Deborah Netburn February 13, 2012
A screen shot from the YouTube video that has made Tommy Jordan a parenting legend. Photo: YouTube
Best. Parent. Ever. Tommy Jordan for president.
That's the response Jordan is getting from tens of thousands of people on the internet after a YouTube video featuring the North Carolina father shooting up his 15-year-old daughter's laptop with a .45 went viral this week.
The shooting part - which has provided a glorious moment of catharsis to many parents - doesn't happen until the very end of the eight-minute video called "Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen". First, Jordan sets the scene by reading from an expletive-filled Facebook post written by his daughter, in which she complains about the chores her parents make her do.
Bratty? Definitely. Typical? Totally.
And that's why Jordan's dramatic response touched a nerve among tens of thousands of parents.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. This one is for your mother. Bang. Bang. Bang.
In a note accompanying the video, he writes, “Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father and I don't know how to correct the situation. Since I can't seem to make any headway with my daughter on Facebook, I chose instead to remedy the situation permanently”.
Jordan, who uploaded the video on YouTube to post on his daughter's Facebook wall, thought the video would be seen by maybe 500 people - her Facebook friends and his own Facebook friends. Instead, it has gone viral: on YouTube, it was viewed 3.7 million times in just two days.
Parenting experts have advised that shooting a laptop is probably not the best way to deal with an entitled teenager, but the thousands of people who rejoiced in Jordan's act of parental abandon don't seem to mind.
“After watching this I laughed and applauded u (sic)!” Tonya Greider wrote on Jordan's Facebook page. “I have a 15 year old daughter and I know how hard it is.”
“You sir are my hero,” wrote Jason Harbolt.
And Erika Jove wrote, “As a daughter, mother, educator, and a psychologist, I comment (sic) your actions. I could only hope to work with more children whose parents made them accountable for their actions.”
Some who are inclined to eschew guns still expressed support. “Well the gun part was a little too much for me because that is not really the best message in my humble opinion,” wrote Jules Gorre. “However, I get all the rest of it. I hope she becomes the decent, respectful young girl you thought you were raising.”
Jordan has received negative responses as well — on his own Facebook page, Jordan writes that his email inbox is clogged with people telling him he's a terrible person and has ruined his daughter's life.
He doesn't see it that way and he says his daughter doesn't see it that way either, but despite the outpouring of support, he does seem to regret all the attention his video has put on his family.
On his Facebook page, he wrote that both he and his daughter have learned a lesson from this experience:
"We've always told her that what you put online can effect you forever," he said. "She's seen first-hand through this video the worst possible scenario that can happen. One post, made by her father, will probably follow him the rest of his life; just like those mean things she said on Facebook will stick with the people her words hurt for a long time to come. Once you put it out there, you can't take it back, so think carefully before you use the internet to broadcast your thoughts and feelings."
Whatever we think of shooting up a teen's laptop, there's a lesson for all of us in that.