It has become among the most bitter stories of the spring as indictment has come down to nine teenagers accused of harassing and bullying Phoebe Prince, a student at South Hadley HS in Massachusetts, to the point that she killed herself. Local media coverage has been universally condemnatory toward not just the students but the school, local parents - indeed, blame has been assigned to virtually everyone except the nine students indicted.
The mother of one of the accused has come out in defense of her daughter by asserting that Prince was no innocent victim but had engaged in harsh exchanges with others. It is a rare story that hasn't toed the line that the school, the parents, basically everyone except the nine teens indicted is as guilty of killing Phoebe Prince as though they'd pulled the trigger themselves.
The tragedy has also led to a lot of commentary about anti-bullying laws, but in basically advocating such laws the media, prosecutors, et al have refused to consider a pertinent question - just what business is it of government, state or local, to police individual relationships between high school students?
It's worth asking because the premise here is fundamentally wrong - what is being done is the penumbra of guilt has been spread across what amounts to entire groups. Phoebe Princed killed herself - why is this an indictment of a group of others instead of the individuals involved in this specific incident? Why is this something that prosecutors have to meddle in instead of letting the school itself handle it - or better yet, the individual students themselves?
When government meddles in something best left to individuals, nothing good ever comes of it. A great many of us have been bullied in high school in our youth, and it is a safe bet no one benefitted from anything beyond handling it ourselves and ultimately outgrowing it.
Making what amounts to a state crime of this can't possibly benefit anyone, because government is meddling where it has no business - in the individual relationships of individual persons.