Don’t Go A Round With Mom

We’re just over a year removed from the Baltimore riots, and the “Charm City” is still picking up the pieces from the violence. Most of America was fortunate enough to watch the reports from the safety of their homes, far away from the city. I, too, watched from my home…. Unfortunately my home was approximately three miles from epicenter of the riots. No offense to you, but I was likely a little more concerned for my family and home than you were yours.

The other thing I was “fortunate” enough to receive was round-the-clock coverage of every single moment of the riots as they unfolded. When the national news shut down the local boys kept reporting… and reporting…. and filming…. and filming…. Hard to watch, hard to stop watching. Most stories didn’t make it to the big broadcast syndicates, but there were certainly their share of heroes and villains. News can really do a wonderful job of dramatizing the events of the day when the ratings need a spike or the national news is in your backyard. Who needs the theater when you have Channel 9 Action News?

One piece of local news that made it to the national spotlight was that of Toya Graham. You know, she was the mother who kicked the tar out of her bonehead teenage son while he was rioting (his name is Michael, by the way). Ms. Graham was caught on amateur footage stopping her son from … well, doing what rioters do, I guess…. Sorry, I never did the “rioting thing” when I was a kid, so I’m having a hard time describing what it was. I mean, my mom would have absolutely destroyed me if she had found out I was doing something like that.

Kind of like Ms. Graham. In the video she is doing her best Floyd Mayweather imitation on her son, and he was playing the supporting role of training gym punching bag. Spot on impersonation, by the way. Somebody give that woman a title belt.

After the incident went out on the news, Ms. Graham was hailed by some, vilified by others. She was called a hero, and she was called a child abuser. Celebrities came out in force to support her actions: Oprah, Under Armour, Alicia Keyes, BET…. Some offered her money to help her out, some offered work. Most didn’t pan out. Ms. Graham is the single mother of six children, including young Michael, now seventeen. Is this a sob story? Nope. You make your bed, you play your cards. The first person to tell you that is Toya Graham. When you find the article where she’s talking about how she thinks she is deserving of more, send it my way.

So here we are, a year later. Toya Graham is still struggling through life. But her son is okay, on the up-and-up and getting ready to start working at Job Corps to be trained to be an electrician. And it is pretty safe to say that if he gets out of line again, she’s going to put the boxing gloves back on.

Let me get this straight…. Occasionally kick the crud out of your child when they act out violently, and it makes them a better, more productive person? What a thought. Maybe we parents should remember that the next time our kids get out of hand.



Happy Mother’s Day to all our moms. We, your children, love you very much.




Jason Wells is the President and Founder of the National Advancements for Proactive Safety, an educational non-profit organization committed to providing a safe community through intervention processes. He is a former Special Agent with the United States Secret Service, and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors in Strategic Security and Protection Management. Mr. Wells is currently pursuing his doctorate in Strategic Security with a focus on proactive interventions to stop threat-related behavior. Additionally, he is a weekly contributing writer to the online publication Robious Corridor. Jason can be contacted at






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