I just watched the film documentary "Capturing the Friedman's" with some friends and I want to record here some of my impressions. The mother struck me as the most sensible and morally acute of this deeply sorrowed family. She seems to have done her son Jesse a true service, to have guided him wisely despite the other two brothers being estranged from her. It was Jesse who went to jail, as did his father, for child molestation, and I wonder if he does not sense that she defended him best in the situation and that his brothers are both in denial in rejecting their mother. The charges brought against them both seem clearly inflated in an atmosphere of hysteria but the father professed in private to having molested his brother over a period of two years and having fed a lifelong pedafilia. Why am I even thinking about this movie or trying to come to a judgement on them? But there is something to be drawn from this movie. Clearly the father was a pedafile- no one denied that. But the hysterical reactions of the investigators and society seemed to have created a fog of justice. Justice is attacked from all sides. The terrible sorrow Mr. Friedman brought on himself and his family is, however, clear. The reactions, though apparently disproportionate, were reactions to something he had set in motion over a very long period of time.
There is a film clip of his sister as a little girl performing pirouettes, played several times in the movie. A beautiful moment of innocence and beauty. She died young from bloodpoisoning and it tore her family apart. The pain, and the perversion.
Mr. Friedman stated that he molested his younger brother over a period of two years. Apparently this is where it began for him. The younger brother, a man of 65 years of age, living together with another man in a homosexual relationship, can not remember any molestation. The confusion over a long evil seems to persist. The pain Mr. Friedman suffered could have been dealt with in a healing way. I dismiss the mendacious genetic determinists from the room. We are human and as human we have a choice and a responsibility to chose the right. He repeatedly chose the wrong. I too have repeated sins in my life. Let the folly, the sorrow and pain of others be a lesson to all of us who struggle with persistent sin. The mother has sought to heal and has seemingly made the most progress in the family.
I am reminded of a sermon by John Donne in which he urges the confession of sin immediately upon my or your first awareness of it, lest sin concatenate on sin. Our private sins may cause more untold misery than we now imagine. Lord, to be clean and clear of every sin, confessing everyone at its inception!