Watch what you twitter, big sister is watching.

4 Jan


ETA: comments are NOT closed because I’m cowardly. They are closed on THIS POST ONLY because what needed to be said, ON BOTH SIDES, is said. Nor am I deleting comments.

Those of you who KNOW ME know the relationship I have with my daughters. You know the relationships you have with your children. Loving, frustrated, awed, annoyed, angry, blissful.

Tonight, as always, my evil mini-me did her “not going to sleep without one last hug” routine.

Tonight, as always, I yelled, threatened and cajoled her back into bed.

Tonight, as I’ve done in the past, as other parents have done in many ways, I asked if it was ok to smother her.

Which, if you know me, or anyone with my sense of black humor, is a joke born of frustration, annoyance, and yes, LOVE.

Tonight this woman (link removed because enough is enough), who I foolishly followed on Twitter, who likely doesn’t even know me, had someone in LA call the cops.


I just had to prove that my fucking daughter was all right because some “person” who has never met me, barely exchanged any words with me, couldn’t stop for a minute and think, gee, perhaps she’s like many other mothers, annoyed at bedtime. She couldn’t stop and think, hmmm, an email might suffice.

Oh no, not our saviour. Only the cops will do. Only the cops at 11pm, where I had to open the fucking door to their room as they SLEPT to prove I hadn’t harmed them.

Is this home grown parenting advice? Is this the ultimate end of social networking, the virtual version of the snoopy fucking irritating neighbour?

While I’m really FUCKING glad this wasn’t a friend, there’s no more networking for me. Apparently, my brand of humour and venting isn’t suitable for all audiences, who might be better served searching for child abuses in her OWN neighbourhood, instead of ruining my fucking evening as I sit here enraged that a fucking stranger had the gall.

So lesson learned ladies. Don’t do any venting in public. Don’t network. Don’t show anything LESS than perfect bliss and 400 tweets about contests and fucking blow it out your ass nothing. Because someone, somewhere might call the police on you and you’ll be sitting there in your pajamas watching a cop waste his fucking time, and know it.

Thank you lady, for wasting my fucking tax dollars. If you’ll excuse me, I think they’re still raping and murdering the transgendered in Tennessee if you’re REALLY wanting to protect someone.

75 Responses to “Watch what you twitter, big sister is watching.”

  1. Andrea January 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm #


    Who needs to be told that your tweet was a joke? Who is seriously that stupid?

  2. Laura January 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    Holy fucking shit.
    That’s the most insane thing I’ve ever heard.
    I have no words.

  3. Hannah January 4, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Oh my fucking CHRIST… oh my God… you can’t be serious.

    I’m so so sorry this happened to you.

    Are you alright? Do you want me to go troll this moron? Because I will, happily. Un-fucking-believable.

  4. thordora January 4, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    I’m still REALLY pissed. Because in order to have my NAME, it WOULD be someone who knows me at least that much. I’m not linked to anything you can trace.

    I’m just…disgusted mostly.

  5. Charity January 4, 2009 at 11:47 pm #

    WOW. Just. Wow. I’m glad the cops didn’t call social services or anything as well. That’s just insane. People are too humorless and too eager to believe in horrible things.

  6. Sally January 4, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

    TO be honest, it was a dreadful tweet. Are you really surprised?

  7. anonymous January 4, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    I can understand that you are mad. I’m glad that the outcome is that you will think about what you tweet. For the record, I am not the person that you are referring to, but if I had seen the tweet, I would also have done something about it. I don’t know most of the people that I follow on twitter well enough to know whether they are capable of hurting their child in a moment of desperation. While it is obvious that it was most likely a joke, if it hadn’t been and we had all sat back and just listened and then saw it in the paper the next morning, everyone would have been saying “why didn’t anyone do anything?”

    And before you blame someone directly for calling the cops, please realize that twitter as a company has the responsibility to act in situations like that and while individual tweeters do not have personal information on you, if a potentially life threatening situation exists, companies like twitter and Internet Service Providers are required, by law, to provide information to the authorities about you so that they can ensure everyone is safe.

