Jewish World Review Sept. 4, 2001 / 15 Elul, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WHAT do you suppose moves certain people and groups to knee-jerk sympathy for Andrea Yates, the confessed murderess of her own five children?
NBC's Katie Couric, Rosie O'Donnell, the National Organization for Women and others have rushed to the cause of this former mother of five. NOW has formed a support group and helped establish a legal defense fund for Yates, and Couric was virtually soliciting contributions to it on the "Today Show."
Couric asked Yates how she felt after killing her kids? She did not, as others have pointed out, ask her what could possibly have possessed her to murder her own flesh and blood, or whether she felt remorse. The kids weren't the focus; apparently, they weren't even on Couric's radar screen.
Let's not forget the particular heinousness of these crimes. Yates told police that she methodically drowned all five kids. These children had names, by the way. Two-year-old Luke was the first to face the worst betrayal that any human being could experience. Next was 3-year-old Paul, followed by John, who was 5.
As Yates was drowning the fourth victim, 6-month-old Mary, 7-year-old Noah entered the bathroom and asked, "What's wrong with Mary?" Noah must have caught on, because he ran from his mother. But she chased him down and then proceeded to drown him in the bathtub next to the dead body of his baby sister.
So why are the usual feminist suspects coming to Yates' aid? The reaction of NOW's Patricia Ireland may give us some insight. Ireland said that the Yates case revealed America as a patriarchal society where "women are imprisoned at home with their children."
Ireland's jaded kaleidoscope must preclude her from focusing on the plight of the children. Perhaps she can only see these murders as evidence of the oppression of women. In the world of the radical feminist, we know that the unborn, vis-Ó-vis its mother, has no worth and certainly no more rights than a chattel. Could Ireland's thinking be a foreshadowing of some perversely extreme extension of the woman's right to choose where oppressed mothers have a license to kill their already-born babies, too?
Sincerely meaning no offense, could it be that these militant feminists are so eaten up with their bitterness toward male-dominated America that they see these babies as mere collateral damage in the struggle of women to unshackle themselves from the bonds of male oppression?
Others have rallied around Yates because "only an insane mother would do this to her children." But is that true? If so, why don't we just pass a law, exempting mothers from criminal liability for murdering their children? Even Laurence Kruckman, a professor of medical anthropology and expert in postpartum depression acknowledged that Yates' action "could be criminal."
And what about Susan Smith, who drowned her kids so she could be with her lover? Before we jump to conclusions exonerating Yates, don't you think we ought to explore all the facts? If she was incapable of understanding right from wrong, why did she immediately call the police after she murdered the kids? Why not the undertaker? And if her postpartum condition got worse with each child, why didn't she and her husband quit having children?
Don't misunderstand. I appreciate the temptation to believe that only a crazy woman could deliberately kill her own children. But I also know that a sane, evil mother could commit such an act. And, I'm painfully aware that our society is turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the forces of evil that are rampant among us. I'm not sure we haven't collectively desensitized ourselves to the point that we are no longer competent to recognize evil. But it is real, it is among us and it is locked in a ferocious spiritual war with the forces of good.
While the insanity defense has a legitimate place in our jurisprudence, we must comprehend that the forces of evil have a vested interest in blurring the lines of distinction between right and wrong, and we must be vigilant against the further erosion of those distinctions.
Instead of permitting this tragic case to be hijacked by those with political causes, let's allow the court to decide Andrea's criminal fate, after considering all the evidence. And let's never forget that the real victims in this case were five innocent