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BS: Women who drowned her 5 children

Louie Roy 30 Jun 01 - 11:09 AM
Fiolar 30 Jun 01 - 06:37 AM
Kim C 29 Jun 01 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Joe 28 Jun 01 - 07:45 PM
MAV 28 Jun 01 - 06:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jun 01 - 05:24 PM
SINSULL 28 Jun 01 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,SharonA 28 Jun 01 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 28 Jun 01 - 01:33 PM
harpgirl 28 Jun 01 - 01:43 AM
DougR 28 Jun 01 - 01:02 AM
mousethief 27 Jun 01 - 06:33 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,SharonA 27 Jun 01 - 05:41 PM
DougR 27 Jun 01 - 12:57 PM
mousethief 27 Jun 01 - 12:34 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jun 01 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,SharonA 27 Jun 01 - 10:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jun 01 - 06:59 AM
Wolfgang 27 Jun 01 - 04:28 AM
alison 27 Jun 01 - 01:55 AM
DougR 27 Jun 01 - 01:05 AM
katlaughing 26 Jun 01 - 09:09 PM
Burke 26 Jun 01 - 08:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,Joe 26 Jun 01 - 07:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 06:00 PM
Burke 26 Jun 01 - 05:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 05:35 PM
katlaughing 26 Jun 01 - 05:16 PM
harpgirl 26 Jun 01 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,SharonA 26 Jun 01 - 02:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 02:25 PM
katlaughing 26 Jun 01 - 01:54 PM
MMario 26 Jun 01 - 01:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,SharonA 26 Jun 01 - 01:13 PM
Fiolar 26 Jun 01 - 12:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 12:21 PM
sophocleese 26 Jun 01 - 12:20 PM
Little Hawk 26 Jun 01 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,SharonA 26 Jun 01 - 10:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 01 - 07:51 AM
Sorcha 25 Jun 01 - 11:20 PM
Coyote Breath 25 Jun 01 - 11:06 PM
Burke 25 Jun 01 - 08:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 01 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,Joe 25 Jun 01 - 07:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 01 - 06:39 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Louie Roy
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 11:09 AM

I started this thread and I think it is time we ended it.We have expressed sickness, anger,sorrow,solutions,and understanding, different types of punishment and we are all still trying to forget that this actually happened but it did so lets say goodbye to this thread Louie Roy


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Fiolar
Date: 30 Jun 01 - 06:37 AM

My local evening paper (in England) was delivered last evening and on the front page in letters over an inch high was the banner "Mother Admits Killing Baby." The full story was given on the inside pages. She had smothered her ten-week old baby daughter on New Year's Day. Tragedy knows no frontiers I am sad to say. A single mother who suffered from depression, she believed she was protecting the child from being abused.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Kim C
Date: 29 Jun 01 - 05:45 PM

MAV you will get no argument from me. And thanks for the cookie. ;-)

Joe... as I said... she was AWARE of what she was doing but that doesn't mean she was aware that it was WRONG. And it doesn't mean she lost her love for her children. It means she literally lost her mind.

Mental illness is a field in which there is still so much to learn. These are the kinds of questions our staff were asking during our seminar the other morning... a person in a state of psychosis simply isn't thinking like a rational person. I don't know any other way to explain it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 07:45 PM

hello McGrath how would it be punishment enough if she wanted to kill them to feel regret she would have to love them and I think she lost all feeling for them if she was able to drown them.That would be like any other murderer saying I feel real remorse for killing them isn't that punishment enough hmm NO KimC well about being in an altered state of mind I don't know She was able to call the police and say what she done if she was able to do this why didn't she realize it was wrong to do what she did. McGrath you said maybe it being like a dream or nightmare never in my worst nightmare have I ever seen me killing my children. But then again I can control the dreams that I remember. KimC about the Husband feeling the way he does I know no matter how I love my wife if she killed my children I could not support her it would take everything to even killing her with my bare hands


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: MAV
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 06:18 PM

Dear Guest Kim,

Here, have a cookie while you read this.

