Should you show your kids the video of girl fighting off alleged kidnapper? Would it help them be prepared?

On Wednesday a 7-year-old girl fought off an alleged kidnapping attempt in a Georgia Wal-Mart. The little girl started kicking and screaming until he put her down. (Good for her!!)

Here’s what happen according to The AJC story (You can see the store video for yourself above):

“According to police, Thomas Andrew Woods, 25, of Austell, started talking to Brittney Baxter in the toy aisle of the Wal-Mart and then grabbed her and put his hand around her mouth.”

“But Brittney kicked and screamed, and the man let her go, police said. Neither she nor her mother, who was nearby in the store, was injured.”

” ‘When she told me someone had tried to get her, I just couldn’t believe it,” Brittney’s mother, Georgeann Baxter, told Channel 2 Action News.”

“Store surveillance cameras captured the incident, and based on the description of the suspect’s vehicle, police located Woods a few miles away in Tallapoosa, Pesnell said.”

“Woods was charged with attempted kidnapping, and additional charges are likely, Pesnell said. The suspect was being held in the Haralson County Jail. GBI agents are assisting with the investigation.”

“Woods was released in October from the Wheeler Correctional Facility, where he had been since April 2007 following his manslaughter conviction in DeKalb, according to the state Department of Corrections. He was placed on probation after serving out his sentence. Earlier reports that Woods was out on parole were incorrect, according to Steve Hayes, spokesman for the state Board of Pardons and Parole.”

“According to DeKalb County jail records, Woods, previously of Tucker, was arrested in October 2004, three months after the crime for which he was convicted. He was 17 years old at the time.”

“The Bremen police chief praised Brittney’s actions.”

” ‘She did exactly what we teach the little ones to do at a time like that,’ Pesnell told Channel 2.”

So should parents show this video to their kids (or at least tell them about it) so they know what to do in case a stranger does the same thing to them?

Would it have more of an impact to actually show the video than tell the kids?

Would it be too upsetting to them to show them?

Will you show it? And to what age child?

45 comments Add your comment

Augusta

February 9th, 2012
12:41 pm

Yes, I would show it to my kids. However, they are older now, and not this young.

Again, I ask, where was the Parent?

Theresa you commented on the previous blog that your children would be an aisle or two away from you. I honestly do not think that is safe at all…..Anytime I’m in the store, I have all the kids right with me. If one wants to go over to the girls toy aisle, we all go. I have NEVER let my kids be out of my eyesight in a store.

Now they are older than this child, but back then, they never go out of my sight. There is no way I would have allowed one to roam to another aisle…..

motherjanegoose

February 9th, 2012
1:00 pm

I never let my young children separate from me…not even in the next aisle. I also walked them to the bus stop until they hit middle school. Things are too dangerous. I remember being dropped off at Silver Dollar City, in Branson MO, when I was 14 with my 11 year old sister. There were no cell phones back then and it would be long distance on a pay phone to reach our house in Arkansas. We lived 2 hours away.We would be there all day long without our parents. Not something I would do nowadays!

I was just talking to someone the other day who told me the Gwinnett Place Mall is dangerous to be at night. Too bad the kids are all hanging out there.

If a child was fiddling with a shelf, in the next aisle, and everything including the shelf fell on top of him…what would happen then?

When my daughter was little, we would talk about the “bad guys”. Once she said, ” If you would just tell me what the bad guys look like…I would know!” Unfortunately, I did not have an answer for that…bad ladies either!

shaggy

February 9th, 2012
1:01 pm

I don’t have a daughter, but if i did, and this happened to my little girl, I think I would have to go to that police jurisdiction, break some kind of law to get thrown in that jail, so I could have a chance to beat him into gelatin.
Yeah, I know there would be consequences, but some things are just worth doing. It’s kind of like that father years back in the New Orleans airport. This was all caught on a security camera that happened to be pointed to the event.
His daughter had been brutally raped, beaten almost to death, and the slime had done this before, several times. Dad found out somehow when they were moving slime through that airport. He waited patiently at the pay phones, pretending to make a call. Then, right as slime was being moved past him, he pulled a rather large looking handgun…BAM! One shot to the back of slimes head. Slime drops like a wet rag.
That dad was charged, made a light bail, had his day in court, where the judge downgraded the charge to something like disturbing the peace.
I remember giving that dad, the cops, the prosecutor, the judge, and the whole state of Louisiana a standing ovation for their great work on that case.

