Friday, December 18, 2009

Late night shopping

Here's a little Christmas cheer from the overnight reports, lightly edited to protect the identities (click to enlarge).

Kudos to the good citizen who intervened.


Anonymous said...

I don't know which is worse; a parent who lets their child throw a temper tantrum at the checkout counter because they want a candy bar, video game or whatever; or the lady described in the report who at least DID make an attempt to discipline her child. She made several mistakes in her discipline attempts in my opinion. Grabbing the arm, slapping the face and then setting a bad example by using the F bomb to the customer who intervened. A swat on the butt of the child with a verbal warning and a MYOB to the other customer would have been appropriate and appreciated by others.

Gun Nut

Steve said...

I suppose people will think I'm some kind of monster for saying this, but an open hand slap to the face and firm grabbing of the arm doesn't constitute child abuse in my mind. Of course, it depends somewhat on how hard the child was hit, and whether the child had done anything to deserve some kind of punishment. If the kid was knocked off his/her feet and got a bloody nose or bruise from the slap, it was probably excessive. If the kid hadn't done anything wrong, and the mom did this kind of thing just to exercise her power over someone, it would be abuse, too. However, I've seen a lot of kids who would greatly benefit from a parent who got their attention and let them know in no uncertain terms when they are misbehaving.

Grundle King said...

Okay...dumb question. What constitutes child abuse?

I know that when I was a child, getting lippy could result in an swift back-hand to the chops. I don't feel abused, so I can't help but wonder what qualifies as child abuse anymore.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Just a 300 pound elf doing Santa's work.


Tom Casady said...

Gun Nut, Steve, and Grundle:

These were little kids. The reporting person thought the oldest might be around 7. So, you go out for a little late night shopping at 10:42 PM, and surprise: the little kids are tired and cranky. You fling the F bomb back in the face of the customer who's just a little taken aback by the display, and this all occurs in public.

I think any reasonable person would be just a little concerned about this, and wonder what happens back in the car, or back at the home.

Is this even a parent? Maybe she had to buy insulin, with no choice than to take the kids along. Maybe the clerk saw it differently, and thought the customer over-reacted. Is there any history of abuse or neglect with this person? Perhaps the suspect's account is going to be way different: the customer verbally attacked her with a barrage of profanity. These are the things that would comprise an investigation.

At the bare minimum, I think there is enough here that we should follow up and make sure the kids are alright and that this isn't part of a pattern of abusive behavior.

The law states that you commit child abuse if you knowingly, intentionally, or negligently cause or permit a child to be:

(a) Placed in a situation that endangers his or her life or physical or mental health;

(b) Cruelly confined or cruelly punished;

(c) Deprived of necessary food, clothing, shelter, or care;

(d) Placed in a situation to be sexually exploited by allowing, encouraging, or forcing such minor child to solicit for or engage in prostitution, debauchery, public indecency, or obscene or pornographic photography, films, or depictions; or

(e) Placed in a situation to be sexually abused.

I don't think the facts at hand would fulfill any of these elements yet, but the matter certainly merits at least a little more investigation.

Tom Casady said...


Thanks, but I don't think so. Tempted to let it through, but my mature adult side intervened.

Anonymous said...

We had a situation here where a parent, upset at the choices her child made when registering for classes, called her a "stupid effing little bxtch!" and slapped her really hard, in front of about 20 other adults. This parent got a visit from campus police.

I believe that if a parent is willing to go this far in front of witnesses, what must they be doing in private. This merits some sort of 2nd look, to at least put the parent on notice that their behavior was at a bare minimum inappropriate. This also sends a message to the kids that some adults are kind of watching out for them, and maybe gives them a little bit of hope.

Anonymous said...

You are probably right, this incident does deserve further investigation. However I think the Dr. Spock approach to disciplining children has resulted in a couple generations of spoiled rotten kids.

At a recent family get together my youngest sister told her 38 year old Son about a time when our Mother washed my sisters mouth out with Ivory soap. My nephew told his Grandmother "Granny if you did that today they would charge you with child abuse". So true but I don't think any of us suffered from it and even though I am 63 now I still try to keep my language clean remembering how horrible IVORY soap tastes.

Now you have me wondering by your comment to Arrrrrg if maybe he needs a little bit of Ivory Soap therapy?

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Given the time of day, maybe the kids were tired and who knows... maybe hungry. Mom sounds like she either needs some help or parenting classes or both.

Anonymous said...


Keel-hauling your kids and/or making them walk the plank are totally verboten. Making them scrub the deck and ordering them to stand extra watches is not, and can serve as a teaching moment.

Putting them on ship's biscuits and water for 48 hours can be OK, as long as there's some peanut butter and grape jelly in there somewhere.

Charity said...

I went back and read the report three times. I'm sorry, but to say the child is throwing a temper tantrum because that want a candy bar is making a pretty big assumption. That may or may not have been the case. There's a lot of unknowns here. Yes, she had the kids out WAY too late, but she also may work a late shift, etc. It's hard to know.

