Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Truth About Michael Schiavo, II

Again I point readers to the previous work of Wesley J. Smith. You'll recall that, in 1992, when he was arguing for more money in his malpractice lawsuit, Michael Schiavo argued that Terri would live a normal life span and that he intended to be a loyal husband to her for the rest of his days. Because of this testimony, Michael Schiavo received $1.3 million, $750,000 of which went into a trust to fund Terri's rehabilitation.

Shortly after receiving this money, Mr. Schiavo suddenly remembered that Terri didn't want to live a normal life span. As Smith reported:
One evening, during the second term of President Ronald Reagan, Terri Schiavo and her husband Michael decided to watch a television movie about Karen Ann Quinlan. . . .

While discussing the movie, Michael claims that Terri stated she would not want to live hooked up to a "machine" (she's not), or be a "burden" (her parents don't consider her a burden and want to care for her). Michael's brother, Scott, backs up his claim, while his sister-in-law, Joan, told the court that Terri had approved of pulling the life support from the dying baby of a mutual friend and said that if she ever wrote a "will" she would say that she didn't want "tubes."

Little did Terri know that these purported statements, uttered under very casual circumstances, would become the justification used by her husband in his six-year drive to remove her feeding tube and end her life. Indeed, based on these casual statements, Judge George Greer of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Florida ruled that Michael had established "by clear and convincing evidence"--the highest evidentiary standard in civil law--that Terri would rather dehydrate to death over a period of 10-14 days than live on food and water supplied by a feeding tube.

That's the full extent of Michael Schiavo's "clear and convincing evidence" that his wife wants him to murder her. Terri's parents, on the other hand, testify that she had no such desire, leaving us with a he said/she said case--at best.

And that's before you examine the rest of the mountain of evidence that Michael Schiavo has a profit-motive for this killing. And that's before you learn that Michael Schiavo has, since Terri became disabled, fathered two children with another woman, to whom he claims to be engaged, which suggests that he has even more motive to be rid of Terri and which, at the very least, suggests that he is sufficiently compromised that there is no moral universe in which he is fit to be her guardian.


Jay D. Homnick said...

To you, Jonathan, I must tell this, the hardest thing for a writer to say: "I could not have said it better myself."

I think that if the Congressional bill succeeds in saving her, the blogosphere will again have played a significant role, although it is not likely to be acknowledged.

miklos rosza said...

If she's breathing on her own (not on a respirator) they certainly should feed her. That's very simple, good enough for me. We don't know enough about what goes on in comatose and/or brain-damaged patients.

Note: I have not been following this case and know very little about it beyond what's been here and in the WSJ.

ELC said...

I noticed a terrible semantic turn the other day. Faces on TV have started to say that Michael Schiavo is in a "common law marriage" with his roommate, by whom he has fathered two children. Nonsense, and worse than nonsense. He is already married to Terri Schindler, so in the USA he can't be in any kind of marriage with anybody else. I think the strange notion of "common law marriage" coming up is nothing more than a way to blunt the reality: the man is an adulterer living with his partner in adultery, and he wants his wife dead.

Anonymous said...

Michael Schiavo should be commended rather than condemned. You have this completely backwards and wrong. All the medical evidence has been weighed, all the testimony about what Terri would have wanted has been heard, and each time this goes to court they always reach the same decision: she is a vegetable and wouldn't have wanted to live that way. Apparently you and Tom Delay and president bush know better, though. Thank goodness you're here to save us all from ourselves. This nothing but ideology, sentimentality and political expediency being given greater importance than the facts of the case.

Doc NOS said...

Odd that your name is Galley Slaves. You'd be TS's master, making her the slave to your political and religious agenda. You've also led a campaign of disinformation with regard to what PVS is, it's prognosis, and TS's abilities.

Overall you and yours are sickening people, although I use this word loosely. Animals usually treat each other better - and they sometimes eat each other alive.

Jay D. Homnick said...

So the Liberals rode and weighed in - with their customary civility! What would the "little guy" in this country do without these loving and compassionate folks?

arrScott said...

If those are the liberals, where are the conservatives? You know, the people who understand that Congress is not a magical happiness fairy, and unless the Constitution gives Congress the authority to act in a matter, it may not do so.

Just because Florida state law has failed Terri Schiavo it does not follow that Congress is right to intervene. Congress has no legitimate authority to act in this case. To favor federal legislation to continue Ms. Schiavo's feeding is to favor unlimited government. Which is to say, it is to oppose the rule of law and the most basic principles of small-r republicanism.

America can be divided into two camps: Those who are conservatives, grown-ups, patriots, or some combination of the three; and those who favor congressional intervention in the Schiavo case, no matter how humanitarian their motives.

And as an aside, where is the outrage that this miscarriage of justice is taking place in a state governed by Republicans? There are any number of obvious minor changes to state law that would have made Ms. Schiavo's parents her legal guardians in this and other similar cases, or that would have changed the standards of evidence used to determine a person's wishes in such a case. All they would have required was the assent of both houses of the Florida legislature and the state's governor - all three of which institutions are in Republican hands for many years now.

Rather than any of the simple and obvious statutory changes that would have saved Ms. Schiavo, Republicans in Florida and now Washington have chosen to pursue high-profile but ineffective grandstanding approaches. Given a choice between scoring political points and saving Ms. Schiavo, Republicans at every level have chosen politics over life.

Shame on the Florida courts for getting this case wrong. But even greater shame on Florida Republicans for failing to use their power to save Ms. Schiavo while they watched the courts err.

Anonymous said...

This case, beyond no recent other, truly demonstrates what each of our political party's agendas are (or more simply, their "true colors"). Most of the Democrats either did not show up (cowardess)when called upon to reconvene in Washington DC on the weekend of Mar 19-20, or stood in the way of saving Terri Shiavo from a miserable, tortuous, sadistic murder at the hands of the Florida judiciary. They realized that any legislation passed would need unanimous consent due to congressional rules applying to that weekend due to the recess. Most of them (the ones who did show up, aren't thet "sweet"?) therefore demanded a watered-down version of the bill passed just enough for the US District, Circuit, and Supreme Courts to have an excuse not to prevent the appalling and detestable execution of Ms. Schiavo. Meanwhile the Republicans pressed for a much stonger bill that these courts could not have circumvented. I disdain the Democrat party, and hope and will work for its demise, just as most of them hoped and worked for the torturous, horrific, and hastened slaughter of poor defenseless angel Terri Schiavo. My prayers are constantly with her, her family, her friends, and the good people of this great nation of ours.