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March 25, 2005

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That is the reason for this hate filled rhetoric -- so that they do not have to give you the "same courtesy." This is the front line of their culture war, and they demonize non-believers just as soldiers are taught to demonize the enemy.

If only we could get to a "have you no decency" moment with the Randall Terry types. Otherwise, expect the waves of hate to continue.

I guess they must have missed my 'Hatred is a Poison' post.

You have said it better then I could, so thanks for putting my sentiments into the right words.

Have you also taken the time to wish for a pony, Hilzoy?

what did all those gasbags have to say about the Hassan family ? lemme guess... not a f'in thing.

    We were thinking these Americans want us to be safe," Hassan, 35, said through a translator.

    Hassan, interviewed Tuesday by a Knight Ridder correspondent at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital near Najaf, said 11 members of his family were killed in the incident — his daughters, aged 2 and 5, his son, 3, his parents, two older brothers, their wives and two nieces, ages 12 and 15. His wife, Lamea, who is nine-months pregnant, said she saw her children die.

    "I saw the heads of my two little girls come off," said Lamea Hassan, 36. "My girls — I watched their heads come off their bodies. My son is dead."

Culture Of Life, my ass.

I believe that every adult, including Terri Schiavo, has the right to decide for him- or herself whether to accept or refuse medical treatment

So do I. Terri Schiavo did not clearly make her wishes known - at least not clearly enough to warrant risking a mistake, in my opinion. If she had made a living will detailing her wishes about such matters, we would be talking about the Michael Jackson trial or the horror of steroids in baseball instead.

"we would be talking about the Michael Jackson trial or the horror of steroids in baseball instead."

[humorous reply suppressed out of respect for this sad moment]

McDuff: I have a whole herd of imaginary ponies roaming around nibbling grasss on my imaginary mountain, so of course I wished for another. And in yet another sign of mental derangement, I just sent David Brooks a short, tactful email disputing his claim that liberals have not been making moral arguments about this case. Gag. I mean, doesn't he read us?

Check this out, via Mr. Drum:

Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo wasn't to be removed from her hospice, a team of Florida law enforcement agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted — but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Miami Herald has learned.

nicely said and supported.

tg

what did all those gasbags have to say about the Hassan family ? lemme guess... not a f'in thing.

I just got finished reading a fairly lengthy comment over at RedState explaining that stuff like this falls under the rubric of "Just War", while force-feeding a person with no cerebral cortex and no hope of magically re-growing one and who previously expressed a desire not to be maintained in such a state falls under the rubric of "Culture of Life".

I'm sure it all makes perfect sense to a person who is completely comfortable with cognitive dissonance. To me it sounds an awful lot like "when our government wants its way in foreign affairs, the deaths of those who manifestly want life are justified, but when an individual wants death with dignity or for her body to be held inviolate, it means those of us who would not interfere are out to slake our thirst on the blood of the innocent, the elderly, and the infirm."

Oh, and before my wife switched his show off in disgust, Tucker Carlson was expressing his sincere bafflement at the notion that anyone would put any value on the previously expressed wishes of a person who is presently physiologically incapable of forming opinions as to her own care. As if the man has never considered the moral basis of "final wishes" that undergirds every last will and testament. And he gets a TV show why, exactly? What is it, exactly, that allows such wholly nonsensical reasoning to pass through an otherwise educated mind unmolested?

Oh, and the more I read folks of apparently sincere good will opining, in effect, that Terri Schiavo's body is the state's to invade against her own expressed wishes, the more I think about the person who recently asked why it usually seems to be women who are held up as causes celebres in these withdrawal of care cases. Perhaps there is something to the notion that some in our culture view women's bodies as public property, as not subject to personal autonomy. And while no conceivable end would ever counterbalance the gross abuse of power taking place in congress of late, perhaps this will serve as a warning to all those who might have been growing complacent about the potential for state intrusions into the realm of personal medical decisions.

