Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Women "Innocent" if They Kill their Own Children?

This week, a 25-year-old mother from Texas hung herself and her four children, one of them survived:

A young mother who may have been depressed apparently hanged three of her small daughters and herself in a closet using pieces of clothing and sashes, authorities said Tuesday.

A fourth child, an 8-month-old daughter, was also found dangling in the closet but was rescued from the family's mobile home.


The article ends up with some observations about four other Texas women who had killed their children. All four of those women were found "innocent" by reason of insanity.

Compare these cases of women who kill their own kids with a recent one for a Texas babysitter who is to be executed next month:

But just weeks after Henderson started working for the Baughs, 3-month-old Brandon was dead and Henderson had fled the state. The infant's body was found buried 60 miles away with his skull crushed, wrapped in his yellow-trimmed white blanket and stuffed into a box that previously held Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers.

Henderson, 50, is set to die in less than three weeks for the 1994 slaying that made her one of the most hated women in Texas. She would be just the 12th woman among the nearly 1,100 convicted killers executed since capital punishment resumed in the United States in 1977....

Henderson insists Brandon died in an accidental fall and that her decision to bury him and flee was made in panic, not in cold blood.


My question, why the "lighter" sentences for killing one's own kids vs. killing another woman's? Is it because children are seen as women's property so it is "okay" to kill one's own but not another woman's? If so, isn't this a little sick?

Also note how few women are actually executed at all. They make up 10-15% of homicide offenders but only 1% of executions have been women.

140 Comments:

Blogger Pete the Streak said...

How could something like this happen with no guns involved?

Oh - forgot about Andrea Yates for a second there.

Obviously, what we need are stricter clothes and bathtub controls.

Dr. Helen, the statistics you give speak volumes about our justice system's mindset.

This incident is truly horrific.

7:55 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why do they make up only 10-15% of the homicide offenders? I've asked this repeatedly. Can I get an answer please?

8:19 AM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger LargeBill said...

The whole idea that the kids are the woman's property is a disturbing one and I have to wonder if it is an outgrowth of the abortion argument.

I see you used a female babysitter's case to make your point, but I wonder if there are similar cases involving fathers on death row for killing their kids. Yates kills her kids and Katie Couric sets up a legal defense fund. I felt like screaming at the TV "would you do that if a father did the same thing?"

Why as a society do we excuse some behavior based on the gender, race, etc?

8:28 AM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Steve said...

I think the difference among the cases that CNN reports on is that Yates and defiantly Schlosser were clearly suffering from a psychotic break whereas there's not much evidence that Henderson was suffering from mental illness. Nonetheless, I do think juries are more sympathetic to women in general when it comes to the death penalty.

8:54 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Double standard, what double standard.....

8:56 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

We cannot dare to believe that mothers can be homicidal maniacs, so we pretend that they cannot, even when they obviously are.

It is too damn frightening, so we ignore it by excusing it. Women kill the most babys, but as a society we will not deal with that truth. Too frightening.

Trey

9:05 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Dr. Ellen said...

Anonymous 8:19 -

My friend Luci Zahray is a toxicologist. She suggests that women tend to use poison more, and poison is a lot harder to detect than a crushed skull. (For more about Luci, Google her name. It's unusual enough to come out on top.)

If womens' murders are less likely to be seen, they'll be underrepresented in the statistics.

9:19 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

Wow, if they are underrepresented in the statistics, then that is even more disturbing. Neglect is the top killer of children, and it is most often perpetrated by women. Undetected poisoning would raise the rates even higher.

Trey

9:45 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why infanticide is considered less serious than homicide? An infant is an innocent human, dependent on care, unable to defend itself or run away. By any moral standard, killing an infant should be seen as even WORSE than killing an adult. But I guess the underlying idea is that it's the mom's property, to be destroyed at her whim.

10:09 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Eric said...

I doubt that Texas juries see children as property their mother can dispose of. If anything, I think it is the opposite -- mother-child bond is seen as so powerful, so normal and right, (especially compared to father-child bonds) that any woman that violates it must by definition be nuts. If a man kills his child, it is just because he is evil, but if a woman does it, it is because she is sick, and therefore not responsible for her own actions.

I am not saying that this view of mother-child relationship is correct, just that I think a majority of people hold it. I believe it helps explain why mothers get the children in the majority of divorce cases.

10:10 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

I'd like to see links to stories about men who kill their children. Then I can test my own level of sympathy. Maybe I will be just as sympathetic with a single father at his wits' end.

10:21 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mothers are supposed to love their children. If they kill them, it is evidence that they truly are insane. A babysitter killing a child does not have the same supporting rationale for insanity. Not saying this is the case, just a possible explanation.

10:32 AM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 8:19:

Are you saying that you think women are superior to men in that they do not kill as often? And if, as it seems, you're into genetic determinism, does that mean that you think whites are superior because they are 7 times less likely to commit homicide than blacks?

10:42 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Women have a much larger arsenal of defenses when they kill. Not just battered women's syndrome (and remember that hubby's never around to give "the other side") and the so-called Pussy Pass (juries and judges go much easier on women).

There have been cases in the media in the last few years in which husbands were shot multiple times in the back, there was no objective evidence of abuse and the women were acquitted. Mary Winkler recently got 3 years I think (meaning out in a year or a year-and-a-half), and I think she simply shot her husband because he was mad about her losing all their money in a Nigerian scam. No objective evidence of abuse, just the fact that he may have been rightfully mad at her.

It's simply standard operating procedure to claim abuse and try to get as many feminists on the jury as possible. You don't even need any objective evidence of abuse in many cases (you don't need ACTUAL abuse, just alleged), if you do voir dire right.

11:11 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another issue with female murderers is that they tend to use other people to kill their target (thus insulating themselves by a layer if the plan is later discovered) and they also tend to use poison much more frequently. I truly think, despite great advances today in detecting a number of poisons, that many, many poisoning deaths go undetected. Husband dies of a heart attack, clear case, no extensive investigation needed. Kinda sorta.

11:14 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In many cases, Andrea Yates in particular, it seems so clear (at least to me) that mental illness not malice is the reason for the killings.

My sister, who is bi-polar, was the best mother I have ever known; she has 4 incredible adult children to show for it. Her illness was not diagnosed until her children were grown. When Andrea Yates killed her kids, all I could see was my sister, who also suffered from severe post partum depression.

It is only pure luck that the same fate didn't happen to her children given her state, and we were such idiots we didn't know it was possible, or that we should be worried. As a result, I've never once thought Yates should be punished like a murderer, but wanted instead for her to be locked up as a patient.

11:38 AM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Jim said...

"And why do they make up only 10-15% of the homicide offenders? I've asked this repeatedly. Can I get an answer please?"

What you should ask first is how reliable the homicide statistics that oyu are citing are in the fisrt place. The same statistcis show that blacks commit a disproortionate number of violent crimes. How reliable are those statisitcs?

Note:

" I truly think, despite great advances today in detecting a number of poisons, that many, many poisoning deaths go undetected. Husband dies of a heart attack, clear case, no extensive investigation needed. Kinda sorta."

12:27 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Eric across the board. I also think that society is changing and waking up to the fact that women are just as capable of being bad parents. It's going to take a while for it to mainstream however.

12:41 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Viola Jaynes said...

This is a horrific story.

I wonder if anyone at all was aware of this woman's mental state? I wonder if help was available to her?

1:09 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. helen asked someone else (not me),
"Are you saying that you think women are superior to men in that they do not kill as often? And if, as it seems, you're into genetic determinism,"

testaterone determinism, possibly?

Quasimodo

1:13 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger goin2college said...

That is truly demented. How does a woman just get away with killing her own children by pleaing insanity? It does not make any sense.

