I’m a bit heated as I sit here watching the DVR’d TODAY show from this morning and a few things have me a bit hot under the collar:
Since when is Lindsay’s first night in jail so newsworthy that it is headline news along with a plane situation, the oil spill and the story concerning the Dept. of Agriculture worker that was basically vilified for comments taken out of context by someone with an agenda and a network that I really don’t consider a “News Network.” That’s a story that pisses me off and we’ll get to that on another day but my issue is with Lindsay. So, she spent her first night in a prison . Boo hoo. You know, if that was a joe-schmoe, they would have been put in prison then rehab like the judge sentenced. This wouldn’t be all over the news like it is with Lindsay. I, for one, hope prison helps her. She’s clearly, IMO, surrounded by a bunch of enablers, her parents have issues that are well documented and needs help. However, she was sentenced, the judge gave her chance upon chance and Lindsay is not above the law. Again – just my opinion but it doesn’t need to be the lead story .
Enough with Mel Gibson already – I. don’t care – the man has issues and clearly needs help. Those tapes were leaked and his behavior was horrid but enough already. I don’t need to hear tape 6 or tape 201, okay? Thx!
I’m extremely heated about the Phoebe Prince situation in Western Mass – EXTREMELY heated to where I wanted to have a come to Jesus session with the Today Show and the Slate.com reporter, Emily Bazelon, about their story this morning. It appears to me that this reporter started shifting the blame on Phoebe – implying that Phoebe basically brought this upon herself and there was “more to the story” then we all knew. (Sidenote: I wouldn’t be surprised in a year or so after the trial that perhaps Ms. Emily will write a book about Poor Phoebe, go on a whirlwind book tour, position herself as an expert on bullying and, in the end, profit off of this situation, but that’s just my opinion). I have read her piece on Slate.com and, IMO, it’s not an unbiased piece but clearly an opinion piece and, if I may be so frank, an agenda.
Here’s the gist of the story as I see it. 4 Western Mass teenagers are being charged because they allegedly bullied, tormented, harassed, threatened and, quite frankly, emotionally abused someone so horribly that she took her own life rather than ever having to face them. 2 of their associates are being charged with Statutory Rape – and, contrary to Ms. Emily’s assertion, Western Mass HAS enforced the stat rape issue before with other cases. She should check the neighboring Hampden County rather than shift the story to showcase a D.A. that she clearly has an issue with. I mean this reporter has a law degree – she should know better, right?
So, this morning on the Today show – Ms. Emily channeled her inner Perez and went on and on about Phoebe’s depression issues, her cutting herself, and her “getting involved” with “girl drama.”
This case has bothered me from the beginning – and here is why. I have seen what Western Mass teenage girls can do – and hell, I went to Jr. High and High School there. There’s a reason why I consider Philly home and have since I was in high school – Philly saved me from the bullshit and the minutiae that engulfs some of these Western Mass gals’ lives. You have a severe clique issue in EVERY school – and I don’t care if it’s a public or private school – and there are mean girls everywhere. It happens not only in South Hadley High or Agawam High but also Cathedral High, Central High, even McDuffie School For Girls.
And you know what – in the Western Mass bubble (sorry Mom!), I’ve seen it first hand. Western Mass can’t claim that they didn’t know that there was bullying in the schools. Two of my friends growing up were removed from their schools by their parents and homeschooled because of extensive bullying. I can name people from Agawam that hung themselves because of issues that they had and I do believe that if people paid more attention to the situation at hand, perhaps either one of them might be with us to this day. My friend Angel – I will never forget – was at my birthday party one week, the next week she was dead. Hung herself in her closet and it just always resonated with me. That was the first time that I really remember someone in my circle of friends dying. And I remember she was bullied – tormented by the class “mean girls.”
Many of the students in these Western Mass. schools go from pre-school to kindergarten to primary to jr. high and then high school. Now, trying to break in if you moved from somewhere was extremely difficult as can be anywhere. However, for a kid in Western Mass – it could be hell. When I moved in the 6th grade from Connecticut, it was a hard period of adjustment – and that was only the next state over. Phoebe relocated to Western Mass for a “fresh start” from Ireland. I couldn’t even imagine what she was going through – a new country, a new school and to encounter Western Mass Girl Drama?