Anyway, thanks for the post, Hilzoy. I've been feeling the very same disgust and frustration at these sorts of rhetorical abuses.

Oh, Hilzoy, we are the "creatures better not named".

The ugliest thing I read about this was in a terribly Christian blog:

Her death is so close, finally, that Michael can taste it and the hungry, hungry jaws of the Culture of Death are opening and closing and beginning to salivate. Soon, will begin a wicked, wicked dance of joy among creatures better not named.

Actually, what's worse: I do not object so much to being demonized and railed about. It's turned into a political cat-fight, and heaven knows I've been guilty of railing about people who I think have taken the wrong side.

What's vile is the demonization of Michael Schiavo, ranging from comments like the above, to claims that he is murdering his wife, to death threats.

Agree with him or not: he seems to have tried to tale the best possible care of his wife, according to her wishes, over nearly fifteen years. So far from "murdering his wife", he turned the decision over to the Florida courts, presumably hoping that if the decision were made by an independent body examining the evidence, the Schlinders could accept it.

NO retreat, no surrender.

Sorry about the double track back. I updated, that may have triggered the second entry. Thanks again, hilzoy, I truly strive to weigh my own opinions. Your posts are always a welcome hand hold on the ledges of truth.

" Terri Schiavo did not clearly make her wishes known "

so, the fact that a florida court, following a duly constituted hearing, found otherwise BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, means nothing to you?

Since florida courts are not to be trusted, can Al Gore get a federal court hearing on the proper procedure for counting votes?

just curious, felixrayman, are you challenging the substance of the court's ruling, the nature of the evidence on which the court relied, or the process?

Francis, no need to holler. People get to personally disagree even with well-litigated outcomes. Felix wants 100% certainty established in this sort of case.

Jes, I was curious and tracked down that blog you quoted from. You did good over there.

Jes, I second Justin. Excellent patient comments.

just curious, felixrayman, are you challenging the substance of the court's ruling, the nature of the evidence on which the court relied, or the process?

The process. I don't think the level of evidence required is sufficient given the irrevocability of putting someone to death. I oppose capital punishment on the same grounds (among others). Even after a trial and multiple appeals, the possibility of killing an innocent person outweighs the other factors in my opinion.

As you pointed out with your remark about Gore, courts are not infallible.

felixrayman: but there's a huge difference between imposing the death penalty and attempting to discern the will of a non-responsive individual.

Yes, in both cases the decision is irreversible. But one is punishment and the other is an expression of personal liberty.

I think the Cruzan decision, which imposes the c&c evidentiary standard, strikes the appropriate balance. There is always the concern, as has been so vocally expressed in other blog threads, that the testimony of family members will be self-serving. On the other, it would be a radical extension of the law for a court, as opposed to a legislature, to require that every person's medical directives be expressed in writing.

I respect the fact that you disagree with the sufficiency of the evidence. But fundamentally that is a legislative issue, not a judicial one. And I note that the florida legislature has rejected a bill which would, if i understand the bill correctly, essentially require all medical directives to be in writing. Legislators are simply unwilling to impose that obligation on their citizens.

Even in the presence of written directives, there is always the possibility of family dissension and the need for interpretation of the directive from secondary sources. You seem to believe that the default position should be "choose life". But that is the standard which exists today; the c&c evidentiary standard is a high hurdle to overcome.

Courts exist to resolve disputes. The dispute over Terri could not be settled, mediated or negotiated to an amicable resolution; the court had to pick a side. It did, and that, for me, is the end of the matter.

Saving Schiavo is as easy as N. R. A.

Put a loaded gun in her hands and tell the world that Michael Schiavo is trying to deny Terri her second amendment right to bear arms by allowing her to die. Put a bumper sticker on Terri's head that says, ''You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.'' The invincible gun lobby, with its indisputable record of success at keeping high school kids and criminals armed, will mobilize like the seventh fleet. They'll keep her alive if they have to manually pump her heart and shove broccoli down her throat.

