“He Wasn’t No Bad Man.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the five other mothers and Holland’s relatives gathered at an apartment on Hymer Street to talk about his life. They said Holland had been characterized unfairly in The Journal as an abuser.
“There was also love there,” said Candace Smith, a niece. “He took care of his children. He spent time with them. The mothers [of his children] put aside all of their differences, and the kids spent time with all of their mothers.”
Leihani Rose — who has three children with Holland — and Silvia Vides, Melissa DeCosta, Keiojfa Hie and Jessenia Delossantos –– each with one child from Holland –– said that he made them all a family. They hugged each other and said in unison, “We love our baby mamas!”
I must admit that I’m just not that familiar with the apparent societal norm on display here. There is no obvious sense of shame or fear of chastisement, no stigma. There are no consequences for bad decisions, to the point that further bad actions taken to cover for previous mistakes are all completely understandable, you see.
As Holland had other children with other women, he painted houses and was also dealing drugs, his parents said. He could make money that way to help support his eight children, their mothers and his family –– and because his criminal record and lack of an education made it hard for him to find work, said Clement.
He paid the rent on their apartments, and got cable TV, a flat-screen television, new sneakers and new clothes for his mother. “He always got me what I needed,” she said.
He had money for anyone who needed help, they said. “He wasn’t no bad man. He took care of all of us,” DeCosta said.
The ends justified the means. I’m in no position to doubt the sincerity of those who have come forward to say Holland was a good man. Yet, I’m struck by how low the bar has gotten.
ADDENDUM: Comments are open, but be forewarned: I’ll close them, as the ProJo was forced to do, if they get outside the bounds.