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Schiavo 4 – RIP

Terri Schiavo died this morning.

I hope that her husband and family can find some peace, if not with each other, than at least within themselves.

Now that the emotional flash point of the debate is gone, I hope that we can have a more considered policy discussion over who should make medical decisions for non-decisional patients, and under what restrictions.

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39 comments to Schiavo 4 – RIP

  • S. Weasel

    More considered? Huh. Which part of your argument did you believe to be “ill considered”?

  • Verity

    S. Weasel – Ha ha ha ha ha!

    I have a considered comment to make on living wills. While those of moderate income may leave instructions to pull the plug at a certain point, I think over the next few years we may see a number of rich people making their wishes clear that they are to be placed on life support at any cost and kept alive until a cure has been found for whatever ails them. Some of the less wealthy might place a time limit on the artificial prolongation of their lives – five years, say, and if a cure isn’t found in five years, disconnnect.

    This is, after all, a more rational evolution of the moonbat cryogenics that several people bought into in the 70s. But those with a yen to chill out had to die first. On life support, you stay alive and semi-functioning until medical science develops a cure.

    I foresee that, in perhaps as little as 10 years, there will be life support dormitories housing 20 or 30 comatose cases, in hospitals, or even private establishments set up for the lucrative purpose.

  • Aceface

    Terri Schiavo died quite some time ago, it was just what was left of her body that is dead now.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Verity, this issue does actually make me wonder how folk in the cryonics movement deal with stuff like this. They have had to deal with a lot of hostility from religious, legal and political opponents, not to mention raising issues about what happens if those signing up ever get “defrosted”, so to speak.

    There was never going to be an outcome to this saga that would not leave some people feeling very queasy about the issues involved. For a strong and articulate defence of keeping Terri on life support, go and read Mark Steyn in the latest edition of the Speccie. Even if one does not agree with all his piece, it is one of the sanest I have read from that perspective. rgds

  • DLW in KCMO

    Murder.

  • GCooper

    Johnathan Pearce writes:

    “For a strong and articulate defence of keeping Terri on life support, go and read Mark Steyn in the latest edition of the Speccie. Even if one does not agree with all his piece, it is one of the sanest I have read from that perspective.”

    It’s interesting how this has split groups often regarded as homogenous. Even Village Voice, usually regarded as about as right-on as you can get, ran a strongly argued piece in defence of Mrs. Schiavo’s right to life.

    Personally, I think one of the more absurd aspects of the whole sorry affair has been the attempt by some to portray those uncomfortable with the court’s decision as members of the religious Right.

    They plumb uncommon depths when they then go on to hold their opinions as a litmus test for the purity of their libertarian credentials.

    Now that really does sail close junior common room Marxism.

  • Alice Bachini

    Clearly a line has to be drawn somewhere, and I think a lot of people would draw that line between life support machines, which replace the function of vital internal organs, and feeding-tubes, which provide a person with nutrients.

    I don’t think one has to be a religious bigot to agree with that view, and I do think the onus is on those who would want to die, rather than those who would want to be fed, to make their wishes known in a living will before the event.

  • Duncan

    A feeding tube supplies you with food when you can’t swallow… a respirator supplies you with oxygen when you can’t breath… and the difference is?…

  • Johnathan

    GCooper, I don’t see people on this or other threads making the argument that those who are concerned about the role of the State in such matters assume that people taking the other view are religious nutters. I respect the Christian perspective on this case (see my comment about Mark Steyn’s article above). My problem is that passing emergency laws to deal with a single case is something that I instinctively find dangerous from a libertarian/conservative point of view.

    Only someone with the wisdom of Solomon could arrive at an outcome in this case that would satisfy everyone. I suspect most people know this, including the most devoutly religious or hardline atheist.

  • DLW in KCMO

    I find it strange the “Libertarians” and “self-reliant free thinkers” haven’t grasped what actually took place: a state execution without a fair trial.

    The final decision was based on heresay from all sides.

