Letters

Trudy Crow
Lyman, South Carolina


Assume nothing

This is clearly murder. I am the parent of a profoundly retarded, blind, deaf, and non-ambulatory young woman who is 30 years old. She functions on the level of possibly a three-month-old. She is alive, however. She has the right to remain so until such time as her body can no longer function on its own. Note, I said her body. She needs to be fed too, albeit with a spoon, but if that were not done she could not eat; she needs assistance to drink as well. Shall we allow people to starve to death because they can't feed themselves and can't speak to us? I don't think we can assume that they don't think or feel.

Eileen DeName
Sayville, New York


Redemption song

I had long ago thought that journalism was beyond redemption. Hentoff has spoken to America regarding the truth in America and I think Ben Franklin and the rest of our founding fathers would be proud. I know I am.

Jennifer L. Jones
Fort Worth, Texas


Scare tactics

OK, Nat, I don't want to scare you. But what are the chances that someone like you at The Village Voice and someone like me, a pro-life, born-again Christian, graduate of the Citadel, conservative Republican, would agree on an issue such as this?

Dwight Larkins Sr.
Lawrenceville, Georgia


Mysterious ways

Thank you, Nat Hentoff, for your excellent summation of this horribly sad judicial act of arrogance and premeditated homicide of an innocent human being. The half-truths, blunders, atrocities, and sad ironies in this barbaric act seem unfathomable in our "civilized" 21st-century land of the so-called free. That our Catholic bishops would call a formal press conference to announce their "initiative" to abolish the death penalty in the midst of this tragedy is an incredible embarrassment to many of us and, unfortunately, just another mind-boggling moment in this whole—to quote Terri's mother—"very cruel act." I'm sure you'll understand when I say, "God help us all." The irony of an atheist being the conscience of the masses in this is not beyond God's mysterious ways.

Father Francis Stone
Birmingham, Alabama


MRI and dry

The distortion in this piece renders Hentoff's opinion baseless and feckless. Just two examples: First, Terri Schiavo has not had an MRI because she cannot have an MRI. In the early '90s, Michael Schiavo took his wife to California for treatment that included implanting a device in her brain that it was hoped would help regenerate brain activity. The device contains metal and the magnetics used in an MRI could kill Terri.

As for legal representation for Terri Schiavo, a guardian ad litem has been appointed to represent her interests. Remember, (a) Terri Schiavo cannot communicate with an attorney, and (b) an attorney would answer to no one except Terri Schiavo, who cannot communicate. See the problem?

Jo Verneuille
Elk Grove, California


Hungry like the cow

At the same time that Terri was being starved, another Florida man (Michael Swails) was being held on $100,000 bond for starving cows.

David Wood
St. Louis, Missouri


Partisan hate

Lerner writes of "pro-life" as if it's merely a partisan political label.

Is she so morally lost and consumed with partisan hate that she does not understand that the right to life is one of the inalienable rights bestowed on us by the creator, as affirmed in our constitution? I forgot. As an enlightened progressive—after all, she writes for The Village Voice—she might not believe in the creator, and therefore has a wobbly commitment to the concept of inalienable rights. It is directly because of this secular-humanist philosophy, and those who share it, that Terri Schiavo was tortured to death before our eyes. There will be many Terris unless this heinous crime is stopped. Jeb and George Bush are as at fault as Judge Greer and Michael Schiavo.

Tom McGuinness
Sonoma, California


Her so-called life

OK, everyone who, if they found themselves in Terri Schiavo's condition, would choose to continue living her so-called life for decades over a peaceful death, raise your hand. If the alternative is slowly dying of thirst, which you may or may not feel, which would you choose? OK, how about a nice massive dose of morphine so you could just be out of your misery, supposing you had any consciousness at all? The latter is the most appealing, to me at least—anyone else? But even with a living will, no one can choose to have access to this most humane of options. So uncivilized, this country.

Pat Benard
New Orleans, Louisiana


Where there's a will

I don't agree with Hentoff, but now I realize how important it is to legally document my wish not to be forced to live like Terri Schiavo. Unfortunately, I can't just tell my loved ones and let them deal with an excruciatingly painful decision privately without judicial interference. Thank you for reminding me that I must protect myself from people like you.

Jonathan Vaughan
Houston, Texas

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