Man Takes Selfie at Target. Nearby Mom Thinks He Photographed Her Kids, Posts His Picture on Facebook. Now He’s Getting Death Threats.

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What a week. By believing that predators with puppies are grabbing kids in broad daylight, right and left, and by videotaping that made-for-TV scenario, Joey Salads helped reinforce one of the fastest growing beliefs of the day: That any man who interacts with children is doing it for his own perverted purposes.

That belief leads to situations like this: In an Australian Target store on Wednesday, a man stopped to take a selfie with a cardboard Star Wars cut-out.

Darth Vader has nothing on this dad.

A figure of mythic horror…and Darth Vader.

He thought it would be fun to show his kids. Another woman saw him with his camera in the toy department and immediately assumed the he was photographing her children. She snapped his photo, pasted it on Facebook along with what she thought he’d done, and it went viral.

Now, according to the Herald Sun:

THE MAN at the centre of a social media firestorm has been left devastated at being labelled a paedophile on Facebook.

While he was reluctant to speak about his experience, he told the Knox Leader exclusively that he wanted some good to come from the “nightmare”.

We have chosen not to identify the man.

He said he was horrified that his image had been shared thousands of times and he had been called a “creep” and a “sex offender”. He said he has also had death threats on Facebook.

The man is now afraid to leave his house.

So you know who’s really being “groomed”?

Us. Every day we are groomed by the media to believe the worst of the worst about men anywhere near kids. The Joey Salads video did not create that fear. It just repeated it, like a tired sermon. Mr. Salads believes he has warned parents of something they didn’t realize — that their kids could be carted off by a man in the blink of an eye — when actually that is something most parents already believe in every fiber of their souls, because that’s the modern day religion: Fear. Especially fear for our kids.

Like a catechism, the media repeats it every day, despite the fact that kids have never been safer.  Here’s a totally unrelated-yet-related story of a 5-year-old boy who left school without anyone realizing it and walked a mile home on his own.

Big deal. This is news?

Yes. Because the media figured out how to bend it to tell the same old story: When they boy walked home, even though he wasn’t abducted, he COULD have been. The reporter tells us there are sex offenders in town. The implication is obvious: It’s just incredible LUCK that they didn’t spot him out their window, run outside and lure them to their doom, the way Joey Salads does.

Over. And over. And over.

Every story that somehow fits that narrative will make it to the media because that is the story the media knows we want to keep hearing: Kid almost/maybe/could have been/will someday be ABDUCTED. We keep sharing and repeating it, as if it is new and vital information WE are lucky enough to have learned. It’s like hearing the word of the Lord and feeling compelled to share it with others.

Mark my words — well, actually, Prof. Frank Furedi‘s words in this remarkable lecture: In our atomized, pluralistic society, the one unifying belief we share is that our kids are in constant danger from “creeps.” If you doubt it, you are a heretic.

But your kids sure are lucky. – L

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89 Responses to Man Takes Selfie at Target. Nearby Mom Thinks He Photographed Her Kids, Posts His Picture on Facebook. Now He’s Getting Death Threats.

  1. Ryan May 8, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Is there any consequence to the false accusation? Should there be?
    I’m hesitate to punish an mistake reporter for an honest mistake (not necessarily that this was or was not) for the risk of a chilling effect on reporting actual events of concern.

    Should there be a consequence for resorting to the court of public outrage with no standard for evidence, rather than proper authorities which at least have a very low standard for evidence?

    I don’t have an answer, but given how selfish most people are… a thought about the personal consequence for the actions that can ruin another person’s lives might be a teaching point. The carrot doesn’t work. Will a stick?

  2. craig May 8, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Hmm.. this just in, if you are in public…. your photo could be snapped at anytime. Honestly, why should you care even if someone took a picture of your kid?

  3. Brooks May 8, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    I don’t know Australian law, but I’m sure there is some recourse for this guy. He should track down this hysteric and sue the crap out of her in a very, very public way.

    As a 50 year old male with grey hair, I get this kind of thing all the time. Usually it’s not so up front, but a look, glance, a whisper, etc.

    Drives me crazy!

  4. bob m May 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    a woman once trailed me in a supermarket while I was shopping with 2 of my granddaughters. She even went up to the oldest (6 at time) and asked her if everything was “ok”.

    why? I think because the children and I don’t look “alike” – I am blue eyed, blondish (at least when my hair was not grey) and fair skinned. They are brown eyed, dark hair and complected.

    that was a bit odd, but then I spotted her in the parking lot watching me. then I noticed she was following me – not just out of the lot – but all the way home. I drove past my house and lost her by timing a red light so she was on wrong side of busy road. Then I circled back home via a different route

    I didn’t confront her because the 6 yr old was spooked by her in the store (she noticed we were being followed before I did – kids ARE more aware than we give credit) and frankly I have a sharp tongue and any confrontation would not have gone well.

    the incident left me quite a bit angry as I do not want my grand kids growing up in a world based on baseless fear and suspicion.

  5. Kimberly May 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    According to the DailyMail.uk, the man is considering legal options.

  6. Kimberly May 8, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    The same DailyMail article posted a screen-grab of the woman’s original post. She didn’t just post his picture and call him a perv, she posted an entire story of how he called out to the kids, took their picture, and then told them he was going to send the picture to a 16 year old.

    Also, could someone tell me what a “Daggy Dad” is? The man in question and his partner used that term to describe him in the article.

  7. Michelle May 8, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Bob M, if I were you, I would have contacted store security about her. I’m sure they would not be happy about someone stalking and harassing their customers like that.

  8. Earth Waratah May 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Since moving to Sydney in 2012, I have noticed a particular habit amongst many women in how they treat men. With ignoring them and all too often. Speak over you, ignore you, etc. I’m afraid that in Australia, most women believe that most men just want to feast on the flesh of babies and rub the blood all over themselves.

    To appease mothers, men just won’t get a job in childcare. Those childcare centres that do employ men, have banned men from helping kids use the toilet and changing babies nappies because all women know just how horny all men are around little kiddies.

