Friday, February 10, 2012

"Facebook dad shoots laptop"

Type those words into Google right now, and you'll see stories, blog posts, news articles, and innumerable Facebook and Twitter rants lauding the eponymous dad that shot the laptop. So, what is all the hooplah regarding this dad and the laptop and the shooting? In interest of fairness, here is the entire video:



This man is being called a hero. He is being praised all around the internet as an example of an awesome parent who is really sticking it to his child.

In no particular order, here are my thoughts on the matter:


  • When you boil everything the man describes down to what actually happened, you get someone who said something rude and immature on Facebook. Person A apparently thought they were just speaking to a set group of people - her friends. Person B found out about the comments, then went on Facebook and decided to humiliate Person A. Both people in this situation are being incredibly petty and immature and not acting in the interests of resolution.
  • Unfortunately, this isn't just a Person A and Person B scenario. It's a parent and a child. That creates an entirely different psychosocial relationship with very different emotions. Furthermore, the child is 15 and in the throes of adolescence. Saying stupid, immature, asinine things is sort of a given at the age of 15. It's not right, but it's a life lesson every person and parent on the planet goes through.
  • I am struck with the notion that nobody in the situation was being a parent. The girl acted rudely and without gratitude. The father acted like he was a scorned classmate and blasted her on the internet. The mother condoned the entire thing and asked for a bullet to be shot in her honor. 
  • He mentions that she was grounded for 3 months for venting her teenage frustrations on Facebook. I have to wonder about this. Is the girl not entitled to vent her teenage frustrations to her friends? Does she have to always, under every circumstance, portray the image of the grateful, humble child? It would be nice, but it's not realistic. Must he control her words? What would he do if he found out that she did this same griping at the lunch table? Would he go to the school and burn the offending table?
  • He acts as though a teenager using curse words is a new thing for him. I would be incredibly interested to hear his conversations with his buddies at the bar. I'm sure they're chaste and pure and totally without curse words. What makes it different? The age? The relationship? Please. Don't act like you're the only parent in the world with a child who never uses language of which you disapprove.
  • If not for the gun, I would have possibly chuckled, but more at the immaturity of the entire situation. The gun, however, and the whole "now you'll listen to what I have to say" tone to that latter part of the video - FOR ME - turn this whole thing into a pretty malevolent threat. Do I think he's specifically threatening his daughter's life? No. Do I think that it's disturbing that the first thing he wants to do is jump on YouTube and send the message that he likes to shoot things, and do I I also think that it might be intended to come off as a 'don't cross your father' message? Yes. 

In a discussion I had on Facebook, I was reminded that we are only given an 8-minute snapshot into these people's lives. That is true. My reactions are based on the video that the father apparently wanted me to see. Me, you, and the rest of the world. In the heat of his anger, he decided to punish his child openly and for all the world to see. He invited the world into his relationship with his daughter. As such, millions upon millions of people now know her, her father, and what she wrote. 

Reading through the comments sections, this girl has been called lots of names and gets the privilege of being embarrassed on a worldwide scale. I think this begs a little perspective. The girl posted a message that was seen only by her Facebook friends. He posted a video to YouTube that is being watched by millions. I'm not exactly sure the extreme level of shame he is inflicting on his daughter was merited. 

And, again, I go back to the gun. He wanted to ensure his daughter couldn't use her laptop anymore. Why didn't he take out the battery and the power cord? Why didn't he wipe the laptop and force her to donate it to charity? Why didn't he do a number of things, and why was his first reaction to take a gun and shoot the laptop 9 times, specifically making sure the audience knows the gun and bullet type used. He comes off as an overly prideful man who got his feelings hurt by a child and wants to let her know that he can embarrass, shame, and threaten her into submission. The gun, for me, invalidates any legitimacy to whatever argument he may have had. 

It is one thing to have taken it out back and used it for target practice. It tells me something completely different that he chose to videotape it and post it online with the intention of ridiculing his daughter on a worldwide stage. 

