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March 21, 2005


Thomas Hazlewood

First, let's be clear on one thing. Every individual can choose to die and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them. If one chooses to use a gun or a bottle of sleeping pills to suicide, only fortuitous intervention can prevent it. Law may forbid, but, cannot reverse, a fait accompli.

So, let's agree that Terri Schiavo HAS the right to die by her own hand. However, her condition now prevents her from choosing, let alone exercising, such a option. In such an event we must depend upon Terri Schiavo having made her desires known prior to her incapacitation. The law provides for this by a contract WITH SOCIETY. By signing a 'Living Will' Terri Schiavo would commit her desires indelibly by contract, and society, recognizing her desire, could lawfully exercise the means to execute that contract. And there's the rub- there IS NO CONTRACT.

I understand that her husband and several others testify that she made her wishes known to them. The problem is that those conversations cannot be considered if, in fact, they ever occurred. The law makes no provision for a informal contract with individuals. If it did so Dr. Kevorkian would never have seen the inside of a prison.

Beyond that, if an individual were asked what he would do with a million dollars, would that constitute a binding commitment to, say, give half of it to me simply because the individual said they would? How about a prayer to God, promising that if he'll get me out of this trouble I'm in, I'll go to church every Sunday? Does the law recognize that as binding? Because the subject, Terri Schiavo's life, is serious, the law should only recognize serious declarations of intent.

In the end, the question becomes, does Terri Schiavo have a contract with society?. In fact, she does not. By intervening, a judge, representing society, assumes for himself, AND SOCIETY, the right to determine the individual's desires. Society has already agreed on the method for deciding such matters, that is, the 'Living Will'. Any decisions made which are not based on the legal, and accepted, contract between the individual and society must be considered capricious and unwarranted.

J. A. Gillmartin

Amen Bill!

As to the comment above ... Mr. Hazlewood you are soooooo wrong; in a civilized society no one has "the right to die" capriciously, arbitrarily, or contrary to good of his or her neighbors and fellow citizens, period.

The psychological well-being of susceptible citizens, the weak and the young is a primary concern of the civilized society.

You sir are suggesting a regressive philosophy of life; you desire to move man closer to the beast than the creator.

Yours is a culture of death, not life ... suggesting we are naturally uncivilized and should remain so ... I reject your philosophy without hesitation.

Thomas Hazlewood


In no manner have I recommended visiting capricious or arbitrary death upon anyone. I spoke against capricious judgement.

Nor have I expressed what may be "contrary to good of his or her neighbors and fellow citizens". I expressed no assumption as to the value of a decision expressed by a 'Living Will'.

You say no one has the 'right to die'. If that is true, then declare it so and, henceforth, no one will ever die by their own hand. Of course, people WILL claim that right by the execution of it and you will have no power to stop them. Thus, it is, truly, inalienable. You may not approve of that decision made by another, but, all the same, it is theirs to make and cannot be denied them.

You make certain assumptions which are patently false. You state, "The psychological well-being of susceptible citizens, the weak and the young is a primary concern of the civilized society".

I might point to you that, years ago, the law decided that even mentally unstable persons could not be detained by the state unless it was demonstrated that they were a danger to themselves or others. It is widely known that many of the 'homeless' are, in fact, not capable of normal lives due to drug use, alcoholism and mental illness. In view of the facts, either ours is NOT a civilized society, or, our society places personal choice and responsibilty before society's desire for conformity, meaning the latter is NOT a primary concern, regardless of your personal understanding.

The term 'susceptible citizens' is so broad that we might conclude that advertisements should be illegal because they prey on the gullible, or those too young or unlearned to make informed decisions.

My comments were not of a philosophy but in the recognition of a particular contract which our society accepts as an expression of personal responsibility. It exists- I didn't make it up. The matter in question is whether to accept the legal guardian's word of Terri Schiavo's wishes. A 'Living Will' would have left no question at all. Lacking that, a judge has intervened to decide that, lacking any evidence other than hearsay, he knows her wishes.

If a judge devines that conclusion without evidence, he can only have acted capriciously for the law already determines the method by which such decisions are declared. Shall we now make new laws explaining whose hearsay evidence is acceptable? Would her neighbors' do? The mailman's?

Suppose she had confided them to you? Considering your point of view, could we expect you to fight your own inclinations and reveal that she does, indeed, wish to die?

Terri Schiavo failed in providing the one item that would conclusively prove her intent. The law, or, the judge in this case, should err to the side of the law, otherwise we are left with a morass desirable only to lawyers. Terri Schiavo should not be compelled to die from benign neglect.

J. A. Gillmartin

Thomas -

"The law, or, the judge in this case, should err to the side of the law, otherwise we are left with a morass desirable only to lawyers."

The quantity of a man's words is not an indication of his wisdom; nor can the crust of a pie protect or disguise its meat.

That said, you sir are a bona fide secular-humanist who is evidently ashamed of that fact. Though your head is 18 inches from your heart, they seem not to have been introduced.

You speak of the law and reason of man; I speak of a Royal Law and the reason of God. How true it is that He said, "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" [1 Corinthians 1:20b]

People who think from the heart desire a judiciary which errs to the side of justice ... psha, erring to the side of the law is what has gotten us in this pickle.

Thomas, I mean no offense but this is an issue which will affect this great land for decades and it is too serious to be treated lightly.

J. A. Gillmartin

Thomas -

I had to return here to be sure I have not attacked you unfairly. On a second read I don't see you nearly as much a secular-humanist as I originally did. I apologize for perhaps categorizing you without sufficient cause.

On the other hand, I do view your comments much in the same way I view decisions by several of our courts in recent years.

You desire a form of justice which, when it errs, errs to the side of the law. I too want that. However, we've been seeing far too many decisions err on the side of personal world-views or political correctness, not the law at all.

Were these justices to come out of their intellectual closets and declare their world-views for what they are, and declare that they intend to allow their world-views to influence their decisions, that would be fine, we could fight that ... but they don't and they won't. They hide in the shadows of the law.

I give you environmental decisions which have thrown people off their land, destroyed their livelihoods, or denied them access to public resources in the interest of minor life-species. I also give you federal courts (even the Supreme Court) using international law, unratified treaties, and foreign constitutions in their decisions. I cite the judicial branch of government encroaching on the domains and duties of the other two branches with impunity.

I'll stop before my words reveal shallowness. We are in a cultural war and the spoils are the fruits of seeds planted in the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors' sacrifices ... too valuable to abdicate.


J.A.Gillmartin mentions the
citing of "international law"
by SCOTUS. On Monday, Little
Green Footballs had a posting
regarding "Honor Killings" taking
place in Germany and Britian.
The article refered to the "chattel laws" of Islam.
Michael Schiavo has already, in
practice, taken a second wife.
He has ordered his wife to be
murdered. He has for years deprived Terri of therapy. If
only he would say "I divorce you.
I divorce you. I divorce you."

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