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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Honesty and Concern Do Not Excuse Ignorance

I try not to post on things I don't know about. That's why I've never posted on Tom Delay, Michael Jackson, or Scott Peterson. Or just about everything except the five things I do know about, most of who live in my home.

I attended a school at the U.S. Army Special Operations Center that involved being thrown in a simulated POW camp. One of the things they would do I would call "indoctrination meetings". At these meetings, they allowed the 'prisoners' to speak somewhat freely, although it would be about the subject the captors chose. The purpose was to make the prisoners feel less secure about themselves, their country and their beliefs and therefore be more sympathetic to the ideology of the enemy.

How were they able to do that? One word - ignorance. My peers were all Americans, and hence, did one of the things that characterizes Americans - they loved to talk, at length, about things they knew nothing about.

My fellow soldiers opined, sometimes vehemently, about politics, military doctrine, world leaders, US History - and talked out of their rear ends. They said things like "Manuel Noriega was educated at West Point" and agreed with statements like "The US actually attacked North Korea first". On the occasion that I would attempt to reverse the course of my peers, I was silenced - in an unpleasant fashion.

This is not peculiar to soldiers. Although the case has been public for months now, people still have no freaking idea what Terri Schiavo's condition is. I don't mean differing opinions on whether she is in a vegetative state or not - I mean outright wrong facts that seriously change the face of the argument.

Today's example is found at When Tara Met Blog, which I stumbled on through Courting Destiny. Tara has a heartfelt story about the tragic death of her big sister, who was declared braindead and allowed to expire when her ventilator was removed. Unfortunately, Tara mars this story by stating that "One student commented that Teri’s husband obviously does not love her anymore. But if that was the case he would have taken the money that was offered from the anti-euthanasia people and let his wife continue breathing via machines." Then she follows it up with, "Some feel that it’s not right to take life into your own hands and that taking Teri off the machines goes against God’s natural plan. But there is nothing natural about having machines breathe for you....If her family allowed the media’s cameras to show Teri's current condition with her laboriously breathing in her hospital bed and photos of her bruised body, then there is no way you could think that this is natural."

Good freaking grief! This is why a majority of Americans think that Terri Schiavo's starvation is just - they think she is lying in a bed, being constantly poked by needles, bruised all over her body and living on a ventilator. Wrong, wrong, wrong! She breathes on her own, responds to stimuli, and moves on her own. What can't she do? 1) Express herself to us, and 2) Swallow. She is only receiving food and water through a tube into her stomach.

Some know the facts and still support the killing of Terri Schiavo. While I disagree with them, they have reasonably constructed arguments for their support, not the least of which is the law. However, ignorance of the facts makes your argument worthless, no matter how honest and hearfelt your sentiments may be.

Moral of the story: Don't talk when you don't know what the heck you are talking about. Those of us who do know what you are talking about get thrown in bamboo cages and beaten for mentioning it.


  • You're right. I think that Tara got caught in the moment, and I'm sick and not thinking properly (no comments) but breathing on her own or not Terri Schaivo is a shell of a person.

    Terri Schaivo might not be technically brain dead but when all that works is a brain stem, she's 99% dead

    By Anonymous pia, at 3/30/2005 02:07:00 PM  

  • Hammer, you just claimed Terri "responds" as if that was a fact. The court ruled otherwise.

    CAT scans are consistent with this finding.

    By Blogger Mark, at 3/30/2005 03:26:00 PM  

  • Here is a layman's guide to brain scans. The CAT scan can only effectively measure brain activity during a sustained task, such as a Wisconsin Card Sorting Task or a spatial reasoning task. A PET is necessary for measuring instantaneous changes in brain activity.

    As I recall, Terri received neither an MRI nor a PET.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/30/2005 03:42:00 PM  

  • Does this lack of knowledge include the people who want Terri's feeding tube reattached because "with a little therapy she can get better"?

    By Blogger Sally, at 3/30/2005 05:41:00 PM  

  • I know my sister's case was very different from Teri's but I was just sharing my personal story, since her situation has brought up a lot of hard feelings for my family.

    By Blogger TaraMetBlog, at 3/30/2005 06:52:00 PM  

  • Here is an MSNBC interview with one of the neurologist who examined Terri Schiavo and gives an explanation as to why a CAT scan is enough to determine she is in a persistant vegatative state.

    By Blogger Sally, at 3/30/2005 11:03:00 PM  

  • Sally,
    Of course it does. I am not one of them.

    By Blogger Hammertime, at 3/31/2005 03:28:00 PM  

  • Hammer,

    I hope you know full well by now my position about Teri.

    99% dead or not
    PVS or not
    Certainly not some idiotic court ruling or not
    CAT scan or PET or not
    little therapy or not
    Misinformed people about the facts or NOT
    doesn't matter.

    We cannot escape the fact that we caused the death of a person who, with just the basic requirements of food and water that we all need, would be alive today.
    Doesn't matter what we want to think whether or not WE would want to live this way...we put to death a woman on less grounds than we wouldn't write a parking ticket. And, our government, all of us...watched it all happen for 13 days!!
    Bring on the "aggressive human experiments and organ harvesting" I say...we're obviously ready for it.

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 4/01/2005 11:37:00 AM  

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