— Manda Moore (@manda_writes) May 3, 2015
At first glance, the photograph of the little girl with a pink hoodie and ponytails certainly elicits an audible “aww.”
But when the heavy reality sets in, it hits you. A 2-year-old is engaging with a National Guardsman sent to Baltimore to quell the unrest the city witnessed in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. His loaded weapon rests just inches away from the child. And that is tragic, the woman who snapped the picture said in a Twitter post after the photo made its rounds on the internet as “heartwarming” and “cute.”
In an exclusive interview with TODAY.com, Amanda Moore discussed the photo, saying that the image of a child talking to one of thousands of armed guardsman patrolling her neighborhood was “really strange.”
“It was really sad,” she told TODAY. “It was sad for the National Guardsmen because they had to be there, it was sad for Baltimore. And it was sad to explain to your children what’s going on.”
The photograph has garnered nearly three million views on Reddit, TODAY notes.
Mental health experts have been vocal about the long-term effects of the turmoil experienced in communities after bouts of unrest, as seen in Ferguson, Mo. and Baltimore. Images of armored vehicles, heavily armed troops and police, tear gas, and the horror of police violence as a whole is sure to take a toll, Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen told the Baltimore Sun.
Wen thinks that the healing process could take months, maybe even years for some. On Wednesday, the Baltimore City Health Department announced it would be working with schools, churches and community organizations to provide counseling services to communities impacted by recent events.
“We don’t want to offer these resources for a day or a week,” Wen said. “We realize they will have mental health needs for months or years. These are long-term health resources we can offer.”
You can find a list of mental health services offered in Baltimore here.
Do you think the photograph is heartwarming or heartbreaking? Sound off below…