Thursday, April 15, 2010

Metaphysical Cynicism

I do NOT trust the media coverage of the Phoebe Prince case.

I do NOT believe the public reaction to be grounded in anything more than a cute picture and an obviously airbrushed narrative.

I do NOT trust the judicial system with the impartial administration of the law.

I do NOT trust policymakers to take any meaningful steps to prevent bullying in public schools.

I do NOT trust the public school teachers who allowed this to happen to enforce anti-bullying policies against actual bullies.

I do NOT believe anything that anybody says or does will make any difference.

But I DO like my solution.

98 comments:

dan said...

Jeff,

No, you are not threatening me in any way, and you are not lording power over me or making me feel trapped, so I take it back, wrong use of words, you are not engaging in bullying by calling me an asshole. Just sort of uncivil behavior for someone who seems to value civility, that's all.

Jeff, I am really on your side here. I don't know why the need to resort to name-calling. I am on Phoebe's side, I am with Bill Cosby on this, I agree with most of what you say about her case. So I am taking sides here.

I am just asking the qusetion, for those who migth want to think about it, what exactly did Phoebe do to get those 9+ bullies so riled up and pissed off. They were in the wrong. Phoebe, no matter what she did, shuld never have had to experience that kind of bullying and those bullies should be punished to the extreme. To set an example, for one thing.

That said, Jeff, I am just asking, what did Phoebe DO to warrant such behavior on the bullies parts? How did her sexual liasons begin and what part did she play in their occurring? I don't knwo the answers. Possibly, she did nothing, is innocent of all and any possibilities here. On the other, I have private emails from top reporters at the New York Times and the Boston Globe that they too are looking into all this, from the point of view I expressed on my blog, and seconded there by a top US behavior/bullying expert, and my freddie there, too, they are looking into Phoebe's earlier life before she came to the USA to see if there was anything in her sexual behavior and bullied by others episodes in Ireland, that might have played a role in how she came on to the two boys in South Hadley, if indeed she came on to them. I have no idea. I wasn't there.

Let's be clear Jeff. The bulling was wrong and cannot be excused or condoned. Two: Phoebe was the victim here. I am not blaming the victim.

I am merely wondering out loud what exactly did she do to bring on such anger. I am not the only person asking this question. Like i said reproters at the NYTimes and the Boston Globe are looking at this too, now, upon my suggestion, and they told me they agree there is more to all this than the media is presently reporting adn that it will all come out in due time when the legal maneaoviung is over. Excuse my typing, sir.

Thing is, if you disagree with me, no need to call me an asshole. Maybe just say

"Danny, what you are saying is preposterous and illogical and dose not make sense, and let's agree to disagree. You are most likely wrong wrong wrong Danny, but let's see if events prove you right later on. It's not being an asshole to ask probing questions if your intentions are good. If you are intentions are not good, then you are an asshole. But it seems you haev good intentions, Danny, or you wouldb't keep coming back here, so I will for now reserve judgment on you and temporarily take back calling you an asshole, until future information shows you to have been so wrong here as to have been an asshole.

For now, let's agree to disagree. Later, I will call you what i want. Okay, Danny?"

Danny replies to Jeff: "Okay."

dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Φ said...

Dan: you ask a good question, and I look forward to either the NYT or the Globe breaking the media blackout of the circumstances that lead up to the bullying.

I gather that your comments are reposted from a conversation you had with Jeff's Big Mouth, but I can't find where. Do you have a blog of your own? Access to your Blogger profile is not enabled.

dan said...

errors of judgment? initiating sexual encounters with two football players, using her body for sex and love and acceptance, age 15, that is "errors of judgment"? merely? maybe the girl really was a slut. ever think of that? even PEOPLE magazine lies when it says:


The attention Phoebe received from male students provoked girls to call her "Irish whore," says a close female friend. The situation was further *exacerbated last fall, when Phoebe *caught the attention of school football captain Sean Mulveyhill .Caught the attention????? Maybe she initiated all this. Ever think about that? the media is not reporting the truth.

dan said...

you can find my blog on all this, pro and con, at zippy1300 blogspot or email me at danbloom gmail

dan said...

Jeffrey W Simons replied to Danny \
...
In the words of Stephen Colbert . . . I accept your apology.

Your first 2 posts focused on demonizing and blaming the victim of this horrible tragedy, hence my response. The perpetrators of this heinous act and their "supporters" have been trolling the blogosphere attacking poor Phoebe at every turn, hence my assumption based on your first 2 posts that you weren't merely asking an irrelevant and distracting question.

To answer your question about what Phoebe "did" to bring about this vicious bullying and harassment I only have to ask . . . how is that relevant? It seems pretty clear from the DA's investigation she got involved with some older boys who then turned their older harpy girlfriends on Phoebe when the relationships ended. Are we faulting Phoebe for being a young, pretty girl interested in older boys? If she was abused at a younger age, that may make her more susceptible to being abused, but how exactly that does that explain or justify the deliberate, systematic, remorseless actions of these "Mean Girls"?

If you want to probe, then examine what kind of screwed up family lives led the South Hadley Six to conspire and revel in the personal destruction of a young and fragile soul.

I'll politely withdraw my "asshole" comment directed to you and offer my apologies since you've clarified your position.

Instead I will reserve the moniker for the twitching, evasive, bully tyrant Ed Boiselle and his lackey Gus Sayer whose Tiger Woods-esque non-apology public statement last night has only added fuel to the fire.

April 15, 2010 8:37 AM

dan said...

Atty: "Another story will be revealed"
Updated: Thursday, 15 Apr 2010, 8:05 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 15 Apr 2010, 8:05 PM EDT

Julie Tremmel
SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - They're now known as the South Hadley six, a half dozen local high schoolers indicted for their alleged role, to varying degrees, in the bullying death of Phoebe Prince. She's the 15-year old freshman who committed suicide on January 14th.

But now, months later, and after the indictments of the six teens, at least one of the alleged bullies, 16-year old Sharon Chanon Velazquez is finding herself suffering the same fate. Her attorney Colin Keefe says his client is the constant subject of poor treatment and ridicule.

The Leeds based lawyer wants to remind the public that the young student has pleaded not guilty and not delinquent with the Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court, and that no trial has been held. Keefe says if Velazquez was their child or family member, they wouldn't want the public to pre-judge, and would want her to get their day in court just like anyone else.

Keefe told 22News, “They would not want them to be continually inundated, harassed and intimidated. I’m concerned because the levels of threats and intimidation in various forms of intimidation have increased dramatically since last Thursday and since this story came out, a one sided story, I truly believe that through the evidence, there will be another story that will be revealed.”

dan said...

attorney Colin Keefe says he wants to remind the public .....''since this story came out, a one sided story, I truly believe that through the evidence, there will be another story that will be revealed.”

trumwill said...

The comments appear to be from the discussion here.

I have to confess that having read the exchange, I still do not entirely know what Dan is saying.

Having sex with a couple of athletes does not justify what happened, which is what Dan says right up until he seems to imply that she had it coming. He suggests that perhaps she initiated all of this with her promiscuity, right before saying that the sex "exacerbated" rather than created the animosity.

That she was picked on in more than once place does not in itself mean that she brings it on herself. Some people inadvertently invite ridicule simply because they are poorly socialized and/or have personalities that block their ability to fit in. It's not a grand moral failing on their part.

I'm open to hearing more to the story. I'm not sure what there is out there that could convince me of who is ultimately at fault, however. Right now, attempts to suggest that the situation is complicated, always prefaced with explanations of what we do not know and what ifs but not with actual allegations (to date), seem to serve merely to distract. When up against a wall, it's not an ineffective tactic to make the situation sound as complicated as you possibly can.

I do not believe in harassing and intimidating the defendants, however.

By and large, I agree with Phi on this one. Except I favor dynamite.

dan said...

trumwill, well said and i agree with you. i might be wrong. i hope i am wrong. i want to be wrong. but let's see. this is a Rashomon story, with legs. I am not blaming Phoebe at all. I am blaming the media for rushing to judgment and oped moralizing BEFORE they know the facts. If it turns out i am right, that Phoebe was engaging in rather unorththodox behavior for a newly arrived freshman with upperclass football studs to gain acceptance and love and whatever else her needy mind needed, there will be different opeds later. But again, i want to be wrong. Just asking. Not meant to be a distraction. I really believe that the truth will come out and we will all fall off our chairs.....and again, whatever comes out, it will NEVER justify the bullying and never bring back dear PP from the other side. she's gone. RIP.

trumwill said...

What I am failing to understand, Dan, is what finding out that Phoebe put herself out there with the football players would prove. What would that change, really? It wouldn't justify what was done to her. It would just make a sad story... more sad.

I won't say that there isn't a part of me that's curious... but it's not the analytical part of me and it's mostly a part of me that I am not particularly proud of.

dan said...

trmwill, good question, let me try to explain: re, see CAPS BELOW: db

"What I am failing to understand, Dan, is what finding out that Phoebe put herself out there with the football players would prove. NOT PROVE ANYTHING. MERELY SHOW THAT SHE PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN ALL THIS, NOT INNOCDENT BYSTANDER THE MEDIA IS MAKING HER OUT TO BE... What would that change, really? IT WOULD CHANGE NOTHING. SHE IS SADLY NOT HERE ANYMORE. SIGH. ...It wouldn't justify what was done to her. NO, NOT AT ALL...It would just make a sad story... more sad. TRUE, THAT's ALL.

I won't say that there isn't a part of me that's curious... but it's not the analytical part of me and it's mostly a part of me that I am not particularly proud of. ME TOO. SAME SAME. AND I HOPE I AM WRONG.

Φ said...

You guys must be in the Pacific Time Zone.

Let me weigh in again. My indictment of the school system is comprehensive. The same administrators who tolerated a culture of bullying also tolerated a culture where "putting herself out to the football team" seemed like a viable social strategy to a fifteen year old girl, let alone an acceptable standard of behavior. So no, Phoebe wasn't innocent, but this too redounds on the adult community.

That said, I can't help but greet with skepticism the proposition that, in 2010, at a public school in Massachusetts, there exists a clique of students with both a dispassionate devotion to slut-shaming-on-steroids and the social power to carry it off. There is still part of the story that isn't being told, and the media is deliquent in its responsibility to report what it is.

Φ said...

The issue seems to turn on the question whether Phoebe "deserved" what happened to her.

Let me address the question this way. The teenager who drinks too much at a party and then tries to drive home doesn't deserve to spend his life as a quadriplegic. But my father has a saying: "You can choose the road you take, but you can't choose where the road takes you." Who among us is truly innocent of anything that could have turned out much worse for us than it did. As William Munny would put it, "We've all got it coming, kid."

