Death through Internets

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Death through Internets

Postby Okita » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:00 pm UTC

Article in the St. Charles Journal

Girl gets on internet and becomes friends with a guy on myspace who suddenly turns and writes mean things to her causing her to commit suicide.

[spoiler=The Twist]Turns out the guy on myspace wasn't real and was just an account created by the girl's ex-girlfriend's (not lesbian) parents. O.o[/spoiler]

I love the blagosphere but every once in a while I see something like this and have to go O.o for a while.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby tiny » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:19 pm UTC

Humans are disgusting. Didn't you know?
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 22/7 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:27 pm UTC

Wow. What's amazing to me is that the family down the street really doesn't seem all that broken up about it.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Vekter » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:32 pm UTC

You know what bothers me even more?

The fact that they don't get prosecuted for it because "there is no proof that it is their fault that the girl committed suicide".

Yeah, that's great. More proof that our government needs to get their act together.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:34 pm UTC

On top of having caused some girl's death.....

What the hell is wrong with those parents that they got involved in their kid's petty vengeance to that degree? That's like getting your dad to beat the schoolyard bully until he's hospitalized. It's just not something you do.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby tiny » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:35 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Wow. What's amazing to me is that the family down the street really doesn't seem all that broken up about it.
Bob Dylan knows why:
The Man in the Long Black Coat wrote:Preacher was a talkin' there's a sermon he gave,
He said every man's conscience is vile and depraved,
You cannot depend on it to be your guide
When it's you who must keep it satisfied.

Bitch wrote:(She) felt this incident contributed to Megan's suicide, but she did not feel 'as guilty' because at the funeral she found out 'Megan had tried to commit suicide before.'
Right. The girl was already depressed so she didn't do any damage. You can't break something that isn't whole, or what? Seriously? I hope one day she realizes what she has done and feels an appropriate amount of guilt and self-loathing.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 22/7 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:13 pm UTC

I think my favorite part about the story is that they're *suing* these poor parents for the damage the guy apparently did when he drove over their lawn. I mean, how tacky can you get?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby malarkie » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:28 pm UTC

I'm so ANGRY right now.
It wasn't enough that their girl killed herself, but they have to pay for lawn damage now.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby PhantomReality » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:06 pm UTC

Another instance of humans acting out of fear and the world conspiring to allow the worst. I wonder if at any point the (offending) parents were touched by the fact that they were making Megan happy? At what point did they decide to make the messages angry instead of kind?

I feel like there must be more to this story. Perhaps it was all the girl and the parents are taking the blame. I would hope that it was an ignorant child and not some "well-adjusted" parents. I'd like to believe it's a situation that got out of control but there seems to have been so much planning....

People can be so despicable.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:13 am UTC

This is definitely one of the more horrible things I've read in the news.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Stief » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:56 am UTC

This is horrible...

What I don't like about this article is the fact the family who sent these messages 'asked not to be named...'
I hate it when people who cause pain such as this decide they need to be kept anonymous...I guess it's for their protection, but why should they have it?

That suing for the grass damage is just pathetic...Their daughter is dead, and someone decides to sue them for accidental grass damage?
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Klye » Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:42 am UTC

People are stupid. That is all.
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Why would she say that?!?

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Solt » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:14 pm UTC

Vekter wrote:You know what bothers me even more?

The fact that they don't get prosecuted for it because "there is no proof that it is their fault that the girl committed suicide".

Yeah, that's great. More proof that our government needs to get their act together.



uhh.... you are proposing a law that would allow people to be convicted of crimes based on the damage that their words (could have) caused? ARE YOU MAD? Such a law would destroy the very foundations of civil liberties in this country! Talk about giving the government a ridiculous amount of power.

The law is powerless to touch those who are simply "bad people" unless they actually commit crimes. And imagine if that weren't the case: if the people in power didn't like people like you, and decided you were a "bad person" they could do anything to you, including legally throw you in jail!

This is more proof that people don't lose their freedom, so much as they give it up willingly! Justice is a means, not an end.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Belial » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:01 pm UTC

Solt is pretty much right. Justice can't happen to them through the law, it doesn't make sense.

Justice for being a bastard is that everyone knows you're a bastard forever. So the true Justice-failure is that the newspaper didn't print their names.

And address.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 22/7 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:33 pm UTC

Solt wrote:uhh.... you are proposing a law that would allow people to be convicted of crimes based on the damage that their words (could have) caused? ARE YOU MAD? Such a law would destroy the very foundations of civil liberties in this country! Talk about giving the government a ridiculous amount of power.

