Thursday, July 27, 2006

By Reason of Insanity

Everyone has an opinion about Andrea Yates. Many are furious, many are sympathetic. The bigger question is how do we judge and how do we know what to say? The Texas law regarding insanity is based on an arcane British law from the 1840's. Maybe this will spur the Texas Legislature to re-think the law. We have all seen the stories on tv as well as killers in our states who use the insanity defense. Were they guilty? Yes. Were they insane? Maybe, maybe not. Looking at only the Yates case, one has to learn of the Yates history. There are people who believe that Andrea's husband is partly responsible. He had always insisted that he and his wife would have as many children as God would allow. Andrea Yates was overwhelmed from the very begining. Her post-partum problems became increasingly more difficult. She had been under psychiatric care for years. She and Rusty were warned not to have more children because her persistant post-partum depression was likely to spiral into psychosis. When the news first broke about the tragedy the local media dug into every aspect of the story. All aspects of the Yates family were examined. They even dug into Rusty's behavior. One of the things they discovered was that he apparently decided to follow a religious group to the point of having the entire family live in a small travel trailer and go on the road. Try living in a tiny trailer with small children. Not an easy thing to do. Some have even suggested that he didn't feel she needed all the medication. Personally, I have my own feelings about him. At least he continued to support Andrea throughout the wholde ordeal. Maybe he felt guilty? Some of us question what will happen in his current marriage.

I just hope that we all will learn more about mental health and how to cope with and treat it. Yes, Andrea Yates committed a horrible crime. As she continues treatment, she will come to the realization of what she did. I hope the mental health people will be able to help her because, at least to me, she is and has been mentally ill for a very long time. Should she have been sent to jail? Should she be committed to a mental hospital for life? These are questions to which we all have our own answers. A sane mother who loved her children would not have killed them. Mothers often feel overwhelmed and frequently angry at their children. Most have loving husbands and family to help during the bad times. Did Andrea Yates?

2 comments:

Jenna said...

Every time I hear about a mother doing something so horrible, I am never quick to judge. I don't have children, but I have friends who have kids and I can honestly say...I don't know how they do it. Nice post!

Enjoy your weekend.

Nea said...

For those of us who raised kids, I have five, with relatively few problems, emotionally or financially. The whole thing seems unreal, it is like HOW could she do that. But of course something snapped, she wasn't in her right mind at the time. I don't think they know alot about post partum depression, I had it with only one of my kids, and I would sit and cry because I worried about the land fill getting filled up with dirty diapers. you are not rational in your thinking and the least little thing will set you off. And you get very depressed and don't think you will ever climb out. I would sit and rock my baby and cry and cry. I never had any thoughts of getting rid of the baby, but I did have a few of getting rid of myself. Afterwards, it was hard to even really remember how I felt. I don't know what the answer is, but I am sure she probably should have had so many kids, and a new husband might have helped. Sad story......but when I think of the kids fighting for their lives, it really breaks my heart. To bad she had no one that she could have turned to. I don't know the full story though.

i came over from Dr. John's