About fifteen hours ago, Terri Schiavo died of dehydration after having her feeding tube removed. This situation has impacted the nation in an unprecedented manner. There are a few aspects that struck me that will stay with me for many years, and shape my thoughts for a while to come.
I am amazed that a movie with the name Schindler in the title moves us all to say, "never again," while a person whose maiden name is Schindler is labeled a liebensunwerten Lebens and unnutze Esser.
I am puzzled that when Mrs. Schiavo starved herself due to a struggle with bulimia, we fought to save her life, then, when her life was in no danger, we starved her to death.
I see an unresolvable conflict in a system that fights to prevent a depressed 14 year old from death from suicide, then fights to enforce death on a disabled 41 year old.
I am amazed that I keep hearing that this was vetted thoroughly by the judicial system, all the while there was never a de novo review of the findings of fact of the case.
I am flabbergasted that people who claim to have followed this case, and are well versed in the importance of being precise and specific in language, claim that Michael Schiavo should make the decision, not Congress. It seems to me, if one paid attention, one would know that Michael Schiavo's wishes were never part of the legal analysis. His testimony regarding Terri Schiavo's wishes were the grounds for a finding of clear and convincing evidence that she would have wished to have the tube removed. Congress merely wished to have a second court review this evidence without having to overcome the burden of stating that Judge Greer's finding of fact was so erroneous that it was an abuse of discretion.
Most of all, I think I am saddened and puzzled by the many, many people who say that such a decision is a personal decision, but they know that no one would want to live that way. Which is it? Either everyone would make a personal decision, in which case each decision could be as unique as each individual, or everyone would make the same decision for the same reason. If it is the former, there is no point to be made, as Terri Schiavo could have made a very different decision than you, me, or anyone else would make. If it is the latter, please do not insult my intelligence by claiming this is a personal liberty issue, as no one would be exercising a free choice, but rather would be following our animal nature and wish to die.
But it is late, and I have dwelt on this too long to be good for my mental well-being. I merely add to the sadness of a human being's death by wondering how we as a society failed her, then hid behind the rule of law to comfort ourselves for our failure. So I will hope that Terri Schiavo rests in the arms of a merciful God tonight, and further hope that she asks that He might have mercy on us for our failings.