I see you looking at my kids, you trafficker! Or shopper! Whatever...

Calling All Sociologists/Psychologists Interested in Modern-Day Hysteria

Is there someone out there who can research why we are experiencing a wave of moms convinced that strangers are about to steal their kids from them in public and pimp them out? Or at least, a wave of moms that re-posts stories by other moms convinced that this just (well, almost just) happened?

Because here’s the latest and one of the kookiest: Mom at store not only believes that two “Middle Eastern men” men were sex traffickers eyeing her kids the way a dog eyes a couple of hotdogs, but that her quick-thinking and knife wielding thwarted their evil plans:

Today, I am angry.
Today, I am sad.
Today, I am scared.
Today, I experienced first hand just how real child abduction and trafficking is.
Brace yourselves, Facebook, because I am about to rant, rave, and warn other parents about not just what you read in news stories from around the country, but what happened to myself and my children in Patrick Henry Mall, right here in Newport News VA.

I’m sure it’s happening right here in River City, too. Oh yes we got traffic, traffic, traffickers…

Anyway, the mom goes on:

We went out with my mom and sister this afternoon, and wanted to make one last stop to look for something on the way out, so we went into JC Penny’s. Since Kyra and Aldin were a little antsy, I decided to take them over to the kids section to look at toys while my mom and my sister went to look for what they needed.

As soon as I walked away, I had two middle eastern men, one in his 30s, the other 50s or 60s, and a maybe 10-12 year old boy behind me, uncomfortably close.

Gee, that sure doesn’t sound like three generations of a family out shopping, does it? It certainly sounds much more likely to be one of those 3-generation sex trafficking rings.

The men started speaking to each other in a language I obviously don’t understand, and the boy remained silent. Again, whatever, I would be ignorant to assume being from any other country is any kind of threat, because 99% of the time, it’s not.

Eventually, they’re not behind me anymore, and I completely forget they ever existed. So we make our way to the other side of the store, get to the toys, I take Aldin off my back, unbuckle Kyra from her stroller, and let them browse.

Now is where I let you know, I am very attentive. I am one of the dreaded “helicopter moms” and I am always, always watching, not only my children, but the surrounding areas.

Yada, yada. You know the drill. They follow her around, they keep eyeing the kids and finally she not only stares them down, she takes out a “push knife” and lets it glint in the fluorescent light, and off they go. And the darn police don’t do anything because, thanks to her own fierce fierceness, “no one was actually taken.”

How do you like that? The police act as if nothing happened just because nothing happened. (Although I guess they could have arrested her for threat of violence.)

I really can’t tell if moms believe the scenario they’re writing about — that their kids were about to be “Taken” — or if they just want attention.  And I really cannot understand the, “Thank you for sharing this scary tale!” comments.

So if you  are a psychologist, sociologist or anyone who understands the spread of moral panics, please explain what you think is going on. — L.

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I see you looking at my kids, you trafficker! Or shopper! Whatever…

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110 Responses to Calling All Sociologists/Psychologists Interested in Modern-Day Hysteria

  1. BL April 25, 2017 at 5:16 am #

    One of the Facebook commenters says:

    ” Can you file a charge like stalking, harassment or intimidation? ”

    Um, really? Stalking and harassment is ‘being in the same store at the same time’?

    As for intimidation, who pulled a knife?

  2. JJ April 25, 2017 at 5:31 am #

    Yes, I’ll do the research. Here is my research: Many Americans are found to be racist and afraid.

  3. MR April 25, 2017 at 6:27 am #

    So a grandfather, his son and his grandson were out shopping. The boy went to the toy section and the adults joined him. They took off when she pulled a knife and she thinks THEY were the scary ones??? Those poor men must have been terrified they were going to be persecuted for simply shopping while male and not white.

  4. Tom April 25, 2017 at 6:37 am #

    I am not a psychologist or sociologist but I would contend that these professions contribute to the problem. But anyhow. Here my take:
    1. Motorisation: biggest contributor maybe. No more connection to the real world. To the reality of nature around us and our own nature. it simply isn´t fathonable anymore to let children walk because nobody does.
    2. TV: How to you get Mom glued to the screen while at home? Children in danger! People don´t understand big numbers. If one child in 1 Million is abducted the likelihood in that happening tends to zero. But see it on a screen and everyday (even if it is the same occurence time and again) and it feels like next door and common place. That the much greater danger resuts from kids that get obese from not moving nobody realizes because it isn´t in the interest of advertisers and newsdesks.
    3. Social media. Worse than TV. Facebook knows even better how to glue Moms to screens. They know your number of kids and their ages and tailor your newsfeed perfectly to keep you online
    4. All of the above together and the “reparimen” of modernity. I.e. psychologists. A psychologist by definintion looks for the cause of your paranoia only in yourself and your past. No consideration at all for the effects of society.So they keep tinkering in places that aren´t connected to your problems at all. They are like car mechanics tinkering with the motor although all your tires are flat
    P.S. I lived in the US and Canada before I moved back to my small hometown in Germany. it is frightening to see how we are hurteling down the same fraught pathway as North America. The other day I naively asked a mother why kids don´t get off school on hot days as much anymore. In my childhood we were all anxiously eyeing the thermometer. Once it was above 30 celsius school was over. Not anymore. Why? There are to many parents who will not let their kids walk home alone. The poor teachers though can´t conact this number of parents. They also can´t simply let the “free range” kids go and keep the others in school. The heli parents will go cracy. Although they are the cause of this madness.

  5. Lisa April 25, 2017 at 7:49 am #

    I’m not a psychologist/psychiatrist, nor do I play one on the internet.

    But, I am a mom….

    I think that it is just a combination of things. Some people want their 5 minutes of fame, no matter what. I’m a blogger and I’ve gone viral–it is NOT all it’s cracked up to be. People are cruel. They insulted me, insulted my kids….no thanks!

    Some want to “out mom” everyone else. ‘See? I protect my kids better than you protect yours!’

    Some want to feel validated. They have a bit of doubt, deep down inside…of all this over parenting. So reading the child predator list, reading police reports in their area, finding an “actual” child trafficker, wow! This means that all their efforts are not wasted.

    Or they’re nuts. There’s always that too.

  6. Dienne April 25, 2017 at 7:55 am #

    My theory is that life has become so safe that we are utterly bored to death, so we have to invent a little adventure in our lives. When people really did face mortal danger every day, I don’t imagine they had to make up stories about creepy guys eyeing their kids by the blueberry patch.

    There’s also the fact that with roughly seven billion people on the planet, it’s kind of hard to feel unique and get attention (especially since everyone is plugged into the internet not paying attention to the people directly in front of them). So the best way to feel unique and special is to get something to go viral on the internet, especially something “heroic”.

  7. Dienne April 25, 2017 at 7:59 am #

    Incidentally, whenever I go out sex trafficking, I always bring a tween boy along with me – it puts people off my trail because it makes me look so much safer – just a family out shopping. So this mom is totally right to be paranoid about these two guys with the kid.

    /s

  8. Andrew April 25, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    So, two lessons for the children today: first, take weapons into regular stores; and second, brandish your weapon (that is, threaten to injure them) when you are afraid.

