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Andrea Yates: Escaping The Execution She Deserved By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 27, 2002

UNFORTUNATELY, Andrea Yates just recently escaped the death penalty. The "Houston housewife" who drowned her five children in a bathtub received life imprisonment instead.

Too bad.

For some reason, we have all been told that we are supposed to feel sorry for Andrea, because she is apparently "mentally ill." And that’s why her lawyers argued that she didn’t deserve capital punishment.

Sorry, call me ignorant but, in my books, if you drown your children in a bathtub, I’m not really too concerned about your state of mind. I’m more concerned about living in a society that can still make a moral statement about evil. And do something about it.


Yes, I’ve heard: Yates suffers from schizophrenia, depression and postpartum depression. She’s also been taking the anti-psychotic drug Haldol over the years.


Guess what? I don’t care.

I care about the five human beings who wanted to live, and who had a right to live, until their mother decided to drown them.

It seems a lot of people really cared about sparing Andrea’s life during her trial. But I wonder how much Andrea cared about sparing her children’s lives as they desperately struggled for air as she held them under water.

The children were drowned one after the other in the same bath water, vomiting up breakfast and losing bladder and bowel control when they lost consciousness. Bruises on their bodies, including "grab marks" around their lower legs, revealed that their mother pulled their legs out from under them and held tight on the backs of their knees, so that they couldn’t lift their heads.

Andrea had her good intentions, of course. She patiently explained to police that she performed her deed because she was possessed by Satan and wanted to save her children from eternal damnation by killing them.

But you see, mental illness or not, this admission alone reveals a mind that knew right from wrong. Yates understood that killing her children was a crime, and that is why she called 911 right after she finished her unspeakable crimes. That’s why she was able to so coherently and calmly describe what she did to the police when they arrived.

That’s also why, after she called 911, she called her husband, Russell, at work:

"It's time. I finally did it," she said to him before telling him to come home and hanging up.

He called back to ask what was going on.

"It's the kids," she said.

He asked which one.

"All of them," she answered.

And before you get it twisted, Andrea’s husband was no angel either. A legitimate debate remains over who is more evil: Andrea or Russell.

Russell has enough brains to be a NASA engineer but he somehow couldn’t figure out that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to leave a psychotic wife, who was on and off anti-psychotic medication and had already tried to commit suicide twice, alone with his kids.

This is a guy who once walked into the bathroom and found his wife staring at the mirror, pressing a kitchen knife against her throat, deliberating whether to kill herself.

He prevented her from doing so, but never asked her one question about it. He really prided himself, you see, on how he gave her her privacy. He later explained that he just didn’t want "to pry".

Not wanting "to pry" is always the egocentric’s disguise for his self-absorption and callous disregard for others.

Russell didn’t want "to pry", you see, because he really didn’t care. This is a guy who, knowing he had a crazy wife who couldn’t keep up with raising five children, never ever helped with anything. He never once changed a diaper, never once put one child to bed, and, better yet, forced his wife to home-school the kids.

What exactly did Russell think Andrea was going to teach the kids? The ingredients of anti-psychotic drugs?

Russell knew his wife wasn’t going to teach the kids anything because his home-schooling tactic had nothing to do with his vision of an appropriate education. As is almost always the case with the cult-minded and socially alienated parents who engage in home-schooling, taking the kids out of public school is just another vehicle to insulate the entire family from the outside world. In this way, the inner demons of the family can be rationalized and left unexposed, while the control of the family tyrant can be solidified –- since no outside criticism, help or advice can be realized.

Robbing children of the fundamental developmental experience of growing up around their peers is just one of the crimes associated with home-schooling. The capacity for evil in the practice, despite all of its stated good intentions, clearly played itself out in the Yates tragedy.

All of this is directly connected to the reason Russell forced the entire family to live in a cramped bus for several years -- while he disallowed his wife to have any normal contact with her friends and family. When Andrea’s family and friends did make contact, they constantly tried to convince Russell that Andrea’s mental illness was extremely serious. But he always trivialized and minimized the matter.

Perhaps it isn’t such a surprise that forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, who was the prosecution’s star witness during the trial, has affirmed that Russell could have prevented the death of his children. Perhaps that is also why Harris County D.A. Chuck Rosenthal has announced that Russell might yet be charged for crimes of omission including child endangerment.

Rosenthal’s staff is clearly on to something. This is a guy who wanted to have more children even after he knew about his wife’s condition and suicide attempts.

What world does Russell Yates inhabit?

This is a guy who, even after having his five children killed by his wife, stated that he "didn’t know" if he and Andrea would remain married. After Andrea’s sentencing, he affirmed: "I'll always support Andrea. It's kind of difficult being separated, not having the companionship. She won't have any more children -- that was always something that was important to us."


And Russell was also very upset about Andrea’s sentence of life imprisonment. "Think of the trauma she has been through," he whined to reporters, "What a cruel thing to do. Where's the compassion?"

Alrightee then.

And guess what? Russell also wants us to know that his dead kids really "loved their mommy." After Andrea’s trial, he begged reporters to try to understand that his children had already forgiven Andrea: "I know they don't hold this against her. They know that she loved them."

Oh, and guess what? Russell is thinking about changing careers and going into spiritual counseling.

Like what exactly are we dealing with here?

I’ll tell you what we’re dealing with: an evil woman who knew right from wrong and who shrewdly calculated that the massacre of her five children served as an escape from a life she no longer wanted, and from a husband she had grown to despise. We’re also dealing with an accomplice to murder who chose, from the very beginning, to sacrifice his children on the altar of his egocentrism -- and of the pathological road toward delusional self-aggrandizement that it yielded.

It was Russell Yates who cleared the path to allow his wife do what he knew she was capable of doing.

And that is why, on that fateful morning after Russell went to work at NASA, five young innocent children would face a sudden rendezvous with death. Noah Yates, the firstborn, was the last child to die. The 7-year-old left his half-eaten cereal on the kitchen table when his mom called him into the bathroom. When he walked in, he saw his sister facedown in the bath water, her tiny fists clenched.

"What's wrong with Mary?" Noah asked his mother and then, according to the account Andrea later gave the authorities, he tried to make a run for it. But good old Andrea was concerned for his soul and chased him down. She dragged the screaming boy back to the bathroom and forced him facedown into the bath water, while his sister's body floated lifeless next to him.

Noah came up twice as he desperately struggled for his life. But mommy dearest held her evil grip. She later confessed that Noah thought she was punishing him, and that he tried to apologize as he gasped for air.

"I don't know if he was saying 'I'm sorry' or what," Yates affirmed in a subsequent interrogation, shrugging her shoulders in bewilderment.

Andrea’s lawyers argued that their client was not guilty by reason of insanity.


Then there’s reality.

And reality tells us that killing your own children is the ultimate crime. There is no worse crime.

It deserves the ultimate penalty.

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.

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