pro-death crowd. Terry’s case showed how far outside the guidelines the death advocates were willing to go. Now the boundaries have been pushed even further back, as the activist crowd inevitably does. They aren’t comfortable with the idea that there could be limits on their reach. The term "slippery slope" doesn’t describe them, so much as the "smashing the guardrails down" at the precipice. I don’t know their motivations, but I do know their pattern. They put the assisted suicide laws in place, assuring us that they don’t mean it to go farther, then they always take it to the limit and beyond, always looking for the next limit to violate.

Wow! I’m impressed by the unanimity here. After that first post I expected to find at least a smattering of trolls chipping in their gleeful sneers at Terri’s death. The truest point has been said again and again. She wasn’t dying... until a judge decided she should die.

God help us.

What I’m wondering is if the press would have said ANYTHING at all if the results of her autopsy had turned out the other way. I know the blogs would have, but, usually, when the media is wrong, they simply say nothing- as if by not speaking about how wrong they were somehow means it never happened. As to the opinon of the person conducting the autopsy that she could not have recovered, that’s his OPINION. Since scientist can’t seem to figure out what "consciousness" is, I think its highly premature to say such a conclsion can be made with 100% accuracy. And yes, it doesn’t change a thing. If you think it does, then should we kill everybody in a similar condition?

Many things remain unchanged, but two very obvious ones (not mentioned here) come to mind:

  • 1. The Feds should have minded their own business. Federalism, anyone?
  • 2. Those who say the wishes of the parents should have trumped those of the husband are the same folks howling about sanctity of marriage when it comes to gay marriages.
  • Where’s the great Dr. Hammesfahr when you need him? I’m sure you remember the good doctor who was interviewed on the "fair and balanced" Fox news. It’s too bad he can’t offer an OPINION in G-R-E-A-T B-I-G letters which could be swallowed by MadMax and the other wackaloons!

    I, like a number on the "Let Terri live" side, was troubled by the federal interference.

    Mr. Schiavo was married to Terri in name only. He had already greatly violated any and every marriage oath by taking another woman and having children. Certainly, people are human and it’s perhaps too much to ask a person to give up intimate contact at such a young age.

    However, he built a completely different family and life. His claim to "husband" of Terri remained a legal and somewhat cynical one.

    Does the autopsy change things?

    I suppose it depends on the motivation of the protest.

    Years ago, I was pro-death penalty and pro-abortion. However, after years of public service (military, welfare work, public health, etc.), I began to appreciate the sanctity and unique nature of human life.

    To me, this was a matter of preserving the sanctity of human life. Are we sliding down a slippery slope as we decide which human life has value and which doesn’t? I think so.

    So, to me, the result of the autopsy doesn’t change much. She was still a person and still had family willing to be her guardians until she died.

    MadMax, that’s an appropriate name. Try to explain away this quote from the AP:

    "The autopsy showed that Schiavo’s brain had shrunk to about half the normal size for a woman her age and that it bore signs of severe damage.

    ’This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," said Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin, who led the autopsy team. He also said she was blind, because the "vision centers of her brain were dead.’"

    So that’s just this guy’s "opinion," right? Just like it’s my opinion that you’re desperately clinging to your argument, no matter what the facts are.

    Seriously, guy, explain that quote. And don’t resort to any nutso nonsense about "the liberal media." I know, you probably think the M.E. is a socialist, and the person who wrote that article for the AP is Karl Marx’s great grandson, but try to come back with something a little more grounded in reality.

    "What I’m wondering is if the press would have said ANYTHING at all if the results of her autopsy had turned out the other way."

    No dude, I’m sure Fox News wouldn’t have said a single word about it, knowing those liberal kooks! But we didn’t have to worry about that possible outcome because SHE WAS ALREADY GONE. No one is "gleefully sneering" at Schiavo’s death, Don, we’re sneering at YOU for stubbornly insisting that she would have recovered even when the facts do not support that claim.

    I have spoken. Booyah!

    A fictional thought problem:

    A defendant charged with murder faces the death penalty. DNA analysis would prove whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. Because the analysis was never done, the jurors believe there is a reasonable doubt. But they vote "guilty" nonetheless, and the defendant is executed. Months later, DNA analysis is done, proving that the defendant was guilty.

    From a moral point of view, is this case analogous with the Schiavo case? Why, or why not?

