Laura Lynn Edwardson (not exactly an inspired title, but come on, cut me some slack!)

Well, OK, it’s a relatively non sequitur video, but it’s quite nice to kick off the day with some iconic pop. Love to all as usual. And love to me, which is unusual. I dedicated this song to my first wife, which is another story.

So – enough with the prevarication, and straight into some nonsense. This is a long post today, so make yourself comfortable.

A few days ago I received this comment.

‘I have just finished reading your blogs. I was Norm Todd’s girlfriend the past 3 years and tried to help Amanda through a lot of difficulties. I can answer all of your questions honestly. I find that on the one hand I admire your “earnest” search for the truth beneath the public story, but I loathe the idea that I would be trying to help someone understand the story that had any ill interest in learning about it. I haven’t quite decided yet if your interest to understand is genuine or for ulterior motives?
Anyways, I can speak to everything you have questioned but in no way wish it to be publicly posted or my opinion shared by name, relationship or identity.’

First thing to notice? Doesn’t anybody learn? DO NOT TRUST ANYONE ON THE INTERNET. And yes, that includes me. However, I did make an attempt to retain a tiny smidgeon of trust and not give her identity away, but the absolute delusional tripe she has come out with since just – well, you’ll see.

My first thought was that this would be like an information goldmine. Norm Todd’s girlfriend! How good is that? But my initial joy was short-lived, as it only took a couple of days to realise that she, just like so many other people connected to the Todds, was demented and delusional and possibly even worse – menopausal. And folks, let me tell you there’s nothing more demented or delusional than menopausal women.

So on with my first communication.

Laura,

Thanks for your comment. It’s come as a shock, mainly because I thought the story was over now.

First things first: I can’t trust you, but don’t take that as an offence. There are a lot of nutcases who play games, and the Internet teaches paranoia. But I will remain open to what you have to say.

I’m not certain about how you feel about me. The blog tends to veer from sensible to ridiculous, depending on my mood. Some of the things I’ve said have been deliberately provocative, trying to evoke a response from people telling me not to be mad, and to provide an answer.

Amanda’s story seems to be very convoluted. The press have reported so many odd things – Kody Maxson, the Capper Community, BlogTV and so on – and various accounts have been contradictory. As I think I said in the blog, this is a lot to do with me trying to understand, and without a solution, it’s become like an obsession.

I came to the story by accident, and was shocked. Like everyone else, I thought it was a tragedy. But when all the comments and videos appeared, I decided I needed to research, and just got more and more confused.

I think you know many of my thoughts about all this. I’ve developed maybe an over-reaction to Carol Todd, but that’s just me. I simply cannot believe that she appears to have been so lackadaisical, but without true facts I’ve only had her personal remarks to go on – and I find them odd.

And all the other aspects of the story worry me – like kids thinking that suicide is a good idea. And I have dealt with kids who are extremely confused, hurt, and worried by the story – trying to come to terms with why their beloved icon has all these things being said about her. It’s a strange way for kids to learn about things like flashing and BlogTV.

I guess you have read things about me. That stems from a big mistake. I was being hounded by people, accused of being a killer, a pedophile, the stalker. So I decide that if I said yes, they might go away. I ‘confessed’ to child abuse on a massive, unbelievable scale, under the pseudonyms Father Christmas, The Pope, and Scout Leader – I thought they would see this as ridiculous. They didn’t. That did a lot of damage. You probably know I received death threats, but that has died down now.

I’m not sure what you mean by ulterior motives, but I can see where you’re coming from. I question this over and over again. Should I leave it to become a legend? Is it better to leave it as a legend? But time and time again I see the damage it is causing to some kids – the vulnerable and confused ones. In the UK, I sent a long letter warning our suicide charity – the Samaritans – to watch out in case the story took hold here. They were worried.

And, to a certain extent, I have my own private fights. Some of the Amanda Todd supporters are like rabid hyenas, full of hatred and malice towards anyone they perceive to be anti-Amanda. It’s quite worrying.

Plus there are so many other problems around this. I think I’ve mentioned just about everything in my blog.

But equally, I have to be careful about your motives.