    The self-righteous turds who claim she “died 15 years ago” and decided she had a poor quality of life according to THEIR idea of what quality of life means, sound like ANYTHING but freedom loving people.
    They don’t know how this person felt anymore than the doctors. It’s impossible. The general agreement was that she had the thought process of a one year old child. Is that deserving of execution?

    I’m not a religious zealot. I’m just a concerned citizen who wonders what’s next. I’m a firm believer in the “Slippery Slope” theory. The “right to die” is a freedom that should be expressed by the individual and not heresay. We go to amazing lengths to prove a murderer guilty beyond doubt before seeking a death penality.

    This person wasn’t dying, she had brain damage.
    She couldn’t feed herself, nor can a child could without the assist of parents. Perhaps the husband thought he was acting in the best interest…but who will ever know? There was no absolute proof of her wishes….from either side… so why condem her to death? The process can’t be reversed.

    This entire “event” was frightening and will forever change modern society.

  • DLW – hyperbole like calling Ms. Schiavo’s death an execution isn’t going to convince anyone here. Indeed, that kind of argument will only cost you credibility in these precincts.

    Samizdroids know a state execution when they see one, and withholding care after extensive due process regarding the wishes of the patient ain’t it.

    Indeed, a state that forces medical treatment on people for their own good, and against our best information about their actual desires, is something devoutly to be avoided.

    The question is how much medical decision-making should be left in the private sphere and how much state oversight there should be.

    Remove the state court entirely from the Schiavo case, if you will, as its role was purely to review her guardian’s decisions regarding care. In that scenario, her feeding tube was withdrawn years ago, on Michael Schiavo’s say-so as guardian implementing, at least according to him, her desires.

    There are no state fingerprints on her feeding tube, but she’s dead years ago. Happy now? If not, then I suspect you really don’t have a problem with state involvement in medical care, but rather with something else altogether.

  • S. Weasel

    A feeding tube supplies you with food when you can’t swallow… a respirator supplies you with oxygen when you can’t breath… and the difference is?…

    Math isn’t my strong suit, but…upwards of 17,000 minutes?

  • Chris Harper

    Providing food and water isn’t medical treatment, it is just basic human decency. Terri wasn’t ‘allowed’ to die. She was killed.

  • Jacob

    I urge you all to look at the CAT scan pictures and see for yourself the state of Terri Schiavo’s brain. Here is the link I posted in the comments on the previous thread.

    Is that irrelevant ? Can you claim that the doctors don’t know what they are talking about ?

  • GCooper

    Jacob writes:

    “I urge you all to look at the CAT scan pictures and see for yourself the state of Terri Schiavo’s brain.”

    Wonderful. And while all the amateur neurologists are busy diagnosing what are said to be the late Mrs. Schiavo’s scans, I’ll put up a link to an X-ray of my big toe, so that all the amateur orthopaedic specialists can tell me why it hurts now and then.

    Really, how absurd can we get? There is a sufficiently large body of qualified medical opinion which is uncomfortable with this case. Unless you have a professional contribution to make, it is difficult to see how your analysis of something I imagine you don’t understand, is going to help us reach any sort of informed opinion.

  • DLW in KCMO

    RC Dean,

    If it wasn’t a state sponsored execution, what was it? She died from dehydration and the lack of nourishment. How did this happen? It was directed by the state. Why did the state order her food and water be withheld? In order to END HER LIFE! If that is not execution I don’t know what is. I don’t understand what your problem is with the term “execution”. If a state government determines that it is legal to end a person’s life by whatever ever means…hanging, beheading or starvation this act is called a state execution.

    Usually it is people who have conducted heinous crimes and proof of their crime has been proved beyond a reasonable that get convicted and condemed to the ultimate punishiment.

    So far the only crime this woman has commited is being brain damaged. I’m sure she didn’t choose this. It also made her an inconvenience and an uncomfortable reminder that it could happen to any of us.

    OK..the state can ALSO enforce medical treatment to sustain life against a person’s wishes which is why a living will is very important. It’s important to note that this teatment can be retracted….death, on the other hand can’t. All I’m saying is that we have to be sure before we start killing people who look unhappy.