    Yea, that’s right, Phil. Let’s starve all the mentally handicapped...and while we’re at it, let’s off the quads and the infirm who are fully functioning human beings. There not really people anymore, after all.

    Dain - where in his comments did Mr. Thompson suggest that we should "starve all the mentally handicapped," or "off the quads and the infirm..."? I didn’t see that anywhere. Or are you communicating with him in a separate forum or alternate universe?

    With all the talk about torture being bandied about, what about "sensory deprivation" It’s a very cruel means of torture, but with NO visible harm.

    Imagine being blind, probably deaf, with no tactile senses, no motor control, no ability to interact with any part of the world in any way. If any shred of that poor womans soul was still alive, keeping her alive was cruel torture.

    Yes, it has been "played up" in the (dark, sinister voice) media as vindication for her husband, because it is. It was claimed by Terri’s parents, and many on the right, and passed on by commenters such as PJC, that "Terri could actually progress with the aid of therapy." At the time, a solid consensus of reputable neurologists, neurosurgeons, etc. (by reputable I mean those not affiliated with Neurologists for Bush’s 3rd Term, Inc. or Neurologists for Frist ’08, Inc.) said that this was not possible, as her brain had significantly disintegrated and liquefied. They weren’t merely taking wild guesses on the matter. The autopsy should really be seen as superfluous confirmation of what was really already known. Science is amazingly advanced, but still a long way from reconstituting one’s brain from liquid.

    The medical examiner Thogmartin also said that the entire region of the brain that processes visual images was gone, meaning that she had been blind. This is important, because Terri’s parents had maintained that their daughter had been capable of using her eyes to see and communicate with relatives when they visited her in the hospice, and that this was evidence of her cognitive function. It hardly needs to be said that it must be incredibly painful to see one’s daughter in such a state, and it must have been painful for her parents to think that she was trapped inside a basically lifeless body, trying to tell them something. Nonetheless, her parents would have been well advised to listen to medical experts, that Terri’s actions were not voluntary or attempts to communicate.

    Also important with this autopsy was the fact that it exonerated Mr. Schiavo of the baseless charges that he had physically abused his wife. Many of the same people (but not all) who accused Mr. Schiavo of trying to "kill" his wife for the money (a charge largely debunked under serious scrutiny) attempted to smear him with this claim.

    Beyond the autopsy, it is/has been also stated that it’s one or two "activist" (liberal) judges who have worked to help Mr. Schiavo with this "murder" of his wife. Probably the most crucial judge, Greer, is a Republican. But aside from that, some 40 judges in six court decisions upheld Mr. Schiavo’s request to have his wife’s feeding tube removed, and the US Supreme Court consistently refused to intervene in the case. Now, come on, let’s be reasonable. Just how wide-ranging can this "activist judge" problem be? Is this a massive conspiracy?? 40 judges!!

    So, her husband had legal guardianship, and this passed muster under a lot of judicial scrutiny and was upheld.

    As for this crap that liberals, the left (etc.) didn’t/don’t care about Terri, it’s just silly. We simply believe that because Mr. Schiavo had, and maintained, legal guardianship as her husband, that his claim - quite plausible and understandable - that Terri expressed a desire to not be maintained by such artificial means when she was essentially only part of a brain in a husk, should be honored and that 15 years of artificial life maintenance come to an end. That’s not just respect for Terri’s life, but for her wishes expressed in adulthood. It’s certainly sad, but people do die when they experience what Terri did when this all started - and it wasn’t her husband attempting to kill her.

    I wonder how much hell some of you give your own doctors. I’m all for getting 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions in difficult situations, but some of you strike me as the type who would look at an x-ray of a broken bone and say, "Well, that’s just YOUR OPINION." If you’re taking your skepticism of doctors so far, I’d wonder how you trust any of them for anything. Come on, the science was beyond clear here.

    I see that Jeb Bush P.I. is now on the case. This is beyond absurd.

    Dain- LOL at "There not really people anymore..."

    You should calm down and collect your thoughts before you begin ranting- your spelling and grammar suffer when you type angrily! And seriously, ADDRESS the quote I put in my post. Don’t make crazy leaps about killing "quads." You can’t address it because you know you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Oh, and Retired Naval Officer: I served in the American Civil War, so I doubt you’re older than me.

    Actually, Phil, if you’ve read the whole thread you know that her actual condition concerns most us much less that the WAY this was done. Why kill someone when there are guardians ready and willing (and with the money) to care for her? As for being "brain dead," she wasn’t. So, we have lots of mentally handicapped people...why not starve the lot of them? You have no logic that would justify this killing while exempting others. That’s my point.

