Archive for Thursday, July 5, 2007

Dispute erupts at Wal-Mart over ear-piercing of young girl

July 5, 2007


— A woman was issued a warning for trespassing and asked to leave a Wal-Mart after she called police when she heard a young girl who was getting her ears pierced crying and screaming.

Marilyn Johnson said she was told she would no longer be allowed in the store after the incident occurred Sunday.

Johnson said she called 911 after trying to talk to the girl's mother and the employee who was doing the ear piercing. She said the girl, who she thought was about 5 years old, was "crying her eyes out."

"Her face was beet red, and she was screaming and coughing and saying things like, 'I don't want this! It hurts! Please stop!' She was grabbing her ears so the adults couldn't touch them," Johnson said.

Johnson said the women did not respond to her and continued trying to pierce the girl's ears.

"We're forever being told we should report any suspected child abuse," said Johnson, 53, of Wichita.

"I saw a child crying and screaming and pleading for someone not to do something to her. And if that's not child abuse, I don't know what is."

However, the girl's mother and the employee were not breaking any laws, Wichita police spokesman Gordon Bassham said.

Kansas law requires written and notarized consent from a parent or legal guardian before someone under 18 can get a body piercing or tattoo. The law does not say whether piercings or tattoos can be forcibly administered.

"The parent was not, in the eyes of the officers, doing anything illegal," Bassham said. "This could have been a cultural thing for the mother, or a religious thing. There are so many factors at work.

"For us as law enforcement to try and predict the reasons and the motivations behind this is not possible, and that's not our area."

The mother was not identified by police or store officials.

At the request of a Wal-Mart official, police issued Johnson a warning for trespassing and escorted her from the store, Bassham said.

In a written statement, Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said:

"Ear piercing is a service that Wal-Mart offers to our customers of all ages. A parent or legal guardian's signature is required if the person having their ears pierced is under 18 years old, which was the case in this instance.

"The child's mother indicated more than once through the ear-piercing process that she wanted her daughter's ears pierced."

In cases where a child opposes the piercings, Fogleman said: "Local management has discretion based on the individual circumstance."

Johnson said she plans to talk to legislators about making state law more specific about when piercings or tattoos become possible abuse.

"I can't understand doing that to a child who's screaming and crying and clearly didn't want this done," Johnson said. "If I'm the crazy one for calling the police, then maybe I'm crazy. But I don't think so."


Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 11 months ago

Marion wrote "...anyone who forces thier kid to have body piercings of any kind should be prosecuted for child abuse if not worse."

I don't even want to think about what Marion would consider to be a worse crime.

staff04 10 years, 11 months ago

antisecularman--I am a secularist, and I agree with everything in your post with the exception of the inane remarks about socialist morality, etc.

What say you now?

perkins 10 years, 11 months ago

And some people favor another Wal-Mart in Lawrence....

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

It could have been a culture thing, as stated in the article. Just because someone lives in the U.S. does not mean they have to give up their cultural identity.

Laura Watkins 10 years, 11 months ago

I think getting your ears pierced that young is really dumb. I begged my mom over and over again to let me get my ears pierced when I was six, and when she finally let me my ears just kept getting infected because I couldn't/didn't take care of them properly. She didn't let my sister get her ears pierced until she was 9.

TheYetiSpeaks 10 years, 11 months ago

When it comes to self-mutilation, I think the child should be able to choose for themself. Wait till your kids are older to attempt to make them in your image parents....whackos.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 11 months ago

Kudos to Marilyn Johnson, and once again, BOO Wal-Mart.

Crossfire 10 years, 11 months ago

What kind of "cult-ure" thing makes going to The Wall for a body piercing a rite of passage from daycare to Kindergarten? Aren't these kind of things usually done in a secluded ritual place with wine and chanting.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 11 months ago

This seems like child abuse, and Wal Mart should be abolished. What if she were having the child's tongue pierced against her will? Or a bone put through her nose? OK by all? The female circumcision argument above is a good one. The woman was right to call the fuzz, and the fact that she was banned from Wal-Mart is further confirmation that that corporation merits our disdain.

manyblessings 10 years, 11 months ago

Circumcision did not begin in the 1800s. It dates back thousands of years. Read your Bible.

SloMo 10 years, 11 months ago

The real issue here is, should the woman who interfered be banned forever from the store? What did SHE do that was so terribly wrong and/or harmful to WalMart?

Lonestar1 10 years, 11 months ago

Children that young seldom know what they want. The parent is the one who wanted the child's ears pierced. I don't think our culture requires piercings and if they have moved here to live and work, they should conform and fit into our culture. If is a religious thing, they should do it in their house of worship, not Wal Mart. Of course, for some folks, Wal Mart is a place of worship.....

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

do it a birth believe it or not the baies cry for like 1 min. then its no big deal to them. or be like me wait till they are a little older my last one was 7 then do it. But you know if you get one done you might as well finish it up and it does not hurt that bad far less then a shot ,it is the after care that is most important becuse if you get an infection THAT hurts. Maybe the kid just screams alot or maybe it was not as bad as the woman thought this is really one of those cases where no one is right and no one is wrong. But to ban a person for something like this is kinda dumb I am sure a slight cool down period and calm talking would have been a better idea not to mention it sounded like she would not be back on her own.

staff04 10 years, 11 months ago

Wow. Sounds like Wal-Mart should re-evaluate (or evaluate to begin with) their policy on this.

Separately, it also sounds like Kansas law needs to be tinkered with some. If I read the argument of the police/description of the Kansas statute correctly, it sounds as though if mom wanted to have a flaming death-skull tattooed on her child's forehead, there is nothing the police could do to stop it.

number3of5 10 years, 11 months ago

Why not just let the child wait until they are old enough to decide on their own whether they want their ears pierced or not? This should be decided by the person involved, not their parents, so making them wait until they are adult enough to make this decision is the proper thing to do. As for the person calling the police, congratulations on being involved in the welfare of our youth.

formerksteacher 10 years, 11 months ago

"if they have moved here to live and work, they should conform and fit into our culture."

Surely you didn't really mean this. Do YOU make an attempt to be like everyone else around you!? Do you truly see no value in the uniqueness of the United States as having people of different cultures and traditions? I find it hard to believe that Americans actually think that anyone living here should drop their own beliefs and customs in order to transform themselves into another cookie-cutter version of someone who dislikes anyone different from themselves. Besides - just look at all the different kinds of 'Americans' there are within our borders - Louisiana Bayou area vs Yonkers vs San Francisans? Exactly which would you recommened we all try to emulate?

And NO, I don't agree with the woman getting her child's ears pierced, only your statement.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

Are you kidding me? If I was the mother, that lady would have had more to deal with than being kicked out of Walmart. People are so intrusive these days into everyone's lives, that we forget who the parents of children are. My daughter screamed like crazy when we had hers done at Walmart. I told her to suck it up, because it would hurt a lot less if she quit moving around and being crazy. She listened, and got them done.

