I've tried to keep this blog a Schiavo-free zone, but some things just have to be said.
Child Protesters Show Support for Schiavo
Scott Heldreth has been arrested numerous times for picketing abortion clinics and blocking sidewalks while praying. Now his 10-year-old son, Josh, has followed in his footsteps.
Josh is one of six children - ages 10 to 14 - arrested in the past week for crossing a police line at the Woodside Hospice to take water to Terri Schiavo.
. . .
[Joshua Heldreth] walked up to sheriff's deputies, carrying a plastic cup, and ignored two requests to turn around. Deputies cuffed his hands behind his back and loaded him into a van with 14-year-old twin girls. At the courthouse, the three youngsters were photographed, fingerprinted and released.
. . .
Demonstrators have allowed their children - some too young to truly understand why they are there - to pass out religious fliers and hold signs accusing Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, of murdering her. The children beat five-gallon buckets like funerary drums and wear shirts declaring them "Youth for Life."
Let's assume that in some alternate-Earth, young Joshua Heldreth somehow manages to get past the police, the barricades, the metal detectors, the hospice staff and everyone else with his plastic cup filled with water, and makes it to Terri Schiavo's room and bars the door against anyone stopping him from his next step.
Whereupon he, no doubt with a smile on his face, pours the water into Terri Schiavo's mouth...
...and kills her.
Terri Schiavo has such massive degeneration in her brain tissue that breathing (alas for her) is one of the few functions left.
Swallowing is not one of the functions still working. She cannot swallow. This is why that famous feeding tube had to be inserted in the first place.
Had that water been put into her mouth, some of it would undoubtedly have dribbled out the sides and onto the bed. And some part of it might have trickled down her esophagus and into her stomach.
The rest would have gone into her lungs.
And ten-year-old Joshua Heldreth would have murdered the woman he expected to save, by literally drowning her in her bed.
This is not a real hard thing to figure out: Someone unable to swallow. Put stuff in their mouth, they choke. Choke their airway badly enough, they die.
Did Scott Heldreth, Joshua's father, not figure this out?
What kind of parent would allow their ten-year old son to try and do something with a possible end result of killing another person? Is this criminally stupid? Criminally irresponsible? Or criminally insane?
When Mr. Heldreth pickets abortion clinics and blocks sidewalks, it's his own freedom he puts at risk by breaking the law.
When he allows (and encourages, even if indirectly; Joshua didn't drive himself to Florida) his ten-year old son to break the law in ways that, if fully carried out, could have deadly results, then he's crossed a line.
The North Carolina (the Heldreth family's home) department of Child Protective Services should investigate whether Mr. Heldreth's actions (and lack of actions) in Florida constitute parental abuse or neglect, and whether Joshua should be taken from his custody.
Update, 3/27/05: I asked the question, "What kind of parent...?" up above regarding Scott Heldreth.
The answer, it appears is a registered sex offender, listed as "absconded from registration" in the state of Florida.
(Thanks to this post from Daily Kos.)