11 February 2012

What Happens on the Net Never Stays on the Net

There's a video that's gone viral in the last couple of days, it's one of Tommy Jordan taking his .45 to his daughter's laptop. If you haven't seen it, I will let you Google it or find it on You Tube on your own. You need to know that Mr. Jordan lets expletives fly and although I can probably cuss him and his daughter under the table on any given day, I can't in good conscience link to the video. I am also not willing to throw Mr. Jordan under the bus nor kick him to the curb. This post isn't about telling you what a jerk Mr. Jordan is or how I giggled a bit when he 5 X'd the laptop. I have no ax to grind or stone to throw. I do want to make some observations though.

First, let me say that I will never get the parent of the year award. I made some serious mistakes raising my kids. I sincerely thought at the time that I was doing the right thing, and may well have, except that I did it the wrong way. I think Mr. Jordan and I have that in common.

For those of you who have not seen the video let me give you some cliff notes. Mr. Jordan's daughter posted a letter of complaint, a list of offenses inflicted on her by her parents, on her Face Book wall. She thought she was hiding it from her father but he is computer savvy and saw it anyway. The letter was a tirade of her perceptions of her mistreatment. Apparently she'd been warned and disciplined before for similar rebellious behavior and Mr. Jordan had had enough. He opted to upload a video onto her wall where we see him reading the letter she wrote aloud, responding to it and finishing by taking aim at her laptop with his .45. He thought since she had publicly insulted and demeaned several adults, then her friends who got to read what she wrote ought to see what comes of such behavior.

I never took one of my weapons to my kids or to their favorite things. I did make my youngest take a hammer to her own cassette tape once. She knew the rules, she knew the consequences, she smashed it in front of me. She probably still thinks I don't know that she picked her least favorite cassette, but that wasn't the point. The point was she knew the next time she was losing two and I got to pick. There was no next time. Not for that offense anyway.

Apparently now Mr. Jordan is now a media sensation. He is being stalked by reporters and television news cameras. Gaggles of folks who think he's the worst parent in the word and herds of supporters are all trying to out squawk one another with their opinions on his parenting style. Good Morning America showed an edited version of the video and, if I am to be fair, they skewed things a bit with comments not quite in context. What is becoming of this world? Is Mr. Jordan's 5 minutes of fame or infamy really worth all this fuss? It was a laptop computer he shot; not his daughter. Frankly, I wouldn't have done it that way but I can assure you that had it been me at the parental controls, the laptop would have belonged to someone else or been equally dead.

Mr. Jordan has a Face Book page where he is answering critics and discussing the events. He seems articulate, funny and right about what he's said. I find his reasoning solid even if his delivery is questionable. His daughter was out of line. I think the laptopicide was done in a moment of exasperation. His daughter poked a tender area and provoked her dad a little more than she expected. He has been humble enough to admit it wasn't his best work as a parent. I am hoping that she realizes she pushed all the wrong buttons when she put that letter online. She is responsible for her posting and he is responsible for how he chose to discipline her. We, the public, do have a right to our opinions on it what we've been allowed to see. The wisest among us will remember that we don't know the whole story nor do we know the dynamics between the father, daughter and the rest of the family.

If there is anything that I really want to be on my soap box about it's that what happens on the net never stays on the net. It takes on a life of its own and creeps into the view of everyone, whether or not they have a computer. Young and old alike should be mindful of their words, deeds and pictures when they are hitting upload or publish. Mr. Jordan had no idea that his would be the viral video for the day or week. We have no idea who will take a fancy to or be offended by what we say or do here in the meta. Scarier still, we have no way of predicting how they will voice their opinions. So here's a verse and a video I would have you think about the next time you want to upload something.

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
(Matthew 12:36-37 ESV)

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