Terri Schiavo found little enjoyment in her tragically interrupted life but ironically, this distorted and disabled 41 year old woman has won the hearts of millions of Americans in her final days on this earth. With a mere five years of marriage and a divorce on the way, Michael Schiavo is given powers of life and death over this woman which were never revoked even after a decade of abuse, living with another woman and starting a new family. Even after repeated attempts to have Terri put to death while her family begged to take care of her for the rest of her natural life, something Michael Schiavo had promised to do in order to win a $1.2 million malpractice lawsuit which recent testimony and evidence shows was a fraud, Michael still maintained custody of Terri as though she was his personal property. Did Terri get a fair trial before her death sentence? Based on what we know now, it appears that her constitutional rights were trampled on time and time again by the courts, and in particular, Florida’s 6th Circuit court Judge, George Greer.
It's not about the right to live or the right to die. It's not about partisan politics, it's not about religion or Republican politicians being pressured by the “religious right”, it’s not even about the right of the spouse to make decisions on behalf of a disabled partner. It's about the right to a fair trial, the right to have all evidence considered and proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, the right to a federal appeal that is granted even to convicted criminals who have been sentenced to death by the courts, and it‘s about tyrant judges who consider themselves above the law, above the Congress, and above the President of the United State.
It's about judges placing themselves above God when they take the life of an innocent and disabled person because they tell us man's law is more important than God's law. God gave Terri Schiavo life, it was his to take away, not some self righteous judge quoting laws made up by man and the courts. In the final analysis, even though Judge Greer violated proper court procedures, his ruling was based on existing Florida laws in that the spouse has decision making powers over the disabled partner unless revoked by the courts. In spite of the fact that Terri is no longer Michael’s partner, and hasn’t been for well over a decade, the Florida law still grants him the power because the marriage contract is still unjustly valid. Judge Greer could, and should have transferred custody to Terri’s parents, but he didn’t, in fact, he didn‘t even consider it and a lot of us would like to know why. If a woman lives with a man for seven years she becomes his common-law wife. Wouldn’t it make sense in a case like this that after seven years of living with another woman, a man’s former marriage should become null and void? When man’s law violates morality and God’s laws, then it’s time to take another look at our laws and make some changes. The problem is not that Terri’s death was not in accordance with the law, the problem is that it was.
Under our laws and Constitution, it's almost impossible to overrule a state judge on matters involving state issues. This is a state issue and that's why the federal government couldn’t get anything done. This is because the Constitution guarantees the rights of the states without federal interference on issues not relegated to the federal government. However, the Constitution also guarantees the right of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" which was denied to Terri. It seems on those grounds it would have become a federal issue. The US Congress passed a law requiring the federal court to hold a new trial but didn't specifically say to put the feeding tube back in. It was assumed that would be done in order to hold the new trial without the victim dying in the process. The federal court judges told Congress to stick their law where the sun never shines and ignored it. It seems to me that this is "contempt of Congress" and Congress will be looking into this, but not in time to help Terri.
On the state level, in 2002 Judge Greer made the same ruling to pull Terri's feeding tube but the Florida Congress acted and passed a bill authorizing Gov. Bush to issue an executive order to have the tube reinserted. In 2005, the Florida Congress did not pass such a permission bill, it failed to pass by about 3 votes because of problems with the language. Gov. Jeb Bush would not act in defiance of both the courts and the Congress in Florida. He is only one of the three branches of government and would not overrule both of the other two. The bill was rewritten and this time passed by the Florida Legislature granting the Schindlers permission to file appeal with the Florida Supreme court who promptly and flatly refused to hear the case. Judge Greer’s order to remove the feeding tube was left to stand and Terri died. Her death is squarely on the shoulders of Judge George Greer, the Florida Supreme Court, and the US Supreme Court who could have intervened on constitutional and civil rights issues.
This case demonstrated a bad rift between moral ethics and legal ethics. Moral ethics dictate one thing while legal ethics dictates another. This rift needs to be looked at by Congress and the rift closed. You can't change moral ethics, those come from God. It is man’s law that has to be changed to become moral and in harmony with God‘s law. The left thinks morality has to do with written laws and money. They have demonstrated this and said so many times, I even remember John Kerry saying as much before the election. It was something like... when asked about morality... "it's about spending more money on the poor". I'm paraphrasing, but that was the jest of it. Morality is not about money, it is about treating yourself and your fellow man with respect, honesty, and dignity. It is about accepting that every human life is as valuable as your own. It is about living life the way God intended for us to live. Without God, there can be no morality and without morality there is chaos, corruption, and injustice.
Terri was denied moral justice because the court decided to exercise it's omnipotent power to dictate life and death without being accountable to anyone, even the congress which has jurisdiction over the courts under Article 3 of the Constitution. Article 3 was included for very good reason, to hold the judicial branch of government accountable to elected officials who are accountable to the people. The judges and lawyers have somehow convinced the public over time that the courts are the final word on law by Constitutional authority, they are not. Courts are authorized by, and answerable to Congress as prescribed in Article 3.
The Schiavo case demonstrates the assumed supreme power of the courts over the people elected congress and administration. We see it time and time again with judges overruling the voters when voter issues are voted on and passed into law. The “marijuana initiative” was passed by voters in California over a decade ago but was overturned by one single judge. A proposition to stop illegal aliens from flooding into California and using up our public services was passed by the voters but overturned by a single judge. In Massachusetts, gay marriage was made legal by a single judge in spite of majority public opposition to it. Last week, Congress passed a law requiring the Federal Courts to review the Schiavo case, the judges just said “no”. These kind of things are allowed to happen probably because to address it would tie up the Congress for years in constitutional litigation and law suits by lawyers of the courts. Congress has other priorities and not enough time for this since the issue doesn’t contain opportunities for spending taxpayers money on personal and special interests. I’m being cynical here, of course, but I have no doubt that that is a factor with some who represent us in Congress. You know who they are. Congress does not want to get into a fight with the Judicial over constitutional powers but they must and it is now expected that they will, thanks to Terri Schiavo.
