Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Wisdom of Solomon

Regarding Terri Schaivo, is it just me or is there a solution to this situation beyond starving this woman to death by court order? Schaivo's husband could want to end Terri's life for several reasons: 1) he wants her dead for insurance money, 2) he wants her dead so he can marry his current girlfriend and get on with his life, or 3) in good faith he wants to do by Terri what she wanted: no extraordinary measures to keep her alive in this state.

The first and second are selfish reasons, and the last is not supported by any concrete evidence. So I wonder: when did this become a zero sum game? When did our society become so legalistic that a court can order a person starved to death even though there are those willing and able to care for her even if she is in a PSV?

Seems to me there is a middle solution here. Let's say Michael Schaivo just wants the insurance money. Could not the government give him half the due proceeds and take custody of the woman, essentially buying her freedom and saving her life? At that point, the government could award custody to her parents, who want to keep her alive. And if that rubs against your small government sensibilities, could not the government stay Ms. Schaivo's execution pending the raising of some sum of money by a certain time by private groups that would compensate Mr. Schaivo for the loss of insurance money due him under their earlier orders that Ms. Schiavo be terminated? Again, upon payment of the sum to Mr. Schaivo, custody of Terri would go to her parents. If you think this sounds like a ransom payment, just remember that the courts have declared Ms. Schaivo's life void, so copycats couldn't extort the government without a similar court imposed death sentence.

Regarding the divorce, this is a stickier situation due to the Catholic faith of the parties involved. It is obvious, however, that Mr. Schaivo is a Cafeteria Catholic, one who chooses which rules of the faith he wishes to follow. Though still married to Terri, Mr. Schaivo had three children out of wedlock with his current girlfriend. The marriage goes to the issue of who has the right to decide the course of action regarding this woman. If the scenario's in the previous paragraph are pursued, at least from a legal sense, this marriage would be effectively a nullity and the issue would disappear. If I'm not mistake, the family of Ms. Schaivo does not want the divorce because, as Catholics, they are opposed to the procedure. In the scenarios I outlined above, a "divorce" would effectively occur in the legal sense, but need not occur in the sense of the faith. Therefore, the actions of Mr. Schaivo would be on his conscience, not Terri's.

Regarding the final point, that Terri wanted to be put out of her misery in a situation like this, there is simply no concrete proof that Ms. Schiavo wanted such measures taken. And if there was, we wouldn't be in court today. The issue would be resolved according to Terri's wishes, not her husband's or family's.

In summary, there is a solution to this situation that could satisfy both parties. Unfortunately, because of the politics and prejudices of the parties, courts, activists, and politicians involved, this solution is being ignored while the parties seek the pure victory. Are there no Solomons in our society who could devise a plan to save this baby from getting cut in two?


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