Please write to me. I will keep things secret, especially your identity, but I may feel the need to put things into my blog – in a way that no-one will know about you. However, if you request that I make it all secret, I will do so. Just think before you act. Don’t tell me stuff if you don’t want to. Like I said before, trust on the Internet is a rarity. I could be telling you a load of old hogwash, but then again, my blog never tries to hide anything – apart from my name! But I think you can appreciate that was not only to protect me, but those around me.

Thanks for commenting. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards from ‘Philip’.

OK – maybe that was too long, but basically I’m giving you the full discussion. back came the reply.

I don’t trust you, but just to lay to rest some of your hypothesis and your misinformation I felt the need to respond to your blog.

Basically, what the public has seen and what those involved in her life know,  are two very different stories….you picked up on that obviously.
Anyways, the story line is not that complex, but what Amanda went through in the years before her suicide was very complex for her. Yes, like myself, her mother Carol was an educator and held academics etc in high esteem and yes, Amanda had learning disabilities and could not excel in school as she would have liked. She had very low self-esteem and was not able to apply old lessons to new situations. She was reaching out ( often to people she thought she could trust ) for true friends, finding very few. And yes, this guy whoever he was did “stalk” her online and even sent her pictures to her teachers at the second school she was at. Her parents tried to have him tracked down by police unsuccessfully. If she were my daughter, she would not have been allowed on facebook or computer for years…seriously, it was a big part of her downfall, being a constant part of the cyber world slander.
She had a beautiful side and a side that had a lot of learning to do…she lashed out at people that hurt her causing them to lash back. She reached out for attention and love in the wrong ways. She craved the limelight, and no you did not see her sing well on you tube, but boy that girl could sing. She was in a Music Academy that her dad took her to and performed to a wowed crowd months before her death. She became agoraphobic in her later months, her world shrank. When at her dad’s, he was very very strict and tried everything to “control her”. It backfired. She was out of control and we spent many nights trying to talk with her…trying to teach her how to handle herself with self respect. Mistakes in parenting were made mainly in the sense that Carol and Norm did not know how to handle her or to give her what she needed. Her dad is old school and a “tough no nonsense parent”, but I think he lacked the ability to nurture and support her along with the “tough love” approach. Both parents allowed her too much cell phone and laptop/facebook time. Both parents accepted her wild ways as part of being a teenager. I’m not sure that they had the faith in her that she needed them to…they assumed she would make bad choices. Sadly, she was starting to grow up and make better choices. Despite Carol’s unusual response to the death of her daughter ( yes, she found her dead in her bedroom ), Carol was always a devoted mom. I think her inability to connect emotionally with the death of her daughter is likely akin to her inability to connect emotionally with her while she was living. Her reaction or lack of it is part of the stoism she learned in her tough adopted traditional Chinese family – work hard, really hard, succeed, don’t bring shame to the family etc.. Norm was an “absent” father much of the time and could get very “angry” with her, but he did love his daughter, and no, there was not anything “creepy” or “strange” going on in their father/daughter relationship.
Anyways, not much more to say but that you can’t pigeon hole people into all or nothing, black and white roles…most have good qualities and bad, strengths and weaknesses…The Todds had all of these too. They were just parents who were unable to pass on to their daughter things that they never received growing up themselves. They did their best. Amanda was a tough girl to manage, strong but sensitive, sweet but vengeful, thoughtful but careless…
Anyways, that’s it…take what you will from this.
Well, I’ll give her points for not trusting me. Heck, I don’t even trust me. But this response is pony, basically. Low self-esteem, stalker, she became agoraphobic – what a load of old tosh. But parts of it are interesting, and I have already hinted at a lot of it – that Carol Todd saw Amanda as a bit of a failure and so on. But there are some odd disparities in all this – Norm was an ‘absent’ father, yet it was him who Amanda lived with in 2010/2011? Anyway, make of it what you will. Here is my reply.
Laura,

Thank you for that reply.

If you’ve read my blog, you’ll see that I like to go as far as I possibly can in researching detail, so excuse me if you think I’m pressing too much. If you don’t want to reply, please let me know, but I have so many questions I need to ask.

I’m not a well-educated person when it comes to childhood problems, but I have hinted at a version of Aspergers or autism afflicting Amanda. Am I far off? I have also likened her to a child in a teen body – would that be true?

You seem to support one of my hypotheses – that Amanda might have seen herself as a disappointment, which is a crying shame.

