Chronicle: Let murderers live, but allow innocents to die

It's a highly inconsistent editorial board that would celebrate the end of death sentences for convicted murderers, but complain that innocents who have no voice are not being put to death faster.

And yet, that is the Chronicle editorial board for you.

Last week the editors threw a journalistic party (four editorials at last count!) because the Supreme Court decided teenage convicted murderers cannot be sentenced to death.

Today the Chronicle editors decry keeping people on life support. You know, innocent people whose big crime is that they can't speak up for themselves. The case of Terri Schiavo is used in the editorial and the editors apparently feel that her life isn't worth saving because they did not specifically say she should be allowed to live.

The editors do, however, pass on one big falsehood:

Schiavo remains on life support as the legal maneuvering continues.

No, she is not on life support. She breathes on her own. She does need a feeding tube for meal times, but that's because her husband, who is trying so hard to kill her, won't allow her the rehabilitative care she needs so she could be taught to feed herself. Rehabilitative experts have testified before the judge in charge of the case, that Schiavo most likely could be taught to feed herself, but again, her husband won't allow it.

(By the way, would the Chronicle editors advocate the starving to death of death row inmates as punishment? Because that's what will happen to Schiavo if her husband gets his way -- a slow, painful death, over the course of a couple of weeks. We have laws against people doing that to animals, but it's okay for Schiavo, apparently.)

Have the editors done any research on Terri Schiavo? Have the editors seen the video of her interacting with her parents? She is not on life support and she does not appear to be in a vegetative state, as many like to claim.

Yet the editors cannot bring themselves to urge that the judge turn over Schiavo's guardianship to her parents. Why? Why not advocate for her to live? Why not err on the side of life? The editors have no problem advocating for the lives of convicted murderers, even going so far as to do complete puff piece makeovers of death row inmates.

We also know the editors are big proponents of abortion so this sentence is unsurprising:

All too often, the painful decision of life and death in such cases is landing on a court docket, where judges are faced with another right to life issue that shows signs of becoming politicized along the fault lines of abortion.

The protection of innocent life is as much a political/legal question as a moral one. Why should only supporters of abortion -- the killing of innocent babies -- have their way in our political and legal system?

Here are the last two paragraphs of the editorial:

Also, billing the state for the medical costs of maintaining life support for patients involved in litigation might provide an incentive for judges to swiftly rule instead of dragging their feet.

Physicians and medical institutions should have their judgments on life support cases double-checked by impartial sources as part of the process of convincing a terminally ill person's support group that everything possible has been done to save them. If relatives prove incapable of making a rational decision, then courts must be willing to enforce the law, no matter how personally disagreeable the judge might find that duty.

All Terri Schiavo's family wants is the right to help her live. They are not asking for the state to pay for her to live. They are asking the state to ALLOW her to live, so that THEY might take care of her. It's an act of love and an act of life, not an act of state welfare. The Chronicle editors may simply be so used to pushing state welfare that they can't tell the difference.

And I would like to know how the editors define "rational decision." If the Chronicle editors are deciding what is and isn't rational, we should all be very, very fearful.

KEVIN WHITED ADDS: To follow that last point -- you bet! Isn't it wild that the crowd that supports abortion and opposes common-sense laws like parental notification on the grounds that NOTHING should come between a doctor and a patient now insists that the political system needs to create some method for "impartial sources" to intrude in the relationship between loved ones, a physician, and a patient unable to make decisions, to the point of mandating when it's okay to give state sanction to a death sentence that a family is otherwise unwilling to make?

What a ghastly worldview that treats an innocent but impaired human being as being so inconvenient as to merit worse treatment than one's leftovers!

Since the editorialists like to lecture us mere bloggers on ideal states, let me bark back a little about this atrocious sentence:

Physicians and medical institutions should have their judgments on life support cases double-checked by impartial sources as part of the process of convincing a terminally ill person's support group that everything possible has been done to save them.

The "them" doesn't actually have a clear antecedent, but the intended antecedent seems to be terminally ill person. That's singular, so the "them" should actually be "he" or "she" or "he or she." Those who would lecture about editorial idealism should demonstrate better mastery of grammar.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 03/08/05 03:58 PM | Print |

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