    So yes, glad you are going to think twice about what you tweet because you had a lot of people worried. That is not something to joke about.

  8. Dani January 4, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    I would rather see someone err on the side of caution than to turn a deaf ear on what could be a cry for help. I have more respect for a person willing to make the mistake of a false accusation than to sit around assuming something was said in jest out of frustration.

    The little bit of inconvenience you were subjected to tonight was nothing in comparison to the level of discomfort we were all feeling wondering how this would pan out. We’ve all read horror stories that started in a similar fashion. Don’t try to pretend you haven’t heard them yourself.

    Instead of berating people for making a mistake and interrupting your evening of television, you should be thankful that there are still caring people in this world that look out for the welfare of others. Namely, YOU and YOUR children.

  9. Hannah January 5, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Hey, anonymous:

    Do you honestly think that someone who was about to snap and hurt their child in a terrible moment of rage would stop by the computer on the way to write a goddamn tweet about it?

    Would not the responsible thing to do be to reply to the tweet directly first, rather than trashing the reputation of a total stranger all over the internet based on ONE SENTENCE?

    I’m sorry, but the response was way over the top.

  10. Summer January 5, 2009 at 12:19 am #

    I guess I’ve got the same weird humor, because to me it’s was a “haha, I’ve been there too” thing. Not a “OMG Someone is tweeting about killing their kid!” thing. I’d assume a parent at that point wouldn’t stop to tweet about it first, and a parent getting to that point would do better with some face to face loving intervention rather than cops beating down the door at 11PM at night.

  11. Karri January 5, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    If you read some of the past tweets, as the person that alerted might have, there are several more mentions of killing the kids that might have been misinteperted. I don’t think it is bad to err on the side of caution in a situation like this. A statement like that is not funny and is not a joke.

  12. Tara @ Feels like home January 5, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    First of all, I did reply to your Tweet directly, and you didn’t respond. Others tried, too, and you still didn’t respond. I’m very sorry that your evening was disrupted by the police. My evening was disrupted, too, worrying about you and your family and the best thing to do.

    Secondly, I did not call the police, nor did I ask anyone else to call the police. I clicked from your Twitter profile to your blog to your Amazon wish list which does list your full name, and I reported your Tweet to Twitter employees because I was concerned about you.

    I was going to call CPS when I got your Tweet about the police being at your house. I actually thought you lived in Canada because that’s what it says on that Amazon page, so I wouldn’t have called the right people anyway.

    Did we not all hear stories about the things Casey Anthony said online before she killed her toddler? I see and hear stories about children who are harmed or even killed by their parents every day.

    As you said, we hardly know each other, and I had no way to know if you were serious or joking. You made the statement, and I did what I thought was right in the situation by calling attention to it. What others did from there is beyond my control.

    I am sorry that you were frustrated with your child, and I’m sorry that you think it’s okay to joke about killing your children. I don’t. I understand that you need to vilify someone in this situation, and that someone happens to be me. I accept that.

    I hope you will eventually cool off and realize that a lot of people you don’t know were very concerned for your welfare and the welfare of your children, and be glad that people out there care about you. I am truly glad that you’re all okay, and I hope you continue to be so.

  13. JaneDoE January 5, 2009 at 12:36 am #

    It’s really not uncommon for this to take place when talking directly to someone, so why not online? This is just another social place just like the mall. If i had overheard this at a mall or restaraunt I would be worried. YOU NEVER KNOW THESE DAYS. I dont blame you for tweeting that, but I dont blame the person who turned you in. Just be careful and realize others do read the things you post and MIGHT take them out of context. Take care, and I am glad you and your children are safe. =D

  14. The Clever Mom January 5, 2009 at 12:37 am #

    I totally agree Hannah.

    I knew it was a joke. I asked Thoradora to perform the same service for me when my son kept acting up in his room trying to delay bedtime by screaming and acting infuriatingly horrible until I finally closed his door, sat at the computer, heaved a few heavy sighs, thought about the wine in the fridge, the duct tape in the drawer, my headphones and knew exactly what Thoradora was talking about.