1:17 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

Well, the lady in this case committed suicide - that would seem to indicate depression. I'm wondering why she decided to take her kids with her. Did she feel that their situation was too much for her children to bear as well as herself - that they'd be better off dead? Was she hoping to be with them in heaven? Or was it more complicated than that? Too bad she's not around to explain it for us.

Are there any cases of women being convicted of murdering their children without being mentally ill? That is, with malice or greed as the motive? I can't recall any, but then I don't follow those kinds of stories much.

1:18 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are there any cases of women being convicted of murdering their children without being mentally ill? That is, with malice or greed as the motive?"

------------

Susan Smith is still in jail for that (drowning her kids for greed). As I remember it, she was married but not to a rich guy. Enter rich guy, she immediately screws him of course, but he flat-out told her he didn't want to deal with children, I think more likely to just have an excuse to get rid of her. She took him literally and killed the kids.

1:25 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Bugs,
Oops, I see someone just answered your question, but here is more on Susan Smith:

I would think the Susan Smith case would qualify as she was alleged to have drowned her kids in a car so she could be with her boyfriend who did not want kids. However, her stiffer penalty (life in prison) may have been as much caused by the public's anger and feelings of betrayal that she had said an African American man had carjacked her car as it had to do with actually killing the kids.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Smith

1:29 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

I think that Eric has it right. It isn't the children are viewed as property of their mothers, but that a mother's bond to child is so strong that only someone crazy could kill her own child.

1:52 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think less cases would exist of a parent killing the kids out of greed simply because kids aren't usually known as huge money-earners (or money-havers). I guess at most when insurance is involved or the kids are blocking a potential money-harvesting situation as in the Susan Smith case above.

1:52 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

"I'm wondering why she decided to take her kids with her."

She was a single mother. Maybe she didn't have anyone to leave them with? I'm not sure we should hope to find a reasonable answer for what she did.

2:50 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

"I'm wondering why she decided to take her kids with her."

She was a single mother. Maybe she didn't have anyone to leave them with? I'm not sure we should hope to find a reasonable answer for what she did.

2:50 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

soccer dad --

If a mother's bond is that strong, why do they abuse kids twice as often as fathers?

I don't think bonding is about being mom or dad, but being parent. I'd a thrown myself in front of a friggin' bus for my daughter.

3:10 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

I have no doubt Andrea Yates was mentally ill--but if I remember the background correctly, she had suffered from post partum depression in the past, and her husband knew she had a pretty bad case of it. Neither of them took appropriate action to get her help or get the kids out of the home. I remember reading that the oldest child was pleading with her, "Mommy, what did I do wrong?" as she drowned him.

They both should be in prison, in my opinion.

3:48 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They both should be in prison, in my opinion."

---------------

Ummm, no. The usual idea is that the person who commits the crime gets the punishment.

Her husband is not a psychiatrist and there is no indication whatsoever that he knew she would do that.

I suspect that people like you want a return to the days in which the husband was held responsible for all torts, reimbursement for property crimes etc. of the wife. The wife shoplifts, the husband pays.

If you're going to bring back that system, at least have the housewives wear nice dresses and pearls at home while they bake all day. No Oprah or the View!

Really offensive.

3:53 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

Oligonicella, i have seen a lot of women being abused by their mothers, (used to work in a psychology department of local hospital), a lot of this women killing children, can be brought on the denial of birthcontrol/abortion. if they had access (which could be the father being a bully, or the state abolishing it or pharmacists denying the sale), then they wouldnt have the children to abuse and kill. in a number of cases thats the base cause, rusty yates for one, he was morally guilty of it, because he pressured her into having as many kids as she did, (plus the religion she was following introduced to her by rusty, said her kids were evil and were going to hell, so she beleived if she killed them now they would go to heaven before they sinned.)

these women shouldnt have had children in the first place, that would make it less likely for them to kill them.. wouldnt it..???

http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/psychology/fathers_who_kill/

there you go anonymom 10.21

and another

www.crimelibrary.com/about/special/killer_dads1.html

3:57 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"rusty yates for one, he was morally guilty of it, because he pressured her into having as many kids as she did,"

--------------------------

He was morally guilty of wanting to have lots of kids.

For some reason, when it comes to women doing bad things, they are like little children who have no moral agency, no responsibility, no ability to say "No" and they shouldn't ever have to answer for their actions.

On the other hand, when it comes to the workforce, women are equal to men in every respect, except that the women are mostly superior. You go girl. A boss who voiced any thoughts that the woman was an irresponsible child would not be the boss in about 5 seconds flat.

4:06 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And ... by the way ... I remember an article in the paper back at the time that Andrea Yates case was being retried. A prisoner came forward and said that Andrea was doling out tips on how to "act crazy" so that you could get off the charges.

That was a fairly big news story, so probably other people here remember it.

That doesn't sound like a weak child, that sounds like a manipulative adult female.

4:10 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Jim said...

"If a mother's bond is that strong, why do they abuse kids twice as often as fathers? "

Because a bond can be strong without being kindly.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that the prosecutirs and the judges are so often male. I read (while I was standing in the checkout line, so you can guess the type of publication) that the women in prison with Susan Smith were so hard on her that she had to be moved to isolation. True or not, the point is that that is the kind of thing the overwhelmingly female readership wanted to see. Good for them. Do you think female prosecutors or judges are going to have such patronizing attitudes toward female murderers?

My God, in Susan Smith's case even the boys' father wasn't screaming for her blood.

4:29 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

she was guilty of the crime, but in rusty's case if he hadnt have gone to that religious nutter, if she hadnt of been brainwashed.

its easy to say, oh she could just say no, but she was under rusty's control, morally rusty was equally guilty, if he hadnt of pressured her, then she possibly wouldnt have had as many kids.

4:33 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

"If a mother's bond is that strong, why do they abuse kids twice as often as fathers?"

Until fathers spend as much time with children as mothers do, we are comparing apples and oranges. Until fathers have to mow the yard day after day with two or three toddlers clinging to them, getting in the way, wanting something, we are talking apples and, well, lawnmowing. Until fathers are the ones picking up after, cleaning up after, remembering what time soccer practice is, thawing the chicken for dinner--all while anwering questions, listening to squabbles, applying bandaids and kisses, and enduring the damned whining--we don't have much to talk about.

I admire any single parent--man or woman--and I admire any parent--single or not--who can do it all without going crazy once in awhile. For most of us, going crazy means shutting ourself in the bathroom or shutting the baby in the bedroom or asking the neighbor to watch the kids while we go for a walk. For a tiny number of us, going crazy means something really bad.

I have plenty of sympathy for this woman.

4:45 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen,

I asked you a simple question based on YOUR statement (repeated oft here) that women are under-represented as murderers.

I made no statements whatsoever, other than to mention that you had repeatedly ignored my questions. So, your suggestion about my beliefs is just bizarre.

Now, would you care to just answer the question?

anon 8:19

4:48 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, uh, jim? I was citing HELEN. Those were HELEN's numbers.

Jesus.

4:50 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

Re: Smith

Do you recall if the defense tried to implicate the boyfriend? That is, to maintain that he put psychological or physical pressure on her to lose her kids? I guess once the mysterious African American kidnapper story fell apart, jury wouldn't believe an evil boyfriend story, either.

Whatever happened, I just have to wonder at a woman who, believing she had to choose between her children and a man, would choose the man. I hate to say it, but it wouldn't take much to convince me she was Non Compost Mentos.

Like others said here, maybe that explains everything.

6:01 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a case in the 1950s that clearly showed the Pussy Pass - which involved a woman who participated in wiping out her own family.

Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate killed her family and lived in the house with the bodies for a few days, and then went on a killing rampage through several states. They were teens and boyfriend/girlfriend.

When the pair was caught, Caril immediately tried to say that Charles had taken her hostage. Not even the chivalrous police believed that, and she was also arrested and involved in the prosecution.

