Megan Meier

I learned about this recently from Xavier, apparently it’s turning into something of a big deal.  The pertinent details can be found at the Wikipedia entry about the girl’s suicide.   In a nutshell:

Megan Meier was a 13 year old who struggled with depression, met a “boy” on MySpace.  After six weeks of friendship, the boy turned on her and started sending her nasty messages.  Megan killed herself.  As it turns out, the boy was not a boy, but rather the mother (Lori Drew) of one of Megan’s former friends.  And at that, the outrage began.

The police concluded that there were no relevant statutes under which they could hold Lori Drew responsible for Megan’s death, and as such the case was closed.

I think the cops did the right thing.  I also think that people who are posting Lori Drew’s address online or vandalizing her property are in the wrong.

I will probably get the usual comments that call me cold hearted, and I am sure that someone will say that when I have children it will be different – I acknowledge that.  But here’s my disconnect: what Lori Drew did was heinous and reprehensible.  But there is no way to hold her criminal responsible without creating a terrible legal precedent that would surely return to bite good people in the ass.   My heart breaks for Megan Meier’s parents, because they did have their daughter taken from them.

What actually pisses me off the most is the reactions of people who purport to “support” Megan Meier’s parents.  From posting the Drew’s address on the web, vandalizing the Drew’s property, shouting to the heavens that the laws be changed to make it illegal to insult someone on the internet, suggesting violence against the Drew family, and sundry other foolishness.  I’m especially put off by the fact that actual crimes have been committed against the Drews – what exactly is that supposed to accomplish?

I don’t want people to think for a split second that I’m defending Lori Drew or her repugnant, immoral actions.  But just because she did something wrong doesn’t revoke any of her rights, nor does it give anyone the right to violate Lori’s rights in some kind of revenge.

That a little girl died is a tragedy – but committing more crimes, or criminalizing certain types of speech you don’t like certainly isn’t going to change that.

13 thoughts on “Megan Meier”

  1. Right on. There is no legal justification for action against Mrs. Drew. However, in keeping with my admitidly Maccabeuen tendices, I’d say that this is a situation that calls for the use of one of the ‘4 boxes,’ in this case the soap box. Never underestimate the effect that someone’s reputation has.

  2. I was going to recommend witch dunking, but I suppose a lawsuit is an acceptable alternative.

  3. Though I strongly agree with the fact that their is no justification for the illegal activities that have taken place against the Drew’s, there is a question about laws being broken. Acording to Mrs. Drew some of the conversations that took place bwetween her and Megan Meier were sexual in nature (at leaste for a 13 yr. old in Mrs. Drew’s opinion). There are laws against sexually leading web conversations between an adult and a child.

  4. This is Megan’s mom, Tina Meier, and I wanted to update everyone on the details for the candlelight vigil for Saturday, November 24, 2007.

    *We are meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the Fort Zumwalt West Middle school parking lot.

    *Please bring a candle, cup to hold the candle and something to light the candle. (If you cut a small X in the bottom of the cup, you can slide the candle through it and then you won’t have wax dripping on you)

    *We will then light the candle’s shortly after 6:00 p.m. and start walking from the school down Waterford crystal drive towards Megan’s house and end up in front of the Drew’s house.

    *There is a common ground area across the street and we will have pa system and microphone. if anyone would like to speak, read a poem, etc., they are more than welcome.

    *This wonderful idea came from students who wanted to see justice for Megan and for that we are so happy. Nothing we can do will bring Megan back, but we can all learn from Megan and take a part of her with us everyday for the rest of our lives to try to be a better person and think about things we say to people before we say them!

    *****Remember this is a peaceful candlelight vigil******
    We hope to see everyone there!

  5. Acording to Mrs. Drew some of the conversations that took place bwetween her and Megan Meier were sexual in nature (at leaste for a 13 yr. old in Mrs. Drew’s opinion). There are laws against sexually leading web conversations between an adult and a child.

    If that was the case, why wasn’t she charged? I’m not saying that it isn’t, but after over a year’s investigation, I have to believe that if hard evidence of such conduct existed that the cops would have charged her.

    Again, I would like to reiterate that Lori Drew is a piece of human refuse; but we can’t go inventing crimes just because our sense of vengeance needs to be sated. But if the family decides to sue for wrongful death, I’d be on board with that.

  6. I do not see how criminalizing the acts of adults intentionally misrepresenting themselves for the purpose of emotionally abusing a minor could “[create] a terrible legal precedent that would surely return to bite good people in the ass.”

    Good people don’t misrepresent themselves to minors. Good people don’t emotionally abuse minors and good people don’t express a lack of remorse when their actions cause the death of a child.

    I guess if there are people who feel strongly enough about this to place themselves in personal and legal jeopardy to see some small measure of justice done…If they are willing and able to face the consequences of their actions should they be caught…I may not personally agree with their actions, but I’m not going to condemn them for them either.

    I must commend the Meiers on their restraint. Had this happened to one of my children and the judicial system failed so badly, I fear that I would be in prison right now. And I don’t think I’d regret it for a minute. Sometimes the high price is worth every penny.