Also, it strikes me as incredibly short-sighted and hypocritical that he creates a child who has few responsibilities and is given what she wants, and then is surprised, upset, and angry when she acts like your typical spoiled teenager. Perhaps if he had taught her the value of a dollar, forced her to pay for part of the offending laptop by taking baby sitting jobs or mowing the lawn, she wouldn't be as ungrateful. Or, perhaps, he should remember the time in which he, too, was a 15-year-old going through hormonal changes that affect your body and emotions in ways science is only beginning to understand. 

We were all ungrateful teenagers at one point. This video, however, doesn't strike me as effective. It strikes me as the reaction of a hurt, desperate parent. He actually seems to be enjoying the attention, if you look on his own Facebook profile. Parents around the world might be calling him hero, but I think it seems to be more of a collective revenge fantasy against their children and not a level-headed response.

Before you ask or bring this up, no, I'm not a parent. And I'm not going to say anything about credentials or education, because I'm not sure it matters in situations such as these. I simply feel it's wrong and frightening on a guttural, personal level. 

Feel free to share your thoughts, but I have one caution: Don't say something to the effect of "you shouldn't be judging his parenting." He's actually inviting that by posting the video up for all to see. So, the argument there is moot.

*Update* He has posted an update on his Facebook page regarding this business. If you'd like to read it, the link is here. I will say it doesn't change my opinion, and that if I were his daughter, I wouldn't be taking any opportunities to speak out against him either. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

13 comments:

  1. For some more information on this topic, may I suggest you visit Tommy Jordans facebook. (sorry, some of my punctuation is not operable at the moment...like question marks)
    https://www.facebook.com/tommyjordaniii

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the link. Forgot to attach it when I mentioned his Facebook page. Wasn't intentional.

    That being said...I've read the Facebook page. The phrase 'damage control' comes to mind.

    FL

    ReplyDelete
  3. My take is: His posting this video leaves me with the impression that he (and potentially the mom in this family) is immature. I've known people like this, who are still impressed by their guns and their own manliness. And if he is like this in the video, there is a good chance he's at least somewhat like this all the time. Is it any WONDER then, that his kid is also immature and overly dramatic? She learned it from watching her own parent(s).

    That said, he paid for the laptop. He can shoot it with a gun if he wants to. So far, gun ownership is still legal, and firing on your own property, given local ordinance allows it, is also still legal. He's done nothing wrong in that department. Just made his point in a rather wasteful way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm looking at that and I can't help but think, wait a minute...

    She's a teenager. Seriously? This is what you pull out the gun for? A few questions...

    Is she drinking? Doing drugs? Pregnant? Regularly treated for STDs? Getting into fights? Smoking? Flunking out of school? No?

    Then suck it up, buttercup, it's what we call "parenting a teenager" and you knew it was coming. Just like the sleepless nights of infancy and the muleheaded stubbornness of toddlerhood.

    If dad's response is a gun...man, I have to wonder what kind of problems that poor girl is *not* openly complaining about. Maybe it's the East Texas redneck in me, but I can't help but wonder what's going on under the surface.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree with your statements. I also was bothered by the use of the gun. I felt as if that was threatening to her. I don't allow my kids to play at homes where guns are present and I certainly would not let them go into this household. IMHO, the video protrays him as being unstable and an owner of a gun.
    I am sure he was hurt by her statements, but they came from a 15 YEAR OLD GIRL. His last of education is telling....

    I noticed he was a smoker also, so he is a smoker and emotionally unstable...great combination....

    Thanks for your post...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just writing to say that I agree with you 100%. I grew up with a father who thought of himself as a "John Wayne" kind of guy who would "lay down the law" in our household. Yes, he may have provided for my siblings and I, but when we did something wrong, many times the punishment didn't fit the crime. He used to come up with all sorts of cruel and unusual punishments because he got pissed off and lost his temper (this includes being verbally and, at times, physically abusive). I used to get the "while you're living under my roof, you'll live under my rules" speech all the time, but the truth is, I wanted out so badly. I felt trapped and helpless and that I had no choice but to put up with his bad behavior.

