Alright. Now maybe we're getting somewhere. The last time I wrote about an alleged cyber crime I debated the efficacy of the Japanese police regarding a woman who had logged into a friend's internet game account (with the login info he himself had given to her) and killed off his beloved avatar. A "crime" for which she was arrested and jailed. (See Murder On The Avatar Express)
Recently, a federal jury in Los Angeles handed down what legal experts say is the country’s first cyber-bullying verdict, convicting a woman from Missouri of three counts of computer fraud. The woman, Lori Drew, created a MySpace page under the false name of Josh Evans, specifically to communicate with and screw around with her daughter's "arch rival" Megan Meier, who was only 13 and who had a history of depression and suicidal ideations. Drew spent weeks online as “Josh” courting Megan and making her fall in love with "him." Then, Drew suddenly became hostile and told her “The world would be a better place without you.”
This, prosecutors said, pushed Megan over the edge to suicide.
I'm a mother and I have to say that there have been times along the way when I wanted nothing more than to drop kick some little snot-nose-street-rat friend of one or two of my kids, right the hell into next week. And if I'm to be honest I'll admit I've probably read one or two of them the riot act over the years - something to the effect of "The next time your mother sends you over without giving you your ADHD meds you can FUH-GETABOUTIT!!" We all have our moments of temporary insanity where we say or do things out of anger or frustration that we later wish we could take back. But to be a parent and go to the trouble of making a false account for the sole purpose of tormenting someone else's child for extended periods of time is just plain over the top.
Sentencing is soon, though I'm not sure it's worthy of the potential jail time she is facing as our prison systems are painfully overburdened and the cost it would take to keep her in jail would be a waste of needed tax dollars. Instead, along with a journey through federal court hell, her name and face is splashed all over the evening news thanks to a tireless media in constant search of shocking material. She should serve something like ten years of community service, along with competent therapy. Lots of it. At her expense. And a good bitch slap or two if you ask me.
And while embarrassment and loss of credibility in the community can be a fairly stigmatizing punishment, it wasn't my child who died. The universe is a funny thing. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Call it God, Karma, or Quantum Physics, what goes around comes back around. And something tells me the universe ain't done with her yet.