Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Don't Say Goodbye - Yet

Is it just me, or is there something in her eyes resembling awareness, gratitude, even affection?

But she is going to be murdered by permission of the State on Wednesday, unless something's happened I don't know about. An article I read said that Governor Jeb Bush has the power to grant a stay of execution. But another in the Orlando Sentinel says that he does not. Meanwhile, a grand total of ten, I repeat 10, "sign-toting" protesters stand vigil on the sidewalk outside Terri's deathhouse hospice.

I like to have fun on this site now and then, and will again. But right now we're on a death watch. Where's Sister Prejean when we need her? Terri Schiavo, being innocent of any crime save possession of a "life not worth living," lacks star power. She doesn't draw the crowds. She has no bad-girl swagger. There's no glamour here. Just a dead woman waking.

That's the world we live in now. We agonize over punishing the guilty, while throwing the innocent into Astarte's fire. And it's all legal.

Addendum: J.S. Kern informs us that a talk radio host has suggested that Terri's father would be "applauded if he rescued his daughter by 'grabbing a rifle...'." Says Mr. Kern, "I think he's right. I would cheer. I think the parents would be perfectly justified in taking up arms to defend their daughter from a wildly overreaching judiciary." And further: "Am I the only one reminded by this case of last month's discussion here about when it is right to use force to save the unborn?" No, Mr. Kern, you are not.

And lastly he says, "...your noticing the contrast between how many of us are conflicted over capital punishment with how few of us are stirred to action about this was perceptive."

Well, here's the reason I brought it up. Something escapes me. If a man is convicted of murder, he can then be sentenced to death by a judge. The governor of the state, for whatever reason he deems sufficient, can later commute that sentence or even grant clemency, and no judge may second-guess him. Like the murderer, Terri Schiavo went on trial for her life, but not before a jury of her peers and having committed no crime. She is the defendant in a murder trial, but can neither take the stand on her own behalf nor confront her accusers. She was found guilty as charged of...what, exactly? I'll leave to readers the unearthing of the mot juste that would describe her offense. And now she has been sentenced to death. What I don't get is why Governor Bush lacks the authority to grant clemency in the former case but not the latter. It must be some subtlety of the law we servants of the servile state can't grasp. What kind of society, some of us would like to know (but not many, apparently) allows clemency for the guilty but not the innocent? What kind of society brings an innocent person to trial in the first place? What diabolical kingdom compels a woman to be tried, not for crimes against her fellows or against the crown, but for her very humanity?

As in the case of abortion, Terri's murder will be perpetrated beyond public view, and there might seem to be a defining difference between them, which is that, unlike the baby in the womb whose dependence and invisibility incur, for many, a fatal anonymity, our black-robed tyrants are in this case permitting the execution of a fellow being who is fully in the open and utterly independent of the person who will do the killing. But I don't think it's really a difference at all. We've simply moved outside the womb where, like Justice Blackmun in Roe v. Wade, judges sometimes have trouble telling who is human and who is not, and, faithful to the logic of previous ruminations, end up erring on the side of not. If you don't know what it is, you can kill it. We pretend not to see what is before our eyes. We live in an age when the denial of the obvious has become a virtue. We've finally found an area where even men can exercise their freedom of "choice," men like Michael Schiavo.

Here's another thing I don't get. It's an irony, I suppose, for those who are into appreciating such things. If a murderer on death row were found to be suffering his execution by means of starvation - by our withholding from him food and drink - the ensuing uproar would occupy the national headlines, and the shouted outrage of the television news, until the injustice had been repaired and the warden and his foot soldiers brought to bar and thrown in prison. What would be cruel and unusual punishment for the murderer will be good enough for Terri.

Here's an excerpt from an article by Jane Chastain at World Net Daily describing the effects of death by starvation and dehydration:

"Death by dehydration is a painful, agonizing and arduous process that takes 10 to 14 days. In addition to feeling the pangs of hunger and thirst, the skin, lips and tongue crack. The nose bleeds because of the drying of the mucus membranes. Heaving and vomiting may ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. The victim may experience seizures. As the fluid level in the body goes down, the blood pressure goes down and the heart rate goes up. Respiration often increases as blood is shunted from the periphery to the central part of the body in a desperate attempt to sustain the primary organs. The hands and feet become extremely cold."

I suppose, when she begins to vomit, she'll be left to drown in it. Michael should be compelled to remove that tube himself, and both he and Judge Greer made prisoners in that hospice room-from-hell, made to watch for however long her dying demands.
I think I will help the reader a little bit. I think they're going to kill her because she doesn't look like this anymore:

As with the humanity of the unborn, it must be hard for many to believe that the soul, the entire person, of that young woman is hiding out in the "vegetating" shell now before us. Of course, if you don't believe in the soul, you can't believe it. We may be a Christian nation, but we act like a people who can't believe without seeing. What's to be done?


John said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will be praying and asking others to pray today.
Posted by John Adams email at February 27, 2005 02:53 AM

Terry said...

All the Summa Mamas are praying.
We had a meeting last night of the group that we are a member of, and we all prayed, weeping, right in the middle of the restaurant....
We are continuing the prayers today and tomorrow and how ever long we have to.
Tomorrow is St. Teresa of Avila's feast day. I am on my knees asking for her to help us storm heaven for some sort of miracle--a crack in the hearts of the heartless. My heart is broken for her mother and father--and for that sorry SOB she happens to be technically married to. I am trying to pray for him as well, but it is almost more than I can do.
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Posted by Terry email at February 27, 2005 02:50 AM

William Luse said...

