Sunday, February 3, 2008

Megan Meier's Killer?

I wrote in a post a few weeks back about a teenaged girl named Megan Meier who committed suicide in October of 2006 after falling in love with a boy on MySpace who ultimately rejected her via a MySpace post. The story told how it was later revealed that the boy she was in love with was not actually a boy after all; it was the angry mother of one of Megan's spurned classmates, who lived right down the street.

The story is an interesting one; I pointed out in my prior post that it's a perfect example of the real danger associated with MySpace; users are lulled into a virtual world. Once there, MySpacers tend to glean their entire self-worth from that virtual world, even, at times, to the exclusion of REAL relationships with REAL people.

That, again, dear readers, is the real problem with MySpace.

But that's not the point of this post. Faithful (I hope) reader April sent me a link a few days ago to this video she tracked down on a web. It's a news bit that hints that Lori Drew (the mother who posed as the teenaged boy) might be facing criminal charges for her part in the whole saga.

Missouri officials (the parties all lived in Missouri) had previously opted not to charge Ms. Drew, in that, while they found her actions deplorable, they could find no law that she'd broken. But recently, a US attorney in Los Angeles CA indicated that he would be taking the case before the grand jury in Los Angeles, requesting an indictment.

The US attorney's office in Los Angeles has jurisdiction, strangely enough, because MySpace is based out of Beverly Hills.

I agree--Ms. Drew's actions were horrible; she's a low form of humanity. But where did she break a law? Perhaps we can classify this as some sort of twisted cyber-terrorism, and toss her into Guantanamo? Or maybe a charge of involuntary manslaughter (that's a stretch; she didn't kill the girl)? I can't see it.

According to the US attorney's office, if they can find nothing else to charge her with, they'll charge her with fraud, in that she impersonated an individual she was not (and she set up a phony profile via MySpace). It's a stretch, but I guess it's an argument you can make. But then, where do you draw the line? What about the 16 year-olds that say they're 18 on their profile? Or the married women who say they're single? Or the male's who say they're females, looking for "close friends"? You see? It's a broad, grey line, and if the only time we're big enough to say it's been crossed is when someone dies, then is there really any point?

And, if you think about it, at the end of the day, if we start prosecuting people for falsely representing themselves on these sites, all we're really doing is pointing our finger at MySpace; "why can't they regulate their users, and ensure they only put the truth on their site?"

Frankly, it's not MySpace's job to regulate whom you communicate with; it's YOUR job.

But then, that's neither here nor there either. I'm just torn about this whole fiasco. Does Lori Drew deserve jail time? My heart and stomach want to scream "YES!" so lound, nothing else can be heard. But my mind says that, as deplorable as this was, the girl still committed suicide, and nobody else can really take responsibility.

Your thoughts? And hop over and vote on my poll.

7 comments:

Willman's Blog said...

I agree that this case would be a bit like grasping for straws. I vaugly remember an incident where one person masterminded a murder without conducting any of the deaths himself. Why should he be in prison for life when the girl was the one doing the killing rather than him?
Carles Manson.

PJ said...

I'm glad you agree with me, but I'm not sure I totally agree with your analogy.

In this case, a woman lied to a girl, pretended to be something she wasn't, and psychologically terrorized her. With the end purpose of "getting back" at her--making her FEEL BAD for what she'd supposedly done to Ms. Drew's daughter.

On the other hand, Charles Manson induced those women to kill their victims. His end goal was the death of the victims.

He deserves his punishment. Ms. Drew though? Not sure...

Thoughts all?

a.l. said...

I am a faithful reader of this blog by way of my niece, Shegazelle. In a world where people seem to take less and less responsibilty for their own actions we have a dilemma. Is Lori Drew responsible for the death of Megan Meier? Is Megan responsible for her own actions? What about Megans parents? Do they have something to answer to? Lori Drew's actions were reprehensible to say the least. What about her daughter? What lesson is she learning from all this? There should be consequences for wrong behavior, I'm just not sure what they should be.

PJ said...

a.l.:

First, you have an amazing niece. She shames me, and challenges me to live a more "free" life financially. One of my favorite bloggers!

That said, your point is well-made; who IS responsible here? This situation does reveal a larger societal problem, doesn't it? We simply don't take responsiblity for our own actions anymore. And in this sitatuion, you're right, there's plenty of blame to go around.

So who pays?

So far, in this situation, it doesn't appear that anyone pays-except for Megan, of course, and her parents (who now live without their daughter). And that's probably punishment enough for them.

Again though, these actions might not be illegal, but they are wrong. Who's going to foot the bill?

April said...

Legally, she does not hold responsiblity, but according to our morals, she does. That is what makes it so sickening to even fathom a mother creating a story such as that, and not even showing any kind of remorse on the outcome. But lets look at the girls mother. Where was she in all of this. Grant it, moms can't be every where at all times. And Lord knows, I am NOT the perfect mom, but I DO know when something is not right with my girls, and I start noseing around. They call it control, I call it noseing. However, it is MY resoponsibility to know what is going on with my kids. Didn't her mother see any warning signs of depression, didn't she screen her MYSPACE, or any unusual behavior???? I just find it all strange that the mother did no intervention before hand. IF my girls show any signs of depression or change in behaior, my mom antenias go up and I am on the look out. I just asssume all moms are that way. I think more that one person is responsible here. Just my opinion. :0)

PJ said...

April:

A good point. I agree; Mom definitely bears some responsibility here, but I don't think I agree with you completely as to the reasons.

I differ on one main point: parents aren't, in my opinion, meant to be policemen. I don't fault the mother for failing to "sniff out" her daughter's unhealthy relationship.

On the other hand, the Bible DOES entreat us to "train up" our children "in the way they should go; and when they are old, they shall not depart." We, as parents, DO have a responsibility to paint a picture for our children of a natural, healthy relationship, so that they have an example to follow. I am, and have always been, of the opinion that no amount of police-work can replace just a little insightful guidance and leadership early on in life. (That said, I have plenty of room to grow in this arena--believe me!).

So, yes: Mom bears some responsibility, but in my mind, it's for her failing to demonstrate healthy relationships in a manner that her daughter understood how foolhardy and empty this MySpace relationship really was.

Thanks for the insightful comments folks! More?

a.l. said...

The only discrepancy I find in your blog today is that "school boy tormentors" and Lori Drew do not belong in the same category. Adults ought to be held accountable far more than adolescents to my way of thinking...