[DP] Fwd: Yates case; also Halperin speaks
carole646 at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 1 10:51:39 CST 2002
>From: Rick Halperin <rhalperi at post.cis.smu.edu>
>Reply-To: TCADP-BOARD01 at yahoogroups.com
>To: TCADP-BOARD01 <TCADP-BOARD01 at yahoogroups.com>
>Subject: [TCADP-BOARD01] death penalty news---TEXAS
>Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 09:35:44 -0600 (CST)
>Society should have rescued Andrea Yates
>It never should have happened. Andrea Yates is an intelligent,
>well-educated woman who led a middle-class life. She is married to a
>well-paid engineer. But woven through her years as a stay-at-home mom who
>produced 5 children was the specter of depression. Now, those children
>She was treated for depression, but the treatment, it seems, was
>inadequate and short-lived. There was a lack of judgment involved in her
>continued childbearing, given her mental history. And there appears to
>have been a lack of awareness and sensitivity for her situation from her
>husband and those around her.
>Andrea Yates home-schooled her children and helped care for an elderly
>relative. Her responsibilities would challenge the sunniest, most
>well-balanced woman. She loved her children. But she probably experienced
>a sense of profound isolation. Did she ever have time off? Time for
>herself? Why did the system fail her, even though at times she sought and
>received psychiatric care?
>No one chooses to be depressed, nor is it anyone's "fault." You can't
>just wish depression away by exercising willpower. Those who are
>psychotically depressed can lose all touch with reality and become
>delusional. That condition is to the mild depression of the anxious
>"worried well" crowding their therapists' offices as a monsoon is to a
>I can identify with Andrea Yates, although I experienced only the
>mildest, most transient of postpartum depressions after the birth of my
>third child in five years. It was immobilizing enough, coupled with my
>guilt at feeling that way in the first place. I felt overwhelmed.
>Many mothers can identify with Andrea Yates. It is possibly the human
>race's best-kept secret that most mothers feel desperate at times. For
>the deeply depressed, it is all too easy to fall into a downward spiral.
>It doesn't help that our society has devalued motherhood to the point
>where today we give it relatively little recognition or respect.
>Our society's ignorance about psychiatric disorders no doubt inhibited
>those closest to Andrea Yates from seeking help. Discussion of mental
>illness persists as the last taboo in our culture, a subject shrouded in
>stigma and shame.
>The cause of depression is a biochemical imbalance exacerbated by life's
>stress. The treatment is medication, which may have to be periodically
>adjusted, along with ongoing talk therapy and practical coping
>strategies. Above all, continuity of care is important.
>We failed Andrea Yates. She received little continuity of care. The
>vagaries of our health care system, with inadequate attention paid to
>psychiatric illness, are partly to blame. And while she was hospitalized,
>her care was inappropriate. For instance, according to her husband, she
>was expected to watch videos on substance abuse, which never had been an
>issue for her. Her treatment was haphazard and fragmented, with little
>Now, she sits in a Houston courtroom charged with the capital murder of
>her children. And what are her alternatives death row, prison without
>the possibility of parole, or a return to the mental health morass
>offered by the state? We are the wealthiest country in the world. It is
>tragic that we don't provide adequate health care for mental illness. It
>is tempting to demonize a mother who is accused of killing her children.
>But we failed Andrea Yates and her children and, as a society, must
>accept some of the blame. We can do better. There are more Andrea Yateses
>out there, and prevention is possible.
>(source: Viewpoints, Dallas Morning News; Diane Barnet is a former
>psychiatric nurse who lives in Austin)
>Speaker denounces death penalty
>Dr. Rick Halperin, president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death
>Penalty, spoke to College Democrats about his anti-death penalty stance
>and the lack of human rights education in the United States.
>"This struggle is much bigger than just the death penalty," Halperin said
>Wednesday night to about 20 people.
>"This is a struggle to end the idea in this country that there is such a
>thing as a lesser person. You can't have a better society when you
>believe that certain people need to be exterminated."
>Halperin, who is with Amnesty International, said the typical reasons to
>end the death penalty, such as expense, error-laden processes, and race
>issues are valid.
>However, he said it was most important to end the death penalty to shift
>the paradigm of American thought.
>"We don't recognize that human rights begins at home," Halperin said.
>"This country is in human rights denial."
>Jace Reeder, political director for the College Democrats, said Halperin
>was honest with the facts.
>"He's a thinker kind of speaker," said Reeder, Fort Worth senior.
>"Even if you are in favor of the death penalty, he may not change your
>mind, but he'd at least make you think."
>Halperin spoke about methods and history of execution and provided
>statistics on the number of people who have been and are on death row.
>He also said until people in the United States learn more about human
>rights, it cannot advance as a nation.
>"I think the route is in education," said Martin Wallace, NT alumnus who
>works at Willis Library.
>"An educated society could change the system. But our leaders rely on the
>status quo to maintain their power, so they don't emphasize education."
>(source: North Texas Daily, University of North Texas, Feb. 21)
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