Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

uTerri Schiavo: Am I Bamboozled?

I admit that I may be all wrong on the Terry Schiavo case - I am no expert, I don't know her personally, and can only sift through the conflicting reports that are available.

I understand where many of you are coming from: if I were comatose, brain-dead, on life support with no hope of recovery, if every reasonable avenue had been pursued and I was plainly just a vegetable, then I, too, would want the cord plugged, and would probably expect my loving wife to give the final head nod.

But none of that applies to Terri's case - unless I've been totally bamboozled.

Look at the compelling case presented by John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council. She is not comatose. She is not brain dead. She is not on artificial life support other than being fed. She is not terminally ill. She can hear and see. There is no clear evidence of her intent to be terminated under any circumstances. Reasonable avenues such as therapy have not been adequately pursued, but were prematurely terminated by a husband who (according to her parents) may have been the cause of Terri's injury and who has a great deal to gain with her death.

Clearly, we don't know the answers. We can agree on that. So what is the next step? WE GIVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT TO TERRI AND TAKE MORE TIME TO SETTLE THE QUESTIONS. Some say she's brain dead - clearly wrong, but OK, let's check the brain waves. Some say therapy was helping - OK, let's see if that's true. Some say she responds to jokes and tries to communicate - OK, let's do a serious study. Some say all this is impossible with a damaged cerebral cortex - OK, let's do another CAT scan and run some neurological tests and let the experts identify definitive tests to be sure. THERE IS ROOM FOR DOUBT - AND UNTIL WE ARE CERTAIN THAT KILLING HER IS RIGHT, WE SHOULD FEED HER.

Fourteen medical professionals (including 6 neurologists) affirm that that Terri is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS).

Yes, there is a coverup. Somebody - perhaps millions of bodies - is being bamboozled. Sure, maybe it's just me and few paranoid wackos and a dozen or so medical professionals. OK, let's resolve the issue once and for all - but don't let the woman die a painful death as long as reasonable doubt remains.

Honey, in case you read my blog, if I am ever in a degraded physical state where it's hard to talk or move, but am NOT in a persistent vegetative state and am still even slightly or occasionally alert, aware, responsive, and able to continue living without artificial life support, then please give me a chance with prolonged therapy (Mr. Schiavo shut that down 10 years ago, when she was showing progress), please don't starve me to death (honest, Honey, I hate starving!), and please don't make them kill me, no matter how much money you're going to get. I can imagine that my cognitive disabilities might be pretty annoying and make me a whole lot less fun to be around (or perhaps an improvement??), but we don't shoot handicapped people, do we? Give me a chance and let me live. No, I'm not afraid of death, but I don't want my death to be premature and unwanted. And if we let people kill me because I'm inconvenient, we could end up turning my crazy Planned Unparenthood, Inc. concept into reality - with a new improved option for unwanted spouses. No, let's not go there.

2 comments:

Guy Murray said...

Jeff,

I read your Blog and your Cracked Planet regularly, and enjoy many of your thoughts and posts. I don't think you are bamboozled. I think you hold deep and sincere beliefs; however, on Terri Schiavo, I the great weight of the evidence does not support your opinions as expressed in your blog posts. I don't doubt there are doctors or other professionals that do support your view; however, they are in the minority.

I give great weight to our judicial process. The final conclusions of the Florida trial and appellate courts, is that Terri herself stated that she did not want to live as she currently is living. This conclusion was based on evidence and proof, the standard of which was by "clear and convincing evidence." This standard is the next higest burden in the law.

The findings of fact in the trial courts, and affirmed on appeal were arrived at after the presentation of direct evidence, the opinion of experts from both sides of the dispute. Subject to vigorous cross examination by lawyers for both sides, from witnesses testifying under oath (penalty of perjury).

It strains credulity to believe the entire Florida court system is involved in some vast conspiracy to deprive Terri Schiavo of her rights, or that they have ignored evidence of wrong doing by Michael Schiavo. Furthermore, two federal courts have reached the same conclusion: Terri Schiavo, by clear and convincing evidence, elected to have her life support withdrawn in the condition in which she finds herself. They also concluded Terri's rights have been protected by an unprecendent level of due process.

Mormanity said...

Thanks for your comments. If the process has been fair and objective, in a good-faith effort based upon the weight of clear and convinving evidence, then my concerns are overblown.

I wish I had more respect for the judiciary - perhaps then I could shrug my shoulders and trust the process. But the judiciary, in my view, has become highly liberal as a result of decades of drift in academia and among the movers and shakers of this country, resulting in a modern judiciary that can claim to be upholding the Constitution while overseeing the slaughter of over a million innocent unborn infants every year in the name of a "right to privacy" that was concocted out of thin air. We have a judiciary that can find great evil in organizations like the Boy Scouts, who now have retreated from the schools rather than face the continued crushing weight of legal assaults from the ACLU, with the assistance of corrupt courts. We have a judiciary that is turning the sin of homosexuality in a protected and exalted lifestyle to the detriment of the laws and insitutions the courts should be protecting. We have a judiciary that, at least in some courts and some states, is worse than just morally bankrupt. They have become activists seeking to impose their view of how the world should be.

Such trends are not without precedent. The Western, nominally Christian, modern, and well educated judiciary in Germany assisted in the execution of millions of Jews, all done in accordance with the high standards of law, wearing their lordly robes and walking in the courts of the elite.

In another advanced society, we read of a network of activist judges who became key drivers for the corruption of law and for the consignment of innocent people to death, contary to the fundamental legal principles of their nation. In fact, we read that the efforts of such judges was laying a "foundation of destruction" for their people (Alma 10:27), that some of them went out of their way in an attempt to starve two innocent men to death (Alma 14 - ut they were delivered by the power of God), and that similar judges later acted secretly - in conspiracy - to cause the executions of prophets and other righteous people (3 Nephi 6:25-30). They were part of trends and movements, whether they all understood it or not, that would lead to a loss of liberty and gross expansion of central power in the hands of evil people. These ancient events were selected and described to aid us prophetically in our day, and we are told when we see such things among us, we are told to "awake to a sense of [our] awful situation" (Ether 8:24).

I'm starting to awake....

I wish I could sit back and say that we can trust our courts, that all will be well, that they surely are doing the right thing for Terri. I admit, the facts of this case are puzzling and it is possible that the judges and lawyers involved really are doing what's right and wise - but in some courts, with some judges, it's clear that we're heading into a classic Book of Mormon scenario - and trouble is brewing.

Whether Terri's case has been fairly adjudicated or not, the anti-life, anti-freedom tendencies of our courts need to be watched and resisted, in my opinion. It's a time to awake.