I wittnessed something that chilled me to the bone a few years ago and felt the need to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, hoping it would somehow help the situation.
Here is my letter, as they posted it. Please take note of the bolded text.
Deadly play at Wal-Mart
On Sept. 27, I was shopping in the Wal-Mart Supercenter in ——-. I watched a young girl, about 5 with white blond hair, cover the mouth and pinch the nose of a baby — suffocating him. After he turned beet red, she lifted her hand. The baby screamed once he was allowed to breathe, then was smothered again. I quickly approached these children and the older woman who seemed to minding both of them. I explained to the child the danger of what she was doing. Her response? She smiled at me. This child had no guilt; I would say from the look on her face that she was enjoying the process.
I spoke to the older woman (babysitter? grandmother?) with long, dark, gray-streaked hair who was “watching” these children, and explained to her what I had seen. She replied, “The baby misses its mother.” She seemed oblivious to what was going on. I explained to her repeatedly what I had seen and she did not show any level of understanding. I felt I could not leave the store without doing something, so I went to the management and asked that store security intervene. The manager was alarmed but took no action, so I did not stay to see what happened. I wish I had called CPS on the spot.
I cannot convey how horrifying it was to see this child try to suffocate the baby. If she does this in public, God knows what might happen in private. If anyone knows who these people are, I implore you to step forward and to do something about this. Am I overreacting? I doubt it. If someone doesn’t get involved, this baby could die.
Okay. So the problem with this? The newspaper CHANGED the bolded text. This is what I actually wrote for the bolded text:
“I felt I could not leave the store without doing something, so went to the management and asked that store security intervene. The manager was alarmed and taking action, so I did not stay to see what happened, but am now wishing I had called CPS on the spot.”
See the big difference? Would have been nice if they got it right! This letter caused a lot of buzz, it was read on the local radio stations.
What would you have done in this situation?