    Honestly. Err on the side of caution? What’s that about? An email asking, “hey, are you OK, or do you need help?” would be way more appropriate and respectful. It would have to be an American living in the south who would harass people from afar.

  15. Sally January 5, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Considering people kill themselves on webcams nowadays, I hardly think “I’d assume a parent at that point wouldn’t stop to tweet about it first” applies.

    Yes, people often do call out for help in one way or another.

  16. Nancy Cavillones January 5, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    There was a story in the news recently about a young man who killed himself in front of a webcam, in front of a wide audience. Everyone watching thought he was joking and playing around, until they saw the cops and EMTs enter his bedroom to try to revive him. They arrived too late. Everyone who watched, I’m sure, is now asking themselves why they didn’t take it seriously, and wondering if they could’ve prevented the tragedy. There are two sides to the social networking coin: yes, people don’t know you in real life but also, again, they don’t know you in real life. KWIM? If you don’t want strangers commenting on your life and things you say, keep your Twitterstream private. Otherwise, you’re inviting people in, along with their judgment.

  17. d_S January 5, 2009 at 12:44 am #

    Well Tara aren’t you just a busybody and a half. I don’t even know Thordora, and that tweet did NOT seem like a go to DEFCON 6 situation. I read it through, and it seemed like a joke. Particularly if you click on her blog and read the beautiful tribute to her daughter. Or read through the rest of her tweetstream and get a feel for her humor which I just did. Harmlessly venting frustration is not a let’s get the wheels rolling on a fucking call the cops and involve social services situation. Your night was disrupted worrying about something you didn’t even attempt to put into context and just pulled the panic button on? Yeah, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for you.

  18. anon January 5, 2009 at 12:52 am #

    MANY people tried to call. It was not just Tara. I didn’t call, but heard from 8 people that said that they did.

    It was not just one person that “misinterpreted” humor. It was many people that were concerned. And many people that were worried after reading MANY of the posts on her tweet stream and blog.

    Parental psychosis happens. And parents DO talk about their actions on the internet, often under the guise of a joke.

    If more people would intervene, fewer children would be tortured and killed.

  19. Elaina January 5, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    I watched this and my first reaction was OMG wow. Then I figured and hoped it was a joke and waited for news. I didn’t call, and really, I don’t know Theodora. I was worried, yes, but I also know many who were.

    And the statement that it had to be some interferin’ red neck shows an ignorance I am offended by and appalled at. Yes I am southern, and here we call things like being neighborly and an offer of friendship normal. Sucks to be where you guys are from.

    As to the whole thing, I said on Twitter when it happened Theodora needed an offer of friendship and an ear not persecution, and I still stand by that. I have kids and I do get the frustration. But oops, can’t offer my friendship now, ’cause I’m one of them stupid American Southern folk.

  20. Sally January 5, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    If it was a joke, she needs to learn how to tell better jokes.

  21. Concerned January 5, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    I saw the original Tweet. I am a big fan of Dark Humor, but I did not see that Tweet as being Dark Humor. It looked very much like a cry for help to me. And I don’t think the police would have gone to check it out if it didn’t look serious to them as well.

  22. Eden January 5, 2009 at 12:56 am #

    Wouldn’t a good response have been to send a private note like “Hey, are you okay? Is there something I can do for you?” rather than have someone call the police? I understand erring on the side of caution, really I do. But unless you know the situation, the tone, the person involved, you really shouldn’t make that level of a judgment call.

    If this person had taken the next logical step instead of a speculative leap, it would have been best for her, for you and — most importantly — your children. If she really believed that your kids were in danger and she had you in a place where she could communicate with you (Twitter, e-mail, etc.), I would assume her logical first thought toward intervention would be to stop you from harming your child or yourself, not allowing time to pass while cops possible showed up at your door.

    And when you’re trying to get kids to go to sleep, I can’t imagine it helps to have a cop banging on the door.