I’m confused by the low self-esteem aspect you write about. I can sort of understand, but it doesn’t really tie in with Amanda’s willingness to go online so much. I always imagined that people with low self-esteem would be shrinking violets – not being online so much. However, I can also see why online feedback would fill a void.

I find the ‘stalker’ element confusing. I assume that the police did turn up on December 23rd 2010, but I can’t understand why she was still online after that. It doesn’t make sense. She simply continued doing what she did. If she was afraid of a stalker, wouldn’t she stop? I just don’t get it.

Did it all really start at 12? I have a date of December 5th for one flash, and she appears to imply that her friends found the picture. But, having said that she knew that her picture was viral on December 5th, she’s getting her BlogTV ban on December 17th. There’s no mention of a stalker. And I am astonished that she refers to herself as a slut, even then.

In the flash episode where her friend is with her (I assume that to be Sophie, Shania or perhaps Shylah) was that much earlier? I’m estimating it was from October/November 2010. If it is true that she was 12 when it all started, then that makes her career even longer.

But the worse videos seem to be from much later. I can’t work that out. Was it all in 2010? It seems to have continued. And all the isabella100555 stuff just seems to be too bizarre – videos of smoking weed and so on.

I have heard many rumours about the stalker, and a few names chucked in, but his actions are, according to some, those of what is called a hero. Do you understand how that works? It’s complicated, but it entails a shaming technique to get someone to stop what they are doing, not to continue. And the thing that undermines the stalker story is that she continues doing what she does so openly.

Why did Amanda choose to continue even after the cops came? Or is that untrue?

How much blame is apportioned to Brandon Reid? It worries me that this kid might be worried about it. As an aside, it would be great if someone could get in touch with him and explain that it was not his fault. Surely, he would benefit from some sort of counseling?

If Carol is not stupid, why was there no effort to stop the weed-smoking and the rest? That is what puzzles me. And the remarks about being the mother of a rockstar are odd, don’t you think?

Did Carol know about the videos? If she did, did she not understand that the more publicity Amanda gets, the more those videos are spread around? Did she not understand the conflict that would arise?

Why did Carol turn it into an anti-bullying campaign, but choose to very much ignore the online behaviour story, which seems to be more important? Visitors to my blog are far more flabbergasted by the online stuff, or the suicide ideation, than they ever are by the bullying.

As you can see, I’m still having problems understanding. Is Carol very self-aware? Does she know that her daughter’s name is being dragged through the mud virtually everywhere, and that she has, for many people, simply become some sort of joke?
Thanks for getting in touch.
I hope you can see that through my blog, I have actually achieved some positive things – the deletion of Amanda’s video from cameracaptures is one. And the screen captures of Amanda’s online conversations were a world exclusive – they only exist on my blog.
The reason for some of the more provocative statements was to elicit a response – like I have from you. Very early on, I contacted Carol Todd and asked her to be more truthful. I also had a very brief encounter with Norm.
I will tidy up the blog at some point, and remove the claims. But hardly anyone reads them, even though I get 3000 visits a day.
Like I said – if you do not want to answer, please just let me know, and I won’t pester you again.
btw – I will do everything to ensure that you have secrecy. Having said that, I’ll say what I say to everyone – if you get involved with complete strangers online, for Christ’s sake be more private. I know where you are, where you’ve worked (Thomas Haney), how old you are, the works.  This confirms that you are not just some random person getting in touch, but be more careful. You are at no risk from me.

Regards, Philip.

Well – maybe I am a bit mean. I would have given her complete secrecy if she hadn’t turned out to be such an idiot. This was her response.
Hi Philip – as I said, we will let it go for now. It is unsettling to me that you do follow this so closely and with so many details…too unsettling for me….not sure where you are coming from….hopefully you’re doing good things out there in the world Philip.
Amanda made a lot of bad choices, but just couldn’t stay out of the limelight – good or bad – that is mental illness, she had mental illness and that is where the focus needs to be…that is where I put my effort in youth mental health, not anti-bullying. If a kid is healthy, they can handle the bullying or any other crap that comes their way. The Social support systems for messed up youth are overburdened…parents gotta do their jobs!! period.Take care.
Laura.
I interpret this as ‘oops, he knows more than I thought’. However, no-one ever lets Philip ‘go for now’. LOL. Other quick responses from me.
Laura – thanks for getting in touch.

