Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Extremities

In my quest to comprehend the disastrous mess that is modern marriage and divorce, and the particularly disastrous mess of my own marriage and divorce, I do occasionally find myself brooding on some quite extraordinarily morbid cases.

A professor I knew once advised me that it is the extreme cases which shed the most light on our general understanding. He wasn't talking about human relations, but the comment has some relevance nevertheless. (I also wouldn't put him forward as all that much of a wise man, indeed he turned out to be something of, to use his own word, an "operator", but we're all human no matter how fancy our office or high our ideals.)

The extreme cases I'm thinking of today are those of parents who kill their own children and often themselves, while in the throes of separation and divorce. It was brought to mind by two cases that are recently in the news. In the US, there is Tim Parmeter, a basketball coach coming to terms with his wife's murder/suicide with their child Ryan. (Nod to Glenn Sacks.)

On December 29, 2006, after an emotionally traumatic evening with Tim, Paula shut herself in the garage with 2 year old Ryan and gassed the both of them with car exhaust. She left no less than 6 suicide notes, one to Tim, and took photographs of Ryan as he died from carbon monoxide poisoning. One of the notes was addressed to Tim and it is unequivocal:
"Don't ever try to convince yourself otherwise -- this event is absolutely, completely your fault. You created it. You could have prevented it. You encouraged it. You found our pain funny. ... If I have the opportunity to haunt you, I will. ... I pray you will see our faces in your mind's eye and wonder what Ryan could have been and what we could have had if you had only chosen love."
The motivation is clear, it is pure hate. Is it evil, or is it sick? Are the two the same? Should we be angry or pity her? (Is it possible to do both?)

It gets worse.

There is some child's scribble at the end of the note to Tim next to Paula's signature. It is annotated with the comment "That's Ryan saying bye-bye, Dada."

Think about that. She wanted to hurt Tim worse than anything possible, more than she wanted her child to live. She wanted him to scream in pain for the rest of his life. It is a wonder that the man did not go irretrievably insane.

The act took planning. Never mind the time it took to write 6 suicide notes, she also plugged the gaps in the garage walls, remembered to take the camera and had toys to entertain Ryan while she killed him. It was certainly premeditated.

I have heard it said that suicide is the most violent thing one can do to the world. The suicide can be trying, with an inverted logic, to destroy everything but themselves. I don't think that's always true, but it seems a very reasonable hypothesis in this case. In Paula's twisted fantasy, she was destroying Tim by killing herself and Ryan.

(The semiotics of these cases can sometimes be intriguing. The police describe the murder-suicide as "initiated" by Paula. That is a peculiar choice of words for people who normally have no problem with describing crimes as "perpetrated". Do they speak of bank robberies being "initiated" by the accused? It is almost as if they do not want to face up to the possibility that Paula actually carried through what she did, she only initiated it.)

One reference I have found claims "Most types of murder-suicide involve morbid forms of attachment between perpetrator and victim, especially when the relationship is threatened with dissolution, and/or impulsive personality traits." In the Parmeter case, Tim was trying to leave Paula and the details we have certainly corroborate Paula's very strange approach to the end. She was unable to cope with Tim leaving and ultimately dealt with it by destroying him through destroying herself and Ryan, requiring it all to be his fault, not hers.


The second case is that of John and Natasha Hogan of the UK, who went on holiday in August 2006 to Crete with their two children. This was an attempt to salvage their marriage and it turned tragically sour when, in the heat of argument, John picked up son Liam (6) and daughter Mia (2) and leaped off their 4th floor balcony. John and Mia survived, Liam did not.

Since then, John has tried to kill himself 4 times. It is relevant background that both his brothers had killed themselves and that he himself has been treated for clinical depression for much of his life. It is completely clear that he was already a deeply troubled individual.

Today, the news broke that Hogan has been found not guilty of murder, it is characterized as a psychotic breakdown. That doesn't mean he gets off scot-free, he'll probably be spending several years in a secure psychiatric hospital. Personally, I don't think he'll last it out and eventually will go the way of his brothers. I honestly don't know if that would be best or not - perhaps only forgiveness from his daughter, sometime in the far future, might have a greater human benefit.

