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Monday, August 20, 2012

17 days in November: Brothers Gregory and Jason Halman—and the descent into death

November 21, 2011

As Gregory Halman was dying, his girlfriend called Eddy. The paramedics worked in the house.
Eddy called Hanny.
“Jason stabbed Greg,” he told her.
She couldn’t speak.
“Did you hear me?” he yelled.
Silence.
“Did you hear me?”
Hanny picked up Eva, their youngest child, and drove toward Rotterdam. She phoned Naomi in Italy.
“What did he do?” Naomi asked. “What happened to Jason?”
“Jason stabbed Greg and the police are there,” Hanny said.
Eva’s phone rang. Eddy. Eva screamed. Naomi heard, and then she knew, too.

The tragic story of Greg Halman

Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 20, 2012 at 06:04 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general, mariners, netherlands

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   1. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: August 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4213111)
This is an amazing piece and I could not stop reading it once I started.

   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4213134)
Jesus. I had the same experience as GSS.

I do highly recommend reading it, but only if you're in a mood to have your soul crushed a little bit. Amazing reporting, awful story.
   3. phredbird Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4213141)
compelling story, but the writer needed an editor. the constant 'x days/hours before he killed his brother ...' theme is very distracting and does not add to the drama. not a big fan of messing with the chronology either.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4213153)
I thought the non-chronological storytelling was absolutely necessary for the story, and very well done. (You can't start with Eddy's story, but Eddy's story has to be told, and so you have to figure out an artful way to make it work.) I agree that the "x days/hours" thing lost its punch.
   5. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4213163)
I agree with Matt, I think the story kind of had to be told this way. It's hard for me to know whether the draining feeling I was getting towards the end was due to "X hours" or Jason's mental breakdown. Probably both which is why Thompson was using the technique.

   6. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4213176)
The postscript mentions the word "freedom" with regards to Jason Halman getting treatment rather than being incarcerated. Is he actually walking the streets less than a year after killing his brother?
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4213183)
Brothers Gregory
I saw this and thought "you must build a turtle fence".
   8. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4213189)
Is he actually walking the streets less than a year after killing his brother?


I haven't read the article yet, but another briefer report suggests that yes, he is. He was released to psychiatric treatment. Don't know to what extent that's voluntary or in-patient.
   9. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4213200)
I haven't read the article yet, but another briefer report suggests that yes, he is. He was released to psychiatric treatment. Don't know to what extent that's voluntary or in-patient.

Yikes. I read a brief article last week and assumed he had been committed to inpatient treatment for an indeterminate amount of time. The word "freedom" in the postscript implied otherwise.

I'm not in favor of warehousing the mentally ill in prisons if they can be treated, but I'm skeptical that Jason Halman has gone from psychotic killer to safe-for-society in less than 9 months.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4213203)

compelling story, but the writer needed an editor. the constant 'x days/hours before he killed his brother ...' theme is very distracting and does not add to the drama. not a big fan of messing with the chronology either.

I agree. The non-chronological storytelling didn't do anything for me other than make the story 50% longer than it needed to be.

I haven't read the article yet, but another briefer report suggests that yes, he is. He was released to psychiatric treatment. Don't know to what extent that's voluntary or in-patient.

The postscript says that Jason is with his family, although it's not clear from the article what happens once the court's decision is made final on August 30.
   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4213255)
Makes sense that Jason would be with his family. I see no way that could be dangerous. I mean, they're his family after all.

A very haunting piece and a well-told story, even if the writer might have been shooting just a slight touch too obviously for some awards.
   12. ajnrules Posted: August 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4213320)
It is a very haunting piece, although I found it kind of annoying that the author kept Jason's psychiatric condition on the down low until the end. It probably played a major role in the events but mention of it seemed to have been suppressed until the end for storytelling purposes. Otherwise, still a terrific read.
   13. Select Storage Device Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:13 AM (#4213418)
Some haters.

I appreciate this a lot, even if I suspect a bit of it to be some kinda reconstructed TLC show. This is the most in-depth look at this we've got, right? Anyway, the length adds to the weight. It smells like the author thought he could write a book about this, and I wonder, considering the strange funeral, if there is still a whole lot more to tell about the Halman family.

Probably best to just leave them alone.

My Halman story: I did some design work for a video game that used some simple "ratings" to determine dice rolls in a simulator. You started the game with low-rated players from a small pool (this was before 2011). 9 times out of 10 Halman was your RF (hey, he played there). His Contact/Discipline were dreadfully low, but he had a ludicrously high Power rating, making for a lot of exclamations that A. Who was this Halman guy hitting HRs all the time? and B. Why does one of the starter guys have a 94 Power rating? We normalized this a bit later.

The point: Halman became a small folk hero among a few cubicles and a few dozen diehards. I was a fan since then -- and this story broke me a little.
   14. Belfry Bob Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4213544)
A compelling story, told in overly melodramatic terms.

The Boa Constrictor insert was powerful the first time he made it. Then...'well, let's use that one again.' Then...'well, if they aren't real bright out there, let's make the reference more direct. One more time. it's a good one, after all...'

That's known as 'writing as if you were trying to be a writer.'

GOOD writing should appear effortless...this telling is about as labored as one can get.

That being said, this is a tragic tale of a family that one should stay as far away from as possible - and the idea of Jason walking around is a frightening one, indeed. I agree that 'punishment' isn't called for, but isn't the point of incarceration also to save the rest of society from being threatened by psychotic people who have already killed someone?
   15. The Good Face Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4213586)
GOOD writing should appear effortless...this telling is about as labored as one can get.


Agree. Absurdly over the top and melodramatic, which actually detracted from a fascinating story.

That being said, this is a tragic tale of a family that one should stay as far away from as possible - and the idea of Jason walking around is a frightening one, indeed. I agree that 'punishment' isn't called for, but isn't the point of incarceration also to save the rest of society from being threatened by psychotic people who have already killed someone?


Yeah, that part confused me as well. Most people with serious mental illness are no danger to others, but Jason pretty clearly is. Even if they've got him doped up on anti-psychotics, which often can keep symptoms like his under control, what happens if he decides to stop taking them?
   16. Gaelan Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4213605)
A doctor in Quebec killed his two children in a fit of psychosis brought on by depression. He was found not guilty and was just released from hospital about two years later. Thank you psychiatric industry.

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