Cultural Revolutions

A String of Domestic Atrocities

Andrea Yates, the Houston mother recently sentenced to life in prison for drowning her five children in the bathtub, has become the latest horror story in an alarming string of domestic atrocities occurring in the wake of mental-health drug treatment.  From the killer kids of Columbine, to the sickies of Springfield, Oregon, and Santee, California, to U.S. Capitol cop-killer Russell Eugene Weston runs an almost predictable pattern of antidepressant drug treatment (sometimes coupled with other psychotropic drugs intended to counter the side effects of the first or to deal with other alleged mental illnesses), followed by the loss of impulse control.

Maybe I’m missing the finer points of Mrs. Yates’ preparation for trial, but does this make sense?  Here’s a woman who methodically drowned all five of her children, so doctors give her megadoses of psychotropic drugs until she is sane enough to stand trial for murders she committed while on megadoses of psychotropic drugs?  If she is “sane” now, on the new drug regimen, how was anyone to know whether she was sane then on the old drug regimen?

Doesn’t this bring criminal justice to a whole new level?  If someone does something illegal—anything at all, like speeding—while taking a prescription psychotropic drug, couldn’t lawyers just argue that, well, this person was prescribed...

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