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And So It Continues

June 19th, 2005

I never got an answer to my question from three days ago. I invited any of the many visitors to this site who claimed that Terri Schiavo was clearly conscious and able to talk and swallow, and that her husband clearly abused and strangled her, to come forward and admit they were wrong, pointing out how this is what I do when I’m proven wrong. This after a right-wing visitor accused me of being the obstinate one. So were there any takers?


They’re silent in the media, too, none of them admitting to being wrong. In fact, not only are they dismissing the autopsy (often calling it a conspiracy to cover up for Michael Schiavo), but now good ol’ Jeb Bush is demanding an investigation into Terri’s collapse 15 years ago. In other words, he’s been badly embarrassed and burned by his stupid political posturing in the matter, and so wants to divert blame to someone else.

Think about it: the autopsy refutes pro-life claims that Michael Schiavo beat, strangled and poisoned his wife. The results don’t just say it’s inconclusive, they say that it didn’t happen.

After compelling evidence suggests the husband did not attempt to kill his wife, one would think that the matter would be over. If legal challenges were to be brought forth now, one would imagine they would be libel and slander lawsuits brought on by the defamed husband against all those who made such false claims against him over the years. Is that what happened?

Of course not. Instead, Governor Bush, against all standing evidence to the contrary, is effectively setting the law enforcement agencies of the state of Florida to find some way to blame Michael Schiavo for his wife’s heart failure 15 years ago.

Now, can we absolutely rule out the possibility of Schiavo causing his wife’s condition that morning in February 1990? No. We know he didn’t beat her. We know he didn’t strangle her. That doesn’t mean he didn’t actually do anything to her, but it certainly doesn’t support such an allegation, either. There simply is no evidence to suggest he’s lying, and in this country, a man is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. It’s 15 years after the fact. The only existing evidence clears Michael Schiavo of wrongdoing. Is there really a chance of proving anything?

No. This is little more than a cheap politician abusing a man already horrendously abused by the system, so the politician can look even the smallest bit justified for being an idiot.

I’ve been looking around on the Internet for information on what happened the evening of Terri Schiavo’s heart failure, but unfortunately, there is little available. There are mountains of pro-life or anti-Michael-Schiavo sites which claim to tell the story, but such sites are universally so biased and contorted that anything they report is, to say the least, questionable. I did find this report from the New York Review of Books which gave some information, and this St. Petersburg Times article gives even more. They at least lay out a timeline:

Schiavo called 911 at 5:40 am. 12 minutes later, at 5:52 am, the paramedics arrive, finding Terri “not breathing and in ventricular fibrillation.” The paramedics shocked Terri seven times with a defibrillator. It was not until 6:32 am that a pulse was reestablished, and 6:46 for Terri to register “measurable systolic blood pressure .”

What does this prove? Well, those accusing Schiavo claim that he has variously stated that Terri collapsed at 4:30 and 5:00, and this discrepancy makes him look guilty. Why? How could getting the time wrong be a sign of guilt? If he had claimed one time as being iron-clad, and then later changed his story with equal confidence, that might be a sign of guilt. But that’s not what he did. He simply wasn’t sure of the time. You think he was looking at clocks when his wife went into cardiac arrest? After all, if he were lying, wouldn’t it be more likely he would be consistent about the time? And if he’s honest, why would he be any more consistent about a time he probably was unsure of? Besides, doctors have stated that if Terri had collapsed at 4:30 or 5:00, she could not possibly have been revived. Most likely, Michael Schiavo simply didn’t think about the time when Terri collapsed, and didn’t consider it important; had there truly been a delay of forty minutes to one hour and ten minutes, Terri would have expired. That didn’t happen, which means that Mr. Schiavo must have called 911 immediately.

Furthermore, the source of the time claims is flimsy as far as evidence is concerned. The pro-lifers have been acting as if his reports of the time were definite and iron-clad, but they were anything but. When he mentioned 5:00 am in his 1992 trial, he did not state it as an exact time, nor did he say he was sure. He said, “I believe it was almost five a.m.” and he was not pressed to state he was certain. The 4:30 time statement was on a TV interview, even less formal; Schiavo placed the time as “I’d say, about 4:30 in the morning.” These are not certain statements of facts, the man’s being asked to recall something he’s not sure of, and he’s not sure for good reason.

And yet, Bush is citing this “time gap” as his “evidence” that Schiavo is guilty of killing his wife. Bush said this discrepancy was “a significant question that during this ordeal was never brought up,” which is a joke because the pro-lifers have been harping on this endlessly for years.

Schiavo has been consistent in saying that he called 911 immediately. That he didn’t stop to record the time and etch it into his memory at the time is not a sign of guilt.

