UPDATE (April 5th): This thread is now closed. For further responses and comments, please use this thread, instead.
The following topics have now (as of 5:30pm Tuesday, pacific time) been banned from this thread:
1) Evidence or arguments intended to prove that the Schindlers are badly motivated or bad human beings. This includes any further discussion of them selling an email list or wanting an inheritance or anything like that.
2) Evidence or arguments intended to prove that Michael Schiavo, his lawyers, or Judge Greer are badly motivated or bad human beings. I think y’all know the sort of thing this includes.
3) Nazism and comparisons to Nazism, or reasons why comparisons to Nazism are inappropriate.
I will delete any further posts including any of the above subjects.
Since the post about Terri Schiavo’s CT scan now has over 400 comments, which is a bit of a huge file, I’ve decided to close comments on that thread. People who want to respond to a comment in that thread, or who want to make a comment on the Schiavo case in general, may do so in this new thread.
Please don’t post here to suggest that Michael Schiavo, or Judge Greer, are evil people who are conspiring to murder Terri. Please refrain from comments suggesting that the Schindlers are evil people, as well.
To get things started, I’ll quote in full the most recent (as of this moment) two posts from the thread I’m closing, both of which I thought were excellent.
Thank you, Barbara, for your clear formulation.
It seems to me that the people who want that feeding tube re-connected take one of two positions, and sometimes both:
- They think Terri has a duty to live that transcends what she would have wanted, as you say, or in the alternative, a duty to follow the speaker’s position on this instead of her own, and/or
- They think the court was wrong about what she wanted, for a variety of reasons, either that Judge Greer is a vulture or that Michael Schiavo has evil eyes or whatever.
Both positions can be defended, but I’d like to see a defense up-front.
As for thinking the court was wrong, I donno. I disagree with a lot of court decisions (especially when I lose!), but that’s the way we do things here, and for obvious reasons we don’t re-litigate things just because the loser is unhappy with the outcome. All the appellate courts are convinced that Judge Greer did a responsible job. I’d invite skeptics to read the Second District’s first opinion on this matter. What’s the theory here? That all the state and federal judges who’ve reviewed this are vultures? This wades us deep into conspiracy theory, deeper than I personally wish to go.
If you think Terri has a duty to live regardless of what she thinks, or that your opinion is to be preferred to hers, I’d be interested in hearing why.
A minute or so later, Sally posted the following. Since it was posted so quickly, I think it may have been intended to be a response to an ealier post of Susan’s, but it’s nonetheless an apt reply to Susan’s point about the courts.
I think the difference, Susan, is that I have less faith than you do in the courts’ ability to determine Terri Schiavo’s wishes. The court is relying on eyewitness testimony about conversations that happened many years ago. People’s memories are notoriously selective, not because they’re consciously distorting anything, but because we remember things by slotting them into certain narratives, and we tend to select out the memories that don’t fit into those narratives. Michael Schiavo and his brother and sister-in-law believe that Terri would want to die, and it seems likely that they’d select out any memories that would contradict that narrative.
I realize that all we have to go on here is hearsay, but it makes me nervous. It would make me nervous in any court case: I’m really wary of convictions based only on eyewitness testimony, too.
And secondly, the courts don’t float above society: they’re subject to the same prejudices as everyone else. And one of those prejudices is a widespread belief that some lives are not worth living, that some people are just empty husks who are a burden on society, that medical care is a zero-sum game, and if we keep those people alive, we’re taking treatment away from someone more deserving. When judges weigh evidence, they have those prejudices in the back of their minds. I don’t have a lot of faith in the courts as neutral actors here. And given that they are biased, in the ways that everyone is biased, I tend to think we should err on the side of not killing people.