It’s time to place some blame in Yates’ murders

Tim Paluch

Let’s just get it over with beforehand. I’ll go ahead and lay into

myself before I continue with what I consider to be a very

judgmental column. Here I go.

“Tim, you’ve got no right saying that.” “You’ll never be a woman;

you’ll never have to give birth.” “How can you say that, you ignorant,

arrogant male?”

Now that I’ve covered all the bases, I think I can continue.

By her own admission, Andrea Yates killed her five children,

ranging in age from 6 months to 7 years, two weeks ago in

Houston. She didn’t blow up the play room, nor did she open fire

on them while they slept; she methodically drowned them, one by

one, in the family bathtub.

Yates then took the bodies of her four youngest children to a

bedroom, placed a sheet over their bodies, and called the police.

(The body of her oldest boy was left in the bathtub. He was the one

Yates chased through the house before finishing the job on him,


Facing capital murder charges, Yates’ attorneys will most likely

use an insanity defense.

I don’t buy it.

(This is the point of the column where referring back to the second

paragraph will calm you down.)

Studies say that up to 80 percent of women suffer from the “baby

blues” after giving birth, but only about 10 percent to 22 percent are

afflicted with postpartum depression.

Even less, about one in 1,000, suffer from postpartum psychosis,

a serious condition usually ending within days of giving birth.

Yates obviously had more than a few screws loose, but does than

mean no blame should be placed on anyone involved? Does it

mean that the vicious murder of five children should result in

nothing more than a long stay in a psych ward?

I think it’s time to pass some blame and hold some people


I’ll start with the mother. Here’s a woman who has suffered from

severe depression for quite some time. I sympathize with her for

that, but she didn’t just slap a kid on the back of the head in a fit of

rage. She committed a horrendous crime and murdered all of her


The woman chased her 7-year-old through the house after he saw

what she was doing to his younger sibling, dragged him, kicking

and screaming to the bathtub, and held him down with all her

strength until he was dead? It just had to be postpartum


I say murder, life in prison, no chance for parole.

Andrea Yates is not insane; she knew the difference between right

and wrong. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have called the police and

confessed her crime.

Next up is the father, Rusty.

Andrea Yates had been treated for postpartum depression for the

past two years after the birth of their fourth child. During that time

daddy impregnated mommy for the fifth time. Not the most

responsible thing to do, especially considering mommy was

known to be a little screwy as of late.

We all will remember Rusty Yates’ statements at his emotional

press conference.

“I’m supportive of her,” he said. “The woman here is not the

woman who killed my children. That wasn’t her; she wasn’t in the

right frame of mind.”

Obviously. No one is in the right frame of mind while murdering

five small children. It seemed to me he was covering himself for

some of his blunders. One of those blunders would be leaving

your wife home alone all day with your five children, especially

when your wife is not only on antidepressants, but also taking

Haldol, an anti-psychotic drug.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that one out. Obviously,

though, rocket scientists have a little trouble with it. (Yates is a

computer engineer for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in


This case has shed light on many problems.

One is the way insanity has become a common defense in cases

where the person involved is and was obviously sane. Mental

illness is becoming more of a legal term than a medical one. It is

more of a strategy than a medical condition, and this woman is

now planning to use this defense to get off scot-clean.

She’ll spend the next few months deciding a strategy with her legal

counsel, instead of taking responsibility for her horrendous crime.

And why? Because she is a woman.

If a father killed his children, this case would be shut by now, and

he would receiving a lethal injection any day now.

But this woman now stands to take advantage of our legal system,

claiming a disease that affects thousands of American women

(who don’t slaughter their children) caused her to do it.

Another problem is the lack of bad press the woman is receiving.

What does it take nowadays to get demonized by the national

news media?

She killed her kids! I can’t seem to stress this enough.

Some news analysts, especially women, are feeling sorry for this

woman, without even a whimper about the five drowned children.

Everything always seems to go back to this “postpartum

depression.” Oddly enough, this is not the first case of postpartum

depression. It is, however, the first time a mother has slaughtered

her five kids and then claimed “the depression made me do it.”

Heavily medicated, depressed, suicidal and unstable women

shouldn’t be having more babies. Blame, which so far hasn’t been

placed on anyone, needs to be put where it belongs. First on

Andrea Yates, a cold-blooded murderer, and also on the father,

who failed to do anything about a dangerous situation that was

bound to happen sooner or later.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass

communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is opinion editor of the