March 2, 2006
"From infancy until he reached the threshold of manhood, the beatings Daniel W. Smith received at his older brother's hands were qualitatively different from routine sibling rivalry. Rarely did he and his brother just shove each other in the back of the family car over who was crowding whom, or wrestle over a toy firetruck. Instead, Mr. Smith said in an interview, his brother, Sean, would grip him in a headlock or stranglehold and punch him repeatedly.
"Fighting back just made it worse, so I'd just take it and wait for it to be over," said Mr. Smith, who was 18 months younger than his brother. "What was I going to do? Where was I going to go? I was 10 years old." To speak only of helplessness and intimidation, however, is to oversimplify a complex bond. "We played kickball with neighborhood kids, and we'd go off exploring in the woods together as if he were any other friend," said Mr. Smith, who is now 34 and a writing instructor at San Francisco State University. (Sean died of a heart attack three years ago.)"But there was always tension," he said, "because at any moment things could go sour." By Katy Butler, New York Times Link to Article (last visited 3-1-06 NVS)
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