I've been reading some of the blogosphere outside Obsidian Wings about the Schiavo tragedy, including some Republican sites like Redstate, along with those places you have cited, Hilzoy.

My conclusion is this: I believe Felixrayman is correct in his judgement about Terry Schiavo. But I will go further.

This goes beyond Terry Schiavo in the Limbaugh-Delay-Trevino-Randall Terry mind. Something very big is coming. Rhetoric like we are hearing and reading is going to be followed by 9/11-like consequences. The chatter is ominous. Consider this a warning memo.

I believe liberals should use armed force to save Terry Schiavo's life. Otherwise, our judicial system, our medical safety-net programs, perhaps even the lives of those (Democrats and Republicans) who have participated in this case on the side of letting Terry Schiavo die are in grave danger.

By saving Terry Schiavo, we may save ourselves from what is coming.

The clowns -- they aren't funny any more.

Jes, I second Justin. Excellent patient comments.

Wow. Likewise.

Sure glad it is only Randall Terry

Hal Turner

Richard Meywes

But at least Jeb Bush is keeping things calm:

Miami Herald(subscriber)
"BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER

[email protected]

Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''"
....
Ok, the rhetoric of the right is blatantly violent, and there are overt preparations for violence. Am I supposed to respect my opponent's religious beliefs, until I get shot? Or can I even say bad things about them first?

Ok, and in a note of pre-emption, please cite three leading Republicans, like GW, or Jeb, or DeLay who have said:

"Everybody calm down and go home. We don't want this getting out of control and someone getting hurt."

Find me two.

"By saving Terry Schiavo, we may save ourselves from what is coming."

'Saving' Schiavo, John? By your choice of terminology, you betray the fact that your understanding of the matter is at odds with the facts.

I suspect a large degree of paternalism. If Schiavo was a man, who had made his wishes clear to his wife, that if grievously and irreparably wounded and forced to live on machines forever, that he be allowed to pass on naturally, that no one would care. But because she is a woman, we give her less capability to make that decision. She must be 'saved'.

How many millions of people have made that decision? To be let alone when it's their time to go? To not fight scrabbling with tooth and nail on the precipice of death, pumping nutrients and air into their bodies to keep the machine rolling for another day? Are we now to say that that is no longer an acceptable choice? That the 'Culture of Life at all Costs' will wipe out that dignity for the sake of their own fear of mortality?

Why?

Schiavo may have a justification for wanting to kill his wife. He may also be motivated by money. Suggesting that people are sometimes motivated by money and not principle should be rather unshocking on this site.
Do you have evidence that if Reynolds had his wife killed he would get a large sum of money from her injury settlement? Do you have evidence that Reynolds’ wife has had broken bones of the type typical of physical abuse? Were there allegations that Reynolds attempted to induce diabetic coma with insulin?
If not, there might be some differences in the two cases that are worth examining. Saying “I don’t know and neither do you” isn’t the same as looking at the evidence available. I don’t know. The evidence is tricky. The justifications are even trickier. But I am certain that the current available evidence that Schiavo is attempting to effectively murder is wife is stronger than the evidence that Reynolds is attempting to murder his.

Sebastian CT March 23,2005

Guardian ad litem

December 1 2003

"Of Michael Schiavo, there is the incorrect perception that he has refused to relinquish his guardianship because of financial interests, and more recently, because of allegations that he actually abused Theresa and seeks to hide this. There is no evidence in the record to substantiate any of these perceptions or allegations."

Now before accusations of spousal abuse and murder-for-profit were thrown around, one would assume that the best available material would have already been researched. So I am at a loss.
.....
left-side bloggers, to be unnamed on this blog with a mixed readership, have received death threats and warnings, and have been advised to buy a gun

John Thullen,

What exactly are you warning us about? I know some crazies have talked about an armed intervention (aka kidnapping Shiavo from her hospice), and that there are a number of people who've tried to break in to "bring her water," but what greater threat are you preparing us for?

