Federal prosecutors are twisting the law into all sorts of nifty shapes in order to levy charges against Lori Drew, the Missouri woman who posed as a teenage boy to tease and torment Megan Meier, a nemesis of her daughter’s. Meier, you may remember, committed suicide as a result.
Drew is an awful person, and clearly needs some psychological help. But come on. If what she did is a crime, then the millions of people who’ve ever fibbed on a MySpace or Facebook profile have committed crimes, too. All this proves is that the federal criminal code is vast and vague enough that no matter what you’ve done, some politically ambitious U.S. attorney hungry for some publicity can figure out a way to charge you.
Meanwhile, the Missouri legislature is responding to the Meier tragedy by contemplating a bill that would make it a crime to be mean to someone–and a felony for an adult to be mean to a minor.
Guess what, folks? Sometimes really, really awful things happen. They just do. It’s time we accepted that, and stopped looking to pass reactionary laws or invent crimes to pin on someone every time a sad story hits the Internets.