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Digitally Yours

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

(I should start out by saying there is no real point to this blog post. I started out with something that ended up going nowhere until it was really just a lot of nothing; so - with that warning in mind - just enjoy it for what it is!)

I suppose it goes without saying that I am a voracious - if not manic - Internet user.  I have a blog; ok, I have several blogs.  I have a number - alright, a lot - of websites.  Eventually, I also gave in and joined the MySpace brigade and, after awhile, upgraded to Facebook.  That was about it for my online socializing other than my Yahoo! Messenger account; which has been in use since (I kid you not) 1997.

For some time I refused to join Twitter; on principle.  It was the same argument I gave for avoiding MySpace and refusing to jump on the Facebook bandwagon.  It was popular; too popular. It was the "it" and "in" thing to do; where the "hip" crowd was.

Let me set the record straight right here and now.  I am not - never have been - an "in" or "it" person; I do not do the "hip" crowd.  I have stopped liking things I once loved the moment they became overly popular.  It isn't that I try to be obscure, but I do try to not be a clone-like conformist.  If "everyone is doing it", I'm not likely inclined to join.  While I did eventually cave, I took heart in knowing I, at least, came to it late and looked safely lame rather than ultra-hip.

The bug, however,  caught me after Twitter and I found myself gleefully using sites like Ping.fm (and its sister Pingle app for my iPod Touch) and FriendFeed to help keep up with my digital musings. I discovered Tumblr (it has an iPod app, too) and sort of liked the idea of micro-blogging in quick bursts.  I tried out, but lost interest in, YouAre (what seems to just be a Twitter-spinoff) and considered a few others but decided to put a hold on my digitally social ladder climbing.

I haven't always been opposed to being an obsessive onliner, though.  I, infrequently, write articles for HubPages and Helium, and one lonely, little piece for Squidoo.  I had long had an account with Digg, but started actually using it (and quickly became addicted; I'm a daily Digger now).    One of these days, too, I'll get back to making a vlog (video blog) on blogTV; I actually had a few devoted viewers for a little bit there.  My Flickr account I have used extensively for a few years now; it's a great way to share photos with friends and family.

It would not be stretching it to say that a sizable portion of my life is lived online.  It doesn't mean I don't have an active, social real life (I wish, sometimes!), but that when I am online, I am simply very active and, as my dear friend Rosie once said, have a "large Internet presence".  It isn't so much that I believe people know who I am, just that I do a lot online - as either Shanna Riley or skatoolaki (or, virtually, as Isadora "Izzy" Graves) - and am quite visible to anyone that may be looking.  I've been online - and actively so - since 1997; my website, birthed on Geocities under the user name "vamp_lynx", made its appearance in 2000 until I moved to my own domain - skatoolaki.com - in 2004.  This blog, itself, was started in 2003.  So, yes, you could say I've been around the block a few times, and being seen and heard online isn't anything new for me.

Sometimes you have to wonder, though,  if anyone truly cares about all of that socializing, posting, and tidbit-updating stuff but you.  Yet I don't do this for anyone but myself (and my two ever-faithful readers - hi, Mom! - hi, Amb!) because I enjoy it, and I love going back and reading what my life was like three or four years ago.  I may be the only person who ever reads any of this; which is, actually, just fine.

Lori Drew is One Sick Lady

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

A blog has been floating around since the Megan Meier story exploded called Megan Had It Coming...many surmised it was the work of Lori Drew herself - and it appears now that it was.

If you've ever been interested in reading the words of a true sociopath, I invite you to do so by giving this blog a read - especially the December 3rd post, "I'm Lori Drew". It is truly disturbing to listen to this woman try to defend herself and her actions, seeming to honestly believe she had justification for going after a 13 year-old child as if she were a child herself. Yes, you heard me - she believes she did nothing wrong in attempting to teach Megan a lesson for "hurting" her own daughter. Sick doesn't even begin to describe it.

