1. Headline
  1. Headline
The video of Tommy Jordan pumping bullets into his daughter’s laptop has drawn tens of millions of YouTube hits.
TODAY contributor
updated 2/17/2012 8:41:11 AM ET 2012-02-17T13:41:11

The laptop-shooting dad may have drawn tens of millions of YouTube hits from parents living vicariously through him, but Dr. Phil feels he went about the punishment of his daughter the wrong way.

In the viral 8-minute video, North Carolina parent Tommy Jordan pumps eight bullets from a .45 into his 15-year-old daughter’s laptop after she posted some disparaging remarks about her parents on Facebook. The video now has more than 26 million views, and Jordan wrote on his Facebook page that he wouldn’t change a thing about his actions.

The local police paid him a visit, but no laws were broken and no investigation has been opened. Still, Jordan’s action is open to question, according to the host of the “Dr. Phil’’ show.

Dad punishes Facebook post with 8 bullets to daughter’s laptop

“You never, ever humiliate your child publicly,’’ psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Friday. “You’re supposed to be the adult, the calm in the middle of the storm, where you say, ‘OK, you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.’ But this consequence was pretty radical.’’

Appropriate or abuse? Weigh in on Facebook

But the majority of more than 120,000 voters in an online poll at TODAY.com disagreed: 73 percent of them felt that this was an appropriate punishment by Jordan.
So did many Facebook commenters. For example, Melanie Kukuk posted: “I’m 15 and I TOTALLY support what he did!!” And Jason-Davy Koren commented: "Way to go Dad!! We need more parents like this rather than the push over parents we have today who raise these zero respecting teens.”

But there were dissenters. Kathleen Koster, for example, said: “I was horrified by this father’s reaction.”

Video: Dr. Phil: ‘Radical’ of dad to shoot laptop (on this page)

As for Dr. Phil, he was more entertained than horrified, at least at first. “Like a lot of people, (I thought) it was sort of amusing,’’ he said. “I think a lot of parents looked at it and kind of vicariously got a chuckle out of it, because how many times have we wanted to scream or tear a door off the hinges or whatever. So I get that a lot of people’s initial reaction was, ‘Hey, we’ve wanted to do that sort of thing.’ ’’

‘Wonder where she got that?’
But if Jordan is wondering what prompted his daughter, Hannah, posting on Facebook that she felt like a slave and that her parents should get their own coffee and clean their own house, he might want to take a look in the mirror, according to Dr. Phil. (Hannah initially blocked the groups “Family” and “Church’’ from seeing the posts so her parents couldn’t come across them, but Jordan logged in on the family dog’s Facebook account to post photos and came across his daughter’s posts.)

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Video: Anchors discuss laptop shooting controversy (on this page)

“When you step back and look at the entire thing and what kind of parenting it is, the first thing that jumped out to me is: This is a real mouthy kid, wonder where she got that?’’ Dr. Phil said. “This is somebody that’s acting without thinking. Wonder where she got that, because Dad sure didn’t pump the brakes on this before he posted this.’’

‘Executing’ your teen’s laptop a bad idea, experts say

While his daughter’s actions certainly were wrong, Jordan needed to be the level-headed parent in the situation, according to Dr. Phil. He also noted that he does not know how Jordan is overall as a parent, and he is just basing his opinion on what he saw in the video.

“She has a 15-year-old brain where you can’t really expect her to predict all of the consequences of her actions and weigh this stuff out,’’ Dr. Phil said. “He got down to her level. She was disrespectful publicly. She called him names publicly. She cussed at him publicly. And then he turned around and did exactly the same thing.’’

Video: Donny ‘disgusted’ by laptop-shooting dad (on this page)

‘What do you do next time?’
In addition, Jordan ramped up his punishment to such a public and extreme degree that he left himself nowhere to go for the next time his daughter does something disrespectful.

