I originally posted this on Facebook, but since it’s basically a blog post I figured I would repost it here.
This post is for all of the people saying that the little boy shouldn’t have been in the water at the Grand Floridian. I’ve stayed there. My kids have played on that beach, barefoot. I don’t remember if they put their feet and ankles in the water, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if they did, and I wouldn’t have told them to stop, because “No Swimming” is worlds away from “Don’t Go A Foot Into The Water Because You Might Get Dragged Away By An Alligator.”.
I’ve been to Disney World more times than I can count. I’m a city girl and a northerner and it never occurred to me for a second, until last night, that Disney World might have alligators.
I’m trying to look at these comments in a charitable light. I think that when something this horrific happens, some people try to make their own view of the world right again by convincing themselves that it couldn’t have happened to them, to their children. And in order to do so they have to blame something that they, themselves, would have done differently.
If you do that in your own head, if it makes you feel better, go for it. There has been so much horror this week that I don’t blame you for playing mind games with yourself.If you suggest publicly that the parents in Orlando were being neglectful, you are simply an asshole. Click To Tweet
But if you say it publicly? If you suggest that the parents were being neglectful? If you suggest that the parents should be prosecuted, for goodness’ sake? You are simply an asshole. I mean it. These people had their toddler ripped away from them. The father tried to fight an alligator to get his son back. They had to wait all night as rescuers searched the water for their child, knowing with each passing moment that it was less and less likely that he was alive.
And your reaction, publicly, where other people can read your words, when they are going through the most devastating thing they’ve probably ever had to face, is to kick them? You should be ashamed of yourself.
We saw it recently when that little boy fell into the gorilla enclosure. The rush to judgement was so fast, the calls for the mother to be prosecuted so strong. And now again, so soon. What the hell is wrong with you people? All that was known when the accusations started flying was that this poor little boy was in water up to his ankles, a foot from shore, his dad very close by. If that turns out to not be the case we can discuss it later, but that’s what you people knew when you started blaming.
Sometimes I think back on the times when my kids almost got into terrible accidents. The time my son broke away from me and almost fell down an open basement hatch. The time he was walking next to me, holding onto his sister’s stroller as I’d taught him to do, when I turned a corner and he didn’t, walking straight into the street. The time my daughter pulled an improperly-installed door off of its hinges onto herself, almost getting crushed.
In each of those cases, I could have prevented what happened or almost happened, but only by being insanely and unreasonably cautious. And if they had gotten seriously injured or worse, I never would have forgiven myself, even though I know that I didn’t do anything wrong.
There is neglect, and there are accidents, and there is a wide space in between. As a mom, I control what I think is reasonable to control, and all I can do is hope that we get lucky with the rest. If you’ve been lucky as well, count your lucky stars, STFU, and let these parents grieve in whatever sliver of peace they’re able to find.
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