Clinical depression can have a psychotic component to it, which causes people to do very strange things. It is extremely rare, but it does happen. Apparently Mrs. Yates had already experienced psychotic episodes because she had been taking Haldol, which is an anti=psychotic drug. The doctor took her off it just a few days prior, as I understand.

It sounds to me like this woman was in WAY over her head with that many children and domestic work load considering her KNOWN fragile mental condition and family history of depression.

I'll bet you that the good doctor has now hired all the lawyers in the world.

I don't know what the answers are

Neither do I, but I still believe all US citizens are equally accountable for their actions. In cases of violent crime and murder, they should be isolated from peaceful society.

Once again, for her, I'm advocating treatment and supervised incarceration, not harsh punishment.

Please re-visit my above post and notice the three cases mentioned there. With all due respect to Jed, I think there is an equivalency, only this case is much worse.

The fact that Susan Smith is in jail, and that of the two Maine cases, one killed children again (and herself) and that the other is out free, demonstrates the differences in how individual states deal with such issues.

I think my state is wrong.

By the way, we just had another child killing case here where the DHS chosen "foster mother" tied the little girl in a high chair in the basement and duct taped her mouth shut.....she suffocated.

Pray/wish/give thanks for sanity folks.

mav out


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 05:24 PM

Kim C's last post summed it up very well indeed for me.

"Understanding" of this kind of thing from the outside is never going to be fully possible. You can't make sense of it because it doesn't make sense. You can tiptoe round it and try to get a greater understanding, but in terms of the sort of motives and reasons we have to do things in normal life it just doesn't add up.

The analogy that makes some sense to me is the way you can have a dream and it all seems to make sense, but you in which you aren't in control, you are present, but as a kind of passenger. A nightmare.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 05:01 PM

I admit I am having a hard time understanding the circumstances that led to a seriously depressed, suicidal woman homeschooling her children. I am also confused as to how an eight year old retarded child who had once been put up for adoption by her mother ends up locked in a closet for four years...another horror story. Poor little thing had a family ready to adopt her as an infant and they are still ready to take her in. But imagine the damage done. I don't understand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 04:21 PM

Let me try to explain the home-schooling statement I made earlier. I didn't mean to say "So much for home schooling"; I meant to say that it is not a good reflection on home schooling when people see a teacher decide that her pupils and their siblings must be killed because they are not "developing properly".

If Mrs. Yates had sent her children to public or private school and had raised this issue with their teachers, she could have been reassured that the development was within normal parameters, or the children might have been tested and possibly placed in a special program if need be. Also, the children would have been able to confide in teachers and counselors about any behavior by their mother that they found frightening; teachers are trained, as well, to observe each child's behavior and watch for signs that they are troubled or are being abused.

If Mrs. Yates were a certified teacher in a public school, her concerns about her pupils' development would have been similarly addressed and her behavior with her pupils would have been continuously assessed. I don't know how much influence the public schools have in deciding whether/when to remove a teacher from the classroom environment if (s)he is determined to be a danger to her pupils... but I presume (I hope!) there are guidelines. If it were known that a public-school teacher was taking a drug that "is prescribed for psychotic patients hearing voices or thinking delusionally" (Houston Chronicle), I should hope (s)he would be carefully monitored.

What are the requirements and qualifications for a person to become a home-school teacher? What training do they receive? What certification do they need? Who monitors them? Who notices a child's learning problem that a parent may be turning a blind eye to? Who assesses the teacher's performance (who "fires" him/her if need be)? Who counsels children when they need to confide in someone other than a parent? According to the Houston Chronicle, Mrs. Yates and her children belonged to a home-school support group that meets at a nearby church (though the family was not affiliated with that church); what other support system is in place for home-school teachers? Did this woman simply "slip through the cracks" or does the home-school system need to be examined, revised or possibly overhauled?

Was something heard in that support group, or read in the home-schooling materials the Yateses were provided, that might have planted the idea that their children's development was not "normal"? If so, such information without the proper training to interpret it can lead to all sorts of problems.

I'm sure that some home-school environments offer a superior education to that found in the average public school. I'm sure that, in some cases, the reverse is true. In this case, we'll never know how the kids would've turned out.