Why are some of you blaming Walmart? You have to sign a permission slip to get this done, it's not like the associate forced the mother to do it. Get over yourselves.

peoplethesedayz 8 years ago


costello 10 years, 11 months ago

We don't need a new law to cover this issue. And it isn't child abuse.

For heaven's sake, people. When did we become a country where a parent can't make a decision about her child without every stranger on the street - not to mention people on forums - getting a veto vote on the matter.

If this is child abuse, what do you all propose we do? Remove the kid from her parents? Put her in foster care? Terminate parental rights and put her up for adoption?

I personally wouldn't pierce a small child's ears. And if she were screaming and crying, I'd certainly stop it. But I'm not the mom here.

Angel Gillaspie 10 years, 11 months ago

So, if the mother had just slapped the child and said, "Get over it, you're getting your ears pierced," she could have been charged with abuse and the child taken away by child protective services. I guess I don't understand the difference between the two.. Even if the piercing was being done as a "cultural" thing, I agree with the posts stating that the mother and child should have left the store and come back when the child was more calm and willing. Maybe when she's 12 or 13.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

You all are nuts. I was 11 when I got mine done the first time. It hurt like crazy, I cried. No big deal. I cried when I was 16 and getting my third piercing. I hate that people think they know what is best for everyone's kids. Mind your own freaking business.

kugrad 10 years, 11 months ago

Just for the record, ear piercing is hardly "permanent bodily mutilation." If you take the earring out and leave it out, the hole disappears. The lady should have minded her own business. The parent may not have been exercising the greatest judgement, but calling 911 wasn't the correct response.

Raider 10 years, 11 months ago

The mother should have taken the child to the dressing room and whipped her ass and told her to behave. Allowing your child to throw a fit like that in public is simply bad parenting. If more parents would spank their kids then we wouldn't have all the problems with kids that we have in this modern age. Letting any child sit in public and scream and throw a fit (for whatever reason) is shoddy parenting. Whip that childs ass and make them behave.

And yes, the lady that called the cops should have something said to her too. She should mind her own business.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

Did anyone everthink that maybe this kid bugged mom to get them done over and over and over so mom finally said yes and having her finish what she wanted if the first place was just.

cheer67 10 years, 11 months ago

Seriously guys, she was just getting her ears pierced. My parents had mine done when I was 1 yr old. Piercing ears is not child abuse. I think this is getting way to blown up. I've seen parents whip their kids in Wal-Mart, and nothing is said about that. Children over react, so what. Stay out of people's business.

manyblessings 10 years, 11 months ago

Crying when a child get's their ears pierced is hardly unusual. She probably even wanted her ears pierced but didn't like the way it felt. Big deal. Calling the police was WAY over the top. That woman should have stayed out of the situation. Who is calling the cops when kids are screaming over their immunizations? Those are much more potentially damaging than an ear piercing.

lunacydetector 10 years, 11 months ago

Wichita,KS - We value NOTHING!

Dr. Tiller the baby killer; Let me step over you as you're dying so I can get me my Slurpy; The Ear Piercing Screamer - please, move along. BTK Serial Killer and of course the Carr brothers who robbed, raped or murdered seven people.

erka_dawn 10 years, 11 months ago

My parents made all three of their girls wait till they were at least 11 sometimes 12 before allowing any of us to get our ears peirced. They always said that they would not do it until we could properly take care of them ourselves. I used to get so mad at them for this. But now that I am older I can see they were totally right. I will do the same for my children too. I don't believe any child should have to get any type of peircing if they don't want to. I really don't even care if it's a cultural or religous thing either. I think that women that intervened had every right too. I also think it sucks they banned her.

secretresistance 10 years, 11 months ago

People are throwing around what-ifs regarding female circumcision...why not open your eyes to the accepted mutilation done every day in the United States...MALE circumcision. Same damn thing--mutilation for unnecessary reasons. The more I've learned about it, the more horrified I have become. Do some research:

85 percent of the world's men are intact. And Viagra isn't too popular in Europe, if you catch my drift. Protect your sons!

No national or international medical association recommends routine circumcision.

Only the USA circumcises the majority of newborn boys without medical or religious reason.

Circumcision began during the 1800s to prevent masturbation, which was believed to cause disease.

Today's parents are learning that the foreskin is a normal, protective, functioning organ.

Today's parents realize circumcision has risks and is unnecessary.

Circumcision denies a male's right to genital integrity and choice for his own body.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

If your ears weren't pierced, manyblessings, and you decided to have it done, and then changed your mind, would YOU consider it abuse if you were forced to go through with it anyway? If they held you down and pierced them even after you'd stated that you didn't want to?

If we can't do something like that to an adult, without it being considered abuse, then why is it okay to do it to a child?

Oh, yeah, Jayhawk N_D, so she was only crying out of fear. We all know how much better it is for a child to be crying out of only fear, rather than actual pain...

THE CHILD CHANGED HER MIND...and she should have been allowed to do so. It's not like it was imperative that it be done right then, on that day. It could have waited.

As for your friend with twins...duhh...they never heard of dressing one child in one color, and the other child in another color? It was necessary to poke holes in them to tell them apart?

I have nothing against people getting themselves pierced...when they are OLD enough to make the choice for themselves...and perhaps PAY for it themselves, too. That's when you know they really wanted it...when the money for it has to come out of their own pocket.

As an infant, my daughter was mistaken as a boy lots of times. Didn't bother me a bit. I knew she was a girl. What difference did it make what other people thought?

blackwalnut 10 years, 11 months ago

Circumcision in this country started in the 1800s. It is a horrible, unnecessary and cruel practice. And it is declining in practice in this country. But it isn't as bad as female circumcision - not by a long shot.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

I had my ears pierced when I was 16. Done at a beauty shop, with ice and a needle. Hurt like hell, but I was old enough to make my own decision about it, and everything worked out okay.

Uh, KUgrad, ear piercing becomes permanent. Once the hole is completely healed, it does not grow in again. I sometimes don't wear earrings for weeks or months at a time, and my ear piercings are still there.

If the child was objecting that much, the mother should have stopped the procedure. I don't care how much the child may have begged to have it done before they got there. That child will think twice before ever trusting her mother again to protect her from trauma or harm, believe me.

I think it's ridiculous to do any kind of body piercing or tattoos on a child until they're old enough to make the decision for themselves. I've seen newborn babies with the damn things, and I think it's just stupid.

Cultural? Are you kidding me? Marion has a point there...we don't allow female mutilation in this country, no matter what culture you may be from, even if it was common and accepted in your country of origin.

Becky 10 years, 11 months ago

I had my ears pierced when I was young. I had been begging for it to be done. When one ear was done I can remember thinking that I was not getting the other one done. Somehow I walked out of the store with two pierced ears. By the way I loved having pierced ears as a kid also as an adult.