I understand that it must be difficult to write about all this, so I won’t pry any further.

I realise that you are suspicious – getting hold of the screen captures was very odd indeed, but it kind of shows just how well-known Amanda was.

The onward continuation of the blog has many reasons, but one of them is that this story will never really finish. Amanda has achieved a level of ‘fame’ that will remain for years.

But enough of that.

Take care. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Be kind. Be nice. That’s the best most of us can do.

Regards, Philip.

(For a minute there, I almost sound nice. But not for long!).
Laura – I have been asked to do a ‘Norm’ post, so it will be published tomorrow. Your comment and emails will be used in the post, but in such a way that your identity will be protected.

If you have any real objections, then get back to me quickly. There is hardly any information concerning Norm, so there’s not much to say. If I don’t mention him, people accuse me of being anti-women.

Thanks.

Laura responds.
Philip – I don’t feel that I have said anything incriminating against Norm – although I would appreciate your caution in showing my perspective as I am still dating him and he would likely be offended with my writing to you, not what I have said, just that I have shared period. Anyways, thank you for asking before your blog…again, anonymous is good, but yes, go ahead and speak to the info I gave you.
Laura.
My response.
I have put my spin on it, as usual. I made remarks about him today, and the next post will go out tomorrow. The first post might have been a bit harsh, tomorrow’s post…..well, I defend and attack, so I’m not sure where we end up (the posts are written in advance and scheduled, so it’s already been written, just not published). I did note that I thought it was a bit of a betrayal – but you will be able to read that tomorrow. I’m guessing he won’t read the blog, so not much to worry about there.

If you think it’s too much, let me know tomorrow at some point, and I will alter it. No-one ever reads it though. I got 4933 readers yesterday, and I’ll likely get over 5000 today, but 4000 of those are looking at one post – the one with the cameracaptures link. That’s the one that’s really bothered people. No-one’s interested in much else.

Regards, Philip.

Laura responds.
Well Philip, I too am a big believer in truth – I search for it and live it in most all of my daily encounters in life. I guess my quest to live truthfully has a much more positive spin on it than yours- I look for the good – for someone like yourself a pollyanna such as myself must be annoying. Likewise, it saddens me to suspect the conclusion that you are not as much about speaking the truth on your blog as about  “fame” “attention at all costs” – even if notorious, much like you say  Amanda and her mom are??? I think I see why the big obsession with Amanda and Carol, you crave their so called “fame” on the net. Anyways, this leads me to my original conclusion, that anything I pass your way in terms of honest corrective information is likely going to post too negatively for my stomach..for me, it is not a betrayal of Norm, Amanda or Carol the information I have sent you. I have spent many many months in question of how it all happened for Amanda and a truth of my own to understanding it…I know Norm has spent many nights doing the same. In 7 months I have never posted publicly regarding Amanda, this has been for Norm and I a very private journey, and while I could never go down the public road that Carol has, we all have our way of coping with Amanda’s death…I will say, it has been difficult for many people to understand Carol’s approach and like you say, if it were one of my own children, I would be despondent for weeks, maybe even months. As it was, I loved Amanda too and was in a pretty dark place after her passing for many weeks. Anyways, that’s all…don’t have too much fun at this “bumpkin’s” or Norm’s expense.Thanks.
Laura.
I respond.
Hello Laura! I’m interested that you look for truth and honesty, and there really hasn’t been much about it in this story. People are still in denial about what Amanda really did, and the consequences are appalling. If you look deeply, like I do, you will see the huge amounts of problems caused by all this – the suicide ideation, the online hatred, the vendettas, the death threats and Carol’s ridiculous parenting methods as espoused on her blog (basically, let them do what they please). Don’t forget – it was through me that the cameracaptures video was taken down; parents have written to me to thank me for the exposure of online dangers. I was the first to break the story of the Capper community. And the screen caps are world exclusives. Thanks to me, the dark side has been shown, and people have been shown how to escape it. I feel proud of some of my achievements.

Pollyanna’s don’t annoy me – people who don’t tell the truth, or take no action annoy me.

I don’t crave fame. If I did, I would tell people who I am. 5905 people came to the blog yesterday, and most of them were for a good cause. I only expected 100 a day. The ‘fame’ is a burden, because I have some responsibility.

