Tuesday, July 12, 2016

In Texas, the "inmates" run the asylum

In this year of mass insanity in which two unprincipled megalomaniacs—who between them combine all of the worst elements in human nature from morally and ethically—are the unsavory “choices” for president of these United States, doesn’t it seem as if the “safest” thing for the rational person to do is to create a vacuum tube world where nothing enters or leaves but one’s own conception of a sanity, which allows nothing to enter that causes pain or sorrow? Unfortunately, in the “real” world one can hope for that but a few hours a day, or at best  weekend to avoid all negative sensory and find solace in artifacts that one remembers gave them pleasure in the past. Unfortunately, because of this little thing about making money to pay for lodging or sustenance (and because are only so many positions for security guard in an empty building in the dead of night), one cannot escape the facts of life indefinitely.

Thus if one intends on living, it is impossible to escape the caprices that create an irrational world, where we are offered “rationalizations” that strain credibility for what we know to be morally and ethically untenable (Hillary Clinton, take a “bow”). Take for example the defense of “insanity” in law, which seems to constantly come to the aid of women in Texas in times of greatest need. A few weeks ago at a residence outside of Houston, Christy Sheats—who by all appearances was your typical blonde Southern belle living the privileged life—went “crazy,” and in premeditated fashion shot to death her two daughters during a family “meeting,” with the intention of adding her estranged husband to the body count before he escaped (behind a couch or down the alley, depending on the news source). Apparently there was a bit of resentment over the perception that the two deceased young women were closer to father than to the mother, and Sheats wished to “hurt” her husband by depriving him of the happiness they gave him, but she no longer did.  

Sheats was eventually shot dead by police, so the jaded public is to be spared that seemingly unanswerable question in this instance: What is the connection between Texas and mothers who kill their children? What is it that causes this frequent manifestation of “insanity” that appears to be peculiar to the state?  Is it something that is in the air—or is it merely a “cultural” construct?

Naturally, there is an “excuse” already prepared. Sheats supposedly had been suffering from depression after the loss of her grandfather and mother in recent years, requiring medication and psychiatry. This depression manifested itself as bizarre behavior and irregular thinking at home and work; it combined to make the lives of everyone who she came into contact with miserable. Instead of self-examination and cause-and-effect, self-pity, blame-seeking and revenge upon those who dared to pass judgment on her took over. Now, her husband would be as unhappy as she was, and worse, to be forced to take at least partial responsibility for the depraved actions because he was sufficiently “sensitive” to his wife’s peculiar issues.

Now, this all sounds “logical” and “understandable,” and we are told that this is “typical” behavior under extraordinarily “stressful” conditions.  These behaviors cannot be “helped”; the real “victim” is the perpetrator, who must be looked up with more sympathy than those killed. We are not permitted to pass judgment on such people suffering from an affliction supposedly beyond their control; they suffer all sorts of “syndromes”—medical and psychological conditions that are peculiar to themselves and not understood by science, supposedly because they have been “ignored” by the medical profession, despite the evidence of volumes of study devoted to women’s health, a fact pointed out in an Atlantic Monthly article back in the 1960s I quoted from in a post some time ago. 

Feminists tend to be quite touchy about the subject of filicide committed by women, and attempt to stretch reality in the quest of finding something other than a simply evil, pathological or even merely self-involved motive. They claim that women who kill their children are treated with a “double standard,” and they are right; they just get the part of who “benefits” from the double standard mixed up. While men who commit filicide are simply men being men, gender advocates are extremely defensive of the fact that most children—especially infants, preschoolers and more often than not male—who are killed by a parent, the perpetrator is the mother; it flies in the face of the “nurturing” character  that women are supposed to possess by nature. 

We will say that most women who become mothers are not afflicted by some supernatural force and lead what can be defined as “normal” psychological states of mind. While some women do suffer from some degree of postpartum depression after childbirth, many in the media and fictitious victim advocates (the actual victims always seem peripheral to the story), claim that this as blanket “explanation” for most incidences of violence against young children. But those who are actually the experts in the trait deny that postpartum depression is ever the culprit; if a “postpartum”  effect is the problem, then it comes more often a form of “psychosis”—that is, when it is not purely venal motives. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, psychosis is the “fundamental derangement of the mind (as in schizophrenia) characterized by defective or lost contact with reality esp. as evidenced by delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech and behavior.” There is nothing in this that implies that outside influences or physical changes is the cause of psychosis, but some pathology already present. In fact, postpartum psychosis is so rare that it only comes into play in a very small percentage of filicides committed by women

But facts are irrelevant; in Texas, harming adult women further than they have already harmed another is too harming to the social consciousness. The woman has already been “harmed” by the numerous evils that conspire against their peace of mind as women, although it often clear that the evil lies somewhere in the soul—rather than the mind—of the perpetrator. Take for example the 2003 case of Lisa Ann Diaz, who drowned her two young daughters. She claimed that “evil spirits” and “germs” were going to kill her and her children. She was found not guilty of anything by reason of insanity in 2005. How can this be judged “normal” behavior for even a lunatic? Most people under such a delusion would try to fight the “evil spirits,” not kill her children. A year later, she was judged free to roam the streets again. Who is fooling who here? How can this person be suddenly be declared “sane” so soon after a horrible murder? Was the insanity actually real—or was it an act? Diaz was an attractive young woman; maybe she wanted to be rid of the children, and from a chronology I will provide, there was precedent for a belief that she would escape from punishment from her crime.