I have also worked in retail a long time. The article may paint a picture of someone that was just helping a kid. We are missing a few facts ones that most likely can't be printed in the paper. Once this woman was told to mind her own business I am sure she had such a fit that she has no idea how big of a fool she made of herself. I am sure that she called the clerk and the mother a few names and that is why she got banned. She most likely made a tough situation even harder for that child.

Christian Hinton 10 years, 11 months ago

You know, I can see both sides of the story there. I can understand the woman's call, and applaud her concern, but the officers were right.

As far as a mother forcing her 5-year-old to get an ear piercing, I feel the statement that it should "be up to the individual" not to apply in the case of a girl that age. Legally, it is the parents' responsibility to make those (and many other) decisions for their child. Clearly the girl was expressing a desire not to have her ears pierced, and I certainly wouldn't have forced it upon her, but the officers make good points about the legality of her mother's actions. Unfortunately, there is no real way to legislate a 5-year-old's "right" to choose not to have her ears pierced, though many of us would not infringe upon that. It would be inconsistency to say (legally) that the girl had the right to determine whether or not she should get her ears pierced and then deny her many of the rights she won't get until she is much older, not to mention that any legislation involving such a young age group would largely be considered farcical.

I guess we can only leave it up to the parents and hope they make ethical decisions.

TheOriginalCA 10 years, 11 months ago

It was outrageous for a parent to do that to a child. Parents way too often treat their little girls like dolls and trophies. Just because they were in compliance with the laws does not make it right. What an awful thing for the mother to put her daughter through pain so that she could "feel good" about "look what a pretty little girl 'I' have."

secretresistance 10 years, 11 months ago

Manyblessings--it came into "vogue" in the United States in the 1800s.

Blackwalnut--people are often quick to decry female circumcision as worse than male, but once you look at all the facts, it isn't so cut and dry. Read here for further information:

costello 10 years, 11 months ago

I think the circumcision comparison is more apt than some of the others in this thread (tattoos, teeth filing, etc.). Circumcision is culturally acceptable and even expected. Ear piercing is also currently culturally acceptable - even for babies and very young children. (It wasn't so much so when I was young.) Tattooing of children isn't commonly done in this culture. Teeth filing is pretty rare for anyone of any age.

My son was circumcised at 2 weeks of age, and I was present. I didn't want him circumcised because it's an unnecessary procedure with some risk associated with it. In the end I deferred to his father who felt strongly that it should be done.

The doctor used velcro straps to hold him down on a molded plastic support. No pain killers were used. He screamed and cried vigorously through the whole thing. He was in obvious pain. He clearly didn't want it to happen.

No one called 911. No one was accused of child abuse.

concernedparent 10 years, 11 months ago

I don't understand why some of you are blaming Walmart? People get their ears pierced at many other places than just Walmart and have kids cry there too. Shut them all down!!! If ear piercing is so abusive, why do many Doctor's offices here in town do it, including the local Peds office? I got my daughter's ears pierced when she was 2 because she asked me to. She cried for a split second, but they also pierced both her ears at the same time. And if it were my child throwing that fit and the employee told me to come back after she'd calmed down, there'd have been hell to pay. To me that would be teaching a child that throwing a fit really does get you what you want.

Calliope877 10 years, 11 months ago

My niece got her ears pierced when she was six, and the first time she went to get it done with her mom, she got really scared and decided not to do it. So instead of forcing her to do it, my sister just took her home and talked to her about it, then they went back a few days later and my niece was fine with it. It's a wonder why the mother in this situation didn't do the same thing. Even if it was for a religious or traditional reason, you would think the mother would've wanted it to be a special and good experience for her daughter. :(

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

When I was a kid, it wasn't a common thing for anybody's ears to be pierced. It really wasn't common for anybody younger than 16.

It also was unheard of for anyone to have more than one piercing on their ears, further up the ear, not on the lobe. This procedure can be dangerous, and Wal-Mart won't do it.

Quite frankly, if the employees have the discretion, I would have asked the mother to come back at a different time, when the child wasn't so traumatized, if the mother was so hell-bent on getting it done.

A lot of you apparently don't have a problem with not making kids do anything else they don't want to, but you think it's okay to make a kid get her ears pierced, even if it's at the last minute?

I've known adults who made appointments to get a tattoo, and then changed their minds at the last minute. Nobody held them down to the chair and made them get it done anyway.

If you made an appointment for a vasectomy, then changed your mind when you got there, would it be okay for the doctor to force you to have it done anyway?

Then why is it okay for a parent to force their child to have something pierced if the child changes their mind?

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

As a parent, I can decide what I want for my kids, whether they want it or not. Until they are old enough to make decisions on their own, that is the way it will be.

costello 10 years, 11 months ago

"A lot of you apparently don't have a problem with not making kids do anything else they don't want to, but you think it's okay to make a kid get her ears pierced, even if it's at the last minute?"

Ok, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. If I were that mom I wouldn't have forced my daughter to have her ears pierced. Not a good thing to do, imo. But I also don't think it rises to the level of child abuse. Also, imo, it was a misuse off the 911 emergency system to use it to report this incident.

You speak of the child being traumatized. It's far more traumatizing to the child for the police to arrive, arrest the mom, and take the kid into foster care.

Other options:

  1. The police give mom a ticket for .... what?
  2. The police tell mom they don't like what she's doing and she needs to stop - not because it's illegal but because they don't agree with what she's doing.
  3. The police give the WalMart employee a ticket?
  4. The police turn it over to SRS for investigation.

Is this really where we want to go as a society? Do we want the state to substitute its judgment for that of parents?

I just get tired of the hysteria. People are so willing to cry child abuse and demand more/tougher laws. My son was abused in his biological family. It was real and very damaging abuse. And frankly it had nothing to do with ear piercing.

I think this mom made a wrong decision. But parents make wrong decisions all the time. Most of them don't cause any lasting damage to the child. Why are we so quick to leap in and scream abuse?

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

Pywacket, how can you say calling the cops over ear piercings was the right thing? If my toddler falls and scrapes her leg and I don't get to her in enough time to calm her down, should the cops be called. Everytime a child cries in this country people want to scream abuse. We can't discipline our kids without people saying how wrong we are. The reason kids are out of control, is they are the ones running everything, and I for one know that my kids will not be like that, because they know I am boss until they are 18.

WhiteDog 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, if you hold her down while a Wal-Mart employee scrapes the skin off her knees because you think it'll be "soooo cute!" then, yes, the cops should be called.

You have analogy fail. Bad.

Jillster 10 years, 11 months ago

Just because piercing a five-year-old girl's ears isn't illegal doesn't make it morally or ethically the right thing to do. Of course, morals and ethics vary according to the individual and how they were brought up. I know it's up to the parent to decide what is right or wrong for their child, but intentionally making a five-year-old child scream and beg for mercy for the sake of vanity is just wrong in my book.

Christian Hinton 10 years, 11 months ago


There were minor points you made that I disagreed with, but I generally felt that you had good points and stated them eloquently. I wish more posts were as well thought out.

