I don't have kids. Right there, some parents are rolling their eyes, because they believe my not having children of my own disqualifies anything I might have to say about parenting. If you're still reading this, chances are you understand that I, like you, was a kid once. Every parent in the world was a kid once, and some are still kids, but that's a topic for another day.
I also have the benefit of knowing that my parents did a really great job raising me. I can confirm that as a fact because at 32 years of age, I've never been arrested, I've never physically or mentally or emotionally injured someone else (well, not intentionally anyway), I have a nice-paying job as a writer, I have loads of close friends, and I've been fairly accomplished at everything I've ever tried to do, because my parents raised me to believe I could do whatever I put my mind to, and encouraged me to put my mind to everything I could, while also insisting I enhance said mind with every opportunity I'm presented with.
But like I said earlier... I was a teenager once. Everyone over the age of 19 reading this was a teenager once, too. Go back 2,000 years and you'll see Jesus talking back to his parents. And the day you show me an adult who doesn't regret something they said or did as a teenager will be the day I point to someone and blatantly call them a liar. Well, I guess I can safely exclude child actors, pageant entrants, and anyone else that was abused by their parents in some way.
There's a popular viral video making its rounds on the web right now (here's a link to it). The video shows an angry father ranting about something stupid his daughter posted on Facebook. How does he respond to it? He pulls out a semi-automatic pistol and shoots his daughter's laptop eight times. The astonishing thing about this is that the majority of comments that I've read thus far are actually supportive of this sort of behavior. People who reacted the same way as me aren't exactly in short supply, but it seems that most people think he's a hero. And that's just about the saddest thing I've ever heard.
This guy overreacted. It's as simple as that. There is absolutely no way anyone can justify this to me where I won't think he overreacted, and believe me, people have tried. The most common thing people say when I call this man what I think he is -- an idiot, a bad parent, or some combination thereof -- is that "parenting is hard." That's as crappy an excuse as his behavior was a crappy response to a teenage girl acting like a teenage girl.
Parents, especially American ones, have propped themselves up as the end-all, be all of contemporary heroism. When they fall short at parenting, they find a scapegoat. Some crappy parent somewhere in America blamed it on video games today. Their parents blamed it on rock music. Their parents blamed it on television, or The Catcher in the Rye. At some point in history, parents recognized their own shortcomings, but that hasn't been for a very long time.
So when someone, especially a parent, sees a guy like this reacting the way he did, they say he's a hero. They commend his parenting technique, marginalize anyone that begs to differ, and share his video on Facebook as a sign of respect. But here's an interesting question: how many of these people will grab a gun and shoot their kid's property in a fit of rage? I'm sure some wackjobs will, but the vast majority won't, regardless of how much they outwardly seem to respect this man, because deep down inside, they're smarter than they look, and they realize that this lunatic overreacted severely.
Bad parenting can't be helped. Luckily for our civilization, bad parenting usually happens in lone instances, and isn't chronic enough to lead us into some dystopian future nightmare reminiscent of a Mad Max film. Chances are, this guy is a good parent in most instances. I've never met the guy, so I can't say either way. But this was a clear-cut example of crummy parenting at its worst. And by idolizing a childish maniac who turns to his pistol during a hissy fit, you aren't exactly helping put up a case of how stressful parenting is, so much as you're showcasing how badly some people cope with such stress. This guy should be ashamed of himself. His daughter would have come to regret what she said online when she got older, because that's what people do. And rest assured, this guy will one day come to regret his behavior in this video as well. Because people do grow up eventually... even people who wear cowboy hats in their thirties or forties.