Notes on the Woman who Drove her Family into the Hudson River

Roger Porter

April 17, 2011

 

This past Tuesday a New York woman named Lashanda Armstrong drove a minivan occupied by her 4  kids into the Hudson River killing herself and all but one of the children. Recently some family members have confirmed that Lashanda was involved in an abusive relationship which is more than likely what triggered her suicidal actions. Newspapers have reported that she felt alone and overwhelmed in the months leading up to her death. I think the situation is completely disheartening and I hope that this will help to make mental health services more readily available, particularly to single mothers, but other than that I cannot sympathize with those who take the lives of their own children.

If Ms. Armstrong would have only killed herself then that would have been another issue all together but I can’t make an emotional connection with a person who drowns an 11 month old child. I do realize that I speak mostly out of ignorance. It is true that I have no idea what it’s like to have a child at the age of 15 and to be strapped down with 4 by the time you are 25. I also realize that as a man I will never know what it’s like to be a mother; to have a baby grow inside your womb, suckle milk from your flesh, and to cling to you 24 hours a day. Yes I am aware of all of these facts, however, from reading about this incident in the paper and watching the coverage on television I feel as though we need to be careful. I don’t want to dismiss Lashanda for I know that she could be any young abused mother anywhere in America. What I do want to say is that regarding this particular situation sympathy can only take us so far. We as a country have got to care enough about our families to say what Lashanda did was absolutely wrong and we as a society have got to make sure that this never happens again.

We need more mental health services such as counselors, clinics, psychiatrists and psychologists in our communities and we need them right now. We also need to monitor the behavior of our neighbors in order to make sure children are not being abused. We need to be more supportive of single mothers and care about other peoples children, not just our own. I know it can be difficult but there is nothing more difficult than dealing with the murder of 3 innocent children.

This should never happen again.

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