    And people wonder why I barely ever use Twitter…

  23. nomeacuerdo January 5, 2009 at 12:58 am #

    @Feelslikehome: Please call the cops, i’m about to jump off the roof because it is actually funnier than this.

    or call a supermarket and deliver me some diapers, i’m about to crap my pants laughing.

    BTW/ Bogotá, Colombia. <- this is where i live, Now you’ve climbed to an internationally known jerk status in just a matter of minutes.

  24. Adrienne January 5, 2009 at 12:59 am #

    No good deed goes ………….

    Cry me a river, you were inconveinenced to open your door to the cops? Too bad. Idle threats are not always so idle. You should be happy nothing more has come of it. I am a mandated reporter as a school district employee, so if I had seen that tweet I too would have done the same thing.

    Better you to watch your mouth, and calm yourself. Then someone else to ignore the wellbeing of a child.

  25. Chris Burnham January 5, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    I give props to Tara for replying on this, but in no way do I agree with what Tara did. Lighten up, stop sticking your nose into other peoples business and mind your own. I don’t know the person that sent the tweet, but even *I* could tell it was a joke. I think the best thing for everyone to do at this point is block you so you can’t screw up anyone else’s life. Do everyone a favor and just turn off your computer and stay offline.

  26. Dani January 5, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    I’m going to have to side with ‘feels like home’ – it’s like making jokes about terrorism at the airport, it’s safer for everyone if you just don’t do it. Mark Twain had an essay about freedom of speech. He said that (and I’m paraphrasing) it’s the one right you don’t really have because restricting yourself, the thing that keeps society functioning, is a violation of that law – it’s a paradox. You CAN say what you want, no one will stop you, but you have to expect that there will be consequences. One being, people who take your words in a way you didn’t intend. The more we protect and control ourselves, the fewer inane laws will be passed that FORCE us to restrict our behavior.

  27. Paul January 5, 2009 at 1:02 am #

    My mom used to tell me she was dropping me off at the carnival and that I was actually the milkman’s son.

    My daughter loved to climb into her toy chest, have me put the top on and sit on it. She adored being bashed with pillows, so I obliged. It turns out she had this “skin sensitivity” thing and that was exactly the way deal with it. To an outside observer it looked like I was beating the living hell out of her. Do I deserve the cops busting into my home with guns drawn?

    I would hope that the neighbors would be a better source of warning than a tweet. Frankly, I’m surprised the cops haven’t shown up at my house, yet.

  28. Karri January 5, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    I always “ask my kids if i can smother them” and call it loving

  29. Erin January 5, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    I saw the tweet also and personally felt it was disturbing.

    I did come to the blog and did read the tribute to her daughter.

    Even so…joking about killing anyone is not amusing in my mind.

    There are other verbal ways to vent your frustration without using
    violent language.

    Talking about your frustation does not have to include violent language.

    I hope you might consider finding out more about
    non-violent communication, it can benefit you and your family.

    Be kind to others, including people who are concerned about you
    and your family.

    I have to disagree that talking about killing someone is harmless, I just don’t get that.

    I think we are all very desensitized to violent language since we are surrounded by it everywhere in our culture…people don’t think much about it, it’s kind of sad actually.

    Perhaps we can all learn something from this situation, I know I have.

  30. Sally January 5, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    I see tweets all the time from frustrated mothers with fussy kids. This is the first one that mentioned smothering. Who says something like that on the internet?

  31. d_S January 5, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    Good lord, don’t you people have your own lives to worry about? Hah, if you read my twitterstream, you’d be calling the cops on me 24/7. Yeah, I’m from the South too, and I’m not impressed with your nosy Nancy judgmental antics. Why don’t y’all get together in a big righteous prayer circle and congratulate yourselves on jumping to conclusions.

  32. Gabrielle January 5, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    I really care and have been in your shoes at my home when the fucken neighbours could not come and ask me but ring the police and the catt team, and waste weeks of my time and away from my children, much heartache, lies against my name and drugs shot into me for the say so of an eminie for the totally suspect and spurious, and like you a total waste of tax payers money and my money. some people look to missunderstand deliberately and behave like self appointed gastapo. Whith no sense of decency to check facts first with the person concerned over and hear their side of the story before going off like a loose bloody cannon and doing damage.