John Hogan's actions carry a very different flavor to that of Paula Parmeter's. For starters, they weren't premeditated, and he has shown no inclination to blame anyone but himself. The closest he gets to trying to avoid responsibility is to say:

"I feel no guilt because I didn’t do it," he said. "I feel no guilt whatsoever." "This person sat before you isn’t the person who jumped from the balcony on the fourth floor. I already have my son’s forgiveness, and I have God’s forgiveness."

The "I didn't do it" isn't literal. He means it figuratively, psychologically.

He goes on, to Natasha in court: "You know that a sane John Hogan would not have done what he did so please do not judge me on one action. If I could do anything to bring my son back I would." As far as he personally is concerned, I would hazard that this is about the most healthy position we could expect from such a man after 18 months of psychiatric treatment and under heavy medication.

Bizarrely, the judges wanted to know why he had tried to kill himself 4 times. Perhaps it just had to go on record.

Two cases, with gross similarities and significant differences. Paula Parmeter planned and executed a diabolical revenge. John Hogan blew a mental gasket and destroyed himself more thoroughly than he could have done if he'd died along with Liam.

What conclusions can we draw? The crimes were horrible and tragic, and yet I do not feel inclined to condemn the people, only their acts. There's no point in condemning Paula, she's dead. What she did was purely grotesque and should be condemned utterly. We could condemn John, but to what end? He's already condemned himself and will punish himself for what's left of his life. As he himself has said, there is no punishment that could compare to what he has done to himself. (Please note that I am absolutely not trying to defend Paula Parmeter nor John Hogan.)

Better to look at the causes of the incidents and think about what might be done to prevent it happening again. Many of the writers on the topic point out that prevention is exceedingly difficult because the acts are so rare and so sudden and so unpredictable. The best comment I've seen was "the most successful preventive approach involves diffusing the intensity of the spousal relationship" (from here) which, given these two cases, seems eminently sensible.

One thought that struck me is that these look like extreme fight-or-flight responses. In both cases, I think both factors were operating, but "fight" was stronger with Paula and "flight" with John. In both cases, the perpetrators found themselves in situations they could not tolerate and their reactions were pathologically extreme. They fought and they escaped, to horrific effect.

"Fight-or-flight" is what animals, including humans, do when cornered, when mortally afraid, when under attack. If the threat of divorce is felt as an attack, then I think it behooves us to look at some of the reasons why.

A divorce can be an attack on someone's identity. Marriage used to be for life, for many it still is. It was supposed to be an investment of life. To have an investment fail implies a loss. The bigger the investment, the bigger the loss. If the investment is life, then so is the loss, and that is by definition an attack at the animal level. The only way to diffuse this is to devalue the investment in the first place, which is essentially what is done as divorce becomes more and more acceptable and common.

I am not arguing for further devaluation of marriage, I think we've gone pretty horribly far already, I just wanted to point out that maintaining the value of marriage is in conflict with "diffusing the intensity of the spousal relationship".

A divorce can be an attack on a parent's relationship with his or her children. Indeed, the threat to remove children from a parent's life is visceral on so many levels one might reasonably think of it as a far greater threat that the simple loss of the marriage and cohabitation with one's spouse.

This strikes me as a pretty likely factor in the Hogan case. Being from the UK and having a very troubled background, John didn't have much hope of maintaining a proper fatherly relationship with his kids if Natasha decided not to play ball. All she would have to do would be to claim fear of him and the courts would roll over for her. Awareness of that might well have contributed to the vulnerability of his stability of mind.

There's a trivially easy way to remove, or at least ameliorate that source of stress - protect both parents' relationships with their children in the event of a divorce. However, this is not a strong argument for the protection and equalization of parental rights in the event of a divorce, and I wouldn't use it that way on its own. We have extreme examples here and while they may illuminate some of the darkness, they should not be used to dictate larger policy, although they may reasonably inform it.

