Schiavo In Retrospect

The Schiavo autopsy confirmed that Terri’s brain was massivle damaged - the cortex had been destroyed by the intitial oxygen deprivation and subsequent deterioration. The optical centers of her brain had disintegrated and been replaced with spinal fluid, thus giving undeniable physiological proof that sporadic tracking of Terri’s eyes with objects (the family showed six instances captured over SIX hours in which Terri’s eyes did move in the direction of the attempts to gain her attention) was random chance - as would be expected given the rarity of coincidental tracking when viewed against the whole experience.

Seven of eight neurologists who had examined Terri ruled that she was in a persistanct vegitative state. The eighth, hired by Terri’s family, backed up his findings with theories that had never passed the muster of peer review. So the autopsy report didn’t tell us anything new. They simply verified the accuracy of every physician not hired by the Schindler family.

But the “Bloggers for Terri” are unrepentent. I remember one with particular clarity. It made me wish that my technological limitations were not keeping your humble Smallholder incommunicado. “We were wrong for the right reasons.”

“We were wrong for the right reasons.”


You were wrong for the wrong reasons.

Continue reading below the fold.

Those who supported the Schindlers in their refusal to face reality were wrong, wrong, wrong. And ought not to hide behind “good intentions.” Good intentions, when they lead to illogical actions, often lead to negative outcomes.

As many of the Terri supporters couched their fervid advocacy in religious terms, here is an explication of their sins for which they ought to repent in sackcloth and ashes.

Sin #1:

They refused to use their own powers of logic and refused to view the evidence dispassionately. The evidence was widely available nd overwhelming showed Terri to be in PVS. This goes beyond wishful thinking. Only a “the moon is made of blue cheese” denial of facts and delusional conspiracy theory could compensate for the lack of any evidence of Terri’s awareness.

Folks tried to undermine the PVS evidence by alleging plots by both the judges and the doctors. I remember Micheal Savage, on his radio show, explaining to his non-linear thinking audience that the attempt to cut off Terri’s life support was part of a larger campaign against White Christians in America. “If she was a lesbian immigrant, they wouldn’t try to pull the plug.” The idea that every single one of the judges and doctors in the case would compromise their reputations is ridiculous. Others cast aspersions on the husband’s motives, contrafactually arguing that he was trying to kill her to inherit the money - when the settlement money was long gone, Micheal could have saved legal bills by just turning her over to her parents, and had even turned down a $10 million offer from a Terri backer to turn her over.

For all the silliness of these conspiracy theories - “lack of evidence? That’s proof the conspiracy exists!” - one might as well argue that the plan to murder Terri was concoted on the grassy knoll by Elvis and aliens from Area 51.

So instead of cloaking themselves in the mantle of good intentions, perhaps the bloggers who supported Terri ought to examing their own reasoning processes.

Evidence + Evidence + Evidence = Hypothesis.


Conclusion! (Now find some convenient tidbits and ignore the vast body of contradictory evidence!)

Sin #2:

If one is going to get involved in the public debate, one has an obligation to try to get the facts straight.

I saw very little evidence that the Bloggers for Terri had much concern for the facts. Allegations made by Schindler family associates were taken as gospel (though the Schindler family itself never publicly made abuse charges, knowing that they would be vulnerable to libel charges). Court records and doctor’s findings were routinely mischaracterized.

Be responsible. In America, we ought to have lively debates about issues. But participants have a moral obligation to get their facts right.

Sin #3:

In all the “We were wrong for the right reasons” smugness, I haven’t heard any apologies for wrongfully sullying Micheal Schiavo’s name. The man was put through a living hell whilst struggling with the loss of his wife. He was villified and pilloried. He was accused of murder and base motives.

Why didn’t the Terri bloggers stop and wonder whether they had a moral obligation to get the facts right before attacking someone’s integrity?

Willfully misguided “good intentions” harmed an innocent man. Nothing can make up for the psychological pain he and his family must have endured. But apologizing would be the moral thing to do.

Sin #4:

Creating hysteria which gave socio-facists cover to advance their agenda. How many of the so-called conservatives really want the government to be involved when they have to make tough decisions for their family? Conservativism is supposed to protect individual autonomy and value the family. Law, legal precedent, and common sense establish out spouses as next of kin. Are we going to surrender our ability to make decisions for our wives and husbands because of one bizarre case? Should delusional parents be able to trump spouses as a matter of law? Should state governors and state legislatures call for/pass bills of attainder?

The Territes surrender a small bit of personal freedom on the alter of misguided personal outrage. Shame on them.

Smallholder’s guidelines:
Base your opinions on facts.
The greater your level of participation in public discourse, the greater the obligation to get the facts straight.
Don’t believe in Blue-cheese conspiracy theories. Lack of evidence is not evidence.
Don’t automatically reach for the “ad hominem.”
Think about the long-term consequences of your actions.


Good links

Rachel Sawyer finds that the woman who captured and posted the flasher pictures
Sadie gives those who were surprised a “fistful.” (No surprise, there, eh?)
Smallholder at Naked Villiany reports on the unrepentant “wrong, but right&…

Shame On Me, Apparently

I suppose I should face the Inquisitor and respond to some of the charges against me.

Foreign Minister said:

Ok come on.

What’s your point mate? First the definition of sin is an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will.

How is it a sin to want to keep the lady alive. I still don’t let her ex-husband off the hook.

I met Terri at a party 17 years ago and I heard her say that she would never want the plug pulled.

I’m sure the Foreign Minister’s claim about his conversation will be immediately taken as gospel truth by the Terri Moonbats. Unlike all the medical evidence and autopsy report concoted by the super secret cabal to murder Terri (President E. Presly).

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