MOTHERS AND FATHERS KILL THEIR CHILDREN: A
FAILURE OF SOCIETAL VIGILANCE
ZERO PLUS 1177 DAYS,--New York, NY, Thursday,
December 2, 2004--A
thirty-nine-year old mother was convicted for killing her husband
and two young children in 1987. Her motive, claimed the prosecution,
was a $100,000 life insurance policy.
Newton was given a last minute reprieve for the deaths
of her two young children
Elaine Newton has been on death row for sixteen years and was
given a last minute reprieve just hours before her execution
was to be carried out in Huntsville, Texas. Governor Rick Perry
granted her 120 days to review disputed evidence that convicted
falls in category of Maternal Terrorists with others such as
Andrea Yates who methodically drowned her five children in a
bathtub and then calmly called police.
forty-nine women currently on death row--eleven for killing
their children. According to the American Anthropological Association,
more than 200
children a year are killed by their mothers. The current
women on death row for killing their children include:
Patricia Blackmon was 29 years old when she killed her
two-year-old adopted daughter in Dothan, AL in May 1999.
Debra Jean Milke was 25 when she killer her four-year-old
son in Arizona in 1989.
Dora Luz Durenrostro killed her two daughters, age four
and nine, and her son, age 8, when she was 34 years old
in San Jacinto, California in 1994.
Caro Socorro was 42 years old when she killer her three
sons, age five, eight and 11, in Santa Rosa Valley, California
Susan Eubanks murdered her four sons, ages four, six,
seven, and 14, in San Marcos, California, in 1996 when
she was 33.
Caroline Young was 49 in Haywood, California when she
killed her four-year-old granddaughter and six-year-old
Robin Lee Row was 35 years old when she killed her husband,
her 10-year-old son and her eight-year-old daughter in
Boise, Idaho in 1992.
Michelle Sue Tharp was 29 years old in Burgettstown,
Pennsylvania when she killed her seven-year-old daughter.
Frances Elaine Newton was 21 when she murdered her husband,
seven-year-old son and two-year-old daughter in Houston,
Darla Lynn Routier was 26 in Rowlett, Texas when she
killed her five-year-old son.
Teresa Michelle Lewis killer her 51-year-old husband
and 26-year-old step son in Keeling, Virgina when she
was 33 years old.
is a terrifying element to thinking of a mother killing her
own child or children. Those who question the presence of the
Beast of Terror, or its ability to pervert every ounce of sanity
in a person, need only look at the eleven women on death row
as samples of how Internal Terrorism can lash externally at
It is easy for Americans to rally against the
war in Iraq and to protest the U.S. government for allowing
young men and women to die for the rights of others to be free
in far-off lands, but it is far more difficult for those same
people to look heartily into their neighbors' living rooms and
become alarmed that down the street, around the corner, or next
door a mother or father may be on the road to killing one or
more of their children.
A Parent of Vigilance is one who understands
the power and presence of the Beast of Terror. A Parent of Vigilance
has no delusions that a person can suddenly turn into a "beast,"
filled with anger and rage. Most people control and manage that
anger and rage and live within the parameters of "civility."
But those same people have also embraced "murderous"
thoughts or become so angry that they may have thought or said:
"I could kill over this..."
soil in which a child's roots initially grow will make
the fruit of his or her being sour or sweet
The seeds of brutality and hate against others
are as deeply planted in each human being as the seeds of compassion
and love. It becomes a function as to which seed is nurtured
or neglected that dictates the behavior of the parent. A parent
who grew up in a frightening world of Terrorism--emotional or
physical--has the seed of brutality and hate fertilized far
more than the one of compassion and love.
