Dear Mr. Jordan,
I could call you Tommy, but since we've never met, that doesn't seem polite. And heaven knows I don't want to be rude to you. I have seen what you do to people who are.
So, as I understand it, your 15-year-old daughter Hannah does things you don't like on Facebook. You grounded her for it once and, being 15, she figured she had you fooled and could manage to block you from seeing that she was at it again. It was a horrible letter that she posted, starting "To My Parents," and including such choice nuggets as "I am not your damned slave," "we have a cleaning lady for a reason, her name is Linda, not Hannah," and "if you want coffee, get off your ass and make it yourself."
Your response was to fight back, using her rules. You got on YouTube, read the letter to the entire world, informed Hannah that she was an ungrateful brat, announced that she was grounded for what sounds like the rest of her life -- and then emptied a round of bullets into her laptop. (SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH.)
So now, in addition to Tiger Mom and Eagle Dad, we appear to have a new parenting meme -- Pistol Packing Papa. When I first watched your video last night, you had 13,000 views, and by the time I woke up this morning, you had logged nearly one million. There are 7,000 people with something to say to you on Facebook, with comments ranging from "STANDING OVATION" to accusations of child abuse. (There was also an offer from an art gallery in Berlin to buy the bullet-riddled laptop.) I read a lot of them, and I kept coming back to one question -- what exactly was the lesson that you taught here?
That it feels lousy to be criticized in public by someone who is supposed to love you? Check. She did that to you and now you gave her a large taste of the same medicine.
That it's unacceptable to curse a blue streak in public? Well, that wasn't exactly the takeaway here. More like, "you curse at me, I curse right back at you."
That you are bigger and stronger and more badass than she is? Yep. I think she gets that now.
To respect property purchased with hard-earned money? Unless you happen to sell that laptop to that German art dealer, then I would say you sent exactly the opposite message. I mean, what a waste of a perfectly good computer.
So what we have here is a father acting like a 15-year-old and wondering where she gets it from. (Does she smoke, too, Mr. Jordan, because I really can't figure out why you had to be puffing on a cigarette during this video?) I bet it felt good -- just like her letter to you felt like a load lightened to her -- but now you have to deal with the fallout from your adult-with-a-camera-and-a-gun version of a temper tantrum.
Yes, your daughter sounds like a brat. But look at her role models.
Might I (very, very respectfully) suggest that this very public blowup become a way for some very private conversation at your house? And please don't put it on YouTube. True, we are all dying to know what happens next. Which is one of many reasons you shouldn't let us.
Lisa Belkin (who has never shot a laptop, but who has made the video game console disappear in the middle of the night)
Follow Lisa Belkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lisabelkin