    And yes, it is common in Australian shopping centres for security and Police to follow men around shopping centres if they’re alone with their children. And when they decide to hassle naturist families, the Police harass the father, never the mother. And when female teachers are found to have had sex with a student, it’s mostly a suspension.

    And feminists say that everything is slated towards men. Go figure.

  9. Andrea May 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    So here’s the part I don’t understand about “photographing children”: Why doesn’t anyone throw a fit about all the little kids in store circulars and stock photography?

    I mean, 5 key strokes on Google gets you all this: http://bit.ly/1PuV7G8

    If photographing children is so wrong, shouldn’t be be banning photographs of children? I know of many professional photographers of children, for all I know they masturbate to the pictures they took when they get home. Why is it okay in that case but not okay in the case of Earl?

    I just don’t get why some people get their panties in a bunch if someone is taking pictures in public, pictures that *gasp* might include images of kids. Seriously – if I were a pedo, why would I leave my house to take pictures when I could just log onto Google and have infinite pictures of kids stoke my fantasies?

  10. Andrea May 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    What is also INCREDIBLY ironic is that this mom did to this guy what she was afraid someone else would do to her kids. Took a picture of him and exposed him to legitimate danger. Pot, met kettle.

    If what she though he was doing was wrong, then what she did should be subject to consequences as well.

  11. bob m May 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    also watched that news clip of the 5 yr old who walked home from school.

    I love that the reporter walked the same path, pointing out no sidewalks and five (count’em FIVE) registered sex offenders “around” here. and there was traffic – as evidenced by a car turning in front of the reporter.

    Me? – I think it looks like a nice neighborhood – wide streets, minimal traffic.

    even had a helpful adult ask child if parents knew what he was up to – and then let child continue on way to complete the task they started (going home – if only the Meitiv’s were so lucky))

    I know news station wants the story to be about the danger of the walk home, but the real story was why/how the school lost track of this student. That was treated as an afterthought.

    To sum up:

    child walks home safely – BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN A BAD OUTCOME – that leads

    school loses track of student – Not as bad as a child walking alone!! But maybe something should be done so that, you know, students not get loose nilly willy.

  12. Earth Waratah May 8, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    @Kimberly – “Also, could someone tell me what a “Daggy Dad” is? The man in question and his partner used that term to describe him in the article.”

    A dag is a term is an Australian slang term. A dag is technically the matted wool on a sheep tail, but in typical usage throughout Australia, it refers to people who don’t have a neat, tidy or cultured appearance. It can also refer to a person who tends to be quite informal. Add also odd humour. That sort of thing. Dag is one of our words that sounds insulting but is usually meant as a term of endearment.

  13. Andrea May 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Oh Earth, many important things ARE slated toward men – that’s not feminism. That doesn’t mean men have it perfect. There are many things that are totally unfair for men. But jeez, things can suck for you and REALLY suck for someone else. Just because things suck worse for others doesn’t mean things don’t suck for you, and just because things suck for you doesn’t mean things don’t suck worse for others.

  14. Reziac May 8, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Bob M, giving that woman the sharp edge of your tongue might have been the best thing you could have done. Fear of confrontation means we no longer stand up for ourselves, and the bullies win.

  15. Julie May 8, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    I would think that this is what we preach about – bullying. Online bullying with adults. I sure hope this woman has enough guts to apologize to the man. Yes the damage is done but a sorry goes a long way. Paranoia in all parents these days… it’s ridiculous what the news reporters can make someone feel. How they can take something so innocent like walking home alone and turn it into the scariest thing to have ever happened.

  16. Earth Waratah May 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    At the risk of spamming, there’s another comment I would like to make regarding men, kids, shopping centres, etc.

    I was once one of those Santa Claus’ people in shopping centres who sit on the big red chair with thousands of eyes focused on them. Not just the eyes of photographers, children and the parents whose zealous in getting a Santa pic but also of those who watch you.

    I’ve had women just stand there and watch every single movement you make so they can report you for fiddling up the kids and it was on most days. It was not a rare act. Now that was a tad over a decade ago, I would hate to see how bad it is now but I am sure it is much worse with advocates of child protection such as, “Bravehearts” which is calling for children to be banned from sitting in Santa’s lap because the big pervy man is out for sex.

    I have a qualification to work with youth but do you think I’m going to ever use it? Not on my life. Just having a little lost infant aged girl at a shopping centre run up to me saw a woman very quickly screaming out loud for everyone to hear that I was trying to steal the girl.

    Men should never work with children and fathers should never go out alone with their children. Not any more. That’s the message now. If only we treated all women as sex offenders as there are lots of convicted examples of women committing rape, child abuse etc but they’re women so it’s okay.

    * If a man wants to rape a child, become a Priest. Society endorses that.

  17. Nadine May 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    ryan,there is such a thing as slander and libel or defamation. I think he can win this one.

  18. Kimberly May 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    @ Earth Waratah

    Thanks. I knew it was a slang word, and not something bad necessarily. Slang words outside the US makes me giggle. I had to turn the sub-titles on for an episode of Law & Order: UK because one character went on a spree using one British slang word after another. Then I had to look the words up on my computer just so I could figure out what he said. It was hysterical.

  19. Earth Waratah May 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Kimberly, here’s a link for dag. Problem with speaking Australian is that one term can be used for several meaning. “Mate” for example can also be used to let someone know that you’re angry with them while a certain C word that ends with T has become a fashionable word for close friend.

    http://www.australiandictionary.net/dag

    And then there’s words like piss/pissed which has 3 or so meanings. LOL

  20. Diana Green May 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    I am alone in hearing that the Joey Salads video was paid advertising from an organization whose mission was to perpetrate the “Predator Myth”? A friend who watched it multiple times saw that on one of the stations.