Most people are pretty fed up with the Amanda Todd story, and those who are interested are only looking for salacious gossip. I can tell you that a majority of people coming to my blog are using search terms like ‘amanda todd flash’ or ‘amanda todd nude’. This is sad. I keep trying to get this across to people – that Amanda is being remembered for all the wrong reasons, but no-one bothers.

People reach their own conclusions about Amanda. The posts that are anti-Amanda are criticised – people are much more interested in Carol, parenting, and the perils of the Internet.

I am not a Pollyanna – it is quite obvious that Carol love the publicity, and she has tried to maintain it at all costs (even a cookbook, at one stage) and her campaign to win ‘Me to We’ by multi-voting has brought her a lot of antipathy. If you watch her responses, she only says what she deems fit at the time – from the ‘one photo’ originally, to the video link. And you have to ask how she ignored the plaintive ‘I need someone’ in the video, and admitted to not even asking. That is bizarre.

And of course, you know my theory – Carol was quite glad to see the back of it, it was a weight off her mind.

What will you make of today’s post? We’ll see.

If you hate what I’m saying, then comment on the blog. My ‘About’ does say it should be a dialogue, not a diatribe. The real truth is always more valuable than a legend, especially in this case.

and then.
Just a quick couple of questions: the police arrived at 4 am on December 23rd 2010. That would have surely frightened most people off. However, Amanda is online again January 4th, communicating with her friends in the Capper community; she’s online with Shylah January 12th; and her other isabella100555 (and other) escapades continue, and she ends up with two more channels on YouTube, all along the ‘I’m Amanda, look at me!’ lines. Surely this undermines the frightening stalker story? You really need to find out what ‘heroes’ do, and how they have changed their tactics. And you do know that the rumoured Facebook page was put there by Amanda, don’t you?

You talk of agoraphobia, yet we see the quad bike video, her friend Cassidy speaks of Amanda being out at weekends partying with Shania and company, we have pictures of her with Cole Rentiers and Shania and Sophie, Brandon, Jessica and Quinn – none of it fits in. Even Carol talks about Amanda being in the back of beyond in Surrey one night, when caring mother has simply gone to bed without worrying where Amanda is.

The low self-esteem, when according to you she can perform brilliantly in front of audiences? With agoraphobia as well. And she constantly advertises herself. People with low self esteem don’t dedicate YouTube channels to themselves.

Do you see why people think there are some lies going on here – big ones? Now who is it, and why?

You and I can swop information. Why? Because I believe that maybe I can fill in some gaps that might answer some of your own questions. If you think I’m totally dreadful, bear in mind that, however much I was provoked, I steered clear of the worst Amanda pictures.

Mostly, the stalker question enters into it. I think I know how and why it happened – 4chan boys at their worst, but trying to be White Knights. But then I suspect that Amanda knew what the game was, as did Carol – it just provided an excuse to turn it into a predator story.

Meanwhile – look at the Jessi Slaughter case. And Megan Meier. Or not. It’s up to you.

And Laura responds.
Thank you for honoring your word regarding my identity…and appreciate the honest post.
Laura.
OK – all this might be too much – and we’re not at the end of the conversation. Tune in for a continuation tomorrow. Or not. It’s up to you.

5 thoughts on “Laura Lynn Edwardson (not exactly an inspired title, but come on, cut me some slack!)

    • If you have followed the story closely, you will know that there is a picture of Amanda posing in red underwear. To me, this picture looks heavily photoshopped, but it appeared quite regularly as an example of what Amanda put online. I asked questions about the picture, and was told several times that it was one she used as a profile picture. However, I chose to leave it out of my blog as I couldn’t be 100% certain that it wasn’t a malicious attempt to make her look worse. When I made further enquiries, it was implied that she had her own Facebook page which was used as a sort of fan page to accompany her activities as isabella100555 and others. It was this Facebook page which, when discovered, she said had been constructed by a stalker. When I have gathered evidence, I like to stick to hard facts before I say something for certain. Although several separate sources said that the Facebook page was hers, and that the picture was genuine, I still couldn’t be sure, and I had no way to defend what I would say. So for now, I will say that she did have her own ‘special’ Facebook page with her own ‘special’ profile picture, which was possibly attributed to a stalker, but I have no evidence to verify it. Does that make sense?
      Thanks for staying with this, and thanks for asking the question.

