Friday Mud asks: How can we make sure the Huguely-Love tragedy never happens again?

February 24, 2012 | Drew Forrester


And that means we need help as senior citizens looking to enjoy the fruits of our lifelong labor.  We need help as middle-aged parents of however-many who are trying to balance the books, enjoy their family and stay healthy long enough to see our children grow up.  And we need help if we’re in our early twenties and trying to figure out how to really attack this thing called life.

George Huguley V thought it was about being brought up in a big home with lots of fancy cars and country club memberships, serving as a prelude to the real fun that comes with most of that — heading off to college where you can enjoy just about any excess you want without supervision.  And when you’re the homecoming king and the quarterback of the high school football team and then Virginia comes around with the opportunity to play lacrosse, it’s like hitting the lottery…twice.

George Huguely V couldn’t handle the college lifestyle.

I’m keenly aware that plenty of people date in college and never, ever resort to the type of wild – and ultimately, criminal – behavior of Huguely and Love.

The situation in Charlottesville is definitely (and thankfully) the rare exception and not the norm.

But that doesn’t absolve the adults who had to know this sort of combustible relationship had the potential to end in harm.

Where were they?

No one, regardless of age, is above help or intervention if the situation calls for it.  There’s an adult in your community right now who is in need of someone stepping in and saying, “Hey, bud, enough is enough.  You need to get some help.”

In George Huguely’s case, his disregard for authority and obvious fondness for excessive drinking should have been warning signs – real ones – that he needed professional help.  Run-ins with the law, explosive moments with his own family and, as his teammates testified, a growing dependency on alcohol in college should have been more than enough reason for someone close to him to put a halt to his dangerous behavior.

Maybe some people tried to help.  Or, perhaps, Huguely V had aggravated his friends and family so much that none of them had the energy to guide him in a better direction.  That’s certainly possible.  You can only try to help someone for so long until you say, “You’ll have to figure this out on your own.”

It would appear, though, that no one tried hard enough to get Huguely V (and Love, too) the help he needed.

And yes…it’s easy to sit back and say, “To hell with him, he was 22…an adult…he knew full good and well what he was doing with his life.”

I remember what it was like when I was 22.

I was an adult, too.  I should have known what the hell I was doing.  But I didn’t.

His teammates took the stand and painted a sorry picture of Huguely V.  They all commented about his drinking and several admitted they were planning “an intervention” just days before the murder of Yeardley Love.

That intervention was needed the winter before…or in the Fall…or even the previous summer.

But everyone was too busy.

Too busy with work.  Or school.  Or lacrosse.  Or their own life.

Where on earth were the coaches during all of this mess?  They don’t live under a rock, although their negligence in cases like this might lead you to think otherwise.  Was winning so important and so time consuming that none of the coaches (for either team) had time to take a moment and say to either Huguely V or Love, “You know, I’m hearing some disturbing things about your drinking and your relationship with (Huguely/Love) and I think we need to sit down and map out a strategy to get you the help you need before something really bad happens.”

Everyone around both of the people involved in this horrible situation knew the truth.

They knew George Huguely V was no good for Yeardley Love.  And it wasn’t because Love turned out to be a bad fit for Huguely. That girl’s name could have been Amanda Smith or Danielle Jones.  Sure, Love’s own lifestyle and some of her mistakes helped fuel the bitterness that grew between them, but at the end of the day, Huguely V was no good for Love or any other girl because of his dependency on alcohol, his disregard for authority and the personality changes that accompany behavioral traits like those two.

Where was a judge to slap Huguely V around after one of his brushes with the law?

Perhaps had someone in court sent George a REAL message at some point along the way, this whole thing could have been avoided. But it didn’t happen that way, probably because the case wasn’t important enough for a judge to fret over while his or her daily schedule filled up with more meaningful stuff like dope peddling and domestic violence.

On every occasion that George Huguely’s behavior landed him in court, the sentence wasn’t nearly harsh enough to cause him any worry.

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