    If that is true, it would make sense. Mr. Salads is an entertainer who advertises. He is “cute” and charismatic. He has financial resources, a slick editorial team, and distribution channels. And the timing was calculated to frighten every person in the world just before TAKE YOUR KIDS TO THE PARK DAY.

    When I was working and had some political problems, a City Councilwoman advised me that most times what looks like a conspiracy is more likely simply incompetence. So, it may be organized. Or it may be Joey Salads is a fool. Either way.

  21. Jessica May 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    I was at the park last Saturday and I was happy to see so many fathers there. It was especially gratifying to see so many of them willing to help my boys. They looked over a few times and I made sure to smile so they would know I was ok with them helping. I even had a good conversation with one about the new Avengers movie. Women need to realize that when they assume a man near children is a danger and respond like this they are in essence criminalizing their own husbands, fathers, and really all the men in their lives. And if they have sons they are criminalizing them in the future when they become men.

  22. tz May 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    I think this is part of the “all men are rapists” feminist meme.

  23. Emily Morris May 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Perhaps I’m becoming more sue-happy than I’d like to admit, but I would celebrate if this man pursued legal action against this woman. She went beyond being a mom protecting her kids, she made slander.

  24. Nadine May 8, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I think that things like this are much more debated and come up is becasue for a lot of younger people the normal is changing. Right now I hear a lot of dads being annoyed that the day that they happen to be home for the kids is called daddy day or still talked about as dad babysitting. Like they arnt parenting on other days or the kid isnt their responcibility 24/7 too. But thats the Netherlands. A shift takes time and changing the laws and public view accordingly takes time. Till then this debate is long from over.

  25. Earth Waratah May 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Jessica hit the nail on the head in one blow. All these women who despise men makes me wonder what they think of boyfriends, husbands and sons, etc.

  26. Resident Iconoclast May 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    Well, if some woman calls me a pedophile on social media, she’ll be eating Ramen noodles in her retirement. The libel lawsuit would go real well, because the average juror knows just what kind of consequences flow, when people think you’re a pervert.

    I think the guy should keep quiet with the media, and file an enormous defamation lawsuit against that floozy.

  27. Kate May 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    My husband is a stay-at-home dad to our daughters (2 and 4.5 years old). He knows full well the difference in how the helicopter mommies (usually stay-at-home moms) treat a man in his mid-30s who dares to look at or smile at children in public. If he’s in Target with one or both of our kids, he’s fine to smile or say hi if other children come up to them or try to talk to him. As soon as the other kid’s mom sees that he has children of his own, he’s perceived as “safe”. On the flip side, if he’s alone he won’t say anything to or smile at the kid at all because inevitably the mother will shoot daggers at him with her eyes while scooting Junior away and admonishing the child not to ever talk to strangers – even though he has his own child right there with him!

    He doesn’t take the kids to the park by himself during the week because the SAHMs watch him like a hawk – while he’s there with his OWN DAUGHTERS. He worries that another kid will get hurt and he’ll have to choose between helping an injured child or protecting himself against some insane accusation. He’s read about men at parks or playgrounds with their children or grandchildren who wind up having the police called on them by reactionary hovering parents (OK, moms). It’s just easier to wait until after work when I’m there, or on the weekend when plenty of guys bring their kids to the playground solo.

    I hope this poor man in Australia is considering legal action against this woman for libel/slander. They’re not as litigious of a society as ours but she published his picture and called him a pedophile with no cause, surely he must have SOME legal recourse!

  28. John May 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    This man has recourse, and she can in fact be sued for defamation. She could have avoided that had she not posted online without anything other than her suspicion/paranoia. Had she simply reached out to the cops and had them check it out this could have all been avoided, but no, she went the extra mile and in essence electronically/digitally lynched this guy all thanks to the feminist driven hysteria of Australia.

  29. John May 8, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

    Andrea! Andrea! Andrea! Goodness, don’t give politicians who are desperate for votes and approval ratings any ideas! I believe there have been attempts here in America at criminalizing the photographing of children without the parents consent but I’m not sure if any of these attempts made their way through. If photographing children without their parents’ consent is considered nefarious and questionable, then I’d be one nefarious person!

    I have been to many countries and in my den, I have a total of 44 pictures of my travels. Seven of those pictures are of children, i.e., a Turkish boy posing for me while balancing a tray of bread on his head, 3 young Coptic Egyptian boys on a donkey cart collecting garbage, young Nepalese boys and girls in the Himalayan foothills drinking cokes us trekkers bought them, 3 young schoolboys in Bali, in their school uniforms, who posed for me while walking home in front of the rice paddies, etc., etc. Now if these countries had that crazy law, I’d end up in jail just for doing tourist like things and despite the fact that all these kids were fully clothed and as happy as punch because I took their picture (boys in 3rd world countries LOVE being photographed by tourists).

    What really gets me is anytime there is a video of something on the news or on a TV show, if there are kids within the backdrop of that video, their faces are blurred out. So what is the purpose of that? They show the adult faces so why not the kids? Oh I see, if a pervert sees kids in the video, he’s gonna hunt them down and violate them in so many icky ways. At least, that’s the crazy thinking, even though a person would have to be a clairvoyant and a psychic to find out who the kids are and where they live. That’s right, a clairvoyant, psychic pedophile with a libido so strong that he can’t help but abduct kids for his own pleasure. I’m sure there are thousands of people in the United States with that combination of traits.

    Can we please start using some logic and common sense?

  30. JP Merzetti May 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Ah me. I happen to be decidely male. (Quick glance – yep. That’s what I am.)
    And quite happy with that little twist of fate. And have been for divers’ long decades. A horse of course and for sure, but a horse of particularly my own colors of choosing.

    Men still beget children – in the usual way, biblical or otherwise, for the same old purposes and reasons, and logical and rational outcomes. They always did, and no doubt, probably always will.
    Which prompts my instant gut reaction to this story……the silly female never thought the dude might have been a dad himself? Think about that.

