WOMEN WHO FOUGHT TO SURVIVE: SINDELAR & SCHIAVO
By Jill Cohen Walker, J.D.
I’ve asked myself many questions over the weeks that I prayed for Terri Schindler-Schiavo and her family. It’s not necessary to list those questions here and it may be years before I have the answers. Then again, I may have those answers now, but I want them to mature into clear thoughts that will produce sound research. I’m almost there . . .
In the meantime, look again at these two women—Carla and Terri—and look at the folks who cared about what happened to them. Now look at those who didn’t care, wanted them dead, and/or believed that the sick, twisted, man-made “right to die” supersedes God’s words about Him “giving life and giving it abundantly.” Contrast those words with the Nazi-like, evil ideologies that had to permeate Terri’s case for judges to deny her right to due process, right to a fair hearing with all the evidence weighed equally, and the simple right to live. Read the legal documents, excerpts from legal transcripts and affidavits and you’ll find yourself shaking your head in disbelief at what was done to an innocent, handicapped woman.
Look at some of the information presented at various websites (it’s just a simple web search away), listen to the voices crying out the truth, and pray that this culture of death doesn’t become the newest fad to hit the United States. It could because there are those who believe a large segment of the world’s population should be eliminated simply because they don’t measure up to their outrageous man-made standards. It could because man is becoming more and more soul-sick . . . and because the young have been pitted against the old, the rich against poor, and the healthy against sick . . .
We’ve really come far as a civilized people if you count the rapid pace at which we’ve traveled back to barbarism. Last week, a Georgia middle-school teacher thought her grandmother was just too old to go on living and illegally ordered her starved to death. She was not in a coma, was not “vegetative,” and was not terminally ill. She had a living will and it was totally ignored [Read]. Thank God her brother and sister were able to prevail and save her life.
So, here’s a simple concept. Terri’s case was a classic example of “he said, she said,” or “he said that she said,” with the latter trumping all other legitimate and equally important evidence. That’s the really egregious error in this case—the failure of any court to consider all the evidence, especially hearsay evidence, equally. Instead, only the hearsay statements of Michael Schiavo, his brother and sister-in-law regarding Terri’s alleged wishes were ever considered. Never were statements of others close to Terri, those who knew her, those who cared for her, taken into consideration. Ask yourself why?
According to affidavits and statements categorized on www.zimp.org, Judge Greer ignored some serious issues in granting Michael legal guardianship of Terri, and his decisions were rubber stamped by almost all subsequent judges. We don’t understand why, unless we understand the “religious beliefs” of those whose agenda includes ridding the world of those they call “imperfect.” Now, ferret through some of the information supporting the many allegations about Michael and, without making excuses, draw your own conclusions as to whether or not they’re true:
They ignored the possibility that a 6’6" tall man weighing about 250 pounds might, on occasion, intimidate his 5’3" tall, 115 pound wife. That others claimed they were intimidated by Michael’s size was evidently irrelevant; and no self-respecting judge would even look at statements in affidavits and under-oath testimony about Michael’s rages of anger or his use of his physical size to bully others, especially Terri. Nope, “Boys will be boys,” they probably said . . . “so what does it matter if Michael had a tendency to intimidate women?”
They never considered Michael’s employment record after his move from Philadelphia, PA, to St. Petersburg, FL. They didn’t consider it important that Michael may have worked at six different restaurants for the next 2.5 years, with some jobs lasting only two weeks to one month. After all, Michael was very young at the time and the young are allowed to be irresponsible, to screw up, and lack accountability because those things fit well with moral relativism . . . and we’ve already been told that moral children are all mentally ill [Read].
They never bothered to ask whether Michael’s attitudes ever contributed to his chronic unemployment, and they certainly didn’t concern themselves with Michael’s spending habits, especially since it was Terri’s money he was spending during the early years of their marriage. Perhaps this made Terri a little angry . . . perhaps she really did want a divorce; but that was so long ago, and the only thing that mattered from so long ago was Terri’s alleged statement about wanting to die if she was ever on life support. Perhaps it was all doublespeak from the gitgo . . .
Are we surprised yet? Hang on to your seats . . .
I keep asking myself why the judges didn’t want to hear testimony from Dr. Kaplan, Michael’s treating psychiatrist from the early 1990s. They didn’t want to hear the details of a phone conversation he had with Terri’s father about a violent episode between Terri’s sister, Susanne, and Michael. Those judges didn’t care that Dr. Kaplan considered Michael potentially dangerous and advised them to call the police if something of that nature happened in the future. Oh, and he also suggested that Susanne lock her door and keep a hammer nearby. Minor details, huh? I guess it’s about as minor as a patient being prescribed Welbutron, Paneior, Elavil, and Prozac to treat a condition.
Now ask yourself if Dr. Kaplan said that Michael had a “condition” of some sort? If he did, why didn’t Judge Greer look into that “condition” as a factor that might affect Michael’s guardianship of Terri? Why didn’t any of the judges consider this information important before slamming the door of life shut on her?
