Monday, May 19, 2008
Naturally, there is an outcry against the mother, Lori Drew. Because Missouri doesn't have any law forbidding threats by internet, federal procecutors are filing charges against Lori Drew for violating certain rules governing internet communications. Both the parents of Megan Meier and members of the public who read about the affair are angry and want to see the perpetrators of the hoax punished.
Being a person of contrary nature, I want to find out a lot more about this affair before I blame Lori Drew. Did Megan herself send messages by internet that nettled and then angered the group of conspirators? Was the hoak perpetrated on Megan simply pay-back for something she had done? Is it reasonable to suppose that merely sending an insulting message to Megan would cause her to hang herself? This blog of mine is available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. I receive insulting messages once in a while. I expect a lot more than I receive, because I know that my expressed opinions must anger a lot of people. It is inconceivable that I would commit suicide because of an insulting message, even one that invites me to hang myself.
Megan was led to believe that a handsome sixteen-year old boy was writing to her because he was interested in her. Undoubtedly she was flattered. Then, when he had her confidence, he sent the fatal message. Devastated, she hanged herself. That's the story that I gather from the news. I doubt that it's the whole story. I wonder what caused the conspirators, led by Lori Drew, to create the handsome boy.
Unfortunately, I may never know.
"I think you erred on two factual issues: the primary perpetrator of the hoax on Megan was Lori Drew and Mrs. Drew knew Megan was emotionally fragile and taking medication for her problem. However, let's assume for the sake of argument that Drew was only one of a group of hoaxers and that she didn't know of Megan's emotional fragility. Let's further suppose that Megan did something that had disturbed Drew's children.
"You must have not read the newspapers well if you thought Drew "merely sent an insulting message." It was a carefully plotted long series of messages in which a faked boyfriend established a close relationship, then turned and attacked the girl as evil and worthless. That is in the record and to my knowledge has not been disputed.
"Supposing all these things, should it then be permissible for an adult to deliberately inflict severe emotional distress on a thirteen-year-old, or to assist in such an effort? We are not talking about some trivial emotional distress that occurs whenever a child is, for example, told to do or not do something the child opposes. We are talking about a plan to inflict extremely severe emotional distress. It was designed to be totally devastating, and even if thought short of inducing suicide, nonetheless as severe as possible. Morally, Lori Drew was clearly reprehensible. If Megan had annoyed Drew's child, she should have discussed it with Megan's parents or sought some sort of intervention from the school or a church. Legally, there should be a law against this form of child abuse. If the adult doesn't know she will induce suicide, she should nonetheless be legally obliged to avoid the risk and in any case to avoid inflicting severe emotional distress."