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Other news stories

March 25, 2005

Some interesting stories this week were overshadowed by the one everyone (including me) is all worked up about:

You’d hardly know a Minnesota teen killed 9 people with a gun this week.  It’s a story, but not an issue because there isn’t much political capital to be gained by grandstanding it.  The school had good security.  He took the gun from someone who owned it legally.  No one noticed he was edging toward a meltdown but what can you say except what every parent already knows: “Pay attention to your kids?”  And even if you do, can you always figure out what’s going on?

Also, Congress has fallen silent on the Terri Schaivo issue after their illegal $35m intervention fell flat against public disapproval.  Is there any clearer evidence that the whole thing was for political advantage?

My favorite story this week, which almost no one noticed, was about a shopkeeper in Iraq who fired back at insurgents.  He’s fed up!  I love what he said about it:

“We attacked them before they attacked us. We killed three of those who call themselves the mujahedeen. I am waiting for the rest of them to come, and we will show them.”

The man and his sons fought back, killing several attackers and sending the rest scurrying back under their rocks.  I hope we see more of this kind of action.  Large numbers of the insurgents are from outside Iraq; maybe the locals are getting tired of it!  You can read the rest in the article in the New York Times.  (free registration required)  Who says the liberal media never reports any good stuff happening in Iraq?

Then there’s just one more, terrifying thought about Terri Schiavo…

My youngest son has picked up the excellent habit of writing comments in the margins of the newspaper.  In a story about Terri Schiavo, he saw a quote from Laurie Zoloth, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine:

“It’s one of the extremely painful features of this case – that it looks so much like Schiavo is responding, yet everything that neurologists tell us is she cannot respond… It’s terrifying and terrible to imagine someone in a condition where they’re physically present but completely unable to think or feel or process information.”

… at which place my son wrote;

It is far more terrifying to imagine being mentally lucid while unable to respond

That is a terrifying thought.  Fortunately the evidence suggests Terri is simply gone, and there’s no one there to endure such a torture.  But what if there were? Philip Sandefur describes, in his post entitled “Terri Schiavo”:

The attempts by some to claim that the mechanical reactions of her body indicate that she still has some consciousness are understandable in some videotapes, she appears to move her eyes, blink, even smile. But the doctors, who know a lot more than radio talk show hosts about the functioning of the human mind and body, say that these are mere physical reactions. Nobody has ever recovered from the condition Terry Schiavo is in. Never. Not once. Ever. She is dead.

Let us suppose, however, that she is not. Let us suppose that her mind survives, that she is conscious, but inside of a body that is incapable of responding to her consciousness.* She can hear and understand everything and can perceive everything her eyes happen to focus on. After fifteen years trapped in such a cage, she would be at least insane if not insane, she would be so horribly depressed that it is impossible for me to imagine her wanting to remain on a feeding tube. What if she is screaming inside let me go? Would that make any difference? All of the evidence so far indicates that, were her consciousness still in existence (which, I hasten to repeat, it is not) that that is just what she would be screaming.
- Philip Sandefur

(from Dispatches)

Categories: News
  1. March 26, 2005 at 02:44 | #1

    I was actually going to post a bit on the unfortunate events in Minnesota but I heard an interview on CTV where a spokesman for the reservation said that the community didn’t want a media spotlight shined on them.  That said, I’m surprised as well that the popular media didn’t swarm on the story of the school shooting.  Then again, I’m just as surprised that they’ve made such a big deal about Schiavo, it just doesn’t seem that interesting to me.  I guess that’s why I would never get a job as a programming director.

  2. Lucas
    March 27, 2005 at 04:56 | #2

    Severe Parkinsonian patients live in that world.  Pretty horrible to think about.  One wonders how such a faux-catatonic patient would respond to Bush’s stem cell policy if he could speak.

  3. March 28, 2005 at 08:30 | #3

    Actually, I’ve seen and heard plenty of coverage on the Minnesota shootings (and national stuff, not just local Columbine-sensitive-related here in Denver).  It did seem to have a shorter news cycle, but that may just be because, well, the press has already beat similar stories to death (so to speak) and there’s not much else to say (esp. if the locals aren’t busy blabbing to them).  While school shootings remain rare, they’ve been reported on enough that without a “new angle,” what’s there to say?

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