  1. makes complete sense!! thank you for answering! im still very much into this blog 🙂 thanks for continueing regardless of some negative nellys haveto say

  2. First off I apologize for the very late reply/necro
    While I generally agree with your main points throughout, I think your reasoning re:agoraphobia etc. is weak on 2 points.

    1. The examples you cite all seem to be well before everything came apart. As you’ve pointed out in other posts, there was likely always some background noise of criticism, shame, feeling of disappointment, etc. However it’s pretty clear that reached a tilting point at some juncture. You’ve also touched on this with glowsticks, bf revenge, and/or her outing friends to the police (and their retaliation).
    Once the other shoe dropped, her world came crashing down… but up to that point, she would have been generally naive of that tipping point and the seriousness of those impending consequences.
    It’s hard for me to imagine somebody that isolated (even from her immediate family) with that much vitriol persistently targeted at them over a time period of at least 6 months to not have serious social anxiety issues.. whether we want to call it agoraphobia or whatever.

    2. I don’t believe internet activity precludes lack of self confidence. Particularly unhealthy internet activity. Particularly wanton and desperate cries for attention and acceptance, even if it’s through such a terrible community. Everything about her screams self-confidence issues to me.
    It’s hard to get a read on her father, but given divorce and her mother’s complete apathy she probably had very serious acceptance issues. And it shows in her poor choice of friends, attention-seeking activities, etc.
    It’s not a mistake that her final plea was online. It’s not a mistake that in it she begged forgiveness from her mother. And it’s not a mistake that her mother admits to having done nothing in response. And it’s not a mistake that she killed herself after that plea went unanswered.
    Once you see how that went down, I can comprehend why Laura approaches it as rather fatalistic/predetermined. They could have intervened hardcore… but if they gave a damn in the first place, she probably wouldn’t have gone online seeking men’s attention and acceptance in the first place. Her mother comes off as devoid of any parent-child empathy, and even the father comes off as rather disingenuous in the one video I could find. Seemed more like crocodile tears.

    I don’t mean to make this sound like she’s a pure victim again. Other children have overcome worse situations. But the whole thing really is just… terribly sad.
    In some ways I think you’re too harsh on Laura. It’s natural that she will rationalize it. Reading this reminds me vividly of a terribly amazing event on a 1950s tv show This is Your Life (I’ll put a note at the bottom on this if you care to indulge my tangents)
    She shouldn’t be expected to be an objective observer by the public, media, police, or anyone. Nor am I sure how culpable I can hold her for the gross failures of Amanda’s parents just because she was dating one at the time.
    The media deserves more criticism than anyone. It’s their job to look at the facts and see the blatant misinfo. They should know better than to reprint everything Carol feeds them carte blanche. If they had a shred of decency, at least.
    The parents deserve a great deal of scrutiny, and the other adults in her life (incl Laura) to a lesser extent, but I’m more interested in *understanding* them than bashing. And I don’t mean “understand” in the empathetic therapist sense, but more in a prescriptive “how can we diagnose this as a society” sense. Effective solutions require understanding what happened first and foremost.
    And for that, I thank you for this exhaustive and exploratory blog.

    tangents – On “This is Your Life” they would have a guest (usually a celebrity), and then narrate their life bringing in surprise people — grade school teachers, professors, associates, etc. Often people they hadn’t seen in decades but had played a role in shaping their life.
    In this episode the guest subject was a Japanese Christian Minister from Hiroshima, and his main goal was to raise money for civilians whose faces were disfigured. The surprise guest they brought in was the bombadier from the Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb. Not only did the Japanese Minister not know this, but neither was the bombadier informed of what was planned — he apparently ran away and they found him at a bar down the street.
    I abhor that we used atomic bombs on civilians as a negotiating tool for a war that was already over. I abhor how misinformation and excuses are taught in schools similar to how the media has spun Amanda Todd’s tragic story to fit a convenient and compelling narrative that sells to their target audiences. But I find myself feeling sympathy for that bombadier and for
    Surprisingly you can still find this episode on youtube.

