"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
The Last Great Act of Defiance
There was a t-shirt, popular during my early teen years. Across the top in large font was writ: 'The Last Great Act of Defiance.' Underneath the lettering was a large set of talons, suggestive of a large bird of prey. The talons were extended forward as such birds do when they are diving for a kill. The perspective of the viewer was as if suspended from the bird's belly. Below stood a mouse, feet firmly planted, eyes glowering at its dealer of impending fate, large middle finger extended upward toward the killer. The meek standing firm and defiant in the face of that which presumed to set the time of his demise. I've had that shirt in mind since I began following the plight of Terri Schiavo.
This column began as a passionate defense of Michael Schiavo's position in the case of his wife, Terri. The mainstream, corporate media had led me to believe this sad case was a simple matter of a woman in a persistent vegetative state being kept alive against her wishes. She had not completed a 'living will,' but her husband and legal guardian Michael was fighting heroically against a persistently meddling State--and a self-righteous clutch of voyeuristic, overly officious trolls--attempting only to carry out a request she had made of him within the privacy of their marriage. Then I remembered I was relying on the mainstream, corporate media. So I did some digging. Turns out there is a fair amount of nuance to this case that has gone virtually unreported, if one has relied solely on the major outlets of the fourth estate. Go figure.
I began at the site specifically put up by those who wish to see Terri Schiavo live on, in apparently absolute disregard of her quality of life. From here I learned there were unproven allegations of spousal abuse in the Schiavos' marriage. She isn't really in a persistent vegetative state--within the confines of Florida law, whatever that is worth. Michael has been somewhat less than thorough in following the dictates of Florida law with respect to his duties as legal guardian. Additionally, Terri's parents allege Michael has not allowed the therapy they insist would improve her condition. Of course, all of this is contained in, and linked from, a site devoted to keeping Terri alive--at any cost. All of the usual 'sanctity of life' suspects are represented. Still, doubts were planted.
Michael does not enjoy such a centralized deposit of information and commentary in his favor as Terri does. The forces of darkness and death aren't as organized as the forces of life-because-we-say-so, apparently. When you presume to speak for God, you had damned well better set up a website. There may be nuances in Michael's favor, but he is refusing requests for interviews. Can't blame him for that. He did note the 'sad day for everyone in this country, because the United States government is going to come in and trample all over your personal, family matters" to Good Morning America. Good morning, Michael! That trampling you sense has been apace for quite some time. Never underestimate the resolve and will-to-tyranny of a grandstanding politician.
A passionate defense of Mr. Schiavo is not forthcoming. Too many questions. As there should be in a matter of life and death, I suppose. Yet certainties exist. In drawing up legislation directed specifically at one family, the persistently meddling Statists have outdone themselves once again. Trumpeting obsequiously for an audience of those who presume to tell us not only how long, but simply how, to live, Congress voted for the 'culture of life,' near to the very day, two years previous, our culture commenced raining flaming death upon another for no good reason. Some lives are more sanctified than others.
Absent suicide, dying on one's own terms requires a 'living will,' a prostrate plea to the State to be left alone during the most vulnerable, personal point in the existence of an individual. Nothing, perhaps, manifests more than this the stranglehold Leviathan holds over its subjects. Therefore, nothing, perhaps, may unequivocally aver my own contempt for the fraudulent, State-enforced, religion-approved 'culture of life'--those who presume to dictate my time before the diving bird--than this:
I hereby refuse to plead before the United States government--or any other government or similarly artificial construct for the control of humanity extant on earth, including, but not limited to, any form of religious, or societal organization--for the right to specify the time and manner of my own death. In the absence of my own lucidity and/or physical capacity, the decision of my passing is left solely to my wife, parents or siblings, in that order. If none of these parties are able to be present, I grant this opportunity to the party serving as my nearest relative or guardian. If, after a period of one year following loss of capacity, I have not regained the mental and/or physical capacity required to announce my intent to live or die, my life is to be extinguished by the bearer of this responsibility by any means necessary. A signed paper copy of this document will be filed with my personal effects, in the same folder as the State document granting my existence, my birth certificate. I refuse to notarize this document for the purpose of granting it a chimerical State legitimacy. To any and all who would presume to override this statement for any reason, secular or otherwise, I offer only this: