Friday, February 10, 2012

Daddies with guns


I would be surprised if  any of you hadn't already seen this video of the dad who shoots a few rounds into his daughter's laptop because she posted a snarky letter bitching about her parents on her Facebook. The video showed up on my Facebook newsfeed many times today. Most of my friends posted it so they could give Dad an attaboy for showing his daughter who's the boss. Only a couple of friends, both chronic homeschoolers, thought Dad  was a total, fucking asshole in an ugly hat could have found a better way to deal with his daughter's angry letter and his own anger in response.

I've raised a couple of teenagers into adulthood. Drake was difficult in his own way, but Elvira pushed every button I had and some that probably belonged to the neighbors. She admits she did it on purpose. Oh, I have so many stories; I understand the frustration this guy felt. Tempting as it was to get her back by behaving just like her though, to get revenge on the low road, that's not what reasonable adults do. That's not how good parents teach their kids to control their impulses and consider the consequences of their actions, a lesson this girl obviously needs.

I've never understood parents who think they can teach their kids to stop a behavior by doing it back to them, only worse or harder. One reason I hate going to K-mart is because inevitably my ears are assaulted by the sound of some piece of shit smacking her kid and yelling, "Don't hit your brother! Next time I'm gonna hit you harder!" What kind of fucking inbred idiot thinks that will work? The lesson is not "don't hit your brother." The lesson is "when you get mad, hit people, but only if you're lots bigger than they are and can hurt them worse." It's fucked up, and it ensures a next generation of hitters.

So this dad, furious that his daughter wrote a nasty letter and posted it online, taught her a  lesson: he ramped it up, made an 8-minute video of himself reading and responding to her letter and then fired his pistol into her laptop. Wow. He really showed her, didn't he? Take that, you whiny little bitch. If she thought she was mad, now she knows he can get madder. And when he does, he will fuck her world up. In public. The lesson she'll really get from it? She obviously needs to be sneakier. That's what I would have done.

Not only did he read her letter and then go completely over the top by responding in public, his response, provoked though it was by that maddening letter, took words and added both visuals and gun violence. I find that kind of behavior pretty scary. I'm not sure why other people don't, because isn't the message here that he can do to her what he did to her laptop? That is the message, right? The laptop was standing in for her? Way to go, Dad.

The bottom line is that this asshole indulged himself in an enraged, premeditated temper tantrum. He's like a three-year-old with a gun. And I want to reiterate: I do understand his frustration. I have bad-mommy stories from when Elvira was a teen. I'm not proud of them. I also understand the impulse to cheer for a dad who'd had enough and set some boundaries. But I can't imagine shooting my daughter's possessions with a 44 45 while videotaping myself and then sharing it with the whole fucking world. I guess they do things different in Texas North Carolina, but here in the Midwest, CPS might be knocking on my door. His reaction was extreme and violent and childish. And we all know children shouldn't play with guns.

This isn't the kind of behavior we're supposed to be teaching our kids--and they will copy what we model for them. This isn't how we want them to behave when they're adults--do we? Most of us teach our kids not to lash out with violence when they're angry, not to respond to aggression with an escalation of more aggression. That's how wars start. That's how daughters leave home and never speak to their dads again. That's how daughters learn that it's OK for the men in their lives to respond with violence when they get mad. Some people have even said the daughter will become a stripper because of this. I think it’s a little early to tell.
Not only that, his reaction got his daughter a lot more attention than her letter to her Facebook friends ever would have. He had to show everybody his big dick, so now she's infamous for her letter, which otherwise would have scrolled off every friend's newsfeed within hours. I would have loved that when I was a teen! Instead of just telling her to take the letter down, and then maybe talking to her calmly about how her letter had angered him and her mom -- maybe even talking to her about why she wrote it -- this guy made a stupid, whiny letter from a teenager into a circus. And he's the scary fucking clown.

Maybe our first instinct when we get angry or feel threatened is to get angrier, threaten with bigger guns. But as parents, this isn't the model we should set for our kids. This dad is not a caveman and the person threatening him wasn't a saber-tooth tiger. A little civility would have gone a long way toward teaching his daughter there are better ways to handle her anger. What did she learn from this? If somebody makes you mad, set up your camera, get out your pistol, and show the world your dick is big enough to drill holes into a kid's laptop. Now that's masterful parenting.

