People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

For Kelly Thomas

I’m compelled to put some words here in honor of Kelly Thomas, some kind of expression of solidarity with his family. I want to express my outrage at yesterday’s acquittal of the men who murdered him, but my feelings are big and language seems too small. I went to sleep last night thinking of the Thomas family, woke up this morning thinking of him and praying a prayer about the men who killed Kelly that I’m pretty sure God doesn’t honor.

So I will tell you this small sliver, this little piece, and it is this: Kelly Thomas is Kelly Thomas. He is described in the news as a homeless man or a mentally ill man or a man with schizophrenia. Those things, those descriptors, are all true, but Kelly Thomas was Kelly Thomas and he was a person and he was beloved of his family and those things are also true.

The surveillance video shows that Kelly Thomas was beat and beat and beat by Fullerton police officers on July 5, 2011 and while the cops beat him he cried for his dad and God and his mom and they beat him some more until he stopped moving. When Kelly was finally unconscious, lying on the hot pavement, handcuffed, his blood pooling around him, the police officers began the anxious process of creating a suitable narrative. “He was really fighting,” one says. “He was definitely on something,” says another. Yes, yes, true. A person in the process of being beaten to death will fight. Terror is a powerful drug.

And they—those police officers, all six of them who got on top of, beat, pistol whipped, tased, and ultimately murdered a terrified, unarmed man—slept in their beds last night. They kissed their children goodnight.

The last time Ron and Cathy Thomas kissed their son goodnight was July 10, 2011, when they removed him from life support.

Kelly Thomas 1 year old

Think about that, because I can’t stop thinking about it: their babylove, the child for whom Cathy and Ron Thomas stayed up too late on Christmas Eve wrapping presents, and who they taught to ride a bike, who they took to the doctor when he had an earache and later, when he had other, more mysterious symptoms, and they fought and struggled and loved and tried to rescue him when schizophrenia grabbed him and wrestled him away from them and it was they who had to make the choice. It was they who signed the papers that authorized the hospital to turn off the machines. Mom and Dad, who couldn’t protect their son, who will live with the image of his devastated and dying body forever. They, who sat in the courtroom every day, listened to the audio of their son crying out for them, and finally listened to the acquittal of the men who hurt him unto death.

I kissed my own son goodnight, too. My little boy, who is terrified of anyone he doesn’t know touching him, who sometimes acts in inexplicable and frightening ways, who often doesn’t understand what is happening around him. My boy, whose illness sometimes makes him seem weird and unlikeable…how, how, how to make the world understand that he is my beloved son? That we, the parents, siblings, spouses, children, and friends of people with mental illness know them to be people? They are not the monsters in the movies or the villains in TV shows or amusing pop-culture characters but people.


Kelly Thomas was not disposable. He deserved so much better. His family deserved better, and all of us who live with or love someone with severe mental illness deserve better.

There are no disposable people, but we sure as hell act as if there are.


Please visit this link to sign a petition to the federal government, requesting they investigate the death of Kelly Thomas.

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19 comments to For Kelly Thomas

  • I haven’t been able to put words down yet. Still so numb. My heart aches for Tina and Ron and Cathy.
    Chrisa recently posted..The Final Word on the Subject

  • Erika

    Heartbreaking. But thank you for writing this. Your voice and your advocacy are so, so needed in this world. Thank you. Sending wishes of comfort to the Thomas family.

  • Tears. I have no words. My heart is broken for what they did to him and for the grief that no doubt envelopes his parents and loved ones.
    Colleen @The Family Pants recently posted..Six-Hundred Dollars was Just Sitting There on the Floor

  • We have got it so wrong, we have to work this out and support each other and help the weak, the sick, the disturbed. We must do better. That those officers got away with it is despicable. I’m so sorry for the family who have to live without their loved one.
    Molley@A Mother Life recently posted..Teaching Boys to Respect Women Despite our Current Culture

  • Leah

    Lovely writing and just what I needed to read this morning. Your voice is such a necessary one in this discussion.

  • I’m so upset about this. I can’t understand what it will take for people to break out of their complacency when it comes to the mentally ill. As the parent of a child who cannot express herself well, I am afraid.
    Dani G recently posted..It’s hard for me to teach my children that police officers are the good guys and can be trusted

  • I am so very, very sorry.
    anna whiston-donaldson recently posted..Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

  • -> “There are no disposable people, but we sure as hell act as if there are.”
    Thank you for writing.
    Jennifer Byde Myers (@jennyalice) recently posted..No Woe Here. It’s a Happy New Year.

  • This is heartbreaking. I don’t understand how there is no safe place for people with these mental illnesses. I know that “institutions” are thought to be bad as a whole, but there must be an answer.

    Thanks for sharing this story.
    Britt Reitns recently posted..Dare to Share Kindness (And Enter to Win $400)

  • I loved this article however, the photo released by Fullerton PD was not of Kelly Thomas. Family and many supporters have grown an outright resentment toward this photo as it was “more scary” than actual photos of Kelly. If you email, I can provide an actual photo of Kelly or one may be obtained from The Kelly Thomas Murder Trial page on Facebook. The Thomas family may be reached through the Kelly Thomas Memorial Fund site at
    Thank you for your time.

  • Kristen Nelsen

    EXCELLENT posting, well put! Kudos.

  • My heart. The thought of not being able to help someone so vulnerable, like my own child, is simply crushing. Thank you for writing this.

  • Вовсе незадолго наткнулся на необычный интернет сайт с кучей известных и популярных песен в кавер обработке

  • Romajop

    Лучшый тренер Бородин Сергей Александрович 20.01.1983
    Я отчетливо помню свою первую тренировку :
    все было новым и необычным. Когда
    я впервые встретился с Сергеем Александровичем,
    он мне показался очень добрым и
    воспитанным человеком. На первом занятии, Сергей Александрович на нас не сердился, так как
    мы были неопытны,
    а пытался во всем разобраться и научить. Сергей Александрович
    давал ответы на все наши вопросы, рассказывал о том, что футбол – это
    популярная игра,
    которой посвящают стихи, песни, ради нее совершают
    героические поступки.
    На тренировке
    я себя чувствовал комфортно и уверенно. Сергей Александрович Бородин является, прежде всего,
    интересным человеком и
    личностью,который добился в жизни определённой ступени. И не слушать то, что Сергей Александрович говорит- просто глупо.
    Мой первый и лучший тренер Бородин Сергей Александрович 20.01.1983

  • KleinerWichserdal


  • На этом сайте выставлен на продажу элитный немецкий фарфор.

  • У кого заказать себе новые – стеклянные перила в свой коттедж

  • escops

    Все мы знаем, что в интернете множество способов заработка, но чтобы на самом деле что-то зарабатывать, нужно иметь соответствующие умения и навыки. Что же делать, если времени на получение таких навыков нет, а деньги нужны как можно скорее?

    Если это все про Вас, то есть решение. Недавно наткнулся на один очень понятный и простой метод заработка в интернете, который идеально подойдет тем, кто плохо разбирается в компьютерах. Все, что нужно будет делать, это просто размещать ссылки на сайтах. Простая работа, которая будет приносить вам до 3000 рублей в день. Как это делать, читайте по ссылке ниже.

    Заработок на размещении ссылок скачать тут…

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