Parents of Child Killed at Boston Marathon Need Privacy

Heartbreaking 8

privacyAll day long, I have seen photos of little Martin Richard stream by me. The 8-year-old killed by a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon has quickly become a symbol for a national tragedy. To moms and dads across the country, he is one of our own children. But now Martin's dad, Bill Richard, has released a statement about the loss of his son, and the message couldn't be any clearer.

In the classiest way possible, Bill Richard is asking the caring public to please, please, please back off his child.

Of course, he didn't use those words, exactly. But it's clear that this father is grieving today, he's overwhelmed, and he'd really like some space:

My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.

That poor, poor man. He lost his son. His 6-year-old daughter lost her leg. And his wife just had brain surgery. That's more, in the course of 24 hours, than most Americans will have to bear in a lifetime.

Oh, and on top of that, he has a third child who was not physically harmed in the blast but was apparently there when his brother was killed, his mom and sister hurt. He is more than likely traumatized, and he needs his parents just as much as his sister, although in different ways.

This is the burden on the shoulders of Bill Richard right now. This is why we need to give him a break.

It's natural for us to be drawn to Martin Richard's story, to the sweet smile with the gaps where his adult teeth are missing, to the little boy with a sign that begs people not to hurt one another.

He represents everything good and pure about America, the antithesis of the perpetrator (or perpetrators) of yesterday's cowardly bombing.

He represents our own kids as we think about what life would have been like should we have been standing there with our children, as we have on the sidelines of parades and baseball games and who knows how many other public events.

But he isn't our kid.

He's Bill and Denise Richard's kid.

And the best thing we can do for Bill and Denise Richard today is to lay back and let them get their family in order.

We can -- and should -- keep on caring. We should keep on praying and sending our love. But we should also put ourselves in Denise and Bill Richard's shoes and recognize that a parent's duty is to their kids. They have to be there for their youngest son, they have to help their daughter rebuild after a devastating amputation, and they have to honor Martin.

They've got enough on their plate, without the world crowding in, don't you think?

What do you think of Bill's statement?


Image via hyku/Flickr

in the news, boston marathon


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nonmember avatar Gretta

I AGREE. What an absolute NIGHTMARE for them to see their CHILD'S photo splashed all over every single television channel! Their sweet, precious, child who was so very much alive just really hours ago. Their sweet, precious child that they knew and loved since the day he was born.

In the midst of Mr and Mrs Richard's worst nightmare and horrible reality, I wonder why the media can't be more human and compassionate. Why can't they mention that a child was killed and then leave it at that? Those that knew and loved that boy will know all too soon enough. The rest of us.... really don't need any more info.

That child was more than a photo... more than a news headline.... I say we respect that reality and lay off.

Joana... JoanahLee

we are an entitled and voyeuristic society, but this is a good reminder that both of those things need to be rained in.  We are not actually entitled to any information about the Richards child that they don't choose to share with us, and just because it happened in a public tragedy does not give us the right to continue looking and watching the family.

If you pray, then pray. Send good thoughts, healing energy or whatever it is you do, but do it from a distance and in a way that does not intrude. 

nonmember avatar andie

I agree that we need to be respectful and let this poor family grieve, but I don't think it's terrible that the news media has used this little boy as a symbol of the Boston bombing. He is what is right with this country, and the perpetrators are what is wrong with this country. If it was my child, I'd want the whole world to know his name and see his face. I don't think the father's statement is saying "leave us alone" at all. Having said that, I hope there aren't reporters stalking this man and his family. They do need their privacy and they need to grieve in their own time and their own way.

Pamela Hunter

They say he was a dreamer... but he is not the only one. They should play John Lennon's Imagine at his memorial. I am fond now of the memory of the little boy for Peace. He gives me hope for our future.

nonmember avatar harry harlik

I agree with andie. I do not see "back-off" in Bill's statement. That adorable & hopeful child is one of the faces of this tragedy. The infamous picture that is being circulated put the "real-face" on this tragedy. Even though the loss-of-life was greater in the Texas explosion, we do not have the cruelty and anger that is associated with Boston.

Yes, please allow this family to grieve and heal in private, but let's never forget the loss of life & innocence that came from the murder of that young-boy.

Joe McCabe

He added, “we also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.” How could you fail to add that to an article focused on their privacy?

Joe McCabe

wasnt trying to be rude, may hav e sounded that way.  But I too was confused as to where he asked for privacy until I read another story on the situations

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