And you know what? That doesn't excuse the bullies. It doesn't even excuse Scott Roeder or the Assyrians for that matter. You want metaphysical justice? Stand before God on the Day of Judgment. Because in this life, when the dust has settled, and the media has lost interest, a young girl is still dead, and that is a tragedy.

trumwill said...

That said, I can't help but greet with skepticism the proposition that, in 2010, at a public school in Massachusetts, there exists a clique of students with both a dispassionate devotion to slut-shaming-on-steroids and the social power to carry it off.

Whether we are getting the whole story or not, I have absolutely, positively no skepticism that this is possible. I see no reason to believe that social cliques have gotten any weaker than when I was young enough to see them unfold. And "slut-shaming" (in the sense of pointing out her promiscuity broadly) was only one of multiple tools used here. Her real crime (to the extent that there was one) was sleeping with two other girls' boyfriends. That is enough to inspire a fair amount of hatred.

Φ said...

to the extent that there was one . . .

Come off it, Trumwill! I'm guessing Clancy would have no need of such pussy-footing any more than Mrs. Φ, were either of us to be similarly targeted.

But this is my point (or one of them): the media coverage has deprived the public of directly relevant context in their accounts of the bullying. How it's relevant may depend on your attitude toward our contemporary culture of teen sexuality. But it doesn't not matter in either of our moral universes.

trumwill said...

to the extent that there was one

Not so sure what's so aggravating about this disclaimer. I'm a bit reluctant to call a fifteen year old high schooler having sex with another high schooler or two (even if he had a girlfriend at the time) a crime even in the figurative sense. Unwise, sure. Immoral, yeah, but the kind of immorality one can grow from.

It's actually in this context that I am not entirely sure how I feel about charging the tormentors in criminal court. I've got really mixed feelings about that. I cut them a little less slack because they were less young and were dealing from the situation from a position of social power. But they were teenagers and not necessarily fully aware of the seriousness of what they were doing. Assuming that they were doing all they were accused of. Their age and their actions are facts I consider relevant. Who seduced whom? Not so much.

But this is my point (or one of them): the media coverage has deprived the public of directly relevant context in their accounts of the bullying.

What have they deprived us of? Through media accounts I knew that she had sex with the jocks. I also learned that the jocks had girlfriends who were among the tormentors. These are things I know from reading just a couple mainstream news articles on the matter.

I've heard vague "But there's more to the story!" claims, but without knowing what, it's hard to think of anything that would be relevant enough to have a serious impact on the story as I perceive it to be.

dan said...

Well said, above, sir.

re:

''The issue seems to turn on the question whether Phoebe "deserved" what happened to her.'' OF COURSE SHE DID NOT DESERVE THE ABUSE. BUT WHAT ROLE SHE MIGHT HAVE PLAYED IN BRINGING IT ON WE NEED TO KNOW AT SOME POINT. I AGREE.

Let me address the question this way. The teenager who drinks too much at a party and then tries to drive home doesn't deserve to spend his life as a quadriplegic. EXACTLY! But my father has a saying: "You can choose the road you take, but you can't choose where the road takes you." RIGHT! Who among us is truly innocent of anything that could have turned out much worse for us than it did. NONE OF US, NOT EVEN JESUS! As William Munny would put it, "We've all got it coming, kid." YUP! DEATH AWAITS US ALL! DON'T I KNOW. HEART ATTACK on NOV. 6 last year, half way gone now. COULD DIE ToMORROW the DOC SAID. I AM READY.

And you know what? That doesn't excuse the bullies. RIGHT. NO EXCUSES FOR THEM. It doesn't even excuse Scott Roeder or the Assyrians for that matter. You want metaphysical justice? Stand before God on the Day of Judgment.
NOT SURE THERE IS A GOD, SIR, IN FACT I AM SURE THERE IS NO GOD BUT YOUR POINT IS STILL VALID IN METAPHORICAL SENSE. Because in this life, when the dust has settled, and the media has lost interest, a young girl is still dead, and that is a tragedy. BINGO! WELL SAID. THAT is the CRUX of the MATTER HERE. THE TRUTH WILL OUT SOON.

On another blog a man told me: "Danny - So your "top expert in juvenile issues" actually knew Phoebe? What kind of respectable profession actually makes a comment like: WAIT AND SEE!

"She was a girl lots of people just wanted to slap, and her whole personality suggested she deserved abuse and rejection no matter how desperately she tried to devise a way to signal otherwise."

Your *expert* sounds like a bully to me - or maybe you are just fabricating everything in your blog. NOT FABRICATING ANYTHING!



danny relied...

Hem, thanks for stopping by here and taking the time to comment. I appreciate all feedback. I have no agenda. I am listening to everyone. I am all ears. I hearing multiples sides of the story. I think everyone agrees it is a tragedy, that PP should never have been bullied and she should never have felt so helpless as to have impulsively decided to end the emotional pain by hanging herself, it was more a cry for help than a real suicide, no suicide note etc, all suicides are cries for help and her community could not hear her or was not listeing, so sad sad sad, she is the victim here and nobody is blaming her. BUT....wait for the truth to come out about how SHE initiated all these events, from the get on......this is not to blame her, my heart goes out to her and her family, and friends, but this is not a SIMPLE case of X vs Y. There are multiple factors here. Watch. And keep commenting. We need all the voices here we can get. and when i say WE i mean society at large. I represent no one. Just looking for the truth. And if i a wrong about any of this, i will admit it and say sorry. But for now I think i am on to something. stay tuned. SIGH. i say all this with a heavy heart. this is not fun, this does not give me pleasure. it's an american tragedy. but it's not just one-sided. Let's see. But to answer your questions, no, none of the experts i am touch with spoke with phoebe or even knew her.....all mere speculation, you are right. Just food for thought. I hope I am wrong. I want to be wrong.

dan said...

Nannette GarciaApr told PEOPLE mag: "I was bullied in High School and what a lonely feeling it was and many a time I would get ill before leaving the house. One day at lunch a popular handsome boy commented on my being overweight by shouting our loud "MOOOOO!!!!". I was mortified and then I thought about it and quickly turned around and in front of all his buddies who were laughing said "You are an asshole!!" to which he replied, "And you are FAT!!!". In return I informed him that I could lose the weight, he would always be an asshole". Those who heard the confrontation were roaring with laughter as he turned beet red. Needless to say, we became friends in the end. But it could have easily have turned the other way. What is there to gain to make another human being suffer painful humiliation? Does it really bring positive gratification to the taunter? Is it worth it? What would you do if it was your child, sister, brother, friend? The world is ugly enough there is no more room for unnecessary worthless comments. Enough!"

dan said...

FYI, two sides here:

Jacob Pronchick told PEOPLE mag:

"How could you crucify a kid for being a kid. There always has been bullies and there always will be bullies. Raise your child to be strong. This gas been going on forever. Kids weren't killing themselves 50 years ago frequently over bullies. Kids feel being socially accepted is so important on the basis that They never learned to be an individual. Charge the parents for not facing and challenging their child with adversity. Don't charge kids and teens for weaker kids and teens. Its not always obvious that the other is to vulnerable to not take a little teasing. Just my. Opinion. Sorry to those I offended. "

Facebook user replied to Jacob:

"she was called a whore. jacob...she was HIT with soda cans..they shoved her and posted things on FB..the reason there werent as many suicides 50 years ago, is because there werent as many ways to be hurtful. do you have children? would you feel the same way, if YOUR child was being called a whore. if someone threw a soda can at your daughter. or if she was walking down the halls, or home from school and had kids following her and shoving her or hitting her. you have NO idea what you are talking about. i have never been bullied, but my beautiful daughter is going thru this right now. she is strong, and she is taking it, but it has its tolls on her. i hear her cry, and i know she is afraid to walk alone becasue she doesnt know what could happen. it isnt an easy thing to live thru. not as the child, and certainly NOT as the parent..and IF you think im some crazy mom who "thinks" my daughter is beautiful ( when she really isnt) look at my FB page..cause she is..and that is WHY its happening.."

trumwill said...

BUT....wait for the truth to come out about how SHE initiated all these events, from the get on......

This is what I'm talking about with vague "But there's more to the story!" If somebody knows something, they should step up. I'm not going to assume their defense for them.

I recognize that the alleged tormentors are restrained by preparing for trial, but if other people are claiming to know some deeper truth that the media is not reporting, I am open to hearing about it. *Specifics.*

Whatever defense they have could not have occurred in a vacuum. Other people would know about it (again: specifics). Or if it did occur in a vacuum and nobody else knows a thing, then it's not only uncorroborated but relies on the assumption that they wouldn't give voice to such damning things of her misbehavior while they were tormenting her. It's not impossible, but I'm not going to count on it.

but this is not a SIMPLE case of X vs Y

Nothing in high school is ever simple. But it became "X vs Y" when one side became so dominant and the other so hopeless that they decided not to live. And even then the tormentors did not stop.

dan said...

trumwill, i like this discussion here. I feel we are having one of the most rational discussions about this anywhere online. here's my feedback on your last comment:

re:

''BUT....wait for the truth to come out about how SHE initiated all these events, from the get on......''

''This is what I'm talking about with vague "But there's more to the story!" If somebody knows something, they should step up.



TRUE, NO ONE HAS SAID YET. WE DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS YET. PATIENCE. AND UNTIL THEN, UNTIL WE KNOW, yes, all this is hearsay. i agree. and i might be wrong. let's see.

re

''Nothing in high school is ever simple. But it became "X vs Y" when one side became so dominant and the other so hopeless that they decided not to live. And even then the tormentors did not stop."''

Trumwill, this is important! Phoebe did not commit suicide. Suicide is when you leave a note, you had a plan, you carried it out, it was thought out and rational for the most part. You wanted to leave this Earth. The pain was too great. Or the guilt too much. Or the shame. Whatever the feeling a particular suicided person had.

But in Phoebe's case, it was an inmpulsive cry for help, irrational and impulsive, spur of the moment, there was no suicide note, she just was so worn out by that last day at school, with the library taunts and the can thrown at her, that she went right home, found the scarf, hung herself, IMPULSIVELy, which is how many cry for help suicides happen. She did not want to die. She wanted to end the pain she felt helpless to stop. So she ended the pain. For her, she did what she needed. she needed a time out, relief. she found it, instantaneously. That is why people do those things. May God protect her forever and ever in heaven. But this was NOT a real suicide. Tragedy all over it! Sigh..

trumwill said...

Dan,

If I were on the jury, I would withhold judgment until I heard all the facts. Right now? I go on the facts I have. If there are more, I will take them into account. If I never make any determination until I know "all the facts", I can never make a determination on anything.