  9. lollipoplover April 25, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    These modern day “My kids were almost kidnapped by dark skinned men” stories are really euphemisms for RACISM.

    There’s your diagnosis. Straight up racial profiling and assumptions based on appearance combined with paranoia.

  10. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    Oh for god’s sake. I actually live in the Hampton Roads area and have shopped at Patrick Henry Mall quite for over two decades. It is a very crowded mall and because of that the foot traffic tends to flow in the same direction–just because someone is walking behind a person does not mean that they are following them. These poor men were probably just shopping and became frightened when this crazy person started brandishing a knife. She’s lucky they didn’t report her to mall security.

  11. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    Apologies for the typo in the earlier post—unfortunately I can’t go back and edit.

  12. lollipoplover April 25, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    @Jennifer C- I live in PA near the King of Prussia Mall and saw a very similar post (accusations of potential kidnapping and sex trafficking and Middle Eastern men) that I almost thought someone just cut and pasted the same story to a different mall in VA. The local police posted a disclaimer shortly after that none of the accusations that the mom made on Facebook (she said the mall had a “ring” going) were true and the mall is extremely safe.

    I honestly feel bad for the kids of these parents that have to go through the roller coaster of parental paranoia.

  13. Sarah April 25, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    I have a Master’s in Social Work and am a therapist. Others mentioned it, but racism may be at work here, a well as narcissism & histrionic attention seeking.

    There also could be an element of peer pressure and wanting to be included in these mass hysterias. Societal status seeking could be on display here, and the mother is demonstrating how “good” of a mother she is, and how fierce she is in protecting her offspring, just like other mothers who similarly “protected” their children in other trafficking stories online. Women are raised with more career expectations than they were in past generations, leaving many women with somewhat of an identity crisis when they have children. What are they to do with their ambition and competitiveness in this new job they have found themselves in? Thus, the displaced competitiveness of many mothers when it comes to their motherhood career, which we often see on display in Pinterest-perfect birthday parties and baby showers. This mother rather brags about being a helicopter mom, so for her this may be desirable status, one that confers success at her job as a mother.

    Anyway, just a few thoughts.

  14. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    @lollipoplover–yeah, the similarities behind these stories does make you wonder about that. I also feel sorry for the children of these people–it can’t be healthy, growing up with this constant fear and paranoia and thinking that people are just waiting to snatch you. The most dangerous thing that every happens at Patrick Henry Mall is the occasional purse/purchase snatching, and that’s typically around the holidays–it’s never happened to me, though.

    Also she’s now claiming that other people with children noticed these men as well. Of course it couldn’t possibly be because they also had a child shopping with them as well, could it? *sigh*

  15. M April 25, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    Sex trafficking ring in JC Penneys now. Okay then.

    In reality, sexism, racism, and paranoia are the real issues in this story.

    She pulled a knife, she was the one who was acting threatening them, and with a dangerous weapon. Maybe she should be arrested.

  16. Marie April 25, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    My theory is that life has become so safe that we are utterly bored to death, so we have to invent a little adventure in our lives. When people really did face mortal danger every day, I don’t imagine they had to make up stories about creepy guys eyeing their kids by the blueberry patch.

    This seems right. When there is real danger (wild animals, deadly childhood illnesses, for example), we focus on that. Maybe we feel more useful when we are protecting the kids from dire events.

    We have also turned what used to be something weird or icky (uncle pats child on the butt) into actual crimes. Much of what passes for sexual assault these days used to be something we (kids and adults) just dealt with. Somehow, the world is full of people who survived minor events that today require law enforcement and therapy.

    Would be interesting to look at places where danger is all too real: war zones. What do the parents worry about there?

  17. Lisa April 25, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    I AM a sociologist who studies crime & media. To me, this is all a rehash of the (middle/upper class white) panic surrounding “old fashioned” child abduction that emerged during the 80s. Overblown, out of proportion coverage of an exceedingly rare event (stranger abduction) + titillating stories + a whole industry of “experts” to tell you how to protect your child from the monsters. Then, as now, most kids who go missing are taken by someone they know (noncustodial parent, other family member) or run away. The kids/teens most likely to end up sold for sex fall into this run away category or are already in vulnerable situations. And of course race & social class matter. Case in point: No one seemed to worried about the sex trafficking of the African-American girls who went missing in DC earlier this spring.

    “Mythology of Crime & Criminal and Justice” by Kappeler & Potter” has a good chapter on missing kids. The latest edition of Glassner’s “Culture of Fear” also has a short section.

  18. James Pollock April 25, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    I wonder if it’s 100% fake, created to try to drum up popular support for political reasons.

    Consider:
    Xenophobia is a major component. Look, being afraid of foreigners who look foreign isn’t really necessary 99% of the time…

    Presentation in social media. Journalists usually do fact-checking before they run a story, but you can put anything you want in a Facebook post. Did you hear what recently happened to a friend of someone I know?

    Authorities who won’t protect us, so we must take matters into our own hands. There’s a sex-trafficking ring operating in the basement of this restaurant, I just know it. So I grabbed all my guns can came to “self-investigate”, since the police won’t do anything…

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that the “moms” who keep writing this stuff turn out to be 43-year-old men who are being paid to write this, by a federal contractor who stands to make money by building a border wall, or who hopes to fan the flames of religious intolerance. (“you can’t trust THEM! How do I know? Because they pray funny!”

  19. Wussypillow April 25, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    The comments on that post are already deep into Pizzagate-related image-posting.

  20. lollipoplover April 25, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    I swear we are inventing a culture of going all shifty eyes on each other. Fear like this spreads like a virus, of course there have been other “sightings”. There was probably a white van involved too.

    What I don’t understand is going to large public areas like malls and fearing other people that are different from you. Chances are, there will be many varieties of families, all colors, shapes, and sizes. Especially at very large shopping malls. And Walmarts. If you are admittedly paranoid about people near your kids, maybe shopping “big” isn’t the thing for you.
    As evident in ALL of these Facebook posts about the same *feelings* in large big-box stores. Perhaps try a small mom-and-pop instead.

  21. Anna April 25, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    I don’t know what a “push knife” is (i.e., how long is the blade?), but it seems like she’s the one who’s actually guilty of a crime here: carrying a concealed weapon and using it to threaten someone.

  22. Jason Wilson April 25, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    The Facebook lady deleted my response and I have been blocked from the page. As with individuals in any internet echo chamber, hysterics insist on being surrounded by other hysterics. It’s the only way that they can keep their beliefs strong.

  23. Roger the Shrubber April 25, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    I recall the ‘Satinist recruiting/kidnapping’ moral panic of my youth; the related daycare molestation panic which resulted in innocent people being ruined while the psychologists, prosecutors, and judges involved went on to successful careers; the recent killer clown scare which I rather enjoyed and am disappointed that it fizzled so suddenly.

