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Say it, Forget it: Write it, Regret it

I’m sure many of you have seen the recent video that went viral on February 8, 2012, of a North Carolina father, Tommy Jordan, who shot 8 holes through his 15 year old daughter’s laptop. The video had over a million views in less than 24 hours and as of February 21st there were over 27 million views.  If you haven’t seen it, take a look for yourself.


The father, an IT professional, came across his daughter, Hannah’s, Facebook page. The 15 year old posted a long, disrespectful, and vulgar message about her parents for all to see. The purpose of the message: to complain about how her parents treat her like their “slave” because she is told to help around the house.

As a result, the father replies to his daughters “cute or cool” message by creating a message of his own, which he recorded, posted on You Tube, and on his daughter’s Facebook page for all to see and embarrass her the way she embarrassed her family and herself. He ends the video by putting eight bullets into his daughter’s laptop. Ending with “Have a nice day, y’all.”

My first thoughts after watching the video was, well, she deserved to be punished, but was that the right message that he is sending to his daughter: when you do something wrong respond with violence? And what about the little brother that the 15 year old says, in her message, she has to lock her bedroom door on the weekends so he doesn’t wake her up? Is that the right message to be sending to young boys, whom generally looks up to their fathers and want to be just like them?

Since the posting of the video, there has been controversy over the actions of Tommy Jordan. Some say, good for him, she deserved it, that’s the only way to get a message across to young, “bratty” teens these days. Others believe that the actions of Jordan are over the top, abusive, and a misuse of the right to carry a firearm. But which is right?

There is no right answer in this situation. I believe it is all matter of opinion. I come to this conclusion after viewing various comments from readers of the Tommy Jordan video on You Tube, as well as articles written from news stations nationally. The opinions are so broad, and they vary in culture and beliefs.

Children should be punished for being disrespectful to their parents.  I am not a fan of guns, but I am a fan of children being held accountable for their actions.

I think it is safe to say that children today are different from children 25 years ago. Technology and social media has been a driving influence in how children learn and interact with others. It almost seems like some children feel as if they are entitled to the latest cell phone, iPod, or laptop. The respect and manners that  some children once had for their elders is nearly out the window and you can clearly see the lack of respect that some possess. Like all situations, you cannot make generalizing assumptions, which is why I say some children. I’d say it’s safe to say that children are different now than 25 years ago, which is nothing but factual.

Some children and teens think they deserve anything they want from their parents, giving nothing in return. They complain about doing household chores asked of them. Of course they don’t like it, but learning responsibility, structure, and respect at a young age only makes them better adults.

Here is where the controversy of the Tommy Jordan video teeter totters. Yes, Mr. Jordan seems right in seeking to instill his daughter with responsibility, structure, and respect for elders. No one can scrutinize him for that.  Yes, Mr. Jordan is right in 95% of what he says to his daughter Hannah in the 7 minutes and 20 seconds he speaks. What about the last minute and 30 seconds?

Punishing a disrespectful act does not require a violent act. Like violence does not solve violence; anger does not solve anger. It is all the same.

Now many people have wondered about Tommy Jordan’s reaction to the situation and the millions of views his video has received.  Does he think his actions were appropriate? Would he take anything back that he said or did? Perhaps the biggest question is why use a gun and shoot the laptop repeatedly? Why not simply take it away, sell it, or donate it to someone who needs it? In an interview with ABC News on February 21, 2012, Mr. Jordan answered this question.

Q: People who do criticize your actions seem to take most offense to the use of the gun; can you explain your choice of using the gun rather than another method of destroying the laptop?
A: Because that was what I promised her two months ago. If I’d promised to use a hammer, or promised to give it to someone else, then that’s what I’d have done. If I promised to send it to the moon on the back of a rocket, I’d have been screwed I suppose, but I didn’t promise that.

I was stuck by my own words. I said “If this happens again, I’ll put a bullet through it.” It happened again.”

As far as if Tommy Jordan would repeat his actions, his answer:  No. To him, the ramifications from CPS/DSS that came about, due to calls of viewers, disturbed and upset the family as a whole. Jordan states, “That has been stressful for each and every one of them, including my daughter. The people who thought they were doing her a favor by sending hundreds of calls to CPS only means she has to deal with some lady dropping by her life without warning for months to come, just to make sure we don’t beat her and lock her in a closet at night. It about stressed my wife to the breaking point, though the final report from CPS thus far has been that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about, no signs of abuse in the past, and that our family is healthy and happy overall.”

To read the full interview: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/02/tommy-jordan-who-shot-daughters-laptop-defends-himself/

The fact that Jordan would not repeat his actions again is clear why violence does not work or solve any issues. The consequence of violence becomes a whole other problem much larger than the original problem itself.  It never really makes an issue easier to deal with, but rather more to deal with.

Picture a clean, clear glass of water.  If you drop a single drop of red food color into the glass, the water will turn a light red, or pink. If you dump out the tainted water and fill it up again with water, the water will still have a slight red tint.

Think of this example as how violence works. The smallest amount of violence can taint a community, but often, there is not just a small amount of violence. It is multiplied and difficult to ever get that “food dyed water” clear again. So with every drop we are able to prevent from entering that glass, or our community, the more we are able to prevent unnecessary violent acts from occurring.

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