I can't get past this Lori Drew story. I jumped on the Net tonight, and did a few quick searches, and it appears as though I'm not the only one.
The search popped up a whole variety of hits. Bloggers and newssites alike are working the story to death. Partially, I'm sure, because it has legs; it's a dramatic story, and it keeps readers engaged. But it's more than that, I think. Look at the enlightened comments on my prior posts about Megan Meier's suicide, and then about Lori Drew's impending indictment. People care.
A scroll through the search results begins to paint a pretty clear picture of the overall public sentiment surrounding the story.
"Lori Drew has never apologied for what she did to Megan or the Meier's family..." says one blog. "...will continiue (sic) to follow this story of the evil Lori Drew and the sad case of Megan Meier..." said another. "Megan Meier was an innocent 13 year-old, is complete scum," and "Lori Drew bullied Megan Meier to death," round out the overwhelming sentiment of the group. One blogger even went so far as to post the home address, full names, and telephone numbers, of the Drew family in a particularly angry post.
There were few dissenters. One blogger lashed out at the media, and said that "although Lori Drew has not yet been charged in the case of Megan Meier, the media has never required formal charges to be filed before running a story." Perhaps they're right. I, fortunately though, am not part of the "media" and, thus, don't operate under those same constraints. My job here is to wrap the "news" or other relevent thoughts and concepts up in a nicely packaged, logical analysis. I'm SUPPOSED to add my flavor; it's why you come here.
So allow me to.
I posted a poll up in the top right-hand corner, asking whether Lori Drew should face charges for her part in this whole saga. A few of you have voted; those who haven't, please do. The vast majority of you feel much like the Internet population that I quoted above: she deserves to be harshly punished.
The more I think about it, the less I agree. Let me ask you a question: remember a few months ago, I posted about my years in elementary school? I talked about how decidedly "uncool" I was. And I told about my utter lack of friends (except for when it came to group projects).
I wrote, in that post, about a few of the popular guys in school, and how they christened me, to my utter horror, "Picker" after seeing me pick my nose at school one day.
I cried when they first called me that--laid my head down on my desk as though I were tired and needed to rest my eyes, and cried softly. I was so ashamed.
Let me ask you then: should those pitiful guys be punished for calling me "Picker"? I can tell you, at the time, it was traumatizing. There were days when I didn't want to go to school. Yet, it's foolhardy to think we might prosecute those two for calling me "Picker."
What if, on the other hand, I'd done as Megan did and, in a fit of suicidal depression over my HORRIFIC nickname, hung myself? You'd probably be more inclined to punish those two guys, wouldn't you?
That's the rub, you see? Had I opted to go that route, would my two witty friends be responsible for my death? I think not.
Consider this analogy: assume an individual took a pistol to work, walked into the office, and shot a coworker, killing her. The shooter would be arrested, indicted and likely convicted of murder, correct? Now, assume that, as the shooter walked in, he aimed at the coworker, and began to squeeze the trigger, and just as the hammer fell, the coworker bent to tie her shoe, and the bullet sailed harmlessly over her head, as two other coworkers attacked the shooter, pinned him to the ground, and waited for the authorities. The shooter would be charged--perhaps not with murder, but with attempted murder.
Perhaps we should track down my schooldays tormentors, and try them for "attempted..." what would it be called? Not really murder.
You see my quandry? Ms. Drew did a terrible thing, no doubt about it. But it was only really made terrible because of Megan Meier's response. It would have been no more than a mean prank had Megan not comitted suicide; just as those who nicknamed me "Picker" were nothing more than mean-spirited classmates.
I can't, in good conscience, say we need to charge this woman with anything. Obviously, you disagree. I wan't to understand. Please comment on this one.