Mercy or Justice?

Letter sent to the Miami Herald on Wednesday, March 23, 2005:

Dear editor,

Today Senator Dan Webster begged the Florida Legislature, “I’m here pleading for mercy. Have mercy on Theresa Marie Schiavo.”
But Sen. Webster has misstated the government’s obligation in this situation. What the state owes Terry Schiavo is not mercy, but justice. She is not some pathetic soul that deserves our pity. She is a human being with certain “inalienable rights,” as the Declaration of Independence phrases it. And the duty of our government is “to secure these rights.”

Governments exist to protect the life and property of citizens. That is why they are given the power to enact and enforce laws and to make war. Even our fire trucks bear the motto, “protecting life, protecting property”! Any society in which the lives and property of innocent people are violated while their offenders go free displays a perverse and disgusting concept of justice.
The fundamental issue in the Terry Schiavo case is this: will our government uphold its duty to do her justice by protecting her life?

Brian Douglas
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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