She eventually portrayed herself not as a hostage, but kind of an emotionally numb person just going along with Charles (although she probably personally killed one or more of the victims). The jury pretty much bought it.

He got fried in the electric chair, and she spent years in prison and was then paroled. From what I heard, she took an assumed name and is still working as a nurse in Michigan (although she has to be retired now; she would probably be in her 70s today).

More and more information came out long afterwards that the situation was more likely that Charles was quite "slow" mentally and Caril played a much more active role than was assumed, in fact she probably was the driving force behind the killings. Either driving Charles to do it or doing it herself.

In any case, Charles is long since dust and she's got her feet up watching TV.

6:17 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have wondered about the 'momma killa' cases since the yates incident. when i - quite logically - suggested that the proper punishment for yates would be death by drowning (but let her know it's coming: let her try and run away. let her try to fight being held underwater by someone *much* bigger & stronger than she...)(naturally, i volunteered my services for that task...)

i discovered a significant percentage of women were horrified at the thought. it wasn't yates' fault! she was depressed! it was *really* the fault of her dam ol' HUSband! who kept making her have babies! yates was actually the *victim*!

interestingly, each and every woman who wanted yates to be cut some slack for her crimes identified herself as a "feminist". no double standards there, huh? equally interestingly, after i *proved* to these women that yates had preplanned her killings and was in no way 'crazy', they didn't wish to discuss it anymore.

has there EVER been public sympathy for a *father* who killed his kids? ever? i sure can't think of any. and there shouldn't be! just as there shouldn't be one *ounce* of sympathy for gutless psychopaths like yates and this latest harpy!

6:38 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

"it wasn't yates' fault! she was depressed! it was *really* the fault of her dam ol' HUSband! who kept making her have babies! yates was actually the *victim*! "


Feminists don't ever seem to want to take any responsibility for anything, and they don't want other women to have to take responsibility.

And why not? They seem to have the ability to simply shame men into *pretending* to have respect for them, same as if they actually took responsibility in life. It really works for some reason, and chivalrous male judges, university presidents, legislators (like Joe Biden) and police officers are going to ENFORCE that.

I've heard it put this way: "Women have rights, men have responsibilities".

6:45 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

Not bitter, are we?

7:23 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

"Not bitter, are we?"

------------------

If you mean me, I'm writing exactly what I think about society.

I personally am old enough to know how to avoid the bulk of it, so it doesn't impact me. I'll also never go back to university, I'm self-employed, and I'm not married, so it would really be tough for feminists to exercise their crap on me. I don't like seeing BS in society, though, and I almost cringe when I see what some young men have to go through.

7:44 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Oops, I almost forgot that feminists still get to me via taxes (they're like insects getting through any possible crack or crevice). In comparison, though, I'm fairly immune.

7:51 PM, May 30, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

I suspect that people like you want a return to the days in which the husband was held responsible for all torts, reimbursement for property crimes etc. of the wife.

People like me? I have no clue what you're talking about? I guess you must think I'm a raving man-hater or something? I guess I need to clarify:

I believe Andrea Yates should rot in jail EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS/IS SICK. She gets no free pass in my book. I also happen to believe her husband, who knew she had a serious mental illness, should have taken steps to get his kids out of that house. She had pulled a knife once, so he *had* to know the possibilty of violence was there. How he could leave her alone all day long, every day, with four kids--an enormous task for even the most stable person--is inexcusable.

My opinion stems from the belief that fathers are just as responsible for their kids' health, and just as capable of making childcare decisions as a woman; not from a belief that you punish a husband for the wife's crime, or whatever the hell it is you're going on about.

8:28 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

"How he could leave her alone all day long, every day, with four kids--an enormous task for even the most stable person--is inexcusable."

-----------------

Oh come on.

His crime is that he went to work for 8 or 10 hours every day every day - a horrible, enormous task that only the most stable of us can hope to cope with for short periods of time - and left her with the horror of watching 4 kids.

You are REALLY reaching. I mostly try to address issues with a factual return response, but you are simply going off the scale here. You are trying to find something on him, and your search seems to be getting more and more desperate and implausible.

8:41 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

If Andrea pulled a knife once - I'll take your word for it - you might want to review exactly what his de facto options were.

A whole lot of men are subject to wives pulling knives, mild abuse (slapping, kicking etc.) and they learn that they have to "manage" the problem. Meaning just put up with it and hope it won't get worse.

If he makes a radical move of some kind based on a minor incident from her, he could lose his kids, his house and a chunk of his future wages. If he calls the police, HE could be hauled away (and yes, that really happens). If he just disappears with the kids, the courts, social workers and police are not going to tolerate that situation for long.

Finally, HE . IS . NOT . HER . FATHER. He isn't all-knowing. He was probably doing the best he could, and not many people would expect a "high-strung" wife (millions of wives) to do what she did.

What you are unconsciously expecting is that he should fix everything. Any problem is his fault. Anything bad has to be fixed by the man to make the woman comfortable.

Jesus. Am I glad I'm not married.

8:47 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nemo,

You sound like an interesting man. Tell us how many children you have, and how many times you have been responsible for them for more than a few hours at a time.

8:50 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

nemo,

Surely you are here just for entertainment! Yes, Mr. Yates was.not.her.father. You are correct. But see, but he WAS the father of the children he left with her day after day...even after she pulled a knife, wasn't he? Ah, but you called it a "minor incident." Maybe in your world, Bub, but if my husband pulled a knife on me, I'd be SO gone. WITH the children.

Fathers aren't the only ones expected to care about mental health. Husbands and wives are expected to do that, too.

9:00 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

Anonymous @ 8:50

Rusty Yates is probably quivering in fear that the issue of whether he should go to jail or not depends on my (Nemo's) specific hours of contact with children. LOL

I think that it was horrible that Andrea had to do ANYTHING in life; it's a woman's right, after she bags a sap, to not be responsible for anything. From that point of view, jail the guy, I don't friggin' care.

9:02 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

This is a side comment, but I see this tense stuff and these tense posters and I am truly GRATEFUL that I am not married. I know there is a bit of a marriage strike already, but someone ought to really sit down and talk to young men.

9:06 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen:

The cases you mentioned did not result in "lighter sentences". The women were found not guilty by reason of insanity. That is a judgment of guilt or innocence, not a matter of sentencing. I would think you understand the difference, in light of your profession.

Also, do you have any evidence whatsoever that militates against the judgments of the juries in those cases? I'm curious.

9:18 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

"Maybe in your world, Bub, but if my husband pulled a knife on me, I'd be SO gone. WITH the children."

------------

I believe you, but you have to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a moment.

Usually, when men divorce, they GIVE UP something. Sometimes not much, sometimes a whole lot. Sometimes men have to give up their children, their house, a chunk of their future earnings and half of the assets.

When women get out, they usually GET something from the man. Worst case - and they will really complain how things are not fair - they will get out how they came in.

That's how it works.

Now get out of the self-centered point of view for a minute, and think about it from a typical man's point of view. If you have a choice between losing everything in your life or "managing" the problem of a woman occasionally slapping you or constantly nagging you or even pulling a knife on you once, you are going to think about it.

I see so many man in marriages they detest, working at a job they detest to pay for the stay-at-home queen, getting nagged by the rhino and simply repeating everything day after day with bleary eyes - I would just chuck it. Hop a steamer to Australia. Fake your own death, LOL.

9:19 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schopenhauer:

"In the girl, nature has had in view what could in theatrical terms be called a stage-effect: it has provided her with superabundant beauty and charm for a few years at the expense of the whole remainder of her life, so that during these years she may so capture the imagination of a man that he is carried away into undertaking to support her honorably in some form or another for the rest of her life, a step he would seem hardly likely to take for purely rational considerations. Thus nature has equipped women, as it has all its creatures, with the tools and weapons she needs for securing her existence, and at just the time she needs them; in doing which nature has acted with its usual economy. For just as the female ant loses its wings after mating, since they are then superfluous, indeed harmful to the business of raising the family, so the woman usually loses her beauty after one or two childbeds, and probably for the same reason."