I already know a significant number of my readers disagree with me about this video. I'd love to hear from you. Do you really consider this an example of effective parenting? Or is it a knee-jerk reaction to take the dad's side because the daughter was such a whiny bitch?

32 comments:

  1. I couldn't get through the first two minutes without being really annoyed with the guy. Girl: whiny bitch. Dad: whiny bitch. Score: Tied.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True that. But aren't all teenage girls whiny bitches sometimes? He should have outgrown teenage temper tantrums. I only watched it all the way through because I was going to write about it. Otherwise, I would have skipped forward to the shooting and probably not watched all of it. I don't like to give attention to assholes....even though I just did.

      Delete
  2. This is something my dad would do and I ran away from home as soon as I could and still don't want to have anything to do with him. My dad was a gun man but he never bought me anything to shoot. I think it is actually possible that she is expected to do a lot more than he made it sound because my parents told me to do everything. She was obviously mad about all of the stuff she had to do and I can relate. We had a wood stove when I was growing up and we got our own firewood every summer, all summer. I had to constantly haul logs and stack them in the truck. I had to dig in the garden and do a lot of other hard stuff. Now my teenage kids are showing their butts but I don't have to make their life harder just because mine was. We just took away all of my 15 year old's electronics/games, TV etc... and if he makes me made enough I will sell them because I did buy them but I'd never just destroy his things or make it public. And I'd never expect him to pay for the damage I did. One thing that really irritated me about this video is that he was mad about her cursing but he cursed a lot in that video. If you don't want your children to curse you should never do it yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is selling your kids things any different than destroying them? As you said, you bought them, you can do with them what you want. So can the dad in the video... he bought the laptop, she made him mad enough, he "took it back" and did with it what he wanted (in his case destroyed it... in yours, sell it). What's the difference?

      Delete
    2. Here's the difference - "what he wanted" to do with it was violent, childish, stupid, and completely ineffective as a punishment.

      Delete
    3. I couldn't wait to leave home when I was 17, and one of the reasons was authoritarianism like this jackass portrayed. Although my dad didn't mind throwing me against a wall in an immediate fit of rage, I can't imagine him taking the time to plan something this elaborate, and then destroying an expensive computer. I guess it can always be worse.

      I took things away from my kids too, if they were distracted from something I thought was more important by them. Video games were especially troublesome. But I saw no reason to destroy or get rid of them when they would only be replaced later by something else.

      Delete
  3. Let's make something perfectly clear, daughter of mine. Don't piss me off. I have a penis in my hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Ha! Piss me off...penis in my hand. Hee.

      Delete
  4. Girl - did something bad
    Dad - grounded her and told her what would happen if she did it again
    Girl - did it again
    Dad - followed through with stated consequences

    The message isn't "if I can shoot your laptop, I can shoot you". The message is that you screw up, you pay the consequences. The message is that dad WILL follow through with what he says, unlike a lot of society like those "lovely" parents I see in high end establishments who "warn" their kids a thousand times and STILL nothing ever happens as the kids ignore them and does what they damn well please You get a warning, then you know what happens.

    Also, FWIW, the laptop is NOT the daughter's possession that dad destroyed willy-nilly. I'm not sure I would have shot it simply because I never would have threatened to do so. I would have taken it as my own though.

    Take this for what its worth... I have no biological kids of my own and am probably a shitty parent anyway. I don't think dad did anything wrong. Dad tried civility in the previous instance and it didn't work. He stated the consequences of what would happen if she did it again... and he followed through. A bit dramatic perhaps, but a good life lesson.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mean to say, the laptop is not HERS, it is HIS. He paid for it, he pays for upgrades. He can take it away if he wants... he can destroy it if he wants.

      Delete
    2. I agree with you, Anon. People overlook the fact that children have been warned and that consequences happen. Each parent has a different response to bad behavior and each child has different responses to the consequences. Some kids learn that their parents rule with a mighty fist, and like the other Anon above, will run away.

      I think the only thing going over the top was making it public and posting it on her facebook. Really, how is she supposed to see it when he shot her laptop... =)

      Delete
    3. You don't think her friends will tell her or even show her?

      Delete
    4. OF COURSE he CAN shoot the laptop full of bullets in a dramatic childish tantrum and share it with the entire world, it is his prerogative. But WHY? All it proves is that he's as maladjusted as she is. Most of these comments are not refuting any of the points in the article, they're just arguing that it's his right to do it and that it makes them feel good, which no one is disputing.