Angie Evers 10 years, 11 months ago

I don't think we have all the information here, and lots of unanswered questions.

Maybe the child did want her ears pierced. Sometimes kids put up a big fuss when they get scared, but then, in the end, they are all smiles.

"Susie, remember you saing you wanted the pretty earrings?" "Yes." "Then you have to get your ears pierced. Do you want your ears pierced?" "Yes." "Then you have to let this nice lady pinch/pierce/poke your ear to put in the earring just like we talked about. Okay?" "Okay.....WAAA, NO...OUCH... I don't want it done...!"

What are you gonna do? Chances are afterward she was pleased as punch. Yes, the mother should have called it off and waited until little Susie was in a better frame of mind. But can we classify every child's meltdown as abuse? We "force" our kids to do a lot of things, some painful, that they don't want to do. Yes, most are for their own good (shots, removing splinters, etc), but I don't think we can really make the call on this one.

As for the lady that called 911, who says she wasn't causing a huge scene that disturbed the other shoppers (more than a crying 5-year-old?), so management decided to have her tossed? This article makes you think she was a nice, concerned bystander, but maybe she was ready to open a can of whoopass. Why else would they ask for intervention by the police?

And, guys, this really doesn't have anything to do with Wal-mart. It could have happened anywhere. A little sensitive, are we?

And bullying in schools? You're kidding, right? There have been programs running like crazy in elementary schools and junior highs to curb the cases of bullying. Nothing's changed there. Heck, maybe it's gotten worse...

And circumcision to prevent masterbation?? How was that supposed to work again??

Good TR quote, Pilgrim.

james bush 10 years, 11 months ago

Mom will have the kid at a tatoo parlor as soon as she's through with the perforations. Advancement in western civilization?.........Makes one wonder!

Jayhawk_N_Denver 10 years, 11 months ago

I was 7 when I and my best friend begged our parents to get our ears pierced. They finally gave in for her birthday. She got to go first. She screamed and carried on, scaring the hell out of me. Fortunately, this wasn't done at a Wal-Mart where nosy bastards could intervene. After seeing the "pain" she went through, I didn't want to go through with it, but I knew we had begged and begged. I had to do it! It did not hurt! She was screaming because of the fear, not the pain. 20 years later, I'm glad I did it, I have a place to carry my $700 diamond earrings.

Everyone get a grip! This is not about child abuse, this is not about different cultures, this IS about people who need to mind their own business. Had the lady seen the mother smack her daughter in an attempt to get her to stop screaming, FINE, call the police. A swat on the butt is NOT abuse, letting her child scream her head off is NOT abuse. Doesn't anyone remember their own childhoods?!? Do you not think you are now well adjusted adults who survived eating unhealthy food, drinking the water and getting their butts swatted? Let's just wrap all of our kids in bubble wrap when we send them out in the world and then pray they know how to be a productive part of society when they get a paper cut at their first job and has to sue their boss for mental anguish. Kudos to the police and shudder Wal-Mart for knowing how to best handle the situation AND for not letting anyone know who the mother is!

Linda Aikins 10 years, 11 months ago

I'd much rather see someone err on the side of poor judgment by doing something, than stepping over the little girl as she lay screaming and walk by apathetically.

But I have to think Marilyn Johnson must have thrown quite the hissy fit to be thrown out and banned, don't you?

I agree with Py. JayhawkNDenver, I was NOT spanked and I'm a good person.

Confrontation 10 years, 11 months ago

I doubt this ear piercing had anything to do with religion or culture. I bet the mother just wanted to put some bling in the kid's ears. You know, you have to start finding your future baby's daddy at a pretty young age. You've got to look good.

Jayhawk_N_Denver 10 years, 11 months ago

Gootsie, I don't doubt you're a good person. I thankfully didn't get spanked very often because I was a good kid, but only because I knew I could get spanked. :)

Tom McCune 10 years, 11 months ago

"....The child is amoral. To our eyes, the cannibal is too. The cannibal kills his enemies and eats them. He is not a criminal. But when modern man kills someone and eats him he is either a criminal or a degenerate. The cannibal tattoos his skin, his boat, his paddles, in short everything he can lay hands on. He is not a criminal. The modern man who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate. There are prisons in which eighty per cent of the inmates show tattoos. The tattooed who are not in prison are latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats. If someone who is tattooed dies at liberty, it means he has died a few years before committing a murder..."

"Ornament and Crime", Adlof Loos

beatrice 10 years, 11 months ago

Do you have to get your parent's permission to have a tattoo removed?

Maybe the child was crying because she realized her parents are losers who shop and do their body modifications at Wal-Mart. (Just kidding. I'm sure not everyone who shops at Wal-Mart is a loser.)

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago


The article isn't talking about those things, is it? Solely about ear piercings, and how it could be a cultural thing. or maybe the child did want it, but changed her mind after one. (and who wants the kid to run around with one ear pierced.)

And just because one immigrates to the U.S. doesn't mean all cultural influences of your native country should be lost.

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

My grandmother worked in a jewelry store, and my 4 year old half sister decided she wanted her ears pierced, because her cousin did. I was 14, but wasn't present. They took her in, did one ear, and she refused to have the other ear done. They tried to do it in the store for a few more minutes, and then left. My grandma took the ear piercer thing home and they finished the process in the privacy of grandma's house. I think they ended up holding her to finish it, but she couldn't run around with one earring in - (as it was years ago). As soon as it was done, she was fine. I got my ears pierced a couple of days later.

I don't agree with the mom letting her kid scream bloody murder, but there is probably more to the story. In this circumstance, should the woman have butted in? No, it wasn't necessary. Could everyone have handled it differently - most definitely.

Centrist 10 years, 11 months ago

To me, the real issue of this event is that Ms Johnson was booted out of the store for "trespassing" - simply because she was trying to do a good deed. "Trespassing" in a retail establishment that is open to all members of the public?? Hmm ... sounds like they scrambled for some reason to kick her out. Sounds illegal on Wally's part, if you ask me.

Normally, I'm not one for lawsuits, but ....

james bush 10 years, 11 months ago

Those earrings are great attractions to kids. I knew a woman with "split-ear" caused by a child grabbing and pulling on the attractive thing hanging from her ear. Really neat.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

Pywacko, don't assume that I am a bad parent, because I am not. I have never had the cops called on me nor have I ever been involved with SRS. My kids are disciplined by me and my husband the way we see fit. I will get my girls' ears pierced, and yes it will hurt. Will they die because of it? NO! I was saying that there are way to many nosy a** people in this world, that will butt in when there is no problem, but are the ones that never call for the real abuse.

So, my kids getting their shots is also abuse? Because it takes longer to get their shots than it does to get ears pierced...

Crossfire 10 years, 11 months ago


The real issue here is, should the woman who interfered be banned forever from the store? What did SHE do that was so terribly wrong and/or harmful to WalMart?

