Why should people hold ill will to Jerry Remy?

We have a fundamental question to ask here. How much of a son or daughter’s actions are the responsibility of their parents? How much hate to parents of mass killers should there be? The answer to the question has a lot to do with some angst being reported about the public’s response to Jerry Remy returning to the broadcast booth in Boston.

Here is a typical argument against such a move written by Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.  Buckley says quite frankly in the piece that Remy should not return. He later waffles a bit, but here is the major meat of his concern:


Yes, Remy struck all the right cords of grief yesterday when he expressed his condolences to the Martel family. He began the conversation that way and he ended it that way. And to look into Remy’s eyes is to see a man whose life, whose family’s life, has been thrust into chaos in the aftermath of the events of August 15. He also spoke of his 5-year-old granddaughter, saying, “This is a little girl who is going to grow up with no mother and no father. She’s probably going to have issues. We can’t even imagine at this point.”

And sadly, that’s what is at issue. To watch a Red Sox game on NESN this season, and to see and hear Remy engage in his famously upbeat and entertaining banter with play-by-play man Don Orsillo, it will be difficult not to think of that brutal murder, difficult not to speculate about the trial, difficult not to think about that little girl.

Basically, what Buckley is saying here is that if Remy returns to the style that made him famous as a broadcaster and made he and Orsillo one of the most entertaining duos in baseball is compromised by what the public thinks about what Remy’s son did.

If you haven’t heard what happened with Remy’s son, you’ll have to look it up. It is brutal and it is awful in the most unimaginable way. But again, the question remains: How much should the public hold Remy responsible for his son’s crime?

I say none. I came from a broken home and my choices have led me to a productive and reasonably honorable life. Others have come from perfect households and much love to commit horrible crimes. Drug addicts, murderers and other bad things that happen to the children of families are their own choices.

I don’t buy that a criminal should be let off because they were beaten severely as a child. Every human being has a thousand choices each and every day. Some of those choices are between self-inflicting and inflicting harms on others. Different choices can always be made and are not. Oh, there might be the odd disorder that renders a person incapable of making good choices, but I think those are rarer than most people think.

I have dealt with this personally with drug addiction within my own family. The child was loved and surrounded by care and good examples of what being a good person and a good citizen are. The child chose a life of drugs and stealing and crime. Despite the human nature that makes us blame ourselves as parents, the truth is that the child made all the wrong choices.

Jerry Remy did not commit that horrible crime. Jerry Remy did not turn his granddaughter into an orphan. His son did. Remy was a baseball player and then a broadcaster. That means a lot of traveling and being away from home. But Remy says that his wife was a great mother and I believe that. The son made the choices, not the parents.

Feel sorry for the grandchild and for Mr. and Mrs Jerry Remy and for the Jennifer Martel’s family. But do not deprive the man from going on with his life doing what he was meant to do. A horrible thing happened. Everyone does not need to be punished because of it.

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