A mysterious photo of a smiling young woman pointing a gun at the head of a toddler swathed in a towel has Facebook users and other online amateur sleuths frantic to track down where the picture came from and make sure the child in the photo is okay.
In the photo, the woman -- apparently in her late teens or 20s -- smiles at the camera while holding a child, who appears to be between one and two years old, and pointing a handgun directly in the child’s face as the toddler looks down the barrel with a curious expression.
Reportedly, the shot first appeared on an Argentine Facebook page, leading some to speculate that the photo was taken in Latin America somewhere. But there was no information posted about its origins.
The shot was picked up in August by the anti-domestic violence blog No Longer Victims.
The blog’s author implores readers to,”SHARE – PLEASE ALL OVER THE INTERNET TILL WE FIND THIS CHILD AND WOMAN.” (Caps in original.) And share they did. The alarming image has since gone widely viral, causing a panic among Facebookers and web surfers.
But is the image for real? While the photo itself appears to the naked eye to be unretouched, whether the gun in an actual weapon or a toy or other sort of replica is unknown.
The author of the No Longer Victims blog says that it doesn’t matter.
“Whether the gun is real or fake makes no difference it is still wrong,” she wrote on August 22. “If you hold any gun to a person say to rob a store and its fake you are still charged with armed robbery so why a difference with this baby? A baby can be traumatized like anybody that is a victim of abuse and this is a form of abuse.”
The blog’s author also wrote that “the relevant authorities have been advised of this and they are dealing with it.” But because the origins of the photo are still unclear, it is also unclear to what authorities she is referring.
SOURCES: No Longer Victims, Daily Star, Hoax Slayer, Daily Mail