This is further underscored by the fact that mothers commit the majority of filicides. "Often such filicidal mothers view their infants as extensions of their own tortured psyches and hence claim the altruistic motive of rescuing their children from future emotional torments" (ref) and there is definite resonance here with Paula Parmeter. But we wouldn't use that as an argument against maintaining the mother's connection with her children after divorce.

Nevertheless, the very sanctification of the mother's bond has a sting in its tail - the psychological pressure on a mother who, however unreasonably, fears losing her children is therefore all the higher. Not to mention the opportunities for tormenting a father by a mother who has no such irrational fears.

All that being said, if you wanted to generally reduce the "intensity of the spousal relationship" as it breaks up, which is usually considered a good thing as "intensity" applies to conflict just as it does to harmony, then protecting parental relationships might be a good way to begin.

But then again, are the family courts and their hangers-on really interested in "diffusing the intensity of the spousal relationship"? From where I sit, I'd say far from it. They thrive on conflict. It is a common argument that the family courts profit from ramping up the intensity, from reducing the father to a visitor with a wallet, completely undermining his ability to be an adequate parent and milking him for all he's worth. Any sensible human being should fear this walking into the court, most especially the father, who will pay for it all anyway.

It seems incongruous to run a discussion from murder-suicide into the preservation of parental rights in family courts, so I'll backtrack a little into a final and possibly more consequential thought which occurred to me. It is that murder-suicides like this, where a parent kills themselves and their children, are at the very far end of the same spectrum of pathological human behavior which includes child abduction and parental alienation.

All three of the actions are designed to attack and destroy the other parent, they are inextricably linked. To the target parent each one is a version of killing their child by the alienating parent. We have no difficulty condemning the act of murder-suicide, but child abduction, both court-sanctioned and illicit, and parental alienation are treated with near indifference. Why is that?

UPDATE: I am astonished to have found a "Tribute to Paula Parmeter" web page. I think it's referring to the same woman. I am particularly struck by the quotes "She will be incredibly and deeply missed not only by her family and friends, but by her business colleagues, peers, and most notably, her clients." and "she performed her job, as she lived her life, with incredible integrity, commitment, passion, and strength. She touched many lives, both professionally and personally, and we will all miss her dearly." Just, well, wow.

32 comments:

Zaphod said...

I'll leave a comment.
36 year old male, Divorced twice.
I have custody of my 2 daughters from my first marriage.Second M, My ex has custody of our son. I feel your pain from the "Family Court" comments. Too many horror stories to list, maybe one day I will write a book.
My current girlfriend has a different story, she has been run thru the mill by an abusive, child beating ex-husband who gets away with everything.
Lets make it simple:
It does not matter "who" you are, it's a roll of the dice every time you step foot into family court. You are not a person, just a docket number. You are forgotten before you even leave the courtroom.
I have more to say, just give me time.
Zaphod

Dataceptionist said...

Sorry no experience, just a breaking heart from such sad stories.

Anonymous said...

http://www.eacourier.com/articles/2008/01/24/local_news/doc479684034f946009730890.txt

Here's a comment to add some perspective to your psychological analysis of Paula Parmeter - it seems that Dad isn't the saint you'd like him to be and there is more to this relationship than an evil mother. What caused Paula to take her life and the life of her son? None of us know the truth, but one thing is for certain, the truth is more complex than you'd like it portrayed.

Anonymous said...

In case you didn't see this:

Coach accused of sexual misconduct with minor

http://www.eacourier.com/articles/2008/01/23/local_news/doc479684034f946009730890.txt

Sounds like Coach Tim Parmeter has a dark side - he is reported to be an abusive and adultering child molester.

John Doe said...

Hmm, well allegations of sexual impropriety or not, I stand by what I've said about Paula. (And whoever said Tim was a saint? Or that the story wasn't more complex that could be found in a couple of news articles? Sheesh, get a grip.)

John Doe said...

Anonymous 8:41 - the article doesn't say anything about Tim being "abusive". As for "child molestation" is is 1) alleged not proven, and 2) that phrase covers everything from gross old men (or women) raping babies to having sex with a 17 year old the day before her 18th birthday, as such it is useful phrase for killing intelligent thought, be careful with it.