It takes alot to get barred from Wally World, Because above all they want you dime.

A very professional crew at work here.

Angie Evers 10 years, 11 months ago

Trespassing? I doubt if she got it by standing in the aisles having a calm conversation with the manager. Either she walked behind the counter to confront the clerk and mother or simply would not leave the store as requested. Businesses have the right to refuse service and request you leave their property. She had to have caused a big stink or just wouldn't take "No crime here" for an answer.

CheyannesMomma 10 years, 11 months ago

That's such a young age, if that little girl wanted to get her ears pierced then she obviously wouldn't have been so hysterical. I'm not saying it's child abuse, but I don't think it's the right thing to do, all little girls are beautiful at age 5, they don't have to have their little ears pierced to make them prettier. She should have just let her baby girl be a little girl, she clearly was upset about it, so she should have just let it be.

blackwalnut 10 years, 11 months ago

offtotheright says It was the responsibility of the girl doing the piercing to advise the ignorant mother that she could not preform the piercing with the child being hysterical.

That's Wal-Mart - and Wal-Mart employee training - for ya.

Jillster 10 years, 11 months ago

"After seeing the "pain" she went through, I didn't want to go through with it, but I knew we had begged and begged. I had to do it! It did not hurt! She was screaming because of the fear, not the pain. "

Wow, Jayhawk-N-Denver...glad your ear lobes are just exactly like everyone else's. When I had my ears pierced when I was 17, it hurt like the bejeezus. I didn't burst out crying, but tears came to my eyes...not from fear, but from outright pain. (The technician said "This may smart just a little bit." That was a slight smarted quite a lot until she was able to loosen up the earring backs.)

Just because the piercing didn't cause you pain doesn't mean piercing doesn't cause pain to others.

blackwalnut 10 years, 11 months ago

I had my ears pierced by a doctor when I was 20. It hurt like hell.

I made my daughters wait till they were teenagers, and even then I made them think and beg for a very long time. Even so, one of my teenage daughters got an infection and ended up letting the holes grow back together - and had them repierced several years later.

This is deliberate and unnecessary bodily injury. It isn't like makeup. A five year old is in no way qualified to decide for herself whether she should get her ears pierced. This is a decision for the person to make for themselves, when they are old enough. It is not for a mother to inflict on a young child, with or without that child's consent.

I'm glad that shopper called 911, and wish the police had done their job. I'm positive there is something they could have done,.

If I were the shopper I'd boycott Wal-Mart over this - no need for them to ban me. Oh, wait, I already boycott Wal-Mart. Anyway...

blackwalnut 10 years, 11 months ago

antisecularman says Answer: Socialist morality. Take away God and you lose moral truth, moral responsibility. Everyone gets to be a God.

Not even close. This has nothing to do with belief in God. It has to do with ignorance, and belief in God is no insulation against that. The most ignorant people I know misuse religion as a substitute for knowledge - feel it is an excuse to be lazy sheep.

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

blackwalnut, what exactly should the police have done? She was not abusing this child, and there was no law broken. So what? She should have been placed in protective custody because she was getting her ears pierced.. Please! People this is not abuse, so shut up about it!! Now, go play in someone else's business...

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

The mother should not have forced the child to have her ears pierced after she started screaming and saying no.

Piercing your ears is not required. It could have either waited until another day, or another year. There is no justafiable reason for forcing a child to go through a totally cosmetic procedure.

So don't try comparing it to immunizations or any other medical procedure that is necessary. It doesn't fly, and you know it. Immunizations and medical procedures save lives. I never heard of one person who's life was saved by having their ears pierced.

I also know a woman who has split lobes from having her earrings yanked out of her ears. By a former boyfriend in an angry rage.

Parents shouldn't be letting kids make decisions for themselves at age five anyway.

And we don't even know the whole story. We don't know if it was the child's decision or just the mother's.

I know what both the police and Wal-Mart have accomplished with their actions. Most people already don't want to get involved. Now the police and Wal-Mart have guaranteed that the woman who called 911, whenever she hears a child screaming again, will ignore it and walk away.

Is that what you all wanted?

blackwalnut 10 years, 11 months ago

crazyks says: We don't know if it was the child's decision or just the mother's.

Five years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

purplesage 10 years, 11 months ago

A cultural or religious thing?? Hahahaha. It is a FASHION thing. A couple generations ago, I could have bought into that idea of culture. I had Hispanic friends I walked to school with and one of the girls had earrings that didn't go around the bottom of her earlobes. I couldn't figure out how those things stayed on there.

My kids always screamed, thrashed and trembled when they saw the needle coming, too - at the doctor's office, for a shot. This poor little thing should not have been forced to get piercings for earrings. She was just scared. There's hardly a rush about such things. Seems to me a kid ought to be a little older and be able to participate in the decision on a rationale level.

At least Wal-Mart requires parental consent under 18. I would have to wonder about Killer Tiller's office. Amazing that a little prick on the ear requires consent and, under certain circumstances, a major invasive procedure that takes the life of an unborn child and burdens the young woman with post abortion trauma can be done without so much as parental knowledge.

bag_lady 10 years, 11 months ago

I feel that there are alot of things about this situation that none of us will ever know. Wal-Mart is usually crowded and if this something that justified calling 911, I would think that there would have been more comments from people who witnessed the whole thing. My daughter got her ears pierced at Claire's last year, and I chose a small place to do it in case she decided to have a fit. She had been begging me for 3 years, but I decided to wait until she was old enough to help care for them. After three years of begging, 30 minutes of driving, and 10 minutes to find a parking space, she was getting her ears pierced.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

Ok is everyone on here just so old they do not remember that it really does not hurt or do you just not have your ears peirced? I would say that the kid wanted them peirced just because I have 3 girls and came from a family of only girls 4 of us to drive our parents crazy until it was done, I think any girl that can remember that age even younger sometimes knows if one of your friends have something or got their ears peirced, then by golly you want it also. Get a grip people getting your ears peirced is not the abuse some people want to think it is and thisis a dumb thing to just go on about when there are plenty of children in thegood ole USA getting the holly sh*t beat out of them, molested and killed everyday.

bag_lady 10 years, 11 months ago

pywacket. Why do you assume that this was a white person who forced ear piercing on her child? That is what a "cracker" is. Do not make racial slurs about someone who does not share your views or opinions. I'm sorry for you if you feel the proper way to raise children is to teach them that when people feel differently they do, it's OK to call them names to make themselves feel superior. Talk about bullies!

