Friday, February 17, 2012

Guns + social media = bad parenting

If you haven't seen this by now, check it out:

That link will take you to a father plugging holes with his .45 in his daughter's laptop. A brief summary of events:
  • Daughter complains on Facebook about all the chores she has to do.
  • Dad tells her not to.
  • Daughter complains on Facebook about all the chores she has to do. Again.
  • Dad videos an angry rant (his) which culminates in him shooting her laptop. He posts it all on the Internet.
Now, I've read differing opinions on this and it's clear to me only one opinion really matters: mine.

Why? Because:
  • i'm a father
  • i own guns
  • i own a computer
  • i know Facebook
  • i have common sense
  • i work with juvenile delinquents every day
Here's what I'm learning about being a good dad and about keeping your kids out of trouble forever and ever: don't be a jackass.

A simple enough truth and one that's hard to live by sometimes. But I can promise you that about .01% of the kids I see coming through the juvenile courts have good, supportive parents.

Oh, I know the arguments about why this guy's daughter had it coming, about good old-fashioned discipline, the tough, no-nonsense approach. But it's old-fashioned for a reason: it doesn't work.

Being a good parent mostly involves setting a good example. Not just when there's an old lady who needs help crossing the street but in those tough moments where you want to blow your stack and pummel the sumbitch who cut in front of you on the highway. Any moron can set a good example when the sun's shining and song birds are tweeting. Well, most morons can.

But this guy? He is mad about being publicly humiliated on Facebook, so he publicly humiliates his daughter. Genius. To him, it seems, being a parent isn't about helping his child grow and become a better person, it's about him winning. And he's bigger and carries a gun, so big shocker when he wins. Congratulations, sir, you shot an inanimate object, figured out how to use the Internet, and then humiliated your daughter in front of millions of people. How proud you must be.

Of course, a guy who videos himself on a self-righteous (and worringly aggressive) rant while smoking a cigarette probably isn't big on the 'lead by example' thing. Or communication. Or rational and proportional response.

And the problem is, the only thing he could ever say to justify acting this way is that it worked. That it was effective. And, in his book, that would mean his daughter not complaining about him on Facebook.

But I have some bad news for you, friend. She's still a teenager, and now she's angrier than ever. Angrier for longer, too, and with good reason. And you may think this 'worked' but it didn't because she still doesn't understand why she has to do her chores, she'll just do them with (maybe) less complaining because now she's scared of you.

And I don't blame her at all.


  1. 100% agree with you. He's a moron. Just a shameful display of parenting.

  2. As a former CPS investigator, I cannot believe how many red flags this guy threw up for risk alone!

    As a former CPS investigator, I can believe how many people defended his actions!

    This dude is a piece of work!

  3. David: no question in my mind. I do wonder if he's still proud of his actions...

    Edith Ann: yes, some people seem to think this macho stuff makes for good parenting. I happen to disagree. :)

  4. There are some valid points in this guy's rant, although nothing his daughter wrote or did justify what he did in response.

    As the parent of teenagers, I can appreciate the fact that sometimes, the only thing the kids respond to is "over the top" parenting. In my humble opinion, this guy just doesn't get teenagers. Period. I agree with everyone who says the smoking, do-as-I-say, don't break the law (but I'm going to to prove a point) actions this guy took were flat-out wrong.

    One question: did you all miss the point where the "I think I'm smarter than you" teenager posted on facebook? Again? And BLOCKED her parents? Not to mention, Dad works in IT, and clearly has a fine grasp on how to backdoor a locked account... I think he's justified in responding this way, to some extent, because the kid publicly humiliated him and his wife, then laughed about it with her friends. Lesson learned? The MOST IMPORTANT LESSON ANY KID ON THE INTERNET NEEDS TO LEARN: EVERYTHING YOU SEE IS VISIBLE. FOREVER.

    Yeah, I agree with his making a video response, yeah I agree with him posting it to facebook on her page... No, I don't agree with shooting a $1200 laptop just because you're pissed. That's just stupid. And to the anti-gun folks out there, understand this: there are still people out there who grasp the true purpose and usefulness of firearms. Just because a guy shoots an inanimate object (as stupid as it is), he is not suddenly a danger to society, his family or anyone else.

  5. Lunchbox: thanks for the comments. I agree, I don't think the guy is necessarily a menace to society even though I'm not wild about the mix of anger management issues and weapons. I disagree that posting his response on the Internet was a good idea for a reason you highlight: it's there forever. Should he and his daughter talk about this, reconcile, have a meeting of the minds, they still run the risk of facing their mutual stupidity online forever. And parenting isn't an arms race, in terms of response (not just talking about guns here): just b/c the kid acted like a moron the parent doesn't 'win' by acting like more of one. He took this family squabble public, not her.

    But I definitely agree about the $1200 laptop. What a waste!

  6. "And to the anti-gun folks out there, understand this: there are still people out there who grasp the true purpose and usefulness of firearms. Just because a guy shoots an inanimate object (as stupid as it is), he is not suddenly a danger to society, his family or anyone else."

    While it may be true that a guy stupid enough to shoot an inanimate object in extreme anger is "not suddenly a danger" to anyone ... I wouldn't want to take my chances by being anywhere around such a person. Nor would I agree that he is someone who "grasp[s] the true purpose and usefulness of firearms." Finally, as someone who is passionately anti-individual gun ownership in all circumstances, I do grasp the true purpose and usefulness of firearms, when they are not being used to shoot and destroy inanimate objects in anger: to maim or kill living creatures, whether humans or animals, or to practice for a future instance in which one might want to kill a living creature (e.g. at the shooting range). There is no innocuous use of firearms wholly detached from their potential to maim or kill - contrast other potential crime weapons, such as knives, which can be used for wholly neutral objectives (cooking). And the sooner society rids ourselves of non-law enforcement uses of these firearms, the better.

    1. The sooner we rid society of people who trust their government to be the only one with any guns, the better.

    2. Wow. I said that society should rid itself of firearms - and you, presumably a gun owner, make a threatening-sounding comment about ridding society of particular types of *people*. That *definitely* makes me inclined to be more comfortable with private gun ownership.

      And yes, I'm fairly sure that the police aren't suddenly going to turn into fearsome gun-wielding maniacs if private gun ownership is abolished. Put differently, I don't think the reason for their current generally-good, above-board behavior is because they are scared that if they act on their true intentions re: guns, folks like you will come after them.

    3. Fine. Rid ourselves of the government-knows-best mindset. Koombaya enough for you?

  7. Could not agree more. And like you, I'm shocked and really spooked by the number of people who glorified this moron.


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