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abaddon said...

Even if those stories about Mr. Parameter are true, what gives her the right to kill her child? Perhaps the feminists simply consider that a Post-Uteral Abortion? Are you somehow going to defend her actions, because the child's father is an "alleged" child "molester"? This is what seriously troubles me about any "womens-only" movement. It's OK for Andrea Yates to MURDER her four children one at a time, in succession , because she was "psychologically" unbalanced. I suppose it was the husbands fault for going to work everyday and paying for her house, food, bills, clothes, ect ect. Just like you seem to be trying to defend another womans actions for killing her child along with herself.

Scott Peterson however, where is he at again? What is he doing right now? I can assure you that he isn't in some psych-ward, talking about the "issues" he had with the victim of his crime.

L said...

Ugh. Just another reason I'm scared to get married--if I end up married to, and having children by, an unstable man (Heaven forbid), I'd probably end up suffering through whatever he can dish out, rather than putting my kids through a divorce--or worse, watching him become the next John Hogan.

Anonymous said...

Tim Parmeter brought this on himself period. He is to blame 100 percent just like Paula said.
yes maybe she was unstable, and she was wrong to kill her kid, but I see a woman here who simply refuses to put up with the kind of crap that her unfaithful, adulterous husband is trying to drag her through. This should serve as a serious warning to all the people out there who mess around behind their spouses back and those who don't think divorce is "the end of the world". Yes, divorce IS the end of the world to a lot of people and Paula drew a line and Tim will pay for it by rotting in hell forever.
I guess we will never know, but I'm willing to bet that if Tim was a faithful husband, Paula would be a stable wife and their kid would still be alive.
The point is, this legal insanity in America has got to stop somewhere and people need to start acting like responsible adults.

John Doe said...

Anon (12:26) are you actually saying it is OK for a parent to kill their children and themselves in order to revenge against a wayward spouse, and moreover that this ultimately destructive behavior is that spouse's responsibility? My reaction to that is that you are potentially as dangerous a personality as Paula. Get help.

Agent X said...

John Doe instinct tells me Anon 12:26 is being deliberately inflammatory just to stir the pot.

Abaddon said...

I cannot believe that taxpayers actually spend money to produce this tripe. I could never condone the death of my children, irregardless of the circumstance. Whatever sick soul produced that, get help and soon, you are far beyond lost.

Anonymous said...

More info.
Sex scandal in small town adds twist to murder-suicide tragedy

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0130parmeter.html

Article reads:
"Among the more wrenching claims: On Dec. 29, 2006, the night before Paula Parmeter, 37, and son Ryan were found dead of carbon-monoxide poisoning, Tim Parmeter was with his teenage paramour."

In the initial CBS article, Tim Parmeter said. "I was like, 'Somebody is going to die. I don't know who. But somebody is going to die.'"

The tragedy is that the father knew something was wrong and could have prevented this suicide and the loss of his son. Instead, while his soon to be ex-wife and child were in their garage, this father was in his office bathroom being "amorous" with his underage mistress. If he was a good father, why didn't he protect his son? I do wonder about a father who didn't call for help when he suspected that someone was going to die. This is a terribly sad and tragic story.

John Doe said...

It astonishes me that there are so many people around who are prepared to even begin to defend Paula's actions on the basis of anything that Tim did. Not even that, they seem to think that Paula is right to have claimed it to be all his fault even as she was gassing Ryan and having him write goodbye notes to his Da-Da. The mere thought of that fills me with grief and revulsion. What is wrong with you people? Don't you believe in personal responsibility for your own actions? Or is it that she is the woman, and therefore is entitled to blame a man if it's to her convenience. If the genders were swapped, you'd have no trouble putting all the blame on Tim and excusing anything Paula did as the response to an obviously twisted man. Paula was a transparently very troubled woman. Do you think that would not have had an effect on Tim? Figure it out. It's not rocket science.

Mister-M said...