BTW the injury to or death of each child is a personal tragedy, but the problem of children bringing weapons to school is certainly widespread, if not systemic.

SharonA, taking one giant step off the soapbox.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 01:33 PM

I work for a mental health organization and this morning we got a crash course in postpartum depression. Clinical depression can have a psychotic component to it, which causes people to do very strange things. It is extremely rare, but it does happen. Apparently Mrs. Yates had already experienced psychotic episodes because she had been taking Haldol, which is an anti=psychotic drug. The doctor took her off it just a few days prior, as I understand.

Anyway, a person in a psychotic state is experiencing what you might call an alternate reality. In her mind, she had to drown those children, for whatever reason. Yes, it could take awhile to kill 5 kids. We are rational thinking people and to us it simply doesn't make sense- but to her, in her psychotic state, it made perfect sense.

Saying the father may be involved because his outward state of grief is seemingly unacceptable, is not right. Everyone has different ways of dealing with bereavement. Some people weep and wail and others wait until they are behind closed doors. Even in our modern society there are still men who don't want to cry in public.

This man was trying to provide for a large family. He was getting treatment for his wife. It didn't work. It is simply an awful tragedy all the way around. I don't know what the answers are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: harpgirl
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 01:43 AM

...LH, you speak so eloquently about depression...to paraphrase Florida's black hat troubador Will McLean, "your soul is a hawk"...hg


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: DougR
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 01:02 AM

I'm with Alex on this one, Sharon. I can't see the connection between home schooling and murder. Enlighten us ...please?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 06:33 PM

Not sure what this has to do with home schooling, Sharon. That's like saying "So much for the public schools" when something like Littleton happens. The problem in both cases was not systemic, but personal. Lots of people raise and school many kids without murdering them. Lots of people have trouble getting along in school, and get tormented by peers, without shooting them.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM

Yes, well, when one is deeply depressed for long periods of time it plays havoc with one's sense of reality. You ask yourself a lot of questions and they all seem to come up with a negative answer. It literally seems like every door is closed, and there's no way out. I've been there, and that's what it's like.

Not that there isn't an awareness that your own thinking is disturbed...there is such an awareness...but it just adds to the overall feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that are pulling you down.

Depression is the most insidious and tenacious thing, because by its very nature it tends to keep adding more weight to the load, so to speak.

Some people break under that strain, while others just quietly retreat from life a little bit at a time.

This woman obviously broke. By all accounts, she was a very likeable and gifted person when she was in High school. The whole thing is just utterly sad.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 06:20 PM

"I bet even people in Europe...know about this story."

Well, yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 05:41 PM

According to the news reports, she'd been reflecting for months on doing the deed, her stated "reason" being that she didn't think they were developing normally (but how could one tell by the 6-month-old?). Not a very good reflection on home-schooling, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: DougR
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 12:57 PM

Thanks, all of you, interesting comments and Wolfgang, I will take advantage of the blue clicky you provided.

No doubt today's rapid communications allow us to hear of such things much faster.

I think that a mother or father who takes the life of a child must be insane. One troubling aspect of the Houston situation (to me at least)is the mother chasing down the older child when he resisted her, putting him in the bathtub and drowning him. She had plenty of time to reflect on what she was doing if she was capable of thinking at all.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 12:34 PM

In my folk sheet music collection (hey! on topic!) I have a book of American murder ballads. One chapter is devoted to mothers who kill all their kids. They are all based on actual, historic incidents. It did happen. People did know about it -- at least the ones who wrote the songs did.

alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 12:08 PM

It's true that we hear about things much faster and on a much more universal basis now, because of the nature of modern media (which is really a huge, advertising-driven, entertainment system...in a sense...they report whatever they think will draw attention from the viewing public...cos if they can't draw attention they lose their sponsors).

There were plenty of horrible domestic tragedies in the past, but they were not necessarily reported right across the whole country instantly, the way they are now. I bet even people in Europe and Asia know about this story. They would not have known about it in the 1800's, but that doesn't mean such things didn't happen then. They did.

