Batterer Up

Here in eastern Massachusetts, there lives a fellow named Jared Remy.  I have never met him, but from what I hear, he is precisely the sort of person from whom one should run as fast and as far as one possibly can, should one happen to cross his path.

Now 35 years old, Remy is a hulking blob of steroids and idle rage.  For the past decade and a half, his life has essentially been a series of restraining orders from ex-girlfriends and others, who have alleged every sort of physical and verbal abuse imaginable—and who, in many cases, have subsequently withdrawn such requests or otherwise declined to testify against Remy in court, due either to his promises to mellow and reform, or out of fear of further torment.

One could hardly say such fears were unjustified.  As is made abundantly plain in an exhaustive recent article in the Boston Globe by reporter Eric Moskowitz, Jared Remy’s penchant for unleashing holy hell upon practically everyone he has ever met is matched only by his curious, near-superhuman ability to never be adequately punished for it.

For all the arrests and criminal charges he has accumulated over the years—the total number of such incidents is 20—Remy has been convicted on a mere two occasions and didn’t serve even a day in prison for either.  Rather, his history is one of wrist slaps:  Probation, counseling, curfews and the like, but nothing close to what his alleged behavior would seemingly deserve.

Now, it looks as though that will finally change.  Since August 15 of last year, Remy has resided at Middlesex County Jail in Cambridge, awaiting a trial that is to begin in the fall.  On that late summer day, you see, Remy got into a scuffle with Jennifer Martel, his then-girlfriend and the mother of their four-year-old daughter.  The fight might have been like every other such incident in Remy’s past, except that in this particular act of aggression against the current woman in his life, Remy had the bad luck of actually killing her.

(Remy has pled not guilty, calling the murder charge “ridiculous.”  However, his life and the physical evidence suggest otherwise.)

What makes this saga interesting—as most New Englanders well know—is that Jared Remy’s father happens to be one of the most beloved figures in all of Boston sports.  Jerry Remy played second base for the Red Sox from 1978 to 1984, and has broadcast the team’s games on the New England Sports Network since 1988.  As a television personality, he strikes as an utterly lovely guy and not particularly a man responsible for raising—and arguably enabling—a psychopathic killing machine.

The region now asks:  Is Jared Remy’s position as Jerry Remy’s son the reason he has evaded legal retribution all this time?  Would the average Joe with an identical record, but without Jerry Remy’s fame and high-priced attorneys, be afforded such an extraordinary string of second chances?

Did you need to wait for the end of that question before formulating an answer?

Justice is supposed to be blind.  Here is but the latest high-profile demonstration that it’s not.

Perhaps the most vexing question of all—legal considerations aside—is why all these women were willing to take Jared Remy back.  After all the pushing and shoving, the death threats, the property damage, the belittling comments about their weight, and the out-and-out assaults, what exactly was there left to admire?  Were Remy’s charms and powers of persuasion really that irresistible?  We know that love is irrational, but is it that irrational?

Then again, in broaching this subject, we might as well ask why any woman would stay in an abusive relationship for any reason.  Why, indeed?

Lacking a simple answer or an easy solution, we depend upon our justice system for protection against lunatics like Jared Remy—protection that follows a reliable protocol that, for instance, would not allow Remy to roam free after having violated restraining orders on multiple occasions, thus proving that he does not take the law seriously.

The Globe report notes that, in addition to the numerous allegations against Remy that were taken back, there were several other incidents in which the victim considered seeking a restraining order but ultimately didn’t, because he or she feared retaliation.

This is not right.  A person should never be afraid to seek protection from the authorities because he or she thinks, in effect, that the authorities will not do their job.  And, more to the point, the authorities should not foster such mistrust by failing to do that job in the first place.

In this case, it appears they have failed, and with murderous consequences.  Shame on them, and shame on us.

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