In my 3+ years of writing here, I have only once responded to another blogger’s blog post with my thoughts on what they had said. I’ll admit – it didn’t go too well for me. The other blogger, someone I had considered a friend, was extremely angry and hasn’t talked to me since. Even in “real life” I try to stay away from hot-button-topics of conversation, I just keep my opinions to myself.
But the story I’m sharing here today is one that I can’t get out of my head. Many of you may have seen the post this week written by Katie at a mother thing titled Getting Political. I don’t know Katie. In fact, before reading this post I had never even been to her blog.
The post is not really about politics – it’s the story of a physical and verbal assault. A man in WalMart first rips something her son was wearing off of him and then calls him “a fucking faggot.” Did I mention her son is only TWO YEARS OLD?
Go ahead – if you haven’t read it yet I know you want to now. I’ll wait.
You’re back? What did you think of the post? Clearly what happened is disgusting and unimaginable. I can’t and don’t want to think about this happening to one of my children. We know that things like this happen every day – what is so shocking about this story is that her little boy, Dexter, is only two years old.
I read this days ago and can’t stop thinking about it. I hurt for Dexter and empathize with the feelings that Katie must be experiencing. But what really gets me about this post is how everybody is judging what Katie did or didn’t do.
Did you read the comments? So many people were angry and giving their two cents about the fact that Katie didn’t alert WalMart management or the police. That she was doing an injustice to her child by not doing so.
She posted An Update the following day saying that she decided that she wasn’t going to do anything further to try to find the man to press charges. Again, over 100 comments – most telling her how wrong she was for making that decision and that, basically, she was a bad mom.
What Would You Do?
And I keep thinking: what would I have done? Would I have handled it differently? The same? Would I have yelled and screamed at a total stranger that I already knew was intolerant and a dirt bag? Would I have started crying? Called the police? Or just did exactly what Katie did? Does she feel guilty about what she did or didn’t do? Is she wishing she wouldn’t have shared her story with the world since so many parents are attacking her for her decisions now?
I don’t know.
And nobody knows what they would’ve done.
Years ago (OH MY GOD HOW HAS IT BEEN 20 YEARS SINCE THIS HAPPENED?!) I worked for a local bank. While working the day before Thanksgiving, I was robbed. The man said he had a gun – I didn’t try to find out if he did or not. But the point of me telling you this is because I reacted exactly the opposite of how I thought I would react in that situation. Before it happened, I thought I would start crying and fall to the floor. I ended up lying to the guy and once he left I immediately started doing what I had been trained to do. Less than a week later, I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. I was scared all the time and couldn’t quit replaying what had happened. I was still in shock.
I’m sure if we asked Katie beforehand what she thought what she would have done, she probably would have said she would have reacted differently. Who’s to say that Katie isn’t still in shock still? Who is to say that she is or isn’t doing the right thing? That it’s any of our business anyways?
Her blog post haunts me for so many reasons – because of how Dexter was treated, because of the asshole that caused all of this, but mainly because of the way other parents are now treating her for decisions she did or didn’t make.
Last weekend, I went to my niece’s 4th birthday party. She wanted Spider Man cupcakes, pinata, and toys. People brought gifts wrapped in Spider Man wrapping paper. And never once did it occur to me that my niece might be “gay” because of it. It’s disgusting to me that there are still people out there that may read this and think that she just might be…all because she likes Spider Man. And that they will judge a 4 year old because of it.
So I’m off my soapbox now. Katie, go with your gut. Do what is right for you and your family. Only YOU can decide what that is.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Katie’s Getting Political post, and even more curious to hear what you think of what the commenters had to say in response.
UPDATE: The day after I published this post, this story came out stating that the entire story that Katie shared was a hoax and that since then her blog has been taken down. Though I’m upset that she lied, I hope she can get the help she so desperately needs for her mental health issues.