Readers Respond

Monday, March 28, 2005

Letters to the Pilot

Save Cobblestone

To The Editor:

Being a former Storm Laker I hate to see the city lose Cobblestone. They are very much in need of a better senior center/ community center. Can't the city do something to help there? It is such an interesting old building and has so many memories for so many people. Part could be a museum and the rest for a community center where dances could be held. Where else in the area is there a good dance place? I have been to many places that have annual polka fests and what a perfect place that would be. Storm Lake could make an annual festival of some kind and it could take place there. Something like a corn festival or something the city is noted for. What an opportunity.

Pat Bellcour, via e-mail

Terri Schiavo debate

To The Editor:

As I was sworn into Congress, I placed my hand upon my great-uncle's Civil War Bible and vowed to "uphold the Constitution". These words have always stuck in my mind, and I think about that vow every day. My number-one duty in my job is to know, follow and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Last weekend Congress was faced with the responsibility to defend the Constitution and give a disabled woman, Terri Schiavo, equal protection of her rights under the 14th Amendment.

Terri Schiavo, the disabled Florida woman who has spent 15 years under the oversight of her estranged husband and one pro-death state court judge is a human being just like you and me. She lives on her own, unassisted by machines. She was not dying, not in a coma and would not be near the end of her life now if it weren't for the barbaric torture of taking away her food and water that her husband, the man who said vows to protect her in sickness and health, has sentenced her to.

Because Terri did not have a living will when she collapsed at 26 years old, her guardianship was automatically bestowed upon her estranged husband.

Terri is not on life support, and does not have any machines to help her live. She needs help to eat and drink, but so do many in this country. There are many Americans, including the elderly, premature babies, disabled Americans and those with various diseases who need feeding tubes in order to obtain their daily nutrition.

Family law issues are historically, and rightfully, left to the states; however, Congress is obligated to act as it sees fit to defend the Constitution, protect the right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process and make sure that every American has equal protection under our laws.

It's unconscionable that Scott Peterson and the man who abducted, molested and murdered little Jessica Lunsford will be given full access to federal appeals, while Terri Schiavo does not even though she has committed no crime. She deserves her day in court.

The bill, passed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and signed by the President does not provide salvation for Terri Schiavo; it only ensures Terri has the right for a federal court to review her case.

This week, I spoke with Bobby Schindler, Terri's brother, who confirmed for me that Michael Schiavo never indicated that his young bride had verbally expressed her living wishes until seven years after she collapsed - after he was engaged to another woman, fathering children with that woman, and receiving $2.22 million from medical malpractice settlements. Working with Terri's estranged husband is a right-to-die lawyer, who, while on the Board of hospice where Terri lives, has claimed approximately $400,000 in legal fees...

It's hard to determine who is looking out for Terri's best interest. If a guardian has a conflict of interest under these or similar circumstances, the only salvation is legislative action to protection of her Constitutional rights.

Terri's mom, dad, brother and sister have all said that they want to care for her. As I write this, I do not know whether the judge will allow her food and water to be restored. I hope he will, I firmly believe that we should err on the side of life.

- Congressman Steve King, Kiron