Which is patently ridiculous.
The names don’t matter because the story is always the same. Anyone who has dipped even one toe into the world this father and son inhabited knows why.
A second son, a namesake son, without goals or any conspicuous ability, this thirty-year-old, towering young man was raised in a world to which he could never, in the ordinary run of things, have earned an entry.
Because no one can.
It is limited to the heirs of hedge fund managers—only the sons, usually—who are the oligarchs claiming rightful access to the private education, the clubs, the elite resorts and condominiums where their heirs are raised to expect the same level of social and financial success, without any idea how to acquire it and with, perhaps, a blurred sense that they have no right to the poisoned fruits of those particular financial trees: the billionaires who exploit the weaknesses of our tax system and our financial system, who pile up fortunes without ever developing any critical awareness of the way they are destroying U.S. culture, and whose sons will never even learn to ask the essential questions:
Why NOT me?
A world in which women, defined as mothers and wives and daughters—not inheritors—have no power and no role to play in the lives of their adult sons.
So that when the son arrived at his father’s penthouse, bent on revenge, he could order his mother to “run out for a sandwich for him, and a soda,” he could be sure of her complying, sure that she would suppress whatever fears she may have harbored about the behavior of a young man so spoiled and so deprived that he had burned the family house of his childhood friend to the ground after a violent dispute about what?
Something about a girlfriend.
So his mother “ran out” for that sandwich—from a Manhattan coop stuffed with food—and came back to find her husband lying in a pool of blood, shot dead by the son who could not accept his father’s control of his money—and so of his life.
Because money is all that counts, in those lives bent on luxury, comfort, irresponsibility, oblivion.
Is it going too far to imagine that the father realized, in the moment between seeing his son draw his pistol and the moment when the bullet entered his brain, that everything—his entire life of striving, show and success—was without meaning?
Did he hold up his hand? Did he protest? Or did he in some terrible time of futile recognition know there was no other way out for the young man destroyed by ease, by the apartment in Chelsea his father paid for, the $600 a week allowance, the club memberships, the friends who were beginning to pull away, sensing the threat this son of privilege was beginning to show?
Did anyone notice it at the private school—his father only had to make one phone call to insure his admittance—and where he stayed not because he could do the work, or wanted to do the work, but because—to coin a phrase—he was too big too fail?
Or at the private Ivy League college, where he was admitted as a “legacy,” his father not only a distinguished alumni but a major donor?
And where he would be allowed to stay on and to graduate although he spent most of the four years drunk or drugged in one of the college’s clubs?
No one can afford to notice when the money is so big, the appurtenances so staggering, the fawning admiration of “the world”—that world bounded by Manhattan’s Upper East Side and a few towns at the end of Long Island—which never questions and never allows others to question as the inevitable violence draws closer.
And now the mother, who “ran out to get a sandwich and a soda” is left to endure the condolences of her friends—“Really there was nothing you could have done to prevent it”—and to remember the golden-haired boy she was never able to teach, to discipline, to lead—
Because she didn’t matter.