Bobbi Walls 10 years, 11 months ago

First of all PYWACKO!!!My oldest did get her ears pierced, and yes it hurt.... afterwards.... is she traumatized by it? No... My youngest will get hers done if she asks. Do I think they need it done? Not necessarily. It is not a vanity issue for us, it is a little girl thing. I know that most of the girls in my daughters school have their's pierced. I am not a control freak. I am however a mother, and I am the one that decides when and if my child has something done. Would my kids get tattoos? No, because they have to be 18 in our house, and my oldest wouldn't dare ask, because she thinks they are tacky. You feel for my kids... that makes me laugh. My kids are fed, clothed, and have a roof over their heads. As well as being loved and cared for by 2 parents. Wow, they are abused aren't they? Whatever. Oh and calling me a cracker is uncalled for. No where have I referred to anyone using any racial slurs. Oh yeah and another thing, I don't drink and haven't seen my kids were born. So kiss my college educated foot!!!

manyblessings 10 years, 11 months ago

All the hysteria over an ear piercing is ridiculous. I am sure Wal-Mart uses an ear gun and that it is not even all that painful. Lots of parents pierce their babies' ears and no one calls the police when they cry about it. It is just obnoxious to stick your nose into it every time a child cries in public. If you see someone actually abusing a child, please, do call the police. Don't waste your time with frivolous calls to SRS and the police, save it for the kids that really need it. There are tons of kids being abused and nothing is done about it but people will get all up in arms about an ear piercing. People pierce their children's ears for various reasons. I know one woman who did it because they had to cut her daughter's hair short and the kids at school were teasing her about looking like a boy. To help combat this they had her ears pierced. Another family I know had their twin infant girls get their ears pierced so they could tell the difference between them. One had silver earrings and the other gold. They had tried painting their nails but it came off/grew out and they had ended up going back to the hospital to get footprints to see who was who. A lot of parents with bald little baby girls get tired of people mistaking their daughter for a boy. Whatever the reason, it isn't a truamatizing event for most children. If this were my daughter I most likely would have stopped and had her wait for another time, but I still don't think it is anywhere near "abuse" to follow through.

stbaker 10 years, 11 months ago

Um....My five year old daughter has been begging me to get her ears pierced for months. However I know that if I took her in, and they did the first ear, and it hurt like hell....We would run the risk of her having a fit, screaming, and crying hysterically in anticipation of the second ear piercing. We don't know the full story. The media reports as much or as little as they want. Makes they news more interesting.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

py I think you kind of missed the Idea or intent of my post but who cares. And yes have asked all 5 of my kids the age old question about the cliff. I have also made my kids stick with their choices, it teaches thm a lesson instead of just letting them back out of anything they just want or breaking plans they have because they thought something better had come along heck if I let my kids do anything they wanted they would all have quit school by 5th grade because they wanted to play and the teachers made them study get a grip people this is not abuse. Having said all this walmart and the police did mishandle I think but as it has been pointed out we do not know the whole story. We do not knowhow the woman that called the police acted, for all we know she could have been yelling, screaming ,threating, or if the mother was being an idiot or if the employee was in anyway egging any of this on but i know how all adults are so calm and collected and never lose tempers I am sure none of that happened. But this is not abuse.

cheer67 10 years, 11 months ago

This little girl who got her ears pierced probably isn't thinking anything of it now, so why is everyone still arguing over it? People are out there actually beating their kids everyday, and everyone is still freaking out over piercing ears???

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

and for everyone who says how bad it hurts it has been my findings in life that the older you get the more many things hurt. I know sounds dumb but I think it has to do with brainwashing and age:)

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 11 months ago

"My five year old daughter has been begging me to get her ears pierced for months. However I know that if I took her in, and they did the first ear, and it hurt like hell:.We would run the risk of her having a fit, screaming, and crying hysterically in anticipation of the second ear piercing."

That is why we adults make these decisions FOR our kids. If my 5 year old tried to wear me down regarding a piercing, I'd say no, because I could anticipate how problematic it would be. Either 1) this woman's vanity was so wacked out that SHE COULDN'T STAND the idea that her daughter didn't have pierced ears, or 2) her will was so weak that SHE COULDN'T STAND refusing her daughter's request for piercings, even though she knew it was a mistake. I can't help thinking that the weak will of the parent is the root of this incident.

Hats off to the woman for calling the cops. This is idiotic.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

May have been a dumb move on moms part and the store and cops did really go over board no doubt but still not abuse. Have have seen small kids get ears peirced no problem and older kids just crazy upset even adults that could not handle it it with out being babies. Still not abuse.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

congrats good to see you on here and you are dreaming on slowing down.

costello 10 years, 11 months ago

The full story is that some lady was irritated because the clerk at WalMart wouldn't replace the battery in her watch. So she decided to share her bad mood with someone else and picked this mom as her victim. When she couldn't get her way, she dialed 911. When the police escorted her from the story because she was making a scene, she called the newspaper and portrayed herself as a hero - fighting child abuse against the combined evil forces of the state, WalMart, and the parent.

Then it was picked up by every newspaper in the country where a bunch of idiot bloggers inflated mom into a monster, making assumptions about her race, intelligence, motives, and socioeconomic background, and implying that she - and all others who would have a child's ears pierced - isn't fit to be a parent.

Now she's afraid to be a parent (" ... I'm afraid the same thing would happen.") You can bet that anytime that kid so much as whimpers in public, mom will give in for fear she'll be reported to the police. And when her kid turns into a nasty, annoying brat, she'll be judged a bad parent for that too.

cybrwraith 10 years, 11 months ago

This is a subject I recently discussed with some friends. I've seen the local Wal-Mart put children who were probably still wearing diapers through this. I've evaluated why a parent would do this to a child, who doesn't want it done and the only rational reason I can think of is... vanity. Not the childs, but the parents. Having a small childs ears pierced serves no useful function. It's a painful fashion statement, that many small children obviously are not interested in participating in. In my opinion it's nothing more than ego stroking for the parents and not in the best interest of the child. If a child decides to have their ears pierced, and can follow through with the procedure then fine let them.

As a parent perhaps I've been lucky that mine have grown into responsible, ethical, and productive members of society. Then again perhaps my philosophy of child rearing had something to do with it. I was never interested in "raising children but raising adults" by teaching and example. Children are not puppies. Parents do not "own" children. Children are human beings with basic rights who need to be taught and guided while growing into adults. In my opinion forcing children to endure cosmetic alterations, that are painful teaches them the wrong lesson... that if you're big enough, strong enough, and strong willed enough you can force your will on others (not a lesson I ever taught my children).

As for Wal-Marts policies in this matter. If they can generate a profit, and not deal with liability issues, they'll take the money every time. Ethics has nothing to do with their position.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

My daughter had her ears pierced. When she was old enough to make the decision for herself.

Four years old (not five, as first reported) is not old enough to make a decision like that. At that age, kids will change their minds ten times about what they want for breakfast. What makes you think if they tell you they want their ears pierced that they know what they're talking about?

If your child said they wanted a tattoo, even a tiny one, at age four, would you let them do it?

If your child said they were going to leave home at age four, would you let them do it? (some of them get mad and say stuff like this, you know)

I assumed the newspaper confirmed, with Wal-Mart, that this was actually the mother who called them.

If she had the procedure stopped, then fine. That was the right thing to do.