Yet the myth continues that pregnancy and childbirth causes “insane” impulses in a tiny percentage of women who kill their own children, that sometimes does not even manifest itself as a homicidal impulse until years later.  But this excuse has almost no relevance in cases of filicide like that of Sheats—nor in cases as the following, an abbreviated list so that it doesn’t read like a telephone directory:

1984: a nurse named Genene Jones was convicted of administering a deliberately fatal dose of a drug that caused a 15-month old child’s heart to stop.  Reports at the time implicated Jones in the deaths under suspicious circumstances of anywhere from 40 to 60 infants that she came in contact with. But we’ll never know for certain, because Jones was fired from several nursing positions by suspicious hospitals, and after her conviction for just one of the deaths, those hospitals that had employed her destroyed their records concerning Jones activities, apparently an attempt to avoid culpability. 

1986: Juana Leija tossed six of her children over a bridge, two of whom drowned before rescuers arrived. Apparently prosecutors were familiar with the Mexican tale of the “weeping woman,” an indigenous Indian who was left by her high society husband for a more “suitable” mate, and subsequently went mad and tossed her children into the river. The defense claimed that Leija’s was an act of “love” so that they could escape abuse from their father, a claim that was based on the testimony of the mother alone.  Leija received 10 months probation. As often is the case, a male is always at fault, whether “God” or mere mortal. Beyond that, the murders make no reasonable sense.

1991: Diana Lumbrera was convicted of murdering six children under her care between 1976 and 1990. She claimed that a mother-in-law had put a “hex” on her and the children.

1995: Claudette Kibble was convicted of killing three infant sons, one each in 1986, 1988 and 1990. No motive was given for the murders. 

1999: Tina Cornelius threw her two infant children off a cliff.  Neither she nor her attorney were quick-witted enough to use a postpartum insanity defense, and decided upon a “I see dead people” tale. In this case the jury decided that the story, not the perpetrator, was insane.

2002: Dee Perez shot to death her three children, wounded her husband and then shot herself.

2003: Deanna Laney crushed the skulls of two of her sons and seriously injured a third back with rocks—on Mother’s Day of all times. Laney claimed that God instructed her to do this, and who is to question the word of God? Unfortunately, the Devil often masquerades as “God,” and sometimes the “devil” is the killer herself. Other people, like jurors who claim to be Christian, apparently did not know the difference. Laney was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity.

2004: Dena Schlosser killed her infant daughter by cutting off her arms. She was found not guilty of murder by—what else—reasons of insanity. She back out on the streets within four years of the crime.

2005: Angela Camacho and her live-in partner were convicted of killing and decapitating the three children under their care—after which they washed themselves and had sex. The woman received three life terms; the man was sentenced to death.

2006: Valeria Maxon murdered her infant son, claiming that he was the “Antichrist.” Declared “legally” insane, she was sent to a psychiatric hospital. She escaped and has been on a “most wanted” list since 2014. 

2007: Gilberta Estrada hanged herself and her five children, one who survived. Why? Who knows.
2007: Andrea Roberts, whose privileged life by all reports was untroubled by the tribulations most of us experience, shot her husband and two children while they were asleep, and then shot herself. A “suicide” note was found, but offered no explanation for her actions.

2013: Guadalupe Ronquillo-Ovalle murdered her husband and three children, then killed herself. No apparent motive.

Now, we can see that the postpartum defense—either depression or psychosis—had no proven relevance in those cases. However, in at least two instances the killer was allegedly following the dictates of some omnipotent being. Most probably have some element of revenge or extreme self-pity.  But let’s look at the most famous case of the “insanity” plea used to justify a heinous murder, in which both God-fearing and non-believers used to justify their own beliefs (or lack thereof):  Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001. Can one imagine a more horrible a method of murder (with possible exception of being set afire) as forcibly holding a desperately struggling child inside a tub of water to drown, and repeating this five times? The person doing so must be not so much “deranged” as absolutely calculating, purposeful and wholly without feeling.

Yet we have been told by Yates numberless apologists that she suffered postpartum “depression” that increased in intensity following each successive birth, that only changed to a diagnosis of “psychosis” in recent evaluations of the case. But this by itself could hardly explains why she did it. What is “crazy” is the story we have been fed by Yates’ defenders. She had allegedly attempted suicide in 1999, for which she had been briefly institutionalized. She told a psychiatrist that she wanted to hurt herself instead of someone else. Yet from all accounts such incidents were brief episodes that were not sufficiently “concerning” to hospitalize her indefinitely.

