Cal Lanier wants Terri Schiavo dead. Go read Lanier's comprehensive Terri Schiavo FAQ. Oh sure, Lanier demurs at the end, saying that he's not "on Michael Schiavo's side." No, no, he's "on the side of the law." Boy, is he.
Lanier's lock-step support of the legal system is so great that he treats nearly every issuance of Judge George Greer as gospel truth. His entire case for killing Terri Schiavo--that is, being on the side of "the law"--is built around the assumption that Greer and legal system are infallible. Lanier writes:
I offer up a few hypotheticals:
1. Assume all facts are the same, but Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers agree that the feeding tube should be removed.
2. Assume all facts are the same, the Schindlers oppose the feeding tube removal, but Terri Schiavo left a detailed living will that specified she would want the feeding tube removed if she were in a persistent vegetative state.
3. Assume that Michael Schiavo has remained completely faithful to his wife all these years, but still testifies that she told him she would want to die in these circumstances, and the Schindlers still oppose him.
If your opinion switches from opposition to support in these hypotheticals, then your opposition is based on the circumstances in this case. So ask yourself: do you really think that you know more about the case from the media coverage and court documents than the judges who actually reviewed all the evidence?
This, of course, is the chicken-hawk argument. How dare a president who has not served in the military order our soldiers around. How dare a person who has never directed a movie write a film review. How dare a bunch of geeks in pajamas question 60 Minutes reporters who have been immersed in the intricacies of George W. Bush's national guard service. Get it?
And upon close examination, this is the entire substance of Lanier's argument for killing Schiavo.
Is Michael Schiavo denying his wife care? No, Lanier says: Ignore the facts of her neglect--the bed sores, the extracted teeth, the lack of physical therapy, the contorted body--because the court says Schiavo isn't denying her care; so it must be true. Should an MRI be done on Terri? No, Lanier says: Ignore the calls from board-certified neurologists, because Judge Greer says an MRI is unnecessary; so it must be true. Is there a doubt about the PVS diagnosis? No, Lanier says: Ignore the doubts expressed by medical experts, because the court has found that she is in PVS; so it must be true.
Lanier's devotion to the rule of law is admirable, if blinkered. As a friend recently said to me, "blind obedience to the law is just as enslaving as contempt for the rule of law." We need laws. But our rule of law is an imperfect system implemented by imperfect men. When miscarriages of justice happen from time to time, we need to be willing to step in and correct them.
Cal Lanier's siding with the law is simply tyranny by other means.
Update, 1:07 p.m.: A commenter tells me Cal Lanier is a gal, not a guy. If so, apologies to Cal for the mix up--but this is what you get for not having a picture posted with your site and having a name made famous by a Hall of Fame shortstop.