While I was watching my beautiful 13-year old girl dance last Friday, the Megan Meier story hit the Internet. Hard. It hit me hard, too. Right in the gut, because I walked in that 13-year old’s ADHD depressed shoes many years ago and could feel what she felt, just reading the third-hand accounts.
Long story short: In 2006, Mom of an ex-friend of 13-year old Megan creates a persona of a good looking boy (16-year old “Josh”) on MySpace in order to discover what Megan is writing about her daughter. After a few weeks of back and forth commenting, fakeboy “Josh” writes ugly comments to Megan. The last comment allegedly reads like this:
“Everybody in O’Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.”
15 minutes later, 13-year old Megan hanged herself in her closet. She died the following day. Steve Pokin at the St. Charles Journal has a comprehensive account of the sequence of events. Related police reports are here, BlogHer has some commentary here, and the comments posted on BlueMerle expose the level of outrage felt around the blogosphere. I am no exception.
Lori Drew is lower than the scum on the bottom of a sewer.
She is not only an unfit parent; she’s the worst kind of parent — the hovering nanny-watcher helicopter type that Liz writes about — who not only stifles her own child but everyone around her, too. Micromanaging, vindictive and fretful, she was only out to protect her own “precious” at the expense of everyone else. As far as I’m concerned, she is a lowlife who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Only, it looks like there is no law that applies. WTF? Not only that, but criminal and civil charges are pending against the Meiers for hacking up a foosball table they were storing for the Drews until Christmas.
Yep, you read that right. The only criminal charges pending are against the Meiers. Lori Drew is completely unrepentant. From one of the police reports filed:
According to Drew “somehow” other “my space” users were able to access the fake male profile and Megan found out she had been duped. Drew stated she knew “arguments” had broken out between Megan and others on “my space”. Drew felt this incident contributed to Megan’s suicide but she did not feel “as guilty” because at the funeral she found out “Megan had tried to commit suicide before.”
The report goes on to say that she was upset because the neighborhood had turned against her after discovering her involvement. Well, duh. By the way, this report was filed in connection with her attempts to pay a post-funeral visit to the Meier family on Thanksgiving weekend exactly one year ago and the Meiers refusing to open the door or speak to them, with the Drews “banging on the door” despite Ron Meier’s request that they leave his property.
A supposed ex-friend of Megan’s has posted a counterpoint, reproduced here (original post here), describing her as a drama queen, hypersensitive and argumentative. Many parts of the post ring true to me. It’s entirely possible this all was true. She was a child struggling with a weight problem, peer issues, depression and ADHD. Been there, done that. She changed schools because she had been bullied, and had a one-day-friends-one-day-enemies relationship with the Drews’ daughter.
Megan’s struggle with ADHD and depression is at the heart of the matter.
For the benefit of Lori Drews out there, let me explain some things about ADHD and depression:
ADHD, especially untreated ADHD, can lead to depression. Megan Meier had been diagnosed with depression as early as the 3rd grade and also had ADHD. It isn’t clear as to whether she was being medicated or otherwise treated for the ADHD, but I’m assuming there was some ongoing work in this area since the parents appear to be pro-active and were concerned enough with her peer issues to have her transferred to a different middle school.
ADHD also involves sensory issues, making minor things feel major to them. In earlier childhood, this tends to appear as noise sensitivity, light sensitivity, sensitivity to sudden movements, and anxiety. ADHDers react to these stimuli in different ways. Boys tend to be hyperactive. Girls, not so much. They tend to be the daydreamers, the ones who retreat, or conversely, are dramatic. They’re the ones who cry at the drop of a hat and then are called crybabies by their classmates. I can remember sitting through movies that other people thought were funny crying my eyes out because the combination of sound, slapstick, light and what I perceived as injury to the main characters physically hurt me. No one could understand why I didn’t think it was funny. It wasn’t funny because it hurt. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I do not go to the movies. I feel constrained, claustrophobic and captive. This is how some kids with ADHD feel in their own bodies, especially when the hormones rage.
In adolescence, that sensitivity can turn to peer rejection and emotional bankruptcy. An ADHDer who lives in the present with no sense of the future or the past measures their worth on that moment in time. This is, I’m sure, why “MeganHaditComing” describes her as a drama queen “freaking out down the hall or screaming at someone for stabbing her in the back or not listening…” In addition, Megan had weight problems, which might as well be death to a 13-year old’s self-esteem.
Where “MeganHaditComing” has it wrong is here: She didn’t ‘have it coming’. She was a middle school kid (and a beautiful one, by the way, weight or no weight) dealing with inexplicable rejection by her fantasy boyfriend. And not just “I don’t want to see you or chat or comment on your MySpace” rejection, but mean, nasty, bullying comments designed to cut her right to the quick. This is intolerable when it’s done by peers, but the real crime here is that it was an adult, fully 35 years her senior who was aware of her depression and ADHD and took advantage of her anyway.
Here’s a news flash for Lori Drew: Megan’s final words to her mother were this: “You’re supposed to be my mom! You’re supposed to be on my side!” Those words could just as easily be applied to you, Lori Drew. “You’re supposed to be an adult! You’re supposed to protect kids, not abuse them online or otherwise.”
Impersonating, stalking and bullying a child online is child abuse
If Lori Drew had touched Megan inappropriately, she would be charged with child sexual abuse. If Lori Drew had taken a picture of Megan getting out of the shower and posted it on the Internet, she would be prosecuted for creating child pornography. If Lori Drew had hit Megan, she would be charged with assault and physical child abuse.
Lori Drew did none of those things. Still, she abused Megan and took advantage of the MySpace/Internet culture of anonymity to do it. She invented a boy who seduced Megan into thinking she was beautiful, lovable, ACCEPTABLE. And then she tore it all out from under her without so much as a tear. This is the part I truly don’t understand. How can a 48-year old woman and the mother of a 13-year old girl engage in such an intentionally cruel and hurtful act? Why didn’t she just write a good-bye comment and delete “Josh’s” profile? Why did she feel it necessary to post polls saying Megan was a slut, fat, ugly?
Only Lori Drew can answer those questions, and she chooses to justify her actions via police reports and accusations toward the Meier family. Only Lori Drew can look at herself in the mirror every day and continue to believe she is somehow not guilty of “loading the gun”, as Ron Meier says.
One family destroyed, divorced, devastated. Another family moves on, blaming everyone (including the victim), admitting nothing.
As a society, is this what we want to tolerate? Vanessa says it’s the world we live in. I disagree. It’s not my world. In my world, people who take advantage of children’s vulnerability and disability should be charged with stalking, child abuse, and involuntary manslaughter, because if we do not hold people accountable for intentional malicious acts against children we don’t deserve to have them.
Hug your kids. Watch their moods, help them overcome their challenges with positive and sometimes unusual solutions. I wish Megan had felt better about who she was and what she was overcoming. But she didn’t, and Lori Drew had a DUTY to understand that, not exacerbate it.
- Organizing One’s Time