You mean like when you tell someone who is mentally/emotionally unstable to go shoot up a school? I know the parents from down the street didn't explicitly tell her to hang herself, but they intentionally gained the trust of a minor with a mental disorder with the explicit intention of causing her harm, and it resulted in the girl's death.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby The Spherical Cow » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:43 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:You mean like when you tell someone who is mentally/emotionally unstable to go shoot up a school? I know the parents from down the street didn't explicitly tell her to hang herself, but they intentionally gained the trust of a minor with a mental disorder with the explicit intention of causing her harm, and it resulted in the girl's death.

It creates problems though - what happens if you dump a girlfriend, or reject advances from someone who likes you? Are you then culpable if they then go to on to harm themselves because of it?

Or a teacher or professor who grades someone's work poorly, which results in suicide in someone unstable?

The parents that did this are shits - utter, utter scum-of-the-earth, fucking shits. But they've done something that the law can't touch. As Belial said, the best justice would be that everyone knows who they are, and what they've done.

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 22/7 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:50 pm UTC

Reread my post. "with the explicit intention of causing her harm, and it resulted in death."
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby The Spherical Cow » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:57 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Reread my post. "with the explicit intention of causing her harm, and it resulted in death."


My apologies.

Though I'm still not sure how such a law could be written up to protect those who do things and unintentionally cause harm. I imagine you'd have a difficult time proving for certain that someone intended to cause harm, too.

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 22/7 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:10 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:
22/7 wrote:Reread my post. "with the explicit intention of causing her harm, and it resulted in death."


My apologies.

Though I'm still not sure how such a law could be written up to protect those who do things and unintentionally cause harm. I imagine you'd have a difficult time proving for certain that someone intended to cause harm, too.


It already does, kind of. If, for example, I am driving and you're riding shotty and we get in a car wreck and die, the cops probably wouldn't do anything, as the person at fault is already dead. But your family could sue my family for "wrongful death" if they felt that it was in some way intentional or I was being reckless or something like that. Of course, we're talking about civil issues in both cases, not criminal ones.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Maurog » Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:36 pm UTC

The way I see it, a hefty part of the blame lies on the victim's parents. The internet is a jungle - you don't just let a Clueless wander around without proper training. Especially if she is only thirteen and mentally weak. Yes, she was not ready for her first Carrie experience and chose the easy way out, no, it's not really surprising. Where the heck were these people looking, missing all the clues and not running checks on her new "virtual boyfriend"? Privacy is a commodity only the independent can afford, did she look independent?

Yeah, the neighbours are jerks and deserve to die, but meh. Survival of the fittest.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:41 pm UTC

I know if this was done here the parents could get charged with contributing to the delinquency in a minor. I would think that suicide counts as delinquency, if blowjobs do.

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:07 pm UTC

Yeah, the neighbours are jerks and deserve to die, but meh. Survival of the fittest.


Okay...in what possible way does deliberately baiting and destroying the mental stability of an adolescent girl qualify as survival? Even if it had somehow come out all right, it still would have been a tastelessly cruel prank, not to mention incredibly petty.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby tiny » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:15 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:Though I'm still not sure how such a law could be written up to protect those who do things and unintentionally cause harm. I imagine you'd have a difficult time proving for certain that someone intended to cause harm, too.
Negligence, due diligence and endangerment are terms that go with causing harm unintentionally.
By proving that the accused prepared himself for causing harm, you can prove that he had the intention of doing so. Otherwise you have to wait for him to confess.

PhantomReality wrote:(...)I wonder if at any point the (offending) parents were touched by the fact that they were making Megan happy? At what point did they decide to make the messages angry instead of kind?
That's a really good question. Actually, this makes it all even more cruel.


EDIT: Fixed the wrong quote. Sorry to 22/7 and The Sperical Cow o.o
Last edited by tiny on Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby The Spherical Cow » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:42 pm UTC

I'd like to point out that the quote you attribute to 22/7 was in-fact said by me.

And I think I probably should have said

"Though I'm still not sure how such a law could be written up to protect those who say things and unintentionally cause harm."

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:54 am UTC

Belial wrote:Solt is pretty much right. Justice can't happen to them through the law, it doesn't make sense.

Justice for being a bastard is that everyone knows you're a bastard forever. So the true Justice-failure is that the newspaper didn't print their names.

And address.

Except if they had, and someone killed those fucktards, the newspaper would be liable. Double standard much?

Telling someone who you know is prone to depression that the world would be better off without them, while pretending to be someone who cares about them, is coercion whether the intent is for them to kill themselves or not. We convict all the time for involuntary manslaughter, is it really that big a step?
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby thefiddler » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:18 am UTC

I can't... there are not words for this.

Between that article and the reactions of some of the people in this thread, I believe I have lost all faith in humanity.

Oh, suuuuuure, it's OK to harrass an adolescent girl because it's survival of the fittest. Fuck. That. Shit.

If that's how we're picking who lives and who doesn't, you'd better kill me quickly. Most of the people I know, if this had happened to them -- even if they were mentally stable -- it would have devastated them. Maybe even driven them to suicide.

