By now half the Internet has seen the video of the dad shooting his daughter’s laptop for posting disrespectful stuff about her parents on Facebook.
Personally, I don’t think it’s genuine. The dad is an IT professional with a book about to come out, so I think he took a non-working laptop and ginned up a story in order to get YouTube hits. Call me a cynic, but something about the whole thing just reminds me of Balloon Boy a few years back. But there’s a chance it may be a genuine thing. As a father and a gun owner, I have a few opinions about this, and none of them are particularly favorable.
If the whole thing went down as claimed, Laptop Shooter Dad is guilty of quite a few offenses:
Improper use of a firearm.
Guns have their purposes. They’re for defense of self or home, hunting, sporting, or recreation. They’re most certainly not tools for family conflict resolution. I don’t object to shooting a laptop with a pistol (God knows I’ve disposed of annoying computers that way before for fun), but shooting and destroying something to make points in an argument is moronic and immature. It also paints gun owners in a bad light, reinforcing the stereotype of the redneck NRA yokel who goes to his gun first when faced with any sort of interpersonal friction.
Waste of perfectly good property.
Destroying a $500 laptop to teach your kid a lesson? That’s wasteful and stupid. If the object is to deny her the use of the laptop, put it on eBay and donate the money to a charity, or use it to buy some booze for yourself. Riddling it with bullets is like holding a lighter to a stack of hundred-dollar bills. His money, sure, but absolutely the worst use for the cash I can think of. For a few moments of anger therapy, he’s out at least half a grand. (Of course, the revenuepsharing on the advertising on the YouTube clip has probably netted him enough to buy a gold-plated MacBook and a Porsche to drive it around in, so maybe his strategy has paid off from a fiscal perspective. Still, for someone who can’t just drop money on a new laptop on a whim, it’s a pretty nauseating thing to watch.)
Airing family business in public.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t put any sort of family issues on YouTube, Facebook, or my blog, because it’s nobody’s business. My kids may misbehave on occasion, but I don’t run off and tell the world about it. All you accomplish is to make other people doubt your parenting skills, paint yourself in an unflattering light, and cause resentment in the family for airing your laundry in the middle of the town green.
Looking like an immature petulant dork.
This is the lesson you want your kid to learn? That the proper way to handle an argument is to one-up the other party, break their stuff, humiliate them in public, and ratchet up the stakes? That doesn’t teach her to respect you, it just shows her that her old man can’t win an argument with a teenager without resorting to public preening and whipping out handguns. Well done indeed, Dad. I’m sure she’ll remember that episode ten or twenty years hence and feel nothing but respect and admiration.
So there you have my opinion on Laptop Shooter Dad, and my short list of reasons why I won’t be joining the line congratulating him on his parenting skills. As a dad and a responsible gun owner, I think he’s setting a lousy example for both dads and gun owners.