Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So What If She Bought It With Her Own Money?

You might be tired of hearing about Tommy Jordan, the man who shot his daughter's laptop to punish her for complaining about him on Facebook. I know, I'm tired of it too. I was tempted to drop it completely, but I think this is a very important story. It's not so much about this one family anymore, but about the families of the thousands and thousands of people who think that his act was not only justified, but a show of good parenting.

One very important aspect of the public reaction is that many people have said that since this father bought the laptop for his daughter (which they assumed), that made it acceptable for him to destroy it. Some of them even said that it would be different if she bought it with her own money. Well, I came across this last night, which is allegedly a quote from Tommy Jordan himself, from his own Facebook page, in response to someone who asked why he didn't just sell his daughter's laptop instead of shooting it:
I actually considered selling it on eBay, but decided against it. She bought it with her money. For us to sell it and take the money, in my mind anyways, is just theft, even from my own kid.
I tried digging through the more than 30,000 (!) comments on the posting to see if I could get a screen shot to prove this, but it was too time-consuming. After trying for a while, I realized it wouldn't matter if I proved it anyway. For at least a few people, it didn't. Last night I read some discussion threads that went like this:
Dad-supporter1: The laptop was technically his since he bought it with his money, so it's fine if he wanted to destroy it.
Daughter-supporter: The dad said she bought it with her money so really it belonged to her. 
Dad-supporter1: Oh, well actually it doesn't matter anyway, because legally anything a child owns belongs to the parents. It was still his to destroy. 
Dad-supporter2: Yeah, and where did she get the money to buy a laptop if she didn't have a job? It must have been her father's money. Therefore it belongs to him.
You see, it is convenient at the start to assume the father had bought the laptop for his daughter, because that makes it easy for people to allow him ownership of it (even if it was a gift to her). But it's not a necessary condition if one is looking to justify the father's actions. Even with the father admitting that it was HER money used to purchase the laptop, people will find a way to take it away from her.

The father himself admits that if he sold the laptop and took the money, that would be stealing, but to render the item useless? No problem. What is the disconnect here? How is destroying her property NOT stealing?

I have read some of the follow-up to this story, and it has been very discouraging. Apparently Hannah is saying it was not a big deal, after she got over the initial shock. It makes me sad to think that she (along with so many other people) has brushed off this assault on her rights. However, I realize she doesn't have much of a choice. She has to live with this man for a few more years. Mr. Jordan has said that he doesn't regret what he did (except for the fact that he was holding a cigarette, that he used the word "ass," and some parts of his wardrobe choice). Otherwise he would do it again the same way. Therefore no matter how upset Hannah really is about this, she knows better than to make a fuss now, as long as her father is still around her-but-not-really-her belongings with a gun.

I also feel terrible about all of the nastiness being thrown in her direction. She is the clear villain in this story to most people, as if they were never teenagers and never had complaints about their parents. So many people have said "Yeah, but I would never have posted that on Facebook." I would like to remind these people that they would never have heard her words were it not for her father reading them to the internet-at-large. He is the one who publicized her words.

The general public consensus seems to be that children should not have the right to own property at all, even if that property was obtained with their own money. Also, many people seem to feel that children complaining about their parents is disrespectful and is an offense punishable by destruction of the property that doesn't even belong to them. That is discouraging for all the children out there who are being mistreated by the very people who brought them into this world.

One more disturbing fact: when the police came to visit the Jordan home, to answer the many calls they received about the incident, here's what Mr. Jordan says happened:
The police by the way said ‘Kudos, Sir’ and most of them made their kids watch it. I actually had a ‘thank you’ from an entire detectives squad.
So much for the police looking out for this teen and her property. I hope if someone destroyed something of mine, the police reaction would be better than this.

I can't promise I am done talking about this yet.


  1. "I also feel terrible about all of the nastiness being thrown in her direction. She is the clear villain in this story to most people, as if they were never teenagers and never had complaints about their parents. So many people have said "Yeah, but I would never have posted that on Facebook." I would like to remind these people that they would never have heard her words were it not for her father reading them to the internet-at-large. He is the one who publicized her words."

    This is what bothers me the most. We were all teens. Most teens go through a anti-parent period. I never had Facebook as a teen so I have no idea what I would have said about my parents on there. I was always a good kid but still got in arguments with my parents at that age. I really don't like how people are talking about this guy. As though he is the model of all good parenting.

