I hadn’t planned to report on the beating of an area teen by her classmates. Then I read today’s article in the Ledger
Teenage bullying is nothing new, but with the Internet, more and more teens are experiencing and exhibiting bad online behavior, said Justin Patchin, professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. — Ledger
That makes sense this is happening “more and more” since before the Internet teens couldn’t have experienced and exhibited any bad online behavior.
Myspace, Youtube, and other online sites aside, this is simply criminal behavior by a band of girls who felt entitled, and safe, to gang up on another girl.
It’s not the first time I’ve had that happen in my neighborhood. In 1992, 12 year-old Shanda Sharer was murdered by classmates:
Rippey and three other teenagers abducted Sharer after luring her from her home following a punk rock concert in Louisville. According to court testimony, Melinda Loveless, then 16, was jealous of Sharer and wanted her killed because she was involved in a lesbian love triangle with Loveless and another girl. Advocate.com
I grew up in a rough part of town, but even then fights were one-on-one. Often the fights had more to do with past history than present problems. I suspect we’ll find out that was true in this case.
What really bothered me in the Ledger article was another quote from the professor of Criminal Justice:
“They were seeking revenge,” Patchin said. “Trying to show what the victim was really like – that she was weak and couldn’t speak up for herself. They were putting her in her place.” — Ledger
I would answer Patchin that the victim spoke volumes when she refused to fight back. Putting someone in their place is a quick retort, a biting remark, and today, a sarcastic blog post. It is not the systematic beating of one defenseless person by a barbarous group. What those women did was felony battery. There is no wiggle room here. They taped the evidence themselves. There are no extenuating circumstances. They laid in wait with premeditated malice in their minds. This was not revenge. The victim used a computer. The brutal group used fists.
As a parent, I hope others in this community are as appalled as I am by this crime. I hope the Polk County schools are using this crime to find a way to reach teens. Those featured in the video using their fists did so because they lacked the strength to use words They lacked the education to know their behavior was amoral. They weren’t the product of the Myspace generation. They were the result of the parents of my generation.