However, I feel that people are living very isolated lives nowadays, without an extended family and community to help them, and that has got to be causing a lot of psychological damage, as was suggested above. I know it has damaged my life to some extent.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 10:12 AM

Burke, thanks very much for that "blueclickeything" link to the Houston Chronicle articles about these murders and related subjects. The information there answers several of the questions I'd posed.

For instance, according to the link, the children were apparently killed about an hour after their father left for work, not immediately as I'd heard previously. Autopsies on the bodies have indeed been performed but the results will not be known for several days.

Also, the husband is reported to have said that recently he had had to check in from work on his wife's well-being frequently (by phone? Doesn't say). Lots of anecdotal info from people who knew her (one said it was rumored in high school that she was suffering from depression), but not much historical background on the husband yet.

On the subject of getting more involved to avoid tragedy: My teen-aged niece is bipolar and has spent much of her high-school years in the hospital and in an institutionalized setting that includes schooling. During those periods, she is not allowed to receive visitors outside her immediate family, and her visits home are strictly structured. So the rest of us in the extended family are forced to limit our involvement, leaving us to simply hope for the best. Sometimes there's only so much one MAY do (as opposed to CAN do).


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 06:59 AM

"I certainly never heard of that happening when I was growing up in the 30's and 40's."

Nor did I. (40s and 50s in my case).But that doesn't mean it may not have happened. It's very hard to be sure whether the fact that we read about something in the paper more often these days it's because it happens more often, or because the papers pick up on it more, even when it happens round the other side of the world. Bigger papers (and other media) with more space to fill in between the adverts affect the way we see the world.

I think we just don't know. It could indeed be that other changes in the way we live have cut away some of the things that could have made this kind of thing less likely, and I think that is quite probable. It would be very valuable to have people with the right skills seriously investigating questions like that, without preconceptions about the result they want to find.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Wolfgang
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 04:28 AM

for Doug (and others):

There is ample historical evidence to document the incredible propensity of parents to murder their children under an assortment of stressful situations. In nineteenth century England, for example, infanticide was so rampant throughout the country that a debate over how to correct the problem was carried out in both the lay and medical press. An editorial in the respected medical journal Lancet noted that "to the shame of civilization it must be avowed that not a State has yet advanced to the degree of progress under which child-murder may be said to be a very uncommon crime.

more to read here: History of infanticide.

Obviously common throughout societies. If a child is murdered the probability that it was one of the parents is much higher than the probability that it was a stranger. The younger the child is the higher is the probability that it is murdered by the mother.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: alison
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 01:55 AM

there was a difference back then Doug... people had big families... but the extended family was around to help out.....

certainly at home the relatives if not living in the same street were withing walking distance so if things were getting too much you sent the kids to their Aunt or Granny to have a break..... and because most other people ahd kids too there were other kids to play with and mothers to talk to..

nowadays the extended family may be nowhere near.... in my case I'm in australia, they are in Belfast.... and having only been here for a short while when I had my first... you suddenly realise just how isolated you are ...... thankfully I had a great neighbour who had her kids the same time as I had mine so we helped each other.... other people aren't so lucky......

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: DougR
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 01:05 AM

I wonder if the type depression that would drive a mother to murder her babies is a a type that was unknown in the early twentieth century, or did it exist then? Those of you who are far more conversent with this disease than I am might know the answer to that question. The reason for the question: In the 19th century and early twentieth century, families with 10 or 12 children was not uncommon. My father had sixteen siblings and my grandmother died giving birth to twins. My mother had 7 siblings. Rural families, in particular, were composed of lots of kids to help out on the farm.

Did those mothers become so depressed, and frustrated, due to coping with their kids that they murdered them?

I certainly never heard of that happening when I was growing up in the 30's and 40's. The biggest news I can remember as a child was the birth of the Dionne Quints in Canada and the kidnapping of the Lindburg baby. Never did I hear of a mother killing all her babies.

Are the burdens of motherhood in the later 20th and early 21st century that much greater than they were in earlier years?

