- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2015


What a fitting tribute to the late Freddie Gray.

On Tuesday morning, before my first mug of coffee kicked in, the local Fox channel played video of a Baltimore mom snatching her man-child by his hoodie and whacking him about the head and shoulders. She was scolding him all the while. Hallelujah, I thought, our prayers are being answered.

Fear can paralyze, and fear can motivate.

The video clearly proves the latter forced Toya Graham to spring into action to save her young son’s life from the mob violence and the huge police presence on the streets of Baltimore after Tuesday’s funeral for Freddie Gray, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while under arrest and died a week later. The unrest that followed has captured international attention.

Ms. Graham’s son now will be easily identifiable to bullies and other punks who want to taunt him as “Mama’s Boy.”

But that’s nothing compared with the instinctive moves by his mom, who saved him from being a victim of the brick-hurling forces he was walking among and from being the next Freddie Gray at police hands.

Had his mother not intervened, he also could have become a victim of his own naivete/ignorance and ended up in the hands of police.

While you could not tell the exact age of Ms. Graham, a single mom, or her son, it seemed reasonable to assume she is of the “^$+& the Police” generation — the generation that mourned the 1996 death of celebrated rapper Tupac Shakur, who attended Baltimore high schools.

And a decade ago, Baltimoreans allowed themselves to become victims of the “Stop Snitching” movement, which needs no explanation.

Ms. Graham didn’t wait for the city’s juvenile curfew to be enforced that night; she didn’t wait for the new 10 p.m. curfew to be announced by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; and she didn’t wait for Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to tell her and other parents to “take control of your kids” — although his admonishment was spot on.

This mom took matters into her own hands.

Other mothers and parents in Baltimore and elsewhere should follow her exemplary lead, particularly if black lives matter.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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