Kill your five children, go to jail.
June 20, 2001 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Kill your five children, go to jail. So, what to do to a mother that decides not to be a mother any more?
posted by dwivian (39 comments total)
Just.... Damn.
posted by dwivian at 1:39 PM on June 20, 2001

Houston? Right then. The process would be to find her fit to stand trial, then guilty, then the appropriate executioner.

Not that I agree with the process, or anything. Every place has their own customs...
posted by websavvy at 1:42 PM on June 20, 2001

Throw her into traffic.
posted by bondcliff at 1:43 PM on June 20, 2001 [1 favorite]

I was just about to ask if she had a dog...
posted by websavvy at 1:44 PM on June 20, 2001

i just came from putting together my trellis, heard this on my portable radio. I noticed the poor souls names are of Biblical origin...i want to burn my fucking trellis.
posted by clavdivs at 1:44 PM on June 20, 2001

The woman, Andrea Yates, had taken medication for depression since the birth of her youngest boy two years ago, but whether that contributed to the crime was not clear...

Her lawyers should go after the pharmaceutical company. Obviously they weren't making their pills nearly big enough.
posted by bilco at 1:52 PM on June 20, 2001

The process would be to find her fit to stand trial, then guilty, then the appropriate executioner.

I can't think of a better, more appropriate process.

There just isn't a hole deep enough or dark enough to throw her in.
posted by UncleFes at 1:52 PM on June 20, 2001

And surely post-partum is a big sham, speaking as well-informed men, right?
posted by websavvy at 1:53 PM on June 20, 2001

And surely post-partum is a big sham, speaking as well-informed men, right?

No one's saying post-partum depression is a big sham. But post-partum alone can't account for this.

Many, many women suffer from it and yet they manage somehow not to drown all their children.
posted by bilco at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2001

Does it really make a difference what's you feel when you brutally murder your own five children? I don't care if she was in the midst of full-on schizophrenia coupled with multiple drug addiction and an infected lobotomy with her brains leaking out her ears.

You do NOT murder children.
posted by UncleFes at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2001

Guilty but insane. Life in prison.
posted by dhartung at 1:59 PM on June 20, 2001

Texas logic: if she's insane, she can live. But if she's retarded, she can still be executed.
posted by ColdChef at 2:01 PM on June 20, 2001

Or Governor. Or President.
posted by websavvy at 2:03 PM on June 20, 2001

I hold her husband partially responsible. What was he thinking-having her have that many children that close together?!!! I myself have clinical depression (controlled by medication) and while I cannot in my wildest dreams condone what this woman did, I do understand the stresses that she finally snapped under.
posted by bunnyfire at 2:04 PM on June 20, 2001

Guilty but insane. Life in prison.

I can live with that. But she must never ever EVER get out. Never. She must die in prison. Guaranteed.
posted by UncleFes at 2:05 PM on June 20, 2001

Instead, the husband should have...?
posted by websavvy at 2:06 PM on June 20, 2001

What was he thinking-having her have that many children that close together?!!!

Maybe he and she bought into that sort of thinking where having kids solves any problems you're having at home. A lot of people do it, even though it never seems to work.
posted by bilco at 2:09 PM on June 20, 2001

Maybe she felt she cured each post-partum by becoming pregnant again soon thereafter.
posted by msacheson at 2:14 PM on June 20, 2001

Maybe he just loves kids. Maybe he was unwilling to believe that, despite any depression she might be feeling, she wasn't quite so over-the-top scumbag evil as to slaughter five innocent children, one after the other, in the tub.

But she sure got his attention, eh? I'm certain she has his full attention now.
posted by UncleFes at 2:14 PM on June 20, 2001

Because people only kill when they're evil, right? Not when they're sick or anything...
posted by websavvy at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2001

If you're sick as that, the distinction tends to blur. What would you recommend, a pat on the head and a stronger prescription?
posted by UncleFes at 2:19 PM on June 20, 2001

Oh the poor distraught woman. On anti-depressants since her last son was born. Yeah, OK.

I'm sorry, but there is no place for this woman in society. It will be no great loss to plunge the needle into her and send her on her way. 5 children, 5! I hope a couple of them got in a punch or two. I hope her husband gets in a few shots too.

This type of thing is crime at its most heinous. There can be no forgiveness or rehabilitation for such an act.
posted by a3matrix at 2:30 PM on June 20, 2001

What's really freaky is that five children were killed. Five.

It had to happen one at a time, could you possibly fathom what the process was like? Did she have the others hang out in another room, and off them one at a time?

I'd vote for insane, I can't imagine mild mental illness would take you through five consecutive murders without batting an eye. Doing five like that is definite insanity. Life in a prison or better yet, an institution.
posted by mathowie at 2:36 PM on June 20, 2001

It had to happen one at a time, could you possibly fathom what the process was like? Did she have the others hang out in another room, and off them one at a time?

Drowning ain't very fast, either. They would have fought.
posted by UncleFes at 2:40 PM on June 20, 2001

Hello, bunnyfire, the 19th century is calling- they miss you. Sincerely though, there's no evidence that her husband made her have five children that closely together. Not to mention the fact that if she didn't want to have five children that closely together, there are many, many, easily available birth control options available to prevent pregnancy in these modern times. Even taking into consideration the children's Biblical names and the possibility that their religion forbids it, that's still the religion she chose, and chose to practice with her husband. I don't hold him accountable at all.
posted by headspace at 3:08 PM on June 20, 2001

I question the thinking of any man who reproduces with a woman who is already being medicated for post-partum depression. She's been sick for two years, but had a six month old. He knew that she was unwell, but decided that being complicit in doubling the cause of her sickness was a good idea.
posted by Dreama at 3:16 PM on June 20, 2001

They had one more child after she was diagnosed with post-partum depression. By the math, she was likely medicated for at least nine months before she became pregnant again. According to the Journal of Gender Specific Medicine, one in ten mothers experience post-partum depression, 6-12 months is the standard treatment window in medicating post-partum depression, and the likelihood of reocurrence is 30% to 50%. (Cite) Considering the medical facts, how was it faulty thinking on the husband's part to reproduce with a wife who has been treated for an extraordinarily common disorder with only a fifty percent or less chance that it would ever happen again?
posted by headspace at 3:39 PM on June 20, 2001

Children, while cute, aren't dogs.