  2. If it was purchased with her own money, that makes it even worse. It's a vile disrespect for her property rights. It was anyway, but somehow to know that she had bought it with her own money makes it worse. Must be my capitalist upbringing. Ah, well!

  3. Well said Vicki. I still have not watched the video in its entirety. It makes me sad to think of all the attention it is getting. And all those people who support him, you can't tell me they didn't say it think the exact sme things when they were a teen. I know I did. We just didn't have Facebook. Such a sad situation.

  4. I wonder a lot about Hannah and what she is really thinking. I think of myself at 15 and my relationship with my father, and how it wasn't until I was almost 30 that I was able to fully admit to myself that he was not really a father at all and that he was a person I didn't want in my life. It took my parent's divorce and an incident where I saw how he used my children to gain attention for himself that I was finally able to be honest and make that break. Before that I was protecting myself from the pain of admitting I had an emotionally distant and abusive father (and especially abusive toward my mother), and a way of protecting my mom. As a teen and young adult I kept up appearances because to all our friends and family we were a healthy happy family, and my dad was a great upstanding moral sort of guy.

    It was all a lie. Part of me knew that even as a teen, but not enough to say it openly. I am sure that at 15 I would have extolled my dad's virtues and said he was a good father. By the time I was in college and out of the home, I would have been a little more honest and said he wasn't great, but not awful, just kind of not there for me. It is only now as an adult with a family of my own that I can say he was controlling and emotionally abusive.

  5. And add this to his inane rantings about how she didn't yet have a job (at 15. In school full time and helping around the house considerably. In an economy when many qualified adults struggle to find a job). What would be the point of earning more money to buy something that isn't hers and can be destroyed at will? The only words I have to say about that guy are not very nice.

  6. I came across this on FB:
    "When a girl, especially, grows up thinking the people who love you show that love by demeaning and insulting you, shaming you in public, and at any time can destroy your things -- as proofs of their love for you -- that girl is being groomed to marry an abuser. It means that [if] the nice guy who's not jealously possessive dates her, she will find him *too nice* because she's addicted to drama. She will choose to marry the guy who *shows his love* by raging and controlling her." ~ Sylvia Toyama

    I have been sickened by this story. Sickened by making a hero out of a weak man who demonstrated "might is right," who committed violence and destroyed property in a fit of rage, who does not see his teenaged daughter as a human being. My property was never destroyed like this, but I was ruled by rage as a child and my rights were denied as my parents saw fit. And guess what? I'M NOT OKAY. Now I am ruled by my own rage, which I struggle to control. I am determined to master this because I see clearly that it is wrong to perpetrate this violence on my own kids. But I struggle against myself every. single. day.

  7. To me, this wasn't about the property damage at all, although clearly that's pretty shameful. What I'm thinking about is the fact that the girl is being punished for HAVING FEELINGS. Not for her behavior, but for her feelings. This man thinks he has a right to control a person's thoughts!! Disgusting.

    1. What I see that you are saying is that this guy displays the typical mindset of a psychopath. I understand that the nature of a psychopath is to tear down a person’s will until it conforms to the will of
      the psychopathic abuser. You see, psychopaths are more concerned with the
      ascetics of a situation and getting the upper hand and looking glorified at the expense of another. If someone living in my home used a gun to settle a problem I would be finding ways to get that person out of my home and have trouble sleeping at night until that person was gone. Using a gun to settle a problem is wreckless and reflects bad parenting. The girl should go live with other family members where she will be safe.

  8. I just skimmed through these comments so I apologize if I'm repeating something, but I keep thinking, in NO other situation would this be ok. If I bought my friend a laptop, it's hers. I don't say, "Well, I bought it so it's really MINE." Why do parents do this with their children when they would never do it do anyone else??? Why is it ok in a "parent/child" relationship but no other? GRRR!! :-(

  9. Hannah loves her dad, because kids love their parents, which is why parenting is such a huge responsibility.

  10. I showed the vid to my dad (translating and explaining, cause he doesn't speak English, but I suppose it kinda speaks for intself...). His comment was, basically, this: "this guy's brain must be the size of a peanut".

    That restores faith in my parents. And no, they're not the kind that believe in punishment-free partnership-based parenting. But they still have something called "common sense".