To me, it's a puzzlement.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for that, Burke.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Burke
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 08:07 PM

Here's what they're actually saying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 08:06 PM

If Joe can imagine a worse punishment than having killed your five children, I can't. Death wopuild be nothing compared to that. In fact most people who kill their children kill themselves, if they aren't prevented.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 07:53 PM

McGrath no usually we say he was such a quiet young man I can't believe he killed those people and stuffed them in his fridge. McGrath your right about rushing to judgement but when they find all the guilty parties involved in the murders I think they should be executed. I am replying this way in that one of your posts you seemed to make it as if neither of them was quilty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 06:00 PM

Well, in England people are always saying thigs like "They are very good neighbours - you wouldn't know they were there". I'd imagined that, outside big cities anyway, it might be a bit different in the USA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Burke
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 05:54 PM

I know there are people who have 5 children in 7 years. How many of them try home schooling with little or no extra help? Unless there are multiple births involved at least one, probably more, will be school age by the time no. 5 comes along. She was supposed to be teaching 5 & 7 year olds to read while nursing maybe? Notice her first post-partum depression set in about the time no.1 should have been going off to school and when no.4 came she had no home of her own? It sounds to me like more pressure than hormonal imbalance; pressures the father could at have helped alleviate but may actually have created.

Ultimately the official investigators should be talking to a lot more people than those who talk to the media. There will be no official recommendation for 30 days. The trial will, no doubt, bring in family members who have a much better picture of her life the past 7 years than we can glean from brief news articles.

Perhaps the value of all this speculation is not in what happens to the Yates family, but helping to sensitize all of us to the possibility of these kinds of situations existing around us. Maybe we can try to learn what we can do to help them in their time of need. It's great to talk about being supportive, but some of us don't know how.

We've heard that Andrea needed support, but how do we know & what can we do? The neighbors barely knew the family, but respecting privacy is a really important value these days. Someone who'd been a friend since 8th grade & gone to with her nursing school & her wedding, admitted "that the two had not spoken in several years." Hmm, I can think of a couple of people I've been too busy to be in touch with for a while.

It sounds like they may have been religious & attempting to live those values as they understood them, but not involved in a church. I know it's popular to say we can be religious/spiritual without going to church, but maybe church participation could have helped create the community they did not seem to have otherwise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 05:35 PM

This time anyway I'm not trying to stir things up, but to damp them down.

I've seen how this kind of thing can get out of hand, and get a bit nervous at times. When the target of speculation and so forth is some government agency or whatever, I tend to think they can take it, it comes with the job and with the rewards of the job. Also they are in the business of hiding the truth if it's embarassing to them, and sometimes wild speculation can be a way of opening things up.

But this one is a bit different. It's about two people in whose life something indescribably awful has happened, and the right thing is to stand back and avoid saying anything out of hand.

More important, we should maybe be looking around the people we know, and imagining whether there might be someone or some family desperately needing support or intervention of some kind, and is there anything we might be doing. (The publicity around this kind of thing can be a factor in triggering it off elsewhere, as has been repeatedly demonstrated.)

And I am quite sure that there are in fact going to be people round the Mudcat who are doing exactly that right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 05:16 PM

Thanks hg, I agree.

SharonA, thank you,too. That was a long time ago. I've been through a second, very short marriage, and my third one, which has lasted 21 years with him having adopted all three of my children and helping to raise them. It hasn't always been ideal, but there has never been that type of abuse ever again in my life. Thank you very much for your concern and compliments. The Mudcatters are a very incredible lot of people and will do anything possible to help anyone who asks. I hoep you can join as a member sometime, soon. That way you can share private messages, as well as do other things, such as trace specific threads, etc. I hope you have found ease form the abusiveness you've experienced, too.

McGrath, what can I tell ya? We went through this during COlumbine, during the Russian submarine sinking with all of the men trapped. We are a curious lot and we do try to be careful about how we term our speculations. It is human nature to discuss the horrors and the joys of our times. I understand the horror of what less kindly sites may be saying and I understand your concern that it is not fair.

As you have seen, though, I have been a victim, of much mroe than I worte of above. I did not say I was blaming the father, only that I had questions, most of which will probably never be answered.

As for how he might feel if he read or heard the speculations of complete strangers? That goes back to one of my earliest posts on this thread and my belief system of karma and choosing our families, etc. It does not mean I think he deserves this and has to go through it without any support etc.; just that at some level, his higher consciousness had an awareness and will help him to deal with this. Some would use the old adage about god not giving us more than we can handle.