    Add to that the virtue signalling that everyone feels is necessary on Facebook. Is anyone else put off buy the heartfelt soliloquies that some post whenever they have a wedding anniversary or one of their children has a birthday? Here’s what my friend, a dad, has to say about his son’s birthday – ‘9 years ago tomorrow, and I welcomed into this world. It was love at first sight. I am not what we did in order to deserve three amazing children, but we have been truly blessed with 3 great ones. , I can’t believe you are turning 9 years old. You make us proud every day to be your parents.’ This continues on for another 10 sentences, then he follows up the following day with another similar post. And he does this every year with each of his three kids, his wife’s birthday, their anniversary, his parent’s birthdays and the anniversaries of the death of his grandparents. Isn’t this what you usually included as a personal note on a birthday card? Why is it posted on Facebook for public consumption?

    I believe the motivations are the same. At it’s base is narcissism and the feeling they get from telling everyone ‘Look at me! I’m such a great parent! Aren’t I great! Don’t you wish you were as great as me!’ – BARF. I probably shouldn’t be on Facebook.

  24. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    It is unbelievable to me how people will claim–with a straight face–that there is a ‘rash of child abductions’ in the Hampton Roads area? Where is this happening? And when? It’s certainly not being reported in the news that I watch every morning. And then people claim that the police are deliberately not reporting it, which makes no logical sense whatsoever.

    I’m going to go repeatedly bang my head on a hard surface now.

  25. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    Also in one of the responses to this post is a woman who was horrified that a mother left a nine-year-old girl standing in the grocery line at Harris Teeter for–‘gasp’ four whole entire minutes–while she went to pick up something she had forgotten. Oh, the horror of it all.

  26. that mum April 25, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    I was going to write something profound but…

    A) she’s nuts
    B) she racist
    C) She wants attention..

  27. SKL April 25, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    On a related topic, has anyone else heard that it’s Alice Day? Our local news station has a story about this. Apparently Alice Day is a pedophile celebration day and there is some pedo-bear (cartoon bear picture) which pedos display because they are “secretly” engaged in pedo stuff.

    I’m not quite getting why you would display a pedo logo if you were trying to keep your pedo interests secret, but that’s probably because I’m too stupid to understand.

  28. Coasterfreak April 25, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    This is either a 100% fabricated story, or the events transpired, but only in the crazed, paranoid imagination of a helicopter mom as two men and a child had the nerve to shop near her in the toy section of the store. She even admits to being paranoid and helicopter-y.

    I just went and read the Facebook post, and it’s been updated with a paragraph that claims she has been contacted by three other women regarding these exact same men in the mall that day. Plus, she sticks in a bit about how you cannot think your children are safe just because there are no middle eastern men following you, because literally ANYBODY could be out to snatch your kids and enslave them. The update reeks of “People are questioning my outlandish story, so I’m going to embellish it some more by saying it happened to other people on the same day at the same mall.”

  29. SKL April 25, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    I went to the facebook post and posted a response, LOL. I’m sure it will be deleted in no time, but seriously? That person needs medication.

  30. SKL April 25, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    Eh, I deleted my fb replies because I don’t need insane people clicking on my page. 😛

  31. annie April 25, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    @Roger – my husband’s ex-wife does the same thing, every special day, and tags over 100 people when she does. My reaction is the same as yours: BARF. How about spending quality time with the person instead of posting such personal stuff on your facebook page?

  32. test April 25, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    “Is there someone out there who can research why we are experiencing a wave of moms convinced that strangers are about to steal their kids from them in public and pimp them out?”

    Because those stories are popular and get all attention in the world. Someone seeing an alien or hole that is not there will be ignored. Kidnapping is not. Therefore a.) you hear those stories instead of being unaware of them b.) it encourages copy cats c.) constantly hearing about it makes people thinking about it and more likely to see it where it does not exist.

  33. John B. April 25, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    “The Facebook lady deleted my response and I have been blocked from the page. As with individuals in any internet echo chamber, hysterics insist on being surrounded by other hysterics. It’s the only way that they can keep their beliefs strong.”

    Well, you pretty much answered my question. I was wondering if anybody challenged this loon on her paranoia.

  34. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    One commenter said that anyone who doesn’t believe the story is a ‘Negative Nancy’, which I find interesting. So it’s being negative if you don’t believe that there was a gang of sex-traffickers after these children? Huh?

  35. Alanna April 25, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    So I guess men are not allowed to shop now? I think if they had been sex traffickers they would have sent their little boy to the toy department to make friend with her kids and then somehow scooped all three kids up and taken then away. To me it seems we always have to be hysterical about something: witches, slaves escaping, devil worshipers, gangs that are going to sweep over Mt. Tom Yes, I worked in a school once where I arrived at the building and found all the doors were locked. Everyone was inside, but all the doors were locked. Why? Are you ready for this? A rumor had spread that gangs from Holyoke were going to come up over Mt. Tom and into Easthampton and attack the school. This was before we had had so many school shooting so school doors usually were not locked.

  36. James April 25, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    A grandfather, father, and grandson are shopping together and a woman PULLS A KNIFE ON THEM? This woman should be arrested. The only person making threats here was her. I also find it rather humorous that she thinks a push knife is all that threatening. Yeah, it will make you not the soft target, but anyone with any experience knife fighting is going to laugh at this sort of posturing.

    I’m not a psychologist, but here’s my take:

    I think a lack of understanding of other cultures comes into play. In my experience (mostly limited to grocery stores), folks of Middle Eastern origin simply stand closer to other people when they’re in public. I remember my wife and I asking a few people what a bit of produce was (bitter melon–we’d never seen them before), and everyone who contributed to the conversation (multiple people jumped in as they walked by) came a lot closer than my wife and I are comfortable with. It’s just the way their culture seems to work; the bubble of personal space isn’t the same size in all cultures. If you understand that cultural difference, it becomes no more significant than the fact that I was wearing jeans and the women were wearing skirts–just an irrelevant bit of cultural trivia, fun to know but irrelevant to the situation.

    Plus, stores put the shelves close together. I’ve often been closer than comfortable to others, simply because if I’m getting something off the left shelf, and you’re getting something off the right shelf, there’s not room to be at a comfortable distance.

    That’s not to say that the psychology/sociology folks are wrong. I just think it’s a confounding factor that needs to be addressed.

  37. Jason April 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    @Dienne – it’s funny you should mention the relative lack of danger in our lives. Just yesterday, I saw an apropos avatar on some forum or other.

    It was a Far Side – looking cartoon, with a man standing next to a large glass-fronted case built into a wall. Inside the case was an angry-looking bear standing upright. A sledgehammer was mounted to the wall, with a sign which read “Break glass to put your emergency into perspective”.

  38. James April 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

    “How about spending quality time with the person instead of posting such personal stuff on your facebook page?”

    Some of us do both. I tend to post about how proud I am of my kids on Facebook, and birthdays are a good point to do it–but it’s after they go to bed, The thing is, some of us live far from family, and providing some information is the best way they have for knowing what’s going on with my kids. My siblings and parents and grandparents like reading these posts.

    It’s an issue of audience. Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t allow for precise targeting of the intended audience (not easily anyway), so people tend to default to “Put it where everyone can see”.

    That’s not to say there aren’t people doing it for the attention. I’m just saying it’s not the only reason for posting things like this.

  39. SteveS April 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    So, two lessons for the children today: first, take weapons into regular stores; and second, brandish your weapon (that is, threaten to injure them) when you are afraid.

