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Friday, May 30, 2014

Dexter and Terry Schaivo

As one of those few Americans who doesn't have cable, I wasn't able to watch much of "Dexter." So I did what I'm doing for "Game of Thrones:" I read the books.

Not quite the same, since the story took very different courses in the two media. I just read Dexter's Final Cut- an excellent book which may or may not be the last in the series (I won't spoil the ending, but it leaves Dexter in a very bleak and very ironic place- a conclusion I see as more satisfying than that of the TV series, even if a bit sadder for the part of us that roots for our favorite psychopath-vigilante). But there is a crack of daylight in the ending that holds out at least the possibility that there might be at least one more book- and maybe even more. I didn't see Dexter's predicament as nearly so hopeless as he did (and presumably as author Jeff Lindsey wants us to; if there is another Dexter book, it will probably sell like hotcakes).

Anyway, this post isn't really about Dexter. It's about a line I came across just now in reading a review of the TV finale. Jeff Hibbard's article contains the following regrettable paragraph- regrettable not for what it says about the series, but about the way the media's mismanagement of a very controversial story a few years ago left the nation confused about the most salient point of the whole story:

It would have been nice if Deb's death also somehow accomplished something for her character's arc and struggle which have been so compelling over the last couple seasons. Instead, Deb was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got shot by a psycho that Dex decided not to kill -- whoops. I suspect some viewers who have strong anti-euthanasia beliefs will be upset Dex did the full Terri Schiavo, but that didn't bother me -- Deb wouldn't have wanted to "live" like that.

The thing is- despite George Stephanopoulous's success in misleading even Fred Thompson on the point- Terry Schaivo wasn't brain dead, like Deb was.

If she had been, there would have been no controversy.

Credible witnesses said that she repeatedly tried to communicate with them orally. If she'd been brain dead, she would have been comatose. And what is disturbing about the legal outcome of the case was not that a brain dead patient was taken off life support That was done- without controversy, and at her pious Catholic parents request and the complete blessing of the Catholic church- to Karen Ann Quinlan, back in 1976.

But Karen was not killed. She continued to be kept alive, fed through a nasogastric tube.

Terry Schiavo was killed. She was not disconnected from a respirator. She was starved and dehydrated to death.

And despite the continuing propaganda, there was strong anecdotal and even medical testimony offered at the time that, unlike Karen Ann, Terry was not brain dead.

The cultural Left is quite adept at drawing parallels between apples and oranges. But in this case, it was simply a matter of the media reporting the story in such a sloppy and slipshod fashion that an entire nation got the most basic facts wrong.

It even got the subject matter of the controversy wrong- and people continue to repeat the error as if it were true.

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