"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The sky was still dark Monday as Lisa Wilson walked quickly up 66th Street N toward her destination.
She carried a sign with the words "Terri Schindler was murdered" and a single-minded purpose that even she struggles to explain.
"I've never gotten up this early for a job in my life, but you do strange things when you love your job," said the 48-year-old woman as she took up her post at the intersection of 66th Street N and 102nd Avenue N at 6 a.m.
Wilson is the last of the hundreds of protesters who trampled the grass outside Terri Schiavo's hospice in the days before her death March 31.
If you talk to Wilson, you find out the Topeka, Kan., woman is not so much a religious zealot like some of the other protesters but maybe a woman who has either lost or found her way, depending on your perspective.
She hadn't been to a church in 25 years until recently. She says she has had an abortion. She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Washburn University in Topeka and a master's in food and nutrition from Kansas State University. And she maintains that she has never been to a protest in her life - until she showed up 56 days ago.
"I believe strongly in what i'm doing," Wilson said. "I'm trying to protect other people from getting euthanized. This is a wake-up call for me...."
Hospice officials say Wilson has been respectful of employees and the families who visit loved ones. But she received a $56 ticket a few weeks ago for violating Pinellas Park's sign ordinance.
Signs are not supposed to be placed in the right of way. Wilson says she leans two of the three rods holding up her sign on her Nike sneakers as she sits in her white plastic chair. But on April 14 police accused her of planting the sign in the ground and ticketed her.
She is the only Schiavo protester cited for violating the sign ordinance, despite the huge number of signs in the right of way before Schiavo's death.
The Democrats could learn a thing or two about tenacity from Lisa Wilson. Now, then - let's get this poor woman some professional help.