It has been said many times that if you want
to know what a child will be like when he or she grows up you
simply follow the child home. The soil in which a child's roots
initially grow will make the fruit of his or her being sour
But, the background of a child is not the sole
and determinative factor in the evolution of any being. Humans
have the ability to break the bonds of the past, to step outside
the circle of Complacency in accepting their "lot in life"
and to rise above the primordial ooze that often drowns many
into thinking they will always be what those before them have
been, and that no matter how hard they try, they cannot escape
the grip of destiny to repeat itself.
mothers, fathers, obstetricians should be aware of "post
It also becomes a serious matter for Obstectricians
and husbands to ease new mothers over what has beem called "postpartum
blues". During the first few weeks after delivery up to
15% of new mothers experience different levels of postpartum
depression. This is characterized by mood swings, lethargy,
feelings of inadequacy, and anxiety due to oscillating hormone
levels. Some women are afraid to talk to someone about their
feelings because they think their children will be taken from
them. Until recently not much thought was given to treating
or preventing postpartum depression.
One such example is the case of Deanna Laney
who beat her two boys to death with rocks in May, 2004. She
was determined to be a sufferer of "postpartum blues"
and mentally insane and was aquitted of the crime by apparently
understanding Texas jury.
Laney with his wife, Deanna, and the two children she
killed, Joshua, left, and Luke
New mothers owe it to their children to be
aware of this potential life threatening condition and to take
all precautions to ward it off.
Thus it becomes vital that every parent
become a Parent of Vigilance.
There is a resistance in us all to change.
We find levels of comfort that atrophy our will to change and
we sink down into them as we might a quagmire that seems impossible
to free ourselves from. Terrorism's three elements--Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency--feed heavily off the last of the Triads of
Most parents become parents by virtual accident.
There is no training to become one other than what we experienced
growing up in our households, so what a "father" or
"mother" is or is supposed to be is isolated into
the people we wake up to and go to sleep with in the same household.
Becoming a parent then is simply an accident
of nature, not an intended, planned, purposeful event on the
part of a husband and wife. If the later were true, we would
have Parental Colleges where we would enter and undergo at least
a year or two of intense training so that we could raise a child
with the most efficient tools possible to offer our children
maximum opportunity in the world.
Instead, we bear children and "wing it,"
using the only experienced role-playing resources we have at
our disposal--those given to us by our parents or guardians.
If our mother and father showed hatred and
anger toward us, directly or indirectly, the odds are we are
going to pass that behavior on to our own children. If our mothers
and fathers abused us, emotionally or physically, there are
even odds we will abuse our children in similar ways.
our mothers and fathers abused us, emotionally or physically,
there are even odds we will abuse our children in similar
The opposites are also true. If we come a loving,
nurturing, caring background that respects human life and fosters
the dreams of others as one might precious jewels, then we will
probably honor and respect new life and become great guardians
of their safety and security.
But, whether we are victims of abusive, uncaring
parenting, or beneficiaries of nurturing loving parents, we
still haven't stepped outside the "accidental parental"
ring. The only way we become "intentional parents"
is to commit ourselves to be a Parent of Vigilance on a daily
basis so that our children and their children's children's children
can profit from it.
Only when we have looked at our Fears, Intimidations
and Complacencies and isolated them so that we understand they
flow from the viscera of the Beast of Terror will we be armed
to battle the Beast of Terror with Courage, Conviction and Right
Actions that benefit future generations more than ourselves.
The point is that when we shake fingers at
the horrible people on death row and our skin crawls thinking
about how a mother or father could kill his or her offspring,
we need to stop and look around. Parents of Terrorism are everywhere
in greater or lesser degrees.
While they may not hold their children down
in a bathtub until their bodies stop struggling and the bubbles
from their mouths stop rising, they can kill the spirit of a
child with the lash of a tongue. "I wish you were more
like Johnny...look at how good he is at..."
Some might discount this comment as just a
"comment," but if you are the child receiving the
comment, you become worthless in the eyes of your parents. Johnny
becomes more important. Johnny replaces you. A part of you dies,
just as though the parent who said those words had held you
down in a bathtub and waited until your kicking body went limp.
The "infanticide" of children can
be even more subtle. A child running to a mom or dad who comes
home after a long day of work and wants to be hugged and loved
and played with, but is told: "Mommy's too tired and too
busy right now...Mommy will play with you later..." And,
then Mommy pours herself a glass of wine and sinks down in a
What impact does the rejection of a child's
thirst for love have in the killing of his or her spirit? Does
a part of the child die? Is there a wound left by the neglect?