    If “samizatis” think its ok for a government to execute you….END YOUR LIFE…based on heresay or other people’s notions on what quality of life is then perhaps I had a completely wrong idea on what a libertarian is.

  • S. Weasel

    Can you claim that the doctors don’t know what they are talking about ?

    Oh, goodness me yes, indeed I can. Doctors have an especially bad track record measuring consciousness and pain, two brain activities before which we have no definitive measuring instrument and they have insufficient humility.

    Until recently, for example, major surgery was routinely done on newborn babies without any anesthesia, because many doctors believed their brains were too primitive to feel pain, or too undeveloped to remember pain. Sometimes, babies at risk are still not given general anesthesia — but every new study raises, not lowers, our opinion of the sensory development of neonates. Think about, say, major heart surgery, and what that means for a moment.

    How about frontal lobotomy? Egas Moniz won a Nobel in 1949 for giving patients brain damage, in the belief that a quiet gork was better than a crazy person. At the low end of the patients that survived the procedure were patients as impaired as Terri Schiavo, and then some. I’m pretty sure they kept feeding the ones they manufactured, though.

    I won’t go into coma patients that ‘miraculously’ wake up after years of being considered hopeless cases. I don’t think Schiavo had any chance to be one of those. I think she was permanently what she was: a severely brain damaged but physically healthy woman in entirely stable condition. I had no idea we’ve been starving people in that shape, though many of the doctors I heard interviewed called her case routine.

    She indisputably had wake and sleep cycles, responded to loud noises and pain. Whether her eyes tracked or not was a matter of question. Her EEG showed very low activity (but not flat!). She had severe atrophy of the “higher centers of the brain” per the article you linked to, but I’m betting she died with more cerebral cortex than my cat (which you could not legally starve to death). We simply do not know what it felt like to be in her head, or whether it was something she considered worth keeping.

    Members of the medical profession declared her an unperson, and members of the judiciary ordered her to be made dead.

  • toolkien

    We simply do not know what it felt like to be in her head, or whether it was something she considered worth keeping.

    We certainly didn’t. But the legal guardian did.

    Now we are to question the doctors as well as the judges. Well I guess the only alternative is a plebiscite I guess. We must be heard.

    And, afterall, I can agree that doctors and judges can be wrong. That’s why such decisions need to be left to the individual. But in this case it is the next best person, and that person is the guardian, and that person is Schiavo. He has made a decision. I have not heard any evidence that precludes him from making this decision. He never tried to end her life as a root action, and he is trying to follow through on her wishes as best as he knew how to. Even that was determined by the State.

    If guardianships can be so casually interfered with as in this case, then we will have nothing but interested and disinterested parties alike resorting to force, and the bunch with the biggest stick will eventually win.

  • toolkien

    If it wasn’t a state sponsored execution, what was it? She died from dehydration and the lack of nourishment. How did this happen? It was directed by the state. Why did the state order her food and water be withheld? In order to END HER LIFE! If that is not execution I don’t know what is

    The only reason the State ‘ordered’ the tubes removed is because it was the State who ordered them back in. By offsetting the first ruling, they merely reestablished the state that the guardian legally chose in the first place. This is simple logic, and if one can’t move beyond it, then there isn’t much reason to continue this branch of the argumentation.

  • S. Weasel

    We certainly didn’t. But the legal guardian did.

    Bullshit. God and Terri Schiavo (if either of them still existed) were the only ones who know what it was like in her head. Moreover (what is this, the third time I’ve posted this?) a guardian can’t refuse nourishment per Florida law. The “guardian’s” only role here was remembering somewhat belatedly that Terri would rather die, because only she could refuse food and water.

    If guardianships can be so casually interfered with as in this case, then we will have nothing but interested and disinterested parties alike resorting to force, and the bunch with the biggest stick will eventually win.

    Yes. Those sticks are called “lawyers” and the bunch with the biggest one routinely wins.

    Terri’s maintenance money went to the best (if a bit bizzare) pro-euthanasia lawyer Schiavo could find, while the Schindlers lawyered up too little, too late with a plain old public defender (pro bono, at that).

  • DLW in KCMO

    More….

