2-Year-Old Boy Wearing Pink Flower Headband Is Attacked By Grown Man

Horrifying 310

pink flowerI almost didn't read this story: "What Happened When My Son Wore a Pink Headband to Walmart." I kind of figured I already knew what happened. People were jerks about it and maybe made a few snarky comments to her, she went home and wrote a blog post about it. And now we feel defensive on her behalf. The end. We've all heard stories like this before -- the boy in the princess costume, Jenna Lyons painting her son's toenails. I read the story anyway ... and my jaw dropped. It's so much worse than I thought it would be.

Kathleen Carpenter, (writing as Katie Vyktoriah) wrestled her 2-year-old son Dexter and her 5-month-old baby into the car to pick up a few necessities at the store. Moms have to pick their battles, so she made Dexter leave behind the huge stuffed bear he wanted to bring, but she let him keep the pink lace flower headband he was wearing. Maybe she expected a few looks, I don't know. But she certainly didn't expect her son to be grabbed and threatened by a full-grown adult.

A large man saw Dexter, stormed over, tore off the headband, cuffed the toddler on the side of his head, and said, "You'll thank me later, little man!" Kind of a terrifying and infuriating thing for a stranger to do to your kid, right? Kate went into mama bear mode and said, "If you touch my son again, I will cut your damn hands off." And that's when the guy upped the ante and snarled, "Your son is a f*cking fa***t ... He'll get shot for it one day."

Yeah, he said that to a mother and her 2-year-old son.

So that's undeniably horrible. However you feel about little boys in pink headbands, you just do not touch other people's children, you don't pull articles of clothing off their bodies, and you certainly don't call them a slur and tell them they'll get shot someday -- which sounds awfully close to a threat, actually. All of this is unacceptable, uncivilized behavior. (Katie said on Facebook that she did eventually report the incident to the police and can't comment further on it at this time.)

But can we talk about all the bystanders who did nothing in response? "There were several people who had witnessed the encounter, but not one of them came over to offer support or console me or my son." I bet some of them were parents, too. I don't blame them for not wanting to confront the bully. But not a single person could ask Katie if she was alright, or offer some sympathy, or anything? That's almost as bad, I think.

It's easy enough to not be the asshole. But being a civilized and compassionate human being requires a little more from us. However you feel about pink headbands on little boys, can we see what's most important here? More important than a 2-year-old learning that some adults will go apeshit if you don't conform to gender stereotypes? What's most important is that we affirm for each other, every single day, that we value kindness. And we do that through our words and actions. Don't be that big jerk at Walmart, but don't be those little jerks who stood by and said nothing, either.

UPDATE: According to the Orlando Sentinel, on Monday night officers investigating the event took Kathleen Carpenter in custody under Florida's Baker Act, which allows law enforcement officials to keep people in custody for mental evaluation. A deputy from the Lake County Sheriff's Office said, "Based on the continuing media response through Facebook and generated response to the incident by online subscribers, possible video of the incident may be obtained and viewed to in fact verify that the incident actually did occur or if it was all made up."

What would you have done if you'd seen this happen?


Image via Maegan Tintari/Flickr

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jrphelps jrphelps

If you touch my child let alone what this scum did, you WILL be tazed or pepper sprayed or both.  Dont F*ck with my kid.

JAK_m... JAK_momma_2_4

Well this was posted on cafemom a few days ago, and "surprisingly" (sarcasm) enough, there were a few moms who agreed with the guy, said the mom took her son out like that on purpose, to cause drama, said she deserved what she got, said they would NEVER let their sons or grandsons ever dress like that, blah blah blah. As long as there are assholes like them, and this guy ^ there will be stories like this. And if it had happended to MY son, the man would have been telling the police in a soprano voice why I kicked him as hard as I could in his testicles and why he no longer had a beard on his face.

ZacsA... ZacsAuntie

Wow... I am not a parent yet but I am a big sister of 3 boys (my youngest brother is 13 years younger then myself) and an aunt of 4 little boys 7 years to just over a month old. If anybody ever touched or even spoke to my boys this way, I wouldn't hesitate to rip them a new asshole or two.  Both verbally and figuratively. You just don't do something like that to a toddler or anybody for that matter.angrydevil

nonmember avatar Lbdmom

I read this story on another blog a couple of days ago, and for some reason it just didn't ring true to me. From the stereotypical description of the "bad man with beer breath" to the fact the a mother didn't scream, demand security and call the police after said "bad man" ASSAULTED her toddler. And all of the silent eyewitnesses who stood by and did nothing. I don't think anyone assaulted her child or ripped a headband off his head. I think maybe someone said something either to her, or so that she could hear it and she exaggerated the tale.

Obviously if this really happened, terrible thing for the toddler. But I just don't buy it. Jmo.

Brain... BrainyMommy

No acceptable reason to touch another person's child without permission. 

LawNO... LawNOrderMommy

My older step son, he's 8, loves wearing his big sisters accessories. Granted I find it a little odd and I'm always worried about how he'll be treated in public but it's not a battle worth fighting unless she wants to wear whatever item he's "borrowed". People have made comments in the past and I've explained that it's none of their business what my kids wear but if someone touched my kid, violently or not, I have no qualms about using the hand to hand combat skills I acquired while in the service to show them what it feels like to have someone put hands on you. My kids, my rules. I won't tell others how to parent their kids so don't butt in to how I parent mine.

JS0512 JS0512

I'm with Lbdmom.  Something seems off.  And I read elsewhere that the mom (who has her own blog and posted it there) admitted in the comments that she "embellished' what happened.  I didn't troll through them all, as there were a LOT, but she's since shut down comments on the post.  I think she wanted to make a point and got carried away with her story.

nonmember avatar kaerae

@LBDMOM - Wow, you're no better than this guy. You don't think it happened because the woman handled her business instead of screaming for help? LOL, that's priceless. Someone physically threatens your child, and you stand there and scream...wow...

Tonya Ryals

What would you do...I have known some boys who liked things...that may look weird to someone else but doesn't mean they are gay. And WHOA BE unto someone laying hands on Angel. I would LAY THE SMACKETH DOWN on them...and probably kick them in their testicular fortitude. :P

Sugar... SugarMamaO76

Personaly I would undoubtely called 911 and pressed assult charges on that asswipe. AFTER i beat the shit out of him for touching my child.... people need to learn BOUNDARIES and putting your hands on stragers, but especially children is just uncalled for. He would have been pulling  back a bloody damn stump, and If I was a bystander? My husband HATES that I have a big mouth. I once got into a fist fight with a man on the city bus who kept shouting obscenities and racial slurs at an african american who had boarded the bus. I will stand up for what is right and I dont give a crap who likes it or not!!! 

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