    I love kids. Adore them. Not shy about it, rather effusive about it, raised my own, etc. That’s just me and life dancing together.
    I always have a good time with kids. Fun and enjoyment. Meaningful moments. A natural order of existence – theirs, and mine.
    While thus engaged, I suppose I’m doing this while being male, I must admit. But something else. Human. The “other” gender. omg!
    They no doubt, create and adjust and shift into whatever it is that allows their tender sensibilites ot respond to and enjoy my company. Nothing to it.
    (I’m actually rather good at it.One charming stepdaughter when rather young, years ago – refered to me as a God of children. I was quite touched, at the time.)
    But I digress.

    Folly is what it is, fools are what they are, and common sense thankfully is what it is, too. We can be ever grateful for its blessings.

    It strikes me that a parent going through life without the comfort of knowing that her society at large is for the most part, protective of her and her children, and quite willing to come to their aid with all due respect…is an awful way to raise a brood.
    Not to mention the normal rational and reasonable, the logical ways in which an adult surveys a scene and comes to sane conclusions. What is perhaps, danger……and what isn’t.
    But if we have socially digressed into some strange animal who had altered themselves into the despair and existential dread within a typical Target store…..as if lost in the heart of the deepest darkest jungle, full of terrible terrors…..or castaway upon a foreign and most alien moon……or ‘midst the throes of deadly and mortal battle upon the ancient fields of combat, with all its blood and gore. Well.

    How self-serving and to the Nth degree an intellect must be, to have arrived at such a place as this. Paranoia most profound.
    To repeat yet again, and once more: The world is full of men. We are not all of us ravenous and maddened grizzlies, bent on gorging upon our (or anyone else’s) young. Very few of us, in actual fact, are.
    So rare are they that they continue to be avoided remarkably easily. Statistics ‘bear’ this out, and stand up quite well on their own two feet, upon critical examination.

    Had such a thing as this ever happened to me, I ponder for a moment, what might have been my response?
    A good lawyer and litigation? Too messy.
    A publically conducted confrontation designed to set the matter straight? Too anally ambiguous, perhaps, for my personal tastes.
    But again, I digress.
    I never should have to, in the first place. Because there is no good reason for it.
    Except, perhaps, being born male.
    And here we go all over again………

    When that stands up as the only “good” reason……it is a rather pathetic reason altogether.

  31. Dean Whinery May 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Another chapter of “Paranoid Parents”.
    I noticed a difference among people of different racial/ethnic backgrounds as well. Sitting on my front porch on a sunny Southern California afternoon, if I greeted a Mexican family passing on the sidewalk 20 feet away, Mamá would direct Junior to smile and wave. If it was an American family, the response was “Hurry, run, Junior, than man spoke to us.”
    When I called the police because an Anglo neighbor had spread the word that I was a child molester, the the cop’s reaction was a reference to the First Amendment, but when I asked what would happen to his job if such a false rumor were spread, he had second thoughts. Then he went to the neighbor and demanded a halt to the viciousness. Later that neighbor apologized.

  32. Vince L May 8, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    “Is there any consequence to the false accusation? Should there be?”

    This! There should be

  33. Buffy May 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    @andrea, what are you even talking about?

  34. Warren May 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    Kate,

    Your husband is a lot more patient with women than I am.

    I refuse to change who I am, because the moms that are paranoid idiots. I talk to kids all the time. And the couple of times the kid has been pulled back by mom, I get one last word in to the kid. “Sorry Kiddo, that you have a mother like that.”

  35. Tiny Tyrant's Mom May 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    Somewhat off topic, but the vein of ‘this is the result of feminism run amok’ displayed in some of the comments really makes me nuts. Most feminists simply want their spouses to do their fair share of childcare and housework. Pedophile paranoia only makes this more difficult; as any male seen in public with a child will face unwarranted scrutiny. The attitude of ‘all men are pervs’ only reinforces traditional gender roles, making life more difficult for everyone.

  36. JJ May 8, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    ” she posted an entire story of how he called out to the kids, took their picture, and then told them he was going to send the picture to a 16 yr old”.

    Yes someone is sexualizing these children alright.

  37. JKP May 8, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Even if the guy actually WAS a pedophile, even if he WAS taking her kids’ pictures, he wasn’t doing anything wrong in public. Taking pictures is not illegal, nor is it inherently dangerous. Any pictures of children taken in public stores/parks etc, fully clothed, in full view of everyone else in the store hardly qualifies as “child porn.” If that’s really what a pedo wanted, they could find millions of pictures of kids being innocent kids online or in store catalogs. Picture of child =/= child porn.

    But when you watch Law & Order and they catch a pedophile and find his stash of “child porn” on his computer, for obvious reasons they can’t show actual real child porn so they show lots of normal images of kids that you might see in any store catalog. In fact, I imagine for licensing, it’s probably all stock photos. This gets twisted in the viewers’ heads as if that’s actually what real child porn is.

  38. Anna May 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    It sure sounds like a clear-cut case of libel, but it might not be worth it to him to pursue that, I suppose.

  39. John May 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Interesting JKP…..if you try to be that logical with people, they look at you like you’re crocked in the head. I’ve tried telling people that a picture is a picture is a picture and that unless they believed in voodoo, a pedophile could do all sorts of weird and deviant things with that picture of their kid and it would not affect their kid one iota. I try to tell these people that doing those things to and with the picture of your kid is certainly better than with your kid! Yes, it’s a creepy thought, some pervert masturbating to a fully clothed picture of my kid but I’d rather him (or her) doing it in front of the picture rather than in front of the kid. Besides, if somebody takes a picture of my kid, I have no proof they’ll be doing those creepy things with the picture behind closed doors. That is classic “worst-first” thinking. But as logical as that is, you have to be careful in telling people that because most people are just too archaic and thick headed to see your point. Before you know it, they’ll suspect YOU of being a pedophile and before you know it, they’ll be spreading the gossip all over the office. “You’re not gonna believe what John told me! He said there’s nothing wrong with taking pictures of kids!!” Can you believe that? I’m kind of wondering about him now! Goes to show you there are pedophiles all around us!!”

