Some NSFW language. You may be offended by what I’m about to write. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The internet is all agog over the latest bit of outrage: an angry father shoots his daughter’s laptop as a punishment for being a whiny, spoiled brat.
Wow, everyone is so upset that this young woman who has three stable parental figures in her life, a roof over her head, food to eat, a faith community to rely on, and an education might be scarred for life because her dad shot her laptop. Obviously she’s going to become a serial killer, a stripper or worse over this.
I wish my heart could bleed for this middle class white girl who’s had her laptop taken away in such a dramatic fashion. But her dad took something that was important to her, which she was using to trash her family, and made it permanently unusable. He didn’t make empty threats. He didn’t equate disrespecting her parents to a week without Facebook. He took the tool she used and made it unrepairable.
I remember what it was like to be a teen. It was rough, and admittedly there were times when I was a real nightmare. However, unlike this girl’s family, my family didn’t always give a crap. There were points in my life where I was subject to actual abuse: no heat in the winter, no food, no access to education, isolation from the outside world, physical, financial and emotional abuse. I even had to live in a women’s shelter for awhile. But I consider myself lucky, because compared to many kids I had it good.
Some kids are sexually abused. Some are sold into prostitution. Some are killed by their parents. Some commit suicide from bullying. Some kids are homeless. Some are beaten. Some are denied medical care. Some are kidnapped and sent to foreign schools to “cure the gay.” Some work in sweatshops.
No one has raped this girl. No one has hit her. No one has imprisoned her. No one has denied her an education. No one has left her homeless and abandoned on the streets. No one is pimping her out for money or drugs. No one is taking her hard earned money away from her. No one is denying clothing, food or shelter. No one is keeping her from her friends, school or faith community.
She’s not being threatened by violence. Anyone raised with guns knows there is a huge difference between firing at an object and firing at a person. Had the father used a hammer, dropped it off a cliff or building, thrown it in a fire, submerged it in a bucket of water or run it over in his car, it still wouldn’t be a threat of violence. My father once burned my wooden toys (not as punishment but because he decided I was too old for them and he was trying to clean up the yard) and although I was upset my toys were burned, it never once crossed my mind that it was a threat towards me or that my father might burn me.
Since we seem to forget so quickly what a privileged world we live in, let’s look at other kid’s like laptop girl:
Remember the ungrateful Christmas tweets?
Remember the girl who had a meltdown over getting the wrong color car?
The internet is a public forum. If you publicly behave like an ass on the internet, then you should be willing to take the public consequences. It’s a lesson we all have to learn. And the second lesson is that anything on the internet is one click away from being public. Privacy online is an illusion.
And if you want to get angry about actual abuse, then look at the video below. I warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart. And the abuser isn’t even sorry.