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April 4, 2005

The Legacy of Terri Schiavo

Topics: News

Here's a timely article on the important subject of where as a society, but most importantly those of us that strongly supported the value of human life regardless of it's "perceived Quality," go from after Terri Schiavo's death. I believe that the suggestions in this article offer a starting point to be added to, sort of a core set of minimum standards to proceed from methodically and with careful consideration, with the objective of helping those of us from all over the political and theological map that value life - to come together to turn back the culture of death.

Wesley J. Smith at the Weekly Standard reminds us that although TERRI SCHIAVO IS DEAD, her death by starvation and dehydration last week need not be in vain. He suggests that great good can still come from the harsh, two week ordeal she--and to a lesser extent, we--were all forced to undergo by the incompassionate and malicious court ordered death of a disabled woman unable to speak for herself (mostly my words, not Wesley's).

Wesley aptly writes that Terri's story generated a torrent of compassion. Hundreds of thousands of people who had never participated before in a major public event engaged untiringly in advocating for the sanctity and equal moral worth of the life of Terri Schiavo. And these many supporters were not, as the mainstream media took great glee in portraying, limited to the Randall Terry brand of religious activist or to orthodox Catholics. To the contrary, notables of the secular and religious left--Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, Nat Hentoff--joined in solidarity with their usual conservative opponents, such as President George W. Bush, Senator Bill Frist, and Rush Limbaugh, to declare that Terri should live.

Wesley suggests that deep political divisions can be overcome, at least for a time, in pursuit of a public morality that was sorely missing in the Terri Schiavo saga. Indeed, if Terri's supporters channel their passion into productive democratic reform, we can almost surely prevent future such miscarriages of justice.

What would such reforms look like? While great care should be taken in this important matter, here are a few initial suggestions(among the several items I would add would be the deemphasis of "living wills - the tool of the euthanasia movement, and instead, the emphasis of the "Will to Live."):

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Posted by richard at April 4, 2005 9:30 AM

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I would like to point out that I knew that they would never let the Schindlers have someone to observe Terri autopsy because between Judge Greer and that lawyer Felo they are doing everything possible to hide the scam and conspiracy that they had with Michael Schiavo and the hospice. The person doing the autopsy is under the control of the Judge and Felos so Terri well never get a fair autopsy!

Yvonne Nunez

Posted by: Yvonne Nunez at April 4, 2005 10:23 AM

I would have to say first, that with Terri, the laws were already in place to save her life. What killed her was the wanton arrogant disregard for those laws, by the malicious and spiteful Judge Greer, followed by the repeated rubber stamping by every mentally and spiritually lazy judge over him that should have reined him in.

So. My first proposal, and I am composing letters to all my senators and representatives concerning this, is term limits for all federal judges, to be followed by all state and county judges. Many of us had already believed the courts have been way out of control shoving abortion down our throughts for the last 32 years. That's "Democracy"?? B*S*.

In Terri's case, nobody expected a sworn judge to so brazenly break the law, and then call his own illegal rulings "law". No food or water by mouth, for God's sake? So the Governor and President just didn't know what to do with him, and jointly let his evil stand. Frankly, they should have known what to do, but that's why we already have term limits for Presidents and most (if not all) Governors. They will be gone soon enough (actually not soon enough for me).

What we witnessed here were multiple people in lifetime appointments having completely lost sight of their humanity. Cold calculating "Law". No mercy, no compassion. I had always believed the "Law" was to serve mankind, not mankind to serve the "Law". So "Law" has been elevated to the level of diety, and that's idolatry.

Because the stone heartedness of so many upper level judges was also exposed in this, it is plain to me that no person who holds a lifetime appointment in a position of "God of the Three Branches of Government", can long retain sight of his own humanity, can long retain his soul. Power corrupts, and absolutely power corrupts absolutely.

I would really like to see a huge national push for term limits for judges, including limits on perpetually re-electing county probate magistrates who have their fingers in lots of pots and owing lots of favors.