“It’s like when you tell your child, ‘You’re grounded for life,’’’ Dr. Phil said. “What do you do the next time? They’re already grounded for life. You’ve pulled out a .45 and blown out her laptop, so what are you going to do when she breaks curfew or when she’s driving or gets a ticket? What are you going to do now, go blow up the car?’’

Jordan’s daughter initially had a crying fit over the incident but Jordan claims everything has been reconciled and she has even been able to laugh about it. One justification Jordan used was his own upbringing, saying he would have “got my tail tore up right there in front of God and everyone’’ in a public place if he got out of line.

Laptop-shooting dad says he’d do it over again

“What we want to do is carry forward the legacies that are good, not the legacies where our parents made mistakes,’’ Dr. Phil said. “The fact that they did that is not OK. I always hear parents say, ‘Well I turned out pretty well.’ Well, did you, really?”

While Jordan’s action to blister the laptop with bullets was extreme, it’s still far down on the scale when it comes to really damaging actions by parents. Dr. Phil noted that 100,000 children born this year will be molested by their fathers before they are 18 years old, so it’s worth keeping the laptop-blasting dad on the proper end of the spectrum.

“We need to keep this in perspective,’’ he said. “This is not the most horrible parenting thing that I’ve dealt with on the show this week. At least it didn’t involve him violating her physically or otherwise. It’s just maybe not the best parenting idea in the world.’’

After Dr. Phil’s appearance, the TODAY anchors discussed the issue on-air. Matt Lauer’s take: “The bullet thing does not bother me as much as the actual humiliating the daughter in public because two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Savannah Guthrie struck a similar note. “What was striking, I think, was his tone: It was a little scary, a little menacing,” she said. “Also I think what Dr. Phil’s point was (that) is that it was a little immature of the dad, too. It’s not a two wrongs make a right situation.”

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Vote: Is laptop dad's punishment appropriate?

Video: Dr. Phil: ‘Radical’ of dad to shoot laptop

  1. Closed captioning of: Dr. Phil: ‘Radical’ of dad to shoot laptop

    >> posted a video of himself shooting his daughter's laptop. mark potter has more on the story. good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, matt. this is a story that begins with a teenage girl who made the mistake of trying to hide something on the internet from her parents, including her father who's good with computers. when he found what she wrote, he responded most dramatically.

    >> and today, i run across a post on your facebook page you didn't think i would be able to see. so since you want to hide it from everyone i'm going to share it with everybody.

    >> reporter: in an eight-minute video seen worldwide online, tommy jordan from north carolina confronts his 15-year-old daughter for an angry rant she posted on facebook complaining about life at home.

    >> pay you for the chores -- seriously? pay you for chores you're supposed to do around the house.

    >> reporter: it was what he did at the end of the video to her computer.

    >> this is my .45.

    >> reporter: shooting it repeatedly with a handgun that got everyone's attention.

    >> oh, yeah. after that comment you made about your mom, your mom told me to put one in for her. that one's from her. if i eve got one left -- i have two left. now i'm out.

    >> reporter: jordan 's video sparked a widespread argument over whether his response was irresponsible or good parenting. he began by reading his daughter's obscenity laced note which she posted for her friends.

    >> to my parents, i'm not your damn slave. it's not my responsibility to clean up your [ bleep ]. we have a cleaning lady for a reason. her name is linda, not hannah. if you want coffee, get off your [ bleep ] and make it yourself.

    >> reporter: the video drew tens of millions of hits with ten times more likes than dislikes. jordan said he was disappointed with his daughter's disrespect.

    >> you want a new camera, phone, ipod. well, you won't get off your lazy [ bleep ] to even look for a job.

    >> reporter: already, parodies have popped up on the internet.

    >> yeeha!

    >> reporter: after doing the real thing jordan said his daughter was grounded and barred from the internet but said they are now working things out.

    >> hope you enjoyed your fiasco on facebook . hope it was worth it. have a good day, y'all.

