Apologies for this kind of depressing post, but I really want your input here. Yesterday, I was on the subway, distracted because I was late to therapy, when my attention—and that of everyone else in the car—turned to a youngish mother yelling profanities at and threatening her small child. She’d stop for a few moments and direct her attention to her phone, then start in again, and every time she did, her child’s hands went up reflexively to protect his face. It felt like he had been through this before, maybe many times. I wanted to go up to her and read her some version of the riot act, but I didn’t. I’m ashamed to say I stayed silent. I’m not sure why, but maybe because the mother seemed legitimately menacing, and I didn’t want to further scare the child, and there was no police officer to report her to, and even if I did that and that led to her being judged an unfit mother, the kid would be sent to foster care, which can be its own awful can of worms. Nobody else said or did anything either. But I keep thinking about that poor kid, and wondering what, if anything, could have been done in that moment to improve the situation. I’m curious how you would have handled this, or what you have done under similar circumstances.