As for suicide, suicide is suicide whether there was a note left or not. Whether it was spontaneous or planned. Women in general are more likely than men to attempt suicide in some half-arsed way as a cry for help. Phoebe wasn't a part of that group.

dan said...

Okay, ready? What the defense lawyer in Phoebe Prince bullying suicide case will say when he explains the "new information" in the case and here are his [verbatim] remarks:

Ladies and gentlemen of the public opinion jury,

First of all, may the soul of Phoebe Prince rest in eternal peace in the bosom of God Almight who made this world and all of us in it. That said, there is more here than meets the eye. Yes, Phoebe was bullied, harrassed and abused. My client will explain how it happened. It's not a pretty picture. My client regrets her actions. All the kids in the bully gang do. They do now. They made a big mistake and they will be punished for it, first by the courts of law, second by the judgment of God Almighty and his Second in Command, Jesus H. Christ.

So what happeened? Well, to make a long story short: Phoebe Price was complicit in all this, without her knowing where all this would lead. She is the victim here, yes. But in fact, she initated the sexual encounters with the two boys, and if she were here, she would explain in her own words how it all came to be. She wanted love, affection, popularity, to be accepted. She went about in her own wrong, tortured way, but that is all she knew how to do. She acted. The boys and the girls who bullied her acted also in a very wrong way and they must be held accountable.

Tomorrow, the ghost of Phoebe Prince will appear here in court and speak for herself. I recommond that those of you here today also attend the court session tomorrow. Phoebe will tell the truth, from her point of view, and it won't be a pretty picture, either. But first, let's call the bullies to account. They did wrong. All of them. And the teachers and admins too. And the librarian too. This was a human tragedy waiting to happen. Let's try to work together to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again.

trumwill said...

Thanks for sharing.

I find the notion that Phoebe initiated the sexual encounters to be plausible, unsurprising, and ultimately irrelevant.

dan said...

You are right, trumwill, all that above might be irrelevant. A blogger tells me just now in a private Facebook note:

''Danny, .....Phoebe Prince did nothing but offer a threat to the school as she was pretty, meak, and mild mannered.
You will be horrified when the real truth comes out. The teacher union has a gag order on speaking openly, but the Superintendent of the South Hadley shool, Gus Sayer, knew of the months months of harassment, physical altercations, and bullying and told the Principal to do NOTHING.
The only problem with this case is that the school officials and Phoebe and her mother, did not leave a nice paper trail. HAD THE COMPLAINTS BEEN FORMALIZED IN WRITTEN FORM, THIS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SWEPT UNDER THE RUG.
Have a great night, and thank you for your interest. ''

dan said...

and...if it turns out that "Phoebe Prince did nothing but offer a threat to the school as she was pretty, meak, and mild mannered"....then I will take back all my earlier comments and thoughts and admit i was wrong. I might be way wrong on this. but i think like everyone here on this board chat, we all think there's mroe here than what the media is telling us so far. But whether it matters if PP initiated the sexual encounters in a slutty way learned in Euro free love style of the UK youth circles OR she wa set upon by randy horny sex-starved football stud muffins wanting to get their rocks off in a competitve way (Hey, betcha ten bucks i can get her into bed first! deaL?) with a pretty, fresh faced, naive, Irish lass who was nothing but a dear angel walking down the halls of SH High.....well, maybe it DOES NOT matter at all. we shall see. I think it might matter a tad bit. then again, might not factor in at all. I can see both sides.

dan said...

Why is everyone in the USA for the most part ignoring the elephant in the room? Phoebe brought this all on herself, by using her body to gain acceptance. Come on, everyone, a freshman, new the USA, immediately hooks up with the two most popular football players in the senior class? She did use her body for this, and it backfired. This is not to blame her, and the suicide was a tragedy and the bullies must be punished, but hey, reality check. She was no angel here. She initiated both contacts with the guys! She should have known better. Maybe she was a masochist, looking for trouble. These things happen.

trumwill said...

Phoebe brought this all on herself,

She was no angel here.

she was a masochist,

These things happen.

And *this* is why I tend to think that claims that we should look closer at Phoebe's "role in this" are mostly attempts to disperse and shift blame.

(One sentence saying that "this is not to blame her" does not negate nine sentences doing mostly just that.)

dan said...

trumwill, points well taken, re

''And *this* is why I tend to think that claims that we should look closer at Phoebe's "role in this" are mostly attempts to disperse and shift blame.''

Okay, let me take that back. And let me say completely I AM NOT BLAMING PHOEBE FOR THE BULLYING SHE GOT OR HER DEATH. I do not want to disperse and shift blame at all. First, let's punish the bullies and the adult school admins and teachers and librarbians, yes. LATER, we can go into PP's background. NOT IMPORTANT HERE NOW. I agree.

Φ said...

. . . ultimately irrelevant.

Like, for instance, if you punch me in the face, it was irrelevant that I was insulting your mother to your face? Or maybe perhaps the insults provide context, and maybe constitute a mitigating circumstance.

I find a curious asymmetry here. On the one hand, Phoebe's apparent whoring herself out to the football team is only "a mistake that she can learn from," whereas the bullying (and let's remember, we're ultimately talking about name-calling, pushing-and-shoving, and the now-infamous aluminum can) are criminal offenses. This is a moral inversion of the standards from my own childhood.

You might argue that the pushing-and-shoving should be evaluated according to its ultimate effect -- Phoebe's death. This is certainly defensible, but then Phoebe's sexual behavior -- and, indeed, the sexual behavior of this segment of the school -- should be evaluated by that same standard.

Φ said...

Parenthetically, let's consider these events from the perspective of (to pick someone at random) a clarinet player in the band.

Our CP would like to play in an orchestra, but the school is only interested in having a band insofar as it plays during football games. So his talent is subordinated to someone else's stardom, where not only does his fellow clarinetist (the girl with the dorky glasses and the overbite) also pine after the football players, but she literally rolls her eyes at the indignity of having to sit next to him in the bleachers.

So along comes yet another football groupie whose idea of "making friends" doesn't involve clarinet players. She's a little more ambitious, a little sluttier, and a little more in-a-hurry than the norm, but our clarinetist is not much impressed with a couple of months of bullying; try it for nine years, he mutters to himself.

Tell him why this isn't somebody else's civil war.

trumwill said...

Like, for instance, if you punch me in the face, it was irrelevant that I was insulting your mother to your face?

If I punch you in the face in a fit of rage? Relevant. If after I've had time to cool down and months down the road I am spray-painting your car? Irrelevant. A quick lashing out is one thing. That's not what was done here.

Phoebe's apparent whoring herself out to the football team is only "a mistake that she can learn from," whereas the bullying {...} are criminal offenses.

I've already expressed a discomfort with the criminal charges.

But I do hold the bullies more accountable. First, they were dealing from a position of social power. They were also older and more mature. The girls chose to sharpen their knives not against the jocks that had the same sex that she did, but against the socially vulnerable Phoebe Prince.

If a ten year old hits his dad, that's a different thing than a dad hitting his ten year old boy.

Lastly, whatever Phoebe's mistakes, she paid for them in full. The bullies? Well, they're paying for them now (in some ways I do not approve of), but were invulnerable for too long.

Tell him why this isn't somebody else's civil war.

Because a desire not to hang out with the likes of you and me does not make one deserving of what Prince got?

How much should a guy that asks out the pretty and popular girl be punished for not choosing to associate with the nice fat girl in his social caste? Is a week of pure mockery enough? A month? Three months?

On a less abstract and more personal level, while the Phoebe Princes of the world may not have given me the time of day, I know which side of that dynamic I am more likely to end up on.

trumwill said...

I should add that this is all assuming the worst of Prince. We don't know how she treated non-jocks. Her date to the dance appears to be a minority in a school that did not have many, which is not what coldly ambitious girls typically do. We also have no proof of who initiated what. And there are also claims that the bullying started before the sex and was only exacerbated by the latter. It's possible that she had sex with the guys to mitigate the bullying.

I have seen (and commented on) girls taunted maliciously despite being nice and sweet and kind. Nothing I have seen about this bully clique suggests that they would have treated her any better.

I am kind of keeping these things on the sideline because I don't know with any certainty any or how much of it is true and even if none of it is, her date actually had social standing, she tended to ignore people without status, and so on... it's all rather unimportant at this juncture unless she was as vicious to her underlings as her overlords were to her and no one has alleged as much.

Φ said...

I don't know with any certainty any or how much of it is true and even if none of it is . . . it's all rather unimportant at this juncture

With all respect, Trumwill, you seem to be wanting it all ways here. On the one hand, you say that we don't know the entire narrative (which is true) but then when Dan and I ask that the media do their duty and tell the story (and the fact that you and I have a sufficiently deep understanding of high school status seeking to read a lot of detail between the lines of the official reporting is not the same thing), you turn around and say, sorry, nothing to see here, folks, move along . . . .

The story is important. The details are important. I admit my perspective is somewhat skewed: I never saw a "sweet and nice and kind" girl (or, come to think of it, any other girl) taunted maliciously beyond elementary school. Hell, even that clarinetist had an easier time of it by late junior high. So I want to know: what specifically made so many students think their behavior towards Phoebe was right and necessary?

For instance, were Phoebe's efforts to use sex to ingratiate herself with "taken" FBPs ongoing? Was her suicide driven less by the bullying itself than by what it represented: her frustrated ambition? Was the late-stage bullying done by the original wronged parties or had it been picked up by other ambitious orbiters?

(You have mentioned details of which I was unaware: a dance, for instance. If you can direct me toward more thorough accounts than what were available last week, I'd be obliged.)

[A] desire not to hang out with the likes of you and me does not make one deserving of what Prince got?

That wasn't my point. I've already said that metaphysical justice is elusive. My point is that the fat girl (in your analogy) should not be expected to care one way or the other what happens to boys that can't be civil to her.

trumwill said...

With all respect, Trumwill, you seem to be wanting it all ways here.

No, I would be wanting it all ways if I were saying "and it is important to consider what the accusations may not be true." That's not what I am saying. I am merely noting it. For the sake of the discussion, I did not contest your narrative. Your narrative can be true and it doesn't matter. It could also be true that she was a victim and that would not matter, either.

I'm sorry if I was not clear on that. My point was not that a more charitable interpretation would or should change our perspective. I merely wanted to be clear that while for the sake of this discussion I am willing to accept the worst that I am not acknowledging that it actually was the case. If it clarifies things, forget about the second comment and let's focus on the first.

The story is important. The details are important. {...} So I want to know: what specifically made so many students think their behavior towards Phoebe was right and necessary?