I also highly suggest you give a read to this well-done post, "Lori Drew Becomes the Witch-Victim" on the blog, odd time signatures. She - coming from experience dealing with people like Lori Drew - explains the sociopathic vein running just underneath the surface of Lori Drew's words.

The name of Lori's blog, itself, speaks volumes - shes chooses to call a blog defending her position and actions by titling it Megan Had It Coming.  No child - regardless of their angst-driven teen antics - deserves to be manipulated and baited by an adult. Lori Drew writes her confession and honestly believes you should - after reading it - understand her reasoning for creating a fake MySpace profile to lure, monitor, and then "teach a lesson to" an impressionable, confused, adolescent girl. Her take on the entire situation is as baffling as it is disturbing.

The law does not see fit - or can not be used - to gain justice for Megan, or to stop other sociopath parents from going after vulnerable children in "defense" of their own offspring. It leaves that up to you parents; be vigilant in knowing who your children are talking to and what they are doing online, and off the computer. There are many Lori Drews out there - let Megan's needless death be your warning call.

Lori Drew Pushed Megan Meier Over the Edge

Friday, November 30th, 2007

On October 16, 2006, in Dardennes Prairie, Missouri, thirteen year-old Megan Taylor Meier hung herself with a cloth belt from a support beam in her bedroom closet. She died the next day in a local hospital.

It is always sad when a person chooses to take their own life; even more so when that person is so young and has so much life ahead of them. A life cut so violently and tragically short is hard for any of us to reconcile in our hearts and minds. There is the knowledge we possess, being older and wiser, that had they waited they would have seen that things change and get better. Life is worth living, you wish you could have told them – just wait, just give it one more chance…this too shall pass.

Sadly, such a message was never delivered to Megan and like so many before her – feeling all hope was lost and her life ruined – she chose to end it all.

Megan did, however, receive a message on that fateful evening – likely less than an hour before she grabbed a cloth belt and went to her closet. The message was not one of hope, love, or consolation. It was, unfortunately for Megan and all those that loved her, the exact opposite.

…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…

Hurtful and cruel words for anyone to hear; all the more so for an emotionally distraught teen with prior mental problems.

In the end, however, the most chilling thing about Megan's story and the callous words that pushed her towards the most final of acts is that they came from an adult.

Around a year earlier, Megan's parents had moved her from public school due to taunting for being over-weight and her problems fitting in with the "in" crowd; the popular kids.

By her parents' accounts, young Megan thrived at her new, private school. She lost weight, seemed happier, and made new friends. She was excited about her upcoming fourteenth birthday and getting her braces off when she met Josh Evans online – no one yet knowing this was to be the beginning of the end of her young life.

Megan's parents were vigilant about keeping tabs on Megan's MySpace account; they had her password, and had to pre-approve any and all friends' requests that were sent to Megan. When a cute, local, sixteen year-old boy named Josh Evans sent Megan a friend request, she begged her mother to allow her to accept. Tina Meier did.

Tina, still, felt some instinctual motherly premonition that something wasn't right. As Megan and Josh became closer, talking almost daily through MySpace, Tina contacted the local police department to see if a MySpace profile's authenticity could be proven. She was told it could not.

Megan was going through the highs of young love, the rush of endorphins that makes the world brighter and life sing. She was happier than she'd been in years – a boy, a cute, older boy at that – liked her. What thirteen year-old girl wouldn't have been head-over-heels?

Things changed quickly. Tina's cell phone rang October 16 as she sat with her younger daughter, Allison, at the orthodontist's office. A distraught, tearful Megan was on the other end. Megan told her mother that Josh was saying mean things to her – that he told her something along the lines of "I don't know if I want to be friends with you any longer because I hear you're not nice to your friends". Others had joined in on the harassment, and were posting bulletins saying calling Megan fat and a slut.

Tina told her daughter to turn off the computer, but when she returned home she found Megan firing off angry retorts to her attackers. Appalled at the words her own daughter was using, Tina insisted she get off the computer and sent her to her room.

