Monday, February 4, 2008

Attempted...Tormenting?

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.

6 comments:

Shane Eccles said...

In my comment a few days ago regarding the poll, I stated that the people responsible should pay for their actions on ‘what ever scale’. I personally do not think they need to be jailed. I think, if anything, they need to, by court order, be forced to tell their story from school to school across the city, county, state or country.

In regards to your post, what if the 13 year old that hung herself instead, took her father’s gun and blasted them? Should she be charged as any other person for first degree murder? Or should she get a more lenient punishment. I am majoring in criminology, and this is a subject that I brought up in my class and am interested in what everyone thinks.

Anonymous said...

There is no option in your poll for the average person, who believes Lori Drew should be punished, but would never think a life sentence to be appropriate.

I was thinking maybe a year or two in prison, not for killing Megan - since Megan killed herself - but for the fraud Lori perpetrated, which resulted in the death of a child she knew to be clinically depressed (kind of like felony murder, where you don't have to pull the trigger to be guilty).

SheGazelle said...

I can't vote in your poll either.
This deal is just an awful mess, but I guess I would say I lean towards an involuntary man slaughter type sentence.
Mind you, I think what this woman did was terrible. But I have a question: does this start a precedent for something much bigger? Say the Boss fires Jane Doe. She becomes so distraught that she commits suicide. Is the Boss responsible in some way? Do you see my point?

Anonymous said...

I voted that she shouldn't be charged.

I was hurt quite a lot by people and even thought about ending it all more than once. Even now I still sometime get down in the dumps when certain people make certain comments. Or when I feel alienated. But even though they hurt me I wouldn't want them to spend a lifetime in jail just because of something I chose to do. Had I taken that ultimate step.
So I don't think she should be punished for what the girl unfortunately chose. Although what she did was very wrong.
The thing is she may have done something like that. But most all of us have done something equally bad to hurt people. It may have not been in the form of creating a fake identity. But a comment behind someones back or to there face. Maybe ignoring them like when they text you or not anwsering the phone when they call. Or when they invite you to do stuff and you continually blow them off. Or just leave them out altogether most of the time.
See the thing is different things cut to peoples core and hurt them. People shouldn't be punished for what others ultimately decide to do when they've been hurt.

SheGazelle said...

I just realized that I posted my prior comments on the WRONG blog post. I was reading the post prior to this one and meant to post there.

Today I read this one and realize I said the same thing as PJ...
This is what happens to dummies who skip around between comment sections and posts.
I am absolutely, positively embarrassed.

April said...

The thing that troubles me is that we are assuming a 13 year old has the same emotional,intelectual means of processing life as an adult. She did not. So for her to commit suidcide is a much greater loss in my eyes because she's a child. Again, legally, it'll be a stretch to get anykind of legal action other than fraud against this woman even though I would love to "lay hands" on her.
One comment I must refute P.J., When a parent is concerned and looking out for thier children and noitce strange behaviors and intervene, that is not policing, or sniffing. That is the job of parent. Until that child is 18, it is a parents responsiblity to see to that child's needs, and if my child is depressed,and not acting herself, even after 18 and living in my home and I notice it, her welfare is of the upmost to me and importance, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure resources are avalible to my child and that child knows she is loved and her parents are here for her. That is where I feel her mother went wrong. She did not see the warning sign and no intervention took place that could have saved a little girls life.
April