This is the crux of our disagreement, I guess. I don't think the details we are discussing (who seduced whom, whether Phoebe was using sex to try to socially advance) are important. If Prince was skinning the cats of her tormentors, that would change things. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about "What if it's the case that she seduced the athletes? Hmmm?!?!" In my view: so what if it is the case? It doesn't justify what the bullies did.

For instance, were Phoebe's efforts to use sex to ingratiate herself with "taken" FBPs ongoing? Was her suicide driven less by the bullying itself than by what it represented: her frustrated ambition? Was the late-stage bullying done by the original wronged parties or had it been picked up by other ambitious orbiters?

I can admit that there are some interesting questions tucked away in there. I am interested in some of these things such as her status before the sex with the athletes. I'm interested because I'm curious, though. Not because they are particularly relevant to the overall story of the dynamic between bully and bullied.

My assumption from the start was that there was more going on than the bullying to cause the suicide (most bullied individuals, after all, don't commit suicide). I would be coming down pretty hard on the side of the bullies if they had tried to tag murder charges. I would be more sympathetic to the defendents in general if they had showed any remorse before the fingers got pointed in their directions. Instead, we got "Accomplished." That shows that even if they were not responsible for her death, they were still indifferent. Even with that in mind, I'm still not sold on the criminal charges.

A partial exception to the above is that if there are allegations that she was continuing to try to sleep with the athletes or was pestering them, that would be more relevant. No one has alleged that. I said before that there is information that could change my perspective on the issue. That specifics that people are trying to convince me of, though, don't even come close. The argument that the defense attorney made in his opening argument? Not close. Distractions.

If the accused have a side to the story, they need to tell it. Or somebody familiar with the situation needs to tell it. "But she really was an Irish Whore!" doesn't do it.

trumwill said...

(You have mentioned details of which I was unaware: a dance, for instance. If you can direct me toward more thorough accounts than what were available last week, I'd be obliged.)

The dance.

That wasn't my point. I've already said that metaphysical justice is elusive. My point is that the fat girl (in your analogy) should not be expected to care one way or the other what happens to boys that can't be civil to her.

I think she should. For the same reason that I don't think that the bullies should be getting the sorts of threats that they are getting now. Less abstractly, the thing about bullies is that you don't start feeling safe because you're not the guy they're picking on. They are less likely to see the distinctions between you and their targets than you might think and you are only as safe as you are invisible. And nobody can be completely invisible.

Regarding girls who are nice and mercilessly picked on, I got off my duff and tracked down the post on the primary example that comes to mind when I think "unpopular" and "female", Marianne Silbet.

dan said...

There is lots happening here now that should tell us something. My polite, yet unPC and contrarian POV on all this is being routinely censored and deleted when I post comments on top media reporters' blogs: Dan Kennedy in Boston, a media critic at Northeastern University, a champion of free speech, no less, has banned me from posting on his blog, he even deleted my first comment that he at first let get on and later decided to take off after other PC people complained to him, GOOGLE HIS POST on this. also Ross Douhat the New York Times has censored and banned my comments on his blog on this, also Bill Weye in Masasachuetts has censored and banned me froms his blog. and now Corky at the New York Daily News also tells me: Corky Siemaszko nydailynewswrote:

"So for that she should be hounded to death? Sorry Dan. You're wrong. C.S."

Most people are in denial out there.

I understand their censoring me and banning me. It only proves my hunch correct. when people are in denial, it means the facts are otherwise, that is why they are in denial. I told CorkY;

"no, Corky, she should NOT be hounded to death, i agree with you.....but watch, my hunch will be proved right in the coming weeks and months as the trial unfolds...of course, the bullies should be punished to the max, i agree, i am on Phoebe's side, but I am right, Corky, watch. remember the herman Rosenblat Holocaust hoax memoir that Oprah supported that I got to be cancelled before publcaiton and everyone in NYC told me to shut up and i was wrong,.and....in the end, I was right? I singehandedly took that book down, based on my hunch, yet not one NYC reporter would answer me emails before i did it.....the same thing is happening here....WATCH.....and of course, if i am wrong, i often am, 50 50 is my batting average, i will apologize to you and eat my hat.....but i believe i am on the something, even though it is not PC....WATCH

danny

PS; And I am not the only one with this POV, there is a sizable minorioty of observers who have the same POV I have. Among them Φ here....

dan said...

A postter at NYTimes says: "Couldn't agree more. The suicide death of Phoebe Prince is a national tragedy. No child should be born in America, or come to America, and be subjected by abuse by her peers, neglect by teachers and school administrators, and apparent distain by perpetrators' AWOL parents.

But that's perhaps what happens in a society so sexually conflicted that sex with a prostitute can destroy a political career but elevate that same prostitute to the front cover of Playboy, a society that seeks to have teens sign abstinence-until-marriage contracts while rap "artists" wail about their ho's in the background, a society that demeans and degrades women who sleep with a married celebrity while cheering on the same celebrity as he makes a "comeback" in his sport.

Better we should be like the Europeans, where sex is sex, and not a big deal, where pols have affairs without rebuke, where young males and females sit naked in saunas with predictable unassailable results and where prostitution is legal and controlled for safety's sake.

Had Phoebe Prince only stayed away from America, the conflicted, she would be alive today. Perhaps she should have waited to come until America grows up."

dan said...

I agree with that we need to be careful with how we approach this case, pro and con. MY wild
speculations are merely specualations and I use them to try
to smoke out the media, this is my M.O., works for me, but not for
everyone, ...i don't have a pHD or a career or a job to protect
so i can afford to go out on a limb and make wild speculations in my
reporters attempt to smoke out some of the people who
refuse to talk to me or post my comments, but yes, we don't KNOW what
happebned, especially me, i know nothing...THAT SAID,
this M.O. works for me.....but i take full responsiblity for my rather
unorthodox ways......not for everyone....

YES YES YES: RE: "Phoebe Prince could have been a sweet free-loving kid
unconscionably bullied to distraction by a bunch of rat bastard alphas, she
could have been complicit in a complex web of interpersonal conflicts, she
could have been a victim of severe abuses long before she set foot in South
Hadley High and was already well on her way to tragedy. We don't know."

part of my MO is to try to *upset* the ''media narrative....''

re ''the media narrative is set in
stone,''...by making wild speculations that might or might not cause
some people to DISH things to me by email. But best to follow the normal channels i agree.....when my "work" is
done, i will report back....... i often have "success" this way
but finding out the truth of the PP case is not going to be fun or
pleasant and not really a success....it's a sad story.

And i hope i am wrong. i wanna be wrong. I am on PP's side. SIGH

BECAUSE a friend told me this today: "Dan and everyone else -- We have to be very careful about speculations in the South Hadley case. We don't know what happened. We have only the prosecutor indictments (mere allegations), a great deal of one-sided media gossip (traditionally worthless), and some conflicting school and family statements (very hard to assess). Phoebe Prince could have been a sweet free-loving kid unconscionably bullied to distraction by a bunch of rat bastard alphas, she could have been complicit in a complex web of interpersonal conflicts, she could have been a victim of severe abuses long before she set foot in South Hadley High and was already well on her way to tragedy. We don't know. Since the prosecutor made a criminal case out of it, we may well find out a great deal more. But one thing one might predict: the media narrative is set in stone, just like it was in the now-debunked Gloucester Mass. "teen pregnancy pact" fiasco. remember that? We certainly have seen commenters and posters incited by inflammatory media reports declaring the Phoebe case closed and demanding all manner of retributions, some violent, against the pre-convicted "bullies," and these are not being censored."

dan said...

On the other hand, reading the court documents, you get the feeling that Phoebe, who moved from Ireland, had been thrust into a culture she didn't understand. One witness told investigators that rumors of threats to beat Prince up were "spreading around fast," and that Prince was upset because "she was not a tough girl," and wouldn't know what to do in a fight. She was described as hiding in a bathroom stall. Ashley Longe is alleged to have entered the fray because she was friends with Kayla Narey and Sean Mulveyhill, whom Prince had dated in November. After this, the trio of Longe, Narey, and Mulveyhill ganged up on Prince, including an ugly incident in the library described by witnesses this way: Longe yelled nasty names at Prince while Mulveyhill and Narey wrote on a library log-in sheet "similar derogatory comments about Ms. Prince."

Most chilling is this: On the day she killed herself, as she was leaving school passing by Longe, Mulveyhill and Narey, the trio "partook in a verbal assault of Ms. Prince," court documents state. Longe called her names (egged on by Mulveyhill) and Mulveyhill also hurled a nasty name her way, while Narey watched, laughing. Later, on the way home, Longe threw a can at her from a passing car and laughed when she told someone that Prince was crying.

Φ said...

I think she should. For the same reason that I don't think that the bullies should be getting the sorts of threats that they are getting now. Less abstractly, the thing about bullies is that you don't start feeling safe because you're not the guy they're picking on. They are less likely to see the distinctions between you and their targets than you might think and you are only as safe as you are invisible. And nobody can be completely invisible.

Well and good. A very grown-up, above-it-all point of view. And not likely to much matter to Fat Girl and Clarinetist. They need friends and allies, not an academic analysis of bully psychology or whatever.

Thank you for posting the Marianne Silbet link. I remember when that post came out (three years ago -- how time flies!), and I remember thinking of the ensuing discussion that it was among the more illuminating ones to appear on HitCoffee. I still think that, by the way, but in the present context, as I read your contributors' accounts of their social misfortunes, I also think how nice it would have been if they had come away from those experiences realizing, "Wow, mean people suck! I'm going to try to be a nicer person."

dan said...

Media narrative: Phoebe Facists and Phoebe Fanatics: how the Phoebe Prince case is driving the media narrative off course....
Read the blogs of Dan Kennedy, Ross Douhat, Bill Weye, Rod Dreher, and all the others to see how the Phoebe Prince suicide bullying case is driving the media narrative off course.... The Rashomon aspect of the case is NOT something the mainstream media wants to discuss, and if one attempts to comment on this POV, they censor you, even delete your comments. Why is that? What's up with that, Dan "free speech" Kennedy in Boston? What's up with the Ross Douhat blog admins at the New York Times? What's up with that Bill Weye? The Phoebe phascists are coming out of the closet on this one. Sad day for US journalism. But thank G-d the blogosphere allows free speech and free comment, even when it might not follow the media narrative leading to the Hollywood movie of the week. Of course, nobody knows how this story will turn out, end up, but blocking people from posting comments is wrong. What are the Phoebe Phascists afraid of? I just don't get it. If I am wrong, I will admit I am wrong. The girl is dead. Let's try to help prevent this from happening again in the future! That's my real agenda.

Φ said...