    On the first point, what kinds of stores hostile one lawfully carry a weapon for self defense?

    On the second, this woman is possibly fortunate that she wasn’t arrested.

    A push knife is a knife with a handle that is perpendicular to the blade. I carry a knife, but mostly for utility purposes. A push knife is an odd choice.

  40. Dienne April 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    “A push knife is a knife with a handle that is perpendicular to the blade. I carry a knife, but mostly for utility purposes. A push knife is an odd choice.”

    Having read that, I actually bothered to google “push knife” and see what we’re talking about. Holy cow! “Odd” is a major understatement. Who carries something like that? For what purpose other than attacking people?

  41. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    @Dienne–she’s big into gaming, apparently–maybe that has something to do with it. I used to date a guy in college who was into gaming and who liked to collect swords and daggers–he had a couple of push knives too. He kept them all in cases, though–he didn’t carry them on his person.

  42. SteveS April 25, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    Dienne, I honesty don’t know. I have no problem with people carrying knives for self defense, but they do require more training than most people are willing to do. I have had a small amount of training regarding knives, but we never used push knives, so I really can’t comment on how useful they are.

  43. Roger the Shrubber April 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    For what purpose other than attacking people?
    Do you need another? But I’d phrase it as ‘defending myself from an attacker.’

    FYI – in any large gathering of people there is a not insignificant percentage of them carrying weapons for the purpose of self defense.

  44. James Pollock April 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    “On the first point, what kinds of stores hostile one lawfully carry a weapon for self defense?”

    A fairly significant number of large chain stores officially ban entry to people carrying firearms. Starbucks is fairly well-known for this. Pretty close to every bank, I would imagine. Then there’s the ones inside the security checkpoints at the airport…

    Here’s a sampling:
    http://concealednation.org/2015/07/6-companies-that-dont-want-your-firearms-near-them-and-how-you-can-replace-them/

  45. SKL April 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    Oh another thing – why would she feel like her kid is safer in her “backpack”? Wouldn’t it be easy to grab a child out of a carrier on your back? If I was truly worried about my kid, I would hold him to my chest.

    Also, I want to see the store video proving how scary those guys were. (And even if they were eyeing her, it would be more likely for her purse than for her kid.) Has Snopes weighed in yet?

  46. James April 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    “Having read that, I actually bothered to google “push knife” and see what we’re talking about. Holy cow! “Odd” is a major understatement. Who carries something like that? For what purpose other than attacking people?”

    They’re popular among certain kinds of hunters/outdoors people, too. The motion for using them is supposed to be more natural–humans punch instinctively, but a slice with a knife is a learned behavior. Push knives can put more power into certain motions than a standard knife, which is useful when cutting hides, manipulating certain natural materials (fibers and the like), and in general dealing with what folks who hunt or camp deal with. That said, learning how to use a normal knife for that sort of thing takes all of five minutes. Push knives also seem to be lower profile (the handle is different, so allows them to be packed differently), which matters when you’re debating whether or not a cubic centimeter of space and a gram of extra weight is worth it or not.

    Push knives have a long history, particularly in India and that area, but they have always been oddities and never dominated combat where shock weapons (those where you hold one part and stick another part in the other person) were heavily used. That, in my mind, tells the whole story. Even if you carry a knife for protection, a typical locking knife is going to be as effective as a push knife. Plus, my pocket knife has a bunch of other uses–I can pry with it, or use it as a screwdriver, or hammer with the back end of it, or do any number of things with it (whether I SHOULD is another question entirely). A push knife can’t do any of those things, which makes them less than ideal in my mind. They are, to borrow Alton Brown’s word, a uni-tasker.

    I collect weapons, particularly edged weapons. Swords, daggers, pocket knives, rapiers, even a few stone/napped glass knives. I’ve never had any interest in owning a push knife. They’re a gimmick in my opinion.

  47. LGB April 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    I join the chorus that wonders why nobody called the police on this knife wielding MOTHER (??) If not the possibly-Arab people, at least store security might have caught something on camera.

    As for them standing close, so what? If they were indeed from an Arab culture, they have a different concept of personal space than Anglo America.

    I don’t feel qualified to give this phenomenon the high-brow analysis that Lenore is seeking, but social media is a breeding ground for this behavior. https://newrepublic.com/article/116209/study-twitter-narcissists-facebook-egotists

    Facebook, especially, reminds me of my life growing up in a large family; a lot of voices are competing to be heard. Growing up as a middle kid, I survived by refusing to compete and cocooning in my own, quiet world, (which may explain why I finally left Facebook).

    At any rate, with so many items hitting your news feed–and with so many ads and click-baiters and cute babies and funny cats and pretty-person selfies demanding your attention–those who are desperate for social validation have to go to desperate lengths of sensationalism and moral outrage to stand out in the crowd. Claiming that creepy, foreign men are out to get your children is one method that I suspect will lose its luster. But for now, it worked, didn’t it? Look at the huge response she is getting!

  48. SKL April 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

    I checked the fb comments again, and now there are people saying “omg it’s my neighbor. The description fits him to a T.” If someone actually gets hurt in this whole mess, I hope there are repercussions for the fb poster. Like maybe the news should run a story about how a fake fb post can lead to hurtful and possibly illegal actions against a law-abiding family.

  49. LGB April 25, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    I’ll add that as a social worker, I’m familiar with Munchausen Syndrome. (I can’t type the umlot over that U!) This case if pretty similar.

  50. C. S. P. Schofield April 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    I don’t know – KNOW, mind – what is causing the current round of ‘sex trafficking’ hysteria, but I know what historians believe was behind the ‘White Slavery’ panics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    It is the general consensus that one of the major causes was rampant insecurity in the face of changing societal mores; in short a lot of middle and upper middle class white women was scared to death that their control over their men was under threat by mistresses and prostitutes.

    That’s it.

    Oh, all kinds of frauds and highbinders took it up and ran with it, but at base the ‘White Slavery’ panics were efforts to shut down brothels and close off men from easy access to sex.

    I think that a lot of what we are seeing today has similar roots. The Feminist Left has been under increasing attack in recent years, and not too surprisingly either. Modern Feminists have, in large degree, become shrill and unpleasant scolds. And they re scared to death that if commercial sex is available, the only people who will want to share their beds are other modern feminists…who are shrill and unpleasant scolds.

    Note that the Sex Trafficking hysteria isn’t pushing for legalization and regulation. All they do is turn accused Prostitutes over to ‘rescue’ organizations, who (as opposed to the legal system) are under no obligation to release them at certain date.

  51. James Pollock April 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    “maybe the news should run a story about how a fake fb post can lead to hurtful and possibly illegal actions against a law-abiding family.”

    They did… lots of them. The Pizzagate guy is going to be doing time, after pleading guilty to one count of criminally stupid in the first degree.

  52. MichelleB April 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm #

    HOW does even the most talented and skilled mother throw her small child into a carrier on her back while holding a knife in one hand? Or strap her other kid into the stroller with a “visible, firm grip still on a weapon?” Of course the men were looking at her at that point — probably wondering if they needed to contact store security.