Momma, if you, as an adult, and a friend went into Wal-Mart to have your ears pierced, and even if you had signed a consent form, if you changed your mind in the middle and the employee and your friend held you down and did it anyway, that would definitely be considered abuse. Both the employee and your friend would be charged with assault.

That was the point I was trying to make. That forcing an adult to go through with it would be considered abuse, and so forcing a child to go through with it should be, too.

Finding out that the mother stopped the procedure and didn't make the child go through it anyway is a relief. Though I wonder about any mother with a four-year-old who says she wouldn't have thought about having it done "when they were young."

Four years old isn't considered young anymore?

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 11 months ago

cybrwraith wrote "If [Wal-Mart] can generate a profit, and not deal with liability issues, they'll take the money every time. Ethics has nothing to do with their position."

Really? OK, just for the sake of argument...doesn't Wal-Mart have an ethical obligation to its shareholders to attempt to provide them with profits and revenues?

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

Even over the satisfaction of their customers, wilbur?

If they did that, they soon wouldn't have any customers. So profits would definitely be hurting for the shareholders. Don't they have an ethical obligation to keep their customers happy, so they'll continue to make profit for the shareholders?

See, that's where I think a lot of businesses go wrong. They care a lot more about the stupid shareholders than they do about their customers.

costello 10 years, 11 months ago

"That was the point I was trying to make. That forcing an adult to go through with it would be considered abuse, and so forcing a child to go through with it should be, too."

Going back to the circumcision example: here is a completely unnecessary procedure which is performed for cultural reasons, it's very painful and carries much more serious risks than ear piercing.

Minor complications: Pain. Oozing or slight bleeding from the surgical site.

Long-term minor complications: Damage to the opening of the urethra, which leads from the bladder to the tip of the penis (meatal stenosis). Loss of sensitivity in the penis. Scarring of the penis from infection or surgical error. The outer skin layer (or layers) of the penis may be removed accidentally. An opening that is too small for the foreskin to retract over the penis (phimosis) can occur if too little foreskin is removed.

Major complications: A complete removal of the skin covering the shaft of the penis, causing the penis to appear to have been completely surgically removed (concealed penis). Excessive bleeding. Stitches may be required to stop the bleeding. Serious, life-threatening bacterial infection in body tissue and the blood (sepsis). Partial or full removal (amputation) of the tip of the penis (extremely rare). (

As I said in an earlier post, I reluctantly agreed to my son's circumcision because his dad insisted. What was his dad's reason? He grew up in an African country where he was sent away to boarding school. While there he witnessed another boy who was bullied and harassed so much because he hadn't been circumcised that the child finally had to leave school and return home. My son's dad was grateful to his parents for circumcising him and sparing him similar humiliation.

So... my infant son had an unnecessary surgical procedure which carries rare but significant risks because his parent felt it was desireable for cosmetic and cultural reasons. He showed every sign of not wanting the procedure when it was performed. And yet few would label it "abuse" (or "torture" as Ms. Johnson was quoted in the second article). It certainly isn't illegal.

My son is now 22. If he hadn't been circumcised as an infant, and a doctor and I strapped him down today and forced him to be circumcised against his will, that would be abusive. We would be charged with aggravated battery.

Why wasn't it abuse or battery when he was an infant? Maybe every infant about to undergo circumcision should have a guardian ad litem appointed for him by the court in order to determine whether it's in his best interest to have this risky and unnecessary procedure.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

crazy I really doubt that this child was being HELD down or there would have been a lot of people getting into the mess, and I can tell you a screaming 4 yr old being held down for something like this would take more than just one mom to hold her down every four yr old I have known can wiggle a squrim out of a mom hold easy, there would have been no way you could have peirced her ear. And this is still not abuse just ask any person that has been truly abused.

Jillster 10 years, 11 months ago

Costello wrote: "Now she's afraid to be a parent (" : I'm afraid the same thing would happen.") You can bet that anytime that kid so much as whimpers in public, mom will give in for fear she'll be reported to the police."

Wow -- here's a classic example of twisting some words. The mother is not afraid to be a parent...she's just not going to have the daughter's ears pierced/re-pierced until she's older. Here's a more full quote from the article at

"Her daughter, meanwhile, has asked to have her ears pierced again, the mother said. "I told her, 'I don't think so,... because we're not going through this again," she said. "I'm going to let it be for now. I think she needs to be a little bit older, because I'm afraid the same thing would happen.""

The full article is at:

unklemonkey 10 years, 11 months ago

Costello, thanks for the follow-up story. This girl wanted to have her ears pierced, she even paid for part of it with her birthday money! That said, the bottom line is that children that young should not be allowed to make decisions of that magnitude.

pelliott 10 years, 11 months ago

My sympathy about kids acting up in stores, often even the best will actup there, especially the first time daddy takes them alone, it is a classic test site. My Folks took us out a lot and while we were somewhat demonic at home, we usually pretty good at cafes, stores, But my brother would make this face whenever my mom wasn't looking and then say he didn't do it. I think high heel shoes, make up, piercing, tatoo, beatings, soccer are all possible health hazards for young girls. The number of women who grow up wearing high heels is sad. They are just plain bad for your feet. Make up, esp. mascara on most youth take them from lovely to garish, bad for the skin and possible eye infections. Soccer is possible no worse than other play, so I might be wrong there.

costello 10 years, 11 months ago

"Wow - here's a classic example of twisting some words."

Hmmm... I bet the next time this kid starts crying in public, mom will be more likely to back down for fear of drawing attention from do-gooders. When was the last time something you did wound up in the national press? Mom's learned something here. If your kid is making noise, someone might disapprove of what you're doing - however innocent it may be - and report you to the police.

sourpuss 10 years, 11 months ago

I got my ears done for my 12th birthday. I stopped wearing earrings by my 14th birthday and now that I am in my 30s, I still don't have pierced ears. I have the scars, but they aren't very noticeable. However, my parents never would have forced me to get any piercings. My father was actually against it as he considered the practice to be barbaric.

As for having holes punched in me to hang $700 baubles from - I have better things to spend $700 on, and I don't think so little of myself that I have to hook compressed carbon to holes I've poked into my body to impress people I don't know. When I look at anyone wearing earrings now, I just think they look strange. I think earrings on babies or little children look even stranger. I don't think parents should mutilate their children (piercings or circumcision or otherwise) but ultimately, there are a lot of bad/wacko parents out there, and bad luck to their kids. Not all children get the same opportunities for self-discovery and intellectual growth. Many parents prefer the power trip of controlling little lives than the joy of letting their children grow and express themselves as individuals. You need a license to fish, but not to have a kid.

machiavelli 10 years, 11 months ago

This is the funniest discussion.

"Ear piercing before age [enter age here] is abuse."

"Letting your kids do whatever they want is abuse."

"Not letting your kids do whatever they want is abuse."

"Letting your kids know that they will have to follow through on their decisions, then caving and letting them do whatever they want later, is abuse. As long as the "decision" does not include getting your ears pierced. Oh, what were we talking about? Abuse."