    Big hug to you and lots of love aroha from New Zealand

  33. Hannah January 5, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    I’ll just say this and then I’m going to bed…

    I don’t pretend to know 95% of the people I “meet” on the internet. Child endangerment and abuse are very serious crimes – as Thordora herself knows all too well, having been a victim of child sexual abuse at a young age. Yes, we have a responsibility to watch out for each other. (And no, I don’t think the Southern American comment was fair, either). But how is leveling such an extremely serious allegation about someone that you don’t know watching out for her?

    An awful lot of you here in the comments are getting up on your collective high horse and telling Thor she should be grateful that a passel of strangers sent the cops to her house tonight. No matter how much you think you were doing the right thing, you can’t seriously expect her to say thank you, can you? I mean, put yourself in her shoes for a minute. It’s pretty damn sanctimonious of you to wrap the mantle of your moral outrage around yourselves – you’re basically saying that she’s an ungrateful person and a disturbed person because she’s not kisses your arses for sending the police to your front door.

    Would you all have jumped to the immediate wrong conclusion if she wasn’t so open and honest about her struggles with bipolar? I wonder…

    Fact is, some people aren’t going to find wisecracks about smothering recalcitrant three year olds funny. Some of us are. But I’ll bet that this overreaction will stifle others who might be having a rough day, or a tear-inducing bedtime, or whatever, from venting a little of that frustration to this community.

    Two final thoughts:

    1. The kid who committed suicide online? “Everyone watching thought he was joking and playing around, until they saw the cops and EMTs enter his bedroom to try to revive him.” That’s crap. Many people watching were egging him on – basically telling him to “go ahead and do it already”. I fail to see how these two situations are at all analogous.

    2. “I didn’t call, but heard from 8 people that said that they did. ” Really? You had time to hear from eight people who called and didn’t get an answer? And you don’t even identify yourself here? That’s pretty rich, to accuse someone of endangering their children behind the comforting veil of internet obscurity.

    Tara: Here’s my quibble with you. You thought it was problematic? OK, fine. You don’t know Thor, and based on her past tweets and posts you were concerned. Fine. Alert Twitter if you have to. But DON’T BLOODY TWEET ABOUT IT and spread it all over the internet. You basically slandered an innocent woman, completely unnecessarily, just to have a tweet story. Yes, the cops may still have dropped by the house. Yes, Thor might still have been pissed and expressed that. But at least there wouldn’t be dozens of people she doesn’t know judging her here.

    I find it ironic that the same people who are claiming that her Tweet was a cry for help are also criticizing her roundly here, in her own space.

    Thor, I hope this isn’t the nail in the coffin for this blog – I know you’ve been debating shutting it down for a while now. If this drives you underground, your friends here will be the poorer for it.

  34. Serena January 5, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    I found out about this through someone else’s tweet. I cannot fathom why someone would overreact so thoroughly after reading something so innocent. While I have no kids, I regularly read tweets from mothers that say something similar. I think it’s awful you had to go through a situation like this from someone who doesn’t even know you.

  35. Kristine January 5, 2009 at 1:15 am #

    OMG! someone sent me this when I asked if it was okay to call my own children retarded.
    This is sadly hysterical, because, I say the same thing. My mostly involves beating them on Sundays or burying my ex husband in the backyard ( i love both the kids and the ex )
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. If it makes you feel any better the assholes that live next to me called the cops on me because the hedge in my front yard was too high. They found my blog and found out that I refer to them as The Pricks and they went around to all the neighbors and told them about my blog in tears! They never once confronted me about it though.

  36. Paul January 5, 2009 at 1:15 am #

    i don’t consider twitter to be a “community”. A community is where you know people – who to trust, who not to trust and the outlines of people’s personalities. Twitter is, for lack of a better word, a false community. That’s not to say that many of us have not become actual friends. There is a danger, though, in acting in the spirit of “community” when what you’re really dealing with is a hotel with a high turnover rate.

