Print 27 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Jul 13 at 3:39 AM

The well known case of a Missouri mother who was accused of causing a teenage girl to suicide has led to additional calls for cyberbullying laws

A mother accused of driving a 13-year-old neighborhood girl to suicide was acquitted of three misdemeanor counts during a high-profile case that has attracted international media attention.

Lori Drew is accused of creating a MySpace account and posing as a fictitious teenage boy "Josh Evans," then sending flirtatious MySpace messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier, a neighborhood girl her daughter reportedly had a run-in with earlier.  Still posing as the teenage boy, Drew dumped Megan and left a message saying the world wouldn't miss her.

Lori Drew, who was found guilty in November 2008, faced up to three years in prison stemming from the three misdemeanor charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  The case was closely scrutinized by legal experts who noted it was the first time someone was charged under the act related to crimes committed through social networking web sites.

All of this talk about this specific case has caused an outcry among supporters who think the country should have stricter cyberbullying laws.  The state of Missouri, due to the Drew case, created a cyberbullying law now criminalizing online harassment carried out via PC or other electronic devices.

“This decision is disappointing, but is a direct example of why we need laws to address new crimes like cyberbullying,” Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif) said in a statement regarding the Drew case.  Sanchez was one of the lawmakers who recently proposed the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, which would essentially criminalize online cyberbullying.

Even though I think there should be some type of law to help protect people, especially children and teenagers, from cyberbullying, it's something that would need to be closely watched.  It's possible any legislation related to cyberbullying would be too broad, which could potentially accuse innocent people of being online cyber bullies.

Are you in favor of a law that would aim to reduce cyberbullying?

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Not another law
By mdogs444 on 7/8/2009 8:20:02 AM , Rating: 5
Are you in favor of a law that would aim to reduce cyberbullying?

As much as I hate this lady for doing what she did, I cannot imagine expanding government and creating even more laws. If anything, she should be charged with some sort of false impersonation, assault, and brought forward with several civil suits for emotional distress of the family.

However, lets be real here, parents today are depending on the government to raise their kids for them. And the sad part is, people in the government who buy into this "nanny state" crap are all for it. What has this world gotten to when you can't even spank your own children out of fear that you'll be charged with child abuse? There are people out there who think children have their own rights to do as they please in the home, and that the parents have no say in making them go to certain kinds of schools, making them go to church, or a range of other things.

The problem here is not that need another law or not, the problem is that we have too many laws as is, and they are prohibiting parents from doing the job they are supposed to do - monitoring and raising their children, while having the right to make any decision they feel is beneficial to raising that child.

RE: Not another law
By FITCamaro on 7/8/2009 10:23:05 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed. The day it becomes illegal to make fun of someone is the day liberty is truly dead. And if its ever illegal to spank your kids I guess I'll be going to jail when I become a parent.

RE: Not another law
By clovell on 7/8/2009 10:56:08 AM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you FIT, I also think what this woman did was reprehensible.

No, we don't need more laws; but, what we do need is for b!tches like this to catch a good old fashioned beatdown.

People have become too reliant on government - go cash a Hamilton in for a roll of quarters and take care of your own problems. Maybe then, c@&%$ like this will think twice before acting like this.

RE: Not another law
By FITCamaro on 7/8/2009 11:10:40 AM , Rating: 4
There's no doubt that what the lady did was deplorable. But it isn't the government's job to make such activity legal or illegal. In my mind, the woman legally did nothing wrong. Morally yes, but not legally.

In my mind you shouldn't kill yourself just because someone picked on your or made you feel bad. And if the girl's parents had been doing their job, she wouldn't have been meeting strangers on MySpace and "dating" them anyway.

RE: Not another law
By clovell on 7/8/2009 11:16:40 AM , Rating: 2
So... you want me to spot you a ten for the parents?

RE: Not another law
By Moishe on 7/8/2009 12:57:26 PM , Rating: 1
If the girl was my sister I think the lady would have some reason to be concerned, or at least be paying for a set of new tires and a paint job.

RE: Not another law
By TheSpaniard on 7/9/2009 12:53:50 PM , Rating: 3
you know... there is probably no place that woman can hide.

there are only two things I fear in life:

1. A scorned woman

2. A dad who thinks you harmed his little girl

RE: Not another law
By GaryJohnson on 7/12/2009 9:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Morally yes, but not legally.

