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Not Their Brothers' Keepers

The younger brother of San Francisco Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz was arrested today for a drunken driving rampage in their hometown of Danville, California.

23 year old Cainan Schierholtz was driving a big red pick-up truck when he first struck a bicyclist, then hit a pedestrian standing a in a bicycle lane, then hit not one, but two parked cars and finally came to a halt only when he struck a light pole and two other pick-up truck drivers boxed him in so he couldn’t get away.

Cainan reportedly reeked of alcohol and was nearly incoherent when the police arrested him around 10:00 a.m. this past Sunday morning, and the authorities have tested him to see if he had any other substances in his system.

I’m obviously reminded of the conviction of Dustin Pedroia’s older brother Brett, who pleaded guilty last year to having oral sex with the nine year old son of the woman with whom Brett had been abusing methamphetamine.

Amazingly, Brett Pedroia was sentence to only one year in the county jail and eight years of probation for what is obviously a heinous and unjustifiable crime no matter how badly you’re tweaking. Apparently, the crime had been committed four years earlier, and in the interim Brett had made substantial progress toward beating his addictions and turning his life around.

 

But even though incidents like these, in spite of their incredible sordidness, are only really news because the acts were committed by siblings of the wealthy and famous. It is tremendously unfair to tar Nate Schierholtz and Dustin Pedroia with the stains of their brothers’ conduct.

At the same time, it is news. The American public loves to hear stories about the mighty falling, or in these cases, the relatives of the mighty falling.

At the same time, there is some real value to these stories entirely distinct from the cheap sensationalism and schadenfreude they provide the public.  For example, it’s good to remind people that drug and alcohol abuse can effect anyone regardless of income or social class and that drugs and alcohol can lead people to do really f***ed up stuff.

There’s also a value in the public seeing that even the wealthy and powerful will have to suffer the consequences (including the negative publicity) when they do something really reprehensible.  I often suspect that it’s only the fear of being caught and the consequences that keeps a lot of us on the more or less straight and narrow.


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