Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thoughts on Mary Winkler

I can only imagine that she is lying on a narrow bed in a jail cell, glazed and sleepless eyes staring at the ceiling. Not knowing her reasons, or anything about her life other than what has been reported as the facade presented to the world, I am left to speculate only that she must have been in terrible pain and turmoil, pain and turmoil that has now deepened into something unfathomable.

Several of my friends have commented that we have a double standard for situations in which one spouse or lover kills the other. With men, we wonder how swiftly and completely we can punish them; with women, we wonder what terrible underlying distress caused them to act? Perhaps the real double standard is that we ascribe rage to men and anguish to women with the same thoughtlessness with which we consign boys to blue and girls to pink.

What is Mary Winkler thinking? Can she even formulate coherent thoughts?

Will I ever hold my girls again?

Will the older girls remember me? Will my baby even know who I am?

What will their lives be like? Who will guide them? What kind of women will they become, besides women who must live with the knowledge that their mother killed their father?

Have I protected them? Or ruined them?

How did I go from being the Perfect Wife and Mother with a Lovely Home to an accused felon in red-and-white stripes trapped in these four walls, possibly for the rest of my life?

There was a better solution. What was it and why did I not see it?


Paula said...

I resisted commenting on this yesterday. There just aren't enough facts known for guesses to be fair play, when I read about the case for the first time and saw that her youngest was only a year old, my mind went immediately to post partum depression. It saddened me deeply to think that the media and the public and the courts would end up going through this again, arguing whether an illness is really an illness. (It is, and if that is the case for Mary Winkler, the thoughts running through her head are not coherent and she cannot be blamed for whatever they may be.)

Paula said...

I left out a "but."

There are always "but's" and I hear them coming. Sigh.

Kim said...

For a woman to premeditate this with her background, there is only one reason she would shoot him and run with her three girls. I live down here where she was found and first arrested. She was very cooperative and very concerned about the welfare of her children. She confessed to the crime immediately. She also did not want her children going into foster care and asked if relatives could come and get the children.
The police know why she did it, it just hasn't come out yet.

Globetrotter said...

When this story first broke I told my husband that the true story behind this murder will probably be almost unfathomable to comprehend.

When I attended the type of church that her husband pastored back in the 90's, I would seeth over the double standard. Christian women must be subservient to their husbands no matter what. It didn't matter that their husband's were wife or child abusers or sexual predators or adulterers or child molestors. The bible said that a woman must be subservient to her husband and that was the end of the story.

From what I've gleaned, her husband was a strict interpreter of scripture. He was also charismatic. Many charismatic men are are manipulative. Add the whole religious fervor to that and you have a poison stew brewing.

I hope the truth comes out. You don't do what she did without a reason...

Paul said...

"With men, we wonder how swiftly and completely we can punish them; with women, we wonder what terrible underlying distress caused them to act? Perhaps the real double standard is that we ascribe rage to men and anguish to women with the same thoughtlessness with which we consign boys to blue and girls to pink."

It's nice to see this kind of fair-mindedness still exists. It seems as if many of the women I used to enjoy reading have circled the wagons to the point that I no longer feel welcome.

Erin said...

What a powerful entry! I was particularly touched by the portion of the entry that Paul pointed out. Very thoughtful.

I'm not familiar with this case as I have an unenviable tendency to be terribly out of touch with the news; I'll have to read up on it.

emmapeelDallas said...

I can't help but think of Andrea Yates, because although she murdered her children, there seem to be some similarities. There was certainly a better solution for both of these women, if only, if only...


Anonymous said...

Consider this: People who don't know the family should be aware that Matthew Winkler’s father, Dan Winkler, is a true-to-life "Hail, Fire and Brimstone" fundamentalist preacher from the South. I know because I, along with many other Church members from the Beltline Church of Christ (Decatur, AL) were subjected to his guilt and fear ridden sermons for nearly 10 years. We are talking about a man who has serious, deep-seeded issues with control and power. Subjecting your family to this control and instilling fear in them and demanding they be "Perfect" as Christ was, is bound to backfire on you somewhere down the road (directly or indirectly). I feel sorry for Mary and Matthew’s children now because they will have to endure the same upbringing with Mr. Winkler Sr. I’m sure he’ll dish out the same destructive child rearing tactics he forcefully shoved down the throats of his own family and pass it along to his grandchildren. Does God really find favor with this destructive way of life? Does He smile when Church members go away from sermons feeling worthless and uninspired because the Preacher continually reminds them of how “sinful” they are??? Mary Winkler is the product of a repressed Church of Christ person who has a list of terrible things that happened to her throughout life which would be difficult for anyone to endure and yet, as a preachers wife you have to always remain perfect and have your “frozen smile” on for everyone to observe. It’s still not an excuse to kill someone. The Church at Selmer should be ashamed of itself for publicly announcing they support Mary 100%. You’re doing this because you’re being controlled people- controlled by a bunch of Elders who think they know what’s best for you and who don’t want you to “think” for yourselves. Trust me, no one around the country is saying, “ Wow, look at those wonderful, forgiving, church people in Selmer! My what an example they have set for the world.” It’s quite the opposite. You appear as deeply disturbed people who have forgiven someone who committed a cold-blooded murder without even knowing the facts. Would you have been so forgiving if Matthew had been the one to kill Mary???? I seriously doubt it. God is not watching you with a microscope people. You don’t have to feel like miserable sinners 7 days a week. You can think for yourselves. Let’s hope this destructive cycle of "Fear and Guilt Christianity will soon come to an end. Please pray for those three little girls. They are the ones who are going to suffer the most.