      Delete
    5. I have nothing against strong boundaries and setting up consequences. But the consequences should be reasonable and they should apply to whatever transgression occurred. That whiny letter from a 15-year-old to her friends. Big fucking deal! Kids get pissed off and they rant, just like adults do. He's the one who turned it into a war. The punishment didn't fit the crime, although I would dispute that there was even a crime.

      And of course he has the right to do it. he can do all kinds of things to his kid that he couldn't do to anybody else. He can smack the shit out of her with a belt. That doesn't mean he should do it. Even if he threatened to do it, that doesn't mean he should have followed through with that punishment.

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a shame that posting a letter, meant for her friends to view - that is set privately -to the point the dad had to go through her stuff to find it, and the point isn't he was fixing her computer, or that she lives under his roof, therefore he has the right to do it - it's that he obviously does not trust her and that lack of trust will only set them (both) up to fail, repeatedly.. the letter wasn't that bad, she was being whiney and pissy and exaggerating her situation (but I'll put money down he exaggerated some of his own claims) So What?

    It was just words.. no actions -she didn't scream, she didn't break the coffee maker, or put reds in the laundry with the whites - what kid hasn't at some point thrown up the finger to their parents when the door closes? She didn't DO anything but write a letter to blow off steam.

    I can't imagine what got her grounded for 3 months before - even he said it was something silly, that he couldn't remember.. so .. why 3 months? What child learns anything by being grounded for 3 months other than to be (like RW wrote) sneakier next time?

    There are more issues going on in that family than a 15 yo girl writing a pissy note on facebook. Dad's got some control issues, both self-control and controlling others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IMHO, a GREAT lesson in how ANYTHING you post on the Internet is NOT, despite all anyone claims, PRIVATE!!

      Delete
    2. Well said, Judi. Even through his own words the guy seems to show a pattern of over-reacting.

      Delete
    3. Serenity, it does show that. I think he had to be looking to find that letter though. It's not like she published in the city newspaper. I'll bet not that many of her FB friends even paid that much attention to it.

      Delete
  7. Seemed like the comments on the original video are about tied -- some people appalled, other people cheering. I think it's a good reflection of the turning point our society is in. When we have needs like this man & his daughter both expressed (appreciation, respect, connection, healthy expectations, structure), will we make demands and use dominance-based language and behavior to try to meet them? Or will we use peaceful, connection-focused expressions and behaviors instead?

    To those who've commented that it's just him delivering on setting boundaries/consequences: again, are the consequences the ones most likely to get his and his daughter's real, core needs met? Or are they tools that will meet temporary emotional needs and actually produce results counter to the long-term goals for behavior and relationship?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bravo! I couldn't have said it better, Ria. What I hope is that if nothing else good comes out of that video going viral, the discussion will cause some parents to consider whether the satisfaction of immediate punishment (revenge in this case) is worth the long-term damage to the relationship.

      Delete
  8. Chatting with a friend.. apparently the dad's fb page is public and it sounds like it's worth reading some of his posts since this has happened.

    That said (chuckles), I haven't read it yet.. but it does sound like lots of detectives, CPS, etc have visited him, that he and his daughter have had lots of talks, and she's read some of the things that's been said (both sides). I don't know that I'll bother to go read, as I don't really care one way or the other, except it's nice to hear they don't appear to be as dysfunctional as I was first thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting that his FB page is public. I guess people have their own reasons for doing that. I've given him enough attention though. I hope his family had a bonding experience over the whole thing. Would be nice to think.

      Delete
  9. for one thing this father was making a point, and not once did i hear him say this laptop could be you next time. that is the most off the wall slander i have ever seen. im sorry but i have 2 little girls 5 being the oldest, and i too own firearms, now if i take out one of their toys and use it for target practice because they have gone over the top and broken the rules, disrespected not just me, but their entire family and themselves, it doesnt mean i am going to turn around and point the gun at them. pull your head out of your ass and wake up. he is a father and he made his point to his child in his own way, my rules in my home are different from yours i am sure, dont mean either of us is right in the way we are raising a children. but it also dont mean i or you is going to turn around and shoot our kid if they act up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear. Did I put my head up my ass while I slept again? No wonder people get so annoyed with me. That's what butt plugs are for, isn't it?

      Obviously the rules in my house are different from yours. For example, I can't conceive of blasting a hole in my child's teddy bear with a 44 in a fit of anger, but my kids knew my red pen would make them bleed if they didn't capitalize and punctuate their sentences. And I am serious.

