Beware. It’s dangerous out there. In the cyber world. Millions of videos with catchy tunes, visual effects, and very moving soapbox speeches by attractive talking heads saturate the information super highway. The issue of fake news has recently raised its head as the latest nemesis to be attacked by social media because of the large influx of falsehoods it pitches as truth to be knocked out of the park as gospel by readers. Such lies and false pretenses create miscommunication that result in prejudicial actions, thoughts, and down right hatred among the population around the world. But, what about videos created on the smaller scale–the owner and operator of a smartphone or device sufficiently supplied with apps that can get their face out there for millions of views? Can these videos lead to a swell of prejudice and hatred? Absolutely. How is that? Quite simply. Take an issue that is an annoyance to most and harp on it with emotional, uneducated, and disillusioned solutions that appeal to indifference. Annoyances such as child misbehavior in public. We’ve all come across the scenario: the child acting up in the grocery store putting an unwanted spotlight on their parents, making it difficult for other shoppers to “enjoy” their trip at the store. “Spoiled brat” and “get your kid under control” are thoughts that I once had in such cases as recent as five years ago before I had my son, who has autism, PDD-NOS, sensory and feeding disorders, and hard of hearing. Now that I have my son, I am way more compassionate and empathetic for the parent.
As a mother to an autistic child and a reformed thinker, it is my responsibility to counteract archaic child rearing methods to ensure a safer future for my son and all people on the spectrum. Therefore, I am calling out videos like those posted by “The Stop Sign” on Facebook. I’ve seen two videos that begin with recordings of small children giving their parents difficulties in public. Neither contain the commentator in action. It’s followed by ignoramus commentary on how the parents are being played by their kids on a daily basis. Recommendations of violence and domination are given as solutions. He recommends using a belt and public spanking. He says kids know that they can call CPS to defend themselves, and when he was a kid, CPS couldn’t get there fast enough to save him from getting a beating. The commentator further states children are disrespectful because they are permitted and encouraged to be that way due to lack of ass beatings. The disrespect is not limited to parents, but extends to law enforcement officers as well. He makes a stance that all law enforcement officers should be respected in all situations. What you never see him do is actually carry out any of his recommendations. It’s unclear if he has children of his own without making an assumption.
Well, I’m not going to write against “The Stop Sign” about his unclear qualifications without stating my own, and my platform to refute. First of all, I am a parent. I’ve been a mother for almost twenty-five years. I have three children; two daughters that are adults, and a five-year old son. (Yes, I get loved very well thank you.) My daughters do not have behavior disorders that have to be cared for like my son. Stern warnings, groundings and spankings (not in public) worked for my daughters. My son received his first and last spanking at the age of three. I popped him once on his diapered behind for repeatedly going near the hot stove. He responded by purposely running head first into a wall, putting a knot on his forehead. That let me know right away there was no force within me that I can inflict on him that he’s not willing to do to himself. Secondly, I saw with my own eyes what his developmental pediatrician had told me about sensory disorder: a child with the disorder will do anything to stop the force that is bothering them, even if it means harming themselves. Anxiety in the disorder creates social misbehavior that cannot be controlled with old spanking methods because it’s a response to stimuli, not an act of disobedience. In order for disobedience to occur, the child must understand what the rule is and then make a conscious decision not to follow it. The kids on the videos that “The Stop Sign” present appear to be disobedient and display bratty behavior to a passerby who is unfamiliar with the disorder. But a parent who has a child with the disorder knows the reactions all too well.
Let’s talk about the word “stimuli” for a moment (plural for the singular word stimulus). When you encounter lights that are too bright, you close your eyes or cover them with your hands or sunglasses. If it’s way too bright, you may let out a vocal response and seek refuge in a darker place (like an area shaded by trees or buildings). The bright light is the stimulus, covering eyes to handle the brightness is the response. The sensitivity of sensory disorder can make common halogen lights (like those used in grocery stores) too bright for sufferers. Even though normal people can handle it, sensory disorder sufferers can be bothered by it like direct sunlight into their retinas. And what about sunlight? Can that be too bright? Yes. My son very commonly comes to me for comfort from over stimulation. I pick him up, and he buries his face into my chest or shoulders seeking cover from the brightness of the sun, or the blowing force of a light breeze that feels like a gale to him. Noises that are commonplace to us are amplified concert sounds to kids with sensory disorder. Stores that we normally shop at are unfamiliar surroundings or places of discomfort to these kids. I use this as an analogy to promote deep thought: If a paraplegic is pushed into a swimming pool, do they deserve to drown because they’re not physically capable of swimming? The answer is a resounding hell no. They should be rescued and accomodated for their handicap. The same principle applies for children and people who suffer with autism and spectrum related disorders. Autism cannot be spanked out of a person.