  40. Katie May 8, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    My husband and kids were waiting in the car with the windows down the other day while I ran in to grab groceries. A man pulled into the next spot as I came back, and started telling me and my husband what a lovely family we have and how cute our kids are. He commented on how blue the baby’s eyes were, and then he suddenly paused, looked a little worried and said, “I’m a single dad…I just like kids…I’m not trying to be creepy or anything.” I just smiled and said, “You’re allowed to be friendly!” but I felt bad for the guy.

  41. Donna May 8, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    I can’t figure out if all of this pedophilia nonsense is extreme narcissism – the belief that your children are so desirable that people are constantly lying in wait – or an extreme dislike of children – the belief that children are so unpleasant that nobody could possibly want to interact with them except for people related to them – but it really appears that one or the other, or both, have to be in play.

  42. Dhewco May 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    I write stories and novel-length books with kids as main characters. (Not published, but I’m trying) I’ve often seen a kid in the store and thought, “Hey, that kid looks just like I imagined my character Edgar looking. Wish I could take a picture, it would really help my inspiration.” However, I’ve always been too scared to do so. I worried that nobody would believe that I’m a story writer and would assume the worst. I’ve tried to surreptitiously take pictures, but they always suck and out of focus. So, I’ve depended on imagination and a few picture websites.

  43. MR May 8, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    There was a very similar case in the town I live in. A woman thought she saw a man take a photo of her child at the playground. She confronted him and snapped a photo of him. She demanded to see his phone and he left, she says he ran away almost getting hit by a car. He said that he was jogging (all the paths go trough the playgrounds in our neighbourhood), stopped to tie his shoelace and read a text from his wife. He said he has a glass eye so he holds his phone differently.

    Within hours she has spread his photo through all of the local Facebook pages. So many people said “why is a man alone in a playground?!” (Um, jogging through, walking his dog, waiting for his family, going for a walk and stopping at a bench…). She said “if he was innocent, why would he run, why wouldn’t be show her his phone and his pictures?” (Um, maybe because he was being confronted and yelled at by a maniacal women!).

    A few people tried to say she could be wrong, a man could be in the park for various reasons, he could have ran because she was threatening him, he could be telling the truth and she shouldn’t spread it without more proof. Some of his friends came to defend him, saying all he said was true. His wife was a prominent member of the community and they received death threats and his 8 year old daughters were being bullied and threatened at school.

    The RCMP got involved and within hours all of the photos and threads were removed and she never said another word.

    And it was so fear driven, even I felt a little afraid to send my kids to the park initially, until I forced myself to stop the negative thoughts and be reasonable.

  44. BL May 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    “It sure sounds like a clear-cut case of libel, but it might not be worth it to him to pursue that, I suppose.”

    What about the death threats? Those people should get serious prison time. Like until they’re too old to actually hurt someone.

  45. Erics May 8, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    He should sue this woman for defamation of character. That will teach her to think before speaking/posting. Not only can, and maybe has, ruined his life. ie. future job opportunities, dates, even volunteering. Not to mention his life is now being threatened. All because she THOUGHT.

    If your not sure, ask the guy. Don’t just assume and start spreading b.s. all over the internet. There needs to be consequence of action for people who post false accusations towards others. Let’s see how she likes it if posts about her being an “unfit mother”, and get child services to investigate her.

  46. Fiona May 8, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    I use the term dag to my 7 yo son. If he is putting his jumper on the wrong way round, I say “you dag”. It often used to mean silly. So daggy dad means silly dad or even him being a big kid. Note jumper is a sweater. Daggy dad’s are cool, way better than a serious dad lol

  47. Buffy May 8, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Do we think that the Target had security cameras filming customers? Because if they did, it makes this soman’s behavior that much more stupid.

  48. Erics May 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

    @MR: That’s why I say don’t let people like that woman get away with being ignorant. If she’s that fearful, play into it. Put the fear into her that the guy will sue her for defamation of character, slander or libel. Put her through the ringer. Just like she did with the guy. People like that shouldn’t be able to get away with ruining other people’s lives because of their fearful ignorance.

    And even if you don’t win, the other party still has to go through court proceedings, and if they did truly falsely accuse someone, it will come to light and the courts will let them know. Personally, if my reputation is ruined because I was accused falsely and ignorantly, and my family and my life was jeopardized because of those false accusations. I would pursue litigious action. Truth will be on my side. They posted false information online, it’s like a signed confession. They will have to dish out cash for a lawyer. So would I, but it would be worth it for me, knowing one person is going to THINK next time, before ruining another person’s life.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Sue-for-Defamation

    http://cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Dial-A-Law/Scripts/Your-Rights/240

  49. Erics May 8, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    @Tiny Tyrant’s Mom: You know what’s ironic about that. “Stranger” abductions of children are rare. And of those abductions, it’s mostly women than men. Or a woman coerced a man to abduct for her. Or it’s mostly women who seduce young boys, or teens. Remember all those women teachers who’ve been incarcerated because they had sexual relations with their students.

    I’m really sick and tired of how society sees men these days. There are plenty of killer, rapist, pedophile women in prison. Just because their women, doesn’t make them a saint, or helpless. The only difference between men and women, are their physical attributes. Meaning, anything a man can do, a woman can do just as well, except for the heavy physical labor. Which I’m sure they can, but it would be harder for them. That’s just human physiology.

  50. lollipoplover May 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    So mom made all this stink to *protect* her kids, because the photograph violated them somehow?

    The irony is this loon of a mom will likely give said *violated* children a smartphone when they are tweens(or earlier) and her own kids will post their images on social media for all the world (including pedophiles!) to see.
    What’s the difference?