(someone had to say it)
posted by Sapphireblue at 3:55 PM on June 20, 2001

You just have to wonder... were there signs that something was horribly wrong with her? If so, would anyone have been able to recognize them as truly serious? Can non-psychology-savvy people identify symptoms of someone on the edge? Should they be able to? Should we, as a "modern", "civilized" society take on the responsiblity of educating ourselves more about these types of things...? (no answers, just questions)
posted by annekef at 3:57 PM on June 20, 2001

Hey, sometimes kids just won't be quiet.
posted by dong_resin at 4:21 PM on June 20, 2001

>>Hey, sometimes kids just won't be quiet.

That's so uncalled for.
posted by smich at 5:42 PM on June 20, 2001

This woman should have done herself in. If she was so depressed it would have made more sense, and it would have left her FIVE!! children alive to have a chance at their own lives.

My life sucks, I am so depressed, Kenny get the hell over here I am going to drown your ass. Nope. Doesn't work.

That isn't depression. That is murder. This woman is an asshole. I hope it comes full circle on her. She deserves it.
posted by a3matrix at 6:04 PM on June 20, 2001

As depressing as this news is, I strongly believe that in her own convoluted logic, she probably believes that she was doing the kids a favor. She had to believe that this world is a bad place, and she didn't want her children growing up in this bad world.

Not that that makes her action ok. It doesn't. And she should to be punished. But she did call the cops on herself, which shows she knew she did something wrong.
posted by Rastafari at 11:21 PM on June 20, 2001

Anyone remember Susan Smith? Whatever happened to her?
posted by Ezrael at 1:58 AM on June 21, 2001

To be honest, all of this reminds me of those cases of children from houses where they were horrifically abused, and all the outrage that comes after.

The outrage that comes after never seems to go anywhere else, though. People vent it, they feel better, they move on. Sometimes I suppose they do something like hug their own kids a little bit longer, or vow to find ways to deal with their own problems before they hurt the kid, and that's a good thing. Some people go on to help in other ways, like volunteering at a shelter or giving money to a charity or some other way I'm not thinking of (Big Brother and Sister agencies spring to mind) and those are good things too.

But in the end, a lot more children are slipping through into hell than anyone realizes. Whether or not you agree with his whole message, Andrew Vachss speaks very clearly about things that are happening to kids right now.

You meet people every day who were almost dead when they were children.

You talk to them online.

Some of them post to discussion forums or weblogs you read.

It's fine to be outraged and mournful for these kids. It's a horrific thing she did. I sympathize with her pain, but not her action: I always wonder in these cases why suicide isn't an option in this case. Instead of killing them, why not herself? It would still be a horrible tragedy that would scar some of those kids for life, I know...but they'd get to have it, and even when you're scarred life can have moments of great beauty. I don't agree that she was an asshole, although I can't really say. I don't doubt that her husband, unless he is an asshole, is in a bleak cold hell now, with his wife gone and his children dead. Imagine if he didn't see this coming? If he thought everything was fine? And then you come home and your children are dead and your wife, their mother, killed them?

I can imagine, but luckily, that's all I have to do. He has to be in it. Perhaps he should have seen what was coming. Perhaps he should have said "Let's not have any more children." Perhaps he did. Or perhaps not. The article doesn't have the details. I'm sure someone will gather those details, write a quickie book, and then sell the rights to NBC or CBS.

I had a point here, about despair and the bleakness that can seem to come crushing in on you. About growing up in a house where you are not wanted, or wanted too much, or resented by a parent or parents. About people having that one bad day, and doing horrible things, things that cannot be justified or repaired. About hopelessness, and the horror of looking in the mirror and wondering if you could have done anything to stop it.

But now I'm going to stop. There is no sense to be made of this. Just pain.
posted by Ezrael at 2:27 AM on June 21, 2001

The father speaks.
posted by owillis at 10:33 AM on June 21, 2001

Jesus. This happened literally two blocks from my best friends house. I can remember seeing those kids playing on the way to his house. this is so tragic I do not have words to express my grief.
posted by DragonBoy at 2:33 PM on June 21, 2001

The husband says "I'm supportive of her because on the one hand I know she killed our children...but on the other I know that the woman here is not the woman who killed my children".

When you read some of the husband's other comments, it's clear that, while overwhelmed by the situation, he isn't latching on to some simple explaination, some scapegoate to blame.

So what's the Reuter's headline?

Husband Blames Murder of Children on Wife's Illness
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2001

I think there's a good deal of plain anger here because in the most basic way, this person did not fulfill the gener role set out by society. I honestly think that a good bulk of our reaction to this is composed of: "how could a WOMAN kill her OWN offpring?" Clearly, it's an abominable act, but I find the unbridled release of anger an interesting venting. We all hold this criminal up against our own mothers and find her wanting. But I wonder if we'd be so outraged at a man who did the same.
posted by scarabic at 12:24 AM on February 22, 2002

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