FOXNews (January 27, 2010)
"Two Mass. high school students have been suspended following the suicide of a teen girl who was allegedly bullied at school and online, the BostonHerald.com reported.
"Friends and school officials told MyFoxBoston.com that Phoebe Prince, 15, had been picked on since moving to Massachusetts from Ireland last fall. School bullies reportedly taunted the teen through text messages, Facebook and other social networking sites...."
"...South Hadley High Principal Daniel Smith sent out a letter to parents of students at the high school. In the letter, he called Prince 'smart, charming, and as is the case with many teenagers, complicated ... We will never know the specific reasons why she chose to take her life,"' Boston.com reported...."
"...Even after her death, bullies posted disparaging messages on her Facebook memorial page. The comments had to be removed from the page...."
Well! So this young woman was "smart, charming" - no wonder some of the locals hounded her to death. Competition like that can be inconvenient.
If this news item seems familiar, it should. There are strong parallels to the Jessica Logan and Megan Meier's suicides.
The news of Phoebe Prince's suicide - what I read - doesn't go into a great deal of detail. What there is: is disgusting.
"One message sent to the teenager shortly before she took her own life read: 'Go kill yourself'...." (Mail Online)
I don't know if what was done to Phoebe Prince came from the sort of warped values modeled by Pat "blame the Haitians" Robertson, if this attack was a simple matter of jealousy, or what was involved.
In a way, it doesn't matter. Phoebe Prince is dead.
Phoebe Prince is just the latest teen whose suicide is linked to online bullying.
I wrote about another, earlier, attack, in another blog:
"Jessica Logan and the Respectable People of Cincinnati""First, a bit about Jessica Logan.
"Short version: Jessica Logan was born in 1990. By the end of July 2008, she had sent young man a photo of herself, from the neck down, wearing no clothes; graduated from high school, and killed herself.
"The young man passed Jessica's photo on to four other young women. After that, Jessica was hounded by the 'good,' 'respectable' people in her peer group, and rejected from parties because she had a 'reputation.'
"Spare me from such respectability...."
(A Catholic Citizen in America (December 8, 2009))
About that photo: The jerk that Jessica Logan thought was her boyfriend pressured her to take it. Then, dumped her.
That was Jessica Logan. The current news is about Phoebe Prince.
Again: I have no details of what Phoebe Prince's attackers thought they were doing.
There Oughta be A Law!Legislators, faced with a high-profile death like this, generally talk about legislation they'll push through. It's easy to see it as - at best - a knee-jerk reaction.
Maybe there does need to be new law code drawn up, to protect people from bullies online.
Or, maybe existing laws are applicable.
I don't know.
I do know that people think better when they're not emotionally worked up. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (December 23, 2008) And I think that it's a good idea to examine an idea, before implementing it.
Like 'outlaw cyberbullying.' Sounds good, doesn't it? The trick is to define "cyberbullying" so that reasonable freedom of expression isn't affected.
I've got a personal stake in this. I'm a writer, and maintain eleven (at last count) blogs. What if a "cyberbullying" law made it illegal to post something online, if someone reads it and feels bad later?
Does that sound silly? So did quite a few "emotional pain and suffering" lawsuits: but American courts decided against the defendant in quite a few, not all that long ago.
It's a stretch, but I can imagine someone being driven to despair by my latest Easy Griller post: "From Deep in the Heart of Darkest Minnesota: A Couple of Videos From Hawaii." Either from anguished sympathy for the poor chickens that were being grilled, or all the water in the Hawaii video. Maybe both.
I don't think this will happen - at least I hope not - but an injudiciously-written "cyberbully" law could make my writing that BBQ chicken post a felony.
Think the courts would never be that daft? Check out "Dred Scott, the Slavery Compromise, and Who to Trust," A Catholic Citizen in America (February 2, 2009).
This post doesn't sound very "apathetic," does it? I've written about this blog's name before.
- "Pat Robertson, the Devil, Haiti, and an Alternate Reality?"
(January 14, 2010)
- "Jessica Logan, Sexting, Suicide, What Guys Want, and Malignant Virtue"
A Catholic Citizen in America (December 8, 2009)
- "'MySpace Suicide,' Cyberbullying, and the Law"
(May 16, 2008)
- "Prison Time if Your Blog Makes Somebody Feel Bad? I'm Not Making This Up"
(May 5, 2009)
- "Emotions, the Frontal Cortex, The War on Terror, Anarchists, and the Illuminati"
(December 23, 2008)
- "Beaten High Schooler to be Home Schooled"
(April 9, 2008)
- "Megan Meier's Tormentor: Knowledge is Power"
(December 6, 2007)
- "Teenage Irish girl who emigrated to America 'hanged herself after cyber-bullying torment'"
Mail Online(January 27, 2010)
- "Tragic death of Phoebe Prince hastens need for bullying legislation"
Irish Central (January 26, 2010)