    Frank, it’s possible that her condition was torturous. I don’t know (and neither do you). I do know that there are millions of people in unbearable pain out there, and if we go killing them we will be killing a lot of them. Unless you are willing to "put them down" like any ordinary animal, you’d best think this through. Now, I’m not saying that euthanasia is always wrong, but I would at least want input from the one who’s about to experience the mercy. When people aren’t conscious but also aren’t brain dead, I just don’t think we should kill them...the default (and safe) thing to do is care for them as best we can.

    Dain, the difference is simple, so even you should be able to see it: Terri Schiavo was not BORN in a vegetative state. So as an able-minded adult, she expressed her desire NOT to be kept in that state should she ever fall into it. She did not want to live like that, and it is quite clear that she wasn’t going to get better. On the other hand, a person who is born severely retarded does not have a say in the matter. Such a person is also at least conscious and aware of the people around him or her, unlike Schiavo.

    I did not make the statement that all mentally handicapped people should be allowed to starve, nor do I believe that. The two situations are not comparable, so stop trying to compare them.

    Anyone seen the new Batman yet? Impressions?

    Phil and Kurt ... neither of you has any proof that Ms. Schiavo stated her wish to die under these circumstances. We have only the word of her husband, and he was clearly ready to "move on." Phil, since your logic rests on the ASSUMPTION that Michael was telling the truth about her wishes, your argument falls apart if he was in fact lying. You seem awfully ready to accept his say-so on all this...odd.

    Kurt, the 40-judge 6-jurisdiction argument is pure nonsense, as you well know. After the initial decision (which was inherently controversial), all the other courts could do was rule on the legitimacy of the first ruling. Since procedures had been obeyed those other judges couldn’t stop this from happening. Those later judges could not rule on substance. And you wonder why we on the Right think Left-Liberals are liars?

    The whole murderous thing is a house of cards...the foundation of which is Michael Schiavo’s word that she would have wanted to die under these circumstances. I wouldn’t trust that man one inch. He was so spiteful that he had here cremated, even though she was Catholic and her parents made their preference for burial clear from the outset.

    Nope, I gotta hand it to you, this is quite a victory for the Left. On the word of one self-interested man who spent very little of the $750K settlement on HER TREATMENT, you have approved of killing a young woman (oh, sorry, a young THING). Congratulations. Let’s hope that, by the time you become old and useless, they (i.e., your Lefist buddies) won’t have defined away YOUR humanity.

    It sounds like some of you need a course in Evidence 101 - either that or you’re deliberate sophists cynically trying to fool the public. As has been pointed out elsewhere, dehydration and starvation cause shrinkage of the brain as well as blindness. The fact that the M.E. found these conditions is to be expected, in light of the open and notorious cause of Terri’s death: starvation and dehydration. These findings prove NOTHING about what the state of Terri’s vision or brain size was BEFORE the Judges yanked the feeding tube. Nor could the autopsy even remotely RULE OUT abuse of Terri by her husband 15 YEARS before her death. Unless bones were broken, it is doubtful that ANY 15-years-old physical trauma would still leave detectable signs fifteen years later. Do any of you still have a bruise on your body from a blow struck even a month ago? Indeed, the autopsy ALSO showed no signs of bulemia, and no signs of heart damage -- both of which Terri’s husband CLAIMED brought about Terri’s collapse 15 years ago. By the logic of some writers on this string, the absence of such signs makes Terri’s husband a liar. Come on, folks. The intellectual level of this site’s readers is to high to be taken in by such sophistry.

    Federalism, Shawn Anderson? Stepping in to save an innocent person’s life is PRECISELY what government should do. It’s precisely what any government worthy of the name is bound to do. It’s the morality of the Declaration of Independence. Governments are instituted among men to safeguard each person’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When one spouse sets out to KILL the other, it absolutely IS the government’s business to step in.

    One more thing, in response to Shawn Anderson’s post. As to the competing claims to guardianship of Terri Schiavo, King Solomon long ago set the example -- which our courts should have followed here. Specifically, if the courts had followed King Solomon’s approach from the case of the two women who both claimed to be the mother of the same newborn infant, there’s no doubt what the outcome would have been: Terri’s husband would have welcomed Terri’s being split in two, while Terri’s parents and siblings, by contrast, would have been horrified and would have immediately relented and told the Court to award guardianship to the husband. Following King Solomon, the Court would then have awarded guardianship to Terri’s parents and siblings. It has been observed that, in the original case, King Solomon’s approach did not really establish who the baby’s real mother was; but it did establish who the bettermother was. Likewise here.

