Dear Ron Thomas: You’re Living My Greatest Fear

Dear Mr. Thomas:

Earlier this week, I read the news story about the murder of your son, Kelly, at the hands of the Fullerton Police.  After reading the story, and viewing the video of the witnesses account of the incident, I was physically sick.

If I close my eyes I can see your son, Kelly, sitting on a bench at the Transportation Center, minding his own business, possibly acting a little strange, talking to himself, eyes darting in several directions, rocking in his seat.  Who knows why the officers approached him – I’ve read that he may have resembled a suspect in a robbery, or maybe it’s just that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  I can guess about the panic Kelly felt when he was approached by a stranger in a uniform, gun on his hip, and I can imagine the voices in his head telling him he was in danger and should run, as he did.  
My ears ring as I picture the police running after Kelly, his mind betraying him, telling him to run faster and fight those that were trying to hurt him, however delusional that thought might have been at the time.  I cry, imagining how frightened Kelly must have been when the warnings those voices gave him turned out to be the truth, and how, in an effort to grasp on to reality, he called out for you.  
I know the desperation and guilt and anger and sorrow you must have, knowing that you tried to get Kelly the help he needed time and time again when he went off his medication, and how the law works against you, in a vain effort to protect the rights of the mentally ill, knowing full well in the end, the laws designed to protect them relegate them to lives of full-blown psychosis, wandering the streets, babbling incoherently, unable to get out of the mental prison they’ve created for themselves even if they wanted to in a moment of lucidity.  
What happened to Kelly is my greatest fear for my child.  As I stand on the precipice of his turning 18, convincing myself one day that I must retain complete legal guardianship of him for his own good, and the next, wondering if I am being too over-protective and should let him be.  Today, my heart aches with sorrow for you and fear for myself and I want to clench my child to my breast, as it is better to suffocate him myself than turn him loose on a world that allows those that are supposed to protect us to beat the most vulnerable of us to death in public.  I will never be able to get the sound of the witness on the bus, saying, “they killed him,” out of my mind.  I wish you justice for Kelly, and peace for yourself.

Jan 14 Update: The officers charged in Kelly’s murder were acquitted last night.

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  • picklesprincess August 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I don't think there is a comment I can make about your post. Instead, when I pick up Pickles for her re-try with an overnight pass tomorrow, I will give her an extra long hug. I will hug her until she squirms, pulls away, rolls her eyes and says, "MooooooMMMM you're squishing me!!!"

  • TwisterB August 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I'm happy the father refused the 1 million dollar out-of court deal he was given. It sounds like he is really going to go after the cops which is a good thing.

    I'm not anti-cop, I think being a police officer is a very dangerous and traumatizing job. I think PTSD is more common in the police force than the "macho" institution will admit. I think letting them get away with things like that will only keep the problem as it is.

    I know you are afraid for Tim, and rightly so, because things like this do happen. It's something that relatives and friends of the mentally ill will pay attention to and others will not.

    Like I said, I'm glad the dad didn't take the settlement money.

  • TwisterB August 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Hey Chrisa, I think posting my letter as a comment will be to long, so here is a link to a copy of my letter to the Fullerton police department, which I posted on my blog:

  • Chrisa August 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Rachael, I hope everyone takes a minute to read your amazing letter. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Mama Bear August 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I read this post on CABF, I couldn't even finish the video, it was so heart breaking. I fear that this could be our son if he goes off his meds. I want so bad to fix the world before he become an adult so he can survive such a cruel world.

  • Unknown January 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

    today, tuesday 14 jan 2014…after one day "deliberating, the jury found officers no guilty, found this joy killing "justifird." r.i.p. Kelly. it's all over now poor soul.

  • Jenny Kate Lokken January 27, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Sick. Heartbroken.

  • Unknown May 14, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    today, tuesday 14 jan 2014…after one day "deliberating, the jury found officers no guilty, found this joy killing "justifird." r.i.p. Kelly. it's all over now poor soul.