Recently the fate of Andera Yates was determined by twelve jurors. She was given life in prison as a punishment for her crime. Sure I have some serious issues with this decision made by the Texas jury. It disgusts me to think that up to $50,000 will be spent each year to help Yates deal with her ‘mental illness’. It is interesting because one can argue that similar to this Texas mom, Timothy McVeigh may also have suffered from a severe mental illness. All this is besides the point though because there are many varying opinions on the whole Yates issue. However, there is something much more fundamental that we as a society must deal with. How are we to explain this to our children? I was watching the final moments of the Yates trial when my twelve year old sister walked into the room. She had just come home from another day of school. Where just as we all had at one time in our life, she had been taught by teachers how to work out a multiplication problem or write a book report. None of this knowledge however proves to be of any use when it comes to explaining to your sibling or child what is happening in this world.
How was I to explain to my sister that a mother in Texas had murdered her five children? How was I to sit her down and explain to her that Andrea Yates suffered from a ‘severe mental illness’? To a twelve year old this term does not mean very much. As difficult as it had been I had somehow managed to discuss with her the September 11th tragedy. However, sitting her down and explaining to her what Yates had done was and is still beyond me. She seems to have an understanding of what is happening but this only scares me more. As a superpower of the world is this what our children will grow up with? Is it normal for a twelve year old to have to deal with issues such as this? It makes me wonder have we really progressed as a society or have we instead regressed? There seems to be something seriously wrong and it is about time we start doing something about it. Whether you sympathize with Andrea Yates or not ask yourself whether you see something lacking in our highly advanced, technologically dependent society? If you take a minute to think about it you will see that though we have managed to develop Palm Pilots and high tech cell phones we have progressed very little socially. Andrea Yates’ case proves this only more. There is no textbook that can teach my sister how to deal with such issues. I am hoping that we can come up with a solution for all this because otherwise we will soon find ourself developing a textbook titled “Dealing With Life and It’s Tragedies” for use in sixth grade classrooms throughout the United States.