10:01 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you would continue to leave children in the care of a crazy woman just so you wouldn't lose any of your STUFF? Let the comments go on long enough on this blog and one of you guys inevitably shows up...

10:25 PM, May 30, 2007  
Anonymous Should is a dirty word said...

There was a point to this thread, wasn't there? I'll ignore it until the end my comment.

Generally, don't we all assume children are their parents' responsibility? I am thinking to debates here and there about homeschooling, discipline issues, etc.

*** Please, please, please realize I'm not equating homeschooling with hanging your children until dead. ***

"I get to make decisions for my children because they are mine." Does that belief identify a ownership relationship?

Until someone is obviously failing and often past the point of failing parental responsibility no one will interfere.

Then, how is this related to the idea of involuntary commitment? If we were able to bring back Lakeside/Lakeshore and hospitalize these severely ill women before they made these fatal decisions would that help?

Does each sex murder more often where an opportunity or problematic relationship(s) presents itself?

What about the story of angry/despondent boyfriend/husband shoots girlfriend/wife and their X children and then himself. Is that the corresponding male story?

Why is a woman desperately struggling with responsibilities beyond her capability [see related thread on resolving job-related life-shortening stress] thrown back into the fray maybe with a bottle of pills because it's just "watching children"? Why are men wrestling with pain so terrible they are considered dangerous told to "just stay away"?



I can only guess that the lighter sentence for killing your own children vs killing another woman's is the ease with which you could change jobs. If I'm stressed out by my job as a nanny, I can quit and go flip burgers. If I'm stressed out by my job as a mom, solutions are more complicated and I would propose that if you are on the verge of hanging your children in a closet a bubble bath won't cut it.

12:49 AM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger jw said...

It does appear that mental illness is not a defence for fathers who kill children, but is a defence for mothers. That is the appearance of the thing.

I think eric has a good point in pointing out the belief of the strength of the mother-child bond: Any mother who breaks it is seen as insane, regardless of the truth. While a father is only another person, with no bond, and so is treated as a stranger. That does appear to be the thinking.

3:49 AM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Knoxwhirled,

I agree with Nemo that Rusty Yates should not be held guilty. You cannot commit a psychotic woman to a mental hospital for long and Andrea Yates had a psychiatrist who was adjusting her meds prior to the murders and it is said that he wrote down that she was "okay." So Rusty Yates was doing what he could. You cannot keep a watch on a person 24 hours a day. This is the problem with our system--those who need to be in the hospital are not there and family members hands are often tied in these situations. If Rusty Yates had forcibly taken the children etc., he could have been charged with kidnapping them etc. And knife pulling is no big deal to the courts if a woman does it, believe me. They won't do much.

7:10 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

If Rusty Yates had hired daily help for his wife, or if he had taken some family leave time to be home and help her himself... To say he's not guilty doesn't mean we can't recognize what he COULD have done. And maybe, to recognize that a kind person would have done more. To throw up your hands and whimper that it's hard to commit someone or that the cops might arrest me if I protect my children...how well did that plan work for the Yates children?

If mothers are seen as insane when they break that mother-child bond, maybe the courts are harder on the dads because dads are seen as the family protector.

8:10 AM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymom,

The sad fact is that more women who are mentally ill tend to committ violent acts when released from hospitals --sometimes at a higher rate than men--that said, a housekeeper and "help" around the house is not what Andrea Yates needed. She needed around the clock psychiatric care. To say that "extra help around the house" would have stopped her from her acts is naive and reckless.

9:02 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some interesting new info is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Yates

Rusty ignored the advice of doctors when he thought he knew better:
- They had more kids, although advised not to.
- He created time to leave Andrea unsupervised, although advised not to.

Therefore, a potential scenario is that doctor's were willing to commit Andrea but they did not attempt to do so because they realized Rusty would not allow it.

It's possible that Andrea would have voluntarily committed herself, but did not do so because of Rusty's opinions. In a perverse way, she found another way to voluntarily commit herself.

Of course, the above conjecture assumes the Wikipedia content is accurate.

9:05 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

I had a busy day and could not stay involved in the thread. The cool thing about that is that I got to read 60 posts to catch up.

Do it yourself, read how many times a woman's murder of her children is "understood" in terms of her illness or "stress."

If you took those posts at face value, you would wonder if women are either more often mentally ill or just not as capable as men. Now I wonder neither, but many of the posts read as appologies and spin.

Infanticide is a horrid crime, one of the worst in my opinion. Domestic violence is awful too. But change the gender and read the posts as if they were written about a male perpetrator of domestic violence and see how they raise your hackles!

To me this signifies that there is some gender inequity at play here. And this time, it really is all about the children.

Trey

9:08 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change the gender: Okay.

Incest crime enough for you?

9:19 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trey
Sorry if that immediate reply probably read too harshly. Raised my heckles.

I dread the day I have to decide to explain to my kids why their visits to grandpa are minimal.

9:24 AM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Anononymous 9:05,

If you want to use wikipedia's version of what happened, then at least read what it says under "Psychiatric Care." Rusty did have her committed after her father's death. She was released soon after under the care of a psychiatrist who adjusted her meds--tapering her off Haldol, an antipsychotic--all the while, knowing that she is at home with children, so your potential scenes seem to imply that Rusty was at fault rather than the professionals who treated her. The professionals released her, changed her meds and knew she was at home. How is Rusty Yates supposed to know that what they did might have been wrong?

Anonymous 9:24:

Your posts make no sense. You are confusing apples and oranges.

9:28 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live near Fort Worth, close to where the case of the woman who killed herself and her children happened, so my local paper has had many details about this case.

I think that in this case, both the mother and her estranged husband are to blame.

The mother may have been depressed - perhaps even having post-partum psychosis - and decided that suicide was the only answer for her, and that taking her children's lives would spare them further misery in life (i.e., poverty - this woman was struggling financially).

But she had other options. She could have asked relatives to care for the children until she could get job training and learn English (maybe even taking the children back to relatives in Mexico), and receive help for her depression. She could have put one or more of the children up for adoption. And she could have stopped getting pregnant over and over. We MUST get away from the idea that birth control is bad and make it widely available at low cost to anyone who needs it!

Abortion was another option. I don't believe in abortion as a means of birth control, but I also don't believe that unplanned and unwanted children should be born to overwhelmed parents, either.

I'm personally tired of women who kill their chldren being called "victims" and "innocent" when they usually have other options. Andrea Yates also had other options - she could have left her husband and insisted on a divorce, and let him have custody of the children since she was too mentally ill to care for them.

As for the father in this week's case - he didn't help matters by not providing financially and not being involved in the lives of his children, or not being willing to get help for his anger management that led to abuse. If he truly cared about his children, as one of his relatives told my local newspaper, he would have been more than willing to do these things for their sake.

I just hope the one surviving child is placed in a good home with adults who will love her and provide for her financially and emotionally - whether that home is with relatives or not.

9:35 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

"you would wonder if women are either more often mentally ill or just not as capable as men."

Men more capable? We won't know that until men in large numbers--numbers equal to stay-at-home moms--care for children full-time. See my 4:45 post. For a guy to sit back and say that, gee, the kids don't cause me any stress when I babysit them, so women must be prone to mental illness--that's just not even close to understanding what fulltime child care is like. Some women sail through their days with no problem. Some lose it in small ways. Some, like Andrea Yates, lose it in big ways.