Bob, I'm a little confused as to attribution in your last post. Could you clarify?

Since I just looked up the comment, I'll spare Bob M. the trouble: he's referring to a comment made by Sebastian H. here. Sebastian claims that others object to his comment because they are overlooking the kill/murder distinction. I think they object because they think he's overlooking the killing/allowing someone to decline treatment that would save their lives distinction; the one that allows us to say, for instance, that when a doctor does not forcibly transfuse a Jehovah's Witness, she is not killing her patient.

I should have linked.

I actually object more strongly to the attribution of possible motives to Michael Schiavo long since discarded as without substance by objective observers.

I did not comment on that thread, which got out of hand in terms of jokes about Reynolds etc. I did not approve of the tone in a situation approaching violence. The left is often so unserious and oblivious.

Sidereal: What I am saying is that the rhetoric of some elements of the Right, including those linked to by Hilzoy, and including those politicians Bob McManus has noticed are NOT calling for calm, is the laying down of nothing less than a blood libel.

I am saying, Jackmoron, that I am a coward. I'm backing down. Let the blood-libelers decide Terry Schiavo's life. I take them literally. I'm going to blend in and try not to be noticed in my every day activities. The stain is upon me.

I am saying that, despite my cowardice, I'm calling out the "blood-libelers". I'm sick of rhetoric. Let's get to it. When I'm accused of murder, I expect at the very least some commensurate punishment.

The suspense is killing me.

To be clear, Felixrayman's position is honorable, I speak not of him.

I'm falling into Biblical cadences. The End must be near.

"Don't Panic"

Last orders, then?

Sounds like a bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit might be appropriate 'bout now.

I appreciate the levity, but I'm beginning to think that bob's point about the left and unseriousness is true.

OK, lj, I'm guilty. I am just very uncomfortable when I see violence advocated, by anyone. I don't like the road we're on but I hope we are still well short of all arming ourselves.

I have always been troubled by Thomas Jefferson's quote, "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." The potential for harm on a large scale is greater today than it was then, though it was bad enough then.

The same letter, though, speaks well to our age:

Wonderful is the effect of impudent & persevering lying. ... The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

I hope I will not see Jefferson's proposed remedy come to pass.

lj: I don't know about anyone else, but I am feeling more or less harrowed by now. Every aspect of this is so awful, and between the situation itself, the responses to it, and sort of having to focus on it professionally, I feel flattened. If my emotional state isn't entirely peculiar to me, I'd suspect any jokes of being gallows humor, and wouldn't draw any conclusions about anything from them.

I really don't think there will be a lot of violence. Maybe a shoving match, maybe some Randall Terry or Bo Gritz shock troops making another bid to break into the hospice. But there's already been one confrontation, between Jeb's state troopers and the local cops, and the locals made it clear they weren't backing down. If there was going to be a riot, I think that's when it would have happened - not by the police, but by the vigil groupies seizing the chance.

The GOP has to be a muck sweat about now, wondering about that tiger they've been riding. Beating up hospice workers and lynching Michael Schiavo won't play well outside the fundie-paleocon axis; I think the GOP realizes this. There's probably a fair bit of backchannel talk going on with Randall and Bo, telling them to rein in their nutcases a wee bit. The really interesting thing would be to know what the GOP promises in return.

Since you mentioned Randall Terry.

Just to be clear, I didn't mean that as a slapdown to ral or anyone else.

I remain profoundly uncertain about Terrie Schiavo, but there is some point at which one acknowledges that someone else takes responsibility. It is tragic that there are two sides that are now implacable. To anyone who espouses Christian beliefs, Matthew 7:1.

I dread the funeral.

CaseyL: "The really interesting thing would be to know what the GOP promises in return."

I suspect another tax cut is in the offing.

