Friday, July 13, 2007

Is This Toddler On Ecstasy?

Today, while browsing the news for stories to share in this blog, I noticed a series of news stories that really disturbed me.
In the first story, it was reported that a video had turned up on YouTube, in which 2-year-old little girl sat on the floor of a van, staring blankly into the camera and rolling her eyes back until only the whites showed. Meanwhile, a group of teenagers and young women laughed at the child, making comments that the child was on ecstasy. One young woman repeatedly pushed the little girl in the face, smacked and squeezed her cheeks, and tapped the top of her head. Viewers of the video were worried that maybe that little girl actually had been given ecstasy or some other drug, and the authorities were trying to identify the child and the adults in the video.
Several other articles trace the story from there. Apparently the authorities were able to trace where the video had been posted from... Houston. They eventually did discover the identities of the child, seven teens and young adults, and an infant, who were in the van when the video was made. All were interviewed.
According to the adults and teens, the little girl was never given any drugs, and was rolling her eyes back on command, to entertain the bored group, who were on their way back from a day trip.
Apparently the teen who made the video posted on YouTube with the title, "Rolling, Rolling, Rolling." ("Rolling" is a slang term for being on ecstasy.) Other YouTube users copied the video and reposted it with titles like, "Mother Feeds Baby Ecstasy." Meanwhile, the 2-year-old's 21-year-old mother said that she was never aware that the child was being video taped or that the tape was posted online.
The toddler and her 8-month-old sibling are being cared for by a relative while the investigation is underway. All of the adults and teens who were involved will have to take drug tests, and the children will be given medical examinations.
After reading this whole story, I had to see the video. The story reminded me of a similar one in which some teenagers posted a video of themselves teaching their toddler nephews to smoke marijuana. (Strangely, that also happened in Texas!)
So, I watched it... The video in question has long since been taken off YouTube, but you can still view it on several websites, including here.
Unlike the video where the two little boys were actually seen smoking marijuana in a way that suggested they'd done it quite often before, in this video there is no actual evidence of the little girl being given any drugs. She is behaving strangely, just staring at the rest of the group, with her eyes rolled back. The eeriest part is that she almost never responds to what the others are doing to her. They are talking to her, laughing at her, touching her face and head, pushing her, even putting the earphones of an I-pod in her ears, and she just looks back at them with her eyes rolled back. But two-year-olds can be weird sometimes. They love attention, and are often delighted at being able to make the "big kids" laugh at them.
The thing that disturbs me is the way the teens and young adults are acting in the video.
Their remarks about the little girl being on drugs... one even saying, "She's taking that hit like a soldier!"... are sickening. The way they touch her and push her around as if she is a toy... the way she is huddled on the floor instead of sitting in any sort of seat, let alone a car seat... the way the same girls pass around the 8-month-old baby as if he too is a toy... the way the camera shows them flashing tongue rings and speaking boisterously... makes me irritated and angry.
It would be one thing if it was a carful of teens, acting crazy. But when you bring little children into the scene, you have to change the way you act. Even teenagers should be expected to behave somewhat appropriately around little kids. The adults in the car should have enforced that.
Maybe the little girls' mother really wasn't aware of what was going on. She could have been asleep in the front seat... after all, they were on their way home from a road trip. If that is the case, then I hope she's really mad at the rest of those young women, and I hope when she does manage to get her children back, she doesn't allow the rest of the group any contact with her precious little ones ever again.
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