Technology and the Web have given the First Amendment freedom-of-speech an upgrade. Call it Freedom of Speech 2.0 or Freedom of e-Speech. But there are cyber-nuts out there who try to ruin it. Let’s exercise our right of free speech and label them e-idiots, and then quit listening to them so they can’t spoil it for the rest of us.
And good example is the MySpace suicide case. Lori Drew is a 49 year old O’Fallon, Missouri woman who used a fake MySpace page to extract revenge on Megan Meier, a 13 year old girl who supposedly said bad things about her daughter. She did this by setting up a fake MySpace profile of a 16-year-old male named “Josh Evans” and showed interest in Megan. Once she got Megan’s attention, she used her Josh avatar to cyber-bully Megan. The once amorous messages turned harsh and cold saying things like, “You are a bad person and everybody hates you…The world would be a better place without you.”
Megan responded by committing suicide by hanging. She was taking medicine for depression before this online assault. My condolences to Megan’s family for their loss.
A jury of her peers found Lori Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges. However, this past week a California judge overturned the conviction because it is constitutionally vague, especially in respect to freedom of speech.
I do not profess to understand the technical legal issues of this case. And on the surface, one can see how this Lori Drew woman can stand behind the free speech clause.
So I am going to practice my freedom of speech and can call Lori Drew an idiot! A stupid, stupid, e-IDIOT! I am not cowering behind a fake online profile, but saying this adult to adult. You should be ashamed of your self and it is people like you who spoil this great and wonderful liberty for the rest of us.
When our founding fathers forged this great doctrine they knew that with great power comes great responsibility. I’m sure they did not intend for us to use this freedom to act like a bratty teenager. But when those of us in adult-land see this type of misuse it behooves us to point it out and then more on.
So enjoy your Freedom of e-Speech, but enjoy it responsibly.