This is the crux of our disagreement, I guess. I don't think the details we are discussing (who seduced whom, whether Phoebe was using sex to try to socially advance) are important.

The details were pretty darn important to the principals though. Chris Caldwell (registration required) has an excellent piece discussing the link between sex and high school power politics generally, the money quote being reproduced on Ross Douthat's blog. You can argue that, yeah, it would sure be nice if the nigh-murderous feelings engendered by Phoebe's behavior . . . weren't, but what if that reality never goes through the formality of taking place?

This is part and parcel of our broader disagreement about sex generally, and I don't think we're really going to come to an agreement. No doubt, the class of people reporting on this story for the MSM takes a view much closer to yours than to mine. But I also think they have bad faith about this, which is why they are attempting to airbrush Phoebe's behavior out of the narrative.

dan said...

well said, money quote, above:

''But I also think the media have bad faith about this, which is why they are attempting to *airbrush* Phoebe's behavior out of the narrative.''

yes, the AIRBRUSHING is what galls me, and several others, too.

Of course the entire case is a tragedy, an American tragedy, an Irish-America tragedy, bicultural, and Phoebe never should have pulled the trigger, but she needed to do it to stop the emotional pain. What part she played in the tragedy, if any, IF ANY, we will find out 5 years from now. We will not find out soon, due to legal moves. SIGH.

AIRBRUSHING, well said!

dan said...

Kevin Doyle, reporter in IRELAND, notes:

Phoebe Prince's suicide has sparked a *backlash* led by a top-selling US magazine.

The hugely popular People magazine has highlighted Phoebe's "bullicide" on the front of its latest edition, under the headline: 'Bullied To Death?'

In a recreation of her final hours, People says that she was "skipping around" in the morning but her mood deteriorated as the day went on.


At first she sought solace in her iPod, about which she had once written: "I have a song for every moment and mood of my day."

But after lunch Phoebe seemed increasingly downbeat. She described an incident of bullying to friends and said: "I'll find a way out of this problem," but they never thought that she was talking about killing herself.


Her death was all the more shocking to friends because she often signed off her text message saying, "life is an opportunity in itself".

Meanwhile, a spokesperson has denied that an Irish-American school cop knew of the bullying before Phoebe's death.

A spokesperson said: "Nothing was reported to him. He knew Phoebe Prince. He had instructed a class that she was in.

"In early November he spoke with her. He's Irish, she was Irish and they formed a conversation about Ireland and about how beautiful the scenery was there.

"So, he did have interaction with her and he knew her through a class. She did not report any inappropriate activities to him."

dan said...

Phoebe Prince wrote about self mutilation before suicide
4/18/2010

Phoebe Prince wrote about self mutilation before she took her life, it has been revealed. It was a clear warning sign that the young Irish girl was ...

trumwill said...

Well and good. A very grown-up, above-it-all point of view. And not likely to much matter to Fat Girl and Clarinetist. They need friends and allies, not an academic analysis of bully psychology or whatever.

It's not entirely academic. I had to learn the hard way that the bully you're laughing with when he has his barrels aimed at the id that you think deserves it is far more likely to be a problem for you than the kid that you're laughing at.

Regarding "friends and allies", I'm not in entire agreement. You know that military saying about "Lead, follow, or get out of the way?" For me, it was be my friend, be friendly, or leave me alone. People doing what Prince is being accused of doing here met that criteria. It puts them in the neutral area between friend and enemy, but in a tug-of-war between people in that category and bullies, they're on the right side of that.

The details were pretty darn important to the principals though. Chris Caldwell (registration required) has an excellent piece discussing the link between sex and high school power politics generally, the money quote being reproduced on Ross Douthat's blog. You can argue that, yeah, it would sure be nice if the nigh-murderous feelings engendered by Phoebe's behavior . . . weren't, but what if that reality never goes through the formality of taking place?

The question of sex and high school power is a fascinating one. I think it's worthy of one of exploration. I thought I'd said so above, but it looks like it was a paragraph that I culled (for every two paragraphs you see, there's another one or two that I cut). To me, though, that's something of a separate question from the bullying question itself. It's not unlike those that, right after 9/11, thought that the real issue here was the American policy towards the Middle East that caused the blowback. American policy in the Middle East should be discussed. But turning conversations of the NYC attack (wherein the US was the victims and the Muslims the aggressors) into one about American foreign policy (wherein the opposite is being proposed) comes across as an attempt to muddy the issue.

Regarding the media's airbrush, I think for the most part the important aspects are there. Maybe I just happened to read the right article or two or read between lines in ways that I didn't realize I was. There was sex and sex was a big trigger behind the ensuing events. The story certainly wouldn't be complete without that. It would be interesting to know other aspects of it, but I really don't believe it changes what Dan believes it changes insofar as the bullying is concerned. It's background information and more pertinent to a tangential discussion of youth sex and social politics. Attempts to downplay the bullying issue for the sex discussion - particularly in a way that I see attempting to mitigate the culpability of the bullies - strikes me the wrong the way. Like the 9/11 debate maneuvering above or saying "You may think that this highway shooting is a story about road rage, but even though the shooter isn't justified the 'victim' CUT THE GUY OFF and it's reckless drivers cutting people off that's the real story here!"

But I have no particular interest in defending the media here. If they fail to relay the defense's allegations that she initiated the sex, they shouldn't do that for journalistic reasons because whether you believe it's morally important or not, the defense does. The media has a tendency to latch on to a particular narrative and in this case it's the bullying and not the sex. Of course, if it was the sex, they would be likely presenting it in a manner antithetical to how you see it anyway - puritanism and the backwardness of American attitudes towards sex. I think it's a lot more complicated than that, but they're coming at it from a particular perspective (as are you and as are most people).

trumwill said...

I read Caldwell's piece and for the most part like it. Particularly the points about bullying and esteem and how, in the end, the punitive morality was mostly a convenient tool and not about actual moral disapproval of what Phoebe did.

It actually ties in with a post idea I've been batting around in my head about social norms. Not about sex (I don't even know if it'll come up, but it applies) as much as about expected behavior and how the existence of expected behavior, even when functionally pointless, at least gives people rules they can follow. Instead of creating a world wherein everything (reasonable) is allowed, you create a world where acceptable behavior can be arbitrarily applies and unacceptable behavior (unacceptable to someone that doesn't care to find you acceptable) cannot be avoided.

Φ said...

Trumwill: I think we mis-understood each other about what should be the attitude of other low-caste students. My intent was certainly not to recommend that other students laugh with the bullies nor otherwise give them aid and comfort. On the contrary, the thing you do about "somebody else's civil war" is don't get any on you when neither of the combatants particularly likes you or wants your friendship.

But maybe South Hadley was more multipolar than I'm giving it credit for. One of the articles I read said that Phoebe discussed the bullying with a group of friends, which means that she had a group of friends, which was more than I had in, say, 1st - 9th grade. She also had Sergio Loubriel, her dance date, which was more than I had until about age 27. But I digress. It's too bad these friends didn't offer her more protection, or at least emotional support.

Φ said...

Trumwill: Your example of road rage is on point about an aspect of the way this story is being reported that I don't like. I remember some time ago reading, probably an editorial, a story about how a man dragged a woman out of her car and started beating her, while the other motorists started cheering. (Why all the motorists were stopped, I didn't quite get.) The editorialist immediate went on to decry our loss of morals or civility or whatever. And I thought, wait a second, what are you not telling me? Because it isn't normal for people to cheer random violence. The fact that she might have done thus-and-so doesn't justify getting beaten (unless it does) doesn't excuse the author from telling the story.

It's kind of like Derbyshire's example of how a story of man struck by a car on a busy urban street and left lying there for an hour without assistance got turned into a media furor about how awful American society was in general, leaving out the part about the victim being an Hispanic in a black neighborhood. Or how the reporting of a WalMart Riot neglected the race of the rioters. "Oh, their race isn't relevant!" the DZGD'ers cry. The hell it isn't when the narrative you're pushing is some grand theme about violent consumerism or labor unions or whatever!

Or here's a non-racial example: the initial reporting on Kitty Genovese, the New York girl who was murdered in broad daylight while her neighbors looked on without helping. How many sermons have been preached, and editorials written, on a story that turns out to be mostly bullshit. (This may be an imperfect analogy because I wouldn't propose any counter-narrative in the Genovese case.)

Or consider Bill Sparkman, the "census worker" found dead in the back woods of Kentucky, widely reported as having been murdered by Tea Party types. Again, mostly bullshit.

I could probably go on. But the point is that lazy, dishonest reporting feeds lazier, dishonest commentary, which feeds corrupt and incompetent policymaking.

trumwill said...

On the contrary, the thing you do about "somebody else's civil war" is don't get any on you when neither of the combatants particularly likes you or wants your friendship.

Where I come from, you don't get actively involved in somebody else's battle even if they are actively your friend. Nor do you expect them to get involved in yours. The most you offer is emotional support if requested. Otherwise, you just avoid the subject.

I knew very few guys that didn't have any friends and those I did know... well there was often a reason for it. I had a career in high school as a Friend of Last Resort. I had five or six people to whom I was a best friend but were not among my best friends. Or people to whom I was one of only a couple of friends but that I would have only classified as "acquaintance".

I regret at least a couple of those friendships because, to be blunt, they weren't really deserving of any friends. There are a couple others that I regret treating pretty shaftily because I couldn't reconcile the fact that they were my friend with the fact that I didn't like them (but who were nonetheless well-intentioned). It is particularly sad to me that the ones I mistreated still considered me their best friend (or among them).

K-12 is very tough terrain.

Φ said...

Okay, here is the story about the woman dragged from her car and beaten with a tire iron. And I was right, the story was badly reported: the crowd didn't cheer, for one thing. And second, read the first few paragraphs. Deletha . . . Demetrius . . . Detroit . . . . I mean, I'm not trying to be mean, but really, how dumb do you think we are? This is a very bad illustration of "road rage" in anything like a general sense.

Φ said...

K-12 is indeed tough terrain . . . but it's tougher on some people than others. For some people, HS is the high-point of their lives. For others, well, it's the end of their lives.

Yeah, I usually had that friend-of-last-resort. And by late JHS my status as "the smart kid" was actually getting me some grudging respect, if not friendship, from a wider group. I even remember once when one of the "in" kids took up for me when I was being picked on.

But that's not the same thing as being part of a "group of friends". Such friendships I had were strictly bilateral.

trumwill said...

You bring up some valid cases where the story as told sounds implausible (I was skeptical of the census-taker story from the second I heard it). The thing about this case, though, is that it is not implausible that a girl would be targeted for torrential bullying without some sort of real justification. I have seen it happen.

