In the current battle over whether to remove the feeding tube from Florida woman Terri Schiavo, the basic positions are:
The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that the husband is creepy. Terri's parents are fighting like mad to keep Terri alive. The husband, Michael Schiavo, is living with another woman with whom he has one child and is expecting another. Yet he has mounted a monumental crusade to have Terri's feeding tube removed.
Terri is not brain-dead and requires no extraordinary means to be kept alive. She is breathing, her heart is pumping, her organs are functioning. All she needs is food and water. (Of course, all three are technically true of Kate Moss, too.) But her husband wants to starve her to death. As Larry King asked him, why not "walk away"?
That is the eternal mystery of this case. Assuming everything Michael says about Terri is true – she has no consciousness, she will never recover, and she would not want to live with feeding tubes – well, then, she's not in pain, bored, angry or upset. Dennis Kucinich has been in a persistent vegetative state for 20 years – how about not feeding him? Why is Michael Schiavo so obsessed with pulling Terri's feeding tube? Why can't he just walk away?
Michael's answer to Larry King was this: "Why should I, Larry? This is Terri's wish. This is Terri's choice." As King pointed out, Terri's alleged "wish" was not memorialized anywhere in writing, only in Michael's memory. Michael responded to this point by invoking the courts: "It's been decided for six years of litigation that this was Terri's wish."
I note that "six years of litigation" is not enough to end the lives of child-molesting serial killers on death row. The same people who want to kill Terri believe that death-row cases are never final, no matter how many courts and juries have spoken over how many decades.
Moreover, it's not as if court after court has heard testimony on Terri's wishes and have all unanimously agreed that Terri would have chosen death. One lone Florida circuit court judge, George Greer, credited Michael's testimony, finding "clear and convincing" evidence that Terri said she would not want to be kept alive on feeding tubes. Because Judge Greer was acting as the finder of fact, his finding is essentially unreviewable by any other court. Even the notorious Florida Supreme Court – which has a history of jumping in to try to save a dead man – refused to review the case.
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