Skip to comments.Behind Scenes: How Terri Schiavo was saved ( ????? )
Posted on 11/23/2003 5:14:51 AM PST by Robert Drobot
Dr. Alan Keyes, Declaration Alliance
Dear Friend of Life,
I pray that you will read the enclosed letter with a grateful, generous and charitable heart. My friend, Randall Terry, has just fought an extraordinary battle against the killing spirit of our times - and by God's grace, emerged victorious!
Let me tell you what happened behind the scenes. While I was in Israel, a federal court decreed that Terri would die. My chief of staff, Mary Parker Lewis, contacted Randall Terry (Founder of Operation Rescue) and asked him to give his full attention and efforts to saving Terri's life. After he spoke with Terri's family, and knowing that we would help cover the costs, Randall left the next day for Terri's side.
Randall Terry and Bob Schindler, Sr.
Mr. Schindler (Terri's father) told Randall, "We are giving you 'carte blanche.' Do whatever you can to save our daughter's life." Randall Terry and his staff put together a strategy for vigils and protests, a meeting with Governor Bush, getting national press, and creating an avalanche of public outcry for Terri.
God blessed these efforts! Life and death decisions in America today are in the hands of tyrannical judges, who exude a spirit of callous evil, and embrace wholeheartedly the nation's rampant culture of death. At every turn, they must be challenged - and stopped!
In the travesty of "justice" that has been meted out to Terri Schindler Schiavo and her family's struggle to protect her God-given right to life, we have witnessed a miraculous reprieve - for now - from her court-ordered killing. Attached is Randall's day-by-day account of how this dramatic rescue unfolded. I know you will find it inspiring!
Thank God for all of you who have acted on their conscience to defend Terri, thank God for her family's courageous, unwavering, faithful witness to the dignity of her life, and thank God for those champions - for Randall Terry - who sacrifice all in their power to challenge those who oppress and destroy innocent life. Please read his gripping account of what has just happened in Florida, and what you MUST do to help!
And your generous support is urgently needed to keep up the fight! Randall's efforts to rescue Terri have been financially depleting, as you can imagine. He has already spent tens of thousands of dollars in this struggle on travel expenses, sending out national press releases, coordinating and deploying legal interventions, and much more. The willingness of pro-lifers to help with funds and continuing activism is absolutely key in sustaining the campaign to spare Terri's life, and the lives of others in America being done to death by tyrannical courts! So please read his letter, and join with me to help all you can.
RANDALL A. TERRY PRESIDENT --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE SOCIETY FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE
SPONSORED BY THE DECLARATION ALLIANCE PRO-LIFE PROJECT
"Our family asked Randall Terry to come, and we gave him carte blanche to put Terri's fight in front of the American people. He did exactly what we asked, and more. Randall organized vigils and protests, he coordinated the media, he helped us meet with Governor Bush, which gave us the momentum to pass the law that has saved Terri, for now, from death. My daughter is alive today because of Randall Terry's efforts." --Bob Schindler, Sr.
The above statement from Terri Schiavo's father may come as a surprise to you. You may or may not know that my staff and I have spent the last two weeks frantically fighting for Terri Schiavo's life.
What follows is a behind the scenes look at what we did to save Terri's life (for the time being). My prayer is threefold: 1) that Terri will receive the rehabilitation therapy she has been denied for the past thirteen years, 2) that her life will be permanently spared, 3) that you see what can happen by the grace of God, hard work, and good strategies-thus inspiring you to fight in your community for justice.
Let me first acknowledge that many devoted friends and associates have been helping Terri and the Schindler family for over a decade. We surely entered into the fruit of their labors. Pamela Hennessey has done a great job keeping Terri's website up-to-date and inspirational, and handling press requests for the family. The Schindler's attorney, Pat Anderson, and a host of other lawyers have fought for years in the courts. Only when it seemed that every courtroom action was tried, retried, and exhausted, and that the fight for fair coverage by the media had failed, did the family ask for our help.
Also, as we gathered the momentum, Terri's cause as it should took on a life of its own. People from all quarters were sending out emails and phoning, contacting friends, creating more outcry. All of those efforts were invaluable and necessary, a part of the sweeping avalanche that engulfed the media, and captured the nation's attention. Hardhearted judges had denied Terri justice in the courts. We took her case before the American people in the court of public opinion, and the decency of the American people forced politicians to act. We won Terri a reprieve from certain death. This is how we did it.