Deep in the darkest recesses of my mind, there is a fear that my psycho ex-wife could ultimately bring about the demise of my children in her effort to unleash a maximum amount of chaos and terror in my life and the lives of my loved ones.

If you let it creep to far into your conscious mind - it'll eat you alive, but make no mistake - it's something I live with every single day.

As many as 10% of those with what I strongly suspect my wife of having (borderline personality disorder) - kill themselves. I just hope that if she ultimately decides this is the route she is going to take, that she doesn't take my amazing children with her.

Loop said...

I can't believe what I'm witnessing here.

John didn't defend the actions of anyone, he tells it like it is; MURDER IS WRONG.

And here you people are trying to justify Paula's actions by condemning Tim? Thats not the issue at hand here. Tim was a scumbag, but he didn't kill anyone. He didn't tell Paula to write suicide notes then kill herself. He just simply was not satisfied in his marriage, so he wanted out, and she couldn't handle it. Would anyone justify the school shooting incidences because the "initiator" was the victim of abuse? Probably not. Well, I guess if its a woman nowadays, they could probably be martyred.

And as far as "somebody is going to die" goes, maybe he was contemplating suicide himself, who knows? You're jumping to conclusions because in the eyes of feminazis, men are just out there to screw them, and thats all they're trying to do.

And the most important part is, Paula had time to think about this. She didn't want to end her own misery and pain, she wanted it inflicted upon someone else.

Now picture this, george divorces mary and years later, remarries with kate and has a beautiful baby boy. Mary then brutally murders kate and the baby not because she hated them, but because she hated george. Would you have thought of the situation differently if this happened?

Until next time, I hope you feminazi die as wrinkled fat spinsters.

Anonymous said...

Many posters believe her motive for taking her son's life was spousal revenge and not altruism (both reasons for fillicide). That opinion is based on:

1. an article written by a CBS Sports reporter who covers college baskeball. His big stories include projecting the field of 64 for the NCAA tournament and how a top 25 team performed last night.

2. a one-sided story told to this sports writer by the spouse that is still alive.

Sheesh, get a grip.

Tim Parmeter told the story his way. He doesn't want a reader to believe that his suicidal wife might have had altruistic reasons for taking Ryan with her. I may not be suicidal, but in a custody battle, I know I wouldn't leave my child to be raised by an ex-spouse who is a adultering, sexual predator. (I know, an alleged sexual predator and adulteror until convicted)

John Doe said...

Anon (2:10) that's a whole new use for the word "altruism".

"I know I wouldn't leave my child to be raised by an ex-spouse who is a adultering, sexual predator"

So you'd rather kill your child? Wow. Just wow.

Anonymous said...

John Doe, Wow, just wow.

No one said they would kill their child. And I don't think anyone here said taking her child was the right decision. However, in honor of your professor, you told this story because "extreme cases" "shed the most light on our general understanding."

Can't we at least try to understand her motives? From what has come out about Tim Parmeter, altruism and not spousal revenge seems to be the reason for her action. Parenting is all about putting a child first. In her suicidal state, she thought that was what she was doing. She didn't want to live anymore and didn't want leave her son behind to be raised by an adulteror and sexual predator.

Stop hiding behind your moral curtain and stating the obvious - we all know murder is wrong. Perhaps the rest of us might gain some understanding and glean some lessons from this tragic story. Wasn't that the purpose of posting this blog in the first place?

"No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding."
-Plato

John Doe said...

Anon (2:35), I'm assuming it is you who wrote "I know I wouldn't leave my child to be raised by an ex-spouse who is a adultering, sexual predator" which, from context, strongly implies that you think killing the child was a preferred option should you also choose suicide. I find the notion of altruism as a motivation for infanticide twisted at best. I am not hiding behind any moral curtain. The idea is simply indefensible.

Given the circumstances and the note written by Paula, "signed" by Ryan, I find it nearly impossible to perceive any other motive but revenge. We do not yet know what Tim has really been up to, and even if we take it at face value, adultery with a 17 year old is still not sufficient to even begin to excuse her actions. There is as yet no claim that he is a "sexual predator" who might attack infant boys, let alone his own son.