Trey, I know that you are probably more involved with your children than some dads. And I'll bet you recognize that most dads are not as involved with their children as the moms are. (Exceptions are noteworthy because they are...noteworthy.) I also think that if your wife pulled a knife, you would get the children out of the situation and you would get help for your wife. I will even go so far as to think that you would even stop expecting her to spend all day with the children. That's because you're a husband who cares about his wife's health.

Excusing Rusty Yates for not getting his children away from his disturbed wife is like excusing a mother who refuses to protect the children from their abusive father. We can understand UP TO A POINT--but we end up blaming her for not protecting the children. She's the adult; she's supposed to do what's right, even if it is tough. Same for Rusty.

9:47 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting point was raised above: moral vs legal blame.

Moral blame is very individual. Posters will have different opinions, and have read different evidence.

Obviously, Andrea was morally wrong.
The court found Andrea legally wrong, but (after a retrial) in a mental institution rather than a criminal one.

Above suggested “morally rusty was *equally* guilty”. (emphasis added)
I’d have no idea how to assign shares of guilt; i.e. amounts of legal punishment.

The legal status appears to be this: Neither Rusty nor his doctor are legally wrong.
- Perhaps Rusty could fall under negligence or child neglect for his actions, and the prosecutor decided to not pile on: loss of his children was punishment enough.
- Rusty chose not to file against the doctor.
- No relative filed civil claims against Rusty.

There are no winners in situations like this. At some point, enough has been done to prevent a recurrence of the event and those involved try to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on.

I just want to give a THANK YOU to the judges, and especially the jury members. They have to listen to this kind of evidence and then try to make tough decisions.

9:48 AM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

anon 9:48--

Good post. Good sense. And yes, the jury and judges had a tough job. Our judicial system is a good one.

Did you read me as suggesting that Rusty was equally guilty? I don't believe that and, like you, wouldn't have any idea about how to apportion the blame. My point was that he failed to protect anyone in his family. From my perspective (far removed, granted), it seemed that he missed opportunities to protect both his wife and his children. Husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, are supposed to do that.

10:15 AM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

My point was that he failed to protect anyone in his family. From my perspective (far removed, granted), it seemed that he missed opportunities to protect both his wife and his children. Husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, are supposed to do that.

Anonymom, you put my feelings into words better than I could!

Dr. Helen,
If doctors told Rusty that Andrea was OK, then the incident is even more tragic. And I certainly agree that our mental health system is screwed up.
But with that said: I can't help but feel like Rusty had to know his wife's judgment was seriously compromised, and that he needed to take the lead.

He didn't need to kidnap his own children. At the very least, he could have temporarily sent the older kids to school instead of Andrea homeschooling them. Or put them with a babysitter or with family; or even sent Andrea to live with some relatives for a while--anything! But he did nothing. I can't excuse that, and I don't believe I'm holding him to an unrealistically high standard of parenting.

(I repeat that I still hold Andrea accountable, and she should never be let out of prison.)

12:25 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Cousin Dave said...

anonymom: It was knoxwhirled, way back towards the beginning of the thread, that stated that Rusty should be in prison. knoxwhirled's argument pretty much was that the Rusty was legally responsible for Andrea's behavior. It was an almost perfect statement of today's have-it-both-ways feminism, wherein women have equal rights but also retain the privilege of getting back up on the pedestal when it suits them.

Another poster, presumably a female one (I can't find it right now) stated that "If my husband pulled a knife on me, I'd leave with the kids." But that was the wrong analogy. The right analogy would be this: imagine for a moment (I know, I know) that you are either psychotic or just plain mean. You pull a knife on your husband and make threats concerning your children. Legally, what are his options?

1. He files a police report, or tries to. Chances are, he'll be laughed out of the police station. Without concrete evidence, he won't get anywhere. Or, the police will treat it as a mutual domestic disturbance, and arrest both of you. Eventually the two of you go home, and you still are near the kids. Or, you file abuse charges. A judge strips him of his parental rights and prohibits him from having any further contact with his children. Now he's in prison and the children are still in danger. Lot of good that did.


2. He takes off with the kids. You dial 911 and report that your children have been kidnapped. Next thing he knows, he gets pulled over on the interstate, dragged out of his car, and a dozen state troopers beat the crap out of him. A judge strips him of his parental rights and prohibits him from having any further contact with his children. Now he's in prison and the children are still in danger. Lot of good that did.

3. He tries to have you committed. If you don't cooperate, the chances of this occurring are nil. And you can file counter-charges for abuse. A judge strips him of his parental rights etc.

4. He does nothing. You're still near the kids, but at least he's still in the home.

In terms of protecting the children, which option looks most promising?

12:26 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Cousin Dave said...

knoxwhirled: "Or put them with a babysitter or with family; or even sent Andrea to live with some relatives for a while..."

How can he do that without her cooperation?

12:27 PM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Like it truly is, with no apologies:

White male single parents get no help worth mentioning from anyone. Unless you are lucky, and live in a town with relatives in the area. We are wrong sex, wrong color. White males are supposed to FUND the solutions to everyone else's problems, which in America is throw money at those problems, not be in need themselves. So there aren't as many single males (of any color) with the kids, but there are still millions of us. Go take a look at whose numbers are rising in the single parent arena. And we do what we can. And just as with single women with kids, you simply cannot have an occupation that maximizes your capabilities, because if one of your kids is sick in school, your ass is out the door right NOW to pick him up and head for the doctor. Being a single dad has cost me 5 career quality jobs in ten years, outside of the 25 years I had in at my longest job. The problems with single parenthood are not female only domain. I've had a belly full of those on high horses.

Sheesh. What brought that on?

1:03 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

br549,

Thanks for the guy's perspective on single parenthood. I'd bet that single moms nodded as they read it. I have single-mom friends and their stories make me eternally grateful that my husband and I make a great team.

I'm still not sure I understand why you think white men who are single parents have it worse, though. What opportunities do women and other-than-white men have as single parents that you do not?

1:50 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

Anonymous (9:24) wrote: "Incest crime enough for you?"

I either made my point poorly or you missed it entirely. Either way, incest crime is certainly enough for me. But I don't know what you are referring to.

1/2 to 1/3 of my work is with people who were sexually abused. I have helped to put several child abusers in jail and look forward to helping to put more in there! While I detest court work in general (I get lots of money but too much of it is for sitting around and waiting when I could be seeing patients) it is very satisfying to help get predators off the street.

But I am not sure what this has to do with the topic of gender bias and killing children.

And please, don't dread telling your kids why they can't see grandpa. Tell them the truth, that grandpa has made bad choices and you do not trust him to treat them right. That they can love him, but that they (or you depending on the backstory) do not and will never like his choices.

If he abused you, I would NEVER take the children around him unless he has appologized, taken responsibility for the perpetration(s), received and FINISHED group treatment for the perpetration, and you have had this verified by a face to face with the therapist who led the group. Never. If he abused them, I hope you consider never taking them around him no matter what.

But thanks for the appology, I did not feel jumped on, just a little confused. Par for the course for me. And I TOTALLY understand that this issue is emotionally complicated, especially for people who have been hurt by sexual abuse.

Trey

1:56 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

It's funny that you get people like Anonymom and knoxwhirled who are calling for the husband to do his traditional role, take command over everything, never make a mistake etc. And either intimating or outright saying that he should be held morally and even legally liable if he doesn't fulfill all of his traditional male duties.

They seem oblivious to the feminist influence on society, the fact that his attempts to be the big traditional male boss will be undermined by pretty much every outside institution (including the police etc. - Andrea could shut him down in any decision, believe me) and they have a remarkable lack of empathy for men in general. Maybe HE'S also stressed out with his job and can't take on Andrea's job too. Maybe he doesn't have enough money to hire a nanny to do Andrea's job. Maybe he'll get fired if he takes parenting time off. Total lack of empathy.