    She needs to be identified and at the very minimum, publicly shamed for false accusations. Those with death threats should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

  51. Donald May 8, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

    I don’t know how to feel about this. Part of me is disgusted. The other part of me is so happy that it wants to dance on the table! We all know that society has become overly high strung. Even most of the high strung people know that it’s gone too far but they can’t control themselves. Telling a high strung society to calm down is like telling two cats in a duffel bag to stop fighting! The more they damage each other the more high strung they become! The only way for them to stop fighting is for them to tire out. When their emotional side gets tired they can start listening to logic.

    I’m thrilled to see that the newspaper is pointing out that this has gone to far. I think there will be a lot more stories like this. It’s like the free range movement. When it first started, seldom would we see a story that agrees with allowing kids more freedom. Now those stories are as common as celebrities that have accidental wardrobe malfunctions!

    I told you Lenore that you’re doing more then just giving children a bit more freedom.

  52. Ceridwen May 8, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    I have to agree that the guy should sue. A potential employer could easily run across this woman’s post and not hire the guy. If he sues her, he has a back-up for the employer to see. Personally, I’d like for her to make a post explaining how wrong she was, and ask everyone who shared the original post to share this one also. Hopefully, it will get as widely circulated as the first.

    On the kid who walked home: my first-born started Kindergarten a month before he turned five. The school was just under a mile from the house. To get there, we had to cross a busy four-lane street. On the first day of school, I walked him there, then went home with his baby sister and put her down to her nap. Around ten, the first-born walked in and asked for a drink of water. He apparently missed the water fountain outside the classroom door. I woke the daughter and walked him back to school. No big deal. The teacher, the aide, and I all had a laugh over it. From that time on, the son was allowed to walk to and from school on his own.

  53. Cassie May 8, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    @John.

    I think my daughter graces the ‘dens’ of many families too. She is blonde haired with blues eyes and is forever being photographed by strangers.

    Whenever we go to the blue mountains (a tourist destination near Sydney) she is mobbed by overseas tourists (asian, indian). They love to pick her up and have a photo taken with her. I don’t mind as long as she doesn’t.

    I sat watching her at a beach-side park once as a group of tourists walked-past then spotted her and doubled back to take photos of her going down the slide.

    *shrug* It is a funny memory of ours.

  54. Mary May 8, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    How about she simply ask the guy if he was taking pictures of her kids? I’m sure he would have replied with “Oh, no I was taking a selfie with Darth here” and showed her the picture! I’d sue her until she was broke for doing this. There are far more decent people in the world than perverts and pedophiles. What, she’s too stupid to open up her mouth and speak? If she didn’t want to approach him alone, grab an employee. This is totally ridiculous!

  55. Karon May 9, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    Am I the only one here who thinks this woman was incredibly passive aggressive in her response to what she thought was a guy surreptitiously taking pictures of her kids?

    Why didn’t she ASK HIM if he took a picture of her kids before she got all creepy like about it? I think she’s the creepy one.

  56. sexhysteria May 9, 2015 at 1:30 am #

    It’s possible that what really worries some parents is that they know their kids ARE interested in sex and DO want to experience sex play. That’s the real horror adults can’t confront and are trying to cover-up by focusing on extremely rare stranger abductions.

  57. v8beetle May 9, 2015 at 3:14 am #

    You should really read Dr. Estelle Freedman’s book “Redefining Rape” which is a historical narrative with citations about the evolution of rape/child sexual abuse laws in this country over the course of the last couple of hundred years, and how feminist theory contributed to the hysteria we see today.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-15236758

    I can provide links all day of the feminist driven insanity that is constantly vilifying men.

    http://wqad.com/2014/06/25/dad-confronts-and-videotapes-stranger-taking-photos-of-children-at-public-pooltos/

    The above is from my own neck of the woods.

  58. Donald May 9, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    @Donna

    I think the more insecure people get, the more of the ‘mother bear’ mode they get into. Or more accurately, they surpass it. They fiercely attack if someone even looks at their cubs.

    I’m not convinced that all of them actually believe that the person is a pedophile. However they fiercely go with that attack because they know that it inflicts the most damage.

    I may be wrong but I have a real thing about insecurity. That’s why I get so mad when parents believe the best way they can protect children is to give them a transfusion of insecurity.

  59. bsolar May 9, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    It’s clear that this woman acted with the wilful intent of harming the man’s reputation. Not sure about Australian law but here that is a criminal offense, as it should be in any civil country. The woman is a criminal and should answer to justice for her illegal acts. I hope the man pursues all the legal means at his disposal.

  60. Katie May 9, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    In reading the rest of the comments, I forgot who said “maybe I’m more sue-happy than I thought”….well, no. This is one of those instances where a lawsuit is definitely appropriate!

  61. Warren May 9, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Years and years ago, before being a family man, I was living in a small Eastern Ontario town. I had lucked out and was renting a 3 bdrm home in a nice area, for next to nothing. Friends of mine’s father had died and left them the house, and I rented it for a year while they decided what to do with it. And the to make things even better for me, the house came with a Black Lab/Boxer mix named Kayla. Great dog.

    After about two weeks of me walking Kayla around the neighborhood and parks, all the kids in the area got to know both of us. And it wasn’t long after that, that a group of kids would routinely stop at the house and ask if they could walk Kayla, or take Kayla to the park with them. The dog loved it, the kids loved it and it was a win-win for everyone. They would bring her back and she would sleep the rest of the day. The kids would usually leave with a coke or something for the walk home.

    That was over 25 years ago. I wonder how the paranoid psycho parents would view that now. A single young man, and his dog being friends with all those kids.

  62. Emily Morris May 9, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    @Katie

    I made the comment. And you’re right. There’s a difference between calling a lawyer over every little thing and making fair use of a legal system for my own rights.

  63. James May 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    What a stupid cunt.

  64. Cyclist May 9, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    I would like to share my own story. A woman in my 20s, I was once walking my bicycle home, carrying an awkward load on its back rack (something that couldn’t fit into a backpack nor be strapped on). There was a kid by the side of the road selling lemonade. I thought “How cute! I didn’t know kids still did this!”.