If Tim had murdered his son and killed himself because Paula slept with some 16 year old boy, you would not even begin to defend him.

Anonymous said...

Poor dear Paula was a "battered woman" who killed her child out of altruism. She saved her child from certain abuse from its father. Not only that, but with her suicide note, she punished that batterer for existing. You go girl! Too bad you're dead, or else you'd be a star on Oprah.

If you can believe such stupid, revolting crap, you are qualified to work at a "battered women's shelter." I'd guess that anon 2:35 is a director of one. Either that or a law (sic) professor.

Ray Manta said...

anon 2:35 said...

Stop hiding behind your moral curtain and stating the obvious - we all know murder is wrong. Perhaps the rest of us might gain some understanding and glean some lessons from this tragic story.


Ok, here are two:

(1) Women who murder their own children are treated much more sympathetically than men are.
(2) The attitude of treating women who murder children with greater lenience is likely to
inspire further child murders.

From those two small nuggets of understanding I can derive a third :

Attitudes of people like you with your selective sense of 'understanding' serve to enable
further murders of children by mothers. Your search for noble motives and causes is certain
to boil down to some version of "The devil made her do it" (The devil being, of course a man).

Hope this helps.

Abaddon said...

I will rebut your argument.

Anon stated: No one said they would kill their child. And I don't think anyone here said taking her child was the right decision. However, in honor of your professor, you told this story because "extreme cases" "shed the most light on our general understanding."

Abaddon says: Much of this from a logical perspective is retroactive bullshit to speak plainly.

"Anon (whatever) says: Can't we at least try to understand her motives?"

Abaddon says: No, her motives I am sure are understood, however they do not matter Anon. You miss the point entirely."


Anon said: From what has come out about Tim Parmeter, altruism and not spousal revenge seems to be the reason for her action.

Abaddon said: "I will not be the first to call this complete bullshit, however the mark of altruism, isn't extermination madame. Perhaps you your words were confused. Maybe you were looking for the word eugenics Ms. Sanger?"


Anon said: "Parenting is all about putting a child first."


Abaddon said: Fucking Hypocrite and Liar. May I add full of Excrement.


I digress.



Anon said: "In her suicidal state, she thought that was what she was doing. She didn't want to live anymore and didn't want leave her son behind to be raised by an adulteror and sexual predator."

Abaddon says: How simple you really are anon. Lets forget morality for a second, as many people tend to do in moments of crisis. I am going to explain this to you in simple words, YOU ARE MAKING EXCUSES FOR A WOMAN. You acknowledge she has killed her children, however we still hear an excuse for her. I am sure there is an excuse for everyone on why they killed their kids.

Thats ok, they can make more kids right?

Strength and Honor




























Stop hiding behind your moral curtain and stating the obvious - we all know murder is wrong. Perhaps the rest of us might gain some understanding and glean some lessons from this tragic story. Wasn't that the purpose of posting this blog in the first place?

"No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding."
-Plato

Ms. Alli, fabulous she said...

i love your blog - my husband is divorced and his first wife has really put him through the ringer when it comes to their kids. just to sum it up - they call her new husband "Poppa." i mean there is so much more - but that right there should give you an idea of the type of person she is.

thank you for this blog. it lets us know we are not alone. i'll try and keep up the comments!

Anonymous said...

Ok... OK OK.. everybody deep breaths- can we leave ou the feminazi rhetoric for a minute?

In the interest of full disclosure. I knew Paula. Granted I knew her in high school. We were not friends really, we did some of the same activties and our circle of friends overlapped here and there. I had not seen or spoken to her in over twenty years. Someone posted on a reunion website that she had died and taken her child with her. They did not have any details. Shocked and curious I did a web search and ended up finding the whole twisted tale.

