Sunday, March 26, 2006

Let the Dead Rest

Just when you think a dead person can't be exploited any more than she was in what passed for her "life", you get proven wrong.

It seems Terri Schiavo's husband and parents are publishing books, each telling only the side of the story the authors want you to hear.

For those of you living in a cave this time last year, here's a brief recap lifted from the article:

Terri Schiavo died on March 31, 2005, at the age of 41, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed under a legal order granted to her husband, Michael.

She had been in what her doctors said was a persistent vegetative state, unable to eat, think or communicate since her heart stopped beating for several minutes in 1990, starving her brain of oxygen. An autopsy showed her brain had atrophied to half its normal size.

Despite what Michael Schiavo or her parents, the Schindlers, may tell you, neither side in this case really wanted what was best for Terri herself. The proof now is not only in the selfish legal battles they waged, but also in their continued exploitation of a woman whose life effectively ended more than a decade and a half ago.

And of course, the Bush regime and numerous politicians in Congress couldn't help but stick their noses in to catch a piece of the action when last year they tried to force their own agenda on the Florida court system (fortunately, the Supreme Court--then untainted by the totalitarian Sam Alito--stepped in and told them what to go do with themselves).

But why exploit a dead woman? Hadn't she suffered enough by becoming a complete vegetable, with no hope of recovery? Hadn't she been dragged through the papers and put before the cameras enough?

I suppose not, if the books are coming out--soon no doubt to be followed by the inevitable movie of the week deals.

Listen, Terri Schiavo was dead long before her physical shell finally ceased to function. Her optic nerves were cut off, rendering it blind, incapable of following that much-ballyhooed balloon in that heavily-edited video. She was a virtual corpse hooked up to a feeding tube, essentially the only thing keeping Terri's body from joining her soul, which had long ago taken leave of this world.

And finally, when the cameras and the newspaper reporters started moving on to the death of Pope John Paull II, the saga came to what should have been a merciful end. The autopsy showed that yes, Terri was indeed brain-dead with no hope of recovery (spare me the medical jargon; when your brain is atrophied to half its size and your cognitive functions are clearly gone because that part of your grey matter has decayed to nothingness, you're brain-dead and that's the end of the argument).

And yet, her family insists on making her into some kind of plaything for the media hounds, too caught up in their hatred of each other to let the woman rest in peace.

Leave it alone, people. Just leave it the fuck alone.

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