- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 26, 2005

People who say the government had no business interfering in a private decision like removing Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube somehow have no problem with a squad of policemen preventing her parents (or anyone else) from giving their daughter food or water.

Do those who want the government out of private decisions think the police are not the government? Do they think the judges who authorized this are not the government?

Sadly, this is not the only Alice-in-Wonderland confusion of words and deeds in this tragic case.

At this writing, we are told Terri Schiavo is being “allowed” to “die a natural death.” Such an argument might make some sense if this were a terminally ill person. But Terri Schiavo is only dying from a lack of food and water, from which any of us would also die. She is not dying a natural death. She is being killed.

What is being kept alive artificially is the liberal media version of events. One side of this story is repeated endlessly, as if it were gospel, but anyone saying something different — including doctors and nurses who have actually seen or taken care of Terri Schiavo — is unlikely to be reported.

The nature of death by starvation and dehydration is also depicted as “gentle” in the New York Times — the same New York Times which in 2002 reported starving people in India dying “clutching pained stomachs.”

This “gentle” death is the story line in the liberal media, but a priest who has actually seen Terri Schiavo tells a wholly different story of her visibly deteriorating condition. If this is such an easy death, why not videotape it and show the less enlightened how mistaken we are? Instead, there is a ban on anyone photographing Terri as she dies.

Despite the oft-repeated claim Terri Schiavo is being “allowed” to die, supposedly in accordance with her own wishes, the only person who says these were her wishes is the one person who wants her dead and who personally stands to benefit from her death — her husband, Michael Schiavo.

When Sean Hannity said this on the Fox News channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” program, he was assured by a lawyer who was defending removal of the feeding tube that Michael Schiavo was not the only person who heard Terri say this. But, when Mr. Hannity demanded to know the name of just one other person, the lawyer followed an old lawyer’s maxim: “When your case is weak, shout louder.” He shouted and waxed indignant — but did not name any other person.

This case is one where many people speak with certainty about very uncertain things — and the certainties of one side contradict the certainties of the other.

Many seem certain Mrs. Schiavo is vegetative, does not understand what is going on around her and cannot respond. But Carla Sauer Iyer, a nurse who attended Mrs. Schiavo for more than a year, has contradicted all this. Moreover, she has painted a very different picture of Michael Schiavo than the one he presents to the courts and the media. But you are unlikely to find her eyewitness accounts in the mainstream media.

According to this nurse, Michael Schiavo complained his wife wasn’t dying fast enough — but the word he used was not wife or woman but a more derogatory word.

The nurse’s sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, is that she reported to the police she had found Terri in both medical and emotional distress after a closed-door visit by her husband — and she also found a vial of insulin, as well as needle marks on Terri, after Michael Schiavo’s visit.

The mainstream media that will scour the country to find people to quote in support of killing Terri Schiavo will not lift a finger to investigate the chilling charges this nurse filed with the police years ago. It might disturb the picture they are trying to paint.

Terri Schiavo is being killed because she is inconvenient to her husband and is inconvenient to those who do not want the idea of the sanctity of life strengthened and become an impediment to abortion. Nor do they want the supremacy of judges challenged, when judges are the liberals’ last refuge.

Thomas Sowell is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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