Could the gunman’s mother have prevented the Dallas June 13th attack? Once again, the nation’s attention is on parents of a killer with mental illness (MI).
As you watched the drama unfold, did you scream at the TV and yell, “That man is obviously mentally ill. The mental health system is broken! Who is there to help when an adult with MI goes off his meds?” We couldn’t help but fear for the lives of law officers. And pray that innocent citizens would be safe.
After it all ended, the investigation began. All-too-familiar questions were raised. Where there warning signs? How could a man with a troubled mind and past gain access to an arsenal of weapons and an armored vehicle?
Did you sympathize with the mother? How much did she know? What had she already endured? Stories soon came out with reports.
Yahoo’s online article “Dallas suspect had talked of ‘shooting up schools and churches’” (by Jason Sickles), shared a quoted made by the gunman’s mother. Sickles reported that, “Boulware’s mother told a detective that her son ‘talks to himself quite frequently and appears delusional, but also said that he is not taking any medications.’”
Her son had gone off his medications. She verified what we suspected. Those of us raising kids with mental illness (MI) can only wonder how Boulware’s mother felt. After the recent incident, Jeannine Hammond, Boulware’s mother, provided some insight.
She released a statement which was quoted in The Daily Mail’s article “Crazed Dallas gunman went on nine-hour rampage after losing custody of his son to his own mother as judge who oversaw case says ‘I knew this would happen’” (by Kelly Mclaughlin, Kieran Corcoran, and Thomas Burrows). The article stated, “Hammond wrote in a statement released by an attorney … She said that he talked to himself ‘quite frequently and appears delusional …We apologize to the police for his behavior … We loved him and will remember him as the man he was before all of this took place. We are so grateful that no other families are having to bury anyone because of his actions.’”
Surely, Jeannine Hammond is grieving the loss of her son. Her statement reveals that she knew her son had MI. It also tells us that she didn’t stop loving him and never forgot what he was like before MI ravaged his life and the lives of others.
We can just imagine how powerless she felt to prevent such an attack. But, she wasn’t alone. Apparently, even a judge was powerless to prevent the attack. The Daily Mail’s article reported about a judge who encountered Boulware in her courtroom for a custody hearing. The reporters shared that Judge Kim Cooks stated “Boulware threatened her multiple times after the custody trial and said she was ‘in shock’ after hearing about what happened at the police headquarters.” They went onto quote Cooks as saying, “‘’I knew he was going to do something, but I always thought his target would have been me.’”
If that judge couldn’t stop that man who threatened her life, who could?
It’s worth emphasizing that most individuals with serious MI don’t become killers. But, moms raising kids with MI can surely identify with a mother who feels powerless to help her child. A daughter has an eating disorder and a mom tries to get her to eat. A son is severely depressed and the mom tries to get him to talk, smile, or do anything. A son explodes verbally or physically and a mom is no match for his unprovoked anger. An adult prodigal with MI calls home periodically. His mom tries to convince him to take care of himself (to take his meds and not attempt suicide). To no avail.
Helpless and powerless find power. Our Source of Power:
Is there power for the powerless? Yes. There is One who can work in the hearts and minds of our children. Our almighty Father created the entire earth into existence simply by His word. Surely, God has the power to protect and guide His creation—our kids and us.
Just think about His incredible power. He said, “Let there be…” Instantly, He spoke beauty on the earth in all kinds of species, rock formations, and constellations. Held together by Him in perfect order and in breathtaking colors.
Stopping to reflect on such amazing power helps shrink the size of our problems. Suddenly, they seem smaller in light of His awesome strength.
His power is unmatched and personal. We need to remind ourselves that we have access to that power.
Sun and Son:
Solar panels rely on the sun for power. They serve as reminders to us. We can rely on God’s Son for power. His power gives us strength to endure each day.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:18-20).
On days when MI seems like an unconquerable foe, repeat that passage over and over again. Then, ask God to make that power real in your life.
Thank You for assuring me that Your incomparably great power is for me. If Your power can conquer death, I will trust it to do a mighty work in my child’s mind, heart, and life. Increase my faith and help me see evidence of Your power today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Power: It’s blowing in the wind.
Wind turbines use wind to make electricity. They remind us that it’s God who causes the wind to blow, giving power to the turbines. Our almighty God, who controls the strongest tornados, has power carry us through.
“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
Breathe new life into me today. As Your Son used His power to calm the wind and waves, calm my heart. In Your Son’s precious name of Jesus, Amen.
“You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God! (Psalm 68:35).