Tina and her husband, Ron, discussed the issue as they prepared dinner – worried about Megan and wondering what had truly happened.

When Tina went to get Megan for dinner, she found her hanging in the closet.

The story is tragic all on its own, yet it is when the truth is laid bare that the true horror of this story is made evident.

"Josh Evans", the Meiers learned months later, never existed. He was a puppet – a fake profile created by someone to befriend Megan and gain her trust. Who would do such a thing, and why?

The 'who' is appalling – it was the mother of one of Megan's former public school friends; a woman we now know is named Lori Drew. Curious as to what Megan was saying about her daughter, and the other former friends, Lori – employing help from her own daughter and a few others – laughingly created "Josh" to get inside Megan's head. Once she had the information she sought, she turned "Josh" on Megan – a turn of events that ended when Lori as "Josh" sent the chilling message above and, soon after, Megan slipped a cloth belt around her neck.

It is hard to get inside the mind of a woman like Lori Drew – someone who has shown little to no remorse for her actions in pushing Megan to despair that led to suicide.

At Megan's funeral, she was overheard telling someone she didn't feel "as guilty" because she heard Megan had attempted suicide before. Megan had not - but even if she had, it makes Lori's going after her all the more irresponsible and perverse.

Is Lori Drew a sociopath, or simply that immature and ignorant? One has to wonder what a grown woman is thinking when she does something like this…to see what gossip is being said about her own daughter?

I remember how vulnerable I was at Megan's age...and to have found myself in a similar situation, realizing I had been "had" (lied to and manipulated, probably laughed about behind my back), would - in itself - have been enough to push me over the edge. All in one instant, she realized she'd been duped, that the boy she'd fallen for didn't even exist and that all of her happiness had been for naught. She was then being taunted, teased, and further bullied by "Josh" and his pals.

What Lori Drew did to this innocent child...there are no words. She acted like a child herself, playing grade-school games with no thought or care as to the possible consequences. She seems to me to be a sociopath- or very immature and ignorant, at least. She should be held accountable for her actions - not for "cyber-bullying" but for preying on a child in what is, essentially, mental/emotional abuse. I hope justice is done for Megan, and for her parents and sister so that they may find, at least some, peace.

The story is all over the Internet, and naturally a number of differing opinions abound. The ones that disturb me the most are the ones that place blame on Megan's parents, and even Megan herself.

It truly disturbs me to see people saying things such as Megan should have been stronger or taken responsibility for her own actions; she was a child...and when you are young, with raging hormones, and suffer from these types of mental conditions it is very simple to fall into a panic attack or anxiety-ridden and emotional blind rage.

Could she have up and committed suicide with no prior "warnings"? With her medical history and the addition of teenage emotions and hormones...absolutely.

The truth is, young Megan had no defenses against the malicious attack on her by an adult; an adult who knew full well that Megan had problems and was not a fully stable child (even if she had been, still not an excuse). When Lori Drew made the decision to attack, manipulate, and mentally/emotionally damage an innocent, vulnerable child she went beyond the pale.

She is guilty of involuntary manslaughter at the very least, and should be considered a danger to children; considering her mindset and maturity level aren't that much higher than those of a young teen.

It is not so simple as stepping away from the computer of being stronger…as some have implied...Megan was baited, and she was a sick child who had no defense against such an attack; an attack that, ultimately and resolutely, pushed her over the edge.

Some have called for laws against cyber-bulling; I don't think that is the answer - in fact, that just opens up entirely new cans of worms. An over-all sweeping law is not going to solve this problem, nor bring justice for Megan. This was not about cyber-bulling so much as it was about an adult going after a child; an adult that should be punished for her actions and removed from any further contact with children and young adults as she obviously poses a threat.

Did Lori Drew, with her infantile and ignorant prank, mean to push Megan Meier to suicide? No, I don't believe she did. Should she be held accountable for her actions, and punished for baiting and harassing a child? Yes and to the full extent of the law.

It's not just to bring peace to Megan's parents; it's to get justice for Megan.