The Corner

Andrea Yates

An e-mail:

I just have to say it. I agree with you on virtually everything, so it is disappointing to see you on this side of the Andrea Yates issue.

Anyone with a passing exposure to mental illness can recognize Andrea Yates as psychotic. This is not merely being depressed, as in sad. It is hard for me to describe the extreme of anguish it manifests, but you get a hint of it in the consequences: she killed her children. Neither you nor I nor anyone else can possibly feel the loss of her children more than she. The most terrifying image of hell I can conjure is psychosis. Pray with all your might that no one you love suffers so. I pray every day that God will bless and protect the unborn and the mentally ill. Why He allows it, I cannot comprehend.

Kathryn, you really cannot side with those who glibly and ignorantly condemn Andrea Yates. She is in a prison more horrifying than anything we could impose.

I have no doubt that Yates is a deeply sick woman. Pray for her, by all means. But as a society, while acknowledging this and having empathy for her, we must punish a crime — and call it a crime. She murdered five children. Whatever made her do that doesn’t change the fact their lives were ended. And for that a “not guilty” does not suffice.

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