Texas Woman Shoots Self and Two Children After Being Denied Food Stamps

Categories: Fuming Foodie
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It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. There is no denying that Rachelle Grimmer felt desperate when she shot her two children and then killed herself inside a Laredo, Texas food stamp office.

Although the 38-year-old mother of two was obviously in dire straits, or at least believed that she was, it is equally apparent there was more involved than a mere rejection of her social services application.

Grimmer had applied for food stamps with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services  in July but had been denied because her application was "incomplete," according to Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission.

Goodman has been reported by several news sources as stating that even if Grimmer had supplied all the required information, there is no guarantee she qualified for the food stamp program. That statement reeks of CYA -- covering your ass.

Goodman was quoted by the Zanesville Times Recorder as saying the social services office had scheduled a phone interview with Grimmer but "couldn't reach her after repeated attempts." 

People who don't have money for food might not have the funds for home telephone service or a mobile phone. And with the state of our economy, the rate of unemployment, and the growing number of people on food stamps, there are many folks who are either homeless, living out of their cars, squatting, or moving from couch to couch.

How is social services supposed to get in touch with them

Not that such circumstances justify Grimmer going Wild Wild West on civil service employees (whom she threatened and then took a supervisor hostage) and her own children, but seriously, the State of Texas should take at least a little accountability -- not for Grimmer's actions but for the fact that they could have -- should have -- done more to help a family sorely in need.

To walk into a government office brandishing a gun, making wild accusations, and ultimately shooting your two young children and yourself is crazy. Grimmer was not right in the head. But you are telling me that not one of the people she spoke with had any indication she was off her rocker? None could have called protective services? 

Forget for a second what she did to the civil servants, but she shot her 10- and 12-year-old children -- apparently with the intent to kill them -- right before she fatally shot herself.

Fortunately, the two children survived even though they are now in "extremely critical condition." Maybe now those kids will get the help they need. 


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17 comments
neaci ripple
neaci ripple

That's sad and i feel for the kids not the mom ..I live by this creed if you womwn enough to bring them in this crule world, then be women enough to have faith..yes i said faith where was it. GOD is head of everything did he pray was she living right is the question go get a job that's texa while there in school be workin..People think that the world owe them something..no one owe' you anything food stamps is to assit you until you do better for those who work for a living . it's sad that people get benefits but then call because of a 2.00 or 5.00 dollar reduction and your getting between 600 to 1,500 in benefits stop having 9 kids look for a job instead of having history repeat itself. just because your momma have 9 got pregnant at age of 15 don't mean you do it..I think personally food stamps needs a limit on kids like taxes you can only claim 3 and those with more than 3 trying to sell kids every year. I think that food stamps and section 8 should be availiable only  for elderly people,some mental people and young mother single with kids for a limit. if government put limits on the time you can recieve assisst I bet people will start looking for work or relocating where the jobs are...

2jazzy
2jazzy

So sad that a presumed legally US citizen, and obviously desperate mother only wanting to feed her children would be denied any type of emergency assistance of some sort.  I bet if it was an illegal immigrant from across the border, he or she would have received immediate assistance along with a green card, health insurance, free education, government housing and the right to become a US citizen!   Real talk!

Jonnie Sue Presley
Jonnie Sue Presley

This is Tragic and how dare they turn her down when the illegals come in with their 10 kids and get all the benefits...I am ashamed of you there down in Texas. DOES IT TAKE SHOOTING YOUR KIDS AND YOURSELF TO GET HELP...This Country is F*cked Up. I know how the Social Services Folks work..LAZY DISHONEST Their attitude to help only those they choose and if they are of that race in the country. BLESSINGS for those children.

CHINAGYRL11
CHINAGYRL11

thats a damn shame!!! its wrong to have shot the children or herself, but the idiots in these government offices dont give a crap about the public,they have thier jobs , and they dont really even do them that well, so why do they really care what ur problem is.. and most talk to you with an attitude like they are better than you anyway.. so now maybe the children will be fed and taken care of,,,but  its sad to see this happen in AMERICA... THIS IS NOT ETHIOPIA OR AFRICA OR WHAT OTHER 3RD WORLD COUNTRY U CAN COME UP WITH!!!!!!

guest
guest

While I agree that there are problems with the food stamp approval process, I don't think it's fair to say that a follow-up phone interview was the problem. First, Grimmer had phone service: she obviously supplied a phone number to the agency, her daughter updated her facebook status during the standoff (unclear if that was on an agency computer or on an internet-enabled fone), the food stamp agency said they had left a message for her on her voicemail before but that Grimmer had taken weeks to reply, and then they had left another message but her voicemail was full.  Either way, there is no evidence that the same follow-up interview couldn't have been conducted in person should Grimmer have come into the office.

I have read reports that Grimmer may have been denied by previous states' social services programs (in particular, Ohio) prior to her arrival in Texas.  I am unsure but fairly certain that a homeless shelter can qualify as a residence to qualify for food stamps.  I doubt an automobile could, but states I think have a justifiable interest in preventing food stamp fraud, and allowing collection of food stamps without some address is probably a strong invitation to fraud.

