hal tweets ·11:28 AM

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Let Lori Go: The Sad, Strange Case of Megan Meier :comments

Posted by Hal
Tags: production, Video sharing, Voyeurism

So the case of Megan Meier, the 13 year old teenager who killed herself after she thought a hot boy on MySpace had dumped her, is now before the courts. On trial for fraud is Lori Drew, the mother of Megan’s schoolmate. Drew is accused of being the mastermind, along with her daughter and an older teen, of a scheme to impersonate a hot boy interested in Megan. Since Drew was the only adult in the room throughout this whole thing, she’s the one on trial.

Drew is charged with, get this, “conspiracy and three counts of accessing a computer without authorization via interstate commerce to obtain information to inflict emotional distress.”

There’s a lot to be disturbed about in this trial. First of all, just the facts on the ground. Meier hung herself after a final message was sent to her via the fake boy’s MySpace account. The message said: “The world would be a better place without you.” But we’ve now found out that Megan responded to that message, writing back: “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over.”

We can imagine the two girls and one woman giggling at Megan’s pain. Obviously the case is a testament to the dangers of social networking, especially for the emotionally vulnerable teen set. When people hide behind fake profiles they more easily forget that there are real human beings somewhere at the end of all the wires. When people derive entertainment from the travails of another person’s life – their own personal reality tv show – they dehumanize and depersonalize and, again, they forget that there are real people out there somewhere.

At the same time, is Lori Drew a criminal? She is guilty of using incredibly bad judgment, there’s no question of that. But we live in a Peep society. People put fake profiles up all the time. People constantly pretend to be things they are not. People regularly derive their fun by viewing the pain of others. Sanctioning Drew feels right, but at the end of the day probably doesn’t make much sense. In the age of Peep, identities are malleable and just about everything one does online is potentially someone else’s LOL moment. Unless the US government is planning to start arresting every pretender on the Internet, this is a case of punishing a horrific outcome, as opposed to trying to understand the underlying reasons why such a horrible thing occurred in the first place.

click to pop up full size
On the left: Lori Drew. On the right (in the dress): Megan Meier’s mother.

 

Comments: -3-, Add yours…

hi hal,

moments after reading this post i was poking around the daily news and saw this:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/11/21/2008-11-21_florida_teen_abraham_biggs_commits_suici.html

sad and sick as it is, I had to come back and share it.

By Janine on 2008 11 21

It is sad and strange but going to court is not the solve anything.

As a parent, I would feel terrible that I didn’t know this was happening to my child, that she was suffering so much and I didn’t seem to have a clue. I’m sure Megan’s mom feels this, but a judgment against Lori Drew isn’t going to make anyone feel better.

By Marie-The Snake Charmers on 2008 11 21

I was just reading about the story Janine posted.  The expert quoted in what I read said that teens feel that if whatever happens to them isn’t documented online, then it didn’t really happen.

Megan’s story breaks my heart.  As a mother of three teenagers, I would hope that I would know that my child was that distraught, but until your children are this age, you don’t realize how much they can hide.

Also, as much as I hate what Lori Drew did, I once said a hurtful thing on Facebook to a girl who had hurt my daughter’s feelings over a boy.  I am ashamed of this to this day, and I have since apologized to the girl in person.  But I can sympathize a little bit over the mama tiger instinct coming out and causing someone to do something she never thought she would.

Anyway.  Teenage suicide is a tragic thing, and it would be lovely to have someone to blame when it happens, but ultimately, mental illness is what it is.

By Marcia on 2008 11 21

 

  

The Bloggist

Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a writer/thinker who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’ve… more...

 

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