    Watching this video made me angry. And the YouTube comments in which users were calling him "Father of the Year" and validating his outburst made me even angrier. The impression that I got from the video, from the authoritative posturing at the beginning to the shooting of the laptop at the end, was that this was just another insecure, little man trying to lay down the law. Good parenting, my ass. Yes, she was being a spoiled little brat by posting all that stuff to her Facebook page, but 15 year old kids whine about their parents and just plain rebel. I think this could have been handled WAAAAAAY better by the so-called adult in the situation.

    I really think that, before ripping into his daughter about making whiny posts on Facebook about her parents, this guy needs to take a good, hard look at this own bad attitude and how it's affecting his daughter. Seems to me there are a few underlying reasons as to why she's being so disrespectful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well let me be the one person to disagree with everyone else. Granted, I think shooting the laptop was a little extreme simply because I couldn't bring myself to destroy an expensive piece of electronic equipment. Did I think his overall response was over the top? Maybe a little.

    To be perfectly honest though, I can understand 100% where this guy was coming from. I can't judge how anyone else decides to parent their kids and none of us are perfect. However, I can understand his frustration at trying to discipline his child and the lesson not sinking in. If there is one thing I have learned from raising my kids so far, is sometimes you actually have to go through with what you say you are going to do.

    If you never back up what you say you will do, then the kids know you are full of hot air and will have no respect for you and will walk all over you. Or at least they will try. If I remember correctly, he said in the video that he told her he almost put a bullet through the computer the last time there was some issue with Facebook/the computer. It appeared to me that he felt he had to follow through with his threat because she had not taken him seriously. Should he have put it on Facebook? Probably not but it is what it is and I think he has learned something from the whole experience as well.

    I doubt she is emotionally scarred or crippled by the incident. I'm also sure she has a little more respect for her parents tonight. The one thing I think he should have done however, was to insist that they be able to see her Facebook page. Personally, I don't think I would let my child have a Facebook page under the age of 17 without me being able to monitor it. It's not that I want to be nosy about what my kid is doing, it's that I don't trust anyone else. If a kid feels the need to vent that badly, buy a journal and get to writing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't care that he shot her laptop. Big deal. It sounds to me like she was a spoiled brat that NEVER should have been given a laptop in the first place. God, when I was a kid I was grateful if my parents even got me a book! There is no way in hell my parents would have spent that kind of money on me. If I wanted a laptop, I'd have had to pay for it myself.

    I agree that a person should be allowed to express themselves, but an open letter to her parents on facebook was NOT the way to go. That sort of thing belongs in a private journal or phone call.

    The only thing that bothers me, is how public this whole thing became. I know that's not what the father intended. No one ever expects a video to go viral. She might be a brat, but I don't think she deserved national humiliation.

    That being said, I think they'll be alright. There are worse things that could happen to a wealthy teenage girl.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Daniel Fincke nails it. Excerpt:

    'This is just a symptom of the sickness of America’s self-righteous, gun-fetishizing, “throw away the key”, “blame the poor”, “torture the suspect”, “beat the spoiled children” authoritarianism. To so much of the American psyche, reason and love are not solutions. The only solutions are “last resort” bullying crackdowns of dominance and humiliation.'

    Read the whole piece here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU, Makarios, for posting that article. The piece itself was great, but I am loving the well-thought responses to the article in the comments section. Seriously, where do I sign up to have the wonderful coffee shop meet-up that would be had with these people.

      They should all be Rioters. Or, I should be in their club. Or both.

      FL

      Delete
    2. Great post yourself, Fire (and I agree, I was blown away by the comments I got in reply). It's a pleasure to discover your blog.

      Delete
  10. The fact that this guy was so frustrated with his daughter that he pulled out his gun and start shooting is a HUGE problem for me. According to the latest update, he's receiving donations from people who think he is some kind of hero. I am boggled by the number of people who think these actions are okay.

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is very immature of him. That isn’t the way to teach respect to his daughter and I think he needs to be taught a lesson as well. I just could not imagine myself doing what he did.

    ReplyDelete