    I don’t think the autopsy changes anything.

    Regardless of the extent of her brain damage, Terri Schiavo was a human being. As such, she deserved to be treated as one -- not as unwanted chattel to be terminated so her "husband" could freely marry his lover.

    What has always bothered me most about this case is that Terri Schiavo was not dying until they disconnected her feeding tube. She was disabled, and profoundly so, but she was not dying.

    People with disabilities -- even of the most profound kind -- are still people. The disability activists "Not Dead Yet" have it right. People with disabilities aren’t dead yet, and they deserve to be treated as human beings, no matter the type or extent of their disability.

    The fact that her brain was half it’s original size is completely irrelevant. What percentage of a normal human brain is actually used. I have heard less than 10%. In some far left loonies I would suggest even less. The fact is we know very little about the working of the human brain. Who are we to decide where to draw the line?

    What is a human being? If your soul is gone, you are not a human being. Animals have some cognitive skills, motor skills, and something that resembles rationality. But an animal is not a person because it has no soul.

    I find it interesting how everyone is so hard on Michael Schiavo. Conservatives talk about how immoral he is and how he is a fornicator. But he was in a difficult position. Usually when you lose a spouse, you can move on with your life, and if you so desire, remarry. His wife effectively died years ago, but he was still legally married.

    And as for erring on the side of life, is that really a rule we live by? If that were an absolute, we could not have a death penalty. Although we err on the side of life -- innocent until proven guilty, beyond reasonable doubt standard, and on and on -- we still do not make that a fixed rule. Innocent people have been put to death in America, but that does not mean we get rid of the justice system altogether.

    For those who beleive that the justice system is 100% correct, look at Iraq. We know that innocent people have been killed. However, we decided that it was worth the risk both to protect ourselves first and foremost, and, to a lesser extent, because it was most beneficial to the Iraqis as a whole. But using the "err on the side of life" standard, we should never have invaded.

    The fact is that Michael Schiavo was Terri Schiavo’s legal guardian. When you get married, that is part of the deal. If you do not want to take that risk, either: (a) know who you are marrying, or (b) do not get married. If the evidence shows Michael Schiavo was abusive, then there is a time for government to intervene. But courts cannot step in because parents disagree. Parents give up the right to run their children’s lives when they let them get married.

    Courts make decisions that affect individual’s lives everyday. We can "error on the side of life" with Terri Schiavo, but think of what that means. What happens with the criminal justice system? Are we going to threaten to send in the national guard because the judicial system is not functioning as we see fit in a particular case? are very naive, my friend. At no time did Michael Schiavo ever act like the loving husband. He won an enormous malpractice award, having assured the jury that he wanted to take care of her and be married to her for the rest of his life! Upon receiving the money, he immediately cut off therapy and actively set about to kill her. She ended up in a nursing home with a DNR order. The SOB even euthanized her CATS! He refused to let her parents have any medical information about her condition.

    Why didn’t he divorce her...lots of people do divorce their disabled partners, but he didn’t. Why? Money and spite...he came to hate her parents so much that he spent a good deal of her malpractice settlement on trying to kill her. Even at the end he slapped them in the face...he had her cremated, which is not Catholic practice and was strictly against her parents’ wishes.

    Nope, any reasonable person would suspect something amiss here. The fact that the ACLU helped Michael with his legal expenses tells us who first politicized this affair.

    If the sole is gone ...

    Interesting statement, when does one gain a soul?

    Theologians used to say it happened around 30 to 50 days or so after conception. Heck, that was used as a supporting argument in the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.

    Does it happen at conception or happen just as the baby’s head is coming out of the woman or does it happen sometime after birth?

    There is NO way one can pinpoing when the soul leaves or enters a person. There is no way to tell if the soul is just kept in one spot in the body or our entire body is fused with our soul. There is no way to tell if we truly have a soul or not.

    So ....

    The presumption by the one above that Terri was soulless is baseless, unless, of course, God has manifested himself on this website for he would be the ONLY one who could deem if one is with or without a soul.

    Terri was not dead in the clinical nor the physical nor the spiritual sense. To assert so is absurd.