    I’ve read her story twice now and I can’t find where the men did anything except for existing in the same store where she was shopping. Princess dress…stuffed animals…random toy… Sound to anyone else like they were maybe shopping for a present for another family member?

  53. James April 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    “HOW does even the most talented and skilled mother throw her small child into a carrier on her back while holding a knife in one hand? Or strap her other kid into the stroller with a “visible, firm grip still on a weapon?” ”

    The push blades I’ve seen are designed such that the handle sits across your fingers, while the blade sticks out between your fingers, toward the back of your hand. This leaves your fingers free to do some tasks while still holding the knife. You sacrifice some dexterity, but not enough to matter for most tasks. It’s one of the selling points among outdoors types: you don’t have to put the knife down while you’re working on other things. It takes practice, but you can do it.

    Fully agree on the men probably wondering if they should call security, though. I’m a knife enthusiast and I would be VERY concerned about an agitated mother brandishing a blade around a small child. Agitated people make bad choices, and it’s a toss-up whether the mother, the child, or a random stranger will pay the price of that bad choice.

  54. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    MichelleB–yeah, chances are they were probably getting a Birthday gift for another child, before this crazy woman took out a knife and threatened them.

  55. SKL April 25, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Yeah, what kind of lunatic holds knives while fastening their kids’ safety belts etc.? Not a “super duper caring” mom.

    I did a bit of snooping via links on her facebook post. Seems like maybe her husband is in the military, maybe not around all the time? Her mom and sister seem fairly sane. She does seem to have some crazy friends though. Seems her sister has been getting a lot of attention from mom lately (mom doesn’t apparently do privacy on fb) and this other sister was needing some attention. And she found it. Woo hoo for her.

    Woman has issues.

  56. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    SKL–I looked at her FB too. What’s with all the strange selfies showing her jawline and her ears?

  57. SKL April 25, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    My issue with the knife is that even if Mom is agile with it, her tot could still try to grab it and cut her fingers. In fact, that’s a lot more likely than 3 “Middle Eastern looking” men trying to snatch her stinky kids.

  58. SKL April 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

    a fb comment: “This is pretty common at stores and shopping malls the kid that these kids for sex trafficking it seems to be going on a lot lately keep your eyes peeled and pay attention exclamation point”

    Very tempted to get back on there and tell that lady she endangered her kids by waving a knife within their reach. But again, I don’t need them linking to my page. 😛

  59. SKL April 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    To the original question, I think this has been said before, but you are allowed to go to any extreme if your target is child sex offenders. Because what horrible person would dare to question any action against child sex offenders?

    Kinda similar logic probably applied when it was witches.

  60. James April 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

    “My issue with the knife is that even if Mom is agile with it, her tot could still try to grab it and cut her fingers.”

    True. And we shouldn’t under-estimate the damage this can do. Medieval fighting manuals can be summed up as “Fifty ways to hit your opponent in the groin or destroy their hands, plus a few other moves”. The interior of the hand–the part that gets cut when you grab something sharp–contains most of what makes your hand work, and damaging that can lead to permanent damage to the hand. Hand injuries also bleed profusely.

    I have seen that kind of wound before. Not a fun day, for anyone involved.

    Still, it’s not a huge risk. A push blade isn’t going to be very easy to grab, particularly with a bit of creative child-holding. Which raises a whole other issue: This woman is willing to accept the real, though not overwhelming, danger of her child grabbing a blade, but NOT the nearly-nonexistent danger of a foreign person snatching her child from her. This is inherently contradictory.

  61. Jill April 25, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

    I’m not a psychologist or sociologist but I’ve been around long enough to be able to tell a fabricated story when I hear one. This screams that it was made up in order to get attention. The woman seems to either have a vivid imagination or she’s watched too much TV or both. And why the hell would she wave a push knife at them? It’s made for close combat but it’s not any more frightening looking than a corkscrew. If she really thought a multigenerational team of child abductors was after her kids why not run and summon store security, or scream for help? This is an ohmigod I’m a fierce mama bear tale that seems phony.

  62. Jennifer C April 25, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    Yeah, if I was in a store and I really thought that someone was threatening me or my kids, I’d go up to the cashier, have a quiet word and ask if she could summon mall security. The stuff with the knife seems more like a dramatic fantasy than anything else.

  63. donald April 25, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

    Initially, I was angry about today’s post. I changed my mind. This mom is a very good example of how you can teach your children destructive behavior without even realizing it.

    So now her child goes to school and learns that 1+1=2. He then comes home and learns that it’s ok to threaten people with knives.

  64. JJ April 25, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I should have better things to do but I looked at her Facebook page. Scrolled way down. What a classy and mature person she is.

  65. LG April 25, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

    Licensed clinical social worker here (with NO intention of signing up for more research LOL) What doesn’t add up is that in all these stories the mother remains in the store! If you REALLY believed your child was in THAT kind of danger, why stick around? The behavior doesn’t match the level of “concern.” I have called off a shopping trip for far less reasons. Be it a temper tantrum or diaper blowout, sometimes we decide ya know, I just don’t need new jeans THAT badly. So I don’t get why these hypervigilant, deeply concerned mothers see a “threat” like this then completely ignore the door located at the front of the store.

  66. Jess April 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    So weird. I daydream crazy stuff when I’m out and about too, but I don’t post it on Facebook like it really happened.

    Anyway, I know this example has been bandied about before, but it does make me think of the Salem Witch Trials. You start with one person or a small group freaking about something totally innocuous, then suddenly (and probably to prove they’re not witches/sex traffickers) others jump on the bandwagon claiming the same terrifying thing happened to them. A lot of it is likely seated in racism (an us vs them mentality) and in Salem, those that were targeted were often outsiders as well – as much as they could be, anyway, in such a homogeneous society.

  67. ebohlman April 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    In addition to the books Lisa suggested, I’d also suggest Jeffery S. Victor’s Satanic Panic which was written in the early 1990s. He suggests that the widespread belief in literally fantastic threats to children is a crystallization of fairly inchoate, but often reasonably based, fears about what sort of future our children will be facing (i.e. every generation lately has been labelled as the first generation who have to expect a lower standard of living than their parents).

  68. Jessica April 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    Jess-
    Yes me too. And that’s why I’m not sure ths is a solvable problem. Like, for at least the past 500 years, we have documentation that people will panic about imagined threats. “I heard that babies EVERYWHERE are being bewitched, and mothers’ milk is being curdled by marauding witches! Moms, keep your babies close so they don’t fall prey to demons!” It’s exactly the same mentality.

  69. Beth April 25, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

    Remember, she wasn’t using her knife to attack “people”, she was attacking “sex traffickers”! Makes it all right.

  70. SKL April 25, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

    Pretty soon it’s gonna be, “I’m the only person among all my friends who hasn’t had a close call with child sex traffickers. I feel so inferior!”

  71. SKL April 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    And – is it just me? If something truly scary happens to me, the last thing I’m gonna do is post it on facebook. I don’t want to worry my family.

