Moonbeam McQueen once posted about Megan Meier, and I just came across an updated article on the trial progress of the woman accused of harassing Megan, allegedly leading Megan to commit suicide. (In case you don’t want to read the article, she’s pleaded not guilty and is out, free, on $20,000 bail.)
I haven’t really been following this story all that much. It’s horrible, though. What jumped out at me was this bit of content in today’s article at the Seattle Times online.
James Chadwick, a Palo Alto attorney who specializes in Internet and media law, said he has never seen the statute [Computer Fraud and Abuse Act} applied to the sending of messages.
He said it was probable that liability for the girl’s death would not be an issue in the case. “As tragic as it is,” he said, “You can’t start imposing liability on people for being cruel.”
Say what? You can’t? But we impose laws and penalties on people for being cruel to animals. Why on earth can’t we hold people accountable for doing the same to other human beings? That’s got to be the most assanine comment I’ve ever heard. Just because the medium inflicting the cruelty was words and technology and not hands, fists, and stones, doesn’t make the act any less viscious. We prosecute Marines for throwing puppies off of cliffs, but this woman doesn’t get hit with some sort of involuntary manslaughter or something?
Some things just make no sense to me.
But one good bit of progress…
In response to the case, Missouri legislators gave final approval to a bill making cyber harassment illegal.