That's somewhat circular. All laws at some level are derived from someone or some groups sense of morality.

RE: Not another law
By Moishe on 7/8/2009 12:52:15 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a vigilante at heart, but I think that what you say has some basic merit. There was a time when you didn't pull crap like this because a family member would come beat your a$$. Today that kind of stuff is so highly frowned upon that it rarely happens.

I think that western culture (in general) has been molded into a bunch of limp wristed pansies. Violence is not always the answer, but it (or the threat of it) can really be a good thing sometimes.

RE: Not another law
By Mojo the Monkey on 7/8/2009 1:30:34 PM , Rating: 3
This is what civil suits are for, where the proceedings are between the individuals, and not between the state and the individual.

RE: Not another law
By Moishe on 7/8/2009 2:05:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and I think that it "sorta" works. The more steps there are between a crime and justice (red-tape) the less likely that justice will be pursued, much less served. Mediators remove the 'heat', which can be a great thing, but they also dull the punishment which provides disincentive to commit additional crimes.

Basically, the law is not and never will be perfect, and IMO there will always be a need for person to person dealing.

For instance I'd rather be approached by a regular person about something that I've done to offend than to have the cops immediately called. Western culture is a bit too afraid of conflict (myself included), and we tend to avoid personal contact, which actually provides great things like positive peer pressure and fear of what others may do.

RE: Not another law
By Moishe on 7/8/2009 12:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. We don't need laws to legislate common sense and common decency. Those things cannot be faked. All the laws do it create more bureaucracy and BS to wade through.

We have laws that can be used but that are not enforced. Adding another one to the books won't help anything. We all lose a little more freedom and nobody is actually helped.

The computer use of minors needs to be closely monitored by their guardians and kids should be taught to be highly skeptical of the identity or (and the things portrayed by) people online. That and kids need to be taught some basic character and be allowed/encouraged to grow up earlier. As it is, we end up with a lot of "adults" who are still very much overly sensitive babies. These kinds of adults are far more likely to pull a stupid childish prank like this lady did.

RE: Not another law
By clovell on 7/8/2009 12:49:49 PM , Rating: 2
All salient points, mdogs, but I thought the main problem with this particular case is this psycho-b!tch who liked to screw with kids.

Also, the laws in place weren't keeping the girl's parents from sh!t - their own inattentiveness allowed this. More laws won't cure that.

RE: Not another law
By Boze on 7/8/2009 1:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
We can't even protect our own federal networks from cyberbullying, yet we want to provide protection for the 300 million people who live in America, such that no one hurts their feelings?

I'm sorry, but this Megan girl had severe emotional and mental problems from the start, some or all of which might have been exacerbated by what Lori Drew and her daughter and her daughter's friends did to her. You cannot blame society-at-large for the mental and emotional problems of a 13 year old girl.

Just look at all the physiological and psychological changes going on with a girl that age. Add to it the additional stress of her parents' divorce, the allegations that her parents were constantly fighting, the emotional upheaval of a 'boy' she liked breaking up with her and then being cruel, and what you end up with is a suicide that isn't too hard to imagine.

Young people at that age have no real concept of what true hardship is. They have no life experience by which to judge the events currently unfolding in their life. They aren't able to take their situation and compare it to say, a 13 year old girl in Iraq. To adults, a boy breaking up with you and being mean really isn't more than a temporary concern when compared against the constant threat of deadly violence. Unfortuantely, to a very likely emotionally unstable 13 year old girl who grew up in the safest nation in the world, it is quite literally the end of her world.

In my mind, the real problem here is that her parents were so preoccupied with themselves that they failed to recognize what was going on with their daughter. And unfortunately, she's the one that paid the price. This entire situation could have been avoided by way of better parenting.

RE: Not another law
By Master Kenobi on 7/13/2009 3:39:44 AM , Rating: 2
Hey now, your making too much sense and actively pushing for parents to be *gasp* responsible? No no, we can't have that.

I agree 100%, but lets face it, this girls parents do not want to be responsible for what she did, they want someone to blame.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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