RealityMom

February 9th, 2012
1:19 pm

When my son was seven (10 years ago), he could go on the next row when we were shopping. He had his own list of things that he was responsible for getting. He could ride his bike to the neighborhood pool and stood at the bus stop every morning in Elementary school. We had always gone over the “STRANGER DANGER” things to do and he was mean as hell.

The parents that never let their kids have any independence are the same ones that are sitting in the interviews in yesterdays blog. Its called acceptable risk and we all do it everyday. Afraid of being in a car wreck, we all are, but we get in the car multiple times a day…..with our kids. Afraid that your kid is going to get snached…..maybe…but are you going to chain them to you??

Teach them how to be safe and give them a little space.

RealityMom

February 9th, 2012
1:20 pm

@Shaggy…..good for him and the Judge. It could have turned out VERY differently.

Wayne

February 9th, 2012
1:20 pm

“GBI agents are assisting…” ?

We make it clear to both our boys that they are to be in eyesight of us. We need to see them, and they need to see us. No exceptions. I’m with you Shaggy, but not just for a daughter. It just boggles my mind that someone could hit/hurt kids. I just don’t understand. Sure, there are times that I wanna – oh man do I ever – but c’mon – they’re kids! Nope, can’t do it. Maybe that’s why I don’t understand. If that makes sense…

Nancy Quinn

February 9th, 2012
1:21 pm

Yes, I will show this to my 7 year old son. When we are in a store he is constantly trying to go to an isle to look at toys, etc. when I am not looking. I will look at a product on a shelf and then turn around and he is gone. I then start screaming his name looking for him until I find him and bring him back. This is a constant battle I have with him. He knows he supposed to stay with me and I have explained all the dangers out there and crazy people that want to prey on kids. I then ask him, “Do you want to be kidnapped”?, and I explain to him that he is putting himself in a perfect position for a kidnapper to snach him up when he walks away without an adult. My husband and I talk to him and explain all the dangers, we tell him how much we love him, and if he were to get in the kidnapped by someone we would never see him again. I have explained that the kidnapper will hurt him over and over and maybe even kill him. My son still continues to try and walk away when I am not looking (when I am reading the product lable in the grocery store or in a clothing store looking for a size). When my husband is there, he does not try to walk away. So, YES, I will show this to my son as soon as he gets home from school today!

Denise

February 9th, 2012
1:31 pm

@Shaggy, that story sounds familiar to me because it sounded exactly like what happened to a boy that I grew up with.

http://www.fluther.com/23146/pretend-this-is-your-son-what-would-you-have-done/

motherjanegoose

February 9th, 2012
1:31 pm

No sitting in on interviews here RealityMom. My son flew alone on an airplane ( no accompany) when he was 10 but that was almost 15 years ago.

I am VERY picky about my purse as I had it snatched years ago and it was a major hassle to live without ID, checkbook and credit cards the week before Christmas. No computers back then either. I cringe when I see people just casually leave their purse out. How does this relate? I know of terrible situations with children and mine were a precious commodity to me. Much more important than my purse. If I keep an eye on my purse, I will keep an eye on my children ( when they were small). Things happen way too quickly.

Several years ago, there was someone cruising our neighborhood and trying to talk to children. He was reported in several neighborhoods and the car make was noted in the neighborhood newsletter. It was the same color and description of my car. I thought I was going to have to get a new car as everyone was looking at me. If your kids were out in YOUR front yard ..anything could happen. I am ALL about kids playing outside but the same as we did in Chicago 1960’s. We rode our bikes all day long and no one even worried about us.

What about Jorelys? She was right in her neighborhood as many kids are today.

