Denied Food Stamps, Hopeless Mother Shoots Self, Kids at Texas Welfare Office
The blame never falls on anyone else save the one who pulls the trigger. This is especially true when the someone is an angry, hopeless mother who, after having been denied food stamps for months, shoots herself and her children.
She disintegrated and self-destructed in public view. While others commit suicide privately, like animals, who, knowing they are going to die, remove themselves quietly to do it alone, her last act was the only power she had at her disposal to cry, "Outrage!" What better way to vent her internalization of the culture's disinterested inhumanity than a paradoxical act of self-hatred and self-love and courage, decrying her identity as an insignificant nobody, a rag tag cultural cast-off?
Rachelle Grimmer was 38 years-old. Her 7-hour standoff with the police and state human services represents a symbolic gesture, a Christmas card to governmental agencies who are supposedly designed to help the most vulnerable. Grimmer's message is something like the kind sent by Buddhist monks who immolate themselves in protest. Only in this instance, she didn't only turn the gun on herself, but first shot her children, 10-year-old Timothy and 12-year-old Ramie. And her message is perhaps even more chilling because, unlike the monks' gestures which come under meditation, mental preparation, fasting, prayer and the belief that the self-sacrifice will bring about a positive result, her self-destruction was made out of an extreme provocation of emotionalism: frustration, despair, loneliness which brought her to a level of blood-red, uncontrollable insanity. For is it not insane to turn your gun on your own beloved seed? Is this the act of a sane mother who is supposed to protect her children from harm?
According to Stephanie Goodman of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Grimmer, present near closing time with her children, asked to speak to a caseworker other than the one with whom she had been seeing regularly. Taken to a private room to discuss her case, Grimmer took out the gun, pointed it at the caseworker and events unfolded throughout the evening devolving to their tragic conclusion. Though police negotiators on the phone attempted to talk Grimmer down, she repeatedly hung up after spilling out complaint after complaint against state and federal agencies, reported Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza.Continued on the next page