Monday, March 28, 2005

My 2 Cents: The Lagging Public

One of my observations from serving on several juries in criminal cases is that jurists will often make statements that aren’t related to the charges or the facts in the case being decided. I’ve heard many jurists make a comment similar to this, “If I were Joe Suspect, there is no way I would have done “------.“ Others have made statements like this, “I can tell Mary Witness is lying because I never would have done what she said she did.” All of us go through life everyday witnessing others make decisions and take actions that are completely different than what we would do, but for some reason, when people serve on a jury, they filter the evidence based on what they would or wouldn’t do in a similar situation.

I’m convinced that the public opinion regarding the fate of Terri Schiavo is being formed based on this type of jurist mentality and it is being affirmed by the shallowness of the mainstream media. The public has not had time to digest all of the relevant facts regarding Terri’s case. Therefore, the public is mostly responding to whether or not individually they would want to be kept alive in a bed with a feeding tube for fifteen years. However, I’ve also noticed there is quite a breadth of support for saving her life. There are many politicians, leaders, and thinkers, who I normally would not agree with who have come out in support of saving Terri’s life or at least reviewing all of the facts before allowing her to be starved to death.

I feel very sad for Terri and her family. However, at the same time, I am very encouraged by all that has happened as a result of her case becoming public. I am also very hopeful that as a society we will start to get matters regarding the sanctity of life, and matters regarding the obligations of legal guardians, right more often than we get these matters wrong.

For the first time in a very long time, some politicians got out ahead of public opinion. This could be a sign of a new era of leaders being willing to lead. Families are now having conversations about their own wishes regarding life. Matters of life and death are being seriously discussed.

It may take a few decades, but as people and families grapple with the decisions to sustain life through medical advances, more and more people will choose life, and more and more people will recover, and at some point the depth of opinion will match the breadth of opinion to error on the side of life. I am almost certain that as public opinion in America matures, Terri’s death will result in many more people being saved.


Jennifer said...

I absolutely agree that God will use this tragedy to draw others to Him. He always does! I also agree that the public as a whole does not have enough information to take sides. None of us can truly say "if that were me..." because we never know what we will do until we are in that position. I would not want to be Terri, I would not want to be her parents, and I would not want to be her husband. We can only cling to the truth that God is control, whatever happens.

Buz said...

(Sorry for the delay ... I tried to respond twice earlier, but for some reason, I could not connect.)

David, you are much more of an optimist than I. I think that the lesson this will teach our society is that you can now get rid of the infirm as well as the unborn. Possibly the inconvenient as well.

"First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."
Rev. Martin Niemoeller

I guess we should speak out before they come for us ...