Fred

February 9th, 2012
1:31 pm

GOOD damn question. I’ve been pondering that all day (since I saw the video) and I have decided YES. We often watch the news (boy howdy does THAT lead to some interesting questions from a 9 almost 10 year old little girl) and I have decided that if they don’t show the video while she’s watching, I will.

I wish she were old enough to show the movie Taken as well.

Voice of Reason

February 9th, 2012
1:31 pm

Maybe I missed it but where was the mother of this little girl? I would use this video more as a tool not to show what to do if a pedophile grabs my kid, but rather to scare them into not EVER leaving my side in the store while we are shopping.

/See what can happen to you when you don’t listen to me and wander off?

Realist

February 9th, 2012
1:40 pm

Everyone thinks this won’t happen to them or their kids and this is exactly why I will let my kids see this.Will it bother them ?Probably,but will it wake them up to the reality that danger is everywhere.It could possibly help them be more aware to their surroundings.

Augusta

February 9th, 2012
1:44 pm

My best friend lost her child in the Sesame Street Store at Gwinnett Place Mall about 15 years ago. She was looking at some toys, and he was right there, she turned her head, and he was gone!!!! She tracked down Mall security and they shut that mall down until they found her little boy. They found him in anouther store about 45 minutes later……luckily.

But she’s one of those who didn’t think twice about letting her kid go a couple of aisles away from her in a store. Until that day…..after that she never let him out of her sight.

motherjanegoose

February 9th, 2012
1:44 pm

@ Fred…TAKEN…now that is one scary movie! I could not sleep after seeing it. My daughter has seen it too!

Fred

February 9th, 2012
1:49 pm

Wow, anyone who says their child NEVER got out of their sight at a store is in my opinion not being truthful or has a very selective memory.

I WAS the primary stay at home dad for my daughter. I took her everywhere and I watched her like a damn hawk. But them little kids is QUICK. She could be gone in 1/2 second. Being little, in a dept. store she could walk under the clothes racks with no problems. I know it happened because I can vividly recall the fear I felt any time it did. not often and not for more than a second or two before I was searching, but if she ducked one way and I searched the other…………………

@Realitymon: Equating watching your children with being a helicopter parent is a bit foolish. I’m glad you never had to find out HOW foolish. Remember the name Jorelys Rivera? She was outside playing with friends and neighbors in the playground, a few feet from her apartment. She went to her house for a coke………………..

Fred

February 9th, 2012
1:52 pm

@ mjg: My wife would never understand why I told her how stupid it was to work until 10 or 11 (or later) in her office alone (At Emory) regularly (where someone could see the pattern) and then walk to her car in the abandoned (by then) parking deck. She doesn’t question it now after seeing Taken lol. But she did that stuff 20 years ago too.

motherjanegoose

February 9th, 2012
1:59 pm

Oh mine HAD been out of my sight for sure, when they were small. It only takes a minute for them to disappear.

shaggy

February 9th, 2012
2:14 pm

Denise,

WOW. That IS the story that I remembered. I am going back to the link to see if I remembered it correctly.
Was the boy you grew up with the dad or the slime?

shaggy

February 9th, 2012
2:19 pm

Denise,

I missed the sex thing pretty bad didn’t I? For some reason, I remembered the story was a girl.

I am going to find that little Asian guy from yesterday and request a good caning.

Carl

February 9th, 2012
2:21 pm

Where was the mother? You don’t leave your young children alone unsupervised in a store! It all worked out well this time. This creep was jailed in 2007 for manslaughter @ 17 and is already out. We have a great criminal justice system in this country.

Wayne

February 9th, 2012
2:27 pm

@Denise: Thanks for sharing that link. I read the comments too.

Interesting read.

Denise

February 9th, 2012
3:04 pm

Shaggy, I grew up with Jody the little boy whose dad is the HERO. By the time this happened, I had moved away and didn’t know about it until I saw Jody on Oprah. I asked my daddy about it (we moved away when my parents broke up…again) and he told me all about it and how he would have been at the airport with his gun too. Let me tell you, I believed him! :-)

And Shaggy no caning for you!

Augusta

February 9th, 2012
3:19 pm

If anyone harms one of my kids, I would be the one on trial for murder!!!!

usually lurking

February 9th, 2012
3:53 pm

Wow, blame the mother. That way you can convince yourself that it would never happen to one of your children.

