I completely disagree that Sheena should be held accountable for another person's bad actions. She did not deliberately stir up trouble. She did not try to antagonize the woman. She made a rational comment to her own children that was unfortunately overheard by someone that escalated things of her own accord. It's not like she was doing the "stage whisper," hoping to be overheard, hoping to opinionate on the topic. She did the RIGHT thing, by educating her children that this was a wrong act. Should she be expected to censor every remark she ever makes because someone might overhear and react bizarrely to it? If sadly, that child was hit again because of the parents' embarrassment, I would argue that she was not responsible for it, and that for every child that is hit more after a comment, there are at least as many if not more that are hit more for lack of such a comment or intervention. Heavens, there are some reports of domestic abusers abusing more after the abused woman attempts to leave -- should we condemn all those terrible people who operate shelters for these women to come to??? Should the people whose peaceful protests led to violent retaliations be held responsible for those acts of violence? And this is coming from a Republican!!!
It's quite one thing to say to Sheena, well, what do you expect? in a sympathetic tone. To say that unfortunately in today's society, there are psycho people who hit their kids and think it's right and who are abusive to people who call this into question. Empathizing with the fact that it is hard to shield your kids from it, to reassure them without fearing the ramifications, and to make positive changes in society.
But to say this to her accusatorally, to suggest that she was in the wrong for doing it (versus just naive or unprepared for what ended up happening) IMO is casting blame on the wrong person.
Part of why this angers me is that as a doctor, one of the things that has been drilled into me is that we don't tell patients often enough the things we think they will be unreceptive to (e.g. you need to lose weight, you need to stop smoking, you need to stop driving while intoxicated without a seatbelt, etc.) I'm at the hospital right now on call, and earlier had a three year old intubated with major injuries because her mother didn't have her in a carseat. I would be negligent NOT telling her mother that that was an incredibly wrong thing to do. Sheena wasn't even going that far. She was just talking with her own family, in a public place, yes, but that still did not justify that woman's reaction to her.
Sheena, I give you a
for not allowing your kids to at all unsure of how you stand and
for the unfortunate consequences.