When confronted with cases of outlandish bullying, I really don't want to reach the point where people think "Well, gosh, there must have been a reason for it!" and to assume that if a reason is not mentioned that it must be because the media is not reporting the real story.

I don't find speculation that she may have initiated the encounter to be a particularly compelling justification for the disproportionate response of what followed or something that particularly changes the narrative. Maybe there is more to the story than that and she was giving as good as she got, but I have not heard any accusations to that effect.

What I am really disinclined to do, however, is assume that because bullying doesn't happen in a vacuum that there must be more to the story. If there is, surely the defense attorneys will make that case and I will revise my view of the situation accordingly.

But the notion that "people don't act like that", which justifies skepticism in a number of the stories you've mentioned, rings extremely hollow for me in this case. This is in contrast to speculation that Phoebe had psychological problems, which does not ring hollow to me (and which is why I don't blame the bullies for her death) because most people don't respond to even intense bullying with suicide.

Now, if it's your position that her seduction of the boys (if true) does really place the bullying in a different context, I guess I can see how you might see things differently in the question of whether the bullying or the slutting is more central to the story of the death of Phoebe Prince. That's just a world apart from how I see it.

Or if it's not the seduction allegation and is instead some other specific allegation that the defendants and their defenders (with knowledge of the situation) are making, I'd need to know what it is before deciding its relevance.

I do agree with you that we should not trust the media to tell the whole story. But I also don't think that we should use the media's shortcomings to assume that the side it seems to be being more sympathetic to isn't really so sympathetic without something substantive to point to.

Φ said...

[I]t is not implausible that a girl would be targeted for torrential bullying without some sort of real justification.

I fear I'm beginning to sound like Dan as I e-scream, IT'S NOT ABOUT JUSTIFICATION! I'm saying that the sex is integral to the story.

Think of it this way: the fact that Deletha Word swiped Demetrius' car does not justify her being violently beaten to the point of throwing herself off a bridge. The fact that both of them were black doesn't justify it either, for that matter. But both of these facts are necessary to establish a context that makes sense (if you can call it that) of the events.

Now, if it's your position that her seduction of the boys (if true) does really place the bullying in a different context, I guess I can see how you might see things differently in the question of whether the bullying or the slutting is more central to the story of the death of Phoebe Prince. That's just a world apart from how I see it.

Well said. I think we understand each other.

trumwill said...

I fear I'm beginning to sound like Dan as I e-scream, IT'S NOT ABOUT JUSTIFICATION! I'm saying that the sex is integral to the story.

I would say it's tangential to a particular aspect of the story, namely the role that sex plays in high school social power plays, but not the story itself unless it offers some justification as to what happened. If it seems like I keep coming back to justification, that's why.

But it seems that we are looking at two different stories (one focused around bullying and one in which sex played a larger part), so I guess it's no surprise that what we consider relevant and not-so-relevant would differ.

dan said...

See? It's Rashomon all over again. Never ending story. Facsinating, and so sad at same time......

dan said...

via Jeff Big Mouth: From Irish Central, quotes an essay by Phoebe:

"From a personal point of view I can see that Levenkron does truly understand the concept of self- mutilation and how it's not about suicide, in most cases it's about trying to transfer the pain from emotional to physical pain which is a lot easier to deal with for most adolescents who most likely don't even understand how they're feeling."

I don't see how this is relevant, except to show the damage that was being done on her self-image by the bullies.

Parents of bullies may fail to recognize the signs

From the Texarkana Gazette, has an interesting quote from Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabees which was the basis for the film Mean Girls:

“It’s children who feel like they’re the law of their school, that they have the right to set the law and if you challenge their power, like hooking up with the wrong boy, they have the right to put you in your place.”

dan said...

Phoebe Prince's suicide is a complex, complicated, mysterious act and
needs to be seen in light of all that we know about her, may she rest
in eternal peace!

And a little birdie tells me:



"In reading the indictments posted on ''Anderson Cooper 360'' and the
news stories, we can find allegations of vicious behaviors by the
indicted students as well as troubling aspects of Phoebe Prince's
reported behavior.

For example, "Phoebe's little sister found her in a stairwell, hanging
from the scarf she'd given her for Christmas" (USA Today, 4/4).

This kind of suicide, where the victim knows she is likely to be found
in the worst possible circumstances, quite possibly by her 12-year-old
sister, often indicates an intent to hurt the family. She also left no
note, which is very unusual for girls' suicides in particular.
Indications are this was an extremely disturbed girl, but it's hard to
know exactly what the motivating factor was.

Looking at information is fine, but we repeat: we don't know the major
facts yet. There's a danger to making rash assumptions.

Also, let's also recognize that teenagers are very UNLIKELY to commit
suicide, especially girls.

Of 2.1 million 15 year-old girls in the U.S., just 50 commit suicide
in a given year, and another 30 die from causes that could even
remotely be considered self-destructive in intent.

Phoebe Prince's suicide, whatever its motivation (and we suspect they
were many and long-building in origin), represents an extremely RARE
one for a teen girl...


Just in Massachusetts, and pay attentionh kevin Cullen at the Boston
Globe and Peter Sshworm there, too, and Holly Epstein at the NYTimes,
not to mention Dan Kennedy at Northeastern school of censorship, and
pal bill Weye, vital statistics show that from 1999-2006, a total of 8
girls age 15 committed suicide--fewer than 1 per year, in a population
of 42,000. Phoebe Prince is an extremely rare case.

Also, she hanged herself--a very sure and gruesome way to die, which
is very rare among girls (most female suicide attempters use drug
overdoses, which leaves lots of room for rescue and no disfiguration).
And she hanged herself in a common area of her house, using a gift her
little sister gave her.

Finally, she left no note. Most young females in particular leave
notes, both to make sure those they blame know they're to blame, and
those they love and want to reassure know they are NOT to blame. I
don't claim to know whether the physical facts we so far know about
generally indicating a severely disturbed and detached girl (more
troubled than even most suicides) are true in this particular case.
More information is to come. But from what we know about so far, the
defense and school are going to have ample avenues to suggest it was
not bullying that primarily killed Phoebe Prince."

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

dan said...

a bloke tells me: "Danny, thanks for providing clarification (and expansions) on your original statements. I also appreciate your tolerance of my passion about this topic. It's refreshing to have a civil continuation of a discussion after the dust has settled.

I have just one request: One can foment discussion without being unduly provocative. If you feel the need to attract emotional notice in order to promote ideas (even speculations as in this case) then you will also get people like me criticizing your word and phrasing choices. Serve the ideas with rational statements, and while you may have less hue and cry, you might have quite a few more nodding heads. One thing is true about this blog at least, it generates quite a lot more notice than the number of posts would imply."

dan said...

now this:

While Bill Cosby said many good things on the Larry King Live show on CNN, accompanied by Dr Martha Irvington from Howard University sitting next to him and also saying important thiongs about the serious issue of school bullying, Dr Cosby totally lost my respect and admiration for his remarks when Larry King asked him a final question, at the end of the segment, abouut 25 minutes into it, when he switched gears and tried to segue into a new segment about late night TV talk show wars with Leno and Conan and Lopez -- which has and had nothing to do with school bullying and the very serious topic they were talking about -- and instead of saying directly to Larry King, "Hey, Larry, I came on the show today to talk about school bullying, a very serious issue, and not late night talk show ratings, so do you mind if I don't answer your question and make one final statement about school bulling instead?" But no, Bill took Larry's totally stupid question softball and went into a long schtick about late night TV talk shows, which totally negated everything Cosby had said before. See? Wake up America? If bullying is not that important, that Larry King can change the subject and ask Dr Cosby about the late night wars, and Cosby spends 5 minutes wasting viewers' time answering the stupid question, it means Cosby does not really care about school bullying as an issue, everything is just fun and games and ratings to him and poor Dr Martha Irvington had to sit there and listen to that final crap. Sad day in America. Larry King sucks bigtime to do that, and Cosby sucks even bigger to take the bait and waste time and spout nonsense. YUCK!

dan said...

Mickey says--

"We’re finding out more and more each day that Phoebe Prince had underlying emotional and mental conditions that were ignored by her family. The latest bombshell: She was “a cutter”. She engaged in self-mutilation, a compulsive act performed to release emotional pain, anger, or anxiety. A severe mental disorder. Clearly, Phoebe did not belong in a social environment where even the slightest stresses were more than she could handle.

Which begs the question: Why would a District Attorney, knowing the severity of the mental illness suffered by a suicide victim, attempt to bring charges against so-called “bullies”? I think the answer is clear: The District Attorney herself , Elizabeth D. Scheibel, obviously either suffered or suffers from a similar form of mental illness.

Her profile at http://www.ndaa.org/ndaa/profile/elizabeth_d_scheibel_march_april_2004.html gives a few indicators:

“Yes,” admits Scheibel, DA of the two-county Northwest District of Massachusetts, “I was a real tomboy and loved all boys’ sports, but especially baseball. I played third base on a Little League-type boys’ team … and I played football with the boys in neighborhood pick-up games (preferring tackle football to touch football), and I also played softball and swam competitively in school.”

A clear statement that she felt uncomfortable around those of her own sex, seeking out the company of boys figuring that by playing their games she could garner their attention. Evidence of low self esteem.

Scheibel was 19 and attending Mount Holyoke College in her hometown, majoring in psychobiology and bent on a career in animal husbandry, when fate—and romance—intervened. She signed up for an introductory law course taught by a charismatic lawyer, Paul Boudreau, then 27. As a story on her in the Boston Globe recounts, she initially was more attracted to Boudreau than to the law, but “her interest in both, and her interest in pursuing them, grew.”

Here, the good DA is looking for love in all the wrong places - in this case a teacher. More evidence of low self esteem.

In the fall of 1996 Scheibel, at 40, faced a personal crisis. After a series of tests that followed a mammogram, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent surgery for removal of the tumor, followed by an energy-draining program of radiation and chemotherapy. During this difficult period, her antidote was devotion to her job. “Everyone reacts differently,” she told a reporter at the time, “but this worked for me.” She’s now fully recovered.

Here the good DA’s low self esteem comes out to blossom through complete avoidance of her health issues by drowning in “devotion to her job”.

Clearly, what we see in Phoebe is the sad outcome from mental illness untreated. I think we’re seeing the same in the Elizabeth D. Scheibel.
''

but BRian counters with:
''Oh Mickey, there is no evidence she was a cutter, merely that she quoted Dr. Steven Levenkron. In what appears to be a book report. “From a personal point of view I can see that Levenkron does truly understand the concept of self- mutilation and how it’s not about suicide, in most cases it’s about trying to transfer the pain from emotional to physical pain which is a lot easier to deal with for most adolescents who most likely don’t even understand how they’re feeling.”

dan said...

