about that youtube clip with laptop shooter dad.

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.

the aesthetics of bedtime.

Here’s Lyra’s pick for last night’s bedtime story:

Picture 007

What could possess a three-year-old to pick such heady material?

  1. She’s genuinely interested in 500-page treatises on aesthetics.
  2. She finds Plato boring and chose this book to put her to sleep faster.
  3. She thinks that Daddy will take the bait, and read a bedtime story for twelve hours, thereby delaying bedtime.
  4. She likes the rainbow on the cover.

Right now, I’m leaning toward option 4, but knowing my (already clever and devious) girl child, I have a sneaking suspicion that option 3 may also be a contender.

you scream, we leave.

A restaurant in NC has a new “No Screaming Kids” policy.  If kids act up, the staff will ask parents to take their sprogs outside.

As a parent of two preschoolers, I fully support their policy.  When you spring for a restaurant meal, especially in this economy, you don’t want to be subjected to someone else’s kids throwing tantrums or using the restaurant as their personal playground.  If there’s anything at all about the article I find disagreeable, it’s this quote from an offended mom:

“I’ve never seen a restaurant say, don’t bring your screaming kids in here,” said Ashley Heflin, who is a mom of two. “You can’t help it if your kids scream.”

You know what, Ashleykins?  You sure as shit can.  If your kids scream their heads off in a restaurant, you don’t sit there and subject the other paying customers to the serenade.  You have the waiter doggy-bag your chow and get the hell out of there.  (Trust me, if you ask for your food to go when your kid is throwing a tantrum, the staff in most any restaurant will gladly pack up your food while you carry Junior out to the car.)

I don’t want to annoy people by implying that my kids are perfectly behaved angels, but you know how many times I’ve had them throw a tantrum in a restaurant?  If you guessed “zero”, award yourself the prize of your choice.  You know why that is?  Because I didn’t take them to restaurants when they were small enough to be prone to sudden screaming spells.  When they got old enough to communicate, they got to learn how to eat in restaurants with Daddy, but the first time they even started acting up, they were told in no uncertain terms that if they didn’t behave themselves, we’d be leaving the restaurant pronto, and not return for a very long time.  They like eating in restaurants, so–surprise!–they don’t act up.

Lastly, I don’t understand how anyone could enjoy a meal when their own kids are screaming at the very same table.  Why on Earth would you pay $20 a head for food and meals if you have to not only eat your meal to an infernal soundtrack, but also endure the hostile glances of the other guests?  If your kids are unable to control themselves due to age or experimental parenting, you’re not deprived of the ability to eat restaurant food.  There’s always take-out, curbside pickup, or the drive-through.

Good for you, Olde Salty restaurant.  Nobody has the right to have their kid spoil the meals of the sixty-five other paying patrons in the joint.