Thursday, March 24, 2005

Brian Schiavo Interview Part I: Terri "Not Conscious"

In his own words, Brian Schiavo asserts on Anderson Cooper's 360 that not only is Terri neither aware nor alert, she's also been unconscious for the past 15 years:

A: Well, on 360, we don't take sides, we like to present all the angles. ... but first, Brian Schiavo, the brother of Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, who's spearheading the effort to let his wife die. I talked with him earlier today.

A: Brian, I want to play you something that Governor Jeb Bush said earlier in the day, and I want to have you respond to it. Let's take a look.

Brian: Okay.

[Governor Bush asserts there is compelling evidence that Terri is not in PVS.]
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A quick primer: It may be biased on my part to say this, but the brother looks and sounds unconvincing. (His physical resemblance to Michael is also uncanny but I'll put that out of my mind.) I try to imagine what it would be like to be (as Michael asserts) on an utterly noble (not utterly guilty) mission to kill his wife or sister-in-law. I try to imagine how I would come across to someone if it were me on television instead of Michael or Brian Schiavo.

I think the peace and inner conviction of knowing I was right, of having the sure go-ahead from my spouse on my side, of knowing she would rather die than live one more day, would be obvious to everyone. It would feel fine to turn down that $10 million. It would be my solemn duty. But that kind of passionate energy - even if tinged with the guilt of responsibility - would not produce the kind of thuggish, suspicious body language and emotional fragility these two men have exhibited since the start (in Michael's case, the night of the incident). Besides, we already know Michael Schiavo has no idea what Terri's wishes are. He has admitted that himself.

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A: Uh, the Governor's saying she in a "minimal conscious state", rather than a "persistent vegetative state. True?

Brian: Ah, that's what he be-*lieves*, but, uh, y'know, he was asked to come, come in and, unn, unn, take a uh, uh, good look at all of the.a..the information, the medical information... and uh, and he wouldn'a had to do this at the last minute, a, tuh, to throw this in there, an uh, to try to, to try to ah, ah, cre*ate* a problem at the last minute/he was asked to look at this before - *I* don't believe that's true, I've been to see her, aaunnmm, she's very peaceful, and she's *not* [flash of defiance]... conscious. She ahm, unfortunately this particular ah, ah condition, i-it looks like somebody's awake, they have, uh, wake and sleep cycles. ah, and it *looks* like they are awake, uhm, but, uh, Terri doesn't recognize anybody, she doesn't recognize *where* she is, ahm, so *I* don't agree with that at *all*...
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My opinion: The entire statement is a lie from start to finish. It's obvious. Consider the opposite for a second: Would he come across like this if he was telling the truth? I hope not. I can sense the surges into & out of the truth, into & out of the zones where he finds comfort, areas where he feels [or thinks he will feel] secure, where he feels vulnerable. That tells me he's not a pathological liar. In fact he's not a very good regular liar. That may speak well for him in the end.

Contrast it to what he SHOULD have sounded like if the $10 million refusal was on the up-and-up:

"Look, I know what it *looks* like, and the whole idea of death with dignity may look to some people like *murder*, but it's really *not*, I can *assure* you, my brother and his wife were *very* clear on this while they were married, in fact *she* *made* *him* *swear* to her, in no uncertain terms, that if anything ever happened he would see it through to the end for her, and she would be there waiting for him on the other side... and we just *hope* that President Bush will start to see it *our* way, so that it's not dragged out as yet another excuse to feed a political know how *that* is, Anderson..."

I'll call that the reply that didn't happen. It's honest. Well-intentioned. Sensible. Truly principled. Argued from a point of patience, from knowing you're right: it's not moody, it's not petulant, it's not suppresed rage or worry. There's no selfish desire to be "on with it" like there clearly is with Mr. Schiavo. After all, as long as the wife is peaceful and well taken care of and there are no medical bills, what on heaven's name is the rush?? It would be reasonable to expect a little irritation, but that irritation would come across immediately as righteous and principled. His and his brother's performances on the camera come across as willful and basically incriminating. Especially when we consider the totality of Michael's neglect over time, and the fact that the evidence shows she likes music and fresh air!

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A: So in your opinion, she's not aware of any of... this.. whirlwind a- around her right now.

Brian: Not at all. [chuckle] Not, not at all.
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The question Anderson posed was a little ridiculous, so I don't condemn Brian for chuckling. But the rest he can tell to the Marines (not the judge).


Blogger Maggie said...

RD this is a good call. I have not seen the brother on our TV but from the transcript I would say that he is making a worse effort at lying than Michael.

That is why I believe that Brian and Joan did not hear Terri make an off hand remark. I am convinced that George Felos coached them about coming forward so that they would give a testimony that did not conflict with Michael. I am not convinced that Terri had a close relationship with either one of them.

10:37 PM  
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