Mickey says--

"We’re finding out more and more each day that Phoebe Prince had underlying emotional and mental conditions that were ignored by her family. The latest bombshell: She was “a cutter”. She engaged in self-mutilation, a compulsive act performed to release emotional pain, anger, or anxiety. A severe mental disorder. Clearly, Phoebe did not belong in a social environment where even the slightest stresses were more than she could handle.

Which begs the question: Why would a District Attorney, knowing the severity of the mental illness suffered by a suicide victim, attempt to bring charges against so-called “bullies”? I think the answer is clear: The District Attorney herself , Elizabeth D. Scheibel, obviously either suffered or suffers from a similar form of mental illness.

Her profile at http://www.ndaa.org/ndaa/profile/elizabeth_d_scheibel_march_april_2004.html gives a few indicators:

“Yes,” admits Scheibel, DA of the two-county Northwest District of Massachusetts, “I was a real tomboy and loved all boys’ sports, but especially baseball. I played third base on a Little League-type boys’ team … and I played football with the boys in neighborhood pick-up games (preferring tackle football to touch football), and I also played softball and swam competitively in school.”

A clear statement that she felt uncomfortable around those of her own sex, seeking out the company of boys figuring that by playing their games she could garner their attention. Evidence of low self esteem.

Scheibel was 19 and attending Mount Holyoke College in her hometown, majoring in psychobiology and bent on a career in animal husbandry, when fate—and romance—intervened. She signed up for an introductory law course taught by a charismatic lawyer, Paul Boudreau, then 27. As a story on her in the Boston Globe recounts, she initially was more attracted to Boudreau than to the law, but “her interest in both, and her interest in pursuing them, grew.”

Here, the good DA is looking for love in all the wrong places - in this case a teacher. More evidence of low self esteem.

In the fall of 1996 Scheibel, at 40, faced a personal crisis. After a series of tests that followed a mammogram, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent surgery for removal of the tumor, followed by an energy-draining program of radiation and chemotherapy. During this difficult period, her antidote was devotion to her job. “Everyone reacts differently,” she told a reporter at the time, “but this worked for me.” She’s now fully recovered.

Here the good DA’s low self esteem comes out to blossom through complete avoidance of her health issues by drowning in “devotion to her job”.

Clearly, what we see in Phoebe is the sad outcome from mental illness untreated. I think we’re seeing the same in the Elizabeth D. Scheibel.
''

but BRian counters with:
''Oh Mickey, there is no evidence she was a cutter, merely that she quoted Dr. Steven Levenkron. In what appears to be a book report. “From a personal point of view I can see that Levenkron does truly understand the concept of self- mutilation and how it’s not about suicide, in most cases it’s about trying to transfer the pain from emotional to physical pain which is a lot easier to deal with for most adolescents who most likely don’t even understand how they’re feeling.”

Φ said...

Dan: dude . . . we're going to have to show you how to do a proper internet citation. I couldn't find an April 4 USA Today article that reads like the one you quote at length. I'm particularly interested in the stats regarding suicide.

Like Trumwill, I find the speculation that Phoebe might have had other things going on to be plausible; as he said, most bullying victims don't commit suicide. It would be interesting to draw a connection with any mental illness and the way she interacted with her classmates at South Hadley, but I don't want to get too far ahead of the facts.

trumwill said...

But from what we know about so far, the
defense and school are going to have ample avenues to suggest it was
not bullying that primarily killed Phoebe Prince."


This is neither here nor there, but the prosecution doesn't have to prove that the bullying "primarily killed" Phoebe Prince since they are not being tried for murder. They just have to prove that she was bullied in ways that crossed the line into illegal.

(Oh, and the sex. It's going to be really hard for the guys to get out of that one.)

dan said...

For the record, yes, i am neither here nor there, off on a tangent, so don't take me too seriously, ever ever, but this is how i go about my sleuthing, rather sloppy i admit, but when it's over, watch, i will have been right, half the time, and wrong half the time, and it's a good discussion we are having. MORE MORE!

dan said...

only this from USA TODAY, my bad for not explainign

For example, "Phoebe's little sister found her in a stairwell, hanging
from the scarf she'd given her for Christmas" (excerpt quoted from USA Today, 4/4).

that's all. the rest of that long rant is from multiple sources, the names of which I cannot divulge right now, but they are PHD youth activists with long track records and they know more than i do. i am merely relaying their ideas in order to create more ideas...... i am not an original thinker, i merelyu aggregate from my multiple sources, respect their privacy, keep their names private until they are ready to go public with all this, they have reputations to think about, i got none. just me and my red bicyle on a lonesome trail in the hills....

Sheila Tone said...

Wow, this thread is long.

Let me do a "find" for the term "alpha" as in, "It's her fault for trying to get with the alpha males!"

OK, I see Phi comparing a sophomore's romantic endeavors to drunken driving ...

dan said...

Sheila good to hear your voice here too. stay with us. for me, i am not blaming her for trying to get with the alpha makes.not blaming repeat not blaming. just trying to explain how it happened, rather since i don't know yet, tryign to find out how it happened, if she had anything to do with her own demise. but importnat to say i am not blaming her at all. please understand. btw here is fuill cnn transcript of bill cosby on bullying..... http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1004/13/lkl.01.html

Sheila Tone said...

"Caught the attention????? Maybe she initiated all this. Ever think about that? the media is not reporting the truth."

Initiated *what*? Like it's her fault for maybe flirting with a guy who obviously returned the attraction to some degree? That normally doesn't bring on this type of sh*tstorm.

And notice that the guys were *in on it,* those weasels.

She was outnumbered. It's as simple as that. We hear a lot about her enemies, but nothing about her friends. That's because she obviously didn't have any. Maybe a few people to talk to, maybe a few to sit with during lunch, but no real friends, not to the kind who fight on your side.

This kind of mess happens all the time *between groups.* When it's between groups, people don't kill themselves. But if you've got no one to fight on your side, you're toast.

Sheila Tone said...

"YES YES YES: RE: "Phoebe Prince could have been a sweet free-loving kid
unconscionably bullied to distraction by a bunch of rat bastard alphas,"


Nah, they weren't "alphas." The football captain and his girlfriend were, but there were others involved who seemed to do more, like the football captain's girlfriend's fat mean friend (Sharon Velasquez), and the not-football-captain guy girlfriend's fat mean friend (Ashley Longe). They were hangers-on and weasels. Popular people don't *have to* launch this sort of campaign.

I don't think Phoebe was any more promiscuous than the average girl at her school. It was just that she was new to the area and didn't have a clique of her own to protect her. So it was futile to try to compete. This same thing could have happened to virgin in the 1950s.

She thought that because she was pretty and nice, she'd be able to get a boyfriend. She thought being pretty gave her "dating market value." You guys think the same thing, so you really can't blame her.

dan said...

Sheila Tone, i might be wrong i often am...but re "Like it's her fault for maybe flirting with a guy who obviously returned the attraction to some degree? "

This was not flirting. Look, if she was a local girl, freshman, okay, she knew the guys from earlier yearse in middle school and local families, but she was NEW girl from ireland, fresh off the boat, a freshman, this was not FLIRTING or hooking up. When this is over, Sheila, i think we will find out that PP planned this out, set it all in motion, the Euro free love thing. In Ireland, it's cool. In S Hadley, for a new girl in town, no way. That's my point. and i hope i am wrong....

dan said...

Sheila re: "I don't think Phoebe was any more promiscuous than the average girl at her school." FACTS WILL SHOW OTHERWISE....

''It was just that she was new to the area and didn't have a clique of her own to protect her.'' NEW? SHE WAS FRESH OFF THE BOAT?

So it was futile to try to compete. This same thing could have happened to virgin in the 1950s. GOOD POINT. WELL SAID!

She thought that because she was pretty and nice, she'd be able to get a boyfriend. MUCH MORE THAN THIS. She thought being pretty gave her "dating market value." SHE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN ''DATING''. THIS IS DEEP.

then again, like i said, i might be wrong. your take?

Sheila Tone said...

"It seems pretty clear from the DA's investigation she got involved with some older boys who then turned their older harpy girlfriends on Phoebe when the relationships ended."

Not exactly. My theory is that they both had a little fling with her -- maybe during a fight with their girlfriends, maybe before they *had* those girlfriends. She probably wanted it to be more than they did. To them, she was just some expendable, eager-to-please sophomore they probably met at some party. Then the guys had to talk down about Phoebe to pacify their girlfriends' pride. The girlfriends' fat mean friends exacerbated the situation by stirring up the drama.

Phoebe's crime may not have been that she hooked up with the guys, so much as that she told others about it and wouldn't conveniently just disappear afterward. She probably expected thse guys to still be friendly and kept trying to talk to them.

dan said...

good points, Sheila.

PS: she was a freshman not a sophomore...is SHadley HS a three year or four year school? i believe she was freshman, if 3 year school then she was technically 1st year student of 3 year school, her bfs were a senior and a junior. my theory is they traded her and played with her for fun, maybe they met at a drunken party. that is key. HOW DID she first meet the senior? where? who introduced them? theories? I like having Sheila here.....DISH!

dan said...

and dope, what role did weed play in hook ups? any other drugs?

Sheila Tone said...

"SHE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN ''DATING''. THIS IS DEEP."

"...the Euro free love thing. In Ireland, it's cool. In S Hadley, for a new girl in town, no way."

Why do you think she wasn't interested in a relationship with those boys?

In my experience -- and I'm a lot older than Phoebe, so maybe it's expired -- white men in America do not turn on a woman for sleeping with them casually. The trouble begins when she expects something more. And if she'd just been a one-night-stand, the girlfriends wouldn't have cared much, for the same reason. The hostility is caused by the competition -- when she still expects some place in these guys' lives.

The way relationships work nowadays, girls are *expected* to have intimate physical contact (maybe not actual intercourse) with guys right away. *Then* the relationship may develop, or may not. The girl is not supposed to complain if it doesn't develop.

dan said...

''Why do you think she wasn't interested in a relationship with those boys?''

I don't think one way or the other on this. What i am concerned with is this: how did the relationship with senior stud muffin football star START? who initiated it? it does not make sense to me that a senior with a girlfriend who start "dating" a freshman, risking the wrath of his girl .......UNLESS.......

Sheila Tone said...

"and dope, what role did weed play in hook ups? any other drugs?"

Again, if they'd been drunk or stoned that would be average behavior at most high schools nowadays.

"HOW DID she first meet the senior? where? who introduced them? theories?"

