A few days ago, a North Carolina father reacted to his 15-year-old daughter's Facebook post describing how tough her life was and criticizing her parents.
To register his displeasure with his daughter's public parental complaint, Tommy Jordan had several options at his disposal:
— He could have stated his concern to her privately with the admonition to register future complaints directly and privately.
— He could have grounded Hannah, the offending teen offspring.
— He could have threatened to confiscate her laptop for a week or two, at least making it less convenient to manage Facebook posts.
— He might have described to his daughter the hurt he and Hannah's mother felt when they read her post.
— He might have laughed it off, in the process depriving Hannah of the satisfaction teens sometimes experience when they realize they have succeeded at upsetting their parents.
Instead, Tommy Jordan decided to make a video with his reaction and post it on YouTube. Perhaps not surprisingly in these times, he went viral — in more ways than one.
In the video, the male adult in the family sits in a chair in an open field and reads his daughter's Facebook post and counters each argument she poses. He contrasts her easy life with his own. He had moved out of his home by the time he was 15, got a couple of jobs and was a volunteer fireman.
After a few minutes of reading with cigarette in hand, the camera pans to Hannah's laptop lying on the ground. "That right there is your laptop," he says on camera to Hannah. "This right here is my .45."
Then he cocks the handgun and begins firing at the computer, riddling it with gunfire and effectively destroying it.
The video indeed went viral, and has drawn millions of hits. A whole bunch of frustrated parents praised the gun-toting dad's response.
What constitutes criteria for hero status these days is amazing, often unbelievable. Pouring lead into an electronic device and getting international praise for his effort likely gave Mr. Jordan a rush.
His action is akin to watching television with a shotgun in hand, just waiting to see something you don't care for or agree with, and then firing away at the screen. "Killing" the laptop didn't eliminate Hannah's Facebook post any more than mortally wounding a TV would stop a televised program.
Perhaps this whole episode was a learning experience for Hannah Jordan but it is hard to imagine the father's video enhancing his relationship with his teen. The result may be just the opposite.
Juvenile behavior in a youngster is to be expected from time to time. To praise such behavior in an adult — particularly a parent reacting in front of an audience of millions — is, well, even more juvenile.