If the Lynching Crowd…

Could be persuaded to put down their tar, feathers, pitchforks, and torches, perhaps they might listen to the details coming out about Megan Meiers and the Drews and might want to consider that they acted thoughtlessly, recklessly, and without all the facts.

For six weeks, Josh and Megan traded “innocuous” messages, Banas said, with no sexual suggestion and no “demeaning or disrespectful” language sent by either.

On Oct. 15, 2006, the day before Megan committed suicide, a friend of Drew’s daughter was given the password to the Josh Evans account. The friend sent Megan a message as Josh saying he had heard Megan was mean to her friends.

The next day, the messages flew back and forth and became heated, Banas said. Other kids, who may not have known Josh was fake, began writing. They called each other names.

Josh said the world would be better off without Megan.

In the aftermath, bloggers, neighbors and leaders blamed the Drews for Megan’s death.

But on Monday, Banas said it’s unclear who created the fake MySpace profile.

Grills told lawyers that Drew wanted her to set up a fake profile.

Drew, however, said her daughter and Grills came to her with the idea. Drew agreed but told the girls they should only speak to Megan “in polite terms and not say anything disrespectful,” Banas said.

Drew told the FBI she let her daughter write Megan when she was present — only once or twice.

There is no evidence that Drew wrote a single message, Banas said.

On the day Megan hanged herself, it was Grills who wrote the final message, Banas said.

Until now, the story told was that Grills told a lawyer representing Megan’s parents that Drew was present and that she was telling Drew what she was typing.

But according to an FBI report, Drew said she wasn’t even home when the “heated exchange” between Josh and Megan took place, Banas said.

And that same report shows that Grills had changed her story: It wasn’t Lori Drew at home, but her husband, Curt Drew.

Curt Drew said he was home, Banas said, but unaware.

Grills, Banas said, was later hospitalized for psychiatric care as a result of the case. She threatened to harm herself, he said.

“That young lady and most of these people had no idea that this would happen to a young girl the way it did,” Banas said.

The account was set up because Drews daughter believe Megan was saying stuff about her, and wanted to find out what she was saying. It was childish, and Lori Drew should not have agreed, but there was no intent to callously push this child into suicide. It was only later, when in typical MySpace fashion, a pile on had occurred and brought in people totally unrelated to any of the people that things got ugly.

Lori Drew was guilty of nothing more than making a mistake in judgment. A bad mistake in judgment, but not unlike mistakes all parents make. Now, her daughter has been forced to drop out of school, her business has been destroyed, her husband has been fired from his job, and they’re being forced from their home and their neighborhood. The same people going after Lori Drew have now started going after Grills. Trying for two suicides, eh?

These are two families and a local tragedy, made global. These are two families, both with parents who did not have the sense to keep their kids away from MySpace. This was a tragic event made even more ugly via the same ‘social networking’ that led to the tragedy in the first place.

As for whether Lori Drew created this Blogger weblog think rationally: do you really believe this weblog was created by Lori Drew? When the grief counselor came to our school last year and spoke to us… Seriously?

I have to wonder at all of those people, sitting in the comfort of their homes, making their value judgments and issuing their own form of vigilante justice–at what point in time, do facts start mattering to you when it comes to your search for justice?

However, I gather that most webloggers don’t consider that they need facts. Facts are for other people. Not webloggers.

Here is a perfect example, though, of putting adult tools into the hands of children (age notwithstanding). Kids can be cruel, but in the past, such cruelty was limited to neighborhood and school. Now, cruelty’s scope is worldwide, and rather than adults acting to balance the cruelty with calm and consideration, they join in.

update

I am astonished–absolutely astonished–that danah boyd would believe the “Megan had it coming” weblog was written by Lori Drew. And then to perform some form of analysis based on this belief. Absolutely astonished.

While there is no lack of criticism in the weblogging world, there certainly seems to be a lack of critical thinking.

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57 Responses to If the Lynching Crowd…

  1. Shelley says:

    Antoine, we shouldn’t have assumed intent.

    The Drew family did file a formal protest with Blogger, and Google is now researching it to see if it does violate the Bloggers TOS.

  2. Antoine Möeller says:

    Shelley

    Is a “formal protest” the same as an “impersonation claim?”

  3. Antoine Möeller says:

    http://tinyurl.com/259s54

    “Jim Briscoe, the Drews’ attorney, said he contacted the operators of a website where many of the messages have appeared and asked that the blog be removed. A company representative said it was reviewing the request. The blog included a defense of Lori Drew’s actions and criticized Megan. St. Charles County authorities also are investigating who created the blog.”

  4. dave rogers says:

    Dave, if you find that for you, a healthier life is one where you spend more time with your neighbors than as much as I miss your commentary here and in your weblog–and I do–I agree with you: it’s a better use of your time. But you have to be careful to make that some judgment for others.

    Did I say it was a “healthier” life? No, I don’t think I did. If anything, it’s unhealthier. There’s far more stress working for the community than there is here.

    And if we’re not going to assume intent, then you’re going to have to give me the benefit of the doubt that I wasn’t judging others.

    I was trying to illustrate the point that online activity imposes an opportunity cost. Now, that opportunity cost may be less time for watching television, or going to the library, or exercise, or looking after your kids, or any other possible activity, but it unequivocally is an opportunity cost. And it’s my perception, flawed or inaccurate though it may be, that the internet affords many people the same feeling of reward that they would get doing something that might yield more tangible results in the “real” world.

    I’m not judging anyone, nor am I suggesting I’m “better” than anyone else. I consume ludicrous quantities of energy and resources to no worthwhile end as much as anyone else. Working on the homeowners association is perhaps not the best use of my time. Maybe my efforts would be better at a homeless shelter, or visiting elderly people, or looking after my kids, I don’t know. But I realized that I wasn’t able to continue to participate online at the same level that I had before because I was doing more offline, and it occurred to me that there is an opportunity cost to being online, and I think it is reflected in the quality of our communities and our politics. But that’s just my opinion.

    You’ll be relieved to know that things are about to get busy again, and while I’m not irreplaceable, I’ll be spending much of my time there, and less of it here.

  5. Shelley says:

    “You’ll be relieved to know that things are about to get busy again, and while I’m not irreplaceable, I’ll be spending much of my time there, and less of it here.”

    Good for you.

  6. Chip Camden says:

    When you said there was a good discussion going on over here, Shelley, you weren’t just gratuitously “friending”. It’s relatively free from ignorance, too (until I showed up) — are you weeding out the shouters?

  7. Karoli says:

    Thanks for the slap back to reason, Shelley. I mean that.