On Friday, October 10th, a federal judge denied Terri's appeal, ruling that the Federal court had no jurisdiction in this case. This meant that Terri's food and water would be taken away the following Wednesday (Oct. 15th) at 2:00 PM. This ended a ten-year plus battle in various state and federal courts to save Terri's life.
Day 2: The phone call.
On early Saturday, October 11th, I received an impassioned phone call from Mary Parker Lewis, Alan Keyes' Chief of Staff, and Phil Sheldon, partner and creative genius behind conservativepetitions.com. They told me plainly, "Terri Schiavo is going to die; we've got to do something. Randall, you've got to go to St. Petersburg and help the family."
We spoke to Pamela Hennessey, Terri's web site volunteer who has acted as family spokesperson, and within a few minutes she had us on the phone with Terri's father, Bob Schindler Sr. I explained my background in activism and my work with the media and told him that we would serve his family in any way we could if the family wanted assistance. His plea was simple: "Please come. I am giving you carte blanche to do anything you can." I told him we would come, and we began to scramble.
Day 3: Strategizing with Terri's family.
On Sunday, October 11th, Gary McCullough and I left our homes to go meet with the Schindler family. Gary and I used the four-hour drive to lay out a simple, detailed, and somewhat ambitious strategy.
Gary McCullough is my "media man," and has worked with me since the early days of Operation Rescue. He helps me with the press in every conceivable way. His professionalism in coordinating the media throughout the ten days that followed was a critical part of the victory.
We arrived at the Schindler's home at 7:30 PM. The Schindlers are Bob Sr. and Mary (Terri's parents) and Suzanne and Bob Jr. (Terri's adult siblings.) Mr. Schindler introduced us to about ten people who were present. I laid out the strategy I believed we should take:
1) A 24-hour a day, non-stop vigil in front of the hospice where Terri was held starting the next day (Monday) at noon.
2) Focus our public cry for help squarely on Governor Jeb Bush.
3) To garner national press coverage, we would use a noon press conference Monday to notify the media that Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, was leading efforts to make Terri's plight known to the nation. (We did this because in the news media world, this announcement was sure to get their interest, and get the press present at the hospice. The family's voice could then be heard across the nation through the media, who up to this point had largely ignored Terri's plight.)
4) We crafted a short statement asking Florida Governor, Jeb Bush to intervene ("Governor Bush, I appeal to you as one father to another, please save my daughter") and communicating to Terri's errant husband ("he could have the money, we just want our daughter.")
5) We would need a motor home to park near the hospice where we could strategize and rest. We needed food, water, and signs for those who responded to our call to join the vigil.
6) We would solicit local clergy and politicians for support.
7) Those present would send out emails and make phone calls to everyone they knew locally to come to the vigil. Furthermore, we would utilize larger lists, such as "conservativepetitions.com" and "Terri's list" to alert people around the nation to what we were doing, and implore their help. (People came from all over Florida as well as Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. And Focus on the Family and other national organizations rallied their troops, as well.)
I explained to the family that the media would come, and that most of them (especially the "big shots") would probably not care about the Schindler family. They were exploiting the drama and sorrow of the situation for their "need for news." That being true, the Schindler's needed to "use" the media to get their daughter's plight to Governor Bush and the nation. ("It's a mutually exploitative relationship!")
Day 4: Raising the flag.
At noon on Monday we began our vigil (with about 25 people present) and held our first press conference. The family explained to the press that I was there at their behest and I outlined our activities and goals. The Schindlers then put the ball squarely in Jeb Bush's court, calling on him to intervene to save Terri's life. When Bob Sr. said, "Governor Bush, I appeal to you, one father to another, save my daughter," he became very emotional and so did the media. From that moment on, we captured the local media's attention and finally much of their sympathy.
That afternoon, the Schindler family gave me a copy of a "clandestine" video they took of Terri two years ago. I say clandestine, because the judge that ordered Terri's starvation also ordered that no videos be taken of her and no therapy be given to her. (More on that later.)