Hell, when it comes to bullying, I can even remember dealing with it myself. Specifically, in high school there were two girls who bullied me – not because I was talking to *their* boyfriend but because the guy I was dating was someone that they had a crush on. I know – stupid, right? So, when I brought him to prom, that just really pissed them off. The week after prom, I got into a fight outside of one of their lockers because of it and my school – they did nothing. Chalked it up to “girl issues.” I remember telling the guy I was seeing about it and he just couldn’t understand how nothing was being done. But, I am stronger for it but back then, I did have times where I didn’t think I could get through whatever was facing me. It’s a teenager thing – not something that can be used to explain why someone shouldn’t be held accountable for bullying a person so horribly so that they figure that ending their life is the only solution.
Now, I think what really frosted my cookie this morning is Ms. Emily taking up the cause for these poor 6 teenagers that she seems to think shouldn’t have been charged. She states that she’s reviewed the court documents, the police interviews and has personally interviewed these classmates. Well, let’s give you a cookie, Ms. Emily! You did a FOIA request and reviewed the reports. You spent a few weeks interviewing classmates that probably were friends of the defendants. You tried to talk to the family, but I’m guessing that access was difficult. I’m guessing that the D.A. or her staff didn’t give you carte blanche. But I’m sure the defense legal team did – why not. You are making their case easy – trying to sway the court of public opinion. And, even better, like a publicist’s dream, you went on the Today show and positioned yourself as this “expert” on the situation. Good. for. you.
However, Ms. Emily, I disagree with you. I do think these 6 teenagers SHOULD be held accountable. Sure, Phoebe had issues – and tell me what teenager doesn’t. But her issues that caused this suicide can be largely attributed to the actions of these teenagers. And, your implication that it was only about 3 that really did the damage – c’mon now. Let’s talk about the weeks and months PRIOR to the suicide. Because, Ms. Emily – the suicide wasn’t just a “let’s hang myself” decision – as you stated, she had issues prior to that and this wasn’t her first suicide attempt. She took pills prior and caused “organ failure” in November (as you implied could have been done with Tylenol, etc. – sidenote – dramatic much? Drop the Perez act please). Phoebe then hung herself in January, only a couple months after the November attempt – after months and months of constant bullying.
Now, Emily, your other allegation – that there were other boys – wait. So what if she was seeing another boy that you didn’t name. Whatever. You kept hammering this point about Phoebe having issues with boys and their girlfriends as if she purposely was going after boys and basically caused the “girl drama”. Now, the two boys that were charged – they were charged for a reason. And, while we are talking about these poor boys – what about the one that blatantly busted for DUI after his arrest right after Phoebe died? Should he be charged for that too or this this another offense that the DA shouldn’t even charge him with because, well, he’s had it rough. He’s been accused of a felony and had issues dealing with the scrutiny according to his lawyer, insinuating that the prior arrest drove him to drink. (I call bullshit – as will many people in Western Mass who were once teenagers) . But back to the issue at hand – these 6 teenagers KNEW what they were doing, knew the harm that they were causing, some clearly had the intent to cause the harm by telling her to KILL HERSELF and could care less – and a person died as a result of their actions.
Now, Ms. Emily – I’m so glad you are taking up the cause for these poor 6 teenagers that you feel should have never been charged. You appear to think that the D.A. is being too harsh on them and is making an example and the blame shouldn’t be on them. However, Ms. Emily – I agree with the D.A. and those kids need to be held accountable. The school should be held accountable. So, while you are making the case for their defense team easy and definitely helping make jury selection way more difficult with your publicity campaign and what I’m sure will be more “expert” opinions and panel discussions with you as the focus, we will remember that Phoebe Prince’s family lost a daughter and her friends and loved ones lost someone they adored. That is the tragedy we should be concerning ourselves with.