      In my house, we use words, not violence, to work out our problems. But you and I can agree on one thing: I am not going to turn around and shoot either of my kids .... for any reason. And that goes for their toys too.

      I'm struggling not to match your comment with my own ad hominem attack, so I'll just thank you for stopping by and sharing your opposing point of view. Maybe next time you'll feel comfortable enough to put your name next to your comment.

      Delete
  10. Being from Texas, this kind of parenting is no surprise to me. Parents are clueless as to why their kids aren't "acting right", never looking at their own impact on the situations.

    And from the sound of it, since he left at 15 himself, he didn't have much better parenting himself. Hard to break those kinds of cycles. And now, his daughter, got mad, raged with whatever she had available (FB), regardless of the impact. And then he raged back. So it seems the cycle continues. I guess he's lucky handgun laws usually prohibit 15 year olds from carrying a weapon!

    And, to the anonymous poster above me... we have guns in our house too. But never in my wildest dreams would I think that shooting my kids toys would be a good way to respond to something they did. Really? That's something you do? You can't think of a way to talk to them about what's happening? And you said the oldest is 5, and you can't figure out something better? Good luck when they're teens!

    It's a shame when people are so caught up with "being respected" that they can't step back and see the larger implications of their behavior.

    Gosh it's too bad Parenting Classes aren't included as a thread in schools. Sounds like quite a few people could use them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A compassionate response, Sue.

      I remember years ago my brother spanked my niece for some infringement of his rules. I think she was about two, a toddler. It was something so minor I can't remember what it was. Then he turned around and said to me, "I don't care if she loves me, but she'd better respect me."

      Violence doesn't earn respect. There's a big difference between fear and respect.

      Delete
  11. First off, Ma, it was a .45 1911. Geeze, get it right, it's one of the most popular pistol platforms in the country (next to Glock, of course)!

    Satire aside, I think a lot of people are missing some key issues here.

    First, at 15, everyone is prone to exaggeration and bouts of melodrama. God knows I was, and you don't even wanna know about Elvira at 15. Teenagers are crazy. Literally. Brain chemistry is all kinds of whacky. None of what she wrote was out of the ballpark for a normal teenager.

    Second, she was, whether she intended to do it or not, actually trying to be respectful by hiding the post from her parents. SHE isn't the one airing the family laundry, and she isn't the one making it a confrontation. Her father went out of the way to intrude on what, in less than three years, will be a 4th amendment right. Privacy. Just like his 2nd amendment right to own that .45. Put your nose in someone elses business too far, and sometimes you won't like what you find.

    Third. Speaking of the second amendment, if a man is willing to make his point with a .45, he's probably willing to make it with a belt or the back of his hand as well. This was an over the top, authoritarian display. This was not about raising a respectful child, it was about respect. Apparently respecting force is what he wants to teach his children. Btw, exploding hollow point .45 caliber rounds? Give me a break, you melodramatic fuck. You get one or the other, and those weren't the kind that go boom. The hollow point you were using is expansive (and apparently expensive), and a laptop isn't really wide enough for those to do any extra damage.

    Fourth. "At your age I had lived on my own, worked two jobs, went to college while in high school, was a volunteer fireman, and went to school" As a high school sophomore? Bullshit.

    Bottom line here, no parenting isn't good parenting, but bad parenting can be worse. "Oh well, it's his house, and his kids" is just an excuse for you to look the other way. He made this public, he should be called on it.

    Drake

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THAT'S MY BOY!

      (45....45...45.... must remember 45.....)

      Delete
  12. Thank you Reticula, you have articulated my own thoughts and feelings on this.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What YOU said, Reticula. I teach, and I believe that many parents "over-discipline" (punish without thinking is more like it), or "under-discipline" (don't set boundaries and follow through). Then they wonder what they did wrong. Well--you hit your child, humiliate your child, and demand crazy things of your child; OR, you allow your child to do whatever she wants while you ignore and spoil your child at the same time. And neither of these kinds of parents seem to actually TALK WITH their child(ren). I'm so, so sad for our kids, for so many reasons.
    Thanks, by the way, for teaching your kids punctuation, capitalization, and so on. I want your kids in my class. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was amazed how many of my kids' friends told me they liked coming to our house because I talked to them and their parents never did, except to yell at them. It's not that hard. They're people. I managed to do that and still have rules.

      Delete