Sunday, February 12, 2012

Facebook gun toting dad inspires a big argument...

Yesterday, before Whitney Houston's tragic and sudden death, I was engaged in an online "discussion" about Tommy Jordan, the North Carolina father who shot up his daughter's laptop computer.  While most of the people who commented on the inflammatory video Tommy Jordan posted seemed to agree with his attention grabbing tactics, others felt his actions were childish, violent, and even abusive.  Hanging out on the Recovery from Mormonism site yesterday, I was very surprised to read responses from people who thought Tommy Jordan had "lost" his daughter and belonged on The Jerry Springer Show.   I have to admit, I was perplexed by the people who felt this way, especially when Jordan made it clear that he was investigated by the local police and CPS and neither found any evidence that 15 year old Hannah is an abused child.

Seriously, folks, the man shot his daughter's laptop, not her dog.  The laptop is just an inanimate object.  If the computer had been broken, he could have used it for target practice and no one would have cared one way or another.   Indeed, some would have praised him for making the hard drive unrecoverable by blowing it up.  Moreover, it was clear that he paid for the computer and he paid for the Internet connection that connected Hannah with the world and allowed her to post her vitriolic rant.  

The things that Hannah was complaining about, I will admit, I probably would have complained about when I was a teen, too.  When I was a teen, I wanted to enjoy the privileges of being an adult without the responsibilities.  I remember being very hormonal and emotional.  Fifteen is one of the drama years for teenagers, especially girls.  What she was venting about was typical teenage stuff.  Some people said as much and claimed that she deserved "privacy".  But here's the thing.  Facebook is NOT a private place.  It is a very public forum.  Things that are posted on Facebook never really go away and can haunt people for years.  Just look at what happened to Hannah's dad.  He meant the video for about 500 people.  Last night, it had almost 15 million hits on YouTube.  These days, anyone can become "famous" by doing something that gets attention or somehow strikes a chord, whether it be positive or negative.  Posting the wrong thing on Facebook or Twitter can have serious consequences.

So while Hannah might have deserved some "privacy", setting her security settings to block her parents and church friends from seeing her "open letter" to her parents-- a letter she passive aggressively never actually intended to send to them-- what she really did was akin to broadcasting her profane venting to millions of people.  A more effective action would have taken place offline, preferably in a locked diary or among a local friend or two.  Because even if you set your Facebook settings to block people, anyone who has access to your feed can undo your attempts at privacy by "sharing", right?

As it turns out, Hannah caused her own problem by forgetting to block the family dog, who also had a Facebook account but apparently wasn't considered family.  When Hannah's dad went to post some pictures on the dog's page, he saw his daughter's very public rant and was understandably very angry about it.  And yet, people on the ExMormon site were shrieking about how her privacy was violated.  It wasn't.  Dad saw the post in plain view, not by rifling through her private computer files.  But even if he had gone through her computer files, he would have had every right to do so.  At age 15, Hannah is still legally a child.  It's not only her parents' right to invade her privacy, it's their responsibility.  Because if Hannah were doing something dangerous or illegal, you bet your ass people would be asking why her parents didn't know.  They would have said Hannah's parents were bad for not caring enough to check up on their child.

It's not that I don't empathize with Hannah, by the way.  One thing I think people forget, however, is that the teen years are supposed to suck somewhat.  If they didn't, people would have no reason to evolve into adulthood.  Furthermore, parents are only required to provide food, shelter, education, water, and medical care for their kids.  They are not required to provide gadgets or allow them to be used in the home they pay for.  Despite that, some people were still whining about how Hannah was entitled to her property.  I would agree, as long as she's taking care of her property and is behaving in a way that indicates that she can handle the responsibility.

Anyway, when I finally got sick of some folks yammering about how poor Hannah was being abused and violated, I decided to post a video of a father I think truly is abusive...

This video is abbreviated and includes commentary...

This is the full, unedited version...

Warning.  The above video is graphic, disturbing, and full of profanity.  When I compare it to this...

I almost have to laugh.  One stubborn commenter had the audacity to say these two videos are like comparing an armed robber to a shoplifter.  He claims that both fathers perpetrated crimes.  But come on...  Tommy Jordan sounds like he cares enough about his daughter to discipline her, if not in an over-the-top way.  He's speaking calmly but sternly to his daughter and making a lot of sense.  Judge William Adams, by contrast, is just full of rage.  He's not disciplining his daughter; he's beating the hell out of her.

I can't say that I would have done what Tommy Jordan did.  But I am not living his life or raising his daughter.  He has the right to parent as he sees fit as long as he hasn't broken any laws.  As long as Hannah lives in his house and is a minor, he has the right and the responsibility to be her parent.  And that means he has every right to confiscate her property or even destroy it if need-be.

I predict Hannah will get over this incident, and so will her dad.  Because as I correctly predicted, their fifteen minutes will eventually pass.  With Whitney Houston's sudden passing, indeed it already has.

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