Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Talk Thursday: So I Have To Ask...

This week's Talk Thursday topic practically cries out for me to ask all those questions that I never get answers to in the real world. It's also a great way to procrastinate if you're finished with your line edits, the 'script is more or less ready to go except for those thorny subreferences to the New England Patriots that you can't decide if you should cut or not, but you somehow haven't quite mustered the courage to type up the query letter and send it to the editor who asked for it over a month ago. (Hey, I'm only three weeks late. I'll have it out by the end of July. To do anything else would no doubt incur the wrath of Aunt Sally. Or worse, Jackie. Shudder.)

So, anyway, here's my question du jour to which I won't get an answer in the real world: Why is Texas the homicidal-mother capital of the United States? I mean, lots of parents must go berserk and murder their offspring, but why is it always the Texas cases that end up on CNN? Andrea Yates (drowned five, not guilty by reason of insanity, stuck in a mental hospital for the duration). Dena Schlosser (cut arms off of her infant daughter with a carving knife, not guilty by reason of insanity, same story as Andrea Yates.) Darlie Lynn Routier (stabbed her two boys to death, guilty of capital murder, on death row). Deanna Laney (bludgeoned three sons to death with rocks, not guilty by reason of insanity, stuck in a mental hospital for the duration.)

I'm asking this question because we had two (count 'em, two) homicidal mothers this week in Texas, which is probably some kind of a record. The first one was an Irving mom who strangled both her kids, allegedly because they were autistic and she wanted normal children (you can bet that 911 tape gets played in court a few dozen times). The second was the mayor of Coppell, a bedroom community north of Dallas, who shot her 19-year-old daughter in the head and then killed herself. The first case was just your garden-variety tragic. The second one was downright weird, and keeps getting weirder as the tangled skein continues to play out.

Besides embezzling from the City with her municipal credit card, Ms. Peters was evidently about to lose her house to foreclosure. Her husband had died the year before, she was behind on a number of bills, and her daughter thought she was going to UT in Austin. I say "thought" because even though she told all her friends that she was going to UT, there's no record of her ever applying, much less enrolling. This kid was apparently under the impression that her mom had filled out the college applications for her, found her a post at UT and was paying for everything. Uh, not so much.

But wait. It gets even weirder. Ms. Peters gave her daughter a new car to take to college with her. Where did she get the money for the car? Uh, she didn't. It was a rental. That's right, Mom rented a car and passed it off to her daughter as a gift. Hands up who thinks that's pretty weird. Yep, I see a lot of hands. I mean, this whole scheme had to unravel sooner or later, right?

Well, apparently it did. They're both dead, after all. But things get weirder still. All the newspapers and most of the TV news channels are running stories on this whole deal like it's just a "senseless tragedy." Uh, hello. It was a MURDER. Sure, the murderer killed herself right after the crime, but that doesn't change the fact that a mom killed her kid. Why are people going on and on about how troubled she must have been, how she should have sought help, how she must have felt all alone in the world? I personally don't give a ripe fuck how alone you feel in the world. Killing people is not cool. It violates the First Precept, fergodsake, and it's the First Precept so you won't forget it. (Nobody ever forgets the first item on a list. They forget the fourth or fifth item. There's been studies.) It's like the whole state of Texas, home of the phrase "hang 'em all and let God sort 'em out", the only state in the Lower 48 with an express lane in front of the gas chamber, has just sort of gone out to lunch on this one.

And I don't get it. So I have to ask: If Andrea Yates had killed herself after offing her five kids, would we have lowered all the flags in Houston to half-mast? Or do they only do that if the homicidal child-killing maniac is the mayor?

Here's the weirdest part of all: The family threw Ms. Peters and her daughter, Corrine, a joint funeral. Gotta love that. Just for the record, if somebody knifes me to death, I want my own fucking funeral. I do NOT want to share it with the knife wielding psycho, even if it is my mom. (Incidentally, hi, mom! Been around any sharp objects lately?) I'm just sayin'.


Cele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cele said...

First off I gotta ask, really the lowered the friggin' flags? That is too weird.

Secondly, don't, I repeat slowly.


Welcome to Waco.

Oh, oh and thirdly, excellent commentary.

Jen said...

Really. Lowered the flags. Yeah, we do massively inappropriate things around here sometimes.

When Andrea Yates was on trial, people gathered at the courthouse waving signs that said things like, "Andrea Yates Fry In Hell." Which is also massively inappropriate, but at least I can understand that sentiment. This feeling-sorry-for-woman-who-killed- daughter-to-avoid-being-caught-in-a -bunch-of-lies thing, I just do not get.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Psamanthe said...

OMG! You crack me up...
Luckily, my mom (Cele) and I don't really believe in funerals.. so if she were to flip the fuck out and stab me to death... or shoot me in the head.. there wouldn't be any chance of that of a co-ceremony..

Now really what I have to ask is ... WHY does batshit crazy mean that if you do flip the fuck out and strangle, dismember, drown, shoot, or stab your child/children you don't go to real prison and aren't eligible for the death penalty? ..... Um, Excuse me... if you can do that to your own fucking child... couldn't you do it to ANYONE? To me, you're MORE dangerous. and your crime is MORE heinous, and if you do wake up from your "psychosis"... aren't you going to be even MORE fucked up once it clicks what you've done?
I don't find myself changing my mind to know that you're "unbalanced".. I'm more inclined to say, "Gas 'em!!"

Ok... I don't believe that the gas chamber is humane at all.. that was just a statement.... but I definitely believe in lethal injection. And if I ever did that to my child, insane or not, put my ass down.. cuz if if I didn't know what I was doing.. I don't ever want to figure it out. Just put my ass down and don't look back.

Jen said...

Hi, Psamanthe!

Well, being a Buddhist and all that, I'm not exactly a fan of the death penalty, but you may have a point that it might be the kindest thing in some situations. We put down rabid dogs, don't we?