I'd guess she probably got invited to an older kids' party because she was cute. She got there and the girls probably had nothing to do with her. But guys'll give you the time of day if you look good. So she ends up going off with some guy that maybe she was standing around a keg with. And she had no good friends, so no cock-blockers, and no spies to warn her that hey-he-has-a-girlfriend.

Yeah, I doubt she ever "dated" either of those guys. I'll bet they got together in some kind of hazy free-for-all environment.

Sheila Tone said...

"The latest bombshell: She was “a cutter”. She engaged in self-mutilation, a compulsive act performed to release emotional pain, anger, or anxiety. A severe mental disorder."

Eh, I'm still not impressed. Tell me she was hospitalized for it, then I'll be impressed. Otherwise, it's a fad among the "emo" and otherwise unpopular. It's touted as a kind of free self-induced therapy.

dan said...

another guy view:

Mickey says:

''This tacit acceptance of personal responsibility is truly disturbing. Ultimately Phoebe Prince was responsible for hanging herself. No one else. No one put a gun to her head. No one tied a rope. Her responsibility pure and simple.

The fact that she was mentally unbalanced puts her family and friends second in line in responsibility? Why didn’t they see the signs? Why didn’t they do anything?

All this other crap that people are throwing into the situation, alleged bullies, school officials allegedly doing nothing to stop it, is all just that: Crap.

Sadly, a rogue prosecutor with obvious emotional problems, with an an agenda of acting out those emotional problems on defendants, now seems hellbent on destroying the lives of a bunch of high school kids. Throw into the mix a bunch of actual bullies, people hellbent on lynching those kids, and you get a real disturbing story.

It’s sad to see what has become of America. On 9/11 a handful of terrorists scratch the surface of the American psyche and out pops racism, perpetual wars, laws which strip Americans of liberties they’ve enjoyed for nearly 250 years - a quarter millenium.

Now, some sad emotionally distraught teen, one of many, kills herself and the lynch mobs line up.

America is truly sick.''

Sheila Tone said...

"I look forward to either the NYT or the Globe breaking the media blackout of the circumstances that lead up to the bullying."

I don't think it's a media blackout. I think they don't have any more facts. That's because they don't have sources. If she'd had friends, they'd have sources.

People Magazine had an article this week on the cover, which I bought (hangs head in shame). They found a couple anonymous "friends" who didn't really have much to offer.

trumwill said...

Sheila,

The media has made reference to some friends. Her cotillion date, Sergio Loubriel has made some comments to the press. I also read somewhere that some friends helped escort her home some day(s) because of concerns for her safety. It seems likely that while she had friends, they were lower down the pecking order and socially weak. Friends in the lower echelons tend not to take bullets for other friends. Everybody understands this and no one takes offense.

What were they going to do, anyway? Tell administrators? Some reports suggest that they might have. Even if they didn't, though, it would be because they knew it would not improve Phoebe's situation. They didn't tell administrators for the same reason that Phoebe didn't and for the same reason that I didn't go to administrators about the kids that picked on me.

Sheila Tone said...

Hey, does anyone know why her family moved to the States? I suspect financial troubles caused the need to live near other family, but I can't remember where I got that idea.

Sheila Tone said...

"It seems likely that while she had friends, they were lower down the pecking order and socially weak. Friends in the lower echelons tend not to take bullets for other friends."

Well, right, that was my point and why I put quotes around "friends." Friends are really supposed to be allies. If they can't afford to fight on your side, they're worse than useless.

There was a picture of Phoebe and one female "friend" in the People article. Not trying to be catty here, but ... let's just say the "friend" did NOT look like someone the captain of the football team would hook up with.

And "friends" in that position are unlikely to feel much sympathy for someone in Phoebe's position, for obvious reasons.

trumwill said...

I have to disagree with you there. Friends can be friends even if they don't always "have your back". It was kind of a mutually understood thing among my friends that we stayed the hell out of their conflicts when they were outmatched. The alternative was to merely become another target. That might be a worthwhile price to pay... except that it wouldn't actually accomplish anything.

But I wouldn't say they are worthless. I don't know how I would have made it though junior high without them!

Incidentally, by the 8th grade I had "friends" that were far more useful. Feared if not popular. They afforded me a bit of protection in return for homework answers and help. Those are the ones I would put the quotes around, though they were in the end very helpful. Fewer people wanted to mess with me knowing that I knew them.

It's one of the reasons why the "she did something immoral to become more popular" doesn't hold much weight for me. So did I. The main difference is that my efforts were moderately successful.

dan said...

Shocker: Drudge report:

http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2010/04/shocker-drudge-report-phoebe-prince.html

Phoebe Prince made 9 earlier suicide attempts in Ireland, bullying case takes new turn
Sources within the South Hadley education community now tell this blog that Phoebe Prince had tried 8 times while living in Ireland to kill herself...... and that beyond the cutting incidents, Phoebe had 1 week prior to her 2nd suicide attempt in Massachuseets (the 2nd was her final one on 1/14) she had showed up to school covered in cigarette burns.

Supposedly the school had contacted the mother numerous times to get Phoebe professional help and they supposedly also contacted DSS to get help....... The
sources can be trusted. National wire services AP and Reuters and New York Times will dish the news tomorrow. Developing...

Poor Phoebe.....was she perhaps mentally ill? Observerse are now fairly certain that she was molested and believe it was long term and that it was possibly incestual.

Were the parents in denial? or were they protecting the abuser out of fear of hurting the family?

did anyone protect this girl from her own self?

trumwill said...

Dan, I can't find it on the Drudge Report. Do you have a link (other than to your blog?)

dan said...

trumwill, it's NOT on Drudge Report yet. I am predicting that it will be as soon as he reads the email i sent him......it's on the NYTimes site too now....i have emailed this shocker, from a very reliable source, to 100 media outlets just now. it's up to them now to investigate and confirm the sources quotes to me. they are not going to believe or trust a loose cannon like me, and that's okay. My job was just to be a water boy here, carrying the truth to the media. they will confirm my quotes, watch, it will be in the news nationwide one day from now.....developing...Boston Globe and Boston Herald reporters also know this now...it's up to them to report and confirm quotes....my work is done here....over and out....Sad day in reporterville!

trumwill said...

Dan, I find it unlikely that even The Drudge Report (much less a mainstream news organization) will run a story from someone they don't know of citing unnamed sources. It's third-hand without any knowledge of what the source is in a position to actually know. When you contacted TDR, did you offer to put Drudge (or whoever) in touch with your sources?

dan said...

http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2010/04/phoebe-prince-attempted-suicide-8-times.html

just got off phone with national reporter, confirming now. soon.

Phoebe Prince attempted suicide 8 times previously to Jan. 14 suicide -- sources say, media trying to confirm now
See blog post below for details. Just got a call from a top national reporter covering this sad story and this reporter is now going to try to confirm what my sources told me. I hope I am wrong. God, I hope I am wrong here. But watch. Drudge is primed to deliver front page tomorrow on this, as is national media. If true, and I cannot confirm that what my sources told me is true, but I trust them as they obviously trust me, the case will be blown out of the water sky high! Shocking developments, as they say. Still, the bullies must be held accountable, and justice must prevail. I am on the side of the angels here, and I believe that Phoebe, for all her shortcomings, was an angel, too. To teach us empathy and compassion.

Deliver the goods, national media. I am merely the water boy here.

dan said...

''When you contacted TDR, did you offer to put Drudge (or whoever) in touch with your sources?''

Good question, sir! No, I cannot divlge my source nor will i ever divulge his/her name. But i know they told me truth. They are on the side of angels. I know it. What i told Drudge and the top natl reporter i jsut spoke with on phone from my cave in Taiwan here is this: i cannot tell you name of sources. your job is to go out and to some legwork, and confirm what my blog says, i will wait patiently. No hurry. PP is dead. I am in no rush. But i sure this is way to go. My sources would not lie to me. The papers can confirm this it's easy. Just ask lawyers and principal and police chief. They know. Easy as pie. Thanks to this chat room here for giving me support when most of the blogosphere told me to eff off. SIGH

trumwill said...

The problem for them is going to be that they are going to have to try to find somebody that's willing to do what your contact is not. That may not be possible even if your story is entirely accurate (and I'm not saying it's not - as I've said pretty regular I find mental problems on her part to be quite possible).

danbloom said...

''The problem for them is going to be that they are going to have to try to find somebody that's willing to do what your contact is not''.

i got time. we all got time. let the media confirm what i have laid out for them to confirm based on my sources.....this is the ''new journalism''...my sources trust me more than media....and as water boy to media, i trust everyone..... here is inside skinny: My sources told me:

"Just please never reveal your source no matter what. Even if there was monetrary gains for me, I am not interested in my identity being known for that leak of information. No worries though, I do trust you!
Keep me posted."

See? Real people who really care about truth and justice. I will never reveal his.her.their names.

dan said...

Danny......., my sources told me......a teacher ......in South Hadley .......said that he/she/and everyone there in the teacher community there ''knows'' that Phoebe had tried 8 times while living in Ireland to kill herself and that beyond cutting, .........Phoebe had 1 week prior to her 2nd suicide attempt in Mass (the 2nd was her final on 1/14) ........she had showed up to school covered in cigarette burns........
Supposedly the school had contacted the mother numerous times to get Phoebe professional help and they supposedly also contacted DSS to get help.......
Phoebe should have been protected by the school.......... I would just hate the think that the school failed her,....... her mother failed her and DSS didn't do it's job either..........
You can use this information in your blog,...... but you cannot use my name please ......or it will hurt my friend immensely as she/he told me in trust ... the same that I tell you........
Poor Phoebe.....was she perhaps mentally ill? .....I am fairly certain that she was molested ......and I believe it was long term and that it was possibly incestual. ......Were the parents in denial? ......or were they protecting the abuser out of fear of hurting the family?......
.....did anyone protect this girl from her own self?......
All the more reason I will go to great lengths for her. .......

trumwill said...

Dan, to be clear I am not saying that I should betray your sources. I am merely saying that the media can't do its job if no one trusts the media enough to talk to it. That doesn't mean that your source should talk to the media. Just that it's tough to expect them to get the story when no one is willing to give it to them.

taiwan77 said...

you are so right, trumwill. re

''I am merely saying that the media can't do its job if no one trusts the media enough to talk to it. That doesn't mean that your source should talk to the media. Just that it's tough to expect them to get the story when no one is willing to give it to them.''

We are now entering the difficult stages. I told the reporter the balls in your court now, try to confirm what i told you, via my sources, if you can confirm, you got a story, print it, if cannot confirm yet, just wait....there is no hurry..the trial will take a long time.....the truth will out soon...maybe tomorrow....my middle name is "patience" -- that's how i got into this business in the first place.....truth always take time.....