The Schindlers had snuck a camcorder into their daughter's room two years earlier and filmed their daughter interacting with "Mom." You probably saw a clip of that video on TV. Terri was clearly trying to talk, at points she was laughing and at other points showing frustration. She was obviously not in a coma, nor in a "persistent vegetative state," nor was she on any life-support systems. They had hidden the video for two years, fearing contempt of court charges. When I saw the video I knew it would win the heart of the American public, but it was Mr. Schindler's decision to take a personal risk to release it. With his daughter's life on the line, he went forward boldly, and without hesitation.
Day 5: Releasing the "illegal" tape.
At about 11:15 AM we held a press conference showing 5 minutes of Mary Schindler (Mom) interacting with Terri. The press was riveted. We gave copies to all of the TV media that were present. We knew that if we could get this footage out, and the American people could see the truth, we could win their hearts. Tragically, much of the print media was repeating the lie that Terri was in a "coma" or a "persistent vegetative state. Television play of the video would expose these lies immediately. Furthermore, Mr. Schindler recounted his efforts at "illegal" speech therapy by phone with a doctor from Nevada. After several sessions of phone calls between this doctor and Terri, he told her that she would be starved to death if she did not get better, and that she needed to get up from her chair. Mr. Schindler recounted that at that point, Terri tried to get out of her chair, and Mr. Schindler had to catch her to keep her from falling. Terri clearly understood danger and death and was trying to get up.
From that point forward, the media was hooked and much of it was highly sympathetic. The national press started pouring in. We began booking the Schindlers on every TV and radio show we could. The family repeated their call for Governor Bush to intervene over and over and over. The message was getting through and momentum was building, but Terri was scheduled to begin starving the next day.
Day 6: Terri's starvation begins/We meet with Governor Bush
The crowds at the hospice were swelling into the hundreds. Media satellite trucks lined both sides of the street. We had succeeded in capturing the nation's attention but what about Governor Bush? That morning we found out that Governor Bush would be in the St. Petersburg area. I suggested that we try meeting with him immediately, or that we hold a protest vigil outside the meeting he was attending. Within an hour we had a meeting scheduled with the Governor.
At 11:00 AM the family and I were escorted into a room were we met with Governor Bush for thirty minutes. He seemed genuinely sympathetic with Terri's plight, and clearly stated he did not believe she should starve to death. But unfortunately, he told the family, "My hands are tied." Various family members kept saying, "There must be something you can do!"
At that point I asked Governor Bush: "Mr. Governor, if you could be shown that you have the constitutional authority to intervene, and that your intervention would not be a violation of the separation of powers, would you consider those options?" He immediately said yes and put me on the phone with one of his legal staff. He promised the family he would look at every legal option he had.
When we exited the meeting, the Governor told the press that he was exploring ways to intervene...I began the mad dash of calling every legal firm I could think of asking for a "memorandum of law" within the next 12 hours, outlining the legal arguments of how the Governor could intervene. Those memoranda can be read at "Societyfortruthandjustice.com." Mary Parker Lewis and Janet Folger contacted several public interest law groups, and the Thomas More Law Center, with vast experience of fighting the pro-death movement especially stepped up to assist. By the following morning we had six legal opinions to the Governor showing him plainly that he had the constitutional authority to act.
Day 7: Turning up the volume
Thursday, October 16th was day two of Terri's starvation. Political will in Florida seemed weak, but the family knew she would hold on for several days, so we stayed focused on calling upon Governor Bush to move. At the morning press conference, we gave the new "memoranda of law" to the press. We know from insiders that the Governor was receiving conflicting advice. Some told him that he had the authority to act and that he should, others were uncertain and perhaps afraid of the political fallout.
We learned that Governor Bush would be in Jacksonville, Florida for a ribbon cutting. I called my wife at 10:00 AM and told her, "You have two hours to get people, make signs, and contact the media to tell them you will be at the event calling on Governor Bush to save Terri." In less than two hours she had ten people, ten signs, and great media coverage. We needed a crescendo of outcry; people meeting the Governor around the state in order to turn up the political heat. Still he did not act. Florida State Representative Frank Peterman Jr. held a press conference in front of the hospice, declaring he would support the governor's intervention on Terri's behalf.
Day 8: Another Court effort.
