"The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to
protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life."
urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life where all Americans are welcomed and
valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others.”
- President George Bush
The crime is complete, the deed is done, and the long battle
is over. Terri Schiavo is dead.
Terri’s so-called wishes if she was ever dramatically injured only surfaced
some seven years into her condition and after a malpractice suit had been settled. This endless mantra that death by dehydration
was ‘merely carrying out Terri’s wishes’ rings hollow when one looks at the evidence and once again common
sense and rationality was the first casualty of the legal system.
In February 1990, a sudden loss of oxygen to the
brain left Theresa Marie Schiavo in a coma and eventually in a profoundly incapacitated state. Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo,
took care of her, working alongside Terri's parents. He took her to numerous doctors; he pursued experimental treatments;
he sought at least some modest restoration of her self-awareness. In November 1992, he testified at a malpractice hearing
that he would care for Terri for the rest of her life, that he "wouldn't trade her for the world," that he was going to nursing
school to become a better caregiver. He explicitly reaffirmed his marriage vow, "through sickness, in health."
one doctor suggested that he remove Terri’s feeding tube he replied that “I couldn't do that to Terri," and let
her die of dehydration. Yet by 1993 such sentiments increasingly fell by the wayside as Michael’s interests focused
elsewhere. He was moving on and his brain damaged wife was becoming a mere problem and inconvenient tie to the past.
my wife was in such a state I would allow physical therapy. I would want her to go outside in the sunshine and to receive
friends and flowers. I would want her to have her teeth cleaned and life threatening infections treated. I would allow ‘pet
therapy’ and for the blinds to be opened in her room. Even if she had told me she wanted no exceptional medical measures
taken, I would make sure her existence while she was still alive was as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Common sense
and natural compassion call for such simple measures yet these were the things that Michael denied Terri for many years.
these the actions of a man who deeply loved his wife and unselfishly wanted only to fulfill her wishes? No one would wish
for themselves and their family to be treated that way. These are the actions of a man who I wouldn’t trust to water
the houseplants over the weekend or feed the family pet, let alone make the ultimate decision whether I lived or died.
any of us had treated a dog, cat or even an iguana the way Terri has been treated we would have been arrested and prosecuted
by the same system that provided the legal cover and protection for Michael to deprive, mistreat, and eventually kill his
wife. Terri was not a piece of unwelcome human debris to be hidden away in a darkened room barred from even the light of day
or killed so that another could marry the mother of his children and move on with his life.
care, Michael Schiavo once said:
"How the hell should I know we never spoke about this, my God I was only 25 years old.
How the hell should I know? We were young. We never spoke of this." – (Michael Schiavo’s former girl friend Cindy
Shook in a May 8, 2001 Deposition.)
Some have argued that it is not about the right to die, that it is about the right
to kill. Perhaps just a small matter of semantics, but more likely a significant difference in how one views the sanctity
of human life. There is a distinct line between letting someone go and wanting to see them go and the cheerleading for the
death of this brave woman with the tremendous will to live has finally been overcome by those with the tremendous will to
see her die. She talked (a few words), she felt pain, she responded to commands, she laughed, she cried, and she brought joy
to those around her.
Because of a court order Terri died at the command of the husband she feared and was preparing
to leave. It’s sad to see a struggle in our culture and our society between those who seek a culture of life and those
who vigorously champion the acceptance and advocacy of a culture of death. The secularists and the Christians. The Right to
Life versus the Duty to Die. The representative branch versus the judicial branch. A society torn apart on such basic fundamental
rights as human dignity, the sacredness of human life and the worthiness of those ‘less perfect’ than the rest
Is she just the latest sacrifice on the blood splattered altar of convenience or a woman finally being granted
her ultimate wish? Unfortunately, we will never know in this lifetime what she truly wanted and whether she wanted to leave
her family who loved her and fought for her dignity, care, and finally her life. The love and devotion of such a family is
a rare treasure to be cherished. She will be missed by those who loved and cared for her and her courage, and the courage
of those who fought for her life, will be an inspiration for many others.
Thursday morning, as Terri was in her final
hours of life, police prohibited any blood relatives from spending time with her. O'Donnell, one of the family's spiritual
advisers, said that her parents and siblings were "begging to be at her bedside” but they were denied. In one final
act of cruelty at the end, Terri’s parents were not allowed to be with their daughter as she died.
cremated against her family’s wishes, and her remains will be tucked away in her husband’s family crypt far removed
from the ever faithful family who fought for her until the bitter end. The cruelty exhibited by Michael Schiavo to Terri’s
parents continued to the very end and now even beyond her death. Though we will never know Terri’s true wishes as to
whether she would have wanted to die this way, we do know for certain that Terri would have never wanted Michael to be so
mean and cruel to her parents, and make them suffer like this.
The nationwide debate has not ended with Terri’s
passing but has just begun. Political blood will be shed and with both barrels blasting the various sides will begin the long
battle over whether we are a culture of life or a culture of expediency with a duty to die once we are not productive. Fascist
regimes glorify the killing of the weak, the disabled, the helpless and ‘useless’ eaters that exist among us,
not a civilized Western society with a heart of compassion.
Though technically not killed by the state, it was the
state that allowed her to be killed by another. It was the state that failed to protect a helpless woman from a man who has
shown his cruel and uncaring character time and time again. It was Terri, and those who need our protection and care the most,
that was failed by the state and its cold laws that were not tempered by mercy. Michael Schiavo failed her, the courts failed
her, our laws failed her, and ultimately we as a society failed her, for we allowed our culture to become one that would allow
this to happen. "Dasein Ohne Leben", the Nazi idea of "Existence without life", must not be enshrined in law as an excuse
Though I believe she was welcomed with open arms into the presence of the Lord, my family and I grieve
her passing and empathize with the pain her parents are experiencing at the loss of their firstborn daughter. Death of a loved
one is never easy, but we, and they, do not mourn as those who have no hope. God Bless you Terri, you will be missed and remembered.
Schiavo's death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people
who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,
but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are
with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo's friends in this time of deep sorrow."
- Congressman Tom DeLay.
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't
pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one
day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States
where men were free."
- President Ronald Reagan
”I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state,
not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me.
I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom
of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of
sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free.”
—William F. Buckley Jr.
"Liberals want to regulate just about everything: where we live, what fuels we use, what car we drive, whether we can
drive or be forced to use government mass transit, where we send our kids to school, what doctor we see, and even to what
extent we express our approval or disapproval of others’ lifestyles. It’s hard to find something liberals don’t
want to regulate. Is that a world you want to live in?”
"At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers.
It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws. This faith defines our full view
of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man’s inalienable rights, and that make
all men equal in His sight. "
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
"And if we elect a government that subverts or weakens or ends our war against terrorism, we can count on this: We
will soon face enemies that will make 9/11 look like stubbing our toe, and they will attack us with the confidence and determination
that come from knowing that we don’t have the will to sustain a war all the way to the end."
- Orson Scott Card
"In response to skyrocketing gas prices, liberals say, practically in unison, 'We can’t drill our way out of this
crisis.”' What does that mean? This is like telling a starving man, 'You can’t eat your way out of being hungry!' 'You
can’t water your way out of drought!' 'You can’t sleep your way out of tiredness!' 'You can’t drink yourself
out of dehydration!' Seriously, what does it mean? Finding more oil isn’t going to increase the supply of oil? It is
the typical Democratic strategy to babble meaningless slogans, as if they have a plan. Their plan is: the permanent twilight
of the human race. "
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go
home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains
set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."