Letters: A California Comeback: Readers Sound off on Silicon Valley, the Andrea Yates Verdict, Adultolescents and Planning Funerals

Newsweek, April 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

Letters: A California Comeback: Readers Sound off on Silicon Valley, the Andrea Yates Verdict, Adultolescents and Planning Funerals


We who live in the "technical nuclear winter" know that the dot-com crash also took out hundreds of truly innovative non-dot-com companies ("Silicon Valley Reboots," Technology, March 25). Instead of nurturing new innovative companies, the "venture" community is pounding the remaining start-ups down to the smallest innovation that can lead to traction with customers. Anything new being funded must be bigger/better/faster in core markets. True innovation is stuck in garages with no chance of success until the whole market heats up. We have lost lots of wonderful new technologies, products and ideas to this technical depression. Many of the best and brightest are now standing on the sidelines, figuring out how to save their houses and marriages. I only hope my fellow entrepreneurs do not give up trying to succeed as this harsh winter continues.

Steve Taylor

Lake Oswego, Ore.

Before the silicon invasion crowded out all the available orchard and farmlands, the area was well known for its apricots, prunes, pears and other fruit. It is now Death Valley, as evidenced by the congestion, pollution and population density that kill the spirits of its residents.

Chesta E. Bauer

Salem, Ore.

Your cover story doesn't mention that key elements in the Bush White House ignored Enron's role in the California energy crisis last summer, thereby risking delay in a Silicon Valley recovery. It doesn't matter whether the Bush politicos were delivering a quid pro quo to Enron campaign contributors or harsh payback for California's failure to vote for Bush in 2000. You don't risk killing the goose that lays the golden egg over a political snit or a few campaign dollars, and the Bush White House did exactly that.

Tim Niles

Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Justice or Revenge?

As the NEWSWEEK article "A Crazy System" (Justice, March 25) correctly points out, the Texas statute on insanity is based on the 19th-century English law called the McNaghten rules. Apparently Texans are satisfied to have 19th-century justice applied in their courts. They don't execute thieves for the theft of a loaf of bread or exile them to Australia, but they still condemn the insane to spend the rest of their lives in prison for criminal acts committed while they are clearly unable to control their behavior. Too bad Rusty and Andrea Yates didn't buy a home in a state where mentally ill defendants have a chance of receiving treatment for their illness rather than spending 40 years in a state prison. This is revenge, not justice.

Mary Harada

West Newbury, Mass.

As the mother of a mentally ill son who has experienced the same psychosis and delusional states of schizophrenia as Andrea Yates and came close to killing his grandmother (my mother), I know the difference between being guilty of murder and being not guilty by reason of insanity. Unfortunately, people in this country and elsewhere are still in the Dark Ages when it comes to understanding and dealing with mental illness. Until it is treated as a disease of the brain, just as cancer is a disease of the body, we will not make progress in preventing horrendous acts like those Andrea Yates committed against her children while in an obviously delusional and psychotic state. She and others like her who have committed such terrible acts should be locked away for life in a psychiatric facility and treated and studied so that we can learn why this happens and how to prevent it in the future. The Yates verdict is a triumph of ignorance and not caring about the future of mental health and the mentally ill in this country.

Jonell Belke

Coppell, Texas

Texan Andrea Yates methodically, relentlessly, tortured her five children until they were dead. Imagine, if you will, the confused terror of the ones who realized what was about to happen to them. This woman is just another monster created by the insanity of blind adherence to religion, and she won't be the last. …

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