Thursday, January 27, 2005


The ACLU and a Tale of Two Deaths

The ACLU says it is out to protect civil liberties.

The ACLU claims to be working for the rights of the downtrodden.

They also claim not to receive taxpayer dollars. As Dan Sargis notes:
Imagine any lawmaker asking a constituency to support taxpayer funding for an organization that: (1) advocates killing innocent brain damaged people; (2) advocates killing innocent unborns; and (3) celebrates the lives of rapists and murderers. That is your 21st century ACLU.

But the truth is, they do get taxpayer money, and a good bit of it:

To end the inevitable nitpicking over the status of ACLU taxpayer funding right up is. Despite the ACLU categorically stating that “We do not receive any government funding”, they do. As a myriad of non-profit organizations, the ACLU receives taxpayer support in three ways: (1) the organization is a non-profit and does not pay any taxes; (2) the donations to ACLU “foundations” are tax-deductible and reduce the donor’s tax liability; and (3) under certain circumstances, ACLU lawyers are compensated with tax dollars for their time. What's in a name? That which we call taxpayer funding by any other word would smell as sweet.

So, what are they doing with these funds. Let us look at the tale of two deaths they are trying to be involved in:

There is the case of Connecticut serial killer Michael Ross. From 1981 to 1984, Ross, a Cornell University graduate, murdered eight young women after raping seven of them. He did not rape 14 year old Leslie Shelley who was locked in a car trunk while Ross raped and then murdered her 14 year old best friend April Brunais. In his confession, Ross said that he thought Shelley was brave so he didn’t rape her before murdering her.

As an indication of Ross’s depravity, liberal little Connecticut produced juries that sentenced him to death two times: in 1987 and again in 2000. In a typically convoluted mess, Ross wants to be executed; 80% of Connecticut citizens want Ross executed; the families of the victims want Ross executed; and the liberals with the support of the ACLU want to save Ross from execution.

Despite a scheduled execution and Ross’s own stated desires to die, “Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut argued...that serial killer Michael Ross could suffer ‘excruciating pain’ during his execution by lethal injection Jan. 26, and asked a federal judge to stay the execution....” The federal judge who heard these arguments denied the stay and allowed the planned execution to proceed. BUT...two days before the execution, “Chief U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny's dramatic stay...of the execution” threw the outcome into doubt.

The federal judge who granted the stay of execution, also a graduate of Cornell University, agreed “that conditions on death row have contributed to Ross' desire to die.” One of the attorneys arguing for the stay said that, “"A government can't say, `We're going to give you the death penalty,' and then put you in conditions that are so unbearable that you don't fight.”

They are working to block this death because of the pain it will cause the person. That is perhaps a noble thing, although they don't seem worried about the pain caused to babies dismembered without anesthetic in late term abortions, or other situations.

Let's look particularly at the case of Terri Schaivo:

In the latest round of an ongoing battle, the Supreme Court refused to intercede and keep Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, hooked to a feeding tube. Schiavo can breathe on her own but cannot swallow. Without the aid of a feeding tube, she will slowly starve to death. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, who lives with another women, has been fighting to have the tube removed. Terri Schiavo’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, and her siblings, Bobby and Suzanne, want to fight for life with Terri. The ACLU is fighting with Terri’s “husband” to end her life.

How much kinder is what they want to do to her than the relatively quick death by lethal injection?

Let us look at her death a moment. This is exempted from the drug protocol they used with the first attempt to kill her:

• Upon discontinuation of enteral feeding the following signs/symptoms may or may not occur. The following is a brief list of symptoms for which to monitor and recommended interventions.

• Monitor symptoms of pain/discomfort. If noted, medicate with Naproxen rectal suppository 375 mg. Q8 prn [“Q8 prn” means eight times a day as needed].

Terri can and will feel pain during this process — and a lot of it.

