For nearly a year, the families who live along Waterford Crystal Drive in this bedroom community northwest of St. Louis have kept the secret about the boy Megan Meier met last September on the social networking site MySpace.Please go here to read the full story.
He called himself Josh Evans, and he and 13-year-old Megan struck up an online friendship that lasted several weeks. Then the boy abruptly turned on Megan and ended it. That night, Megan, who had previously battled depression, committed suicide.
The secret was revealed six weeks later: Neighbor Lori Drew had pretended to be 16-year-old Josh to gain the trust of Megan, who had been fighting with Drew's daughter, according to sheriff's department records and Megan's parents.
In my opinion, Megan's demise is completely the fault of the neighbors who created the fake MySpace identity. What is truly sad is that it was not just a young girl playing a prank, rather the whole thing was orchestrated by a grown woman, someone who should have been mature enough to let her daughter deal with her own drama. Not only that, but it is also clear to me that Megan's suicide was directly triggered by the MySpace incident, and it completely sickens me that the family at fault has offered no type of apology or remorse whatsoever. It also saddens me that there isn't any way these people can be brought up on criminal charges.
There is, however, a small beacon of hope. According to the Los Angeles Times, the community and other people across the country are fighting back. I think in these situations, it is important for citizens to take matters into their own hands and teach the culprits a lesson. I encourage anyone who reads this to take a cue from these great citizens and join in the crusade to make these people's lives hell. These idiots need to take responsibility for their actions. In addition, I think everyone should offer their support to Megan's parents, who have to deal with such an overwhelming tragedy.
Furthermore, it is cases like this that bring about the importance of being extra careful in regards to the internet. Obviously, this Josh character was very convincing (probably because he was created by an adult), but this serves as a further warning as to why people need to take care when talking to people they don't know online. Take anything said by a stranger with a grain of salt, because you never know if that person is genuine, or if they are a 58-year-old overweight unemployed guy trying to fill some sad void in his life by screwing with people online. So please, if you have children, teach them at an early age to be wary of people on the internet. Let's do what we can to make sure something like this never happens again.