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. identicon
    sarah, 29 Jul 2010 @ 7:41am

    Re: Shut up ehrichweiss

    this law helps no one. something like this is happening to my daughter and we've gone to the police and civil and juvenile lawyers. nothing can be "proven" and no one can do anything about it. facebook and all the other social networks are very flakey about safety. the laws should really catch up with the technology. right now my daughter is being accused of being pregnant and a whore. this is a girl that has been on the honor roll her whole life and done nothing but try to help everyone. if she wasn't as strong as she is, im sure she would've had enough motivation to kill herself too. i dont know how many of you out there are parents but this horrifies me to think that my state laws could not protect my child at all.
    a girl should not have to die for the state to change laws.

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