Child Abuse Prank Shows Strangers Won't Interfere With Bad Parenting (VIDEO)

63

wailing babyIf, as you were going about your shopping one day, you encountered a young man wheeling a stroller containing what appeared to be a wailing baby and saw that man yell angrily at the baby and violently jerk the stroller around, how would you respond?

Most of us probably hope we would intercede in some way, stopping what appeared to be abusive behavior toward a helpless infant. But if we did do that, we would apparently be unlike a host of people who actually did encounter such a man recently in a crowded New York City store and park. What did those people do as the angry young man hollered "shut up" and stronger invective at what appeared to be an uncontrollably crying baby?

Some of them looked uncomfortable. Others looked upset. One shouted "shame on you." And many of them walked by as if nothing unusual was happening. None of them – not one – tried to physically intercede or confront the man face-to-face.

Thankfully, as it happens, there was no crying baby in that stroller – just a CD player emitting crying-baby noises. The whole thing was just a stunt captured on video by an audacious, spelling-challenged young man who apparently makes a habit of staging such pranks and posting the videos on YouTube.

It's a horribly unfunny prank – in many ways unfair to the people who seem truly upset by what they're seeing and uncertain as to how to stop it. But it does reveal how inert people can be when it comes to the abuse of children. (As if we needed any further evidence in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal.) We don't want to believe people are really capable of doing terrible things to children – our inclination is to rationalize, to tell ourselves it's not as bad as it looks. In this case, mercifully, the abuse was not what it seemed. But the video serves as a reminder that if we don't stop abuse when we see it, we cannot assume someone else will.

In the end, after the man in the video ditched the stroller next to a Christmas tree, the only one to walk over and look inside it was a little girl, who had to beg other people to pay some attention -- any attention at all -- to the stroller's contents. Only one person out of so many to actually check on the "baby," to make sure it was OK? That's shameful.

Do you think you would have responded differently from the people in the video?

 

Image via YouTube

63 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Sammy... SammyMama

I dunno... this is a hard call here in America, with everyone "free" to do whatever they darn well please - most especially when it comes to parenting choices!  I was recently in Disney World with my whole family and got really upset one night when we were all getting some food and this dad *whacked* (I mean, hard) his kid upside the head and then swatted his backside right there in the middle of the buffet.  I personally am anti-physical punishment, but I do understand when people say they use one "controlled" tap as a means of discipline.  This was not the case with this dad, and it made me wonder what he would've done to his kid had he not been in a full estaurant!  I felt badly for the rest of the evening for not saying anything, and still wonder if I should have... but it's his kid, and we're in a restaurant.  Is he going to tell me to F off?  Would it actually change his behavior and do anything to benefit the kid?  Grey area...


All that said I'd like to think I would've offered to "help" a dad who was screaming at an infant...

nonmember avatar bumblebee

call the cops in this situation, who will contact CPS. If you confront an frustrated parent, they'll probably lash out at you too (or just tell you to go away/mind your own business). I would think that I'd creep after this guy and let the fuzz know where he's at so they can deal with it.

KBW2 KBW2

I hope I'd offer help. It's so that you're afraid to these days- I'd have definitely found a security guard or cop to step in.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

The best thing to do is call the police, assuming the behavior is bad enough to warrant a call. If you intervene you risk the chance of the parent escalating out of embarrassment. A parent who will behave like that in public is very likely to take the kid home and beat them because they blame them for the public humiliation. I would intervene in some way directly if the kid were in danger, physically if I could but at least by drawing attention to the situation if physically intervening would place my family in danger.

Panda... Panda2778

I agree with calling security, the cops, CPS, etc... With three children of my own, I would be very careful approaching anyone who seems to be overly-rough at disciplining thier children.  I wouldn't want to place my own children at risk should that parent turn and lash out at us.  Granted, if the person was doing something extreme, like actually beating a child or causing severe physical harm, of course I would step in.  There is a big difference between a swat on the butt and kicking the crap out of someone.

butte... butterflymkm

I am the kind of person to step in and I have before. I have followed a guy out to his car who had two young kids with him and watched him get behind the wheel after having several drinks (and shots not beers) and took down his tags and called the cops. I have busted open a car window to get out a forgotten newborn in sweltering weather (the parents were

so thankful for their baby being saved they didn't give two craps about the broken window) bad things can happen in a short amount of time, even the time it takes for the police to come. I wouldn't put my own child in harms way but I would and will do everything in my power to help another kid If I think they are in trouble. If I turn out to be wrong the parents should still be thankful others are watching out for their kids. I know i would be.

Alt_Mom Alt_Mom

It is always scary to intervene when another person is being abusive; will they turn the abuse onto you, or dish out more abuse to the child, etc.? Regardless of our apprehensions, we should never let fear get in the way of doing the right thing. As long as something is done in an attempt to stop the behaviour, it counts. Whatever your approach, use it; don't be a guilty bystander.

nonmember avatar montanawatson

as a 19 year old mother of a 2 year old, yes i would have responded way differently to this man. I can admit that children are frustraiting at times but that doesnt mean you yell curse words at them or tell them to shut up. you find the problem and solve it. children are like puzzles. all those people who did nothing about this man should be ashamed of themselves. even though it was a prank. that is no excuse. child abuse is a huge problem, that somehow just keeps getting swept under the rug. Everyone who turns the other cheek on this issue should be ashamed of themselves. its not funny, and not something that should be ignored. what if that was a babysitter with your child? wouldn't you have wanted someone to interfere and protect YOUR child. Any child in danger that you see, should be thought of as your child, do for others what you would do for yourself....its hard to believe people have stooped this low and became this desensatized to their surroundings. what happened to when people actually had spines? are they all gone? i would like to hope not

aubyi... aubyismylife

as a 19 year old mother of a 2 year old, yes i would have responded way differently to this man. I can admit that children are frustraiting at times but that doesnt mean you yell curse words at them or tell them to shut up. you find the problem and solve it. children are like puzzles. all those people who did nothing about this man should be ashamed of themselves. even though it was a prank. that is no excuse. child abuse is a huge problem, that somehow just keeps getting swept under the rug. Everyone who turns the other cheek on this issue should be ashamed of themselves. its not funny, and not something that should be ignored. what if that was a babysitter with your child? wouldn't you have wanted someone to interfere and protect YOUR child. Any child in danger that you see, should be thought of as your child, do for others what you would do for yourself....its hard to believe people have stooped this low and became this desensatized to their surroundings. what happened to when people actually had spines? are they all gone? i would like to hope not

.seal... .sealuchas.

I wouldnt have had to do anything, DH would have handled that one. He has no toleranc for that kind of stuff. One lady went to go after the man, but stopped for some reason and started crying.

1-10 of 63 comments 12345 Last
F