    To RC Dean:

    You seem to know Ms. Schiavo’s wishes….are you aware there was credible conflicting arguments from both sides? How is it that you know what Ms. Schaivo wanted? I don’t want to demonize her guardian, Mr. Schiavo. It’s possible he really is acting on his wife’s wishes and cetainly he has affection for her though he’s carried on with life and has started another family.

    I also know that the intermediate family, her blood relatives have an emotional need to keep their daughter alive. Her family and friends testified that she said many things that would contradict what her husband claimed she said.

    All I am saying is that this case is unusual and both sides are heresay. Without knowing what her real wishes were how could you condem her death? You can’t reverse death. If anything, she should have got a stay of execution allowing more time for some fact finding. Again, I won’t demonize Mr. Schiavo, he has been struggling with this for a long time. I won’t automatically believe him either simply because he is the spouse and guardian according to Florida State Laws.

    You stated that if her food had been withheld long ago without state interference she would have been long gone, hence, no debate. WRONG. Mr Schaivo only began debating the food removal after about 8 years of her condition, when the law suits were settled, according to him. He began to ponder about ending her “suffering” about the same time he instructed medical community not to pursue therapy. He didn’t even bring up the notion that she made her wishes known about end of life treatment until the past few years.

    FINALLY!! (I know this topic has been beaten like a dead horse but it’s my first time to comment)

    RC Dean, who are you to decide if Ms. Schiavo should live or die based on your ideals? You said she was dead for years…no she has been VERY alive. Is she dead to you? Why? Because she can’t feed herself? A toddler can’t feed itself. DO you think it was justifyied to kill her because she was retarded? Was it the medical experts who THEORIZED that she couldn’t feel or think? Perhaps you truly think its humane to do away with people who you percieve are suffering. I am not religious but I believe that when the state obtains the power to decide whether I should live or die according to heresay that will be a huge turning point in Human history.

    A real Libertarian should be frightened by recent events.

  • GCooper

    toolkien writes:

    “But the legal guardian did.”

    No, we do not know that. All we have is his claim that he did. They are not the same thing.

    As I have said before to those posters who blindly stick to this absurd doctrine of the infallibility of spouses, it is simply not good enough to allow someone to die on the say-so of a spouse. Have you any idea how many spouses murder, cheat, beat or otherwise harm one another? For pity’s sake, read some 18th and 19th century social history, where wives (and, occasionally, husbands) were quite frequently incarcerated for supposed madness at the behest of a spouse who either fancied their money or their cousin. It didn’t become a literary cliche by accident, you know.

    What lies behind this astonishing belief that spouses are automatically reliable witnesses of anything at all is quite beyond me. It seems to be some article of – what: blind faith?

  • Providing food and water isn’t medical treatment, it is just basic human decency.

    When food and water is provided via an intravenous tube, no one would claim that it isn’t “medical treatment”. The same is also true when food and water are delivered via a stomach tube.

    A simple test for whether something is “medical treatment”: does it require a medical license to do it? Insertion of stomach tubes most definitely does.

    Because it is a medical treatment, it cannot be given over the objection of the patient. Forcing medical treatment on someone against their will is not “basic human decency”, but something else altogether.

    Consider that the very best organs for transplant are harvested from comatose patients, kept alive on life support, so there is actually a very powerful incentive lurking out there for keeping people alive, as organ farms, past the point where they would want to die. Still happy with the idea that we should be keeping folks alive no matter what their wishes? Still want a system where this decision is taken out of private hands and subjected to state control?

    You seem to know Ms. Schiavo’s wishes….are you aware there was credible conflicting arguments from both sides?

    I know exactly as much about her wishes as anyone else on the planet, which is to say, not much at all. But this isn’t about our actual state of knowledge about her mental state 20 years ago, or yesterday morning.

    This is about who decides. I think the decision should be as private as possible, and I think that the level of state involvement in this decision was ample. Many who disagree with the decision seems to be pushing for even more state involvement in these decisions, whether by removing discretion from the guardian or cranking up the judicial/state oversight machinery to even higher levels.

