From The Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: The Kids For Sale “Joke”

taped kids

Memphis, Tennessee Facebook user Jaton Justsilly Jaibabi posted this photo of her two small children with duct tape over their mouths and cuffing their wrists, with the legend, “Kids for sale, 45% because they bad.”

Now the Memphis police are investigating. I don’t know why the investigation is necessary; this is signature significance; No responsible parent who can be trusted with the delicate job of raising children would do this to them. It is also an example of what the law calls res ipsa loquitur: “the thing speaks for itself.” This is child abuse, and the woman responsible for it is a child abuser. No other interpretation is possible.

In fact, the poster, who has ended her Facebook account, appears to be part of an entire family that should be considered a societal menace. Jaibabi’s cousin, Derion King, explained that this was just a practical joke, writing in part,

“Basically a joke at the moment that people just went overboard about. People make mistakes and that’s what this situation is, a lesson learned. They are safe, unharmed, and loved. That’s all it is to it.”

There are eight incorrect, idiotic or unethical statements in this 36 word statement: impressive! And frightening. Here they are:

1. The Joke Excuse is a desperate rationalization, and it especially doesn’t work when children are used as props, and the “joke” is child trafficking and abuse.

2. Nobody went “overboard.” The photo showed children being treated cruelly, and the reasonable assumption is that they are in peril as long as the idiot who posted the photo has control over them.

3. “People make mistakes” doesn’t apply here. In addition to being another rationalization (19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”), what’s the mistake? Posting the picture, so everyone knows she’s a moron who thinks child abuse is hilarious?

4. What lesson was learned? Don’t tape kids’ mouths shut and their wrists together? Don’t let the world know you tape your kids’ mouths shut? Use gags next time? Is the lesson that, SURPRISE! Facebook users don’t think photos of small children being abused is funny? Was the lesson that she needs to go back to school, before her children end up as illiterate as she is, and say things like “they bad”? The lesson that we would like to hope she learned is that this is no way to treat your children. Experience tells us, however, that any parent who needs to learn that child abuse be bad should probably practice on a guinea pig or a goldfish before starting a family. I think it is unlikely that Jaton Justsilly Jaibabi  has learned anything except–maybe—that when you commit crimes, you probably shouldn’t post the evidence on Facebook.

5. The children are not safe. They are helpless and living with a mother who duct taped their mouths shut.

6.  They were harmed; they were probably not harmed permanently. Yet.

7. If this family thinks “love” is indicated by using children as props for “jokes,” humiliating the children by posting images of them in distress on the web, and intentionally placing them in distress as recreation, the family has a warped understanding of “love.”

8. No, that’s not all there is to it. Based on what we know, the children should be removed from the care of this irresponsible and certifiably stupid mother.

13 thoughts on “From The Res Ipsa Loquitur Files: The Kids For Sale “Joke”

  1. I once worked for Texas’s Child Protective Services. I can guarantee that the Family Court Judge who we worked with would order the removal of the children from this home immediately, based on the posted picture. The police would, of course, investigate further, but CPS would move immediately.

  2. Just curious, but were the children’s eyes photo-masked for privacy by the babysillymama? I was thinking not. Just as well.

  3. I should also point out that these kids are toddlers, and the idea that toddlers can be ‘bad’ is absurd on its face. The kids do not know right from wrong yet; toddlers acting out aren’t being ‘bad’, they’re being toddlers. They literally do not yet have the mental capacity yet to understand misbehavior. The outlook for these children looks grim if CPS doesn’t get involved; if you’re going to bind a toddler with duct tape for acting like *gasp* a toddler, I can’t imagine what you’ll do to them as they get older.

  4. I’ve never understood the whole children as props thing: whether they are spray tanned and sent toddling off down a runway with a tiara and fake teeth, or cruelly lied to and their tears video taped for the entertainment of some late night talk show audience, or their mouths and hands duct taped to see how many Facebook likes the photo can rack up. I must have been absent during that part of parenting class.

  5. Jack, depending only on your portrayal of this event, my initial thought was, “Yeah, this is kind of funny; I can see how this could have been done as a joke.” However, joke or not, have you ever felt the pure exhilaration of removing duct tape from your face? (It’s not near as pleasant as the application.) Abusing children and using them as props is unacceptable.

    With respect to consequentialism, I recently commented that “the value and especially the moral value of an act should be judged by the value of its [intended] consequences”. Jack clarified this vague definition by saying, “Good intentions do not rescue an unethical act”. The scenario at hand seems to be a perfect example of the principles involved. Assuming the best of the parents, their only intentions were to do something funny that would entertain their friends and others. These are certainly laudable intentions. However, they employed unethical means to fulfill their intentions, and their good (ethical) intentions cannot rescue their unethical acts. The reasons so are not difficult to ascertain. When we consider all of the long-term consequences of treating children in this way, the benefit of the entertainment in terms of long-term (real) happiness is far eclipsed by the detrimental consequences to the parents, children, and society at large. In other words, the consequences (ends) do not justify the means.

    • “my initial thought was, “Yeah, this is kind of funny; ”

      My initial thought was “I’ve said something similar.” In fact, I clearly remember saying to my mother-in-law at the end of an exhausting, exasperating day with my then three year old daughter “I swear, mom, I’m going to stand her down at the end of the driveway with a sign around her neck that says ‘Free to good home. Has all shots.’ “. But it was a comment shared privately and the three year old in question was safe and sound in bed having been fed, bathed and read to.

  6. There are so many pseudo parents out there who are so bereft of not just common sense, but of the basics of what it means to be a parent, that they constitute a menace to their children and any others they may come in contact with. What’s really scary is that so many teachers seem to fit this mold.

  7. Ok, I can understand the frustration. Despite the fact that it was a joke in poor taste, I think other parents have done worse. I don’t think it’s right, but I also don’t think it’s as big a deal as the article paints it to be.The aspect of duct tape is killing you all. In its priciple, I’m saying, think of how many shootings there are now, people are brought up to think they are made of glass and the slightest disappointment or hurt takes them to the extreme. Back in the days, parents were BRUTAL,and taught their kids however they thought proper. Despite the fact, that bullying, corporal punishments, and drinking and smoking examples were very high; these kids grew up tough, and most prevailed. We shouldn’t be so delicate with kids, we also shouldn’t duct tape them, but if the mistake is done, lets not act as if they parents hung their child. Reprimand, absolutely, compare this to child traffiking without cause? Maybe too much?

    • This is a rationalization for bad conduct. The fact that other people “have done worse” does not change the unacceptable nature of the conduct. The rationalization is on the list of Rationalizations in the column on your left: you can click on it and learn something.

      An analysis such as yours is a symptom of basic ethics ignorance. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does mean that you wouldn’t know if you were or be able to ID one, since you fall for ancient fallacies like “Well, it’s not the worse thing.” Ethics is a skill, a knowledge base, and an area of necessary study, practice and consideration. You don’t have it, and that’s a problem. Stay a while, and learn.

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