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 4, 2005 11:40 AM

Oh, Suzanne, bless your heart,

See my e-mail to you. And this is one of the reasons I say the judiciary is the wrong forum; it is well and good for what it was created for, but it wasn't created for this. I suspect even the founding fathers had no inkling that things could come to such a pass.

But they have and I will reiterate, taking theologocal and philosophical issues to a legal court is like taking your body to a butcher for surgery. Butchers don't do surgery and jurists don't do theology or philosophy. They do law, cold, hard and fast, dusty law.

Help me out here someone, please.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 4, 2005 4:01 PM

Suzanne: you said it right. The Judical System in Florida and other Judges has no "Compassion" for the People anymore. They are the same ones that are supposed to serve and protect their own People.

No Compassion, no Mercy, no leaverage, sends a dangerous precedent for America. Our Civil Rights will be more squashed than ever before. Why is it that the Pres. Bush gets to liberate Women from tryanny in other Worlds, but cannot protect and liberate their own people in America within its own Borders. Women Freedom in America, Yea right. More like no Freedom for Disabled People. They are more and more tied up and has no disregard for the Disabled and Voiceless People. Well, someday, they might be in the same situation from such Car Accidents or whatever, they would want to take their words back once they experience it themselves. We get Awareness Day in our University and College about Disability and made them sit in the Wheel chair or wear foggy glasses to pretend they are Blind, and they know first hand how it felt. This is the kind of Awareness we need to get across America to tell the People that Disabled gets unfair treatment. It is time to change the Laws to protect them more. The Government protects more for the Immigrants from the Third World and give them Jobs in America right away than it is to protect their own American Disabled People. They get discarded and thrown out just like Terri was. It is like telling America that Terri is not significant, but she had a Life and they killed her. Judge Greer, Felos and Micheal are the ones that has to answer the Crimes some day.

Posted by: momforGod at April 4, 2005 4:05 PM

Well... when you have somebody who is being oppressed by someone else, I don't know what other forum they can turn to, besides getting a lawyer and litigating. It is certainly distressing when the oppressor is a member of the judiciary himself. Which is why I feel so strongly about cleaning up the judiciary.

Sure maybe legislators can help l-o-n-g t-e-r-m on a general non-case-specific basis, but as we saw this time, sometimes they'll step in and sometimes they won't. Same with the Executive branch. They came in guns a-blazin' to take possession of Elian Gonzales. But obviously, different Executives and different politics did not weigh in Terri's favor.

If Florida law enforcement and DCF had stepped in years ago when they were required to, when the abuse was first being reported, we would have not come to this. But the investigative reports in The Empire Journal make it pretty clear that the whole state of Florida is a rat's nest of intertwined conflicting interests. The laws were already in place to protect Terri, but inter-agency conflicting interests had long ago set themselves up to keep sweeping her case under the rug. I think that the whole state now has been corrupted and is rotten to the core, and Jeb Bush has a hell of a job ahead of him if he intends to clean it up and prosecute every last head who gave a pass and looked the other way over time. Just like all the children Florida DCF has "lost" along the way, (see: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-dcfstorygallery.storygallery ) ALOT of people behind the scenes, not just Schiavo, Felos, & Greer, need to go to jail over this. But you now what, I don't believe Jeb has the cajones to do it. It would mean dismantling and rebuilding half his state. Maybe he needs a few more hurricanes.

But for poor disabled people like Terri, I don't know where else she had to turn but the judiciary, to ultimately save her from her husband/owner, since everybody else was dropping the ball. Of course ownership/guardian rules need to be changed, but if the laws were already there to save her, and she still couldn't be saved, then we need to clean up the corrupted and crooked people of that branch themselves.

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 4, 2005 5:21 PM

No, no Suzanne,

Terri didn't go to court, ms did (then complained about the government sticking their noses in family affairs.) Terri's family had to fight them in court. Courts aren't made for compassionate decisions, but decisions based on the letter of the law. Judges aren't made for finding facts; the jury is who finds the facts and renders the verdict. People please get on this bandwagon at least long enough to see if we have some hope here.

Posted by: mary et. al. at April 4, 2005 5:49 PM