Welcome to Unsolicited Advice – the weekly column where I offer advice to people who don’t know me about things they never asked about.
Last week I told David to go learn a trade. This week we grab our flip flops and head to Florida, where a young teenager is being arrested for posting threats online about shooting up his school. Unsurprisingly, the police in Florida don’t take such things lightly and showed up at junior’s house, where they explained to mom that junior can’t just go around telling people he’s planning on committing mass murder. It is simply frowned upon.
A Florida high school student was accused of posting a message online saying he would "vow to bring my fathers m15 to school and kill 7 people at a minimum." Deputies released video of the arrest where they explain how serious the threat was.
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) August 20, 2019
But my advice today is not for junior. Junior is 15 years-old and while I do want the police to be better safe than sorry, I also empathize with him because I’ve met many 15-year-old boys in my life – even raised one – and I can say very truthfully that most of them are idiots, if only briefly. So, junior may well be dangerous but most likely he’s just a dumbass. Like I said, it is better for the police to be safe than sorry. I’m sure their ratio of dumbasses to genuine threats is pretty lopsided.
No, today my advice is for you, junior’s mom. You have given us a great example of just how boys like junior become the types of dumbass teenagers who brag about shooting human beings in a video game chatroom. Today I advise you, Mama Junior on where to go from here if you don’t want junior the video game idiot to become junior the felon.
Mama Junior, my first moment of concern watching this video was how stunned you were at the police. You weren’t stunned that junior had actually told dozens, hundreds or maybe thousands of people that he wanted to kill his schoolmates. You say repeatedly that you know your son and he would never do such a thing. Let’s assume that is true…after all, I’m a mother too. I can’t even entertain the thought of my own son behaving so badly. So I understand your refusal to believe that he meant it. What I don’t understand is your seeming acceptance that he said it at all.
You didn’t even seem to bat an eye in his direction. Your first reaction was shock that anyone would consider dragging your baby off to a jail cell. That tells me a lot about why junior even felt justified to use the threat at all. I am 95% (I’ll leave that last 5% to “boys are dumb” odds) certain that my teenage son would stop himself from doing that not out of any good sense but at the very least because he knows that his behind would be toast. Daddy don’t play…but mama don’t even acknowledge the game in the first place. He is too scared of us to try to scare other people like that.
And speaking of Daddy…where is Daddy Junior? I’m willing to concede that perhaps the police showed up unexpectedly and dad was at work or at the store or just busy ignoring his annoying teenage son for a while. Junior did mention his dad’s guns, so there is a dad somewhere at least. However, once again the fact that junior thinks he can talk about his dad’s firearms to boost his tough guy cred is a red flag.
I know you think you know your son, Mama. I know you think you understand what he would and wouldn’t do. We all do. But the tough truth is that our kids keep all kinds of things from us. Think of all the things you hid from your parents growing up. You tried to tell the officers you and your son are extremely close…all I saw was another red flag. Mamas who are so close to their teenage sons that they think those sons can do no wrong are typically doing one of two things – smothering or making their son a de facto, platonic husband. Both things are dysfunctional, both things lead to dysfunctional young men.
Mama, Junior may very well have been joking but there are all kinds of things we don’t say out loud in public places. Your chances of boarding an airplane that is carrying a bomb are slim to none but we still don’t scream about bombs when we’re in the airport. That will get you kicked off your flight and arrested.
You should have been helping the officers load him into the car and happily waved to him as he headed off to a serious wake up call. You can make sure your descriptions of him as a “good boy” stay true by making sure he gets to experience the consequences of his idiocy. Yeah, it will scare you and him.
Thank those officers for taking every threat seriously. Their diligence may very well save your son’s life one day. Don’t punish them because you’re raising a moron.
Take away Junior’s video game privileges for a few weeks, put him on hard labor and for heaven’s sake…stop treating him like he hung the moon. You’re going to turn him into the person you keep promising us he is not.
What’s your unsolicited advice for Mama Junior?
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