    • Thanks for commenting. I’ll try to respond, though at this point I must admit I’ve forgotten half of what I’ve written and when I wrote it.
      One of the main problems is lack of any definite facts, and it’s made worse by a confused timeline – mainly around what happened in the last few months.
      Did the agoraphobia/social anxiety really exist? Is any of it true?

      You write: ‘It’s hard for me to imagine somebody that isolated (even from her immediate family) with that much vitriol persistently targeted at them over a time period of at least 6 months to not have serious social anxiety issues.. whether we want to call it agoraphobia or whatever’. But it doesn’t make sense. All the real vitriol happened around late 2010/early 2011. But there is absolutely no reflection of that in her actions. The December 2010 episode would have poleaxed most kids, but we know it barely registered (from her ‘no big deal’ response). Even the Austin Collins ambush didn’t really put her back that much, and she wasn’t flummoxed by Tyler Boo particularly.
      My guess is that she had that sort of toughness that comes from a kind of arrogance. My opinion is that her arrogance made her do the September video (let’s face it, it’s completely ‘look at me’) and the entire collapse of her existence didn’t come from the online vitriol, it came from the classic teen act – if everything else fails, commit suicide.
      Let me explain. Amanda couldn’t really comprehend what was going on. In her mind, she was the next Miley Cyrus, she was Miss Cool. Yet the rest of the world wasn’t reflecting that. She had run out of space. She couldn’t control the world. At that stage, anger and frustration takes over and strangely it’s taken out on oneself. Suicide is one of the best ways to say ‘Fuck you’.
      (If you want to compare, try the Rehtaeh Parsons case. She lasted with a certain amount of troubled bravado, and her ‘Fuck you’ to her boyfriend was to asphyxiate herself).
      You then write about self-confidence. That’s a doozy. I flip between ‘Amanda was looking for lurve’ and ‘Amanda was a show-off’. I have come down on the ‘show-off’, and I don’t believe in the ‘all show-offs have self-esteem issues’.
      ‘It’s hard to get a read on her father’ Hmmm…I would love to implicate him in some way, but basically I think he is just a dumbass. When kids (especially young girls) go off the rails, there is always an urge to find a reason and fathers are close to the top of the list of suspects.
      ‘but given divorce and her mother’s complete apathy she probably had very serious acceptance issues’ Basically, she burned her bridges too much.
      Maybe I should have cultivated Laura a bit more. However, my opinion was that Laura wanted the myth of poor, innocent Amanda to win out. Neither Laura nor Carol ever want to admit that it all happened on their watch.
      ‘They could have intervened hardcore…’ I’m not so sure of that. Again, I have a pendulum swing from blaming parents to blaming Amanda. I feel that Amanda was a tough, manipulative kid (kids are geniuses at that) and would have ducked any intervention (like going to live with papa when mama got tough).

      ‘but if they gave a damn in the first place, she probably wouldn’t have gone online seeking men’s attention and acceptance in the first place.’ 50/50. Again, sometimes I feel that nothing less than prison would have stopped Amanda. What I do think, though, is that parental reaction post-2010 made it worse.
      ‘Her mother comes off as devoid of any parent-child empathy’ – can’t argue with that.

      ‘But the whole thing really is just… terribly sad.’ True.

      ‘The media deserves more criticism than anyone.’ It’s a bit too late. Amanda has become an icon. As it stands, her story has become a fairy tale to frighten kids. The one thing that has angered me most, though, is that the effect of parental influences has been so ignored. It doesn’t fuss me if Amanda had a daily show from the age of 9, jacked up at the age of 10, whatever. But the deliberate avoidance of any attempt by anyone to analyse the whole story is anoying to say the least.

      ‘The parents deserve a great deal of scrutiny’….’interested in *understanding*’…’how can we diagnose this as a society” sense. Effective solutions require understanding what happened first and foremost.’
      I kick myself for not having done a better job in this blog. But one thing did stand out – nobody really wants to analyse it.
      The people who concern themselves with this kind of story are too entrenched in their own beliefs to be able to stand back and take a proper look. There is a huge innate belief in most people that a) all kids are innocent and b) all girls are even more innocent. Nobody really wants to acknowledge that kids are having sex, nobody really wants to see what’s going on online unless they can couch it in terms of pornography and perversion. So the Todd story will just enter the myths of history.

      btw – as you like tangents – try the story of Dawn-Marie Wesley.

      Laters!

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