    RC Dean, who are you to decide if Ms. Schiavo should live or die based on your ideals? You said she was dead for years…no she has been VERY alive.

    First, I never ventured a medical opinion, and never stated whether she was dead or alive.

    Second, my position is that I should have absolutely no role whatsoever in deciding what medical care is given or withheld to complete strangers. I think that is a private decision. The folks who want to take that decision out of the private sphere and make it a matter for the state to determine are the ones who want to decide whether the next Ms. Schiavo lives or dies, or has medical care forced on her or withheld, according to their ideals.

  • Verity

    G Cooper – ‘The infallibility of spouses’! V good! This is a doctrine much espoused on this blog over the last few days and I am absolutely baffled by it.

    Spouses go into hospital rooms and try to do something to life support systems. They try to introduce strong drugs (which they had to go to some trouble, danger and great expense to obtain) into IVs. Spouses tell whoppers to family doctors about the mental health and behaviour of their other half and get prescriptions for them, which they over feed them. (“He was so forgetful, doctor. It’s like I was telling you … he must’ve forgotten he took …..”)

    Why is this husband treated by the posters of this parish as a saint? I just don’t get it.

  • GCooper

    Verity writes:

    “Why is this husband treated by the posters of this parish as a saint? I just don’t get it.”

    Truly, neither do I. It seems to fly in the face of both common sense and everyday experience.

  • toolkien

    No, we do not know that. All we have is his claim that he did. They are not the same thing.

    Well Mr. Schiavo is in the best position of anyone else on the planet to know. Perhaps that’s why he, as most spouses are, made the guardian. Funny how that works.

    And if takes hyperbole to prove a point that those of us here who wish to leave the decision in Mr. Schiavo’s hands are trying to sanctify him, thats hardly the case. It’s the simple fact that he is the guardian vested to make these decisions and there is nothing showing that he should not be. It is desparately trying to point out that perhaps Governors, and Presidents, and Representatives and Senators and Federal Justices should not have ever been brought into this mess. It is merely trying to point out that protracting this issue for a decade beyond all sense, mostly through steering the Statist behemoth around like a rented Buick is what was wrong, not the husband’s desire to follow through on his wife’s wishes without endless invasion into his privacy and hers. Just about every judge in Florida and DC has touched this case in one way or another and somehow always came out on the side of Schiavo.

    See how fun hyperbole can be?

  • DLW in KCMO

    RC Dean,

    Providing food and water IS merely human decency. Why does it matter to you how it’s delivered. Whether it’s by tube or by mouth, the fact doesn’t change that it’s food and water.

    My father suffered strokes which made him incapable of swallowing. If he tried to take food and liquids by mouth he was endangering his life as the stuff would end up in his lungs and cause him to choke. He had to have a feeding tube inserted and we all took turns “feeding” Dad for the next 3 years. He couldn’t feed himself. Should he have been executed? OK, he wasn’t brain damaged or bed ridden but he and Ms. Schaivo shared the exact same swallowing problems.

    My father’s prognosis wasn’t good. He was a diabetic for many years and was experiencing the slow break down of his kidney and heart. He lived life to the fullest in those three years. We travelled the country, gambled away money and had a pretty good time until the end. OK, we had to pour liquid into his feeding tube a few times a day. If we didn’t do this he would die. Dad wanted to live as long as he could. We cherished those last years and the extra care he required was the least I could do. He eventually suffered the final stroke that left him on life support for a few weeks before his death. The Doctors said he probably didn’t have much time and if he did he would be on life support and would remain in a comatose “state”. The could’nt tell us if he could hear, see or think ..no proof if he was “aware” and it was probably best to “pull the plug”. I remember telling them that my dad was not a “quitter”.

    We all spent lots of time at the hospital watching football games reading and simply talking and holding hands with Dad. I don’t know if he was aware but just in case he was, he wasn’t alone nor did he feel hungry.

    He died peacefully, no one had to pulled the plug.