There are further claims about what happened that morning, but all of them are made by heavily biased sites, and their accuracy is highly questionable. They allege that Schiavo called both Terri’s father, and then brother (who lived in the same apartment complex) before dialing 911. They claim that Terri’s father told him to call 911, but that also Schiavo called Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, before he called 911. Schindler also claims Terri was face-down when he arrived. But these articles also claim that the paramedics found Terri face-down, as well. The “face down” testimony is supposed to prove that Michael Schiavo didn’t turn his wife over when she collapsed, as he claimed, or that he shoved her back on her face–either way, signifying cruelty, not care. But if they are true, and Schiavo did call Terri’s brother before the paramedics, that introduces a bizarre scenario: The paramedics took 12 minutes to arrive. Schindler should have arrived at least 10 minutes before they did. So are we to believe that Schindler and Schiavo stood around chatting for ten minutes while Terri lay face-down on the floor? Not to mention that Schindler did not contradict Schiavo on Terri’s position until years afterward, only after the disagreement between Schiavo and the Schindlers erupted. It seems more apparent that these articles are throwing in any and every claim possible to make Michael Schiavo look guilty, without regard to consistency.

If one thing is clear about this case, it is that the conservative politicians aren’t through pandering to their religious-right base yet.

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  1. Paul
    June 20th, 2005 at 01:06 | #1

    There’s a simple reason that the righties and Jeb are trying to talk about what happened over a decade ago to Terri… it’s so they don’t have to talk about what happened to her this year.

    The circumstances (and circus) surrounding her death were really quite horrible, and they stemmed from the fundy-right’s ridiculous claims and demands upon the politicians they control.

    But now the autopsy comes out, and it turns out that their claims (like that she was able to talk, that all she needed was some rehab, etc) were a load of hooey. Her brain really WAS half gone, with the majority of the damage in the higher-thinking areas. She was blind. She couldn’t swallow even a tiny sip of water, let alone food. It pains me to say it, but the woman was truly gone- just a shell of a body with basically no brain.

    The reason the rightfundies don’t want to talk about this is because the opinion of so much of the public- even of some that might ordinarily be sympathetic to their causes- is dead-set against them.

    When two-thirds to three-quarters of the people of nearly all political stripes say “there’s no way I’d want to be kept alive by outside intervention in that situation”, it doesn’t pay for the rightfundies to keep yammering on about it.

    Soooo… I say that rather than get sucked into the whole discussion about whether or not he beat her, or poisoned her, or called 911 right away or whatever… just blow off those claims and harp on, POUND on, the fact that the mockery that was made of the end of her life was because the rightfundies did it.

    And be glad that Jeb keeps running his mouth and saying stupid stuff about it- that’s just another nail in the coffin containing his Presidential hopes, I think.

    Seattle, WA

  2. YouKnowWho
    June 20th, 2005 at 01:19 | #2

    I searched the website for Jackson yet found nothing. Why no comments on the Michael Jackson trial?

  3. BlogD
    June 20th, 2005 at 01:47 | #3

    Paul: Well spoken.

    YouKnowWho: Because it’s a farce, on all sides.

  4. Shari
    June 20th, 2005 at 12:09 | #4

    I love how so-called Christians (such as the Bush family, Jeb Bush in particular this time) will engage in slander and false accusations in order to further their agenda and attempt to increase their power.

    For a bunch of people so concerned with “good” and “evil” they seem to have few compunctions about abusing someone who has already suffered a drawn-out and painful person tragedy. Perhaps they feel they’re doing him a favor by casting him in the role of Job, hmm?

    Clearly, being a Christian doesn’t endow one with the ability to tell right from wrong. Otherwise, there’d be no reason for Bush to use this case further to pander to the religious right.

  5. kathyk
    June 22nd, 2005 at 15:08 | #5

    For Bush to step in…again…this time accusing her husband for her collapse is disgusting and irresponsible. Quite honestly, I hope that Michael Schiavo slaps him, the Schindlers, and others with a slander lawsuit. Maybe then, they’ll stop this nonsense.

  6. mary f munson
    July 3rd, 2005 at 09:19 | #6

    repubics consist of a small minority who manipulate the majority who are best described as loyal followers. like sheep, they follow the first sheep right to their demise. these repubics wear blinders, they do not want to see the truth because if they did they would have to take some responsibility for their decisions. they make very good conservative wacko christians. a story: my husband and were standing in line to receive our SUBSIDIZED flu shots just before the 2002 elections. this guy ahead of us was very obviously a repubic and was antagonizing everyone around to argue about the election. when no one took the bait he just started talking to himself. he said bush and the repubics were going to win and they were going to make everyone stand on their own 2 feet, no more handouts, no more government supports. this a man who is waiting to get his government subsidized flu shot. he reveals he and his wife are on social security disability due to health. amazing!!! he could not see how bush policies were going to hurt him. just amazing, their brains are turned over to leaders who rake them over the coals and they still follow!!!!!!!

    who do you think they will turn to when they really are hurting? to the liberals. they will come whining how they are hurting. i have a friend who praises repubics, condemns liberals and their programs and in the same breath says she can’t wait to start her social security. just amazing the blind mass stupidity!!!! mary

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