PHOENIX -- It looks real, and sounds real, but the so-called pretend suicide attempt by Sen. Jeff Flake's son, Tanner, on YouTube is just that: make believe by a then 13-year-old.
The video shows Tanner Flake cock what appears frighteningly close to a real gun, holding it to his head, then pulling the trigger, which yields a computer-generated muzzle flash.
The boy is just fine after that, but the video is garnering attention, which is being drawn toward the senator. However, some politicians who have been in similar situations tell 3TV the key for people to remember is that the issues surround Tanner Flake alone, not the senator himself, or his politics.
"If people expect someone in elected office to be a Mesiah and have perfect children, they don't have children themselves," said Arizona gubernatorial hopeful and former Tempe mayor Hugh Hallman.
Hallman's son was hurt on "A" Mountain several years ago, and claimed he was assaulted.
However, police found discrepancies in his story. Regardless, Hallman says that the same point then still applies to Flake's son now.
"Education is what helps us get better, but we'll never be perfect. Children are not ever going to be perfect for people who are not in elected office, or people who are in elected office. A candidate, I hope, will be judged on his ability to do the right thing, not necessarily the challenges their children may present at any given moment," said Hallman.
Flake's camp has previously apologized for concerns surrounding his son, including his Twitter handle and posts, which could be interpreted as racially offensive and against alternative lifestyles.
Representatives couldn't comment specifically about the YouTube video as of late Friday afternoon.