Last night a woman drove her minivan into a river, killing three of her four children and herself:
In a case that revived memories of Susan Smith, who left her two children to drown in her sinking vehicle, police Wednesday said a mother and three of her children died after she apparently drove her minivan into the Hudson River north of New York City. One child escaped and swam to shore.
The deaths occurred just moments after police in Newburgh, a small working-class city about 70 miles north of Manhattan, received a call of a domestic disturbance Tuesday at the woman’s home. They responded, but not before the woman — identified as 25-year-old LaShanda Armstrong — had piled her four children into the vehicle and driven six blocks to the river bank.
Before the car sank, a 10-year-old son, La’Shaun, escaped through a window, swam to shore, and ran to a nearby fire station for help.
His siblings, Landen, 5, Lance, 2, and Lainaina, 11 months, died in the car along with their mother, and at a news conference, police and fire officials said it appeared all were alive when the minivan was driven into the water.
No further information about the nature of the domestic disturbance is available. According to another article, there was no history of domestic violence at the home. However, that has not stopped the talking heads from speculating about the causes of Armstrong’s actions. All three major news networks — CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News — have covered the story, and each one of them spoke with psychologists who declared that Armstrong might have suffered from stress, postpartum depression, abuse, or some kind of mental illness.
Curiously, it has not occurred to any of those psychologists that perhaps Armstrong was the abuser or that she killed her children out of anger at their father. The only assumption the talking heads made is that Armstrong, a woman who drowned three children, is a victim.
So far there is no evidence supporting that conclusion. In coming days more information may get released, but at the moment the best the conclusion to reach is that Armstrong killed her children. Speculation about why is unwise, and suggesting that she was overwhelmed and victimized because she had four children only excuses what she did.