    So I stopped, put down my bike and bought a cup of lemonade from him. It took me a minute to get my bike upright again and re-load it – long enough for the kid’s mother to poke her head out from inside the house and give me a very evil glare. I walked away in shame, feeling like I’ve been accused of something. Although this seems like a minor incident, it made me feel really bad afterwards, and I am still pretty hesitant to approach kids for anything. Thank you, paranoid parents.

  65. hineata May 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    Good grief, once again even some Australians are showing a lack of common sense. The place used to be another bastion of sense and sensibility. ..wonder what happened?

    Maybe it’s time men gathered en masse in public places to stitch voodoo dolls…..so much voodoo hysteria about photos, might as well get into the real thing.

  66. Mark May 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Half of this garbage is driven by the American paranoia about lawsuits. Since their crazy judicial system can have you sued into homelessness if you fail to warn someone and they stub their toe, everyone feels a need to point out any imaginable danger anywhere.

  67. Nulligravida May 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Kimberly — a “daggy Dad” in this context is a term of affection.

    Dags is the term for the wads of wool and droppings that gather around a sheep’s backside.

    “Daggy” is an Australian word for a social misfit who does not follow trends or fashion. The opposite of cool, I suppose. It can be a prejorative but, in the context of this story, “daggy Dad” is the affectionate father who is trying desperately to appear to be cool to his kids but fails in a cute and adorable way.

  68. Sarah J May 9, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    I carry a camera everywhere so I can take pictures of animals when I see them. Mostly birds, I like birds. Not a lot of people run around photographing grackles and house sparrows, so I’m always paranoid that people are gonna think I’m taking pictures of their kids. Since I am a woman, I doubt many people really think that, but still.

  69. Puzzled May 9, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    One of the best jobs I ever had (maybe the best, all things considered) was working as a paramedic on the beach. We were rotated to different posts throughout the park district, and one post was a first aid station near the large picnic area and senior center. This was everyone’s least favorite post because no one wants to be inside on a nice day. Anyway, the door to the office was right across from the women’s room, and the bed that I often sat on was right across from the door. I was always afraid if I checked my text messages (this was before smart phones) that someone would think I was taking pictures.

  70. Hart May 10, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Earth Waratah May 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    “And feminists say that everything is slated towards men. Go figure.”

    tz

    “I think this is part of the “all men are rapists” feminist meme.”

    You guys are so missing the point of feminism. Arbitrarily imposed traditional gender roles hurt everyone. Including men. And this is a classic example. In traditional gender roles men are viewed as unable to control their manly sexual urges and therefore as always dangerous. Moving away from imposed gender roles means moving away from this view of men as well.

    Allowing people to be individuals in terms of gender roles, including excepting men as caregivers is part of feminism. Condemning or suspecting all males accompanying children in public of being sexual predators is not feminism.

  71. Rebecca May 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    ok listen up you dimwit parents: ANY MAN THAT INTERACTS WITH KIDS IS DOING IT FOR HIS OWN PERVERTED PURPOSES. N-E-V-E-R. Never tell kids its ok.It is NEVER OK. Men, DONT TALK TO KIDS IF YOU ARE A STRANGER AND YOU NEVER have to worry about whether they are polite or if their parents are scared of you. JUST DONT DO IT. You have NO REASON to talk to a child you do not know. Parents, free range and ALL OTHERS- no reason for strangers to EVER. TALK. TO. YOUR. KIDS. no discussions or apologies. DONT DO IT.

  72. Rebecca May 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    oh by the way, about the article, yes, that was silly for the Mom to freak out like that. I just wanted to respond
    to the RESPONSE. Author talks as if she have never been touched or violated as a child. oh, so thats why. It didnt happen to you, so it doesnt exist. IT IS REAL. Dont let your guard down for a second.

  73. JulieC May 10, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    Uh oh. Someone needs to get her meds adjusted…

  74. oncefallendotcom May 10, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    In all fairness, the POS who started all this should NOT have her identity hidden. Name and shame her!

  75. Kimberly May 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    Just want to put this article out there once again:

    http://articles.philly.com/2015-02-19/news/59273576_1_penn-museum-artifacts-lab-archaeology

    I’m so irritated by all this “man are perverts” hysteria that’s going around. I think it’s beyond time for men to get out there and en masse and do what they want to do without being afraid that someone is going to think they’re a perv!

    There is no law that says a man can’t walk down the street, or smile at a child, or hang out in a park, or walk through a store, etc., etc., etc.

    The same drive that’s pushing us to let our kids out of our sight needs to also be behind men standing up for their rights to be treated as equals.

    Screw the hassles that might (and probably will) come up with embracing your rights to be free human beings. Men shouldn’t have to segregate themselves from the rest of society because of this stupid stranger danger fear.

    STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES!!! MY SON IS DEPENDING ON YOU TO PAVE THE FREAKING ROAD!!!

    Confront those people who look at you like a perv! Force them to take action if they’re so fearful of you! Stand up for yourself and defend your civil rights!!! If the cops are called, even better! Force those busy-body, scardy-cats to defend their actions!!!

    Will it be a hassle? Yes, but no more than when the cops are called on any of the parents here because their kids are out unsupervised.

    Things will only change if you decide to change them! You think women were just given the right to vote??? You think unions just sprung up out of thin air? The Triangle Shirtwaist women were beaten up by prostitutes hired by their employers and then arrested for the fighting because they fought for fair wages and hours!

    That’s my rant.

  76. Warren May 10, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    Rebecca,

    THERAPY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  77. Beth May 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    I have to wonder @Rebecca, do you have kids? If so, did you have them with a man or was a test tube involved? Is there a man in your child’s life now? If so, do you let that man near your child, or do you just assume he wants to be perverted?

    Do you have a son? How early did you start teaching him that YOU will consider him a pervert as soon as he passes puberty?

