edam Tue 16-Jul-13 18:42:52 "I think everyone knows it is wrong to kill children. Doesn't that go without saying? But when you look at a terrible tragedy like this, you tend to ask 'why?'"
What worries me is that if it had been a father committing suicide with his children, we don't tend to ask those questions- at least not on Mumsnet. There is very little tendency to excuse a man in that situation on grounds of mental health or desperation: however little is known about the actual case, the consensus is usually that he is an evil bastard who does it specifically to get at the mother.
But I agree there's a discrepancy in our attitudes (in society and media) which may not be fair or fully warranted
I agree. There is always a tendancy to give the mother the benefit of the doubt, or to excuse her actions by saying with absolute certainty that she was depressed, or abused, or protecting her children and so on.
I do not believe for a second if it was the boys father that had done this, that we (the MN 'we') would be saying the same about him. In fact quite the opposite - posters have jumped on the fact that he must be an abuser - when he hasn't actually been convicted yet. I'm just as guilty - I'm quite sure he will be convicted, but actually, he could quite easily be a victim in all this too.
I am also shocked that there have been no (or hardly any) posts expressing sympathy for him - he has lost his children in the most awful circumstances, but all the sympathy seems to be aimed at the dead person (who doesn't care) rather than the living parent who now has to live with his loss for the rest of his life.
I have explicitly said earlier that I feel sympathy for any parent who kills their children and kills themselves. I mentioned the father in Shropshire last year.
Not because I know anything - I only 'know' what I read in paper, but because it is a reasonable assumption that a parent who has loved with and nurtured children for many years was likely not in their right mind in the time leading up to the murders. And had those around them noticed, had help been given, a tragedy may well have been averted.
There is an annoying amount of unnecessary emotive hyperbole on this thread.
It's not a question of all child killers should burn in hell but recognising that a lot of the time these parents are just not well.
I think you are very much an exception Spero. As much as I admire (and believe) your stance, I don't think that the 'collective' or 'majority' of MN would be the same. There have been many cases of filicide reported in the press, and then posted on MN that have had quite an opposite view to this thread, simply because the perpetrator was male.
In fact I would say that was true IRL too - there was a study into Infant Homicide in 2004 that stated as one of its findings that a male perpetrator would be more likely to be charged and found guilty of murder, whereas a female perpetrator would be charged with manslaughter, despite identical offences.
For me it is quite simple I suppose. I cannot excuse or find sympathy in myself for a murderer - of either sex. A child murder invokes even stronger feelings. I felt the same way as I do now about the guy who beat and stabbed his children to death in Shropshire. It's partly the fact that they are children that have been killed, and partly because of the way they were killed. I would be more accepting (probably not quite the right word) if the children had painless, quiet deaths. I just cannot get past the manner of death in this case.
When you sit down face to face with someone in the throes of a psychotic episode nothing you say/do even touches them I talked and talked to my brother about how he was in a bad place and that with help it would pass etc etc and he nodded and made all the right noises but in the end he was convinced his cds were talking to him and telling him what to do and as soon as he got the chance he took everything he had and threw it in the river. If you met him now you would have no idea and at the time I couldn't get it either. I had bought him a bike and he thought it was on a list somewhere to be tracked and he threw it away too even though he loved it. It was a serious chemical imbalance.
LtEve, I think you are probably right in that there is a tendency for different standards to apply to men and women on this site and elsewhere but I honestly don't think it is as widespread as you believe on here because I have seen that attitude frequently challenged and I think people are ready to think about their knee jerk responses - which is one of the many positives aout this site.
I completely agree with you aout how hard it is to contemplate the violent death of a child at the hands of an adult supposed to love and protect the child, it is unimaginable to me how anyone could do that.
But I am in my 'right' mind, or at least not currently suffering from any psychosis. But what if I believed my child was possessed by an evil demon and I had to beat out the demon? If I killed my child in the process I would have committed a horrific, wicked act but if I was delusional I would have believed I was trying to save my child and was acting for the best.
That's why the criminal law distinguishes between mens rea and actus reus - your state of mind and the act itself. As a society we don't usually convict someone if they were insane at the time I.e. they didn't understand what they were doing.
And I completely agree with that, I think it is a fundamental principle of a humane society - which is why the 'burn in hell' comment struck such a chord with me.
But we both agree that what happened to those children was awful beyond words and we wish it hadn't happened. I hope there will be a review and lessens learned about why the children were returned so soon after her first suicide attempt - my suicidal client had to wait over a year, with lots of medication and therapy.
Losing my bro changed my whole family, and wrecked a number of other lives. I cannot help but react. I remember how it was before, and have a tendency to see it in rosé coloured glasses I suppose. My brother had an awful lot of problems, MH issues too, but he had the chance to change taken away from him by one man (and the bastard was only done for manslaughter- served less than 3 years, because he 'didn't mean it' and was 'devastated')
It makes me angry, but holding on to the anger is better for me. SIL forgave - I can't. Her way is probably healthier.
That is sad for you. Forgiving is all about you though not the awful person who took his life. It doesn't mean you accept what he did just that you stop it destroying you like it did him. I have had to do this which I won't go into here but it changed everything and I was free xx