However, it is too simplistic to take the stance which “The Stop Sign” presents. It’s easy to blame the parents for the way their kids act and to assume they’re not being “raised right”. It is also a slippery slope that can lead the listener to incarceration, homicide and suicide. “The Stop Sign” is telling people to use physical force to solve problems with dominance and brutality. He doesn’t actually use those words, but he does get you started on that path. How so? Because he’s saying to hit the kid until you get the results that you want. That is the right way to child abuse and assault charges, your kids being taken, and you possibly going to jail. Even worse, obsession with control can be so overwhelming that the listener can go overboard with the beatings resulting in the death of the child, and/or suicide of the parent because they cannot achieve the level of control that they want. Either way, it’s a set up to break the law that he highly recommends kids should be taught to respect, and its enforcers, which leads to my final point.
I do not recall seeing any law enforcement qualification noted, listed, or mentioned by “The Stop Sign”. My law enforcement qualification is ten years and six months as a 9-1-1 police calltaker and radio dispatcher for Montgomery County, Maryland. I was a dispatcher during 9/11 and D.C. Sniper. I’ve handled hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of calls on the phones and police radio. I worked directly with sworn and civilian police staff, as well as fire and rescue. I’ve talked people out of suicide, have listened to scenes of domestic violence, and spoke directly with victims and their families of homicide, rape, and robberies. I handled countless traffic stops, vehicle and subject foot pursuits, active commericial burglaries, and home invasions. On a smaller criminal scale, loud music complaints, neighbor disputes, shoplifting calls, and general county information are in my framework of expertise as well. As a former member of the law enforcement community, who has years of training in handling the public, never has there ever been any mention for law enforcement officers to have an expectancy of respect from any member of society. Law enforcement is not limited to those citizens who show respect only. Public safety is a civil right for everyone, no matter the level of respect they display. Disrespect is not illegal. Assaulting an officer is. Well trained officers know the difference, and are expected to behave at a higher level of thinking and performance of their duties than civilians because they are trained and equipped to do so. They supplement the lack of respect from the general public by fortifying their support for one another. It’s why they band together in all instances, even those that can be considered immoral. They let it play out in court and let employment termination occur before disbandment. I bet “The Stop Sign” does not even know where it is the most disrespect for law enforcement comes from. It’s not the inner cities where unarmed citizens are being killed by cowards in uniform. It’s the suburbs, where a White man in a domestic violence situation is statistically more likely to kill an officer than an unarmed Black man “in the ‘hood”. The very audience he is pumping and priming to “get control of your kids” are the same people who will shoot and kill a police officer. Ask any police officer, “Where does most of your DUI stops occur?” or “What people show you the most disrespect?” The answer may surprise you. “The Stop Sign” is feeding a monster that has an incessant appetite to devour, not just take a few bites and have leftovers. Violent rage is something that starts out small like spanking a small child and grows to killing a police officer because it’s all domestic violence.
I’m not the type of person to present problems without solutions. Do I expect “The Stop Sign” to stop his videos? A resounding hell no. He’s the hype that almost everyone wants to believe, the hype that foreshadows the truth. A source of the truth and better options to grow in knowledge is “Special Books by Special Kids” on Facebook. Christopher Ulmer is a special needs educator that takes the camera along with him to film his interactions with children and people with special needs around the world. He actively demonstrates how to open lines of communication with children who behave differently because of disorders or brain trauma. Mr. Ulmer utilizes simple techniques of adaptation to achieve goals. It’s very fascinating, non-violent, and makes use of the basic human function: adaptation. I hope to reference him and the page in future postings.
In my conclusion, and the message I want to get across, especially to the Black community, is do not beat your kids. Discipline them. In order to teach them better, you yourself as the parent or guardian have to know better. Do not be fearful or resistant to learning non-violent methods to discipline your child. If you must spank, do so in love not dominance nor humiliation. Black community please pay attention. Before the belts, extension cords and switches from trees to spank our kids were cat-o-nine-tails whips used by slave masters, chains of bondage used by slave traders, and those trees where the switches come from may have hung a body of an ancestor from lynching of grown men. Do not send our kids into the future with damaging scars of the past. The digital age and internet revolution is the first time in Black American history that we are not cast out by prejudicial legislation (Jim Crow segregation for example). It’s the hope that our enslaved ancestors prayed and labored for. Let’s not squander it by taking on viral videos of ignorance as our course of action. Speed through “The Stop Sign”. Do not stop for videos that market violence against children or anyone.
Autism cannot be cured by spanking, but ignorance can be cured by knowledge.
Tamika Trammel is a fictional author. Her books “18 Years of Grace and Mercy: A Teenage Mother’s Testimony, Vol. 1” and “The Pusher, the Prostitute and a Preacher” are available in soft cover and eBook for purchase with any online retailer including: Amazon, B&N, and Good Reads. Get a personalized autograph softcover copy at www.tamikatrammel.mybigcommerce.com