Yes, in both cases the decision is irreversible. But one is punishment and the other is an expression of personal liberty

You are begging the question. What her personal wishes would have been is one of the questions about the case that I do not believe has been answered to the degree of certainty required before someone has their life taken. Note that I consider killing someone who wishes to live to be worse, by orders of magnitude, than keeping someone alive who wishes to die, and the degree of certainty required must take that into account.

The rest of your post is arguing past me, I am not arguing law, but morality. For example, you state, "it would be a radical extension of the law for a court, as opposed to a legislature, to require that every person's medical directives be expressed in writing". Whatever the legal aspects, that is a bare minimum of what would be required before I could be comfortable with allowing the death of a patient who could be kept alive longer.

I know that is a high standard, but allowing the state to kill, in the example of capital punishment, or the state allowing one citizen to cause the death of another, in this case, is a very dangerous thing. I do not feel extreme caution is unwarranted.

I'm perfectly fine with denial of treatment when a patient's wishes have been made clear--the religious objection case for instance. I'm not ok with unclear expressions of a person's wishes. And despite the court's assurances, I don't think Mrs. Schiavo's wishes were uncovered to a clear and convincing standard. At best we have conflicting evidence about her wishes, with the expression for her death coming from a man (and his brother) who in earlier testimony (at the malpractice trail) suggested something different and with respect to a woman whose brain got much worse through no method that has been explained long after the accident and malpractice which initially damaged her. For those reasons I am very uncomfortable with killing her--we do not in fact know her intentions. I'm also deeply disturbed by Mr. Schiavo's repeated refusals to allow her to undergo MRI diagnostics. What's the problem? Is it going to make her uncomfortable? That would be rather revealing in itself, no?

That said I believe that the process has been fulfilled and nothing more is to be done. But I find the idea that those of us who are very uncomfortable with the issue are somehow meddlesome or prying rather wrong-headed.

Sebastian: Oy. You're a little behind on the medical news.

"[W]hose brain got much worse through no method that has been explained long after the accident and malpractice which initially damaged her."

She was without oxygen for five minutes after her initial cardiac arrest. Brain death begins at three minutes. Brain death means the cells of the brain die off; like any other dead matter, they liquify. Since there's nowhere for dead brain cells to go (they're inside the skull) they become pockets of liquid. That's what happened to Teri Schiavo's cerebral cortex; it's not a mystery.

"I'm also deeply disturbed by Mr. Schiavo's repeated refusals to allow her to undergo MRI diagnostics. What's the problem? Is it going to make her uncomfortable? That would be rather revealing in itself, no?"

No, it isn't.

One, an MRI was performed, in 1990, and showed no cerebral cortex functions.

Two, since then, thalamic implants were installed, deep inside (what's left of) her brain, to inhibit uncontrollable spasms and tremors. MRIs use magnetic fields. Anything foreign in the brain - metal plates, screws, thalamic implants - interfere with the scan and make the test useless. Also, and not at all incidentally, magnetic fields would take those implants and rip them from their moorings. Major surgery is required to take out the implants; more major surgery would be required to put them back in. So Terri Schiavo would require two major surgeries in order to get an MRI done - an MRI which, BTW, wouldn't tell you anything more than the earlier MRI and the CAT scans done since already tell you. MRIs scan for function; a liquified cerebral cortex is not a functioning structure. BTW, Terri Schiavo's EEG is flat.

I'm confused. Even Mr. Schiavo says that Mrs. Schiavo was response in the first years after the accident. You are suggesting an MRI that revealed no cerebral cortex functions when she was still responding. That doesn't make much sense.

I'd want a link to that quote, but my guess is that she was 'responsive' to the same extent she is now: random tropisms, and reflexive responses to light and movement. Brainstem stuff - no one's saying her brainstem doesn't function.

She might have been 'responsive' enough, back then, for Michael Schiavo to spend years taking her all over the country to try any treatment he thought might help her. Because, no, he didn't immediately throw up his hands and say, "Disconnect everything and let her die." He spent, IIRC, seven years in search of a miracle. Finally realized there wasn't going to be one, at which point he had to consider what she had said about not wanting to go on in that condition.