At about 1:00 AM Friday morning, I called my good friend, attorney Michael Hirsch, and asked him to fly to Tallahassee at 9:00 AM to file a "writ of mandamus." Florida attorneys Jack Thompson and Teresa Ward worked into the wee hours preparing this writ. A "writ of mandamus" is a legal motion brought before a judge asking him to compel a government official to execute his duties faithfully.
In other words, Bob and Mary Schindler (Terri's parents) were "suing" Governor Bush, asking a judge to order the Governor to save Terri because of his legal authority and duty to do so. It was a long shot, but it continued to put the focus on Governor Bush (we gave the Governor's attorney a friendly "heads up," so that they did not feel ambushed). The district court denied the request for an emergency hearing, as did the First District Court of Appeal two hours later.
We were disappointed, but we had to take every possible avenue to apply pressure. Such actions clearly showed the Governor and the legislature that the family would not take "no" for an answer. The press covered Michael's and Theresa's courtroom efforts, which added to the crescendo.
The public outcry to Governor Bush on Terri's behalf at this point was deafening. It came from all quarters. Tens of thousands of phone calls and emails poured in from all over the state and across the nation. Still, he did not act.
Day 9: Governor Bush, where are you?
Saturday, October 18th, was the fourth day of Terri's starvation. One minute she looked good and gave the family hope, and the next she seemed unable to respond and started showing signs of dehydration.
We continued to get members of the family on every TV show we could. They bravely called for Governor Bush to intervene: Still nothing. That evening, I made calls to activists in Tallahassee (the state capitol), and asked them to hold a one-hour vigil at the Governor's mansion on Sunday, and one at his office on Monday. Each event was covered by Tallahassee media, which surely added to the political pressure. This was not going to fade away.
Day 10: At the Governor's mansion
If the Governor would not come to the family's aid, we would go the Governor's house. The 24-hour vigil continued at the hospice; now "protestors" were at the Governor's mansion on Sunday afternoon. We were turning up the heat as politely, but as directly as we knew how. The family continued to use live interviews to call on the Governor to use his authority to save Terri. Phone calls and emails poured in to the Governor by the tens of thousands. Terri was now in her fifth day of starvation, but by all accounts was miraculously holding on. Sunday was a day of prayer, and fasting by thousands of Americans in sympathy with Terri's suffering.
Day 11: Finally! The breakthrough!
On Monday, October 20th, the miracle happened. We still don't know the exact chain of events that happened behind closed doors. But this we know: prayerful intercession, the avalanche of media coverage and the ensuing outcry resulted in justice for Terri Schiavo.
Governor Jeb Bush used his authority with the Florida legislature to "expand the call" for a special session that was beginning Monday. Florida house speaker Johnny Byrd, senate president Jim King, and Governor Bush agreed on a bill that was tailored to give the Governor the authority, backed by the legislature, to intervene and save Terri's life. We believe Governor Bush had the executive authority to act on his own all along and that should "Terri's law" be found unconstitutional by the courts (as is highly likely) he STILL has that authority. Perhaps he wanted the political cover of the state legislature acting in concert with him before he countermanded a court order.
I was in Tallahassee in the gallery of the house on Monday evening as they debated "Terri's law." It was a miracle to get such a law passed so quickly. We kept telling the media "they can't go fast enough, she is being starved to death."
Day 12: Food and water restored!
That morning I went to Senate President Jim King's office (he is my state senator) to beg him on behalf of the family to bring the bill to a quick vote in the senate. Every hour mattered and it was not scheduled to be taken up until 6:00 PM that evening. We did radio shows urging people to call and email the senate to get the bill through more quickly. The Senate's email system was actually overwhelmed by the public response.
By this point, this rescue effort had obviously taken on a life of its own. All who cared, all with conscience, were using the tools at their disposal to get this bill through. Political insiders in Florida were pulling out the stops. It all paid off. As you know, by mid afternoon on Tuesday, both houses voted on a final bill. Governor Bush signed it into law, and then issued an order to have Terri's feeding food and water resumed.
By early evening, she was moved to a hospital and there began receiving food and water. Remember, Terri had gone 7 days without nourishment or hydration. Throughout that time, she was conscious and remained alert. This was nothing short of a miracle.
Shockwaves and joyful shouts
We cannot overstate the shock that reverberated around the state and the nation over the courageous action that Governor Bush and the Florida legislature took. There are very few times in recent history that two branches of government intervened to stop judicial tyranny and injustice.