    What does this have to do with Ms. Schaivo? I know she was considered a “vegetable”…not at all like my father. She had severe brain damage but she could see and breath unassisted she also was able to hear and feel and made vocal noises. If her brain was a puddle of goo, it was a damn good puddle of goo. She required extensive care and who knows if she had any thought process at all. Unlike my father she wasn’t dying. She wasn’t suffering in any way nor was she barely clinging on to life. She was a fellow human being not a “thing” or a “shell”. She couldn’t eat or drink on her own (not unlike thousands of other Americans with various disabilities). I can’t think of one single thing about her that would make her eligible for execution unless she herself desired it.

    I am not a fan of government intervention. You are incorrect when you say her feeding tube was inserted because the state ordered it. NO…it was a doctor’s decision.

    The State got involved only when Mr. Schiavo wanted her to die and needed the State’s power to enforce the removal of the tube.

    Your other argument concerns the right of the spouse. I don’t want to take away spousal rights but in this case there is no solid proof of what her true wishes were…JUST HERESAY, and since it was just heresay the basic rights (not to be starved) of the individual should come first.

    Think of this theory: What if it’s proven that she never expressed any wishes of having plugs pulled (highly unlikely)..would you still be for her execution? Just curious.

    Also, the debate on her mental condition is ridiculous no one will ever be able to provide definitave proof on what state her mind was in. I will say that no matter her mental capabilites; whether she was cognicent or her brain was the consistency of chicken soup (both sides agreed at one time that she had the mental capacity of a one year old)…doesn’t matter, you don’t kill people based on their mental capabilities.

    This case horrifies me not only because they allowed someone to die a slow death but it will strengthen the power of the state to take life.

    I hated that the federal government had to get involved though they basically could do nothing about it. If you are wondering by what right Congress has to get involved in a private/state matter, I invite you to read the following excerpt from the US Constitution:

    Since 1866. From the Fourteenth Amendment:

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    No matter what side you take concerning this tragedy, you can’t deny that allowing a state appointed judge to determine whether a person is valuable enough to keep alive was a dangerous step towards giving the state the “ultimate” government intrusion.
    The social acceptance of “putting away” human beings for their own good will naturally follow.

    Suddenly – smoker’s rights, the free market, privacy in the bedroom or being forced to carry a government issued I.D. doesn’t seem as bad.

  • Winzeler

    DLW in KCMO:

    A real Libertarian should be frightened by recent events.

    You’re right he is.
    toolkien:

    perhaps Governors, and Presidents, and Representatives and Senators and Federal Justices should not have ever been brought into this mess.

  • Wow, what are all you using the emotional and religious arguments going to say when the state requires mental health testing for everyone, and requires you to take what every drug they deem you need? Do you all mean to say that if you were say brain dead, as in the only part of your brain that functions is your cerebral cortex, you would prefer the state to decide you fate? Personally allot of you would call me cold hearted because I don’t believe in keeping people alive just because they are a person. I don’t see a point in a life if they are completely incompasitated and will never recover. I don’t think my tax money should go to such things. Thing is none of those arguments have anything to do with someone wanting the state making such decisions for you. Why do you think the state knows best? I’m seeing some very socialist opinions popping up and that goes against being a Libertarian. Why should the state choose whether or not you have a baby, want to die, or want to live? That should be up to the individual or if they can’t make the choice their guardian makes the choice. If you don’t want you spouse making such decision then appoint someone else or divorce you spouse. I really don’t care if she said anything years ago, it’s her spouses decision because she can’t make one. She was 26, most 26 year olds wouldn’t want to live like that or don’t even think about it yet. What makes you think that the state has anyone best interest at heart? why because on this issue you wanted the state to do something, what about the next issue when you don’t want the state involved. This is setting a very dangerous presendent.

  • DLW in KCMO

    Winzeler,

    I take it by your post that you are saying a real Libertarian should be frightened by this event BECAUSE the federal government attempted to get involved… not because an individual’s right to live was endangered.

    I don’t know what country you live in but if you are a true American Libertarian (I grew up with these folks), you are a strict U.S. Constitutionalist. OK, why the hell do we even need a Constitution? The beauty of the U.S. Constitution is that it is very small, basic and simple and it explains to the American people how limited the government will remain, how we govern our lives (not activist judges, posturing politicians or crooked private critizens who might try to use judges to do away with you). I’m not insinuating the husband is an evil bastard but it’s always possible that he is.

