Monday, May 15, 2017

Someone Has To Be A Bad Example

Last week, a  female student (let's call her Tootie) at College Park High School in The Woodlands, Texas was arrested for possessing and allegedly threatening to disseminate the photos another girl (we shall call her Eloise), also a student at College Park.  As a result, Tootie could have been charged with a felony for possessing child pornography because Eloise is 17 and a minor.  However,"because of the growing trend of young people in Texas taking and sharing nude photos – sometimes without the consent of the person depicted in the photo – state lawmakers in 2011 created a misdemeanor charge called 'electronic transmission of certain visual material depicting minor,' or 'sexting,'"  of Tootie faces the Class B misdemeanor charge of electronic transmission of certain visual material depicting minor. The misdemeanor charge carries the possibility of up to six months in jail and a possible $2,000 fine if convicted.  I have no doubt that there was the usual victim shaming saying that Eloise either took, or allowed others to take the pictures, so she shouldn't be complaining abut some one sending them out. Then there are others that want to form a posse and distribute some good ol' fashioned frontier justice at the end of a rope.  Some sit back and pretend not to care, and others that tote the company line saying, "we need to let the investigation play out."  As for me, I want the investigators to be aggressive, but objective.  I want no stone left unturned, and no loop hole left open, no witness left silent.  In the end, if the allegations prove to be true, then I would like to see the case brought to court, prosecuted, and if convicted, Tootie  should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  I'm talking about throwing the book at her, locking her up and throwing away the key, and letting her sit in jail for the entirety of her sentence.

Now there are those out there that may think I am too strict, harsh, or mean. That a harsh consequence would ruin the Tootie's life. That she just made a mistake That she didn't know what she was doing. It was just the one time. She's just a kid. It'll never happen again, cross her heart and hope to die and pinkie swear.  Okay, so what?  Many in society, especially those of us that have lost a loved one to bullying and harassment are sick and  tired of the same old excuses.  We are tired of seeing children buried and families torn apart while the bully gets a slap on the wrist, or less.  We are tired of seeing our child blamed for what happened to them.  We are tired of watching a tormentor walk free while we have only memories left to cling to.  We are tired of school administrators, police, and prosecutors not doing the job that our tax dollars pay them to do.  We are tired of seeing those same people take the path of least resistance rather than putting themselves on the line for the one's that can no longer speak for themselves.  Many will tell me they are sorry about my son, and that what happened to him should not happen to anyone, that some one should have to pay, but in the same breath tell me that Tootie should not have to be the one to suffer.

There are those that may ask "Why Tootie? Why make an example out of her?"  To that I reply, "Why not.  Some one has to be the example, so it might as well be Tootie." I am not talking about putting her head on a pike, or clapping her in the stocks, or even a public flogging.  I just want people to know that this type of behavior is harmful to people, and if you choose to partake, then there are consequences involved.  "But this is her first offense, " or perhaps it is just the first time that she was caught.  "But why Tootie? She has such a bright future in front of her.' So did Peyton, and Issac and David and so many others before people like Tootie and her ilk took it upon themselves to ruin their lives. Was Tootie sure that when she began her torment she checked to make sure that Eloise wasn't dealing with a mental health issue.  Because if she did, she might also realize that 90% of people that complete suicide are dealing with an underlying mental health issue, and that on average about 1 in 5 teens deal with some sort of mental health issue.  I am sure that those who hope for a lighter sentence feel that, "If Tootie gets probation, then she promises never ever to do it again,"  But I think that after six months behind bars, and two grand lighter in the wallet, Tootie would really think twice about threatening to send out some one's naked picture in a group text.

I am sure there are the bleeding hearts out there that don't want to see poor Tootie do any time in lock up or have to pay a penny out of pocket.  After all, she just made one little mistake, and she shouldn't have to pay for it with her future.  I guess Tootie should have thought about that before she held Eloise hostage with the threat to release the picture.  Eventually Tootie did send the picture to two male students. I am sure the bleeding hearts are thinking, "It's just one little picture, and she only sent it to two boys."  Just take a step back.  Did those two boys share it with any one?  Did they show the picture to others, or did they share the picture with others?  I don't care if they said they didn't, teens lie to save themselves all the time.  How do they know that right now, some 45 year old troll living in his mother's basement in New Jersey isn't enjoying that picture?  What if it was your daughter, or sister, or even you that the troll is thinking about?  Does that change your opinion? I guarantee that if it was my daughter's picture, I would be pushing for the felony charge, and not a misdemeanor, and the safest place for Tootie would be jail.

Eloisie, if you took the picture, or allowed it to be taken, don't think you are off the hook either.  If you did indeed take the picture, or allowed the picture to be taken, then you, my dear, are a dumbass. Seriously, what the hell were you thinking?  Did you take it for the special boy in your life?  Big mistake.  Do not trust a teenage boy, or any male of the human species. They will lie to you to get what they want, promise that it will be a special secret for just the two of you, and then brag to anyone they can find about what they did, and there is a good chance they will embellish what happened to look that much better in the eyes of their friends. Then they will send it to every one of his slimy little friends that asks for it to God only knows what as they stare at it.   Or maybe, you and your friends were playing around and thought it would be funny.  The picture was taken with the promise that it would be deleted, but oops, some one forgot to delete it, and the next thing you know, the picture is making its way around the world. You have to remember dear Eloise that in today's digital age, nothing is every really gone, and the delete button may not save you.

Tootie will appear in court for arraignment on May 31, 2017.  Let us hope that the judge, the District Attorney and all those involved decide that the time has come to hold Tootie accountable.  After all, someone has to be a bad example.

Author's Note- Last week people around the world were stunned and horrified by the story of eight year old Gabriel Taye of Cincinnati.  Gabriel took his life two days after another student, slammed him into a wall and knocked him unconscious then proceeded to dance around as though he scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.  The school district never bothered to tell his mother the truth until AFTER the police investigated.  The time to hold the bullies, and if necessary, their parents, and in this case, the school accountable has come.  For too long, too many have turned a blind eye to this, and the time of reckoning has come.  Sorry Tootie.