  78. Earth Waratah May 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    Hart, I am not against feminism but most Australian women are. There is a major divide between post modern feminism and most Australian women as today’s movement is just as anti women as it is anti men. Every time the discussion comes up about men just saying hello to women, there a large public rift on Facebook for instance where women fight each other as many view hello as rape, such is the divide in society.

    With so many women viewing all men as rapists, they will never trust us with children. This is why childcare centres mostly refuse to employ men.

    Feminism has lost the plot. In Australia, post modern feminism has even aligned with the Christian Right in their joined fight to tell women who, how, when, where they can be involved in sex.

  79. Earth Waratah May 10, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    You want loopy?

    There was this mother I once met who won’t allow many males to touch or hug her children. Not even the father, uncles, etc.

  80. Puzzled May 10, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Rebecca writes as if she’s never been murdered. Oh right – it’s not happened to you, so no one gets murdered? Therefore, anyone who ever takes a breath is doing so in preparation to MURDER YOU – you STUPID DIMWITS! No one should EVER BREATH! NO EXCUSES! Because that makes sense, right?

    I had some great teachers growing up, by the way. It’s too bad I didn’t realize they were interacting with me for their OWN PERVERTED PURPOSES.

    I think what’s most offensive about Rebecca’s idiotic comment is not the hatred of men, it’s the hatred of children – the presentation of them as never being interesting enough for anyone to want to interact with them except to kidnap and rape them.

  81. Shelly Stow May 10, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    @Rebecca: PLEASE get help now,,,NOW! And please, please, don’t have children, if you don’t already, until you have been pronounced fit to rear them by a competent therapist. I am sorry for whatever horrible thing you experienced, but there is no excuse for the delusions you have.

  82. Fiona May 11, 2015 at 1:45 am #

    @Earth Waratah, please don’t generalise that most Australian woman are against men. You are being hypocritical. I’m an Aussie and have no issue what’s so ever, nor do any of my female friends. The dads are very involved in the care of not just their children but the group of friends kids. They wouldn’t nor eye blink an eyelid if a male started to talk to one of our kids. We of course are aware and if we don’t feel something is right, we act but that isn’t subjected to males as females can be criminal too. In short, we don’t jump to conclusions that anyone who approaches our kids has ill intentions period. Also I am a early childhood educater and now primary school teaxher and males are very sort after, especially on primary schools. I have worked in toddler rooms etc with men and these men are gentle souls and the kids think they are the beez kneez. I enjoy working when there is men as they tend to bring humour and fun which sometimes all women environments can be stuffy sometimes. Many men don’t choose child care and a centre can not refuse a man if his merits best suit the position.

  83. John May 11, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Donald…..I LOVE your analogy!!!! “Telling a high strung society to calm down is like telling two cats in a duffel bag to stop fighting!” I will definitely use that one when debating people on this subject!

  84. Claudia May 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    What saddens me is this idea that any man talking to kids he doesn’t know is apparently cause for police intervention (even if you don’t resort to social media). How about considering what he said before foaming at the mouth? ‘I’ll just be a minute here’ is not grooming children, nor are most other things an adult would say to a random child.

  85. J May 12, 2015 at 12:20 am #

    Now I know we’re all free range supporters here, but let’s look at it from her point of view. She seriously thinks that any man taking a photo of or near her child is doing them serious harm – to the extent that it justifies labelling that man for life, and yet she leaves her kids alone in a shopping centre knowing that almost every person in public carries a camera phone? That’s just irresponsible.

    I’ve seen this attitude before (with dog owners, same principle). She knows she did something wrong by leaving her kids alone (I wouldn’t agree, but that seems to be what she thinks), she knows she put them in harms way (even though we know she didn’t really), so she’s trying to regain her claim to Good Mother(TM), someone who Does Everything She Can For Her Kids (TM) by blaming that guy for whatever she thinks might’ve happened. It’s a deflection so no one can question her parenting.

    I’d really like to know how it played out between her and the kids. How did “I’m just taking a selfie, I’ll be one second” get turned into “I’m going to take a sexy picture of you and send it to a teenager then we’re going to masturbate over it together MUAHAHAHA!” Either she’s lying or the kids are lying. I bet the kids haven’t been taught how to interact with strangers, or she’d be able understand what happened. Sounds like mumma could use a good dose of Free Range Kids.

  86. Matt May 12, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    I wouldn’t care if I had to take out a mortgage on my home. I would crush this woman’s very existence legally. Even if I didn’t recover a dime. Even if it cost me tens of thousands of dollars. I would make her life a total hell

  87. Femke May 12, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    I was absolutely shocked by this horrible event and started researching the circumstances surrounding it. I have to say this is the best article I’ve read so far about the incident.

    This ‘stranger danger’ craze is getting absolutely out of control, apparently especially in Anglo Saxon countries such as Australia, the USA and the UK. And it absolutely DOES feel like religion.

    People are letting themselves be controlled by this huge fear of a possibility that occurs so rarely, that statistically it could be considered a non-issue. And they let this fear control their lives, control the way they raise their children, control their behaviour. And it’s DAMAGING to their children, their surroundings, and other people. This incident is just one of the many examples of how this paranoia is damaging to individuals and to society as a whole.

  88. Barry May 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    The fact that we are conditioned to think this way – that every adult is evil to our children – is a sad sad state of affairs.

  89. Bob Davis May 13, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    These incidents of dads with children generating “worst first” notions in observers reminds me of the time I took my daughters to San Francisco on the train in 1970. My first wife (their mom) brought them out to San Bernardino, where we boarded the Santa Fe train for Barstow and then transferred to the train to the Bay Area. When we arrived in SF, we stayed at a hotel on Powell St. where they liked to hang out the window and watch the cable cars. After their first night in a real hotel with a lobby and elevators, and some exploration of The City, we headed back to Southern California after an adventure they still remember. I imagine that if someone tried that today, the train conductor or the desk clerk would probably expect a notarized statement from the mother advising that this was done with her permission. (If we get another case like this, I’ll tell about taking them to a Dodger baseball game during this same time period.)