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Michael Nevin Jr. - Contributor

Michael Nevin Jr. is a 3rd generation California law enforcement officer and freelance writer. Mike's writing explores many topics ranging from the War on Terror to issues facing America's police officers. Mike is a contributing writer for several Internet websites including ChronWatch, American Daily, Renew, and Men's News Daily. He can be contacted at [go to Nevin index]

Terri’s Fight, Our Battle 
A dark chapter closes.
[Michael Nevin Jr.] 4/4/05

One of the more tragic episodes in American history has ended a dark chapter.  I don’t care what the polls say.  This should not have happened.  Terri Schiavo suffered a court-ordered death albeit she had a mother, father, sister, and brother begging to take care of her.  A man with an apparent conflict of interest, in that he has two children with his live-in girlfriend, decided the fate of a woman he abandoned many years ago.  A judge in Florida agreed with Michael Schiavo, and determined that there was in fact “clear and convincing evidence” that Terri would have wished for her hastened demise.  The judiciary chose to err on the side of death.     

“An existence was interrupted.  A death was arbitrarily hastened because nourishing a person can never be considered employing exceptional means,” inveighed Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.  In a bit of symbolism that cannot be overlooked, Pope John Paul II was given a feeding tube the same week that Terri Schiavo, a Roman Catholic, lie dying in a hospice half a world away as her sustenance tube was removed by way of court order.   

While America watched the slow death of Terri Schiavo unfold over 13 agonizing days, we were subjected to some bad actors including George Felos, Michael Schiavo’s attorney, who seems to have an eerie fascination with death.  When describing the starvation and dehydration of a non-terminal disabled woman as “peaceful” to a national audience, Felos auditioned as the foremost death merchant in America.

The right-to-die folks sure picked an odd case to hang their hat.  Terri was not terminally ill; she was chronically disabled requiring palliative care and a feeding tube.  Now that America has embraced this culture of death where does it stop?  Apparently, we are now free to make value judgments on our fellow citizens whom we feel have passed the threshold of valuable life into mere existence.  Should some blue ribbon panel be established to determine when the subjective “quality of life” has run its course?   

The idea of culling the herd is not something new in America.  Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was a fervent advocate of eugenics.  An atheist and avowed socialist, Sanger favored the process of race improvement by restricting mating to superior types suited to each other.  Sanger wrote, “As an advocate of birth control I wish… to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the 'unfit' and the 'fit,' admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation.”  She continued, “On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”  Sanger’s disciples continue to lurk decades after her death. 

America may have slid down the slippery slope with the death of Terri Schiavo, but I suspect only members of the Hemlock Society will enjoy the ride.  This path ultimately leads to policy like the “Groningen Protocol” in the Netherlands where guidelines have been established to euthanize newborns suffering from a list of serious medical conditions.  A study published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine (January ’05) reported 22 cases of newborns being euthanized since 1997.  According to the Associated Press, “Prosecutors found that the Groningen guidelines were followed in all of them, so they recommended to superiors that the cases not be pursued further though they said they were technically murder.”

Now that our unelected branch of government actively seeks international opinion regarding issues once decided by voting members of our constitutional republic, American citizens may not be able to choose matters of life and death.  The Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons declared the death penalty for juveniles was unconstitutional.  “The evolving standards of decency that mark a maturing society” somehow refers to 17-year old depraved murderers being kept off death row, but an innocent woman who becomes a burden to her husband can expect no reprieve.          

The intellectually challenged have mused aloud why supporters of the death penalty would fight so hard to keep someone alive while they sit idly by as people are executed in our nation’s prisons?  It’s quite simple, actually.  Terri Schiavo was innocent and deserved to be protected by her government.  When a government becomes unfit or refuses to protect its most vulnerable and innocent citizens, it is either feckless or negligent.  Government also has a duty to protect its citizens from lethal pariahs, and the death penalty certainly satisfies that requirement.  The illogical comparison between Schiavo and condemned inmates is sophomoric, thus proving how useless it is to argue with death row worshipers. 

An important lesson can be taken from the Schiavo tragedy—even if you’re lucky enough to make the cradle in this secular world, there is no guarantee that you won’t be shown an early grave if your life is ever deemed worthless.  Terri Schiavo has certainly found salvation, but she deserved more from those entrusted to care for her needs in this world.  She also deserved better from a country that was founded to protect her unalienable rights.  We failed her, and we failed ourselves.  tOR

copyright 2005 Michael Nevin Jr.




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