Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pray for Megan Meier

Megan Meier was the ebullient, quirky 13-year old daughter to Ron and Tina Meier from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, a community of 7,000 close to St. Louis. According to the CNN article, she liked hanging out with her friends and liked going fishing with her dad, Ron. Still, she suffered from depression, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and was on medication. For the better part of September, 2006, Megan had corresponded with Josh Evans on MySpace. Josh was a teenager who had recently moved to the area from Florida. Josh was homeschooled, and they seemed to be hitting it off pretty well.

Megan even went so far as to tell her folks about an affectionate note she got from Josh. On October 15th, 2006, Megan received a message from Josh saying rather abruptly that he didn't want to be her friend anymore, and that he had heard she wasn't nice to her friends. Josh went off on a tirade saying she was a slut and that she was fat. Megan told her her mom. Her mom had apparently been monitoring her online activity and was upset about her vulgar language and behavior. Her father tried to comfort her and said that everything was going to be alright.

She was found in her bedroom 20 minutes later. Megan had hung herself, and she died the next day. Her father found a message from Josh saying that she was a bad person and the world would be better off without her. Law enforcement officials had not been able to backtrack the message, because Josh Evans never existed.

Six weeks later in a counselor's office, another mother had confessed that she created the "Josh Evans" profile on MySpace to gain Megan's confidence and learn what she was saying about her kid. The mother, her daughter, and another person all had corresponded with Megan as "Josh Evans." The mother has not been charged with any crime. I'll repeat that. The mother has not been charged with any crime.

Ron and Tina Meier have since separated and they plan to divorce. An ordinance relevant to child endangerment and internet harassment is set to come before Dardenne Prairie city officials next week. THE MOTHER HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME.

There's something massively fucked up when a twisted bitch wants to destroy a young girl simply to see what she's saying about her kid. More details are coming out as stated in this story in The O'Fallon Journal. There's something even more fucked up when MySpace's boilerplate position has been that users have to be at least 14 years of age to create a profile. Too bad for Megan, eh? I'm all for net neutrality, and I find it grossly questionable when media conglomerates demand the removal of content from sites like YouTube due to copyright infringement, and yet it would take the considerable bad publicity of Megan Meier's suicide to make MySpace and its corporate pimps at News Corp. understand that MySpace is ripe with abuse. Then again, I'm probably overestimating the assclowns at News Corp and MySpace.

My heart goes out to Ron and Tina Meier. I hope they get through this tragedy, and I pray they and Megan get justice.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

First off, allow me to apologise for being away for so long. I really have no viable excuse for not being a smarmy little bastard, and there's certainly a lot of stuff that's pissed me off, but I saw this and well, I'm speechless.

This is Mike Batchelor. He is the President of the Erie Community Foundation in Erie, Pennsylvania. The CNN article describes Erie as a city of many industries - most of which have either closed or moved overseas. The poverty rate is twice the national average.

However the Erie Community Foundation worked for years with an anonymous individual to identify deserving charities. 46 were found, and the anonymous individual coughed up $100 million. Mr. Batchelor will not reveal who the individual is, their possible connection to Erie, or even if the individual is alive or not.

$100 million.

A homeless shelter will receive $2 million. Among the other charities receiving this massive windfall are a women's shelter, a food bank, three universities, and a group for the blind.

Mr Batchelor called in the heads of these charities to tell them of the $100 million, and that the donor wished to remain anonymous.

I'm ashamed to say that the cynical side of me thought for a moment that the benefactor may have been trying to do some karmic cleansing of some past crimes. Still, it forced me to think about the depths of people's hearts. It doesn't matter if this person gave up $100, or $100 million. The point of charity is to enrich another person's life, and one aspect of anonymous donations is that hopefully people will think better of others. After all, you never know where the next helping hand is going to come from.

I promise I'll try and be a jackass soon enough.  I'll try and say something funny, but for right now, I'm having a warm and fuzzy moment.