This was a great victory for Terri and her family. People were shouting for joy in front of the hospice. But it was also a small victory (and a small first step) for restoring true self-government and ending judicial tyranny in our nation. Most of us know that the greatest threat to life, liberty and justice has come from an unaccountable judiciary. FINALLY, a governor and a legislature said, "Enough!" This is what it looks like to have separate but equal branches of government.
We must urge our President, our Governors, and our representatives in federal and state office, to stop bowing and groveling before despotic courts. We must all stop begging for crumbs of self-government at the table of judicial dictators. I pray this is a dramatic beginning of the return to true self-government and the rule of law. I pray this is a wound in the head of the serpent of arbitrary judicial dictates.
We are in contact with the family, helping devise the next wave of strategy. Already the attorney for Michael Schiavo (Terri's husband) has petitioned two courts to strike down "Terri's law" as unconstitutional, so that she can be starved again. Both efforts have failed for now. However, the ACLU has entered the fray to fight to kill Terri. They will be a much more formidable enemy.
The ACLU strategy will be this: 1) they will paint Michael as a victim and a hero, who loves his wife. (Never mind he lives with his "fiancée," has two children by her, and has spent the money for Terri's rehabilitation on lawyers determined to have her killed.) They will put Michael Schiavo on the talk show circuit to tell the world that Terri wants to die. 2) They will demonize the "religious right." They will argue that Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature were the tools of a fringe element of society who wants to strip away the "right to die" (and the "right to choose") from every American. 3) They will howl that this law was unconstitutional and that the legislature and the Governor violated the Florida constitution and the separation of powers doctrine.
Knowing this strategy could enjoy much success with a biased, liberal press, we are giving the family the following counsel: 1) they must demand of Governor Bush and the authorities that a new guardian acceptable to the family be appointed, and therapies begin at once to teach Terri to swallow and to speak. The focus needs to remain on Terri. She has been denied therapy by her husband for over a decade. The day that Terri can say "Mama," and the day she eats on her own is the day that her life will surely be spared. 2) The family must call on Governor Bush to authorize a criminal investigation into the cause of Terri's injuries. The family and many friends suspect that domestic violence from her husband caused her disabled state. Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist from NY was on Fox TV with Greta van Susteren. He stated his belief based upon the facts that an assault put her in this disability. 3.) They must continue to pressure Bush to intervene based on his executive authority under the Florida constitution, not merely the bill passed by the Florida legislature. Bush has the authority to act, without "Terri's law." The question is whether he has the political will.
My fear is that the courts will strike down "Terri's law," and that Governor Bush will throw up his hands and say, "I did all I could do, but now I must obey the law." Rather, to truly obey the law, he needs to use the executive power granted to him to save Terri's life, no matter what any court says.
Furthermore, if Florida law enforcement begins an investigation into the possible assault Terri endured, then Terri becomes a material witness (or at least her injuries and her person become evidence). Officials need to do thorough bone scans, and other medical tests to determine whether a criminal assault upon Terri put her in this state. She would effectively be in the custody of the police while such an investigation and potential prosecution ensued.
It is late Sunday night, October 26th. By the time you read this, the situation may have changed again. At any point, another tyrant judge might order Terri starved. I beg you to pray, and to stand ready to assist in any way possible should another crisis arise. No matter what, we will not quit fighting for Terri's life, and the right of her mom and dad to try and nurse her back to health.
Finally, please consider helping us offset the costs incurred to enter the fight for Terri's life. (In case you wondered, I put my radio show on hold for another month.) We put out multiple thousands of dollars to serve the family, to exhaust legal options, and create the avalanche of publicity. I will not personally take one penny from the Society for Truth and Justice for my efforts. However, we must pay all bills accrued. If you agree with the steps we have taken, and are in a position to help with these efforts (and those that are coming), please send whatever help you can. Gifts are not tax deductible.
Please click here to donate to save Terri's life: https://secure.cartlight.com/merchant/schiavo/donation.php
I just don't like it when Terry's chronology of events does a spin on WHEN the public outcry for justice from the State of Death r Us.
I personally contacted Alan Keyes' office pleading for his involvement in saving Terri early on in doing all that I can in my dedication to assuring Terri her Constitutional rights - and I'm certain I was not the only Citizen doing so!