If they dare also do the feminist "I get to have everything a man does, even if I didn't work for it" thing in real life, they are beneath contempt, playing both sides against the middle. They damn well better be little Donna Reeds.

On the other side are the feminists today. They would mock and sneer at a man taking the traditional role (just browse through Pandagon, for instance), and they would also try to trip him up in any way they could in real life. They refuse to believe there is the other side making traditional demands on men, so they continuously mock and sneer that men won't also take on traditional women's duties.

Men should be aware of this crossfire before they think about getting married or having kids. Take a real close look at what your future dumpling REALLY thinks, because it's going to come out in the marriage.

1:58 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

Anonymom, thanks for making your points and disagreeing with me so agreeably! I got to get back to work, but I will respond later.

Trey

1:59 PM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

How can he do that without her cooperation?

You're assuming Andrea would have resisted all of these options. And perhaps she would have. We'll never know because Rusty never tried. And that's what I object to.

I read this blog all the time and I can tell a lot of male commenters have had some horrible experiences with divorce, custody, abuse, etc. I am truly sorry that this is the case and I would never try to trivialize these issues. But my sympathy for you does not extend to excusing Rusty Yates.

2:15 PM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

calling for the husband to do his traditional role
Not his traditional role, just his role as a dad.

never make a mistake
Again, I don't think I'm asking for perfection for him to protect his kids. Obviously you disagree.

Total lack of empathy.
I have as much empathy for Randy as I do Andrea. Both should be in prison.

they are beneath contempt, playing both sides against the middle. They damn well better be little Donna Reeds.
FWIW, our opinions of feminism are probably pretty similar.

just browse through Pandagon, for instance
I think the people on Pandagon are kuckoo. Be careful or you will get pegged as the other side of the spectrum!

2:24 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Nemo said...

By the way, I am assuming that the women here calling for strict traditional gender roles have already asked their husband's permission to post on the Internet. But I still think that if you are sitting home with the other children, you should be picking up or cleaning rather than wasting your time in the Internet. Check with your husband to see what he decides with regard to this.

2:34 PM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Radish said...

I don't have time to do the legwork, but it would be interesting to see how women who killed their children before 1972 were sentenced, vs. women who killed their children after 1972.

3:30 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

nemo,

You seem to be looking for a fight today. Which women posters are "calling for strict traditional gender roles"?

3:39 PM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger knoxwhirled said...

1/2 to 1/3 of my work is with people who were sexually abused. I have helped to put several child abusers in jail and look forward to helping to put more in there!

Thank you for what you do... I couldn't do it! (talk about job-related stress!)

3:48 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 9:35 posted that "both the mother & her estranged husband are to blame" for **the mother** murdering **her kids**.

an interesting statement. had it been dad who - in a fit of depression; or self-pity; or deep cowardice - had DAD been the killer, i very much doubt that i'd be reading "...and the mother is equally responsible!"

no, when the killer is a demon *male*, fatally infected with the hateful **testosterone**, it's always his fault; and no one else's. andrea yates killed those children, in a horrific, premeditated manner. she then took steps to protect her life so rusty wouldn't be able to kill her when he found out. news flash, gang: she wasn't crazy. she's just another gutless homicidal twit; who killed her children to punish her husband.

this is why feminism is viewed with such contempt among those of us who dare to think, instead of just mouthing teacher's dogma: feminism wants it both ways; when in doubt, feminism wants it tilted *their* way; and - even though feminism will change their stated 'principles' fairly frequently, it's the responsibility of men to read minds and see the new demands coming. or else. "rusty yates should have somehow sensed danger! with his spider-sense, or something!"

you know: the exact same mindset one sees in spoiled 4-year-old girls. and andrea yates apologists.

5:35 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Cousin Dave said...

radish: Is there some particular significance about the year 1972? It's escaping me at the moment...

5:46 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They [women] make up 10-15% of homicide offenders..."

Still waiting for your explanation, helen. Difficult subject?


anon 8:19

9:05 PM, May 31, 2007  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Anon 9:35 said: We MUST get away from the idea that birth control is bad and make it widely available at low cost to anyone who needs it!

Inexpensive condoms are available at WalMart or Kmart, or the grocery store. Birth control pills can be purchased there too if they have a pharmacy department, which most do. If they can't afford the $20 per month cost of condoms or the pill, then I'm sure there is a local health clinic that can provide birth control for little to no cost. Not sure why you think birth control is difficult to find or expensive to obtain.

Anonymom said: My point was that he failed to protect anyone in his family.

With all due respect, she was under the care of psychiatric professionals who released her to go home, a home that happened to be filled with kids being kids. If I'm Rusty Yates and the professionals tell me she is stable and able to come home to the family, then why in the world would I remove my family from the home? She's okay, the psychiatrist says so!

Simply put, any attempt to blame the husband is a stretch of monumental proportions.

12:03 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous DRJ said...

Cousin Dave @ 5:46,

My guess is that Radish is interested in 1972 because that's when Roe v Wade was decided.

12:04 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

Thanks knoxwhirled.

Ya know, most days it is not so bad. It is worst when you really know the person, child or adult, then they tell you out of the blue. That feels a bit like a kick in the gut, or I get a little dizzy if it is really horrible abuse.

But that does not last. Honestly, most days, the paperwork is more traumatic than the listening and helping for me!

Trey

12:33 AM, June 01, 2007  
Blogger jw said...

anonymom: Try talking to fulltime single dads or men who do stay at home with the kids or ... There are many men who know as much or more about child rearing and home as women do ... more than most women do for that matter. This as the men do not get the support the women do and so must learn things on their own.

Do not even for a second think that men raising kids are the exceptions. There are far far too many of them for that.

cousin dave really does have the point of the thing: There is nothing men can do, some women have gone so far into hatred of all males that males are now defined sub-humans.

The heart point here is that the extrme sexism of our culture demands male repsonsibility without power AND female innocence with immense power. Few, if any, would hold a female responsible for not protecting her kids even though she has immense power to do so: Yet, so many hold a male responsible for not protecting his kids even though he has no power to protect them! That is a great evil.

4:27 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The heart point here is that the extrme sexism of our culture demands male repsonsibility without power AND female innocence with immense power. Few, if any, would hold a female responsible for not protecting her kids even though she has immense power to do so: Yet, so many hold a male responsible for not protecting his kids even though he has no power to protect them!"

-------------------

I agree with that.

Feminists in pushing for even more power naturally only look at the man on his own being bigger and stronger, the woman being smaller and weaker.

But we are not back in caveman times, and even then women had power based on sex and instincts built into men.

Today, women have the power they always had based on their vagina and also men's instincts to protect them, but additionally a tremendous social power. An absolutely tremendous social power based on the chivalry of men in positions of power (if you are a man in a divorce, you will fare far better with a non-feminist female judge than with a chivalrous male judge, for example; I don't have to describe the advantages women have with police, social workers, university administrators, government organizations and pretty much any other institution in society), and based on things that feminists have pushed through in favor of women. An individual man is absolutely powerless vis-a-vis the machinery of the state.

The setup today is that old, traditional notions are still being applied to men, women are given a pass, but women are frankly the ones today who have more *real* control.

4:45 AM, June 01, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

anonymom 1:50 P.M.

The opportunities available to women and non whites?

The cash cows, otherwise known as white males.

Don't go ballistic, please. One can state truth from their own experience without being racial or sexist.

Been through more crap in the last ten years than I could ever explain. It continues daily via nasty messages on my answering machine, threatening letters in the mail. I honestly believe I have enough info to write a book. It would be in the fiction section were it published, because I doubt most would believe all that has happened to us in the time frame.

If I did not have my incredible, wonderful children to be there for, and were able to pursue my convictions, I would be a hermit in a cave.