I can understand the desire to have Texas take some accountability.  I am unsure that is solved by having social services call child services on every applicant who comes in with what appears to be untreated mental illness.  First, you will likely encourage less applicants.  Parents with mental illness still need to put food on their kid's tables.  If they did not feel safe seeking it for fear of losing their kids, they will not seek it.  Second, although I am not a social worker, I interact with many people by virtue of living in Miami who appear to suffer from mental illness.  It's a spectrum.  Although certain circumstances require intervention from child services, most probably don't.  To sit back and say post facto that this was one where social services should have definitely called child services seems a little too reductivist.

Charity Sapphire
Charity Sapphire

Unbelievable. There is definitely a larger breakdown in our social services sector. There is NOTHING to help rehabilitate those in the greatest need. I saw a mother and her son sleeping on the sidewalk of a major intersection with nothing but a white sheet to cover themselves and a grocery cart. It truly disturbed me that even if I had stopped and tried to help them, there is no where I could have taken them that would house them and feed them for even the night.

This is a fucking third world country with paved streets.

neaci ripple
neaci ripple

2jazzy

                  i agree because the government babies those who were not born here BUT TURNED UP ON A STREET SOMEWHERE  gives them personal caseworker because there cheap worker and they steal from the u.s and bring back to there country and make millions off of us . take for instance remember in 2000 the frist plan i think not sure that blew up with the kids on it for a filed trip the guy that flew the plan came to america learned to be a pilot and look what happen blew our stupid ass up now those in school can't get help with education because of his sneaky ass. take asian people if your asian and korean im sorry but corner store's nail shops but they come here government give them money to go to school or build a bussiness why because they bring bussiness with them. my club member on the other hand has grown to believe proverty is education  which in my book bullshit. people are lazy they don't wanna do anything  because their parent's live off the system and it's passed on from generation to generation like section 8 and think welfare, food stamps and childcare is owe to them from the government is my people put and effort in to education like they put effort to grocery shopping when benefits come..Got DAM AMERICA BEAUTY 

JR
JR

Really? Idiot government workers that don't give a crap are just as stressed and underpaid as anyone else out there - people complain they have to wait too long to see a worker or that the workers don't care - they do, but with thousands of clients in a case load and caseworker size dwindling due to states not having enough money to employ people, what do you expect???????   Think it through - who pays the salary of the individuals determining benefits, the state, does the state you are living in have a budget crisis like the rest of the United State???  They are understaffed!!!!!  

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Yes, unfortunately many social workers have become desensitized to the plight of their clients.

Thanks for your comment.

Chinagyrl11
Chinagyrl11

obama is solving our problems daily!!!!  yay!!!! wth

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Thanks for your comment.

I agree that the fault does not entirely (or even majorly) lay on the shoulders of Texas's social service program. 

However, I do think that there are several things which need to be taken into account:

One, she may have provided a phone number -- but that does not necessarily mean she had a phone. Since this is all conjecture, not being privy to the details, the following could apply to her but could also be applied to any other applicant for benefits. One can provide a phone number which leads to a voice message system without having a phone. There are several options available to do so, one being Google Voice. Using such a service would explain the delay in returning phone calls, full mailboxes, and so on. 

Her daughter posting on Facebook -- again this is applicable to any applicant -- could have been done from a public library. Most, if not all, cities provide free use of computers and wifi in public libraries. 

As far as child services is concerned, I agree with you for the most part. It should not be asked to intervene arbitrarily. But, there are cases when it should be involved and is not -- which probably happens more often than not. Also, my main issue is that no one recognized any signs of mental illness in this woman? I mean, come on. Something should have triggered a red flag somewhere. 

I believe I made it clear that I do not hold Texas accountable for the incident. I do think however, that it should issue an apology and try harder to get in contact with applicants (field visit? school visit?), instead of trying to wash it hands and cover its ass.

Fraud is going to take place regardless of what measures are taken. There are so many people fraudulently collecting benefits as I sit here typing my response to you. I think it would be better to err on the side of too many people receiving benefits than to deny those with a genuine need.

Again, thanks for your comment. It was a very thought out, intelligent response. God bless.

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Thanks for your comment.

You are right. There is a HUGE breakdown in our social service sector. That is why DCF for example, has actually 'lost' children who are supposed to be in foster care. If you live in Miami you know that the system here is a joke. How many times has a kid just disappeared, or worse yet, been murdered? 

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Your'e funny. Thanks for the comment.

Cnjj
Cnjj

Type your comment here.Don't blame Obama...he has tried to act  ....the congress is the problem.....we need to start over with a new congress.....get involved and vote.

guest
guest

Please everyone, lets not blame anyone but, tell our government to take personal resposibility for their actions (These policies and procedures they have put in place to benefit themselves) We have voted them into to office to handle business and they obviously are not doing that. Until you are working at these government offices, then you would not know what they have to deal with and the guidelines set by our government. Just like any job take for instance your job; you have a set of rules that you have to follow. WAKE up people, do you not see what the people in other countries are doing to the officials voted into office? You handle business or get out. The problem is not just one party or person, the entire government needs to come in agreeance on issues to better the PEOPLE of the country not to fill there pockets. WAKE up people, our Constitution says: WE THE PEOPLE.

Ily Goyanes
Ily Goyanes

Don't excuse our ineffectual president. Your'e going to tell me that with a Dem-ruled congress he wasn't able to act? He's just more interested in being a rock star than in running our country.

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