“Think about what hunger pains are like if you haven’t eaten in a while,” Ford said. “You start to get that gnawing feeling, almost a burning in your stomach. Most people don’t extend themselves into the depths of hunger. They grab a cracker or bread if they’re out shopping for a while just to make themselves feel better.”
Terri would not have this option, however. “Within several hours, she’ll start to feel this kind of hunger pain,” Ford said.

Dehydration would only add to the discomfort: “When she starts going into the dehydration stage, her metabolism will start to change. Her electrolytes will get imbalanced. She’s going to get uncomfortable and will start to writhe.
“Advance a couple days without food or water. Now her mouth is parched, her lips, her gums, her tongue will start to crack and bleed. The nasal cavities will start to dry, crack and bleed. The stomach will get dry and shrink, causing vomiting and heaving,” Ford said.

• Pulmonary
(a) Inability to clear secretions — reposition and swab mouth, consider scopolamine patch behind ear every 3 days.

“When you first go into dehydration, your body will automatically compensate by making saliva. But when she gets into the stage where the stomach shrinks and nausea begins, they’re going to stick a patch behind her ear for the nausea. What the patch also does is dehydrate you by taking away this fluid.

(b) Dyspnea — nebulize low dose 2-5 mg. Morphine sulfate Q4 prn [four times a day as needed].

“Dyspnea is when you have difficulty breathing. What they’re going to do is use a nebulizer the way you might use for asthmatics — only instead of giving a histamine to help her breathe, they’re going to give Terri morphine sulfate, which only suppresses respiration more. In the later phases she’ll start gasping for air.”
In seven to nine days, as most of her body fluids are lost, her blood pressure will go down and her heart rate will rise. The blood will be shunted to the central part of the body from the periphery of the body, so that usually two to three days prior to death, the hands and feet become extremely cold. They become mottled and have a bluish appearance. The eyes will become so dry the patient can’t move them anymore because there will be fluid in them.

• Multifocal myoclonus or terminal agitation [sometimes caused by electrolyte imbalance]. Consider diazepam rectal administration 5-10 mg. May repeat in 4 hours if not resolved then daily — twice daily as needed.

Multifocal myoclonus means seizures taking place in various parts of the body. “Because of the electrolyte imbalance, Terri will begin to have seizures,” Ford said. “She’ll start to twitch. You don’t see this in an oncology patient because they’re already dehydrated. Even the elderly, who are going into the natural process of death, their bodies are doing what God created them to do — slow down.
“Our job as health-care professionals at this point is to understand the death process and to oblige the process God has given these people to help them in comfort measures — palliative care — not to enhance death. But Terri’s not terminal,” Ford said. “What they’re doing here is starving a healthy person to death. This is the only reason why she’ll go into multifocal myoclonus.”

• Grand Mal seizure, which is highly unlikely given current conditions and lack of contributing factors (meds) [medication]. Recommend diazepam 15 mg. rectally as indicated in seizure management orders.

“If she happens to make it into a grand mal seizure, they will give her 15 mg. of valium. … The valium won’t make this easier, it will just help to bring her to death faster, because she won’t have the ability to fight her way out of it,” Ford said. “Her body will not be in good shape at this point. You wouldn’t look at her and say she was comfortable. She’s been without food and water for a long time. She’s pretty much withered, her skin is broken down, her metabolism is broken down, her kidneys haven’t received anything. Her body is reacting to the lack of food.”

At this point, death is imminent.

During the Oct. 2003 tube withdrawal, Ford saw Terri before the process began.

“They started off by dressing her in wool sweaters and long pants, then wrapped her in a wool blanket — to ‘sweat her out’ — to make her deyhdrate faster,” Ford said. She was horrified, especially because it was only October and it’s still hot in Florida in October.

Now what is is that the ACLU is really trying to accomplish? It certainly isn't mercy. “This is not a painless or dignified way to die,” Ford said. “It’s against the law to dehydrate and starve to death a prisoner on death row. Why should we allow it to be done to a disabled woman — or anybody?”

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