Augusta

February 9th, 2012
3:57 pm

@usually – WHO would YOU blame? The child? The father? The store? The pedophile? The police? The neighbors? The dog?

Of course you blame the mother. She left her child unattended. Had she been right there with her child, this would NOT have happened.

usually lurking

February 9th, 2012
4:10 pm

@ Augusta – when do you stop blaming the mother? When the child turns 18? I’m just being realistic – unless a parent physically tethers their child to them at all times, there will always be a teeny tiny risk that some harm will come to the child. While this is very, very scary (and Jorelys is unbelievably tragic), the reason it is news is because it so very rarely happens. And to answer your question, I blame the man who tried to grab the child. There’s nothing in the news story to indicate that the mother was negligent.

Lori

February 9th, 2012
4:21 pm

My son is 8 and we have discussed things like this. I don’t ever let him out of my sight at the store, but I worry when he’s with my husband who is less attentive. But I have discussed in some level of detail how to defend himself against a kidnapper. I have taught him that he needs to fight with all his might and we discussed the vulnerable areas of a person’s body that he may be able to hurt, such as the eyes, neck, and obviously groin area. I’ve told him to kick, scream, fight, and poke at whatever soft area of the body he can reach, then when the person drops him, to not continue to fight, but to run like heck to the nearest other adult.

Susan

February 9th, 2012
4:21 pm

This guy doesnt fit the profile of a pedeofile, an ex-con newly out of prison, is usually laying low trying to stay out of trouble unless they want to go back. his previous conviction was for killing someone, that is a far cry from pedeophilia. I think there is a lot more to this case than just a snatch and grab. I really hope that this guy is the same guy as in the video, because otherwise there is a really bad guy still out there.

Lori

February 9th, 2012
4:24 pm

I’m with you Augusta. If someone wants to hurt my kids they are going to have to kill me first, and if they don’t, then without my kids, I’ve got nothing to live for, so I’m all good with hunting them down & doing them in!

RealityMom

February 9th, 2012
5:15 pm

Fred: Does that mean that you should never let your kids go outside and play? She probably KNEW the guy that took her and didn’t fight/scream/yell/bite when she was still outside.

RealityMom

February 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

I also aree with USUALLY LURKING. The gril was 7 years old, not 3. Maybe we should be PRAISING the MOM because she taught her daughter what to do if someone tried to grab her.

I lost my son at an amusement park once. He was 8 yrs old. He had been taught to go to an adult who works there and tell he lost his mom. He knew my first and last name and they made an anouncement over the loud speaker about a “lost mom”.

You can’t tie them to you. TEACH them what to do when you do get seperated. The world is full of sick people, but you can’t stay home because of them.

homeschooler

February 9th, 2012
6:52 pm

To those who have suggested “kids get away from you”.. definitely true but that was not the case here. This child was knowingly unattended at a prime place for a person to search out a child. Her mother was apparently looking at strawberries while she was at the toys. Now I’ve been in more Walmarts than I care to admit and the produce is never close to the toys. Sorry, she was too far away. Not smart. She seems like a pretty down to earth “normal” mom. I’m sure she totally regrets her lack of judgment and will think twice next time.

I showed this video to my kids (11 and 8). We talked about how brave and smart this little girl was. I have to wondrer if my kids or any other more “sheltered” children would have reacted the same way. There is something to be said for instilling in a child the confidence to take care of herself. Don’t get me wrong. A seven year old should be attended at all times. But what about a 9 yr old? 10? When do we decide it is okay? I read once that 11 is the most common age for a girl to be abducted by a stranger. Interestingly that is around the age that most parents let down their guard. Should we now keep 11 yr olds at arms length. No. We should show them stuff like this often and give them opportunities to feel self sufficient so they can have the confidence to act if needed. Educated, trained confident children are less likely to become victims. I think this video should be shown in every elementary school in the country. Studies show that being prepared for a particular incident seriously affects the way you react to it.

catlady

February 9th, 2012
7:10 pm

No, I don’t think I would have shown this to my children. I think it would have been too scary.

