Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Florida's Death Penalty

A couple of weeks back my mother, who is 71, called me to talk about her upcoming knee replacement surgery. She needed to name someone other than my father as the person who would make medical decisions for her in case she was unable. My dad was named first, and I was to be named second, as long as I would follow her instructions that if she were "braindead" she did not want to be kept alive by instruments of modern technology. I had no problem with that request, so she used me as my dad's backup. She probably figured she needed to ask me if I agree to her wishes since she knows I am radically anti-abortion (pro-life in her jargon)

Tomorrow Terri Schiavo may be put to death in the state of Florida. She was found guilty of being "brain damaged" and in need of a feeding tube. Supposedly she had told her husband that if she was in the hospital and needed food, do not provide it, for it is better to die than to eat hospital food. You think I'm trying to be cute? Well, ok, sort of. But I find it very difficult to talk about this in serious terms. A husband wants his wife to die because she is in a comatose state and needs a feeding tube to survive. She is not going to die from her injuries. In fact, she may get better if she gets treatment, but the courts already ruled that the husband can withhold treatments, even though they had 1.3 million dollars for her care and treatment. I can't believe this is even a discussion. How did we ever get so careless about life? Don't we care for our needy, or have we grown into a nation that believes the saying "We shoot horses don't we?"?

How can a Judge order a woman's death when she has committed no crime. I don't think Judges can order someones death even when they have committed a crime. Suppose a Judge orders Governor Jeb Bush to execute all death row inmates tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. Would Bush be obliged to do it, and would he need to go to court to overturn the order? Or would he be within his rights as Governor to say "No, I don't think I'll do that. In fact I think I'll revoke any State funds that support your courtroom"

If I were the Governor of Florida I would order the State Police to go get the offending Judge, take him to the womans hospital room, and while her parents watch in horror, make him pull her feeding tube himself. Then I would put the tube back in and charge the Judge with attempted murder.

I guess you now know where I stand on this issue.


At 9:28 PM, Blogger bikipatra said...

I feel the same way...My father was in a persistant vegetative state for almost 8 years and ate through a tube. My mother had a nurse to help take care of him at home. I believe he was aware of what was going on around him a lot of the time. I believe it would have been murder to stop feeding him.


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