Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Your Lyin' Eyes 

cat painter From Florida medical examiner Jon Thogmarton on the release of Terri Schiavo's autopsy report:
"...his examination turned up no sign of abuse or trauma -- allegations leveled by Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, against her husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo.
A report from a neuropathologist who served as a consultant to the autopsy said Schiavo's brain was "grossly abnormal and weighed only 615 grams (1.35 pounds)." That weight is less than half of that expected for a woman of her age, said the report written by Dr. Stephen J. Nelson. "By way of comparison, the brain of Karen Ann Quinlan weighed 835 grams at the time of her death, after 10 years in a similar persistent vegetative state"...
Schiavo's brain damage "was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," Thogmartin said.
He said, the vision centers of her brain were dead, meaning she was blind. And his examination showed she would have been unable to take nourishment by mouth because of the danger she might aspirate the food."
No evidence of abuse, no evidence of foul play. The response of Schiavo's parents to this?
"The lawyer for the Schindlers said at a news conference today that the parents continue to believe their daughter was not in a persistent vegetative state and thus should not have had her feeding tube removed."
Ever since the Rodney King video made self-delusion a national past-time, more and more people have been navigating by the comfortable worldmaps inside their own heads, rather than seeing what's right in front of their eyes. Now Schiavo's parents, confronted by information on their daughter's condition that fails to support their own beliefs, simply choose to ignore it, and are joined and even encouraged in this sad shadow play by the vultures of life.

But why not? Hasn't the political and public reaction to the revelations of Abu Ghraib, Guuantanamo, and Bagram Air Base demonstrated that Americans have a talent for this that is nearly phenomenal? Eventually respect for the truth and the desire to seek it out must begin to wear thin, when you live in a world where no evidence is ever enough. You start to suspect that, ultimately, finding out what's real and sharing that with others is not only a waste of time, it could even get you hurt. You stop trying.

And maybe that is the point.

(Originally posted at It's My Country, Too.)

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