  72. Flossy73 April 25, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

    So a bunch of unimaginative, bored and lonely middle class white women are feeling restless, ignored and ineffectual. They see stories of moms on the internet going viral and getting praised. It doesn’t matter if they have a sneaking suspicion that these stories are bulls**t. It only matters that a bunch of people all want to pretend it’s real. The internet tells them what other people supposedly value, what makes one admired and wonderful. Realizing they are not in the league to compete with Instagram models these women seek alternate schemes to achieve public adoration. They romanticize this “savvy, tough supermom” constructed character type. They read about other moms tougher, smarter and more protective than others. Moms who get special awesome super high fives. They seethe with jealously. They appropriate the stories and add the exaggeration to make them stand out. They are liars but the attention feels so good they justify it with “well it could happen.”
    But there is a much more insidious, disturbing and destructive reality lurking behind all of these “mom v. sex traffickers in the mall” fantasies.
    Lies of this seriousness could destroy the life of the accused. One day some woman will be pressed to provide details for the police and she will lie to save face and her lieswill condem or ruin the reputation of an innocent person. Hysteria and moral panic quickly turn to witch hunts. People get hurt.

  73. SKL April 25, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

    It would be interesting to look at the demographics of this group. I don’t recall seeing this kind of allegation made by a man, a person of color, an older mom. How many were single moms? I can’t tell for sure, but it seems at least some of these people are stay-at-home moms; I wonder if the % of SAHM is high for this group.

    I mean let’s be real – I’m a working single mom. I took my two kids everywhere when they were little, because that’s what single moms do. My kids spent a lot of time in stores and public places of all sorts. They were not tied to me, I let them move around once they were mobile, within reason. When they were 1.5 I sent them with a tiny shopping cart to go get stuff in the grocery store – it was hilarious. They played “alone” in our back yard as soon as they could walk. They spent many hours hanging out at kid-friendly store displays such as the Thomas train tables and similar. When they were 3, I let them play at a distance and even out of my sight at the park. They could go to some public restrooms on their own at 3. I left my 3yo in waiting rooms while her sister was getting therapy. They could keypad themselves in & out of the daycare when they were 3 or 4. If anyone’s kids had a good chance of being snatched, mine did.

    Amazingly, I have never, not for one second, had a “bad feeling” that someone was “eyeing” my kids or trying to position themselves to snatch them. I don’t have time for that kind of fantasy, in between working, providing basic needs, and whatever else I can squeeze in.

    I am also educated enough to know how to read what “sex trafficking” actually is and what it isn’t. How it happens and how it doesn’t. Which obviously these young women and their friends do not know.

    The internet – it’s a wonderful thing. So much good information. It’s also a scary thing. So much bad information. I hope I manage to teach my kids how to tell the difference.

  74. Jackie April 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

    I went to the FB page too and made the mistake of reading comments. There are a lot of stupid people in this world who cannot think for themselves and believe without a shred of evidence. Sad times we live in.

  75. Gina April 25, 2017 at 8:23 pm #

    “just want the attention”

    I think that about sums it up.

  76. Suzie April 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

    Someone in the comments of her post made a comment about how the news should get the security cameras and post their faces for all to see. The fact that people didn’t realize how wrong this was baffles me.

  77. Puzzled April 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm #

    >The police act as if nothing happened just because nothing happened.

    But something did happen, and someone should have been arrested.

  78. Jackie April 25, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    Here’s another example of paranoia and telling tales that can’t be backed up with any actualnevidence. Abductions are not rampant at this mall.

    https://www.facebook.com/560511825/videos/10155057341736826

  79. Puzzled April 25, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

    It’s interesting that some have noted the similarity in these stories. It reminds me of the similar descriptions of the “grays” in alien abduction stories.

  80. SteveS April 25, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

    A fairly significant number of large chain stores officially ban entry to people carrying firearms. Starbucks is fairly well-known for this. Pretty close to every bank, I would imagine. Then there’s the ones inside the security checkpoints at the airport…

    Since I carry, I pay attention to these. Very few actually bother posting any kind of sign, Starbucks is one of those places, so their ban is ineffective. I have never been in a bank that banned lawful carry, though it may be different in some states.

  81. Jenna April 25, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    I don’t believe the situation ever actually happened. This is likely a hoax. These stories all sound the same and remind me of chain mail from my teen years. Whoever wrote this is enjoying everyone’s outrage both on Facebook and right here.

  82. SKL April 25, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    Ack, the Bogen link – it’s even worse. “I was all wound up to expect something horrible to happen before I ever entered the store … the first man I saw – held the door for me, spoke to me, looked at me – obviously I my kid and I were almost “trafficked.” I didn’t do anything about it though. Just hung around the guy longer, and then I got on facebook and posted about it. OMG OMG OMG this is happening everywhere. OMG everywhere. Be careful, be safe.

    Men
    Everywhere
    Holding doors
    Looking
    Talking
    NOOOOOOOOO

  83. James Pollock April 26, 2017 at 12:48 am #

    “Starbucks is one of those places, so their ban is ineffective.”

    Yeah. Everybody’s ban is ineffective, unless they do metal-detector/pat-downs at the door (which why I mentioned the stores inside the security zone at the airport). The point remains that a LOT of chain stores have “no weapon” or “no firearm” policies.

    ” I have never been in a bank that banned lawful carry”
    I worked on a large project for a bank over the last two years, so I happen to know what their policy is, and it’s “no”. I checked online, and of the 5 banks I checked, all five have polices forbidding firearms on the premises.

  84. Willow April 26, 2017 at 1:36 am #

    If she’s such a helicopter mom, why is she telling everyone her kids’ names?

  85. Roger the Shrubber April 26, 2017 at 7:09 am #

    SteveS – since you CC and have probably educated yourself on the law, what recourse does a business have if they discover that you are CCing in violation of their policy, other than asking you to leave?

  86. annie April 26, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    Just saw this on the Overnight Thread at Ace of Spades HQ, which is very appropriate for this topic:

    “Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” –
    — H.L. Mencken

  87. Beth April 26, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    From comments on that Bogen video link:

    “Stay safe me and my daughters go their all the time and I don’t let them out of my site their ages are 18, and 20 and they can not go alone”

    I cannot fathom 18 and 20-year-olds not being let out of their mom’s sight, and not being allowed to go to the mall alone, any more than I can fathom 18- and 20-year-olds putting up with this. I kind of wonder if the two were allowed to have driver’s licenses.

    Why do parents choose to live their lives in such fear? (Note: I am not asking this so that James Pollock will mansplain it to me. It’s mostly rhetorical.)

  88. Beth April 26, 2017 at 9:28 am #

    Hey guess what? The original link in Lenore’s post is no longer available to the public (read: non-believers).

  89. PacMom April 26, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    I’m reading on my phone and cant “Like” comments but wish I Could
    Especially Sarah and LGB. As a PA-C and A Mom (PACMOM) I Love the word “Histrionic”! Perfect!

  90. pentamom April 26, 2017 at 10:05 am #

    “I cannot fathom 18 and 20-year-olds not being let out of their mom’s sight, and not being allowed to go to the mall alone, any more than I can fathom 18- and 20-year-olds putting up with this. I kind of wonder if the two were allowed to have driver’s licenses. ”

    Unless this is a REALLY weird and dysfunctional family that literally does let their adult kids out of their home and sight, either they’re lying, or they play this strange game of what counts as “dangerous” and what doesn’t.