What we do know for certain is that the Yates family followed a “charismatic” street preacher named Michael Woroneicki, who warned his congregation that “only a few” would be saved in end, and that children were in “danger” because their mothers were “witches” by nature, and that if their children were conceived out of immoral desires, then they were destined for hell. One psychiatrist, Phillip Resnick, who testified at Yates’ retrial (where she was found not guilty by reason of insanity) claimed that this led Yates to believe that "One of her sons would become a serial murderer, another a mute, homosexual prostitute, and she had these terrible delusions about how all her children would come to no good. It was better that they be in heaven with God, then living a life in sin. [Yates] also assumed [because of Texas law] that she would be executed. So, even though she would end up in hell, at least her children would be saved."

It seems that a great many people believe either that “unquestioning” religious faith must be evidence of “insanity” since there is no “God,” or there are those who obviously do not read their scripture very carefully and prefer to listen “charismatic” preachers who are “God” unto themselves.  But in the Bible, God never intended the faithful to murder one another, especially for no reason given; sure, God ordered Abraham, a man whose devotion was exceeded by no one, to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. But this clearly illogical command was a “test” of Abraham’s faith, and God—satisfied that Abraham was the right man to found a new nation for the believers—intervened in time to prevent the carrying out of the deed. And yet we are to believe that women are so week-minded that they will obey “commands” they know to be wrong from a complete phony, and not likely at all to be derived from the “God” everyone else knows? I’m not religious at all, but even I am familiar with the story of Jesus in the desert for forty days, during which Satan tries and fails to tempt him? 

Was this the “message” that Yates was actually given by the preacher—or did she willfully invent it to suit some intense desire to escape the responsibilities of life? Why didn’t she kill herself? Was Yates sufficiently lucid of mind to have the desire to “explain” her actions first? Did she really assume that she would be executed for an action that she knew was a criminal act of a most heinous nature (yes, even worse than rape)? Or is the “crazy” person the one who believes her story? Just because a story sounds like only a crazy person would concoct it doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong; Yates clearly did know, yet she acted otherwise. Yes, this is “crazy” talk, except that it is everyone who believes this story as a defense for Yates’ action who are in fact the “crazy” ones—because they dumped their ethics and morals into the toilet and flushed it away. 

Yet those of us who are not sympathetic to killers of young children are usually vilified because we don’t have the proper “sensitivity” to women who are “damaged,” those who we are told are not to blame for their actions. It is “unchivalrous” not to “understand” the “special” problems that women suffer. But this begs another question: Are serial killers deranged individuals driven by uncontrollable impulses, and if so, why is that the public demands that they be executed for their crimes, let alone be undeniably “guilty” by every standard of society? Do we really devalue children that much in relation to, say, adult women who have been given by society the responsibility of their care? 

In a society that demands “equality” in everything make an “exception” for women who dispose of the most innocent of human life—especially in the case of someone like Yates, whose monumental self-pity (i.e. “depression”) manifested itself in a desire to believe anything a clearly megalomaniacal “preacher” told her? There had never any incidence of a “follower” murdering anyone, let alone their own children; why was Yates “different” than any other? Was it because the seed of “psychosis” planted in her mind long before any of her children were born? No one—including her husband—could have known the extent of her “damage.” Even the psychiatrists who treated were unconcerned about the children, only about her. She wouldn’t “hurt” her children, only herself. 

But they were wrong, and like any other person who deliberately contravenes that laws of simple human decency Yates should be in prison, not a half-way house to freedom where people are “properly” sympathetic to the one gender “difference” that even feminists whole-heartedly embrace.
But Texas will execute an innocent man for a murder committed by a woman. Jessie DeWayne Jacobs was not “crazy” when he told the courtroom that convicted him of murder and sentenced him to death in 1986 "This is not going to be an execution. This is premeditated murder... I am not guilty of this crime." It turned out that the true killer of Etta Ann Urdiales was his sister, Bobbie Jean Hogan, who killed Urdiales in of a fit of jealousy in relation to an ex-boyfriend. The prosecutor, Peter Speers, discovered belatedly that Hogan was the guilty party six months after the trying, convicting and sentencing to death of Jacobs, and tried her for murder. But the jury brought a conviction of involuntary manslaughter, believing her story that she “accidentally” pulled the trigger. She received a ten-year prison sentence. 

But the state of Texas incredibly refused to pardon or vacate Jacobs’ wrongful conviction and death sentence. As his execution date in 1995 neared, there was outrage all over the world; even the Pope sent a message demanding justice for Jacobs. The state incomprehensibly put forth two entirely different versions of the killing, one that sent Jacobs to death, the one that sent the real killer, his sister, back on the street before her brother’s execution. Texas held that Jacobs was still an “accessory” to murder, even though no “murder” had taken place, according to his sister’s verdict.

The US Supreme Court denied Jacobs' motion for a stay of execution on the grounds that it could not overturn the jury's determination of “fact.” In his dissent from the majority decision, Justice Stevens wrote: "I find this course of events deeply troubling. If the prosecutor's arguments at the trial of Jacob's sister are to be believed, then Jacobs is innocent of capital murder. In my opinion, it would be fundamentally unfair to execute a person on the basis of a factual determination that the state had formally disavowed."

Now this is what I call truly “crazy.”

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