On Wednesday, relatives of Terri Schiavo, along with others who think the comatose woman should be kept alive by artificial means, held a gathering to mark her 40th birthday. Attending was a delegation from Free Republic, the Web site where far-rightists gather to castigate liberals and boast of their own patriotism; the Freepers' deep concern for Terri Schiavo can be felt in one Freeper attendee's report:
...the donation cup on Free Republic's table consisted of a flag, a small gavel taped onto it and hanging on by a twist tie, my Daniel Webster beanie baby. Daniel just happened to be carrying a cloth book entited "LAW". Daniel Webster made some cash for the Foundation.
...thanks to another freeper, I printed out a 17 page list of all the threads that were posted for Terri at Free Republic through November 18, 2003. I put Free Republic's Logo in a stand up picture frame and also wore my name tag from the Friva Conference held in Las Vegas in August of 2001....
Free Republic highlight for me: Almost as quickly as the Free Republic table was set up, a forum broke out on the right side of the table. I had to ask the A & E cameraman to move over so that I could take a picture of OUR TABLE. Then A & E asked me to flip through the book that showed all the threads. He also filmed the flowers and semi-participated in the forum on the right...
This report, from LifeNews.com, tells how others marked the day:
...several hundred people sent Terri birthday cards and while others gave balloons and cupcakes.
Cupcakes. Recall that Terri Schiavo is fed through a feeding tube.
...Though Terri's family was permitted to bring in a piece of cake to Terri's room (she was not fed with it) the officer on duty mocked them as they put lip gloss -- a birthday present -- on her lips.
"All of these little indignities add up to one great, giant indignity, namely treating Terri as though she were dead," said Pat Anderson, attorney for the Schindler family.
In January 2001, the Second District Court of Appeal described Terri Schiavo's condition:
Since 1990, Theresa has lived in nursing homes with constant care. She is fed and hydrated by tubes. The staff changes her diapers regularly....
Over the span of this last decade, Theresa's brain has deteriorated because of the lack of oxygen it suffered at the time of the heart attack. By mid 1996, the CAT scans of her brain showed a severely abnormal structure. At this point, much of her cerebral cortex is simply gone and has been replaced by cerebral spinal fluid. Medicine cannot cure this condition. Unless an act of God, a true miracle, were to recreate her brain, Theresa will always remain in an unconscious, reflexive state, totally dependent upon others to feed her and care for her most private needs.
For her birthday, they gave her lip gloss.
Whose life is it, anyway?