Sebastian: I was about to ask for a cite, but I was beaten to the punch.

I'm confused. Even Mr. Schiavo says that Mrs. Schiavo was response in the first years after the accident. You are suggesting an MRI that revealed no cerebral cortex functions when she was still responding.

I believe those responses were involuntary reactions. The problem is that they are often taking as purposeful reactions, but if they do not occur at an appropriate interval after the stimulus, they are not.

As has been noted, there are between 10,000 to 25,000 adults and 4,000 to 10,000 children who are living in PVS in the United States. This url describes the condition. Anyone who is going to comment on the case should spend some time understanding precisely what is at issue medically.

I didn't want to comment but it would be wrong to let a Schiavo thread pass by without mentioning Sun Hudson; the six month old infant murdered on Bush's orders.

Oh yah read http://www.tjm.org/articles/ThomasFrankFailureIsNotAnOptionItsMandatory

to see why John Thullen is right. We should hand this one to them. In fact we should force them to take a win here.

More on the CAT scan controversy (it scans better if you pronounce the last word with BritEng stress) via respectfulofotters

here at PekinPrattles blog, who wrote directly (imagine that!) to Dr. Cranford, who was attacked in an NRO article for his diagnosis of Schiavo.

An MRI was never recommended because, in this case and other patients in a permanent vegetative state, the CT scans were more than adequate to demonstrate the extremely severe atrophy of the cerebral hemispheres, and an MRI would add nothing of significance to what we see on the CT scans. Plus the MRI is contraindicated because of the intrathalamic stimulators implanted in Terri's brain. A PET scan was never done in this case because it was never needed. The classic clinical signs on examination, the CT scans, and the flat EEG's were more than adequate to diagnose PVS to the highest degree of medical certainty, along with the credible testimony of the three neurologists at the longest evidentiary hearing in American law, whose opinions were strongly affirmed by the trial court judge and three appeal court judges.

I'd also suggest that PekinPrattles is not a liberal blog, glancing at the blogroll.

Also Abstract Appeal seems to have most complete set of court documents for the case.

felixrayman & SH:

both of you state that you believe that the trial court ruled erroneously -- that there was not, as a matter of law & fact, c&c evidence of her wishes.

leaving aside the question of your personal review of the trial transcripts (or the lack thereof), the basic question is: what, to you, qualifies as c&c evidence?

should the state establish that the standard can be met only by a writing? Isn't that a little unfair to the millions of people who have talked about this case with their spouse over the last few weeks, made their wishes perfectly clear, yet somehow never get around to filling out an advance directive?

moreover, as any lawyer will tell you, the meaning of written documents can be hotly disputed. given that the parents have admitted [i don't have the link] that they would perjure themselves to keep Terri alive, don't you think that they would testify that she had changed her mind / the writing isn't clear / it isn't her signature etc.

Frankly, it really seems to me that this case is ultimately about shifting the ground on abortion. Randall Terry's presence, the discussions about the "Culture of Death", the vilification of Michael, all feel to me that certain factions of society are trying to use Terri's situation to drive a reanalysis of society's views on abortion.

I'm wallowing in the schadenfreude i feel on the huge backfire which has occurred. Millions of people across this country are being shown exactly what the religious right wants to do to individual rights and family-based decision making.

