Food Stamp Frustration Drives Woman Down Tragic Path

Laredo Food Stamp ShootingIt's understandable that a mother, perhaps having no other way to provide food for her family, would be frustrated if her attempts to get food stamps were unsuccessful. It's easy to imagine the madness of dealing with bureaucracy and layers of rules when your kids are hungry. But what Rachelle Grimmer did today in Laredo, Texas, is unfathomable.

According to the Associated Press, the 38-year-old mother had reportedly been working unsuccessfully to get food stamps for her family since she first applied in July. She was denied because she didn't provide enough information (an 18-page application plus more documents are required). After various contact attempts in the ensuing months, today she went into the Texas Department of Health and Human Services building in Laredo to discuss the matter in person. What happened next is horrifying.

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After demanding to speak with someone, she was led to a private room. There she pulled a gun. After a seven-hour standoff with police, three shots were heard. Grimmer shot both of her children -- Timothy, 10, and Ramie, 12 -- who are both currently in critical condition, and killed herself. Fortunately, she let the employee go, and no one else was harmed, but that's the only thing fortunate about this situation.

Details of her case are still murky, as is whether -- if all the paperwork had been in order -- she would have qualified for food stamps anyway. But the fact that someone could potentially be so desperate for food in this country is heartbreaking.

It would be easy to jump to accusations that our system is flawed and bureaucracy drove her to this level of frustration, but it likely isn't that simple. Based on reports, there were a lot of inconsistencies in her pursuit to get the food stamps -- calls she didn't return, appointments she didn't keep. It's likely that food stamps were just one issue among many in her tragic life.

So yes, this case should make us look at policies and procedures in to whom and how food stamps are doled out. For example, an 18-page application seems awfully daunting to someone who may be in a very unstable place. But it's also a reminder of how desperation can drive people to do unthinkable things. And sadly, there's a lot of desperation in our country right now. 

Are you shocked by this case?


Image via pro8news

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