For those who don’t care, what will you do when the judges decide you have a condition that warrants a death sentence? What if the judges suddenly decide to euthanize all innocent people who have conditions? We’ve been down this road of “final solutions” before, and the world was in chaos. No digression here . . .
What do we say when a man knows CPR but doesn’t turn his wife over to clear her airway when she collapses? Don’t sweat the small stuff? He panicked? How many excuses can we make when we know that in doing so, he would have also restarted her heart? Well, why bother restarting someone’s heart if you want them dead? Instead, go out and get your employer attorney to represent you once your spouse has been admitted to the hospital. Make sure that lawyer is there to meet with your in-laws to convince them that medical care will be more forthcoming if they just sign on the dotted line and relinquish any control over their daughter’s fate.
And it was her fate that was placed in his hands because no one knew that he had failed to use his skills to save her; only a few people knew how miserable Terri was with Michael. In fact, I doubt there were more than three people who knew how imprisoned Terri really was in her marriage (if one could call it that) to Michael. The way I see it, in this new society where life is expendable, death is “beautiful,” and population control (abortion and euthanasia) is a politically expedient way of overcoming God’s mandate, “Be fruitful and multiply,” those who aid and abet the new agenda have been turned into heroes. Ask Judge Greer, why he received the John U. Bird award on May 15, 2004 from the Clearwater Bar Association for sentencing Terri Schindler-Schiavo to death. Ask him which “test” he passed to receive such praise? Take note of who presented him with that award and start connecting the little dots. [Read]
Here’s another question: If the Schindlers had to sign those documents because Terri was “barely clinging to life,” why didn’t Michael state right then and there that “she doesn’t want to live as a vegetable.” If that issue was so important to Michael that he would spend at least seven years and most of Terri’s rehab money to prove it, why did he wait? I offered a theory in my first article on this case and I stand by it. I also stand by an obvious fact: when one is given total control over a patient’s medical treatment, as per those documents, they are also given control over the release of any medical information about the patient. Not once was this mentioned in Terri’s legal files, but a document of that nature allows medical information to remain hidden by the one with a vested interest in keeping it hidden. (And vested interests are not always ethical or moral.)
Now put yourself in Terri’s place. Get into bed and lay there for months and months, years and years, the way she did. You’d sure lose all that muscle tone you developed at those exercise classes or through daily jogs. Then ask yourself if you would notice, even in a disabled state, whether your bones were breaking. In 1991, one year after her “collapse,” a bone scan was done on Terri that revealed “a healed broken Right Femur Bone and healed bone fractures in Terri’s Ribs, Pelvis, Spine and Ankle.” Other reports discuss a broken back. What happened to Terri that there were so many healed-over broken bones?
The judges never asked Dr. Walker, the radiologist who concluded that Terri had a history of trauma, why he believed that to be true. They didn’t care about his belief that “other multiple areas of abnormal activity also relate to previous trauma.” And they sure as heck weren’t interested in hearing the testimony of Dr. Hamilton, an orthopedic surgeon who saw Terri for the first time a few months after she “collapsed.” In fact, the judges didn’t even care that Michael never told Terri’s family about those examinations. Ask yourself why?
There’s been some speculation, through Michael’s spokespeople, regarding the relationship of Michael Schiavo to Terri’s parents. Some have stated that problems began after Michael refused to share his medical malpractice “winnings” with the Schindlers. I have a hunch this is nothing but smoke and mirrors, or propaganda to divide and conquer Terri’s supporters. Keep in mind what’s already been questioned and see if it works better.
On June 18, 1990, a hearing was held in St. Petersburg, FL, to determine whether Michael Schiavo should be appointed Terri’s legal guardian. An investigation of sorts had been conducted and Terri was declared incapacitated. According to court records, Terri’s parents were notified by mail of those events, including the hearing, and they raised no objections to Michael Schiavo being appointed Terri’s guardian. However, Terri’s parents emphatically state that they didn’t know the investigation was over nor were they notified about the hearing. There’s no evidence that they supported Michael’s guardianship appointment other than allegedly a small notation in her legal files that said they were in agreement.
Big deal, huh? He was her husband and that’s that. But if the Schindlers were in contact with Michael on a daily basis, wouldn’t they have discussed this? Wouldn’t the dutiful husband/son-in-law have said something like, “By the way, I’ve petitioned the court to become Terri’s legal guardian. Do you have any problem with this? Do you want to share the role so we can make decisions for Terri together?”
All of this information is archived on microfiche files at the court. So why wasn’t it discovered until June 2004 by Terri’s family? How it is that such vital information could be so well concealed? Why didn’t the judges ensure that due process was afforded a woman they had just declared incapacitated?
There’s so much more that should be questioned. The most convincing argument against Michael having guardianship of Terri can be found in an article on the website of Carole Lieberman, MD, who is also a Fox News consultant (www_drcarole_com). In the piece “Terri Schiavo's Husband Fits Profile Of Wife Abuser, Per Psychiatrist,” Lieberman stated that “the wrong person is being ‘punished’ for Terri’s current state.” Comparing Michael Schiavo to O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson, she said all three fit the same wife-abuser profile.
