DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo.” Megan Meier thought she had made a new friend in cyberspace when a cute teenage boy named Josh contacted her on MySpace and began exchanging messages with her. Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel.
The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan’s.
Now Megan’s parents hope the people who made the fraudulent profile on the social networking Web site will be prosecuted, and they are seeking legal changes to safeguard children on the Internet.
If a few mean words is all it takes to get you to hang yourself, you’re at the end of a long road of problems, not the beginning of it. This is not a tragedy. Not everyone was meant to survive into adulthood. Some contestants take themselves out of the running by accident, some do it on purpose. There is no shortage of human beings on this planet, and Megan Meier did the six billion remaining survivors of humanity a small favor. Thanks Megan, from all of us. What I find vile is her parents attempting to leverage the legal system against the perpetrators of this stunt to redirect blame away from themselves and make up for their own failings as parents. Sure, I have no tolerance for bullies. But you can’t let them get to you. Nearly everyone has been teased or harrassed at some point in their childhood. It isn’t fatal, it’s part of growing up – just like touching the hot stove or falling off the bike. Normal people stick a band-aid on it and move on. If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger. But if you are unable to cope with it, boy wait till you see what grownup life is cocked and ready to throw your way. Look at all the mean things that people like Perez Hilton have to say about our favorite celebrities. And that’s just talk. It gets a lot worse.
I’m fed up with this whiny crybaby generation of kids now being raised who have no concept of discipline, personal responsibility, or consequences. After having the dangers of the world around them safety-latched, sterilized, allergen-proofed, child-proofed and bubble-wrapped, they are completely unprepared for the dangers of the adult world. We are taking the wrong approach in making kids too safe, because it actually has the opposite effect of making them frail, fragile, and weak.
This sort of incident should be a wakeup call to the people promoting this disastrous form of child-rearing. Please, to all of you advocating legal intervention, stop expecting society and the government to make the world safer for your children. Stop expecting lawmakers to make laws to protect your children. It is a dangerous road to go down, and it’s your job anyway. We already have too many governmental intrusions into the simple act of parenting. We don’t need any more: give ’em an inch and they take a mile – kids, politicians, and law enforcement. You are responsible for your children, period. If you have too many children and cannot take an active enough role in the upbringing of each of them, do you really think that makes it not your fault when one of them goes off the deep end? It doesn’t.
This wasn’t a failure of society, and it wasn’t a failure of the legal system – it was evolutionary unsuitability, as is all suicide. We all have rough points in our lives – stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop feeling sorry for others; pick up and move on. The world does not and will not care about your sob story that people said mean things about you or that your mommy wouldn’t buy you a cell phone, purse, or Nikes. Kids will find something about you to tease no matter what you do, so you have two choices: dish it back, or suck it up.
The people that many are calling criminals didn’t necessarily do the right thing, but the fact that Megan coincidentally killed herself doesn’t make it wrong either. This type of stuff goes on all the time, it has just been elevated to this level because the consequences were unusually severe. The blame lies with Megan and her parents, and that’s it. It has become commonplace in American society to look for external sources of blame, when people need to take a look at themselves and accept responsibility for their own lives and the consequences of their own behavior. You cannot always control the things people will say to you, but you can control whether you let it bother you. Megan let it bother her and chose to end her life in the midst of her other problems. That was HER choice. Nobody forced her to do it. She will be missing out on a lot, but I don’t feel sorry for her. We all have the freedom to make these choices for ourselves, and that freedom is more important than anything else. I really don’t mind if stupid people do stupid things to themselves. Not everyone wants to be saved; not everyone should be saved.
Kids need to play rough and get hurt.
They need to fall from the tree.
If you were born before the 1980’s you did too.
Kids need to be exposed to germs and bacteria.
They need to be punished for doing bad things.
If you were born before the 1980’s you were too.
Not because it hurts them, but because it makes them stronger, smarter, better people.
Those of us born before the 1980’s survived it. This generation will too.
It is not the number of challenges we face in life, it is how we deal with each of those challenges that is the greatest measure of our own success.
Here’s a more comedic way of looking at it. Among other things, it is a profound reminder of all the reasons it is great to be alive.
Bobby Gaylor, “Suicide”
Life is a brief, beautiful, amazing thing; if you are unable to see past the challenges it presents you to appreciate its magnificence, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.