A photo has surfaced on the Internet that's so disturbing, there's an international search for the two people in it. It shows a woman pointing a gun at the toddler she's holding in her arms. The pistol is aimed right at the baby's forehead, and the baby looks directly at it. Meanwhile, the woman smiles directly at the camera. It's chilling.
So far we don't know very much at all about the woman or the toddler. The photo turned up on an Argentinian Facebook page about a month ago. We don't know if the woman is the toddler's mother. We don't even know if that's a real gun -- it could be a prop. Nevertheless, almost anyone can agree it's an image that makes us wish we could intervene.
It could just be a sick joke about how frustrating parenting or childcare can be, but if it is, it's not funny. It almost looks like a ransom note to me. Regardless, it definitely looks like a cry for help. I don't know that a child that young fully comprehends the idea of a gun, though he or she probably can sense the implied threat.
Hopefully, as the photo continues to spread over the Internet, someone who knows either the woman or the child will identify them and contact the police. I don't know what the laws are in other countries -- I'm not even sure what the laws here would be. Obviously it's illegal here to threaten anyone with a gun, let alone a child. She could also be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, even if the gun is fake.
It's a relief to know at least the photo is sparking outrage. Most of us can instantly recognize why this is such a toxic image, and I think the first impulse many viewers have is to try and find help for the baby. Surely it's just a matter of time before this baby and woman are identified -- I only hope it's not too late.
What do you think is really going on in this photo?
Image via Facebook