The Right Coast

April 02, 2005

The poor man; his wife just died
By Tom Smith

Mark Kleinman seems to find my little artistic effort depicting Michael Schiavo in the Bad Place in poor taste. It may be. When wondering how to respond to the killing of a person whose parents just wanted to take care of her, good taste is one of the first things to go. Indeed, if we are to get into the business, as we might, of disposing of inconvenient, but innocent non-person persons, we should probably give some thought to the proper etiquette for the events. Hallmark Cards might want to give some thought to a euthanasia series. I wonder what the proper way is to express sympathy to the widower who has just killed his spouse? My dear Michael, I was so sorry to hear that Terri finally died, or rather sorry that it took so long. But at least she didn't suffer, or at least I hope she didn't . . . Or perhaps one should say Mike, dude, congratulations on your recent legal victory!

I am aware that I am once again violating the Kleinman proposal that we all just stop talking about Terri for 30 days. For a proposal emanating from the "reality based community," I think it displays a remarkable degree of cluelessness. Just because Terri has died, that does not make Kleinman king of the blogosphere. Besides, there's a lot to talk about, such as, what should be done to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again? By this sort of thing, I mean the slow killing of a woman, even though her parents stood ready to care for her, at the instigation of her former husband, a man of an apparently extremely selfish and spiteful character, on the basis of evidence that would not have allowed you to claim Terri's stereo set from her estate. Professor Kleinman calls me a ghoul, which is rich. I get exercised over the legal killing of a woman by a husband who won't even let her parents be with her when she dies, and refuses at first to let her receive the last rites, whose creepy lawyer looks at her wasting body and says she has never looked more beautiful, and who won't even release her body to her parents, and I'm the ghoul? I suppose that follows on the same principle that those of us who wanted the state to step in here were violating that well-known liberal principle, the sanctity of marriage, by objecting to a husband's starving his wife to death. If what you have to say boils down to, for Christ's sake give her some water, that makes you a ghoul. Well, if that's so, I think all of us ghouls should unite, and keep an eye out for old people, babies, and people in power wheelchairs, because I think in the next decade or so, they're going to need all the help they can get.