The behavior of the parent can usually be traced
back to the parent's parent. The Complacent CopOut--"We'll,
I turned out okay...so what was good for me is good for my kids"--carries
with it the false assumption that whomever is speaking those
words is ultimately free and happy from the inside out and has
all his or her Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies in managed
We owe it to our children
to teach them that parenting is a lifelong process
As a society, we owe it to our children to
teach them that parenting is a lifelong process, not something
accidental or instinctual. If we followed the animal kingdom's
signal, as soon as a child was breast fed we would eject it
from the nest to fend for itself. In a vast majority of cases,
this is exactly what happens.
Children are born and virtually left to grow
on their own. Discipline is given to them to appease the habits
of the parents. If a child starts to cry and the parents don't
want that, the child is threatened with severe physical pain
unless he or she stops. This is ejecting a child into the cold.
The child in the nice, expensive house with
a garage loaded with expensive cars in an exclusive neighborhood
who sits up in his or her bed shaking with fear because of a
storm outside, but is even more afraid of running into his or
her parents luxurious bedroom because his or her father will
accuse the child of being a "baby" and tell the child
that he or she needs to be "strong" and "stand
up" to his or her "fears" and not be a "wimp"
exercises a similar abuse to the parent who threatens to slap
a crying child unless that child shuts up.
Many children cry silent tears.
cry silent tears
In a way, there are tens of thousands, perhaps
millions, who should be on death row for "killing the spirit
of their children." Infanticide is, unfortunately, measured
by the decaying flesh of a dead child. If we had the ability
to peer inside children with a "TerrorScope" that
identified "holes in the soul" where a child was virtually
"Terrorized" by his or her parents abuse or lack of
love, we might find that the seeds of Terror have been planted
in a vast number of our progeny.
Knowing this, we might stop wasting so much
energy protesting the war in Iraq or lambasting a president
and start working on how we could increase our ability as a
parent, grandparent and loved one. We might seek out our neighbors
and do what we could do to help them overcome their Fears, Intimidations
and Complacencies that stunted their growth as a Parent of Vigilance.
While no one can guarantee anything in life
except the ultimate end of it, it can be easily projected that
a human being from any background--abusive or positive and loving--can
become a better Parent of Vigilance by subscribing to the Pledge
of Vigilance and applying the Principles of Vigilance to daily
The only reason one kills his or her children
apart from a mental or hormonally caused defect is because the
value of life--their life--has been so diminished by selfishness
on the part of the parent that removing that life seems justified
in some perverted way.
But if one believes in the Spirits of Vigilance,
and that our primary mission on earth is to be Parents, Grandparents
and Loved Ones of Vigilance, protecting the children from Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency, and teaching them how to overcome
their Beast of Terror with One Percent more Courage than Fear,
One Percent more Conviction than Intimidation, and One Percent
more selflessness through Right Actions that benefit future
generations than surrendering to the selfish nature of Complacency,
then it would be virtually impossible to kill one's child, one's
grandchild, one's ward, one's loved one.
I find it sad that we are going to kill the
eleven mothers on death row. I think a far more important sentence
would be to force them to undergo daily Parent of Vigilance
training so that they might understand better how the Beast
of Terror afflicted them, and can afflict others just as easily.
I would urge them to write books and record
tapes to other mothers, warning them of the dangers of the Beast
of Maternal Terror, and how to protect themselves from its wrath,
expressed directly or indirectly upon children.
Who best to be a Saint of Vigilance than a
Sinner of it?
I find it
sad we are going to execute the eleven mothers on death
Instead, we are going to waste these resources
of Vigilance. What wisdom they might be able to impart will
die with them. We need to all cry over that.
But, in the interim, we need to look in the
We need to see ourselves as the Sentinels of
Vigilance, and not think that just because we are parents or
grandparents we are Parents and Grandparents of Vigilance.
We need to know we have to grow into these
roles, and as we do, our children and grandchildren grow.
Perhaps, one day, when everyone is a Parent
of Vigilance, there will be no infanticide.
Let us do our job today to make that happen.
Become a Parent of Vigilance. Take the Vow of Vigilance now.
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