Missouri Makes Online Harassment A Felony

from the laws-passed-out-of-emotion dept

Laws passed as an emotional reaction to a tragic situation are almost always bad laws. The state of Missouri has signed into law a bill to make online harassment a felony. This is in response, of course, to the infamous "Lori Drew/Megan Meier" case that has received so much attention. Of course, when you look at the facts of the case, it's not even clear if this law would have mattered. Drew didn't set up the MySpace account to harass Meier, but to find out what she was saying about her daughter. The "harassing" messages were actually sent by another teen, and weren't meant as harassment either, but as an (extremely misguided) attempt to get Meier to stop contacting the "fake" person. It's certainly understandable that people feel that something should be done, since a young girl ended up killing herself, but rushing into laws won't necessarily fix the situation at all. Also, it needs to be asked: if the same set of facts existed, but the boy who made Meier angry was real instead of fake -- would he also have been guilty under this law? If so, a lot of angry messages between kids having silly school spats are going to be court material.

Filed Under: lori drew, megan meier, missouri, online harassment


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  1. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 3 Jul 2008 @ 5:58am

    Re: Why The Opposition To This Case?

    #13: I find your lack of control of your emotions and lack of foresight on this appalling. Yes, what she did was bad. Did you hear absolutely nothing about the whole community getting back at her? Her life will not be easy as is. Yes, ending with a girl committing suicide is bad. However, that does not mean that a law should be passed against it. This girl would probably have taken her own life over something else if she was in such bad shape. It just happened to end up over this reason right now. They tried to charge Lori but the lawyers even backed down because there is NOTHING to charge her with.
    People should not let emotions pass horribly stupid laws. No matter how good intentioned they seem, or for the cause. All this really is is some grandstanding by the politicians.

    Seriously, now all 10 year olds are going to start getting lawyers because there is a school bully somewhere online being a jerk. Being a jerk is not against the law. Making being a jerk online against the law is even more dumb. It is for the emotionally weak.

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