Well, I hope I didn't just make a muddle of what I was trying to say.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: harpgirl
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 02:31 PM

...I thought similar thoughts, kat. But I didn't want to start a firestorm. (At any rate, now that I understand McGrath better, I can say to SharonA that he isn't mad or trying to stir up trouble. He likes to debate and enjoys turning the subject every which way to have a look at it.)

Regardless of who is to blame, this tragic situation might have been avoided if the FAMILY had the right kind and MUCH more support...hg


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 02:31 PM

Thank you, kat. I'm so sorry you went through all that horrible abuse, and I'm glad to hear that you got out of it with your life and the lives of your children. I hope you continue to find love and support; from what I've read on the Catspaw-Update threads, I think you will. Just in case you haven't heard enough good stuff there, let me chime in with all the other voices: I think you must be a fantastic person to know!

For my own part, I don't care to go into the details but I too have been abused verbally, emotionally and in other ways, by an alcoholic boyfriend and others. Thankfully, I have no children who had to share that. Thanks to all you Mudcatters for providing a caring, supportive environment; it helps!!!

SharonA


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 02:25 PM

"Could have" - blaming the victim takes a new twist here.

This is a public forum. Hints and rumour and speculation feed on hints and rumours and speculation, and real people can get hurt.

Just try and imagine it - your wife has killed your five children, and you're probably trying to work out whether there was anyway you did or didn't do that contributed to it happening, as inevitably you would, whether there was orvthere wasn't. And out on the net total strangers who don't have the facts about it are pointing fingers of blame at you and saying they reckon you are responsible.

And if that kind of thing is happening in a restrained kind of way here, on what is a pretty decent forum, God knows what kind of stuff is being thrown around on some of the other sites around.

And I suppose if the man were to kill himself now, people would just say "well, that shows he must have been to blame".

Tragic terrible things happen to people. Rushing to judgement and playing "blame the victim" is a horrible game.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 01:54 PM

SharonA, I am glad you brought up those questions. I didn't want to say it because it sounded too paranoid, but I've really been wondering about the father; whether he might have been involved, driven her to it, or whatever.

This is not judgement, just speculation. Religion may have had a part in it, especially if one considers her supposed comments that her children were damaged. Where did that judgement of herself and her children come from? Yes, it could have come from deep within her apparently damaged psyche, but could easily have come from years of verbal and mental abuse.

I am fortunate that I grew up being praised and therefore had a healthy ego. Married at 16, with a baby on the way, whom I had at 17, my first husband who was 19, came from an abusive, alcoholic family. From the day we were married until the day I left him 5 years later, there was never a time went by that he did not mentally and verbally abuse me. At 5'2", I was 110 lbs and I had a name, but I was "short, fat, & dumpy" and "Hey, you!" as far as he was concerned. He beat on one of our dogs (before I gave it away), except when I pointed a small gun at him and told him to stop and one time shot it over his head to stop him.

I am convinced the main reason I didn't wind up beaten or dead, or worse, killing him myself, is because I met a man who told me how beautiful I was and treated me just as beautifully. With his support and nurturing of my very bruised ego, I was able to take my by then, two children and leave. There were other supportive factors, family members to live with, friends to talk to, BUT in those days, spousal abuse, and even child abuse were still not really talked about or considered that awful.

Anyway, I just meant that as an example of how a spouse can have profound effects on the other. We do not know if that is the case, but something in me does not trust this father.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: MMario
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 01:25 PM

" How can any one woman be expected to care full time for 5 children under the age of 7?

My Mom did - so did at least 4 mothers of kids who were in school with me. I can think of 5 or 6 more who had at least 4 within seven years.

