The editorial regarding the verdict in the Yeardley Love murder case ("Remember Yeardley," Feb. 26) left out a very important item when trying to piece together why the incident happened and what everyone should learn from it. It lays most of the responsibility at the hands of George Huguely's drunken college lacrosse buddies, and even suggests that Ms. Love's roommates should have protected her more because she was drunk that night. However, Mr. Huguely's parents get what seems to be a free pass because they "at least outwardly" did "everything we expect" to raise their son into a successful, upstanding adult.
The recipe for that, according to The Sun, is one-part enrollment in an excellent private school, one-part nurturing athletic talent, and one-part sending him off to an elite American university. I disagree. There are plenty of successful, upstanding adults who did not come from such a privileged background; likewise, such privilege does not guarantee a successful upstanding adult. Far more important to raising a successful, upstanding adult are parents who are good role models and who teach lessons at home about good values, such as treating others with respect, not resorting to violence to resolve conflicts and moderating the use of alcohol.
The editorial misses the mark by laying blame with Mr. Huguely's college buddies for not babysitting him after they knew he had been so drunk at dinner that he could not place the bottle of wine down on the table. The article glosses over the fact that the defendant's father was present at the dinner table. The elder Mr. Huguely watched him continue to drink wine at dinner after having seen him drink substantial amounts of alcohol before and during the father-son golf tournament they had played in that day. According to the reported testimony, it was three or four beers on the way to the tournament, and at least six beers on the golf course — all with his father present. Here again, activities that "outwardly" look like good parenting — participation in a father-son golf tournament and sharing a meal — went awry because the father failed to set the right example for his son and to help his son set limits on his drinking.
As a parent, I feel as terrible for the Huguelys as I do for the Loves. Both families have lost a child — one forever and one for 26 years. But when searching for answers and lessons to learn, we cannot lay blame on other college students for not doing enough to help their drunken friends, and at the same time ignore the impact of parenting. And sending children to private high schools, sports clinics and elite universities is neither synonymous with, nor a substitute for, good parenting.
Roberto N. AllenCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun