Photo: jirkaejc, GOSPHOTODESIGN (iStock)

Headlines don’t tell the full story. Exhibit A: I read this headline from WTOL-11—“Mother sneaks son’s alcohol-filled sippy cup into movie theater, police say”—and immediately rooted for the Georgia mom, who I figured was just trying to enjoy a splash of white wine while having to endure Smallfoot, or something.

But this story is not a happy one, and digging beyond the headline took me on an emotional journey. Here’s how it went down, line by line:

“Gibson filled her 5-year-old son’s sippy cup with a strong alcoholic beverage.”
When the story starts off, I’m #TeamMom. Who among us hasn’t wanted a little nip of wine to take the edge off The Land Before Time 2?

“The alcohol was possibly combined with prescription drugs.”
Okay, this is where the situation quickly takes a nosedive. I’m having a hard time maintaining my support for Mom-mixing-booze-with-Xanax.

“Police said Gibson was unable to walk, talk, or care for her son who was crying during the movie.”
Oh good god. Now we’re wading into “alleged child endangerment” territory. That escalated quickly.

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“Police said employees had to stop her from getting into her car. Gibson also allegedly told an officer ‘I will (expletive) kill you.’”
I’ve abandoned any shred of sympathy for the mom, and now regret ever thinking this sippy cup of booze was adorable in any way, shape, or form.

The mother is now in custody “on charges of reckless endangerment and public intoxication.”
“GOOD,” I yell at my screen with an overblown sense of my own moral superiority.

There are two lessons here, as I see it: First, don’t get belligerently drunk when caring for your children, and second, don’t jump to conclusions based on headlines about sippy-cup booze.

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