    Then again we do live in a society that believes killing an unborn human to somehow good for the unborn, so, why not kill someone who is undesirable like Terri was because she would be so much better off.

    Terri was not already dead. What died was Michael’s hope that she would return to her former self and THAT is what sealed her fate.

    LOL at this statement by Virgin(ian): "Come on, folks. The intellectual level of this site’s readers is to high to be taken in by such sophistry."

    If you don’t know the difference between "to" and "too..." Well, you probably shouldn’t be talking about "intellectual levels."

    Hey Dain, are you married to a vegetable or something? Man, you conservative nuts are a laugh! I’m done posting on here. This is just a bunch of right-wingers congratulating each other for knowing everything and having all the answers.

    This is you chumps summed up: "I have thousands of books; I’m a genius!" "I LOVE George Bush; he’s the smartest, bestest prez we’ve ever had!" "Terri Schiavo was a beautiful young flower, snatched away JUST before she was about to recover- and now the lefties are lying about the facts to cover it up!" "Hardly anything bad ever happens at Gitmo, and when it does, it’s only fair because Muslims are mean to our American Heroes!" "Anyone who asks questions or is critical of Our Nation’s Heroes or the Bush Admin. is a traitor who should move to France!" "Accept everything Bush and Fox News tells us and DON’T ASK QUESTIONS, no matter what!" "America is the best country in the world (as ranked in Consumer Reports AND JD Power)."

    Mr. Moser, I don’t know if you were hoping from remarks from "official" NLT contributors (the folks listed on the - yikes! - LEFT side of this page), but so far it seems only the usual rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, blind-to-facts ranters are going at it, with a smattering of interesting facts and opinions coming from the dissenters who actually saw Terri as a human being, not a political tool.

    Phil...yep, figured you for a Leftist, even down to the MO. Bereft of real arguments, you leave in a smelly cloud of name-calling and condescension. The fact is, most of us ARE critical of the Bush administration on certain issues (e.g., immigration, spending), but this is a core-values issue...something you power-worshipping Leftists don’t understand very well.

    What is it with Governor Bush’s tenacity?

    Man, once he gets his mind around something, he doesn’t let go.

    It reminds me of his steadfast, resolute, "unchanging", decision to deny Taylor Wells a comutation of sentence. Even though the codefendants swore that Taylor was not involved. Even though Taylor had already served 12 years in prison. Even though the other codefendants who were actually involved in the crime had lesser sentences and soon would be free. Even though his legal advisors were recommending that the sentence be commuted. Even though the parole board gave a favorable review.

    Attorney General, Charlie Crist, says that Bush is acting on his conscience.

    I would love to know what faith and/or ideology guides his conscience. He says that he is a devout Catholic, but he has no problem signing death warrants.

    Jeb Bush takes a "side" and then digs in and is unable to see that there is another side to the story.

    That isn’t conscience, or courage, or religious conviction. It is fear.

    Taylor Wells

    Dain...yep, figured you for a Right-winger, even down to the MO. Bereft of real arguments, you loiter at the site in a smelly cloud of name-calling and condescension, much like a sorry drunk at a dive bar, bloviating to the bartender, parroting sub-Coulter wisdoms picked up from right-wing chat rooms. The fact is, most of you ARE shameless sycophants to the Bush gang on nearly every issue. This is an issue where right-wing ideologues need to realize enough is enough and show some restraint, and quit pushing for a REQUIREMENT to LIFE - in its most bizarre, brain-in-a-jar sense - just to attempt scoring political points. Thus, Dain, you power-worshipping, right-wing Christofascists don’t understand it very well.

    Nice to know that I can push the buttons of the great and small (the latter would be you, AV). I’ll tell you what, since you obviously aren’t happy with ’W’, how about you tell us who would make a better POTUS? Do you dare to "out" yourself, you user of poor analogies?

    As far as "Christofascism" is concerned, it’s the only reason you can say what you please. Name me another set of cultures where individualism and free speech have naturally evolved? Indeed, what you call "Christofascism" is simply our attempt to defend everything this culture has stood for (at least until you cryptoMarxist dips corrupted our societies in the early- to mid-20th century). Look at’s lost touch with its Judeo-Christian philosophical foundation...stagnant economies, moral malaise, open power worship, dying populations, unwillingness to defend itself. And this is what you would have us emulate? How pathetic.