Jillster 10 years, 11 months ago

Costello wrote: "Hmmm: I bet the next time this kid starts crying in public, mom will be more likely to back down for fear of drawing attention from do-gooders."

Why do you think that? Is that how you feel? Are you fearful of parenting your child because of how other people might react? Why do you feel this mother is going to take that path? Nothing in the article gave any indication that the mother was suddenly afraid to parent her child.

"When was the last time something you did wound up in the national press? Mom's learned something here."

I think what she learned is that a five-year-old child doesn't understand enough about the world to make those kinds of decisions for herself.

cybrwraith 10 years, 11 months ago

Wilbur_Nether wrote "Really? OK, just for the sake of argument:doesn't Wal-Mart have an ethical obligation to its shareholders to attempt to provide them with profits and revenues?"

Yes and that's the problem. Aside from obeying Federal and state statutes regarding safety, wages, working conditions, and liability the ONLY ethical guideline they legally have to follow is to generate profits, and thus stock value/dividends to the share holders. As long as their actions fall within the narrow definitions of "legal", no Corporation is bound to follow any other set of ethics except maximizing profits, and minimizing liability.

Ethics binding to individuals in a society are not binding to corporations. Most large corporations provide the shield of anonymity to their managers. A corporation violating laws may face sanctions and even fines, which will be appealed ad infinitum until they just go away. The cherry on the top though is that unless an individual within that corporation is provably guilty of a crime, no one individual is ever held accountable. If the appeal process doesn't work then the fines are payed out of the corporate profits, a few people in lower or middle management are sacrificed, and life goes on. Even if an executive officer is discharged they generally get to keep the "golden parachute" they negotiated previously and move on to another corporation ... or a career as a lobbyist.

If profitability is the foundation of ethics then one should remember the words of John Maynard Keynes: "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone".

denak 10 years, 11 months ago

I would like to know what religion and what "culture" dictates that a child should have her ears pierced.

Ear piercing is an adornment. It isn't a religious practice or a cultural practice. Parents pierce their daughter's ears so that their daughters can look "cute." It is an ego thing on behalf of the parents. The same reason they buy little Nike shoes for their boy children.

Young children should not have their ears pierced for safety and medical reasons. Young children tend to put things in their mouths and the earring is a choking hazard. Also, when children are teething, they tend to pull at their ears. In turn, their ears get infected. Even in older children, their ears tend to get infected because the child is too young to properly take care of her ears and earrings.

As a foster mom, I think the woman did the right thing. I doubt that this would be construed as child abuse but clearly the child was upset to the point, where she was crying hysterically, and I think she did the right thing to step in. The child's mother was clearly more concerned with making her daughter look cute then acknowledging her child's obvious fear and distress.

Also, I think the Wal-Mart employee had an ethical and professional obligation to stop the proceedings and tell the woman to come back when the child was old enough to handle the procedure. At five, she wasn't ready. If she had been, she wouldn't have been crying and pleading with her mother to not have it done.

Also, I think Wal-Mart's statement is a complete cop-out. I have a friend who is a tattoo artist and who owns a shop in Tennesssee.. He has parents bring their children in all the time to get a tattoos and a lot of them don't want them. He won't do it if the child doesn't want it done because it is (pretty much) a permanant thing. He told me once about a mother who physically dragged her daughter in and demanded a tattoo. The daughter did not want it done and he didn't do it. He feels that he has a professional responsibility to make sure the person knows what he or she is doing and so does the Wal-Mart employee. Wal-Mart should have stepped in and talked quietly with the mother and suggested that she come back when her daughter was able to handle it.

As a mother, if my child was crying and begging for something to not be done, and that something was voluntary, I wouldn't do it. If my child was that upset over the whole thing, why put them through it.

I think Wal-Mart and the mother were in the wrong and should admit it.


Leprechaunking13 10 years, 11 months ago

Piercings got started because it was believed that having a piece of metal near an oriphace would keep out bad things(sickness, evil spirits, etc.) It's much different now, but piercings did start out as a cultural and/or religious thing. However walmart is in no way a cultural identity marker (outside of 3 street towns), nor is it religious in any way, shape, or form.
And circumsision was also kept up as a practice to keep the head of the penis clean, so that bacteria or anything wasn't growing under the foreskin. With no foreskin it's much easier to clean. This isn't so much a problem now, people bathe more and are cleaner, but I'm definitely glad that my parents chose to change the ant-eater appearance of my appendage and I'll definitely do the same for my son if i'm so blessed as to have one some day.

jayhawks71 10 years, 11 months ago

I think Wal-Mart might be performing circumcisions these days (they are dabbling in all markets). So keep an eye out for falling....umm.... prices?

PatriciaRobinett 7 years, 11 months ago

oh, my. back in kansas again. the place where i was circumcised as a little girl... i went to school in lawrence & was raised in KCKS. i didn't get my ears pierced until i was 21 - in CA - it was my decision & it didn't hurt because they used ICE to numb the ear before they did it... does walmart not have ice?

at any rate, i sure didn't ask to be circumcised and i wish that it had not been done. after discovering my loss, working on healing the trauma, and writing a book about it, i have come to the conclusion that power--over is the worst thing we can do to anyone. it is in making someone feel powerless that there is trauma. I lived decades furious with my mother and angry with doctors - without understanding why until i found out the story - then i could finally let it go and live in peace. all those years. what a waste. i wish it had never been done.

the quality of life issue is, to me, the danger of forcing children, especially infants, to endure pain that we as adults would not choose for ourselves. i know few adults who would elect genital cutting for themselves. yes, it would be called 'assault & battery' if done to an adult & - heck! - it would be a crime if done to a dog or cat.

i see there are still people in kansas who do not see the logic of allowing children autonomy, but i would urge them to explore the possibility of doing whatever they do with love, rather than using force. love is a very very old idea.... and a very very new idea... and it seems like a huge improvement over forcing things, ever. power-over is the error. love is what we have been advised. power-over begets fear and fear is the root of all mental and physical stress, distress, and dis-ease.

someday we will look back at all the things we do to children and weep. we will not be able to imagine we didn't listen to them. we will be so sorry we ignored them. as the good doctor karl menninger said, "What society does to children, children will do to society."

be kind to your children and love them well and they will love you forever.

Nurselynn 6 years, 9 months ago

Wow. According to this womans criteria, as a nurse who vaccinates babies and children often at their clear objection I guess I am guilty of child abuse! And I guess my mom abused me to get the classic picture on Santas lap when I was 2 because I was obviously sceaming and crying. And I guess I abused my daughter when we were boarding the plan to Disney, as she was in defiant objection and let everyone know. I do however agree with the statement made about circumcision, being a cosmetic procedure with a good amount of risk, I think in general it is all a matter of perspective. What if that little girl had been begging and begging to have her ears pierced but on that day needed a nap? There are many possibilities.

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