So, this has been tearing its way across the Internet for a while. I really didn't want to watch the video, but since I've committed to writing this post, I obviously have to.
This is seriously messed up. You know what's not a tool of parenting? Firearms. Discharging a gun and saying "this is what you deserve" is not something you do around people you love, it's what you do when you're a sociopath. It's certainly not a valid response to a kid whining about chores on Facebook. Whining kids are annoying, I'm sure. I get that. But guns are designed to kill people. Kill animals. Kill intruders. Eliminate threats. Whatever your stance is on gun control, the point is that guns aren't made to fix things. They're made to destroy things. Invoking your power to use an implement of raw destruction when angry is terrifying. “This right here is my .45,” he says, before unloading nine bullets into a laptop. Nine bullets.
But honestly, this guy is the least of my problems. Some people are crazy, I can deal with that. What bothers me is that the poll attached to the article has over 2/3s of voters supporting him. Unscientific polling or not, I'm guessing that there's probably a real majority position there. And the reason for it, as is increasingly dominant in American culture, is one of sadism: those who we dislike are to be neither corrected, convinced or reformed, nor contained, isolated, and ignored. They are to suffer. And so, we get to read the supportive commenters, who say that bratty kids deserve pain, humiliation, and suffering.
"[M]aybe he should have affixed a pic of "lil precious" to the laptop b4 he'd emptied the clip in it!" adds the most egregious of them. Others wish she had been physically struck along with threatened, and more just congratulate their conquering hero, who decided to use his gun to teach his daughter a lesson about "respect."
The other examples of the sadist culture are easy to find. Those cheering, on national talk shows, Marines who urinated on dead Afghani soldiers: so quickly can inalienable human dignity be discarded. Those who cheered at Rick Perry's execution hit list, or at Ron Paul's calls for the poor and sick to be left to die. Or Liz Trotta, in the post below by Agis, who supports rape against women who dare to join the military. The point isn't about who the person is on the other side, whether they're as heroic as female combat soldiers, as ordinary as whiny teenagers, or as loathsome as murderers and enemy soldiers. The point is that we, as a society, are finding moments of glee in our ability to inflict pain on these people, and it is this essential element that denatures our claim to do justice in the world and turns us into cruel tyrants seeking revenge.