Just because someone has contemplated it before does not mean that it is OK to push them towards it again.

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Maurog » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:19 am UTC

Don't get caught up in that survival of the fittest line, I never said it was ok to begin with, merely that the principle applies. Who lets their child make a myspace account without prefacing it with "Behold, a steaming pile of human filth, where nobody is truly as they look, and those that are, are the definition of shallow"? You think you can let someone on the net without teaching them that when anything looks too good to be true, it most probably is? Internet is made out of humans, the most disgusting type of animals. Teach your children survival skills, or they may not survive.

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Solt » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:57 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Solt wrote:uhh.... you are proposing a law that would allow people to be convicted of crimes based on the damage that their words (could have) caused? ARE YOU MAD? Such a law would destroy the very foundations of civil liberties in this country! Talk about giving the government a ridiculous amount of power.

You mean like when you tell someone who is mentally/emotionally unstable to go shoot up a school? I know the parents from down the street didn't explicitly tell her to hang herself, but they intentionally gained the trust of a minor with a mental disorder with the explicit intention of causing her harm, and it resulted in the girl's death.


But how do you prove something like that? It's hard enough to prove intent when it comes to murder, but words? You can't predict how people think, let alone make assumptions about it and call them criminals based on whether they might have known the consequences of their words. I hate to say it, but that kind of protection is simply not worth the lives that are lost because of what people say. Especially in the era of the internet... the thought police would have a few arrests to make just after reading this thread. NOT. WORTH. IT. Compared to what the founding fathers sacrificed to secure freedom of speech, a few columbines is nothing.

And I didn't think it was important to bring this up, but I don't think they gained her trust with the intent to harm her. The actual act happened much later in a very short amount of time, the decision was probably made on the day it happened and it was probably definitely not meant to get her to kill herself. How could they have known she had tried to kill herself before? That's not something you go around telling people.


22/7 wrote:Of course, we're talking about civil issues in both cases, not criminal ones.


Ok, that's palatable and I'd support the girl's family suing in a civil case for damages. But definitely not a criminal case.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Robin S » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:02 pm UTC

Solt wrote:uhh.... you are proposing a law that would allow people to be convicted of crimes based on the damage that their words (could have) caused? ARE YOU MAD? Such a law would destroy the very foundations of civil liberties in this country! Talk about giving the government a ridiculous amount of power.
This reminds me of incitement laws, to which I am not sure whether a parallel exists in the USA. Are they mad?
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby tiny » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:41 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Telling someone who you know is prone to depression that the world would be better off without them, while pretending to be someone who cares about them, is coercion whether the intent is for them to kill themselves or not. We convict all the time for involuntary manslaughter, is it really that big a step?
I'd say: No, it isn't.
In case of the girl it's difficult to say, though, who did what, since many people had access to the fake account. The bitch mother even asked a girl who had nothing to do with all the mess, to write something derogative to the depressed girl. *head->desk multiple times*

Solt wrote:And I didn't think it was important to bring this up, but I don't think they gained her trust with the intent to harm her. The actual act happened much later in a very short amount of time, the decision was probably made on the day it happened and it was probably definitely not meant to get her to kill herself. How could they have known she had tried to kill herself before? That's not something you go around telling people.
So you think that the bitch parents decided to make a sad girl happy by giving her a fake friend, and then out of the blue decided to harrass her? Could you correct me if I misunderstand you, or explain further how you come to your conclusion?

Robin S wrote:This reminds me of incitement laws, to which I am not sure whether a parallel exists in the USA. Are they mad?
In Germany it's called 'Anstiftung', defined as 'causing someone by words or actions to decide for a crime'. It's as well Anstiftung, if you knowingly put someone in a very seducing situation.
Someone who does Anstiftung will be punished as if he actually committed the crime in question, but without any hope for migration of punishment.

EDIT: Fixed a quote and a sentence.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby pieaholicx » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:45 pm UTC

thefiddler wrote:I can't... there are not words for this.

Between that article and the reactions of some of the people in this thread, I believe I have lost all faith in humanity.

I totally agree here. I seriously don't think these people could have done anything worse in their lives. With the responsibility and stability they've shown I'm also honestly questioning their ability to even raise their own child. Then to have the childish mentality to sue the other family for "lawn damage". Fucking despicable filth.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:05 pm UTC

Solt wrote:But how do you prove something like that? It's hard enough to prove intent when it comes to murder, but words?

Courts do this, and let me be clear, *all the time*. I believe it's actually required for a murder charge (intent, that is).

Solt wrote:You can't predict how people think, let alone make assumptions about it and call them criminals based on whether they might have known the consequences of their words. I hate to say it, but that kind of protection is simply not worth the lives that are lost because of what people say. Especially in the era of the internet... the thought police would have a few arrests to make just after reading this thread. NOT. WORTH. IT. Compared to what the founding fathers sacrificed to secure freedom of speech, a few columbines is nothing.

