Sunday, March 20, 2005

Michael Schiavo and Scott Peterson

Galley Slaves has a number of posts on the unfolding drama of Michael Schiavo versus Terri and her parents. Jonathan Last has succinctly made the case against Michael, likening the situation to (horror of horrors) Scott Peterson's. I urge you to check out his posts here, here and here, capping things off with "the truth about Michael Schiavo:"
I point readers to the previous work of Wesley J. Smith. You'll recall that, in 1992, when he was arguing for more money in his malpractice lawsuit, Michael Schiavo argued that Terri would live a normal life span and that he intended to be a loyal husband to her for the rest of his days. Because of this testimony, Michael Schiavo received $1.3 million, $750,000 of which went into a trust to fund Terri's rehabilitation.

Shortly after receiving this money, Mr. Schiavo suddenly remembered that Terri didn't want to live a normal life span. As Smith reported:
One evening, during the second term of President Ronald Reagan, Terri Schiavo and her husband Michael decided to watch a television movie about Karen Ann Quinlan. . . .

While discussing the movie, Michael claims that Terri stated she would not want to live hooked up to a "machine" (she's not), or be a "burden" (her parents don't consider her a burden and want to care for her). Michael's brother, Scott, backs up his claim, while his sister-in-law, Joan, told the court that Terri had approved of pulling the life support from the dying baby of a mutual friend and said that if she ever wrote a "will" she would say that she didn't want "tubes."

Little did Terri know that these purported statements, uttered under very casual circumstances, would become the justification used by her husband in his six-year drive to remove her feeding tube and end her life. Indeed, based on these casual statements, Judge George Greer of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Florida ruled that Michael had established "by clear and convincing evidence"--the highest evidentiary standard in civil law--that Terri would rather dehydrate to death over a period of 10-14 days than live on food and water supplied by a feeding tube.

That's the full extent of Michael Schiavo's "clear and convincing evidence" that his wife wants him to murder her. Terri's parents, on the other hand, testify that she had no such desire, leaving us with a he said/she said case--at best.

And that's before you examine the rest of the mountain of evidence that Michael Schiavo has a profit-motive for this killing. And that's before you learn that Michael Schiavo has, since Terri became disabled, fathered two children with another woman, to whom he claims to be engaged, which suggests that he has even more motive to be rid of Terri and which, at the very least, suggests that he is sufficiently compromised that there is no moral universe in which he is fit to be her guardian.

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