Monday, February 21, 2005



Barbara Simpson asks us some questions:

Who gets "processed"? Maybe the person is old, not necessarily sick, just old – too old. Perhaps young, too young to be worth spending time, effort and expense to bring to health. Perhaps sick, requiring "too much" money or time or bed space to heal. Perhaps handicapped, so the person can't live a "normal" life – whatever that means.

Michael Schiavo wants Terri's feeding tube removed. That will kill her. She will die a prolonged, painful death from starvation and dehydration. He says she'd want that, but he has no written proof. He just says it, and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the legal system to get his wife dead.

Terri's family is Roman Catholic. Her parents say she wouldn't allow this. They've spent every dime they have in a legal battle with their son-in-law to keep their daughter alive and care for her for the rest of her life. (See their story at

Michael Schiavo won't allow it. He won't divorce Terri even though he's had at least two liaisons with other women and has two children by the current one. He wants Terri dead. So does the justice system. It's the "letter of the law" with no compassion, no humanity and no skeptical look at the circumstances.

The legislative system is against Terri, although the Florida Legislature wrote a law to protect her and Gov. Jeb Bush signed it. That got Terri's feeding tube reinserted after her being starved for six days. But the state Supreme Court ruled against Terri, claiming the law was illegal. The governor says he can do nothing more.

The media conspire against Terri. Virtually every news report says she is "vegetative" and "brain dead." The media have so bought into the idea of the "right to die" that they are complicit in the false reporting of Terri's condition creating the impression she's on the verge of death

Uh – no.

She wakes and sleeps, responds to people, smiles, reacts to her family – especially her mother – and vocalizes, making sounds in response to statements and questions as though trying to speak.

But Terri can't, and it appears there's no one with power who speaks for her, who will help save her life – who will help prevent the law, medicine, the state of Florida, the system, from deliberately starving her to death.

Terri is not sick. Her brain is damaged. She doesn't look or act "normal." Apparently that makes her life dispensable. It's become OK to kill her.

Consider that if you starved your dog or cat to death, you'd be in jail. In San Francisco, a new law regulates how to feed, water and house your pet. Why is a human life worth less?

We need to answer this question. Why is a human life worth less kindness? Are we really looking at what we're doing?

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