None of them Roman Catholic. None of whom killed their kids, themselves or their husbands. Most of whom are still active and happily grand-parenting and great grand-parenting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 01:19 PM

In a situation like this any talk about punishment isn't relevant, because she's already inflicted on herself a worse punishment than any court could ever impose. And that goes for her husband too, regardless of whether he's a saint or a villain or just something in between like most of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 01:13 PM

You're right, McGrath; casting blame is wrong. I'm sorry if I've fired up anyone to "go after" Mr. Yates. I'm just alarmed at all the people ready to string up MRS. Yates without considering the possibility that she may not be telling the whole truth of the matter, that she may not even be able to discern truth and reality. As many here have said, we don't know ALL the facts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Fiolar
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 12:46 PM

Not knowing all the facts I have little wish to comment on the reasons why the kids were killed. I would hesitate to blame religion, Roman Catholic or other that is too simplistic. Many thousands if not millions of families have been more than five and there is no history of multiple killings. I would assume that in all probability the woman had post-natal depression and got little if any support from relatives. The attitude in many of these cases is "come on snap out of it." The medical profession can on occasion be less than helpful - "have another pill Mrs, and if that doesn't help come back and see me again."


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 12:21 PM

"Was he in denial? Is he just not too bright? Or what???"

Maybe. Or maybe there was one of a load of other explanations, or maybe some of the "facts" aren't quite right or there are other that haven't come out. Who knows - I certainly don't, and nor do the people who've been leaping in here with accusations.

In time the full facts can be properly looked at. But grabbing facts out of the air at a distance and casting blame that way is in my view just a wrong thing to do. It's rushing to judgement, and that is a key part of the lynching mentality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: sophocleese
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 12:20 PM

When I was depressed I didn't talk about with people, even family members, until things blew up in my face and I had to talk about it. My interior dialogue usually included these kinds of lines. "Why talk about it with others? They've got far more serious things to think about.I'm not important." "Its not really depression I'm just feeling down a little. I'm okay really." Hell If I want to kill myself its because I'm not worth anything alive." Better if I don't say anything because it just upsets people and then they get hysterical or think I'm just saying it to get attention."

Part of being mentally ill is that you don't make the best decisions that could be made. You don't always make the wrong ones but you're not thinking the same way you usually do. Wondering why the mother didn't do any number of sensible things doesn't help because she wasn't able to make consistently sensible decisions. Ideally the father should have been able to make many of these decsions himself but he probably didn't know what he needed to do. The father may well have thought that he was being supportive but was instead woefully ignorant of what kind of support was really needed. He may also have made lousy decisions because of stress and embarassment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 12:00 PM

Hey, Sorcha, no sweat...

You didn't hurt my feelings any. I was just curious what it was that bothered you, that's all.

I think, if nothing else, this thread has helped some of us understand where someone else is coming from, anyway...

I hope so.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 10:32 AM

McGrath, please tell me what facts I was ignoring in my previous post (mostly, I raised questions and spoke about my own impressions). I absolutely agree that we would need a hell of a lot more information about the father before absolutely blaming him. I'm not about to "lynch" him. On the other hand, I'm not ready to call him a saint, either, without knowing a hell of a lot more about the situation. And every tidbit I read and hear about the man, such as Burke's posting above, cause me to doubt him a little more.

At best, the guy turned a blind eye to a dangerous situation. The wife had a history of attempted suicide AND it was stated that she was too depressed to attend a party with her children the previous weekend (NOT stressed out & needing a break, DEPRESSED). According to the link that katlaughing provided on June 23 @ 11:30 am, Andrea Yates had just been taken off Haldol two weeks previously, and on the Monday prior to the murders had just started a new dosage of several anti-depressants and had discussed starting therapy with her doctor, so apparently she wasn't even in therapy at the time. At the very least, her husband should not have left her alone with the kids for fear that she might kill HERSELF and leave the young ones in the house without supervision. Was he in denial? Is he just not too bright? Or what???

The link also says that the wife's brother stated that the Yates couple "didn't like to ask for help... didn't want to talk." Sorry, but such behavior CAN be a sign that there's spousal abuse in a home. OR it could simply indicate embarrassment about or fear of discussing mental illness, even with close family, which again points toward denial, pride and an unwillingness to accept emotional support. Either way, not good.

Does anyone know if autopsies have been performed on the kids to determine whether, in fact, the cause of death was drowning, and to determine the time of death? The wife's confession wouldn't amount to much if the kids had been killed the previous night, and the bodies dipped in water in the morning. BTW, how much credence DOES the law give to the confession of a person deemed to be psychotic?