    >> reporter: the local sheriff's office said while some people thought the video was the greatest thing and others thought the father crossed the line, no laws were broken and there is no investigation. matt, there sure is a lot of talk.

    >> there is. mark potter , thank you very much. dr. phil mcgraw is a psychologist and host of "the dr. phil show." good to see you.

    >> good morning, matt.

    >> i think the headline gets attention. the father shoot it s the laptop but the video is eight minutes long and shows a lot. when you saw the video, phil , what was your reaction?

    >> i think, like a lot of people it was amusing. i think a lot of parents looked at it and vicariously got a chuckle out of it. how many times have weed or tear a door off the hinges. i get that a lot of people's initial reaction was that we have wanted to do that sort of thing. when you step back and look at the entire thing and what kind of parenting it is, the first thing that jumps out to me is this is a real mouthy kid. i wonder where she got it? this is somebody that acted without thinking. i wonder where she got that? dad sure didn't pump the brakes before he posted this up.

    >> i don't think anybody would argue that the 15-year-old crossed a line. it was rude. it was obscene but she's 15. that's not an excuse. it's reality. doesn't one person in the group have to remain the adult?

    >> that's the problem here. she has a 15-year-old brain. you really can't expect her to predict all the consequences of her actions and weigh this stuff out. but he got down to her level. she was disrespectful publically. she called him names. she cussed at him publically. he turned around and did exactly the same thing. how is it wrong for him to do it but right for her to do it? you never, ever humiliate your child publically. that's not something you do. you don't ever do that. you are supposed to be the adult, the calm in the storm where you say, okay, you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences. this consequence was radical.

    >> when asked why he did it publically, tommy jordan wrote, because that's how i was raised. if i did something embarrassing to my parents in public such as the grocery store i got my tail tore up in front of god and everyone. this is the internet. it's a lot bigger than a grocery store .

    >> plus, matt, look, even if that's the case, just because their parents humiliated him publically doesn't make it right. what we want to do is carry forward the legacies that are good, not the legacies where our parents made mistakes. the fact that they did it is not okay. i always hear parents say, i turned out well. did you, really? he ratcheted up the rhetoric. here's the question, matt. what do you do now? clearly she has resentment toward him which is probably passing from a day to the next. i'm not saying overall they are bad parents. i don't know. all we know is what we see here. this didn't do anything to lower resentment on her part. it's just intimidation.

    >> you're worried about what happens the next time she does something bad. how do you punish that behavior?

    >> sure. it's like you tell your child, okay, you're grounded for life. okay. what do you do the next time? they're already grounded for life. you pulled out a .45 and blew up her laptop. what happens when she breaks curfew or drives and get as ticket. now do you blow up the car? you have advanced the rhetoric so far that you have nowhere else to go.

    >> i want to mention the father posted comments online where he says his daughter has gotten past this. while she had her crying fit and was upset about it initially she now has managed to laugh about it and according to him, is not scarred by it. now i want to give you the results of the poll we conducted online, phil , okay? 120,000 people or so weighed in. 73% said this is appropriate punishment. what's your reaction to that?

    >> like i said, a lot of parents are voting vicariously like, yep, i have thought about doing that and i wish i had. one of the things i want to say here is we've got to look at this in terms of matters of degree. for example, 100,000 children born this year will be molested by their father before they are 18 years old. we have such a serious problem with neglect, abandonment and abusing children physically here. that didn't happen here. we have to keep it in perspective. did he use good judgment here? no. i don't think so. as i say, where do you go from here. he got revenge on what she did to him publically, but it's not his job to get revenge. we need to keep it in perspective. this is not the most horrible parenting thing i have dealt with on the show this week. so at least it didn't involve him violating her physically or otherwise. it's just maybe not the best parenting idea in the world. what are you going to follow it up with?

    >> good to get your perspective on this. phil , thanks for joining me.

    >> thanks, matt.

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