I tried to safeguard them by keeping them with me (NO wandering away) and by teaching them what to do if they somehow did get separated. (a Plan B). When I was growing up I had to hold onto my mother’s skirt (back when ladies dressed up to go to the grocery, etc). Apparently once I dropped it, and when I re-attached, the (strange) woman looked down at me and I said, rather accusingly, “YOU”RE not my mother!” I was quickly reunited with her.

Once, in Tallahassee, I was shopping with my younger daughter, age 4. Of course, she was right beside me. As I was writing my check, she was playing around there beside me, hanging on the bar, etc, when suddenly I felt her hand caressing my side, then my butt, more and more personally. I kept twitching away, till I heard this deep voice say, “Oh, my God” in a rather aroused way. I realized my daughter was 3 or 4 steps away, and I was being “felt up” by the rather strange-acting man I had seen earlier wandering the aisles!

catlady

February 9th, 2012
7:12 pm

Parents should NEVER let their children be a few aisles away, at least until they are old enough to drive THEMSELVES to the store for you! IMHO

actual social worker

February 9th, 2012
8:26 pm

NEVER let your child go to another aisle in a store. I spent years dealing with predators who live for those moments. They don’t look weird or act strangely, they hold jobs, have families, and are really good at keeping their secrets. This man had a criminal record but most of the men I put in prison were fathers, went to church (too many were pastors), and held steady jobs. The biggest problem with my job was too many people on juries didn’t want to believe that predators lived in their neighborhoods and sat beside them at church. What you hear on the news is the white washed version. There is nothing like having to sit and not react when a 6 year old child tells you how daddy or mommy’s boyfriend sexually abused her. My children are now teenagers and I still know where they are, who their friends are, and I meet the parents of all their friends before they go to their house. And yes, I do check out the parents. I spent years getting children out of situations they should have never been placed in by their parents. I have been out of the business for over a decade but I still the faces of some of the children and think I probably always will.

If someone gives you or your child the creeps even though they appear perfectly normal, go with your instincts and keep your distance. Much better embarrassed if you are incorrect than your child being scarred for life.

Willow

February 10th, 2012
1:04 am

Catlady,

I had that exact same situation happen to me when I was about 4, in the grocery store produce section, my mom was wearing a long skirt, I was always had a hand attached to her skirt. She told me to stay with the cart for just a second while she grabbed something just a few feet away. I guess I looked away and when I looked back I saw,” My moms skirt,” so I grabbed on again as usual, a second later I looked up to see this very confused looking woman’s face looking down on me. I panicked, I don’t remember saying anything, just crying!!! Funny memory now, scary feelings then!!

FYI, I am a catlady also, 1 human child and 4 furry children!

Willow

February 10th, 2012
1:13 am

lol, I guess this is on east coast time, it’s only 10pm here in Cali.

I also showed this video to my 6 yr old, we have always talked about what to do if someone tries to take him, but you never know what a child will do in certain circumstances. I have always been known as the,”Fun Mom,” because I am always outside when the kids are playing, and there are very few other parents that ever come out to play with their kids, let alone supervise them, and I’m talking age range of 3yrs old to 8 yr olds. It just makes me sick to see a three year old playing outside alone, in an apartment complex while the parents are inside with the front door shut. UGH, parents PLEASE watch your children!

Anj

February 10th, 2012
5:59 am

My oldest is allowed to go off by himself – usually to get something from another aisle. He’s a scrawny ten year old. The eight year old isn’t allowed off by himself, but not because of kidnappers but because his impulse control problems mean he might try to do something like take a toy out of a box.

It’s great to teach kids about stranger danger, but actual incidents of strangers kidnapping children are rare. The more common ways that children get hurt involve daily living. Every time my kids are near me when I have something hot in my hand, they are reminded they should STAY OUT OF THE WAY. And never ever STAND BEHIND SOMEONE who is handling a hot pot or pan.

Yes, parents will freak out about stories like this. But they should remember more children die in accidental drownings than will be killed by strangers. More children will be abused by someone their parents know, than by strangers.