Yes, we do need more info before we draw ANY conclusions about this case.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 01 - 07:51 AM

I still think pointing a finger of blame at the father without knowing a hell of a lot more about it than any of us do is not right.

It's as if people think there is a limited supply of compassion. If they feel they should give it to one person, they have to take it away from someone else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 11:20 PM

Thank you, Burke. There were several other incidents as well--if I related them here, I could be arrested for child abuse. I loved, and still love, ,my children, but raising children without a Support System is impossible.

I find myself still wondering about the "religion" involved and the involvement of the husband......

I thought I was through posting to this thread, but I guess not......

(Little Hawk--now I don't know what it was that tripped my trigger--forgive me, OK? It sure wasn't the "lives" thing.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 11:06 PM

wow. I am stunned by all that which went on before my little bit.

I think we are all just plain human beings who can sometimes get twisted into something frightening and muderous. I remember a "folk" song which is more to the point of this story than The Cuel Mother:

His name was Charlie Lawson He had a loving wife And nobody knows what caused him To take his family's life

They say he killed his wife at first As the little ones stood by Oh Daddy do not take our lives We are too young to die

But the raging man could not be stopped He did not heed their call He gave them five and fatal shots Ubtil he'd killed them all

They did not carry him to jail No lawyer will he pay He'll have his trial in another land On that final judgement day

I weep for the mother, the children, the father; all who have been smothered with this thing, seared by this thing, saddened by this thing

All of us


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: Burke
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 08:21 PM

My first reaction to the little I first heard was the sadness expressed in the first messages here.

I've been reading the news stories on Yahoo to get more information. The more I read there, the more I'm bothered about the father. It sounds as if Andrea had given up all she wanted to in life for her husband. Not working and home schooling both sound like what he wanted. She's from a Catholic family of 5 children, but the size of the family sounds like his idea as well. How can any one woman be expected to care full time for 5 children under the age of 7? At the very least having the older ones in school would have helped. No wonder she felt she was doing a terrible job & was damaging them.

Before her first depression & suicide attempt they had sold their house & furnishings, to either buy bigger or take off & travel (different neighbors, different accounts). Never doing either, they lived with her parents first, then bought a smaller house. Their old neighbors seem to have known her, but the new neighbors did not. Sounds to me like something was unravelling for some time.

My heart breaks for the children who knew Mom was killing them. I feel deeply distrubed by her actions, if she could call for help immediatly after, why not before? I also respect Sorcha's "been there" story. Sorcha could have, "I stopped myself, why not her?" Instead she tries to give us understanding.

I have a co-worker who served on a jury for homocide. New York did not have the death penalty at the time, but still she found it an awful & awesome responsibility. I came close to being on a jury for a child abuse case & was glad when others were selected. It's so easy to pass our coffee break verdicts, but being called on to actually judge would be terribly difficult.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 07:41 PM

It's not your place to forgive, or not to forgive, Joe. That goes for all of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 07:17 PM

hello SharonA you seened to have brought up a few good points so SeanM we may just have to kill the husband as well.I know you think I believe life is cheap when actually I feel why should I put value on some ones life when they don't think anyone elses is worth a damn.LittleHawk well as a good Christian I can see why you have compassion unfortunately I am not a good enough Christian to forgive such an act.Mgarvey it is not the fault of the church for this or anyone else it is hers she did the act whether her Husband had anything to do with this will have to remain to be seen.SharonA if that was the case why the frell didn't she just kill him?So many whys and hows,Little Hawk you said earlier I might feel this way because I was powerless as we all where to do anything about it,I have to say your right I know I will not gain any power or become mightier but might feel a sense of peace with severe justice being served.They weren't my children so why should I feel this way maybe in the hopes it will be a deterent,maybe so others will be shown they can't get away with this type of thing and other children won't have to suffer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women who drowned her 5 children
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 01 - 06:39 PM

Once again "in total ignorance of the facts"... There's a lynch mob mentality out there in a few places. And that isn't a flame, it's a sober and worried comment. This is a public place were talking in.


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