  37. Hannah January 5, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    Paul: Point taken. By “community” I meant the larger blogging world, and certainly not Twitter, which I kind of joined on sufferance. Love your analogy though, you’ve got it bang on.

  38. Shana January 5, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    Hannah, you are so right. Thordora’s harmless statement has been blown way out of proportion by people who don’t have enough excitement in their lives.

    Thordora, I have thrived on reading your blog, and would be both angry and sad if you took it down because of these violations on your reputation. I am one of those people who doesn’t know you, who never met you in person, who probably never will meet you in person. But when I was responding to a meme about the past year 2008, one of the top things I listed was having found your blog entry “I cannot handle being a mother anymore,” and crediting it for saving my life.

    For you freaks out there who would interpret my above paragraph to mean that I don’t love my kids, get a life. Thordora and I both love our kids. We’re just honest enough to admit that motherhood is horrifically hard sometimes. It is AMAZING how many parents feel the need to hide that or lie about it. Thordora didn’t. And because she didn’t, moms across the world are flocking to this site in relief.

  39. Nancy Cavillones January 5, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    I still think that the larger point here is that when you put yourself out there, you can’t control the reaction you’ll get from readers. Extreme actions/words tend to lead to extreme reactions/responses, whether it’s your blog or your twitter stream. The option is there for privacy but it’s up to the user to choose whether or not to exercise that option.

  40. Paul January 5, 2009 at 1:45 am #

    Nancy, can you tell me why the onus of responsibility is on the writer, not the reader? Tara *chose* to follow and as such holds a responsibility as a reader to understand what she’s reading. I’m not going to pick up deSade and then blame him for writing something I found troubling.

  41. Sean January 5, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    In many states of the US, citizens are legally required to report any and all negative acts made towards any child by any adult to the authorities.

    While it is certainly a shitty way to end the night, better to report any possible issues than to remain apathetic and risk a child being abused.

  42. ROFLMAO January 5, 2009 at 2:03 am #

    ROFLMAO! you should have said jklol after! What were you thinking!?!?!?!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  43. ROFLMAO January 5, 2009 at 2:06 am #

    Even if I say something minor like “I want to eat some fishsticks” I still say jklol afterwards because I hate fishsticks!

  44. Tamara January 5, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    I heard about this on facebook, the internet is a powerful place. I have often asked my friends if it was too late to have an abortion when my child was driving me. She’s seventeen now and I’ve said it this year. I have a sick sense of humor, I’m okay with that.

    It is hard to know from the discourse here if people really contacted you or not. I read that people tried to and you didn’t respond. I get your sense of humor and yet I am a total outsider and don’t know you. I can understand someone who does not get your sense of humor being concerned enough to do something about it. What that something is is hard to decide. It is not like we are taught to be good neighbors and good citizens. We are taught to mind our own effin business and then we are all in awe when things go awry for people.

    I can understand your indignation, PARTICULARLY if the person who contacted twitter then went around talking about it online. However, I am reminded of a time when my girlfriends little boy was put in the corner in a time out for doing something naughty. He screamed so long and so loud that the police showed up at the door. There was no real harm done by this action. It would have been nice had a neighbor knocked on the door first but that is a very, very hard thing to do. Calling the police on us was frankly a hard thing to do I’m sure.

    I’m disgusted by the people here who tell you that you need to watch what you say but I’m also saddened that you think it is so horrible that someone who does not have your sense of humor, nor understands it is brave enough to try and do the right thing by you and yours. I understand you not wanting to be her friend but I don’t think the world is a less safe place because someone doesn’t understand you and the police took some time to check on you.

    I do hope this all washes away for you quickly.

  45. sweetsalty kate January 5, 2009 at 2:21 am #

    Totally going off the grid. Scratching my own eyes out.

    We adore you, thor. We know you. Ditto Hannah on all points. We smother this with commonsense.

  46. ROFLMAO January 5, 2009 at 2:35 am #

    I hope you’re siked about the amazing influx of hits to your blog! I’ll be watching how many followers you gain in the next 24 hours! woot! ENJOY THE FAME! We love the drama!

