“He Wasn’t No Bad Man.”

The ProJo’s follow-up to the story about the murder of accused woman-beater and “serial father” George Holland only adds to the frustration earlier expressed.

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.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
14 years ago

I don’t know-it seems the guy was genuinely liked by these women-they probably wouldn’t all get on the same page to fabricate a story if he were that bad.I don’t like to judge other peoples’ lifestyle arrangements because there are “conventional”families wherein the worst imaginable types of abuse occur,out of sight,out of mind.
It’s very hard to quantify these things,particularly the longer you’ve been around.
Sometimes when the family is outwardly respectable,there is no motivation on anyone’s part to look beyond the veneer.
I’m sure these women had a lot of interaction with social services providers and if he were doing some really evil stuff it would have come to someone’s attention.
I’m not condoning nor condemning the lifestyle-just seeing it for what it is.
Family structure in some segments of society has been eroded by the machinations of the leftist social engineers for decades now,so we shouldn’t be surprised.
Fort the Kate Brewsters of the world,dependency and broken families are a steady paycheck and source of grant money.

14 years ago

I would argue that there are natural consequences for certain behaviors. Holland’s end was the result of his means. People are free to choose their lifestyle but must face the fact that they will have to deal with the results of their choices. This may mean struggling to pay bills because you don’t have a partner who can help shoulder the burden. It may mean that most of your paycheck goes toward child support. Choosing to make money in an illegal way can result in losing that money as well as your freedom when you get caught. It may also mean that you have involved yourself with people who will choose to do you harm. I don’t think it is a matter of other people passing judgment, pointing a finger, and saying, “Shame, shame!” I don’t think that’s necessary and it just comes off as sanctimonious when we make these judgments. I say let people live with the consequences of their actions. (Or not live, as the case may be.) Perhaps if Holland had chosen a different path, he’d still be alive today. It was his choice to take the road that led to his demise. I will say that children do, unfortunately, become the innocent pawns in the mess that adults make. You would hope that one’s children are enough motivation to lead him/her in the right direction. But when this fails to happen, I do believe that is where community responsibility comes into play. It isn’t about finger pointing; it’s about protecting the innocent. If you open your children up to violence by, for example, dealing drugs from your home, you should face the fact that someone else would be better equipped to take care of them than you. Finding safe home placements for children who have parents… Read more »

14 years ago

My dad’s comment about conventional families where horrendous abuse takes place rings true regarding another recent murder case in RI. Lakesha Garrett, who was recently accused of murder, was once a promising straight A student at Classical HS with 3 scholarships lined up for college. I know this because she and I were very close friends as teenagers. However, she was the victim of horrible abuse – abuse so terrible that there is actually a child abuse law in RI named for her family. To the outside world, Lakesha came from a “conventional” family. Her mom and dad were married, she and her siblings shared the same two parents, and her parents were outwardly religious, church-going folks who owned several rental properties in the West End and Southside area. However, there was a much darker side to this family. In the privacy of their home, the Garretts beat their children pretty much constantly and invoked the name of God to justify these beatings. I don’t know what became of Lakesha’s two younger siblings, but her oldest sister turned to drugs and prostitution early in life, her second oldest sister committed suicide, and Lakesha – well, we all know what happened to her. So, while the children of this guy Holland may not be living in what many consider ideal circumstances, perhaps they will turn out much more well-adjusted than some kids that you think are living with “proper” families. The mothers of these children may be doing a better job than some of the families you think are great. I don’t know since I don’t know these people myself. It is not always easy to see where children are most open to harm. I do reiterate my statement, though, that as a community it is in our best interest to… Read more »

14 years ago

Joe/Tabetha, thanks for the engagement, as always. I understand that aspects of stories like this, to one degree or another, occur across the demographic spectrum…but this just seems to be such an extreme case to me…and those involved don’t even seem to bat an eye at the situations that led to the ultimate tragedy. I’m also sympathetic to a “live and let live (and learn!)” perspective. That is, until my tax dollars start going towards supporting the continuous poor decisions of others, as seems apparent in this case. Holland paid a price. As you say, so will his kids. But we’ll be footing a lot of the bill.

14 years ago

This is the logical, inevitable, entirely foreseeable, unintended consequence of the liberalism of the American Left’s Great Society.
I don’t know what it will take to turn our society around, but continuing on this road is certain doom.

14 years ago

Apparently, these folks have no shame. Those poor kids haven’t got a chance.

13 years ago

The sad reality of the situation is this: Nobody here knew George. Nobody here called him a friend or family.
I did. I knew this man, and I knew him well. Did he make his share of mistakes? Of course, as we all do. The details that were released to the Journal were not fair and just. They didn’t do the man himself justice at all.
This was a man who would, quite literally, give you the shirt off his back. He would stand by your side, no matter the situation. He was kind and he was generous. He was funny in a way that made everybody laugh. His smile was infectious and his intensity was palpable.
To reduce the man to the number of children he had, or how he passed, is missing the larger picture.
I miss him. Every day, I do. There were hundreds of people at his funeral. They miss him, too. You say that the bar has been set low? I counter that and ask, if you knew him, would you still feel that way? I don’t. If I live to be half the man he was, I’ll have lived a good life.

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