Thank you both, and I'm sure Terri will too, either in this life or the next.
Posted by William Luse email at February 27, 2005 02:54 AM

J.S. Kern said...

Roy Masters is on Talk Radio Network right now suggesting that Terri's father would be applauded if he rescued his daughter by "grabbing a rifle...". I think he's right. I would cheer. I think the parents would be perfectly justified in taking up arms to defend their daughter from a wildly overreaching judiciary.
Am I the only one reminded by this case of last month's discussion here about when it is right to use force to save the unborn?
As well, William, your noticing the contrast between how many of us are conflicted over capital punishment with how few of us are stirred to action about this was perceptive. Where are the no-killing-in-my-name crowd now?
Posted by J.S. Kern email at February 27, 2005 02:58 AM

Terry said...

I am weeping once more for a woman I have never met. Not that that does one whit of good. I hate to feel so powerless in the face of such monstrous evil.
As I fed McBaby this morning, I realized that this is what Terri's mother is remembering today--her baby. The baby that is still present in the damaged body. The baby that she is still willing to sacrifice for up to the end of her, or her baby's, life. I would do the same.
I am a bloodthirsty b****, and have had serious problems with the anti death penalty stance of my beloved Pope, now largely resolved by the grace of God, but I resent it like HELL that all those beautiful people and celebrities who worry over what happens to a rapist and killer cannot stir one atom of pity for Terri. She's not beautiful any more. She's not glamorous. She reminds us of what we all MIGHT be, God forbid. Because of that, she cannot stay. Because if she stays we all have to face, not mortality, but disability.
We wouldn't let a dog be starved to death without it being on the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. news. With people standing around, wringing their hands and saying, "How can people treat an innocent animal like that?" 50,000 phone calls would light up the switchboard to adopt one of the abused animals. WHY the disconnect here?
I am so ANGRY. This case is changing my whole view of my country and its system. And I hate that. It isn't right. It isn't fair. It isn't moral. And it isn't just.
How can this be DONE? Who will watch this happen? How can nurses and doctors watch it and not intervene? If this happens, you know her parents will be there--their own personal Via Crucis and Golgotha.
Off to pray and weep some more. I wish there were something more I could do.
Posted by Terry email at February 27, 2005 03:00 AM

William Luse said...

The host of this webpage is undeserving of some of the readers who visit it. What a fine woman you are. I hope God hears those prayers of yours. Last I heard her feeding tube was supposed to be pulled around two p.m. I've been watching the news, but not a peep about it.
Posted by William Luse email at February 27, 2005 03:01 AM

John said...

You know what's most disheartening about this whole thing? I shared this story with a couple of people at lunch at Bible College, and these people refused to believe that this was anything beyond the good will of the doctors. They simply would not believe that the doctors would testify that someone who was capable of living would be sentenced to death.
Posted by John Adams
Posted by John Adams email at February 27, 2005 03:02 AM

William Luse said...

I know, John. Wish I could say something to cheer you up.
Posted by William Luse email at February 27, 2005 03:03 AM

Peony said...

I'm astonished at how -- well, there's a lot about this case that astonishes me. But aren't we supposed to have this big, brave media that Ferrets Out the Truth? Then why are they all parroting the lies of Michael Schiavo and his creepy lawyer? Terri is not "brain dead", as my local TV station described her this afternoon. She is not in a persistent vegetative state. Since when is smiling "a reflex"?
No, Terri is just inconvenient. Her husband could have just discarded her in the usual manner, by divorce, years ago. It would be a sweet irony if his litigation to speed his inheritance turns out to have completely drained it. And the judges seem to find protecting the powerless to be too much of a bother.
How long would it take to impeach a state judge, I wonder?
Posted by Peony Moss email at February 27, 2005 03:04 AM

William Luse said...

The Florida Supreme Court also turned down this case. Every few years the people of Florida are given the option of either retaining them or getting rid of them. They retain them every time.
Posted by William Luse email at February 27, 2005 03:05 AM

David Borer said...

Even Fox News Channel is saying Terri is comatose. Wake up! It's not so. This is just so evil.
Posted by David Borer email at February 27, 2005 03:08 AM

William Luse said...

They wouldn't know a coma from a comma.
Posted by William Luse email at February 27, 2005 03:08 AM

jeanne said...

The comments about the parallels between Terri's case
and the humanity of the unborn are very apt. I work at a
pregnancy help center and never get used to how easy it is
for some people to refuse to see what they are carrying inside is a HUMAN being. I used to wonder why the Germans didn't wake up in time to save the Jews. Now I know. People who CHOOSE to live in blindness CAN live in blindness. (Abortion is practiced in Israel, by the way. What
did they learn from the Holocaust?)
A woman called several weeks ago looking for abortion at
36 weeks. And she will find one. It is hard not to drown in
cynicism but that just takes a soldier away from the fight.
I'm going out today to buy writings by Teresa. I need some
starch today.
I am if favor of resistance. Am sorry to hear there are
only 10 people at the vigil outside, but that's 10 people with eyes and ears and hearts. May their numbers increase. God bless them. Perhaps I will go to Florida myself.
Posted by jeanne email at February 27, 2005 03:09 AM

9:51 PM, May 24, 2005