    Because surely these girls are going either to work or school, even if Mom is flipping driving them, and are out of their mom’s sight. But somehow that’s not terrifying. It wasn’t terrifying back when they went off to school every day even as young children, in the care of whole host of adults that Mom knew, at best, very little about, and for the most part, didn’t know at all.

    But the mall is terrifying, because the mall is a point at which she can insist on control.

    I do think some of these extreme helicopter types have made an art out of cognitive dissonance where they simply accept the supposed “dangers” that are totally unavoidable in modern life, and then persuade themselves that the real dangers only exist in the places where they can insist on maintaining some degree of control.

  91. SteveS April 26, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Yeah. Everybody’s ban is ineffective, unless they do metal-detector/pat-downs at the door (which why I mentioned the stores inside the security zone at the airport). The point remains that a LOT of chain stores have “no weapon” or “no firearm” policies

    I am not sure by what you mean by a LOT, but the vast majority either allow them or don’t care. Of the ones that do ban, very few bother with putting up any kind of notice. Many seem to take the approach of Target and issue some kind of press release, but otherwise do nothing else. If I had to guess, they do this to placate anti gun zealots, like Moms Demand Action or some other group. If they aren’t willing to take the step to put up a sign, what makes you think they would install a security checkpoint?

    As for banks, I can’t speak for all of them, but I know that my credit union has not posted any kind of notice, nor has the local Chase branch. I also know for a fact that people have openly carried at those places with no problems.

  92. lollipoplover April 26, 2017 at 10:11 am #

    “I don’t let them out of my site their ages are 18, and 20 and they can not go alone”

    Are they trapped inside your blog? Do they constantly wear a go-pro and live stream you their whereabouts like some 24-hour reality TV show?

    What a horrible way to raise kids. To never trust and always fear. It is no wonder the suicide rate among middle school aged children has DOUBLED in the last decade. We truly have a mental health crisis in our country.

  93. pentamom April 26, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    For all those saying she did something criminal by pulling out the knife — from the description, I’m not so sure. It doesn’t sound like she actually pulled the knife on them, she just let it be seen.

    Now, I absolutely don’t condone this, in this situation. She was under no threat and that was way too hostile of an action in response to people doing no more than being in proximity to her kids without what she considered sufficient justification. And while I have no problem with people carrying concealed weapons in case of actual threat or attack, this sounds much more like the kind of person who carries to defend herself against imaginary attacks, and that’s not healthy or safe at all.

    But I think to actually have threatened them, she would have had to point it in their direction or otherwise strongly indicate she planned to use it on them.

  94. pentamom April 26, 2017 at 10:15 am #

    SteveS, I agree with you generally about the issue of businesses “banning” CC, but I know my own credit union, and another bank I was in a while back, do have such notices posted. Just FWIW.

  95. James April 26, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    “I cannot fathom 18 and 20-year-olds not being let out of their mom’s sight…”

    When I was 20 years old I was running a graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectroscoper. Next to it was an acetylene torch powered adsorption spectroscoper. If I did something wrong, the entire building I was in–ie, my entire geology department–would have ended up as a smoking crater, given the size of the acetylene tank. I was routinely cleaning glassware with extremely hazardous acids (to make the calibration standards). I was one of three people with a key to that lab, the others being the guy I was running the samples for and the chair of the department. Even the professors weren’t around when I was doing my work; I was in classes most of the day, so I ran my samples at night!

    At the same age I had one sister running a tutoring facility, and another assistant managing a glass blowing studio. Another sibling was an EMT–she literally was going into hazardous situations and saving lives.

    A parent that refuses to allow ADULTS out of their sight has crossed from “overprotective” and into “creepy Norman Bates mother” territory. It’s outright abuse, if not worse.

    “For all those saying she did something criminal by pulling out the knife — from the description, I’m not so sure. It doesn’t sound like she actually pulled the knife on them, she just let it be seen.”

    She let it be seen in a manner that was objectively threatening. She was brandishing it. This is entirely different from pulling out a knife to show someone, or to look at it yourself. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. At the very least, I think it should bet taken to a judge to determine if it violates the Reasonable Person Standard.

  96. lollipoplover April 26, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    @James, at age 20 while going to college full time, I was a full-time manager AT THE MALL. The company I worked for hired me after I graduated and relocated and promoted me 3 times, all before age 25.

    18 and 20 are ADULTS. Isn’t this kidnapping??
    Why do I envision such a mom to be like the one from the movie “Carrie”?

  97. James Pollock April 26, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    “SteveS, I agree with you generally about the issue of businesses “banning” CC,”
    So do I, a point he seems to have missed.

    Keep in mind, though, that a policy against carrying on the premises doesn’t just affect customers, it also affects employees and contractors. If you decide that your right (to carry a weapon) is greater than other people’s rights (to decide who may enter their property and under what conditions) It’s a trespass. Since some cities can’t even manage to send a cop around for all the car thefts and burglaries, the likelihood of getting a cop out to help you put someone off your land is fairly low. On a practical level, there’s just not much the property-owner can do. But employees can be fired, and contractors can have their contracts voided.
    (And, yes, some can and do have checkpoints. The bank isn’t going to bother at the retail branch level. But at the central vault, the way in is a mantrap. There’s a holding area between the inner and outer doors. If you have a weapon inside the vault, you aren’t getting out without the cops meeting you at the door. This is because a retail branch office of a bank actually hasn’t got that much cash in it… the ATMs probably have more when freshly-loaded… but the central vault has millions.)

    “When I was 20 years old…”
    I enlisted at 18, and by the time I was 20 I was a fully-qualified aircraft armament systems technician. I was trained in the care and handling of bombs ranging from 500 pound standard high-explosive up to multi-yield thermonuclear weapons. Heck, I was even trained in how to shoot at things that were very close and not moving, with a semi-automatic rifle (OK, the rifles were actually fully-automatic, but we were strictly forbidden from moving the switch to the “fully-automatic” setting. The air force does not spend a lot of time teaching its recruits how to kill people one at a time. We have other branches of service for that.) After basic training, we put down the popguns and, most people in the AF never get handed one again; in my specialty, we got to play with some REAL guns.

  98. Jennifer C April 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    So Nicole Bogen believed that people were being kidnapped from this mall’s food court and sex-trafficked–despite the total lack of news reports or anything from the police? Because if something like that really was happening it would be major news. And yet despite all that she believed it was.

    Does this make sense to anyone?

  99. pentamom April 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    James (not P) that’s why I said I wasn’t sure. You may be right.

  100. Anne April 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    “Also in one of the responses to this post is a woman who was horrified that a mother left a nine-year-old girl standing in the grocery line at Harris Teeter for–‘gasp’ four whole entire minutes–while she went to pick up something she had forgotten. Oh, the horror of it all.”

    The worst part of the hysteria is that it makes parents deny their children basic confidence-building experiences.
    What are we doing to kids when we deny them the chance to prove their capability and independence?