    I pasted an excerpt from the Constitution in a previous post. It’s pretty simple.

    The Federal Government simply wanted Terri to get another hearing. Other than that, it’s ‘interference”‘ didn’t amount to much. It was her life after all. Perfectly fitting when there is a human life on the line.

    It’s strange you and others are obsessed with the husband’s rights…the husband is the legal guardian of this woman as granted by (oh my) THE GOVERNMENT! This guardianship does not include the right to “pull the plug”. In order to “pull the plug”, this husband had to get governmental intrusion. The state at some level has always been involved in this case when Terri’s loving husband decided to end her life.

    You see, there was no proof behind his claim that she wanted to die. There was no “living will”. Just heresay and chit chat. She died because he recalled a casual conversation in which she said she wouldn’t want to be kept alive artificially. Strange how this memory of this statement came to his mind 20 years after the fact.

    People have their “plugs pulled” all the time whether you agree with that or not. There is no controversy because of the living will and the person’s wishes are very clear.

    This all comes down to what he says compared to what her family says (who probably know her as well as the spouse) about what she said and believed. Neither side has written proof, recordings, etc. The judge decided to side with you and uphold the rights of the spouse.

    This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the argument was over the division of property in a divorce or something similar but someone’s life was on the line. You may think this person unworthy, “dead anyway”, or an undignified retard and you couldn’t see why anyone would not want to commit suicide in such a state. Maybe she wouldn’t want to live like that and told her husband, or she was also a strong Catholic and might have held strong beliefs concerning the sanctity of life – NO ONE KNOWS!

    Despite her condition she is still a human being. She’s not YOUR ideal of a human being but she is one just the same and has the same right to live as you do. The INTRUSIVE GOVERNMENT condemed this woman to death because of a one minute conversation that may or may not have taken place 20 years ago – spousal rights you know. You should be frightened by that.

    There are lots of people in the world who are disabled at various degrees. Where will the line be drawn?

    I hate to say this but I feel the opinions of people like you who make judgements on other people’s quality of life, who are more concerned with the husband’s rights than the person in question, who claim to embrace personal liberty but think its perfectly OK to execute another human being based on your ideals are more frightening than the stuff shirts in Washington because you views are shared by the majority and politicians want to make the majority happy.

    There are many, including myself, that see this event as a nightmare. Many views are driven by religious belief but I and many others who are not religious see this as another step towards the destruction of what freedom we have left in this country.

    Anyway…doesn’t matter now because she’s dead and this republic isn’t far behind.

    I think I’ve said everything I can say about this tragedy. I seldom post on blogs and apologize for the length. Thanks for allowing me the space.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Toolkien’s right about the involvement of the federal legislature. That was an unfortunate intervention, and one that should worry libertarians. However, concentrating on that is MISSING THE POINT, and I don’t think anyone here who’s outraged about the death of Ms Schiavo cares particularly much about it because it’s a peripheral issue. I, and others, care that a woman’s life was removed through a process that appears flawed.

    I don’t see a point in a life if they are completely incompasitated and will never recover.

    Wow, if you were king a LOT of helpless people would be thrown up against the wall. Anyway, it’s not your choice. I do agree with you about the tax dollars issue to some extent.

    Why do you think the state knows best?

    You’ve created a strawman here. I haven’t seen any regular contributors arguing against the court order also calling for state control. They are, however, asserting that the arbitration process was flawed. How can you interpret that’s us thinking the state knows best?

    Why should the state choose whether or not you have a baby, want to die, or want to live?

    More strawmen.

  • Winzeler

    DLW in KCMO, you can donate via Paypal or eGold if you feel bad about using the space. If I ever get off my lazy butt, I might actually do it too. In fact, I think I’ll do it today.

    On to your point, I have made, either in public or in private, NO JUDGMENT about the condition of her life or her value and worth as a human being. I have, however, observed three things. First, she was incapable of expressing anything about her intentions. Second, she required medical attention in order to live. Third, her next of kin was Michael Schiavo.