6:33 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have single-mom friends and their stories make me eternally grateful that my husband and I make a great team."

Let me guess --- your husband earns all the money, takes care of life and otherwise shields you from the real world, while you dump all your problems in his lap and sometimes nag him.

That's the "team".

I'd be happy to be in your shoes too.

6:40 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

anonymous 6:40,

It is good to start my workday with a chuckle, so thanks. I'm at the office, my husband is home with the kids. He works too, and we earn about the same amount. We shield each other from bad stuff and enjoy the good together. Sometimes I nag him; sometimes he nags me. You really might be happy to be in my shoes--or in my husband's shoes.

8:37 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

br549,

Now I understand what you mean about the advantages. I'm sorry you've had such a tough time but glad the kids are with you.

Not all women are like that.

8:44 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

JW wrote: "This as the men do not get the support the women do and so must learn things on their own."

I think part of the difficulty of being a single dad is the lack of social training we men receive. I was a half time single dad for just over a year when I was 38 and my daughter was 3 to 4. It was wonderful, rewarding, and really difficult! Part of the difficulty came from the benign neglect of my youth. I was born in 1960, and taught not a damn thing about caring for small children.

In my case, in the 60s in the South, this had little to do with feminist propaganda as there was none of it around! It was a deficit of patriarchy. Now before I offend folks, let me offend some folks. Patriarchy rocked in many ways and produced a lot of good accomplishments in my opinion. Sure, it had it's bad side with racism and gender inequity (among other failings), but machismo has it's positive side as well. But I digress.

It is more difficult to single parent as a male for LOTS of reasons. Our brains are different, most of us do not have as strong a tend and befriend response as our fight, flight, or freeze response. Most of us have jobs in which the employers are totally unsupportive to out needs to take off a day or three to care for a sick child. And most of us, especially those of us that are older, were not trained in child rearing skills that our sisters take for granted.

So while I know and accept that misandry exists and that single fathers are an unpopular fact, I wonder just how much official programs like WIC and unnofficial support like the feminist agitprop figures actually help single moms. We are men, we muddle through, get things done, and usually stay quiet about it. I bet we do that as single fathers too.

Trey

9:15 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous anonyparent said...

"It is good to start my workday with a chuckle, so thanks. I'm at the office, my husband is home with the kids. He works too, and we earn about the same amount. We shield each other from bad stuff and enjoy the good together. Sometimes I nag him; sometimes he nags me. ...."

Same here, except I never post from the office. (I just got back from dropping of the kids. Spouse finished some work-at-home and just left for the office. I've got some spring cleaning to do at home this morning.)
After trying to be ALL we can be for too many years, we're learning balance.

Flex-time and Flex-place are wonderful features for modern families. VERY helpful, regardless of your gender.

"You really might be happy to be in my shoes--or in my [spouse]'s shoes."

9:17 AM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

anonymom wrote: "We shield each other from bad stuff and enjoy the good together. Sometimes I nag him; sometimes he nags me."

Boy, ain't that the truth. Sounds like a wonderful marriage to me. My wife and I are a unit, a team, one flesh, insert overused cliche here. I would be lost without her. Hell, she left helping me at the office to take a paying job and I am currently in a grieving funk and have been all week. I miss our laughter in between patients, I miss how she could sweet talk the incurance companies, I miss how she could organize things joyfully. I miss her a lot at my job.

A good marriage is a good thing indeed. One of the best things.

Trey

9:18 AM, June 01, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

To anonymom:

I wouldn't trade my kids for love nor money. I'd even do the whole thing over if necessary, to see their smiles, watch their first steps, school plays, etc. The joy and shear fun times far out weigh the heartache. The system blows, though. For everybody, I think.

Even if I had a crystal ball and chose a different spouse at first, my kids wouldn't be who they are. And who (and what) they are, is wonderful.

12:26 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous 1charlie2 said...

Couple of things,

First, any discussion of Mr Yates in the context of mothers committing filicide raises the hackles of folk like me and my wife. Andrea Yates did it, no one else. Attempting to spread the blame while in this context is annoying.

A separate thread, "What would/should you do if you think your spouse is a danger to your kids ?" would be an excellent venue for this. And I'd be happy to hang Mr. Yates out to dry.

And I suspect many of you would no doubt be horrified as the lengths I'd go to protect my offspring, perhaps even some of you so eager to spread blame on Andrea's husband (sigh). Sometimes, a neanderthal just can't win.

At any rate, based on experience in the 80's (which may or may not still be valid), I have to agree with br549's assessment that resources for single fathers can be somewhat limited. When my 1st wife died in an accident, I became a single father to a three-year old girl literally overnight. I'd been the primary breadwinner so finances, while strained, were not dire.

But some avenues that exist for single mothers may not be so freely given to a father who grabs his kids and runs away from a whack-job. And given the pshrink's apparent failings, I wonder how "The Authorities" would have viewed it. (I know what my response would have been, but more on that in a moment)

My saga into single-parenthood was difficult, as you might imagine. Not that my daughter was the problem, time was my enemy. Single parents of either gender can readily identify with that.

But here's the thing -- I didn't off my little girl. So you'll forgive me if there's a part of me that offers not only to "pull the switch" on Yates, but to pedal the %$^%$& bicycle to power the generator that makes the juice that fries her pathetic carcass into ash.

Great googly-moogly, folks, we condemn abusive parents who beat their kids. What are we to make of killing children ? and we are somehow dragging her husband into the primary chain of responsibility ?

Can you understand why I get so riled up at any excuse for a parent (either gender) who kills their kids. It evokes something very deep and primal in me.

Which leads to my other point. My first wife (and my current one as well) is faaaarrr more 'nurturing' than I am. And I believe that may well even generalize. They both functioned as primary care-giver during the children's earliest years, and I think this influences things more than we may know.

But neither of them are even close to me in genuine protectiveness. And I think this generalizes as well. My current wife understands that if I perceived a genuine threat to my children, I can say without hyperbole that there is nothing I would not do to protect them. Not that she is not protective, but she's not nearly as proactive or savage as I.

She would place herself between the kids and grave danger. I would track grave danger 3,000 miles and kill it, and damn the consequences.

So she knows what to expect. Her comments as we watch the news and occasionally hear of various bad things happening to kids have included (in increasing order of grimness)

"We have a lawyer on retainer"
"I'd come visit you in jail."
"I remember, you want your beret buried with you."

So perhaps my "caring" expresses itself differently than my wife's. Is one 'better' ? It all depends. For us, fortunately, we have the best of both worlds.

This nearderthal now awaits the stoning :)

2:00 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a bit odd how a few people want to look so hard to find blame in the husband. Anything will do.

I don't really hear about that so much when a man kills someone (or specifically his kids), unless a woman actively participated and helped in the killing.

Otherwise, she's made out to be a victim too. No one would think of blaming her or assigning her responsibility for her husband's actions. Kind of bizarre, really.

2:09 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for Andrea Yates, she did have help, her mother in law. On the day she murdered her children she did the act before mom-in-law was to arrive. Quit blaming the husband, she could have refused to have more children, she was not a prisioner.

2:51 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She would place herself between the kids and grave danger. I would track grave danger 3,000 miles and kill it, and damn the consequences."

Very good summary!

The role differentiation is spot on target. Lots of similar attitudes in our home.

3:36 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous anonymom said...

You track the danger 3,000 miles, and I'll stick around in case any new dangers crop up right here.
:-)

6:07 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

1C2: I can see asking your daughter to the prom might present some difficulties...

9:40 PM, June 01, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

1charlie2 wrote: "Can you understand why I get so riled up at any excuse for a parent (either gender) who kills their kids. It evokes something very deep and primal in me."

Yes sir, I can, and I understand! I also think that the MASSIVE denial that blames the husband while exonerating Yates comes from the same deep, primal place. It just comes out in a different direction. Yours, and mine frankly, comes out as "She has to pay" while theirs comes out as "She must be mad. Who is to blame?"