FCM

February 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

My 12 recorded the news segment, called her younger sister (9) in and said watch. Then looked at her and said “Do you think that is why Mom says stay with her at the store?”

Knock on wood the younger one now stays close to me instead of lolly gagging.

Responsible parenting?

February 10th, 2012
12:48 pm

Why is nobody mentioning the fact that this child was supposedly out of school for Strep Throat? Who the hell does this parent think she is to bring a contagious child out in public exposing all the rest of the population to her daughter’s illnes when she is sick? And if she was so sick she couldn’t go to school, why the hell is she wandering around WalMart spreading her germs all over the toys in the toy aisle so that the next kids to come along will be infected?

Then let’s talk about the toy aisle. Why do parents think its ok to allow their children to (as characterized by one reporter) “play” in the toy aisle of WalMart? These toys are the property of WALMART – NOT YOU OR YOUR CHILD. WalMart may be happy to have you view the toy, handle the toy, etc. but their toy aisle is not there to serve as a free play experience nor a temporary babysitter. It is no wonder why their stores always look so crappy and disheveled. The halloween aisle on the 30th of October looks more like a landfill thanks to the horrible parenting that plagues our society. When my wife worked at Montgomery Ward in the 1980’s there were actually parents who would leave their children in the playpens and cribs while they went shopping in the store. WTF?? This is the kind of crap that comes from an entitlement mentality society.

Sure, this guy was the scum of the earth, but clearly mom needs far greater amounts of public ridicule and condemnation, not just for being a neglectful parent, but for being someone that does not respect the property or health of others or her role as a parent in taking charge of her offspring so that they will not violate the property of others as well.

Kat

February 10th, 2012
2:40 pm

I appreciate this topic, if only for the fact that no one is criticizing Theresa for posting it.

@RealityMom: “The parents that never let their kids have any independence are the same ones that are sitting in the interviews in yesterdays blog. Its called acceptable risk and we all do it everyday.” No actually, we aren’t the same people. Big difference between the two, and you should know better.

I have let my kids browse on their own in the toy department, but no longer. This was a big wake-up call. I am always in the next aisle (at most), but apparently, that is similar to this mom. Also, it doesn’t always have to be a big, scary person that takes the kid. Sometimes, it is someone who says to the kid, “Your mommy is hurt in the store. Come with me and I’ll take you to her.” Our kids have to know that they should kick and scream (even if told not to) and run to a store employee (hope that person is okay). Or to a woman with kids – the next safest person they say. NEVER let a person take you to a “second” location (thanks, Oprah).

Kat

February 10th, 2012
2:47 pm

After reading through the article, I was surprised to hear that the girl was in the toy aisle and the mom was getting groceries. At all the Wal-Marts that I know of in my area, NONE of the toy departments are any where close to the groceries. Perhaps (hopefully?) the mom means groceries in another sense – not as in food?

catlady

February 11th, 2012
2:33 pm

Willow: Meow to you! I am a private rescue “group” of one. I have paid for spays or neuters of about 40 cats and dogs! The vet loves me.

Responsible parenting?

February 11th, 2012
4:24 pm

Maybe someday we will have a society again in which parents are actually forced to be financially and personally responsible for the offspring they produce. Just imagine how great society would be if we could achieve that goal. We have the horrible children and parents we have today because we incentivize a lack of personal responsibliity from the highest levels of government on down. Only the libertarians seem to understand this common sense approach to life.

Sarah

February 12th, 2012
5:22 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! I showed it to my 6.5 year old and she asked to see it severl times. I think she was wrapping her mind around the fact that this really happens. Mom always says it does, but now there is video which makes it more real for her. We practiced **out loud** what she would do in that situation. We made it a family event and practiced screaming out loud and , grabbing her from behind and showed her how hard it would be for her to fight back against an adult.

When the little girl in Cherokee County was killed. I showed her a picture of the killer, without context, and asked her if she thought this man was scary. Her answer…NO. Then I teld her that he kidnapped a little girl her age.

I hate that I have to explain this, and I do feel that it takes away from their innocence a bit, but the alternative is far worse.