Pool or Pond

Don’t know much about the case, but apparently one Andrea Yates was re-tried and this time found not guilty of murdering her children.

I don’t follow the stories generally, but I can’t escape from them altogether. Seems to me that the narratives that really grip the nation’s tabloid sensibility are (1) pretty young white woman in peril and (2) mother murders her children. Many more examples of the former. This Andrea Yates being the latter of course.

Suffering from a mental illness myself, having lived with clinical depression all of my adult life, I have sympathy for Ms. Yates. I have more sympathy for the poor children, without question. It’s remarkably painful even just to read the simple declarative from the story in the Post: Yates drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John and 7-year-old Noah in their Houston-area home in June 2001. Oh, those poor beautiful children!

But they are lost to us, and we are left with Ms. Yates. And what to make of her? I again must admit knowing almost nothing about her and the case. But I do find it slightly remarkable that she has been found not guilty.

It reminds me of course of John Hinckley, another one found not guilty by reason of insanity. And how they howled of the injustice of it then. I won’t be surprised by any howls now. They’ll say how permissive a society we have become. They’ll say how we don’t hold anyone responsible for their actions anymore. Yadda yadda yadda.

Meanwhile, Ms. Yates by a guilty plea would spend the rest of her life behind bars, and, clearly suffering from some type of psychosis, would be further held in some special facility for the mentally ill. Prison and hospital. Won’t be much different now, either. Hospital and prison.

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