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02/24/2012

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The following is a comment that was made on The Hook, a very well done on-line newspaper in Charlottesville, edited by Hawes Spence. It did not include a name, but I hope you will print it anyway.

DofW- I also have spoken with people that grew up with him and near him and some who went to UVa with him and everyone said he was a nice boy- not malicious, not sick, not with a history like Robert Chambers that went way back into childhood. He wasn't known to kill Barbie dolls or maim cats. Even a very respected and accomplished classmate of GHV's who graduated in 2010 told me that GHV used to come by his fraternity often and said that he was really nice, really friendly and a "good guy". Like Still Interested, I agree it's not a good idea to bring religion into this but, I think ultimately, he was a good person who was born good and I also have heard that his mother is a nice, beautiful (inside) person. To me, his sickness was alcohol and he never got help, nor did it come to him.

We can blame all sorts of people, though of course he is ultimately to blame, I do not disagree with that. I am not defending him. I am just putting it into a perspective that is meaningful to me. This story hits home to me because I was once in Yeardley's shoes. I went to UVa and dated a fellow student on and off for a long time, even well after we graduated. He also had a drinking problem that caused him to do some very bad things to me, and to others. He also abused cocaine. He got in fights with bartenders, cops, friends and me. It was a toxic situation that I stupidly put up with, and I stupidly didn't help him with. You can say I am stupid, or Yeardley was, but we both saw good in these people at some point and for more than just a short time. And for me, I was young, and caught up in having my own fun and not paying attention to the seriousness of what could happen. I felt invincible. It was like one big party that simply had some ups and downs, is what it felt like at the time. This was in the 90's too, and there wasn't as much awareness about domestic violence as there is today, I believe. Everyone knew he would get crazy with alcohol, but no one took the time to say 'get him some help". I can't say what Yeardley thought, but I knew a really good side to this guy I was with, we had a friendship and it sounds like Yeardley did too. I received a letter like the one Yeardly did, and multiple apologies. My mother, like Yeardley's, got very worried, but she never went as far as Yeardley's to tell me to get a restraining order. This boy ended up in jail a time or two for assaulting me. The whole story feels all too familiar.

Ultimately, I broke up with him (after much too long) and he ended up growing up and out of it on his own- darn lucky nothing terrible happened to me or anyone else. I'd say he finally grew up around age 27. He was known to his friends for being aggressive and abusive, verbally and physically. But like I said, he was lucky that he grew up. We both have healthy marriages now and kids. We both have successful careers. But I keep thinking, and so does my mom these past weeks... this could have been me. And I can ASSURE you, that my family would have wanted him to fry if he murdered me. And I'd be pissed (wherever I was!) too that he'd done it, but I'd also be sad for him, because I knew he was not a sicko, twisted psychopath or intentional killer. He had a BAD BAD BAD problem with alcohol... and up in heaven, I might be looking down on him, pissed as hell, but also sorry that he never got help, nor did it come to him, because I knew that he loved me deeply, saw me as his best friend, and would not have "meant" to cause such grave harm.

Lesson-- anytime moving forward you see ANYONE at all with a problem, DO SOMETHING. Do not hesitate. Speak up. Say something and have the balls to confront an uncomfortable situation. I do not see GHV as a twisted sicko (of which there are many out there), I think he needed help- BADLY, and he didn't get it. And by the way, I am tired of all the entitlement comments, the guy I was with was not a LAX guy, and he wasn't that wealthy. It happens in all socio-economic levels.

Now I know you all are going to lambaste me on several counts. But you can be an educated (UVa for that matter!) person and stay with people you shouldn't... or become an alcoholic.

DON'T SIT BY! Help people who need help!!

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