But the fact that someone cared enough about these kids to at least ask the police to look into it says a lot for the integrity of that person, IMO. There have been times I've regretted not doing the same. But having known one 4 year old who was abused by her mother, I know I now WOULD do the same.

The real question is that if there is abuse, will the child get the help needed? Our social services are sadly lacking in these cases. I agree that parents should do there job, but the fact is many don't and in the long run, we all suffer as a result.

Tom Casady said...

Gun Nut:

There is a persistent and untrue perception by too many people that somehow the use of low-level corporal punishment (i.e., slap on the behind, bar of Ivory applied to the tongue) will place them at risk of prosecution for Child Abuse.

This is not the case. The key words in the criminal statute are "cruelly punished." There is a specific provision in Nebraska law governing the use of force that authorizes parents (or others in loco parentis to use reasonable force "for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor, including the prevention or punishment of his or her misconduct."

This is not a license to use an iron, an electrical cord, or a cigarette butt to tattoo your toddler. The law goes on to state: "Such force used is not designed to cause or known to create a substantial risk of death, serious bodily harm, disfigurement, extreme pain or mental distress, or gross degradation."

People have varying opinions about the propriety of corporal punishment. But the assertion that mild forms of it are illegal, and that your 10 year-old can have you thrown in jail for grabbing his collarbone and removing him to the time out room is just false.

Tom Casady said...


The limited facts available present warning signs. I salute the citizen who intervened--even if it turns out to be nothing serious to worry about. When in doubt, act to protect children and don't worry about hurting the feelings of an adult.

Anonymous said...

Ok chief I agree with you. Now go to the mall and help me hide from the mischieveous children ruining a night out for the Merry Christmas crowd as they threaten, run, scream, and push their way to Christmas morning. I don't believe in abuse either, just wanting parents to do something for this "special" generation. Not a grandma yet!

Anonymous said...

What everyone should remember is the law in the State of Nebraska that REQUIRES one to report suspected abuse. Such a law is in place, undoubtedly, to encourage those of us who witness such incidents to take the time to make a phone call to the police or HHS.

We can debate all we want to about whether or not spanking a child is effective punishment. What sort of society would we be if we failed to take action in such instances? I personally would not want to live in a society that valued a “mind your own business” approach above the protection of the most vulnerable among us.

Won’t history judge us the same way?

Anonymous said...

Chief-Too bad we don't have security video posted on the blog so all the Monday-morning quarterbacks can really have an opinion. The fact is that none of us were there and the incident deserves a further look as you've suggested. I would guess it must have been pretty bad for the other lady to step up and confront a 300 pound attacker and risk getting slapped herself. Hats off to her because 90% of the public would probably just have done nothing.


ARRRRG!!!! said...

Sorry if my last one was too risque. Part of the challenge of posting here is to keep it clean enough to get it posted. Google 'pirate spanking' though and the results make what I posted look pretty tame.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

If I had kids I'd try to use resources to raise them, but sometimes one has to go with what works.

Steve said...

Without having witnessed this incident, it is impossible to conclude anything about the rightness or wrongness of the actions of either party. As the chief said, there are lots of variables that come into play. Certainly, if it was obvious that the children were victims of abuse, it would be right to report it. However, I fear that all too often, situations like this are more of a disagreement about the proper way to discipline children.
Some people feel corporal punishment is simply wrong and ineffective, but that doesn't give them the right to decide how other parents should raise their children. I'm afraid that many parents fail to discipline their children for fear they will have to answer to the police when some busybody reports them. As the chief said, many don't know what they can or can't do without breaking the law. Still, even if you aren't breaking any laws, the hassle and/or embarrassment of being the subject of a police investigation might be enough to keep you from doing what really ought to be done. Corporal punishment may not be effective in all cases, but the failure to even attempt disciplining your child is no better.

Anonymous said...

As Fred Sanford might have said, this
is a story about a real dummy. It seems like the County Attorney is fond of letting this guy plea-deal his way out of heftier charges, so he'll probably get to deal this one down to a misdemeanor too. He's managed all this by 18, so you can bet he has a thick juvie record that's not being seen by most taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

slapping a child on the face is child abuse. Its kind of sickening seeing people post and support the woman who was hitting her child.

btw, when you decide to have a child, you should realize that they will do what children do. Dont be surprised enough to slap a child because they see candy in a check out line. So if you are not ready for that situation or dont have the patience to deal with a child properly, dont have kids.
Its as simple as that.
If I slapped a person while walking down the street, that would be considered assault, no? Same thing applies here.

Anonymous said...

Kids today are not allowed to be disiplined. If you spank your kids the police will probably show up at your door. When I was a kid my parents used a leather belt, and while in todays society that is a crime it sure worked at keeping me out of trouble. If anyone looks around at the kids growing up now and thinks a gentle voice is working we are not looking at the same society! Sometimes(I stress sometimes) a firm hand is what it takes to get through to kids. Maybe if more parents did this and police stayed out of it then we would have less droping out of school or joining gangs! Do what works.