Submitted for publication by Linda.
It wasn’t so long ago that the internet buzzing was about the story of 13 year old Megan Meier.
The mother of an acquaintance of Megan's created a MySpace account claiming to be a teenage boy who first pursued Meier but eventually dumped her. Devastated by the rejection, Megan Meier ended her life.
Apparently, the blogosphere has a way of establishing order and “netizens” often get into the mix of exposing who they term to be “evil-doers.” This is just what happened in the Megan Meier case.
A blogger who read an article about the 13 year old’s suicide did some sleuthing and posted the name of the mother (Lori Drew) who created the MySpace account.
People began calling Drew’s clients and demanding that they stop doing business with her or they would boycott their establishments. Lori Drew’s photo, her husband’s name, her address, her cell and home phone numbers were posted all over the internet almost begging for someone to do something.
And eventually it happened. A brick was thrown through the window of the Drew home and the family received threats that their house would be burned down.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m disgusted by Lori Drew. Her conduct in creating a fake persona on MySpace to mess with a 13 year old girl is despicable. If there is any way to criminally prosecute this woman for her conduct, it should be utilized. If there is any way to make her civilly responsible for the death of this little girl that should also be utilized. She should be punished, but not by the mob.
How does this relate to the Gosselins?
There is a mob mentality that has gained tsunami strength regarding the Gosselins family.
At times, I must say that I’m scratching my head about it. How can a television show about a family on a cable network generate so much controversy? But it has.
The tsunami currently include blogs, discussion boards, on-line petitions and calls for business boycotts. Both the “sheeple”, those who are pro-Gosselin, and the “haters”, those who are anti-Gosselin, are passionate if not rabid in their defense of their opinions.
My worry is that some of these blogs which have gained such momentum in recent weeks may be just the nudge that an unstable person needs to inflict some harm on themselves, on a poster with an opposing view, or on the Gosselin family.
Tidal waves of internet interest almost simultaneously goad and beg for someone to do something off-line which can be viewed as a kind of trophy by bloggers. Recently a picture of the sign in front of the Gosselin house was photographed and posted on asocial networking site and later on a blog. Cyber-high-fives were thrown around as if the grave of Jimmy Hoffa had finally been discovered.
But really what's next? It happened with Megan Meier. Justified or not, it happened with Lori Drew. I pray that it doesn’t happen with the storm surrounding the Gosselin family.