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Dad who shot 15-year-old's laptop was out of line

February 15, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
Earlier this month Tommy Jordan, an IT professional and North Carolina father of a mouthy 15-year-old daughter, made headlines after he shot his daughter's laptop nine times with a .45. and posted it on her Facebook page, where the video went viral.

Young Hannah's transgression was posting an occasionally profane rant on Facebook about the household chores her father and his wife expect her to do:

"I'm not your (expletive) slave. It's not my responsibility to clean up your (expletive). We have a cleaning lady for a reason," her Facebook post said. "If you want coffee, get off your (expletive) and get it yourself. If you want a garden, shovel the fertilizer yourself, don't sit back on your (expletive) and watch me do it ... I'm going to hate to see the day you get too old to wipe your own (expletive) and you call me up. I won't be there."

Hannah had blocked her family from seeing the rant on Facebook, but her father still stumbled across the posting.

According to Tommy Jordan's own posting, he had spent hours the day before updating the laptop she used to post her Facebook rant.

Tommy Jordan took away Hannah's laptop, then filmed his own 8-minute rant in which he tells the girl that her chores take an hour a day to do at most, reminds her that he put himself through college working as a volunteer firefighter and that she has yet to find a job to earn her own money, and says she was previously grounded for three months for doing something similar. Then he puts nine rounds in her laptop and finishes by saying, ""You don't have that hard a life, but you're about to ... It's about to get a whole lot harder today. I'm gonna post this on your Facebook wall, so all those kids that thought it was cool for how rebellious you were can see what happens."

Hannah won't get another laptop until she earns the money for one, according to the video.

According to a later statement Tommy Jordan made, which was quoted by Rod Dreher on his American Conservative blog, numerous people called social services and social workers paid a visit to his home, but found no signs of anything amiss:

"Apparently both the local police and the department of social services are OK with it. Yes they came. Of course they came," Dreher wrote that Jordan posted on his Facebook page. "They received enough "Oh my god he's going to kill his daughter" comments that they had to. I knew that the moment it went viral.. it was too late and it was inevitable. I'm only surprised it took as long as it did to be honest.

"The police by the way said "Kudos, Sir" and most of them made their kids watch it. I actually had a "thank you" from an entire detectives squad. And another police officer is using it in a positive manner in his presentation for the school system. How's about those apples? Didn't expect THAT when you called the cops did you?

"The kind lady from Child Protective Services looked all through the house, the yard, and found ours to be a healthy home. She saw the unloaded guns in their rack with the magazines removed and stored separately and safely. Funny thing: The case officer asked to see "the gun"…. "Umm, sir, may I see the actual..umm.. weapon used for the video?" She wasn't at all scared of me but I could tell she doesn't like guns as a general rule. To each their own though. She was comfortable that I was adhering to NC gun safety regulations for the protection of minors, and that's all she needed. But of course if you want to continue, I'm just going to leave a pot of coffee on for the next officers who come by. (Digress: Maybe I can get Krispy Kreme to sponsor me with lifetime donuts? Oh God that would be heaven. Dunkin? Crap… KK all the way….)

"She asked if I minded if she interviewed my daughter privately but that I didn't have to agree. I let her meet in private and then she and I met for about an hour and a half. At the end of the day, no I'm not losing my kids, no one's in danger of being ripped from our home that I know of, and I actually got to spend some time with the nice lady and learn some cool parenting tips that I didn't know.. I use them on my 8 year old son, but not on my fifteen year old daughter.. but now I will! There were a few things I thought she was "too old" for, but after talking to the case worker, I feel like it's worth a shot to try them. Maybe I'll sell those secrets in my next book! (Seriously? You just got mad didn't you? I'm kidding. Besides, that would still only give me two pages of material- one parent tip page and one page on handgun selection techniques appropriate for different electronic destructive purposes.)"

So what do you make of Jordan's parenting technique? Personally, I think both father and daughter acted badly. The father's actions make it pretty clear where the child learned how to express her negative emotions and poor impulse control. Hannah acted like a typical teenage brat; the father responded in a dramatic fashion that will live in infamy for the next several decades, long after Hannah is a mother herself. Both father's and daughter's words will live to haunt them in cyberspace for longer than it should and this video will probably pop up every time someone Googles either of their names. That's too great a punishment for a teenager venting about her chores.

I also think it was wasteful for the dad to shoot the laptop. If he really wanted to send a message to the girl, he could have taken it away, wiped its hard drive and made Hannah give it to a needy family. He also could have taken it away from her for a few months and made her earn it back. Shooting the laptop, where much of the girl's life was probably stored, seems too personal a punishment. It verges uncomfortably on domestic violence.

I also wonder what this kid did that Tommy Jordan thought was bad enough to ground her for three months. That's a pretty harsh punishment for a teenager, far longer than I would think is necessary to get a message across. My best guess is that this is a family that needs counseling, not to air their disputes on Facebook.

Regardless of what you think of the laptop-shooting dad, this is a good reminder for kids and parents that nothing you post online is private.

 
 

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