by Timothy Rollins, Editor and Publisher
March 25, 2005
Now that the Supreme Court of the United States has once again justifiably rejected the pathetic puppy-dog pleas of Bob and Mary Schindler (right) to have the feeding tube of their daughter Terri Schiavo reinserted, they need to just let go and let their daughter slip away from this life into the next. As it stands, Terri is faced with two kinds of unspeakable agony; one, being wilting away from lack of food and water, and the other being indefinitely trapped in a body that has in fact become a prison for her soul.
In the middle of all this, we have a number of players - all of whom are to blame for the situation - who had no right to get involved in what was supposed to be a private family matter. If anything, it was supposed to be a private disagreement between Terri's husband Michael and her parents Bob and Mary Schindler, the latter of who took their tiff national with the news media by releasing a videotape of their daughter in her vegetative state, which I found repulsive to the extreme. While I may have colleagues who have totally opposite views on this issue - which I respect - I must disagree with the extreme measures being taken at this point to keep America's "Cabbage Patch Girl" alive.
For openers, as a rule of law, Bob and Mary Schindler have no right whatsoever to be filing any legal actions on their daughter's behalf - period. Whether it be Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck or any other nationally syndicated talk show host, news pundit or anyone else, Terri's parents do not have any legal standing to act in their daughter's behalf, and that is why they have lost at every level in the court system and it is also why the Supreme Court has refused not only once, but twice to hear their appeals and their desperate, pathetic cries for help.
Before anyone goes and calls me heartless - or worse - keep in mind that if the tables were turned and it was me in that hospice, I would want to be allowed to die rather than be in a persistent vegetative state with severe irreversible brain damage. Wishful thinking on the part of Terri's parents and others will not change that, and there is more than enough blame to go around on this national disgrace.
For openers, Bob and Mary Schindler lead the list for releasing the videotape nationally, thus stripping their daughter of her remaining dignity and turning her into a national freak show the likes of such I was expecting Sally Jessy Raphael to appear at any moment, what with all the do-gooders getting themselves arrested trying to bring Terri water. What type of point were they trying to prove? Then there is Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo (left). While he may have had his appropriate mourning period at losing the Terri he loved and married to this vegetative state, rather than divorcing her and letting her parents take over her care as he should have, he had a woman move in with him and has had two children by this other woman, thus becoming an adulterer and winning him no sympathy in the process. As a result, his credibility is largely shot to pieces on this as well as on other grounds.
Add to the list both houses of the United States Congress - who in their perpetual pursuit of the Congressional circle jerk - held nationally televised debate in an 'emergency session' to make themselves (a); look good, and (b); look as if they were doing something which they knew would go nowhere. All of this was done in a classic case of ego masturbation and free face time on network television in pursuit of a reelection victory in next year's midterms. To make matters worse, President Bush gets in on the act by signing off on this legislation which is a direct repudiation of legislation he signed as Texas Governor that went in the opposite direction. Lastly and finally, Terri Schiavo is herself to blame for her current predicament, for had she obtained medical help for her bulimia, and not continued her binging and purging, the heart attack and subsequent heart stoppage and attendant brain damage would have never occurred.
Most people looking at this situation fail to realize that in this case the tragedy was entirely preventable. They - especially the Schindlers - also fail to realize that Terri stopped being the Terri Schiavo they knew and loved (left) when she suffered her brain damage and became a shell of what she once was (right). As much as it may hurt to let her go and slip gradually from this life into the next, it needs to occur sooner rather than later. In so doing, the Schindlers will come to see what Michael Schiavo probably already knows - that an end to this current suffering will free her from the pain and torment that has racked her body and what is left of her brain for over 15 years. It will also bring to an end the Schindler family's suffering as well. Nobody wins in this situation. Not Michael Schiavo, not Bob and Mary Schindler and their other children, not the nation as a whole that has had to witness and endure this tragedy, and most importantly, not Terri.
It is time for her prolonged suffering to end. If we as a nation can learn anything from this, it is to follow the example former President Richard Nixon set when he had the stroke in 1994 that led to his death a week later. Nixon had an advance directive filled out specifying no extraordinary measures were to be taken to either save or prolong his life, and had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) tag placed on his chart. By making such a decision - in advance - he saved his bickering daughters Julie and Trisha, who have not spoken to each other in years, from what would have been an inevitable national sideshow much like this one. ***
© 2005 Timothy Rollins
EDITOR'S UPDATE: Since this article went to press, Governor Jeb Bush (R-Florida) has failed in his emergency bid for the state to win custody of Terri, thus effectively bringing the battle to keep Terri alive to an end. The Schindlers are seeking a restraining order in federal court in hopes of keeping their daughter alive a little longer; however, in light of their 0-4 track record in the federal court system, not to mention their complete failure to win any petitions in state court, about all they can do at this point is prepare to say their goodbyes to Terri and let her go. ***
© 2005 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN
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