    “There’s only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”
    — P.J. O’Rourke

  7. I’m a parent, does that make me a qualified expert?

    At the risk of confirming people’s opinions of me as a cold, heartless bastard, my second thought (first being “Wow that’s tragic”) was “Why weren’t her parents monitoring her use of Myspace/messaging?”

    My kids (thankfully) aren’t of the age yet where they can use the computer by themselves, but when they are, I will ensure that what they are able to access without my wife and I in the room is locked down tighter than Fort Knox. Last time I checked, it was still the parent’s job to know what their teenaged children are up to on the internet, precisely to protect them from predators like this.

  8. My kids (thankfully) aren’t of the age yet where they can use the computer by themselves, but when they are, I will ensure that what they are able to access without my wife and I in the room is locked down tighter than Fort Knox.

    It’s easy to second guess from the comforting warmth of self-delusion. I raised two kids and was far from the perfect parent. I can say with some authority that you will NEVER be able to completely protect your children from the dangers of life and still allow them to have one.

    You’re dreaming if you think you will be able to, and the trying will most likely only cause them to rebel. You CANNOT always be there to protect them. Period.

    I will grant that, in hindsight, the Meiers could have done things a bit differently…based upon my reading of the story, they freely admit that. Does that make them responsible for the acts of the ADULTS that took advantage of their mistakes and emotionally abused their daughter? No. And implying so is self-righteous and arrogant. After your kids are grown and out on their own, look back and THEN tell us that you did everything perfectly and never made a mistake. Hopefully, none of your mistakes will end in disaster, but you will make them (maybe already have a few under your belt). I promise.

  9. I disagree. I think that posting the Drew’s personal info is justified. Community shunning is the only punishment available. I see no reason why their printing business should not be run into the ground.

  10. @SailorCurt:

    In re-reading my original comment, I may have come off as too emphatic and self-righteous. The point I was aiming for was not that I can maintain total control about what my kids take in, but that there are parental steps that can be taken to at least moderate some electronic communications.

    The slimeball predator who did this is of course responsible for her own actions, just like someone who gets rich off Nigerian Bank scam emails is responsible for his own actions, or a bungler who enters through an unlocked front door at night. Stories of people who get their life savings stolen by scam artists are heartbreaking too. But in the same way, they’re both kind of frustrating, because they are, at least in part, preventable with better knowledge and security.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only perfect parents are the ones who haven’t had any children yet, and you’re right, it’s far to easy to play Monday Morning Quarterback for tragedies like this. I’ve fallen prey to that temptation in this case, and apologize for that. I just find parts of this story frustrating in the same way my wife and I sit on the couch yelling “Why didn’t you lock your door?” at the TV news when they run a story about a robbery that used an unlocked back door.

  11. I agree completely with your revised position. We do have responsibility for our own actions…including our failures. But realizing in hindsight that I should have double checked to make sure the back door was locked does not for an instant excuse the actions of the unscrupulous person who would take advantage of that failure.

    In any case, the clarification and apology speaks to your character and I thank you for it.

  12. On Wednesday, October 21st, city officials wasted no time enacting an ordinance designed to address the public outcry for justice in the Megan Meier tragedy. The six member Board of Aldermen made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

    Does this new law provide any justice for Megan? Does this law provide equitable relief for a future victim?

    The Vice rejects the premise of this new law and believes it completely misses the mark. Classifying this case as a harassment issue completely fails to address the most serious aspects of the methods Lori Drew employed to lead this youth to her demise. The Vice disagrees that harassment was even a factor in this case until just a couple of days before Megan’s death.

    Considering this case a harassment issue is incorrect because during the 5 weeks Lori Drew baited and groomed her victim, the attention was NOT unwanted attention. Megan participated in the conversations willingly because she was misled, lured, manipulated and exploited without her knowledge.

    This law willfully sets a precedent that future child exploiters and predators might use to reclassify their cases as harassment cases. In effect, the law enacted to give Megan justice, may make her even more vulnerable. So long as the child victim doesn’t tell the predator to stop, even a harassment charge may not stick with the right circumstances and a good defender.

    Every aspect of this case follows the same procedural requirement used to convict a Child Predator. A child was manipulated by an adult. A child was engaged in sexually explicit conversation (as acknowledged by Lori Drew herself). An adult imposed her will on a child by misleading her, using a profile designed to sexually or intimately attract the 13 year old Megan.

    Lori then utilized the power she had gained over this child to cause significant distress and endangerment to that child. She even stipulated to many of these activities in the police report she filed shortly after Megan’s death.

    City officials who continue to ignore this viable, documented admission and continue to address this issue as harassment are intentionally burying their heads in the sand, when the solution is staring them right in the face. Why?

    There are several other child exploitation laws on the books. To date, none of them have even been considered by City, State and Federal officials in this case. The Vice is outraged that a motion was never even filed, so that the case could at least be argued before a judge or jury.

    Danny Vice
    http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

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