  47. TJ January 5, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    How interesting. You know, viewing your Tweet in context of the Caylee Anthony story, I can see how someone might’ve misunderstood especially with the vehemence of the swearing. But, then when I look back at some of your other Tweets and your blog ode to your daughter, I think it’s pretty clear that it was your semi-snarky humorous way of venting some frustration. But, who am I to take sides either way? I told my child earlier today that if he would NOT STOP BUGGING me about something that I was going to return him to the hospital for a full refund.

  48. anon January 5, 2009 at 2:50 am #

    I saw the tweets after the fact, but I agree with Tara.

    Every day in the news we hear about children being murdered-because their mom wants to party or their dad doesn’t want to pay custody. What if someone in their lives noticed something “not quite right” and stepped in? And in some of those cases the close friends & family seem clueless. So, by saying people online don’t “know you”, who really knows anyone?

    Why do people think what they post online is private? It’s the same as yelling it to the neighborhood. Maybe you would have yelled the comment out loud to your kids in the middle of the mall food court-if you had, wouldn’t you have expected stares? Maybe a comment or two? A reaction? Are you looking for a reaction?

    And, I’m shocked at Tamara’s comment: “It is not like we are taught to be good neighbors and good citizens. We are taught to mind our own effin business and then we are all in awe when things go awry for people.”

    I was taught to be a good citizen! Many of us were. And I’m really sorry for the people posting who aren’t surrounded by people who do care & want to help when they can.

    It’s not related to kids, but quick personal story. Years ago, just after high school, I was out driving with friends. We went past a garage (the business kind where they work on cars) & I thought I saw smoke out back. But, I was out with friends, figured maybe they were burning leaves at night & didn’t bother. It’s not like we had cell phones back then. About 1 hr later we drove past again on our way back & the garage was surrounded by firetrucks & police-it was on fire! Luckily it didn’t burn down, but I’ll never forget that. What if it had been a house with people inside? NEVER again will I dismiss a feeling that something’s wrong, because sometimes where there’s smoke there IS fire! I’d rather be wrong (or get yelled at or be embarassed) than have to live with the guilt of not speaking up.

  49. Chester January 5, 2009 at 2:56 am #

    All these amateur detectives who were “alarmed” by a tweet, I equate them to the masses of television viewers who were constantly alerting the coast guard to rescue the S.S. Minnow while “Gilligan’s Island” was on the air.

  50. charmingdriver January 5, 2009 at 3:00 am #

    Let’s first establish some facts, Tara.

    No, you did not ‘respond directly’ to Thordora until you made it all about YOU in posting this non-sense, ”Dear person who just swore in capital letters about smothering your toddler, I’m sorry, but I had to unfollow you. That is not right.”


    After that, and after re-tweeting it, directing other people to the cause of your hand-wringing and ”your angst” you sent the oh-so-clinical, ”@thordora It would be a crime. If you’re having thoughts of hurting your child or yourself, plz get help ASAP. Go to the hospital NOW.”

    Again, niiiiiiiiiiiiiice. Make it all about you, your drama, your trauma, your angst then as an after-thought, actually try to make contact.

    Also, you didn’t call the police or ask anyone else to call? Liar. Or are you again playing semantics because it wasn’t the police you were trying to contact but some other agency?

    ”I need a person in Canada to make a toll free call for me. I can’t call from the US, the number goes to the wrong place. DM me if u can help ”

    ”I didn’t. I tried to call ChildProtectiveServices in Canada, but I couldn’t bc I’m in US. Whoever called did so quietly.”

    So. Yeah, you both tried to call AND tried to get others to call on your behalf; if you want the drama to be about you, which is obvious from your tweets and your comments here, then own your part and your actions.

    T, this is beyond believable, it really is and I am so sorry this happened.

  51. diction January 5, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    yea. sounds like a douche bag thing to say on the internet knowing that anyone and everyone can see and read it.

    bloggers/twitterfolk/internetfolk should stop and realize that not everyone get’s their brand of self righteous humor and be a bit more careful about what they say these days.

    lessons learned.

