Nothing pisses me off more than perfect strangers who think they know how to parent my kids better than I do. No one has the right to tell me how to raise my children. I gave birth to (and in my case also adopted) my kids and I don’t need other people pointing out my parental failings, especially in a very public forum. That is why one of the online news stories about the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting last weekend really had my blood boiling. It appears that some people felt the need to attack the parents of the youngest shooting victim, a 4-month-old boy who was attending the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises with his parents and an older sibling, insisting that he shouldn’t have been there at all.
The majority of the comments left in reply to the CNN.com story suggest that babies don’t ever belong at the movies, especially not at midnight. While I may have my own opinion about rug rats at the cinema, the current subject of my fury is the cruel and self-righteous horde of people who feel that this debate is even worth having in light of what has just happened. Why are they not more focused on the horrific individual who could even think of shooting a baby?
I know the world is a sick and twisted place, but I hoped there was still some kindness left out there. I’m sure that the parents of that young boy don’t need to be told how ill-advised it was to take him to a late night movie. You can bet they’ve been regretting that decision every minute of every day since it happened. Chances are it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
After reading all of the comments about how babies disturb other moviegoers and how their rude parents refuse to remove them when they cry, not to mention how irresponsible it is to bring any child to a midnight flick, I was left wondering why this type of knee-jerk response is so common following a tragedy involving a child. You see it whenever there is news coverage of a kid being abducted or murdered; the public response is nearly always to find fault with the parents. Some people will insist that the parents weren’t supervising their child well enough or they allowed the child too much freedom. Parents are certain such a horrible thing would never happen to one of their kids!
This thinking is what I believe is behind all of the finger pointing and allegations of neglect. It’s the little voice that whispers, “If you don’t parent your children the way those people did, then nothing bad will ever happen to them.”
Of course this isn’t the case. Any one of us could turn our back at a critical moment, or worse yet trust the wrong person around our kids. The truth is, no matter how fiercely we hold on to our kids the unthinkable can happen. When it does, shouldn’t we turn our outrage toward the monstrous perpetrators of these crimes instead of blasting the already anguished parents? Ridiculing other families during their time of grieving won’t protect our own and it just adds insult to unbearable injury.
So tonight I think I’ll save my opinions about crying infants in public places for another less sensitive time, and instead I’ll just be thankful that my kids are sleeping safe and sound in the next room. Anyone wanna join me?