I'm really happy that a savvy public relations team of Keyes and Terry are joined in the fight against the "system" the boy who would be governor of the State of Death r Us declared we should trust to work in Terri's case.
So far it has.
A dummy bill was drafted and signed, which changed nothing only delays the final solution designed by the "system".
A classic shell game if ever there was one, and the masses bought it hook, line and sinker - including well intentioned FReepers eager to support anything the "system" concocted to pull the wool over their collective partisan eyes.
I have maintained that the shell game started early on when FReeper Kimmie7 received an email from the office of the boy who would be governor in which he declared his undivided support for the final solution devised by the State of Death r Us to terminate the lives of anyone silly enough to have become a victim of a legal, medical, body organ merchants, and organized religion predators are branched overhead watching for vulnerable prey.
These are the players in the "system" of the State of Death r Us. How the victim is murdered is of no consequence, drowning, gas, insulin, starvation. It's all the same.
Greer is not an abnormally. He is the face of the "system". He signs away life, while joining with his brother predators in simultaneously signing away their souls.
I hold little hope for the "system" shutting it's doors. There is simply to much money involved.
I support the attempt of Keyes and Terry to make Terri so well known that the "system" gives her up. However, a loss by the "system" will dislodge their grip on death and dying in the new Amerika.
Terri's plight is a ready to order script the "system" is using to wear down Citizen activism to the point where questioning the acts of government will be a considered civil disobedience by the to-dumb-downed-to-know-better public.
We did not protest.
The government got away with the cold-blooded murder by decree.
Once upon a time this behavior was called 'situational ethics' - form a statement to accomplish a goal - no matter the truth of the statement. A practice used extensively by the Nixon administration, and seemingly adopted as fair play by government thereafter.
I was riveted by the way Mrs. Schindler manipulated Terri's head while pretending to adjust her pillow. The way Mary was able to keep Terri's eyes following her was truly a puppeteering feat. It almost seemed as if Terri was trying to communicate with her mom.
It's unfortunate that the rhetoric takes this tone. Yes, Terri's life and death are important, but can't arguments be advanced without the condescending attitude?
I'm not sure if you meant this the way I took it.... if you believe Terri's life has no worth, or that it isn't productive just because she can't say "Mama" or eat on her own, I beg to differ. There are a lot of children with cerebal palsy and other debilitating diseases, a lot of folks who have suffered strokes, have parkinson's, and many other ailments, etc., who are very productive, valuable and loved individuals. Secondly, Terri has not been given the therapy that the aforementioned generally receive without question and if she had, may have been able by now to say "Mama" and eat on her own.
If ever either of you need assistance from others due to sickness or injury, how will live with yourselves knowing you should have just been left to die instead.
Maybe you should, that way the Schindler's con job on the general public will never be exposed. I have no problem with Terri being kept alive.
Is it just me or is that a rather pompous sounding statement. He makes it sound as if it was Randall Terry's efforts alone that got something done. I've kinda felt all along that they were trying to take credit that wasn't entirely theirs to take. I don't mean that to minimize their efforts, but there were a great many of us working our hearts out to get something done for Terri and i firmly believe that it was every one of us who by the grace of God made it a victory, for now. But we still have a long ways to go.
monkeys will fly out of your butt?
I would suggest you do a reading of conclusions from medical professionals who have examined Terri personally, or reviewed the tapes of her interactions with those about her. Further, read the affidavits from the nurses who have treated her - unless of course you are a product of American public schooling - in which case, I offer you pity for your lifetime of ignorance.
Condescending, say you. How then do you describe the arrogant behavior exhibited by the State of Death r Us establishment (government, the Roman Catholic Church, the medical profession, the scum sucking slime who dare call themselves lawyers, the media, the courts, and the state agencies) having a duty to protect the disabled.
How dare the boy who would be governor declare he has done all he is capable of doing - when he let Terri starve for six days - when good and honest men and women of the bar have extolled him to implement the inherent powers of the office he pretends to control.
His wordsmithing is clear. He alone saved the day.
Bear in mind I do understand a person leading the media fight has to have a sense of self-worth that exceeds reality. But to do an in-your-face with that part of America that has been at war with the "system" - and who know in detail the history of this shameful drama - was less than astute.