Lieberman is the author of the book, Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them. She has studied men who exhibit pathology in their relationships with women, is a “psychiatric expert witness who has performed psychiatric exams of men like Michael, and has testified in court about similar cases. In her book, she describes 12 different types of “bad boys.” Michael fits the profile she described in Chapter 13, the “Prince of Darkeness.” Like O.J.’s rage at being abandoned by his wife, Nicole Simpson, Lieberman said that Michael couldn’t tolerate the idea that Terri was making plans to leave him and possibly seeking a divorce. “Men like this are characteristically stalkers; and one of Michael’s girlfriends did accuse him of stalking her in 2001.”
Several additional observations shouldn’t be overlooked. Lieberman explained that Terri’s personality fed into the relationship. It was not unusual that she would be attracted to someone like Michael. She was a loner, didn’t date much in high school, was overweight, and had low self-esteem. Terri was, as Lieberman wrote, “. . . extremely compassionate, nurturing and subservient”—a vulnerable woman who Michael could dominate once he got her to the altar. Add to that Terri’s fear of “objecting to Michael’s pathologically controlling behavior” and you have the perfect case of Battered Woman Syndrome.
I’d be scared to have it out with a man who monitored my odometer, controlled where I went and with whom, and who isolated me from friends and family . . . but I’d want to run like the wind to get away from him. I’d be ripped if I had to account for every penny I spent of my own money while he remained unemployed and spent what I earned. And I would go nuts if that person called me three or four times a day while I was at work. I’d probably tell him to grow up, get a job he liked, and stay put; and I never would have tolerated him scolding me.
This is what Terri endured prior to her “collapse,” but our patriotic, pro-women judges didn’t give a damn (oops, bad word) and either did many Americans. Every argument against Michael was met with skepticism (I’m being nice), downright rudeness, or doublespeak; but they never countered those arguments with anything concrete.
Even more damaging to Michael’s credibility were the black and blue marks on Terri’s body before she “collapsed.” Medical records and statements from experts sustain the belief that her neck injury was consistent with strangulation. The bone scans that were done took place within 60 days of the incident. As Lieberman wrote, they were described “as equivalent to her being ‘hit by a [Mack] truck’.” Add to that the three stories Michael told regarding that incident and how he found Terri face down on the floor of the bathroom, the contradictions he made on The Larry King Show, the contradictions he made to former girlfriends and nurses about Terri’s wishes. In reality, Michael didn’t have a clue what Terri wanted . . . he only knew what he wanted.
I’m saving the worst for last . . .
Lieberman stated that “Michael had Terri’s jewelry re-set into a ring for himself.” Some might say that such behavior validates how much he loved her. I’m not so sure given the other issues that have been raised. Perhaps it’s the item from Dr. Lieberman’s list I saved for last that solidified that belief and made my skin crawl. Here’s what she said: “Terri had two beloved cats that she adopted from an animal shelter, where they’d landed after being mistreated. When he moved in with his girlfriend, Cindy, he had Terri’s cats euthanized.” Lieberman asserted that “psychologically, this is symbolic of what he is trying to do now to Terri.”
Make that past tense. Note also that Lieberman believed that allowing Terri to die based on Michael’s decade-long demands, would help him “escape detection . . . and would be a grave miscarriage of justice.” Well, it’s happened. It’s now a past tense and there’s been no justice . . . yet. Perhaps we will never see justice served in these cases . . . perhaps we will get nothing but lies and cover-ups. But rest assured, while we may never see justice, it will take place. There’s a point in time when God’s hand moves . . . and it moves swiftly against His enemies.
Terri may be gone, Carla may be gone, but if their deaths are in vain, if we let them fade into oblivion, if we forget because it’s so easy to do . . . we could be the next victims of the anti-God, “Death is Beautiful” crowd. Don’t think it can’t happen. Each of us is only one car accident, one slip off a ladder, one gunshot wound away from being dismissed by evildoers as a human being not worthy to dwell on this planet.
© 2005 - Jill Cohen Walker - All Rights Reserved
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Jill Cohen Walker earned a BA from Goddard College in 1977, a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center in 1980, and an MS in journalism at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1999. A freelance writer for fifteen years, she has written numerous articles for tech magazines and newspapers, and co-authored a book on hiring practices in the printing industry.
She taught Social Studies for one year in a northern middle school, and medical-legal and bio-medical courses in the Allied Health division of a local community college for four years. A student of legal history and the US Constitution, she began to study current events and Bible prophecies in March 1985. Her deep interest in and awareness of American politics started during the 2000 elections when she realized the prophetic time clock was ticking fast. She is the co-author of the novel "The Call to Prayer". (www.thecalltoprayer.net).
may be gone, Carla may be gone, but if their deaths are in vain, if we
let them fade into oblivion, if we forget because it’s so easy to do .
. . we could be the next victims of the anti-God, “Death is Beautiful”