    I can see how much it means to my small-for-her-age eight-year-old daughter to be trusted to get an item from the other part of the store by herself or unload the groceries from the cart while I run to get something we’ve forgotten. Her most recent accomplishment is unloading all the groceries into the car and returning the cart. She very proudly insists that I sit in the car while she does, and I try not to worry about being judged. Yes, the desire to look like a good parent is part of the problem.

  101. Liz April 26, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    Not in the psychology field but I think these types of stories have their roots in the “urban legend”/ folklore tradition. For as long as humans have been around, there have been stories that have been passed on that speak to our greatest fears and send a moral “message.” The stories usually have a kernel of truth to make them seem more “legitimate” and ultimately the mom is the savior/vigilant protector who saves her children from certain doom. It’s just like the tales of razor blades in Halloween candy or babysitters getting phone calls from inside the house that always happened to a friend of a cousins friend.

  102. NY Mom April 26, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

    How might the perpetrators have transported the perloined kiddies out of the store?
    JC Penney shopping bags?
    Their little shrieks muted with towels and wash clothes?
    Sounds like a lot of trouble…

    These helicopter moms are nuts, or high.
    Even the guy who invented the milk carton kids phobia admits most of those kids were swiped by non-custodial parents.
    A little truth would go a long way in this crazy world.

  103. Beth April 26, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    @Jennifer C “So Nicole Bogen believed that people were being kidnapped from this mall’s food court and sex-trafficked–despite the total lack of news reports or anything from the police?”

    I’m sure she believes that the media “hides” this and/or refuses to cover it, kind of like the accusations earlier this year that the media refuses to cover terrorist acts.

  104. Travis April 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    So basically she tried to protect her family with children by threatening another family with a child. Nice.

  105. Dingbat April 27, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    @Tom

    I agree as far as tv/streaming and social media goes. I often find it funny because parents are so paranoid about things their kids see in the media leading them astray but I think parents are more easily influenced.

    Slightly on and off topic… I spent time reading articles about the outrage (OUTRAGE!!) over the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why yesterday. It’s crazy. I’ve watched most of the show, not all of it and, considering that you know it is about a teenager committing suicide I risked the spoilers.

    I found the reaction from suicide prevention groups to be the most disturbing. One was apparently contacted after they had finished filming and asked for tips, which were then put into a behind the scenes episode along with hotline info. The prevention group demanded that Netflix not air it because it would cause a rash of copycat teen suicides. Has this happened? No, but they are blaming Netflix for it anyway. They were furious the words depression and mental illness were not mentioned during the show but were well aware it’s a cautionary tale that involves mostly hindsight, after the fact. The first episode starts after the lead has killed herself, and as her family and classmates struggle with the question of WHY? No one was assuming or fully aware she was depressed or had mental health issues, but I’m quite sure teenagers can figure this out since it’s a well known fact that it plays a role. They, along with many parents, were furious that no suicide prevention hotline numbers were shown during the main episodes, despite it being a show seen in multiple countries, and again… despite it being a fictional cautionary tale set in a world where warnings and hotline numbers are slapped on everything.

    I was floored when I read an article quoting an Australian prevention group who were highly upset because some teens had managed to google their hotline (NO!!!) and call to talk to someone about issues they were having. The show had given them the courage to speak to someone or shown them that they needed to. You would think people would see this as a good thing but they were furious, and also blaming Netflix for a rash of copycat suicides that have not happened. (As was the U.K.)

    In the next breath they were condemning the writers of the show, and the books it’s based on, for daring to air a show where the teenage character blames the actions of another for her suicide, which is never acceptable and something Survivors should not be put through.

    On top of the prevention groups, some guidance counselors, some feminists and parents are losing minds. Several schools are emailing parents telling them not to let their teens watch it. If you do watch it with them and discuss during it. It scared people, plain and simple. You can find several blogs of parents talking about how the show terrified them, so their first reaction is burn it!!! Burn it and ban it!!! Everything seen in the show is discussed to no end, every single day.

    Yes it’s realistic to several degrees. Yes It is hard to watch at times but I have seen nothing about it that would require parents to sit on top of their teenagers as they watch it, demanding to know how they feel about each scene as it’s happening. I think some parents need a therapist to do that with them. It’s still a fictional show. It does not have to have a happy ending. It does not have to have warnings and moral grandstanding about the wrongs of suicide running throughout it (though they did put general warnings for “sensitive content” before 3 scenes), even it involves teenagers. There are sadly cases out there where no one knows, and no one is able to intervene, but the general adult public is enraged that no was able to in this show.

    The flip out over it makes me want to watch Heathers again. I need a satirical jab at prevention groups, more than ever. TEENAGE SUICIDE!! DONT DO IT!!

    (There, it’s all better now)

  106. James April 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    @ lollipoplover:

    “18 and 20 are ADULTS. Isn’t this kidnapping??”

    I was going to say the same thing, but I’m not sure. Too many sea-lawyers on this site for me risk saying something like that. But if anyone I knew tried this crap I’d do my best to make a kidnapping charge stick in court. At minimum it’s abusive and illegal. I may even try a 13th Amendment gambit.

  107. sexhysteria April 29, 2017 at 3:27 am #

    In general, people believe what they want to believe. There’s something exciting about the “stranger danger” narrative that keeps people turning pages. In addition, there are some special interests who profit from the hysteria: radical feminists who want to demonize men, therapists who need as many victims as possible to be patients, journalists who need readership, parents and government employees who want to draw attention away from their own abuse. Read Nancy Whittier’s “The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse” about the origins of this madness.

  108. asunnyweb April 30, 2017 at 3:51 am #

    Geezus. I just googled “push knife uses” because after seeing pictures I really was curious how it was intended to be used. According to Wikipedia she quite possibly could really have been the criminal of her own story…

    “A push dagger (alternately known as: push knife, gimlet knife, fist knife, Stoßdolch (German), push dirk, T-handled knife or punch dagger) is a short-bladed dagger with a “T” handle designed to be grasped in the hand so that the blade protrudes from the front of one’s fist, typically between the index and middle finger.[1][2] Over the centuries, the push dagger has gone up and down in popularity as a close-combat weapon for civilians and selected military forces.[3][2]

    The sale and possession of push daggers is prohibited in some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada.[4][5] The laws of many nations and several U.S. states and cities prohibit or criminalize to some degree the purchase, possession, or sale of push daggers or knuckle knives.”

    The important part of her story is that she is a mom that apparently finds it necessary to always carry a weapon primarily used for close combat situations that is illegal in some countries and some US states and cities. The rest is filler.

    And everyone is cheering her on.

  109. Peter May 1, 2017 at 8:27 am #

    2 possibilities.

    We all need drama in our lives. When there are not any problems we will imagine, exaggerate or fabricate drama to fill our drama hunger. The corollary is that as society solves problems it creates a void of purpose in our lives. We need problems to chew on, even if we have to invent them out of thin air. Americans seems more given to hysterias than most other people. New hysterias are always being invented. Prepare for new improved models in the future as life improves and saps us of anything real to worry about.

    The second possibility is that the “middle eastern” men just “wanting to kid nap our child” is an excellent outlet for socially acceptable racism.

    Perhaps the situation is a mixture of the two.