Roe vs. Wade made the killing of innocent human beings legal and eroded respect for life in America, making the taking of innocent life more acceptable. Judge Greer and the courts have now taken that one step further by making the killing of the disabled legal, even when life support and brain dead conditions do not exist. With all the uncertainty of facts, conflict of evidence, and dispute over the testimony presented to the courts, in fact every aspect of this case is in dispute, the judge failed to err on the side of life and God given morality. Terri was sentenced to death without her condition being proven beyond a shadow of a doubt as is required in any common criminal case. It would seem that the disabled have less rights than convicted criminals when a judge decides their lives are not worth living. Judge Greer didn't have the humanity in him to grant her the benefit of the doubt until all the questions were answered and the disputes settled. Whether this was because of moral or ethical issues we may never know. This rush to death without a thorough review of all of the facts was nothing less than an atrocity and perversion of morality and justice. Greer never even bothered to come face to face with the person he was condemning to death. And the appeal courts are just as guilty by simply accepting Greer’s ruling without reviewing all of the evidence.
Have you noticed the latest talking points buzzword coming from the left; "dignity"? "We wanted her to die with dignity". "We wanted to give her a dignified death". "Conservatives and the 'religious right' have stripped her of dying with dignity for political gain". The keywords here are "die", death, and "dying". The Schiavo ilk wanted her to die quietly, without a fight, and without public scrutiny over the ethical, legal, and moral issues of the facts surrounding the case. They just wanted her dead with as little publicity and conflict as possible. They didn’t count on the huge amount of public outrage that brought into question just about every claim made by the prosecutor, George Felos.
Even now they are sill spinning the facts of her death to make it look like it was a wonderful and beautiful experience that Terri wanted. "Felos: "I've never seen her looking more beautiful and at peace". “We did this for Terri’s sake, it’s what she wanted”, etc. While Terri's brother, Bobby, and the priest present at her deathbed described her as looking like a Nazi prison camp victim on the verge of death, panting and gasping for air with a look of desperation on her face. Felos said “we’re giving her morphine for the pain”. But you said there was no pain in starving to death! The next day Felos then said “We are not giving her morphine”. I recall another gentleman who recently lost an election in part because of his flip-flops.
Denying Terri dignity in death for personal or political gain was never the intention, or motivation, of any talk show host, media journalist, or public official. They were following their conscience and doing everything they could to increase public awareness in trying to save Terri's life, a life that Judge Greer deemed worthless simply because Terri was unable to talk for herself and tell him whether she wanted to live or die. Hearsay evidence is never admissible in court, yet that is the primary factor that Greer based his ruling on, in addition to distorted contentions from George Felos. They loaded the dice then rolled them and they came up just the way they wanted, Terri must die.
The death squad and their supporters, in their persistence to continue misleading the public, are still referring to Terri's feeding tube as "artificial life support". Food and water is essential to every living human being so if that’s true then we are all on "artificial life support". A feeding tube does not artificially substitute for body organs which is the function of "artificial life support". Terri was never allowed by Michael to have a swallow test so we don't even know if she really needed the tube or not, or if she could have learned to eat by mouth, given the chance.
There is much conflict as to whether Terri was even in a "Persistent Vegetative State", let alone “brain dead” as Felos and his supporters are calling it. Three out of the five court appointed doctors said she was in PVS while two said she was not and could improve with treatment, treatment that was denied by her husband. When death advocates were asked in tv interviews how they know Terri was in PVS, they all had the same response... "Judge Greer said so". If pressed, they site depositions of the three court appointed neurologist, non of whom spent more than 45 minutes with Terri. Felos insists that Terri was "brain dead" based on his observations and Michael's. Is it any wonder that Terri refused to respond to Michael and his lawyer in any positive way? The very fact that she rejected Michael's presence but was pleased and responsive when her real family was present should tell you something about her feelings regarding Michael. Was she withdrawing in fear of his presence? Perhaps she was more aware than anyone gave her credit for.
More spin. Felos jumps out there and tells the press that Michael wants an autopsy, "in fact he's demanding it". He doesn't tell them, or us, that Florida law demands an autopsy in cases like this but rather wants us to believe that it's what Michael wants. There has been an autopsy whether Michael wanted it or not and that autopsy may reveal things that Michael would rather not be revealed. Michael Schiavo may have gotten away with this heinous act, that remains to be seen, but he has lost his freedom in the process. Schiavo will have to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life and worrying about who is behind him and who is following him. He is no longer free to move in public without fear that any step could be his last. Terri now has her peace, love, and happiness, it's now Michael's turn to begin his suffering, with his fears and with his conscience if has one. Paranoia of the people he's angered and the memory of Terri will haunt him for the rest of his days.
According to friends and family, Terri’s marriage to Michael was not a happy one. She has suffered at the hands of Michael Schiavo for the better part of the past 20 years. They tell us Pope John Paul is dying. Thursday as I turned on the radio during a newsbreak I heard what seemed to be the end of a brief obituary on the Pope. There was no mention of it in the next newsbreak but rather the word was that the Pope’s condition was getting worse. The Vatican is frantically reorganizing it’s new staff. When a world leader dies, they don’t always tell us right away as we saw with Arafat. I tend to believe that the Pope did die on Thursday and personally escorted Terri Schiavo to Heaven where she finally has found peace and happiness and is free of Michael’s possessiveness and abuse at last.
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