Two Indiana parents are now in jail on charges of child neglect after police found an incriminating cell phone video. The video shows the parents directing a 1-year-old child to put a handgun in his mouth and say “pow.”
The short video won’t merit a shake of your head and a “to each their own” reaction. This video is downright disturbing.
Evansville authorities found the cellphone video on 19-year-old Michael Barnes’ phone when he was arrested for agreeing to sell a handgun to an undercover officer through social media. In the follow-up investigation conducted by police, the video of a toddler putting a gun in his mouth was discovered.
In the video, two adults are present. The toddler’s mother, Toni Wilson, 22, and boyfriend, Barnes, allow and even encourage the young child to play with the handgun. The parents make noises of a weapon firing in the background.
According to a police statement, “Barnes can be heard telling the child to say ‘pow’ on multiple occasions while the child plays with the gun. The video also shows the child placing the muzzle of the gun in her mouth. At no point does Barnes try to stop the child from playing with the gun.”
While police have not yet confirmed if the gun was loaded, the toddler clearly places the muzzle in his mouth while being recorded by the couple. Wilson claimed that the weapon was a pellet gun. Police say it was a .40 caliber handgun.
Thankfully, this type of “silly” cell phone video is not something authorities take lightly. Both parents are now facing multiple charges, including criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and child neglect. The couple’s children, the 1-year-old boy seen in the video and 1-month-old twins, have been removed from the home. Barnes is the father of the infant twins but not the young boy.
To say that these parents are the worst is an understatement. As expected, the negligent and irresponsible video has made waves on social media. As one commenter put it so well, “Some people are dumber today than they were during the Ice Age.”
No matter where you stand on guns in the home, I am sure we can all agree: Playing with a gun around a child is beyond dangerous. Teaching a young child to treat a gun like a toy is grossly irresponsible.
I normally hesitate to throw out “good” and “bad” parenting labels, but this particular situation is one for the record books. Telling your toddler to put a gun in his mouth makes you a bad parent.