Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Personal Testimonial

From Media Matters, regarding an affidavit from Ms. Iyer, a former nurse of Terri Schiavo:
In both a 2003 court affidavit (posted on the website operated by Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler) and her March 22 cable appearances, Iyer maintained that Terri Schiavo was constantly "alert and oriented" while under her care, "saying such things as 'mommy,' and 'help me.' " She claimed that "Throughout my time at Palm Gardens, Michael Schiavo was focused on Terri's death. Michael would say 'When is she going to die?' 'Has she died yet?' and 'When is that bitch gonna die?' " The affidavit also included her claims that Michael Schiavo expressed the desire to "accelerate" Terri's death, that when Terri was sick and looked as if she might die, "He [Michael] would blurt out 'I'm going to be rich,' " and the assertion that "[i]t is my belief that Michael injected Terri with Regular insulin" to intentionally make her sick. She claimed in her affidavit that "I ultimately called the police relative to this situation, and was terminated the next day."

As Media Matters points out, Judge Greer dismissed Ms. Iyer's testimony as "incredible", saying "Ms. Iyer details what amounts to a 15-month cover-up which would include the staff of Palm Garden of Lago Convalescent Center, the Guardian of the Person, the Guardian ad Litem, the medical professionals, the police and, believe it or not, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler." The 24-Whore News channels were more than happy to air Ms. Iyer's statements, which our cold and corrupt legal system had been only too eager to ignore.

I'd like to present a different side to this story, from a personal perspective. While a senior in high school, my civics class had a mock trial involving a bigtime drugpin. And in this trial, my role was as a key witness: the henchman who was giving testimony against his former boss to avoid jailtime. This is a common scenario in the legal world, but I had one problem: I had no idea if the guy was guilty.

I guess I'm just stupid, but this was a big deal for me. How could I testify about something when I had no idea what the facts were, or what I was supposed to say? Sure he was a drug dealer, but was he guilty of everything they said? Was I maybe lying? I needed to know. For me, it was very important that we first outline the facts and be told whether the guy really was guilty. I was the typical dumb high school kid, but even then I had a deep dislike of facts being treated subjectively...even in a mock trial. I brought up these objections on several occasions, but was always poo-pooed, and told that it was a mock trial and that the guy's guilt would be decided by the jury (made up of dolts too stupid to play a part in the trial...much like real life).

Now, in the real world, the cops and/or prosecutor would have coached me in my testimony...especially if I was lying; but in the classroom, I was on my own. And while I looked like the typical stoner/druggie-type in high school, I've really always been a square, even more so then than now...and remember, I'm a CPA now, so you can just imagine how square I was back then. I didn't even drink, for christ's sake!! So I came up with my affidavit against the guy, and thought it was really good. Truck loads of cocaine, lots of heroin, pot, millions of dollars, whatever; I used to watch Miami Vice so I knew my stuff. I thought it was good testimony, and I decided to play it like I was honestly ratting on the guy. I may have been a fink, I told myself, but I wasn't a liar. I'm so square that even as a drug dealer, I'm a square.

I turned it in, and then waited until the trial date to give my testimony on the witness stand. And when I gave my testimony, PEOPLE LAUGHED! They LAUGHED at me! Apparently, my testimony was ENTIRELY unbelievable, to the point that the jury decided to ignore all of the other evidence and let the guy off, based upon MY testimony. Here I was, trying to be honest and help The State of Texas put away this big drug king, and the jury's laughing at me for giving such wild testimony, and let him off while thinking that *I* was the liar. But how was I to know what reasonable testimony was supposed to be? This wasn't my fault. I STILL don't even know if the guy really did it!

And so, long post short, I wonder if maybe Ms. Iyer suffered from the same problem. She was told to write an affidavit, but wasn't told what the facts of the case were. And she knew that people thought that Mr. Schiavo was trying to murder his wife, so she just decided to give testimony along those lines. Is it her fault if it was entirely unbelievable and should obviously be dismissed? How could she know that? And maybe Judge Greer did her a solid by dismissing her incredible testimony. How much worse would she have felt hearing the courtroom break out in giggles every time she testified to Michael's evil-doing? It makes a person not want to invent testimony at all!

So we should all give thanks that CNN, Fox, and the other news whores gave Ms. Iyer the forum she needed to finally give her testimony, and without the presence of skeptical people who disapprove of wild stories and outrageous claims. Rather than facing cynical teenagers or cryptic judges, Ms. Iyer was allowed to spin her homemade tales to the wide-eyed folks at Fox & Friends and CNN, both known for their trustfulness and soft, gentle touch. Maybe they'll even have me on some day, so I can testify against whoever the kid playing the drugpin was. Boy oh boy, will I nail that sucker this time! And if you haven't yet read Ms. Iyer's testimony, do yourself a favor and read it. You could just wait until the Lifetime movie comes out, but the written word is always better.

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