  52. Tamara January 5, 2009 at 3:58 am #

    Dear Anon – so you are shocked by my comment because you take it personally? That’s silly. Perhaps you and I have different definitions of ‘good citizen’? I certainly wasn’t saying anything personally about you or even me, I was making a larger statement about our society as a whole.

    Our society as a whole is driven by litigation in these instances and we certainly don’t have a history of tolerance and accepting people who are different than us. Nor do we, as a whole, get taught how to try and bridge those differences and understand each other. Hence leaving us with these ridiculous extremes: Do nothing or overreact.

  53. Román Medina January 5, 2009 at 5:25 am #

    Woa, that’s just insane, but I guess the lesson here is like anything on the Internet: be careful on what you post.

    Thordora: AhFRICKENMEN to that. From now on-Galbraith quotes only.

  54. Dee-Rob January 5, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    Just throwing down as another anonymous supporter out there in the internets, Thordora. I can’t help read some of the comments through the glass of living with my mother, both a professional educator and exhausted mother of five with a wicked sense of humor.

    She was heartbroken as a professional, when she testified in court for a kid who didn’t want to go into foster care and leave the only family he knew, but at the same time confided his abuse to her. She knew and the boy knew and the law required she report the abuse, but it was a difficult wrenching experience for herself and the boy she ultimately helped. Knowing what’s “best” for others was not an attitude my mother took lightly.

    At the same time, I would be enjoying a trust fund of mammoth proportions if I had a nickel for every idle threat or crazy, exasperated utterance she had for her five children.

    For all the sanctimonious folk out there, my point is life is complicated and from such a keyhole, unrealistic view as Twitter, there are many more ways to “help” than calling the cops or creating a scene. Remember communication and conversation? It’s what people did before computers. If you really want to be neighborly and build community, send a few DMs, try for personal contact, learn and listen, and spare the drama.

    Exiting soapbox now…

  55. Jai January 5, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    What a truly ridiculous situation.

    When I was housetraining my dog (who is very well-loved) I joked about “sending him to the farm” or dropping him off at the pound frequently. My friends would tell me to fix any canine obedience issues by finding a nondiscerning restaurant that could fix the problem AND get me a discount on dinner… dark humour like this allows us to vent our negative feelings and turn them into laughter. It’s entirely healthy, even if it suggests the horrible.

    Jokes about causing disproportionate harm in reaction to minor frustrations are part of everyday speech. Not reading a post like that as a joke suggests a great deal of immaturity and a high-level of self-aggrandizement (or possibly complete unfamiliarity with normal speech in North America.) It’s clear that some person wanted to be a Hero, and they will keep justifying their actions by saying it’s POSSIBLE that such an obvious joke could have been you signaling murderous intentions. But of course, it’s entirely frivolous; it’s like calling the cops if you hear a stranger on their cellphone say something like, “Susan, if you don’t get down here in fifteen minutes, you’re dead meat!” Sure, it’s possible, if extremely unlikely, that the person on the cellphone would murder Susan if she were delayed an extra five minutes. Homicides happen all the time. Still, making someone a murder suspect based on that evidence is so far-fetched that it defies reason.

    There’s also an aura of judgment about this whole situation. The underlying assumption seems to be that a “good mother” would never say something that implies anything other than candy hearts and fairy dust and selfless unconditional love for their children at every moment of their lives, so someone who doesn’t fit this pattern must be a “bad mother”. A “good mother” would NEVER be frustrated, and someone who felt frustration, well, that’s child endangerment! By calling in a potential child murder and raising the spectre of Caylee Anthony, our would-be Heroes have something personal to prove – that they are Better Mothers, who are selflessly looking out for everyone else’s children, and that further, they know what is best for everyone else, right down to the emotions they should feel and how they should properly express them. They’re not thought police so much as thought vigilantes.

    I would find this sort of thing pathetic if they hadn’t harmed an innocent family with this, and literally caused police to invade a child’s bedroom unnecessarily. So I’ll just have to settle on “reprehensible” instead.


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