    As a libertarian I prefer that the government only intervene if it can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the next of kin had disqualified himself.

    Furthermore, I’m quite exhausted from this “error on the side of life” mentality. That’s the same as the “if it saves just one life” mentality. It’s where we get gun control, seat belt laws, medicare, medicaid, Patriot Act, and a whole host of other junk degradations of civil liberties.

  • S. Weasel

    Furthermore, I’m quite exhausted from this “error on the side of life” mentality. That’s the same as the “if it saves just one life” mentality. It’s where we get gun control, seat belt laws, medicare, medicaid, Patriot Act, and a whole host of other junk degradations of civil liberties.

    The only thing the two have in common is the word “life”. You must’ve hated Life magazine. Or perhaps you choked on a bowl of Life cereal as a child…?

  • Winzeler

    Funny, but not really. I did however conclude a few years ago that there are worse things than death and better things than life. Haven’t you ever seen the end of Braveheart? Haven’t you ever heard the quote, “Live free or die?” What about the one that says, “Give me freedom or give me death?” What about Benjamin Franklin: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    Actually they do have more in common than “life.” They share the mentallity that government intrusion is ok if it’s in the name of preservation of life -which happens to be, in my opinion, the most sinister abuses of the justification of government intrusion.

  • S. Weasel

    Actually they do have more in common than “life.” They share the mentallity that government intrusion is ok if it’s in the name of preservation of life -which happens to be, in my opinion, the most sinister abuses of the justification of government intrusion.

    Government has been highly intrusive in the killing-other-people thing for as long as there’s been government. I’m guessing you don’t consider the law that forbids me beating you to death a sinister abuse, or resent the government intrusion in our private transaction that my trial and incarceration would represent.

  • Winzeler

    S. Weasel, for purposes of demonstrating the effectiveness of the government forbidding you to beat me to death, I invite you to try. I have two options. I can hope that I or someone near me has the appropriate means to contact the authorities and then wait for them to intervene (in my locality I’m looking at 15 minutes or so -hopefully you’re bludgeoning me with a Nerf bat) OR I can pull out my fifteen shots of .40 S & W and end the whole thing all together.

    This is not by any means an attempt to incite any violence or ill-will toward you or anyone else. It is merely an example put forth to illustrate how absurd it can be to rely on state intervention in even the most extreme violation of an individuals rights. I mean you no harm. I respect you, but I do not agree with your opinion.

  • S. Weasel

    S. Weasel, for purposes of demonstrating the effectiveness of the government forbidding you to beat me to death, I invite you to try.

    Eh? Who was talking about effectiveness? We were talking about government encroachment. This public encroachment on our private lives, at least, is so old as to predate government.

  • Winzeler

    My point was that the encroachment isn’t necessarily on the perpetrator of a crime, but on the victim. If the government wanted to “protect” my right to be safe from your assault, it might try to ban the weapon you would use against me, but in so doing would undermine my ability to protect myself.

    This is somewhat analogous to the Schiavo case in that if the government were to step in in order to “protect” Terri it would probably only result in the exact opposite of what it tried to do. It’s kind of like the Precautionary Principle. I’m scared I might lose my right to live and my right to make my own choice about whether I live or die, so I might as well give up that right to the government. We have terms for that. “Nanny State” comes to mind.

  • James

    This is, after all, a more rational evolution of the moonbat cryogenics that several people bought into in the 70s. But those with a yen to chill out had to die first. On life support, you stay alive and semi-functioning until medical science develops a cure.

    Verity,

    Cryogenics is the study of very low temperatures and its effects. Not sure why you find a science carried out by thousands of scientists all over the world as “moonbatty”, but there you have it.

    As for cryonics, those people don’t have the luxury of waiting 5 years, then pulling the plug. They generally don’t have 5 years to burn, perhaps not even 5 days. They’re usually not brain damaged either. Serious brain damage tends not to make one a good candidate for cryonics.

    Even if we were to apply your 5 year system to Terry Schiavo, she would have been dead many years ago. I don’t yet see any cure for massive brain damage, but I could be wrong.