Back to my comment. Paula was clearly suffering from a serious mental breakdown. When mental health professionals describe what Paula did as being "altruistic" they do not mean literally so; they are describing (in this case Paula's) state of mind. Her confused, distorted state of mind that would lead her to commit an act so unspeakable. From the article and the portion of the note tht Tim made public, it seems that her notivation was more vengefull that altruistic ( trying to protect Ryan from a potentially abusive father)however since he did not disclose the entire contents of the note, we do not know what elese it said. It seems to me that the bigger problem here, is that we still after more than 100 years, have NO IDEA how to help people who are suffering from mental illness whether brought on by a temporory crisis in the case of Paula, or in thecase of a long-term chronic instability in the case of John Hogan.

I think that the courts (both legal and public opinion) are more lenient of woman who kill because they do it less often. So when it happens, we all think, that's so unusual- what drove her to that? She must be sick! and guess what? A lot of the time she is. Andrea Yates was for sure. Susan Smith, I don't think so. Lots of times men who kill are mentally ill too. A lot of the time though, they're just a-holes.

The posters that say this is all Tims fault, as Paula accused in her note, are just wrong. Yeah, he sure is a creep, and a jerk and a louse but nothing he did can justify what Paula did. Nothing.
Her family knew she was in trouble, and maybe Tim did too, given the distance between Paula adn her family (I mean geographical distance) and the strained situation between Tim and Paula, and no one ever thinks that someone they beleive they know well is capable of such a thing.

My sympathies to all involved.

Mister-M said...

"I think that the courts (both legal and public opinion) are more lenient of woman who kill because they do it less often."

Excuse me? They kill and neglect their children alone or with a new partner (spouse or boyfriend) far more often than biological fathers do. That's reality.

Despite this, they are treated far more leniently in both the court of law and the court of public opinion for having committed like-crime (across the board). Also reality.

Anonymous said...

WOW
In our culture, since the 60's, we have done an incredible diservice to the young females during upbringing. They are rarely punished for anything. This causes erratic and over the top behavior in even minor situations. I have learned in my dealings with teens that a very strong and positive attitude on my part, along with NEVER using false praise or thin platitudes to deal with their problems or bad attitudes, ALWAYS results in incredibly high levels of respect from them. Even using the same technique with my contemporaries, male and female alike, gives me a solid reputation of stability and judgement they trust. How does this relate? If we build real character and judgement in our children, a significant amount of this self centered and selfish behavior simply is not in the spectrum of behavior that they will consider useful. I am sad to say that I believe this instance is an example of an undisciplined and totally self centered personality that has never been called to task for any of her bad behavior in the past.

MisAnDrope said...

why is it when a woman murders, she can't be held responsible? "It was the man who abused her!" "He cheated!" "She had a breakdown." But our murderer took time to murder, took steps, wrote notes, thought about it. She did what she did. There is very little question - it was a premeditated murder of her own son, carried out so as to torture her husband. Nothing that I can think of in this world can mitigate that. If she had time to commit this crime, she had time to run away, to go to a shelter, to do a million things. I find the comments condemning the husband very disturbing and troll-like. The only motivation I see for them are justifying suicide, torture, and murder, in the interest of defending a female murderer at any cost.

Kim said...

@Anonymous

I am just floored by some of the things you've said here. Nothing, NOTHING, can ever begin to justify murdering one's child. I don't care what she was going through. I don't care if Tim was the biggest sleaze alive and had 5 underage mistresses.....NOTHING will absolve the mother from responsibility for what she did. Now if she truly was suffering in some terrible situation, I WOULD have had pity on her....back before she took the life of her son. As it is, the only people I have pity for is the child who's life was cruelly ended far too soon, and those left to deal with the aftermath of her actions.

Michael H said...

(Father of 3 - separated wife returned after having a child with her boyfriend)

Separation from one's children is so stressful that it feels like the death of all meaning.

Anonymous said...

Mister M. this post is ages ages old, but I was wrong! I just came across a stat re: parents who kill their children- and the winner is: MOMS. by a landslide:

http://jayhammers.blogspot.com/2010/02/who-kills-kids-surprise-women-win-again.html

I should have checked the research before I said that. My apologies.

As a whole, men commit more murders than woman do, but they tend to leave their kids out of it.