I have not noticed any posters on this site being characterized as meddlesome or prying because of their thoughts on Terri Schiavo. Perhaps it has happened and I just didn't notice, but I thought the charges of meddling have been directed toward certain members of Congress, President Bush, and Governor Bush. Their behavior is far worse than meddling since it is clearly cynical grandstanding.
I am disappointed with the Democrats that voted with the Republicans on the Terri bill, but the real hypocrits are the Congressmen who voted to cut Medicaid, change the bankrutcy laws, and who now claim to be part of a culture of life because they are interfering with the medical treatment of one out of the thousands of individuals on feeding tubes. Pres. Bushh's behavior is particularly bad. He signed into law a measure which has been used to remove feeding tubes from low income patients in Texas, and now he comes flyng into DC from his vacation (something he did not do in response to tsunamis or terrorists) to grab his share of the faux save-Teri glory. To call this "meddling" is to understate the case considerably.
If any of these people were serious about the moral or ethical issues involved with the medical treatment of people in Terri's condition, they would be supportive of the funding for for families that choose to continue treatment. Also, if they were sincere about the legal issues, instead of barging into to a case that has been examined repeatedly in the courts, they would be setting up hearings with medical professials, families, and lawyers to examine every aspect of the problem, with a view toward carefully crafting legislation that would address the larger of all patients in her condition.

both of you state that you believe that the trial court ruled erroneously -- that there was not, as a matter of law & fact, c&c evidence of her wishes

I stated that I did not think a court trial could deliver the level of certainty required in this instance, similar to the way I feel about court trials and capital punishment. I have no evidence that the trial court's decision was contrary to law or the facts of the case. Even in capital punishment cases where I believe the facts show the defendant is probably (almost certainly) guilty, I still oppose capital punishment on the grounds that a mistake is too costly (among other reasons).

should the state establish that the standard can be met only by a writing? Isn't that a little unfair to the millions of people who have talked about this case with their spouse over the last few weeks, made their wishes perfectly clear, yet somehow never get around to filling out an advance directive?

Sure. But that unfairness is less, by degrees of magnitude, than the unfairness of killing someone who wishes to live. I will risk unfairly keeping alive a large number of people who wish to die in order to avoid unfairly killing a tiny number of people who wish to live. In my opinion, these are different classes of risks. It is not a 50/50 tradeoff.

moreover, as any lawyer will tell you, the meaning of written documents can be hotly disputed

Is there anything lawyers will not dispute, given the correct motivation?

The fundamental difference between liberalism and conservatism is not moral relativism v. moral absolutism. It's whether morality inheres in people or in actions.

"I will risk unfairly keeping alive a large number of people who wish to die in order to avoid unfairly killing a tiny number of people who wish to live."

ok, i guess. it's no surprise i disagree. best of luck convincing legislatures of that view.

"Sure. But that unfairness is less, by degrees of magnitude, than the unfairness of killing someone who wishes to live."

uh, no. If your views become law, then thousands upon thousands of people will be deprived of their most fundamental right -- the right to personal autonomy over their death -- and all of their families will be forced onto multi-year deathwatches.

i respectfully profoundly disagree. The Sup Ct was right in Cruzan: a desire not to continue life support by extraordinary means, established by clear and convincing evidence, must be honored. Dissident family members who may wish for the person to live, whether for religious or financial reasons, cannot hold a veto.

Francis

"Frankly, it really seems to me that this case is ultimately about shifting the ground on abortion. Randall Terry's presence, the discussions about the "Culture of Death", the vilification of Michael, all feel to me that certain factions of society are trying to use Terri's situation to drive a reanalysis of society's views on abortion."

Nooooo....more like society's lack of realizations on the dangers of euthanasia, (it's a broader issue. in reality, and after WWII it was a lot clearer why euthansia was dangerous...especially when how it all developed then was examined....remember the lessons of history?).....to always connect this to abortion, just helps the propaganda machine of big medi-business sell it to the liberals. I am so amazed that so many liberals are howling for the 'right to death'. That's really weird if you think about it. We are all going to die, no one can ultimately stop that. I am so sick of how abortion rights have given the bill of rights etc a bad name..... they put the right to life in because we needed it....cause people could in previous times, kill us with impunity. And had the power of life and death over us!! If all of this isn't handled carefully we could take a giant step backwards hundreds of years......and no one seems to get it...its the perfect scam really. 'Why we will have them begging us to kill them, said the powers that be' lol... but its not really funny. Oh well.

logical heart

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