    And, finally, if the majority of us ARE "shameless sycophants to the Bush gang on nearly every issue" it’s only because there is a resounding SILENCE on the Left side of the aisle. All I hear is criticism, crazy conspiracy theories, and NO. That’s not a political’s whining from spoiled babies too stupid to think out their own philosophies.

    David (in comment 22): If the jurors believe there is reasonable doubt, why do "they vote guilty nonetheless?" Didn’t they receive appropriate instructions from the judge, or what? This seems to put a kink in an otherwise mildly interesting thought problem.

    Dain - when have you pushed the buttons of the great, exactly? You do realize that you just confessed to being a shameless sycophant, right?

    I mean, I know the creators of this blog are pretty right-wing, but still, you must be a real embarrassment to them.

    If so, they should say so. Certainly wouldn’t want to stick around where I’m not wanted.

    Maybe they keep me around because they can spell my name.

    With regard to the comment by Kurt Moss (#29 above):

    A google search using my posting initials plus the words "schiavo" and "therapy" shows no comment of mine like the one attributed to me.

    For the record, I will say that I found--and find--Michael Schiavo’s persistent and absolute refusal even of efforts at therapy for Terri to be one of the suspicious things about his attitude toward his wife’s case. In his shoes, I would at least have wanted to give therapy a serious shot, or I would at least have stepped aside and let her family undertake it. Perhaps therapy would have been useless, but that’s not the point. The point is that Michael wouldn’t even try it, and preferred to focus instead on his ultimately successful effort to have Terri starved to death.

    NLT readers may be interested to learn that contrary to what Kurt Moss claims, the medical examiner’s report does NOT prove that Michael never inflicted trauma on Terri, but instead takes an agnostic position (only noting that 15 years later, "residual neck findings" revealing trauma would hardly be likely to show). Pages 28 through 30 of the autopsy report also cast doubt on the theory--put forward by Michael Schiavo--that the eating disorder known as bulimia (binging & purging) caused Terri’s collapse. If the report is right in its doubt that she had bulimia, that in turn raises another serious question about Michael Schiavo’s credibility, since the malpractice suit that he brought was premised on the charge that Terri had bulimia which her doctors should have diagnosed but didn’t.

    Some useful discussion of the report plus a link to it in its entirety can be found at

    To Dain: dude, you’re the best thing that’s happened to NLT in months. Compared to the usually boring and stuffy regulars here, you’re entertainment at its finest! Please keep up the good work.

    Fear not, OC, I have every intention of sticking around. Should Peter descend from on high to kick me off I suppose I’d go, but otherwise I’m in for the whole ride. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee....................

    It’s disappointing that the apologists for the husband on this string resort to name-calling in place of reasoned discourse. So everyone who opposes what was done to Terri Schiavo is a right-wing fanatic? That would be news to Ralph Nader and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (to name just a few) and all the advocacy groups for the disabled around the country who also opposed this outrage. As to the "fascist" charge, you may want to look in the mirror on that one. The most notorious fascist regime in history was the Nazis... and guess what the Nazis were into, BIG TIME? Euthanasia of the disabled, including the mentally handicapped. Check out Hannah Arendt’s book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, where she discusses the Nazis’ euthanasia program .... and then ask yourself who are the fascists here?

    Nikodim: It’s true that the criminal justice system makes mistakes sometimes -- but that’s not because we don’t "really" have a beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard in criminal cases. The beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard is not an ironclad insurance policy against EVER committing errors. Instead, it is designed to "tilt the errors" away from convicting the innocent. The beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard probably results in many more errors in the other direction, i.e., letting the guilty go free -- and it does so by design. We know that any justice system will make mistakes; but we have decided to "tilt" those mistakes as we have because we’d rather see 10 guilty people go free than one innocent person convicted. Your comment about the justice system is simply wrong; we DO make, and have made, erring on the side of innocent life a "fixed rule." That rule should have been applied in the Schiavo case -- and if it had been applied, the courts would not have ordered her cruel and painful execution by dehydration & starvation.

    That would all be very interesting, Virginian, if Schiavo had been euthanized. She wasn’t.

    You’re right, Jamie...she was murdered.

    Jamie, what was done to Terri Schiavo is termed "passive euthanasia." But it was euthanasia nonetheless. Indeed, the manner in which Terri was put to death was more cruel, more painful, and more drawn out than the manner of euthanasia used by the Nazis against the mentally handicapped. Both kinds of euthanasia are reprehensible. But the kind used against Terri is worse.

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