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Viral Image Depicts Woman Holding Gun to A Baby's Head

A widely circulated Internet message asks users to share an image depicting a young woman holding a gun to a baby's head in the hope that the woman can be identified.

Brief Analysis
The circumstances in which the photograph was taken remain unclear. Many commentators have suggested that the gun is not real. Others have countered by pointing out that the act may still be considered abuse even if the gun wasn't real. But, although the image is certainly disturbing, it may have been just a foolish prank. The picture alone is not enough to ascertain if the child is being abused or is in any danger. The blogger who posted the picture now claims that relevant authorities have been informed and are dealing with the matter.  And the matter should certainly be now left for authorities to deal with as they see fit.

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I was sent this picture today by a friend who was very distressed to see it on her page.It apparently was posted to see if anybody could find the girl and if they cared well we do care and we have to find this baby as this scares the hell out of me

Baby Gun Head

Detailed Analysis

A rather disturbing image, which depicts a young woman holding a gun to a baby's head, is currently going viral on Facebook and other social media websites.  A link in the circulating message points to a post on the NoLongerVictims blog.  The post asks people to share the image all over the Internet in the hope that someone can identify the woman.

Some reports suggest that the woman may live in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the picture was posted to an Argentinian Facebook page on August 12, 2013.

The image has created a great deal of commentary with some baying for the woman's blood while others suggest that the scene depicted may not be as heinous as it appears.  Many have pointed out that the gun may well be a replica or a toy. Others have countered by noting that, even if the gun was fake, the image is no less disturbing and the child's welfare needs to be ascertained.

In a follow-up post on the same blog, the writer explains that the image has been reported to the relevant authorities and they are dealing with the issue.

But, there lies the problem.  It would have perhaps been considerably wiser to report the matter and let authorities attend to it without publicly posting the image and requesting that it be shared worldwide. If authorities needed help to find out the identity of the woman, then it would be up to them to make relevant information available to the public.

The picture alone is not enough to ascertain if the child is being abused or is in any danger. The picture may be nothing more than a foolish moment in time with a toy gun forever immortalized and now made public for the world to see and to judge. Or perhaps it does show something more sinister. Without further details, we can only speculate on the circumstances in which the picture was taken.

But, given that the matter has reportedly being dealt with by those with the authority and power to do so, the further circulation of the image may be counterproductive.  The widespread dissemination of such messages can hinder police investigations and potentially impact on future court cases. And, they may unfairly damage the reputations of people who have committed no crimes and done nothing wrong.

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Last updated: August 23, 2013
First published: August 23, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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