I grew up in an extremely small town where every citizen knows every detail of every other current and former citizen's indiscretions and bad choices. It has the potential to be idyllic but rather than coexisting peaceably with kindness and understanding and support, most citizens choose to use this knowledge to judge and torment in order to make themselves feel better about their own poor choices and station. I moved away from there as soon as I was old enough and never looked back. I put it behind me and moved on to greener, more compassionate pastures.
But watching the Lori Drew case develop and close over the past year or so brought those hard, hurtful memories back to me like a spectre. You see, Lori Drew and her husband are from my area. For over a year now I have listened to the story of how she oh-so-maturely concocted a plan to punish Megan Meier for having a typical teen-age falling out with her daughter.
You see, the two girls were friends and then, as scripted in the teenage girl playbook, they weren't anymore. Instead of talking to her daughter about how friendships will come and go and using the event as an opportunity to teach her daughter empathy and personal worth and impulse control, Drew concocted a devious plan to punish and torment Megan using the Internet.
It infuriates me when I read things like this:
"Angered that Megan had been "spreading lies" about her daughter, and eager to "expose" her, Lori Drew together with Grills and Drew's daughter concocted a plan to humiliate Megan and to find out what else she was saying online. They came up with 16-year-old "Josh Evans", a boy who had recently moved to the area. They created a MySpace profile for the fictional boy, and even included a picture of the tousle-haired "Evans" posing bare-chested. Megan, a young, impressionable girl prone to depression, was hooked.
The two began to exchange messages. At one point, said Grills, Drew suggested arranging for Josh to meet Megan at a local shopping mall. Grills, Drew and her daughter Sarah would then "pop out" and tease Megan. But what may have started as a prank soon turned sinister. Possibly motivated by a desire to end the deception, Grills sent Megan a final message from Josh on October 16 2006. It told her that "the world would be a better place without you" and to "have a [lousy] rest of your life".
Megan's response was poignant in the extreme: "You are the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over," she allegedly wrote. Shortly afterward, she hanged herself."And this:
"Drew bragged about the scheme and continued to talk about her involvement after Megan's death. He cited the testimony of hairdresser Dawn Chu, who told the court that Drew had come into her salon on the day of Megan's wake. When Chu asked her why she was going to the wake given the allegations against her, "Drew responded, "It's not like I pulled the trigger."
(emphasis added)Let me make this abundantly clear:
While it's true she did not act alone, she was the only ADULT involved. She may have escaped felony charges but is still facing a potentially steep come-uppance. Prosecutors did what they could to find a law that she'd broken in order to mete out some sort of justice but the reality is that this kind of spiteful, hateful, and vengeful bullying happens every day. There aren't laws to protect us from it and there shouldn't be. Social mores and personal and familial standards for behavior should be enough. I guess I am most heart-broken and angry that it seems they aren't.