Pay The Piper

By now I’m sure most everyone has seen or heard of the beating of a 16 year old girl in Florida which was taped so it could be posted on YouTube and MySpace. Here‘s a story including mugshots of those involved and disturbing video of the incident.

The mother of one girl was on television this morning defending her daughter, saying that if this girl was going to post rumors and call other girls ugly names on MySpace then she better be able to back it up. The victim’s parents were on the news yesterday blaming YouTube and Myspace and society for “taking God out of schools.” My question is, at what point do we blame these teenagers for being so fundamentally stupid and vengeful and, maybe their parents for not instilling enough fear into their children to maybe have them think again before committing a crime.

YouTube and MySpace aren’t really to blame any more than the evening news is. They offer a public platform for anyone to post anything and some stupid people are always going to take advantage of that, just like that drunk guy who always pops up behind the reporter during her story on New Years Eve celebrations, the entire cast of Jackass and Tyra Banks.

As for taking God out of schools, I don’t think that is the answer, either. There have always been and will always be bullies and people who are mean just for the sake of it. I went to a Catholic grade school and a public high school and kids were meaner in grade school, to the point where they’d settle on one person and pick on them mercilessly not just for a day or a week, but for years. In my Godless high school, there were two murders during my four years there. One guy killed his girlfriend and another guy shot another girl in an act of gang violence. That gang shooting, as I mentioned once before, was done by a grade school friend of mine, a kid who I’d spent years in a Catholic grade school with, where we went to church and confession and had daily religion classes and nuns as teachers. Taking God out of schools isn’t the problem, it’s kids who don’t know better, kids who have no idea about what consequences really are. Maybe parents aren’t around to help them understand what it is to be a human being, what it is to treat people with respect, what it is to have enough self respect to never put yourself in a position to feel so threatened by a peer hat you beat her unconscious and then beat her some more while your friends tape it.

I don’t know what the answer is. I grew up knowing right from wrong in such a way that I’d never have even considered doing something like this, with or without a video camera and the promise of infamy on the Internet. I was always afraid of the consequences and it seems like so many kids these days have no idea of what that even means. Certainly these girls had no idea of consequences, since they were laughing about it at the police station. Maybe it won’t be so funny when they’re spending some time in prison, trying to find jobs later in life with possible felony convictions on their records or their families financial lives are ruined by the civil suits this girl’s parents could file against each of them.  That’s going to be hilarious and super fun!