Thursday, January 31, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 83



Husband plays a role in Yates case

Shireen Connor

After my last column, which was a piece of light humor drawn at the expense of adults' collective immaturity, it is time yet
again to tackle another controversial issue: this time, the Andrea Yates murder case.

Not one human being in his or her right mind would disagree with the fact that Mama Yates snatched the lives of her five
innocent children. However, I would like to pose a question to my readers: Is her husband also at fault?

Although the subject of school shootings and the responsibility of parents are not directly related issues, I would like to point
out one interesting parallel. 

Whenever a school shooting occurs, parents, the media and the general public all shoot an accusing eye at the parents of
the perpetrator. Since Yates is a mentally ill woman living in her own home, I believe we should all take a closer look at her
"parent": her husband, Rusty Yates.

Time magazine's latest issue included a comprehensive nine-page spread on the Yates case. The article outlined the fact
that each time Yates was released from a mental institution (and she had been in several in the months preceding the fateful
June morning of the murder) it was with the understanding that Rusty Yates would watch out for her, her suicidal tendencies
and her violent visions of harming others (especially her children). If he had been doing his job, how could things have gone
so terribly wrong?

The fact of the matter is he left her alone with the children that morning. As mentioned in Time, he had to make sure she
swallowed her anti-depressants before he left, since she had a history of refusing to take them. He also remarked that she
appeared nervous that morning when he left. 

How did this man justify his decision of leaving a very mentally ill woman unsupervised with five young children in a small,
unkempt home? Was this not just a disaster waiting to happen?

There is even more to the story. Throughout the police and media's frenzied investigations of the case, Rusty Yates has
always remained calm, cool and collected. He has never openly wept, or expressed much anger or frustration with what his
wife did. 

Now, I have never had children before, but I feel pretty confident that if my mother killed me and my little brother and sister, my
dad would be pretty ticked. To put it lightly, he would probably have tried to beat her. 

However, Rusty Yates maintains close contact with his wife and ardently supports her release. While many people want to
see her fry for taking the lives of five children, much less her own, he is unrelentingly sympathetic with her.

I am in awe of his super-human capabilities. Indeed, his level of self-control is admirable, but it seems to me that he may have
a little too much self-control. What she did almost defies imagination. How has her husband been able to forgive her so
quickly and so thoroughly? 

In a way, I think her husband has some issues himself. Both parents were very religious and secretive. They home-schooled
their children and did not do much socializing outside the family. In fact, Yates uses the Bible to justify her actions. 

Time magazine reported that she told jail doctors that she had been a bad mother and she had to kill her children as a
punishment for herself. Since I am not a theology expert, I cannot give the exact quote, but you are more than welcome to
investigate it yourselves.

Since the final verdict is months and months away, I would like these arguments to be pondered carefully. When two people
have children, it is their inherited duty to love and protect them. And when their children pass before them, most normal
parents mourn their loss unbearably. How has Rusty Yates been able to do this so discreetly? 

Maybe the public should also bring suit against him as well. He failed his duty while they were alive, and now he is also
failing to honor their deaths rightfully. 

Connor, a sophomore psychology 
major, can be reached at

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