In memory of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who was killed by court order three years and two weeks ago, I re-post an essay I wrote and posted to my old website at the time. I regret to say that none of the things I thought then needed to occur have in fact occurred. Rest in peace, Terri. (By the way, I am now reading "Terri's Story: the Court-Ordered Death of an American Woman", by Dianna Lynne, a World Net Daily reporter who covered the whole tragic story at the time. I intend to write more on this subject when I've finished the book.)
I had despaired of being able to write anything worth reading about the death of Terri Schiavo. How to find words that would express my grief, horror, and rage? I felt like I could. Should, MUST write something, but what could I write that other, better writers would not write?
Fortunately, as the new Christian Crab, I have resources that I did not have before, other sources of inspiration. I was watching the made-for-television drama Jesus, starring Gary Oldman in the title role, when I realized what was missing in the coverage that I had read so far. What follows may not be great writing, but it will be intensely personal and very sincere.
As virtually all of us know, Terri Schindler Schiavo died at 9:03 March 31, 2005 A.D. Terri was a victim of the truest form of tyranny, which is the rule of law without God. Difficult as this resolution is to follow, I resolve not to weep for Terri. She is safe with God the Father, and nothing shall ever harm her again. I fear not for her; I fear for us and for our culture. I fear that this may become “the title page to a long, tragic volume” (John Quincy Adams).
When respect for God is absent, the checkrein on the arrogance of man is removed. I heard and read of many people claiming that Terri was not really alive, and that “no-one would want to live like that”. The arrogance of such a statement is subtly breathtaking. We are mere mortal men. Who are we, with our puny knowledge of the mysteries of life, to declare with such pomposity on the quality and the worthiness of the life of another? We are not God; we are a creation of His mighty hand. So was Terri Schiavo.
Actually, even as the atheist Hermit Crab, I had rejected the arguments of the so-called “death with dignity” crowd. We truly had no idea of what Terri herself thought of her life after her catastrophic injury. We do not know what her definition of fun had become. I watched the tapes of Terri interacting (and she DID interact) with her family. She clearly enjoyed the attention of her family. She was not in the excuse-this-judicial-murder term, "persistently vegetative". Beware of such terms of art. The art is killing.
Did I know that Terri was enjoying herself? No. Nor did those who were determined to end her life. I remember at such times the admonition of Ronald Reagan on the subject of abortion. He wrote in “Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation” that “If you don't know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it.” Those who demanded the death of Terri Schiavo did so despite the fact that her body was alive, her brain was damaged but was not “dead”, and in the full knowledge that she would not die absent the action that they demanded. There are presently 25,000 adults and 10,000 children in this country alone dependent on the same sort of nutritional assistance that Terri received. Are their lives now in jeopardy, too? I see no reason to believe otherwise. This goes beyond tragic -- this is horrifying.
As to the figures involved in this tragedy, duty requires that I write briefly of them, but it is not my purpose to undertake an extensive study of the legalities of their individual cases. Others shall handle and indeed have already handled this task far beyond my poor powers. (If this facet of the case interests you -- and it absolutely should -- I recommend the writings of Andrew McCarthy and of Wesley Smith.) God will deal out His judgment and His justice to them in His appointed time. For now, our greatest concern ought to be to find a way to prevent their doing further harm to their fellow citizens.
Michael Schiavo ought to be watched closely for the rest of his days. If Terri’s death brings him earthly wealth (and it has been noted that he has never answered the question of whether he had life insurance on Terri), everyone in the world ought to be made aware of this fact. Apart from that, the man should be shunned like the moral leper that he is.
George Felos needs to be disbarred. No man ought to be allowed to use the courts and the legal system to inflict death upon the innocent and helpless. Too late for Terri, articles have begun to appear in the press on this man’s bizarre fixation with death. Articles have also been presented showing how often and how badly he misled the courts and the press. Call me a Pollyanna, but I believe that our court system will fail if people caught in the act of deceiving it are not punished. Johnnie Cochran now stands before God’s bar; George Felos must be punished by man’s.
Florida Judge George Greer must be impeached and removed from office. Time and time again, this man dismissed evidence that would have helped save Terri Shindler Schiavo’s life, and he did this with no legal and precedential backing. He refused to release control of the case, and he refused to investigate any of the myriad conflicts of interest between the hospice and the forces allied to (it can’t be too often repeated) snuff out the life of a helpless woman. This dreadful man has been allowed by other judges who “reviewed” the case to take this life because the other judges were either moral cowards or were too interested in preserving the powers of the court against those of the other branches of government.
Our courts ought never to be allowed to forget that their power is not and must not be merely the power to do, but must be the power to do right. They must not be merely courts of law; they must be courts of justice.
I fear that Terri Schiavo will slip into the memory hole that has swallowed up the Branch Davidians, Vicki and Sammy Weaver, and Elian Gonzalez. The tragedy of this poor woman will be made complete if we allow her case to be forgotten, and even worse emulated. I fear that other courts will use her death as a precedent, and other judicial murders of the innocent will follow.
We who believe in defending life must adopt the attitude that the Jewish people have toward the Holocaust -- “Never again!” If we unite to stop this terrible trend, we have it in our power to see that Terri’s death is the last page of this terrible story.