I don't know how you get from this paragraph to actually reading my post and quoting it below (about it being a civil issue, not a criminal one).

Solt wrote:And I didn't think it was important to bring this up, but I don't think they gained her trust with the intent to harm her. The actual act happened much later in a very short amount of time, the decision was probably made on the day it happened and it was probably definitely not meant to get her to kill herself. How could they have known she had tried to kill herself before? That's not something you go around telling people.

Then I can only assume that you are very naive or didn't actually read the story. Why else would they bother to create the account and flirt with her so shamelessly? The intent here was certainly harm, even if it wasn't the initial intent.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:53 pm UTC

Maurog wrote:Who lets their child make a myspace account without prefacing it with "Behold, a steaming pile of human filth, where nobody is truly as they look, and those that are, are the definition of shallow"?

Maybe parents who don't think it's a swell idea to push cynicism and misanthropy on their children at a young age. That is their decision to make and your argument is heading in a dangerous direction of victim blaming.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby atxshannon » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:06 pm UTC

I read about this happening. From what I understand from the article, the mom was always by her daughter's side or at least in the same room whenever she was on myspace. I consider that to be impressive parenting myself. But the day her daughter committed suicide, the mother had to take her youngest daughter to the dentist and couldn't monitor the older daughter's myspacing (wow, I just typed that)

The point being - this is not something I would consider the fault of the girl who committed suicide. Internet access is practically universal, and the fact that the mother was able to monitor even that little bit of her daughter's activity is impressive. The fault here, and the truly disgusting reality of the situation is that another group of parents, people who are adults and are responsible for the life and well being of a child, decided that tormenting, harassing, and defaming this girl was a good use of their time.

That, to me, is disgusting. And I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be arrested and charged as criminals. It's a shame there is apparently no law in place to do so.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:45 pm UTC

atxshannon wrote:That, to me, is disgusting. And I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be arrested and charged as criminals.


Because
atxshannon wrote:...there is apparently no law in place to do so.


I wouldn't want there to be, either.

What they did was horrible and disgusting and wrong, but making such deception outright illegal opens too many terrible doors.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Solt » Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:34 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:I don't know how you get from this paragraph to actually reading my post and quoting it below (about it being a civil issue, not a criminal one).


I was responding to different posts of yours, in the order you made them.


22/7 wrote:Then I can only assume that you are very naive or didn't actually read the story. Why else would they bother to create the account and flirt with her so shamelessly? The intent here was certainly harm, even if it wasn't the initial intent.


I'm sure you know this from reading their minds so I won't bother arguing against you.

tiny wrote:So you think that the bitch parents decided to make a sad girl happy by giving her a fake friend, and then out of the blue decided to harrass her? Could you correct me if I misunderstand you, or explain further how you come to your conclusion?


I don't know why they did it in the first place, but it's possible that the reason she gave- to keep an eye on what she was saying about her daughter- is true.

But the fact that some random friend of their daughter's was encouraged to send at least one of the messages AND actually had the SN and password to the account certainly does not point to a well planned attempt at creating harm.

I'm not defending here, but merely pointing out that people are far too quick to jump to conclusions and pass judgment.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby Lanjolo » Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:21 pm UTC

Wow. The parents behind the fake myspace account seem to lack everything that could be remotely percieved as conscience. Controlling a mentally unstable girl's emotions in itself is utterly horrible, but suing for property damage afterwards just does not have words to describe. I can't really see an easy way to make a law against this either, so it is likely that the parents will live their life without ever being associated with their hideous action. Unless there's a Lawrence Wargrave out there, searching for suitable people, that is.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby bbctol » Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:25 pm UTC

Holy shit.

I hate people.

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Re: Death through Internets

Postby 3.14159265... » Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:28 pm UTC

Hate specific ones.

You will more effective that way.
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Re: Death through Internets

Postby UmbrageOfSnow » Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:05 pm UTC

While I won't say the other parents were anything but horrible, I am appalled at the legal fuss most of you and the comments on the article itself make. I agree with the two sane people here that freedom of speech is not something we should give up in the hopes of protecting one suicidal girl. Or one million of them for that matter. What if someone had said something to her at school and she killed herself, what if she got a real boyfriend and he broke up with her, what if her friends at some point abandoned her and were cruel as teenage girls are prone to do? She may have killed herself for other reasons anyway. This probably comes across as exceedingly harsh, but I honestly think the other parents did nothing that shouldn't be protected by law, and if they are prosecuted for anything, I'll be angry about it. We do have a right to be giant douche bags, and it should be protected. You should all go kill yourselves, then sue me so we can set a good legal precedent when you lose.

Also, am I the only one who thinks it is crazy that THE MOTHER HIRED SOMEONE to log on to the account?
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