Trey

12:25 AM, June 02, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

1charlie2....

Amen! Threat removal rules.

In all honesty, I wish I understood better, and were more capable with nurturing, though. My girls needed someone to listen at times, and being a male, I wanted to solve the problem. Took me way too long to see the differences, to figure out what I was supposed to do. And then, you know, the stuff that starts to happen as they get a little older. Lots of long distance phone calls to my sister over the years. Thank God for my neighbor's wives, too. Although they probably didn't need to call me a dumb ass as often as many felt the need to.

7:52 AM, June 02, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

anonymous 8:19, 9:05

Google it, will you? Answers are very easy to find that way. Boolean algebra is such a wonderful thing.

8:28 AM, June 02, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

br549

Regarding nurturing girls - is the difficulty related to that truism that men always try to "solve" problems while women sometimes just want to share them?

I don't have a daughter, but I do have a niece I'm fond of. Thirteen. I have a hard time understanding when she's normal - can't imagine what her dad goes through when she's upset about something.

10:54 AM, June 02, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

P.S. - Even though I'm only an uncle, I think I'd still go into threat removal mode if anybody messed with the kid.

And coincidentally, she lives in California so I'd have to go 3,000 miles to protect her. Maybe 1C2, br549 and I could carpool...

10:57 AM, June 02, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Only if you have a killer car stereo, and like polka music!

11:36 AM, June 02, 2007  
Anonymous TMink said...

polka music! (shudders)

OK, I do like the Weird Al polka version of Bohemian Rhapsody, but that is about the end of that short list. Thank God for in the ear headphones!

Trey

12:26 PM, June 02, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

Sorry, guys - I can't drive anywhere without Leon Redbone.

1:51 PM, June 02, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Bugs....

About nurturing...after a few times of them yelling "Dad! I don't want you to change the whole world, just listen.", I finally got it. A nod is as good as a wink when you're blind as a bat, or however that goes. One doesn't really need an article in Time Magazine to tell us men and women think differently.

The girls didn't really want me to help solve a boyfriend thing, and I was terrible at helping to pick out clothes, although I am helpless as to what to buy without them. They did (and still do) like to be hugged a lot. And I sure am happy to oblige that.

I was only kidding about the polka music, guys. After one or two Leon Redbone songs, though, I'd need my own walking stick, 'cause I'd be out of the car. Sorry, bugs. Perhaps we could meet in the middle with some old Paul Butterfield Blues Band stuff.

10:52 PM, June 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1charlie2:

I'm sure that your 3000 mile tracking and killing skills may in some measure be of comfort to your wife and family. But really...not a terribly useful skill in the main.

We'd much rather see your diaper-changing, getting up in the middle of the night w/ the kids, house-cleaning, sick-baby caring skills.

Much, much more useful. See?

10:57 PM, June 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:57:

Who's "We"? Are you the Queen of England or the leader of all women on the planet?

What a grand view of men - that they are (all!) apparently incapable of learning your little list. Men who live alone never learn house-cleaning, I gather.

Now I'd like to see housewives learn how to earn enough money to support an entire family and learn how to keep their f#%&ing traps shut for more than 10 seconds.

8:59 AM, June 03, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

anonymous 8:59 AM

You've been "Rosied" Just ignore her.

1:55 PM, June 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, so it's ok for 1charlie2 to generalize but not me? I see.

2:12 PM, June 03, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

I'm sure 1C2 does his share of the dirty work. Even if he wanted to avoid the stinky stuff, Mrs. 1C2 would probably find a way to persuade him.

2:20 PM, June 03, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

Besides, I'm the Queen of England...

10:31 PM, June 03, 2007  
Anonymous Kelly M. Bray said...

My great grandfathers brother was murdered by his wife, and she got a pussy pass....in 1917.....http://www.ausbcomp.com/~bbott/cowley/OLDNEWS/WORTMAN/LUELLA.HTM

2:14 AM, June 05, 2007  
Anonymous Bugs said...

Sounds like she also got a "white woman who shot an Indian" pass. Funny thing about those oil rights on his property, huh?

3:28 PM, June 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ridiculous sentence is definitely in the realm of a fantasyland judiciary, but then so are comments that this instance of judicial stupidity is evidence that society believes all women can do no wrong and get away with murder. Just because one judge is swayed by a charismatic sociopath doesn't mean it's true to say that women always get away with anything and there is a vast conspiracy out there painting every male as a wife beater.

The reality is that the majority of murder's in marriages are committed by males and the majority of abuse is commited by males so the majority of cases you will hear of will have women as the victim. This is not a feminist conspiracy, this is a fact. However, the fact that the majority of murders and abuse are commited by males does not pardon those females in the violent minority. This judge is an idiot and all victims of domestic violence, whether female or male, deserve compassion. Just because the judge in this case apparently has a disconnect where women's evil is concerned doesn't justify chauvanism and lack of compassion concerning women who have to face abuse by a male partner.

In the majority of cases of domestic violence, partners are often unwilling to press charges or testify against their spouses, a reality in opposition to the idea that all women are out to get men and falsely portray themselves as victims.

The reality is that marriage is a difficult enterprise and couples can get violent and it's possible that much of this violence goes unreported. Both men and women suffer in abusive relationships, and often both partners are committing acts that are abusive. Taking sides and promoting sexist blather do nothing to alleviate that real problem of family violence that occurs against men, women and children and the real sources of pain that all individuals involved experience.

I am still shocked and surprised to see such polarized black and white thinking from a forensic psychologist and her audience. One would think that unrealistic, borderline attitudes would be unwelcome from a PhD level individual. But then again playing the patriarchy is a good way for a bright, talented and chauvanistic female to gain popularity in cyberspace. I just wonder if you know exactly what you are doing or are simply thriving on the attention in ignorance.

1:24 PM, June 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ridiculous sentence is definitely in the realm of a fantasyland judiciary, but then so are comments that this instance of judicial stupidity is evidence that society believes all women can do no wrong and get away with murder. Just because one judge is swayed by a charismatic sociopath doesn't mean it's true to say that women always get away with anything and there is a vast conspiracy out there painting every male as a wife beater.

The reality is that the majority of murder's in marriages are committed by males and the majority of abuse is commited by males so the majority of cases you will hear of will have women as the victim. This is not a feminist conspiracy, this is a fact. However, the fact that the majority of murders and abuse are commited by males does not pardon those females in the violent minority. This judge is an idiot and all victims of domestic violence, whether female or male, deserve compassion. Just because the judge in this case apparently has a disconnect where women's evil is concerned doesn't justify chauvanism and lack of compassion concerning women who have to face abuse by a male partner.

In the majority of cases of domestic violence, partners are often unwilling to press charges or testify against their spouses, a reality in opposition to the idea that all women are out to get men and falsely portray themselves as victims.

The reality is that marriage is a difficult enterprise and couples can get violent and it's possible that much of this violence goes unreported. Both men and women suffer in abusive relationships, and often both partners are committing acts that are abusive. Taking sides and promoting sexist blather do nothing to alleviate that real problem of family violence that occurs against men, women and children and the real sources of pain that all individuals involved experience.

I am still shocked and surprised to see such polarized black and white thinking from a forensic psychologist and her audience. One would think that unrealistic, borderline attitudes would be unwelcome from a PhD level individual. But then again playing the patriarchy is a good way for a bright, talented and chauvanistic female to gain popularity in cyberspace. I just wonder if you know exactly what you are doing or are simply thriving on the attention in ignorance.

1:24 PM, June 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...or are simply thriving on the attention in ignorance."

BINGO! BINGO!

2:34 PM, June 10, 2007  
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2:44 AM, June 08, 2009  

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