by By Scotty Reid, staff writer, 12/10/2011
Depending upon your source for news, you may or may not have heard the story about Rachelle Grimmer, the 38-yr-old mother of two who shot her children and committed suicide after a seven-hour standoff with authorities in a Laredo, Texas welfare office. Both children have died because of the gunshot wounds they suffered. As tragic as the story is, it is curious that right wing commentators who often rail against “entitlement programs” are conspicuously silent. It is also tragic that Governor Rick Perry seems to be ignoring the story, which happened in his home state and has not as much as offered his condolences to the family of the victims.
After unsuccessfully applying for food stamps for her two children, Rachelle Grimmer decided that she would make a statement by killing herself and her two children. Details are murky about why she was not able to get the benefits for her children that she sought other than she did not provide proof of a Texas residence. Reportedly, Grimmer and the children were living in a camper in Laredo and denied food stamps for months. This sad case follows the sad story of a Mississippi mother sentenced to three years in prison for failing to reveal prior drug convictions on her food stamp application for her children while people involved in white-collar crimes of fraud involving millions of dollars are given a relative insignificant punishment.
It is no secret that most right wing pundits like to rail against public assistance going all the way back to the Reagan era when his campaign exaggerated reports of a Chicago woman, Linda Taylor, caught abusing the system in the seventies, thus creating the myth of thousands of Cadillac driving welfare queens that persist to this day. Usually when these pundits criticize public assistance, there is usually an ethnic component usually suggesting that the welfare abusers are found mostly in the black community. Even though the welfare system underwent a huge overall with time limits on assistance orchestrated by President Bill Clinton and current GOP nominee frontrunner and serial racialist Newt Gingrich who recently said poor black kids have no work ethic unless it involves illegal activities, conservatives still use the same arguments against the current system.
The fact that right-wingers are silent on a story, which would fit their narrative of people who feel a sense of entitlement to public funds, is conspicuous to say the least. Many of them seized upon the story of an attention seeking black rapper whose Youtube video “It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT” as proof that welfare fraud queens are rampant in the black community. However, when a white mother kills her children and herself because she was denied EBT benefits and wanted to make a statement, it seems they have nothing to say. We can only speculate as to why they are taking a pass on the story. Is it because Rachelle Grimmer is white and they do not want to alienate poor white potential voters who tend to buy into the harsh right wing rhetoric targeting minority groups in America or is it because they do not want to acknowledge that the American people are suffering more than ever in a society where the wealth gap is the largest it has ever been? Whatever the reason, right wing pundits are simply not talking about Rachelle Grimmer.