Note to Todd supporters: I know that most of you come here on a regular basis, and that none of you have the nerve to comment. However, even the most sceptical of you will see that this blog is pretty accurate – more accurate than a lot of you once thought. Some of the points I have raised in this review of the documentary are said – to a certain extent – to play Devil’s Advocate. One thing that all this has taught us – surely? – is to question everything.
To some degree, the quest for truth is over. The documentary supplied enough material to fill in a lot of gaps in people’s understanding, and we now know a rough, but much truer, storyline:
Amanda went online and got involved in unwise behaviour. Despite warnings, she continued. She was out of control, and perhaps the parents could have made a better job of looking after her. It could easily be argued that she was addicted to the Internet. Unfortunately, due to whatever circumstances (ADHD, mental illness, whatever), Amanda seemed to attract trouble by her own actions. To make things worse, the people she was involved with, both online and in the real world, made her life even more complicated. She became more unbalanced, more confused, and eventually caved in – not to the attentions of bullies, nor predators, but to a whole collection of problems.
End of story.
If you keep looking for revenge, or people to blame, you will never rest. Teachers? Parents? Bullies? Predators? Police? Amanda herself? Society? Portions of blame can be attached to them all, but excuses can also be attached – the teachers probably did what they could, the parents (teeth grinding) made efforts, the bullies were just dumb kids, we’re not even certain that any ‘predators’ existed, the police didn’t know what to do with yet another case of online shenanigans, Amanda could have exerted a bit more common sense, society is all of us . The arguing could go on forever.
It really is time to move on. Forget all the Amanda Todd this and Amanda Todd that nonsense. She isn’t an angel, and she’s not a devil. Support anti-bullying campaigns, scream out loud about the perils of the online world, for God’s sake educate parents. But just take it from me – it’s time to let Amanda rest.
I will provide my opinion of the Fifth Estate documentary. This might be the last proper entry in this blog. I know I’ve said it a hundred times before, but it finally looks like it’s over.
So – what can I say about the documentary?
I’m torn. Part of me thinks that it wasn’t bad. It certainly added a lot of detail, but most of that was already known to people who have read this blog. I have a mixture of pride and relief – pride in that I got most of the information correct, and relief that things that I stuck to right from the beginning, such as the lack of truth in the Kody Maxson story, seem to be justified. However, I did appear to miss out on the ‘Austin Collins’ page and the existence of Tyler Boo. I will say a bit more about that later. And I have to admit to some surprise in seeing Shylah Watson.
Let’s look a bit more closely.
Finally, we have the first overt reference to the BlogTV activities. At least now, any of those people who still believed that it was just a photo, or something done on a one-to-one basis will, perhaps, now acknowledge that it was what it was – a show for 150+ viewers. However, the story still sticks with the erroneous opinion that it was a photo posted to a porn site when, in fact, it was actually a video. I can only guess that this is designed to stop people looking for it.
However, the program didn’t mention any activity prior to the BlogTV event. I’m not sure why. Again, I can only guess they didn’t want to involve Bianca Nitoi. But this means that the reaction of Amanda’s peers seems to be over the top – words like ‘camwhore’ and ‘pornstar’ being applied, as portrayed in the program, for one photo, rather than for the entire amount of Amanda’s exposure.
Carol’s reaction to the blackmail warning on Christmas Eve is odd. This was obviously sent by someone who was worried. They are not going to reveal who they are, as it is likely to have been someone known to the capping community, and she seems to take it as some sort of threat – not advice. It’s surely at this point that Carol should have gone into total lockdown webcam-wise, yet we know that Amanda had no interruptions whatsoever, able to re-emerge as ‘Announcing Amanda’ within three weeks.
Now we need to piece together some more things. We can now see that there was no effort at all to even slightly control Amanda’s access to webcams. I must admit, I find this REALLY difficult to comprehend. Had it been a case of teenage secrecy, I would have made allowances for surreptitious goings on. As Carol Todd says at one point – she didn’t want webcam activity but Amanda ‘won’. Couldn’t there have been some sort of compromise? But we’ve done all that to death.
So let’s look at the other two new things. ‘Austin Collins’ and ‘Tyler Boo’. What is their relevance?
I must admit I doubted the fake Facebook profile story, and it is one thing that I got wrong, suspecting that Amanda might have made her own Facebook page. But what was it all about?
OK. It wasn’t part of a blackmail set-up. This was someone who wanted to start a ‘shitfest’. As always, it’s best to take a simplistic view. We can, I think, discount any mention of digital self-harm here. This was, I believe, just set up by someone who hated Amanda. Not a pervert, not a predator, just a shitty little trouble-maker doing it for the lulz. Old geezers seem to think that this sort of sting takes time and effort – it doesn’t. It takes a kid less than five minutes to make a profile or a page, and no time at all to contact people to become friends (much in the same way it took me about ten minutes to locate Tara Murphy and work out who she was and who her friends were). If Carol had been as computer savvy as she reckons, it would have taken not long at all to trace this person. If anything, this just highlights how absolutely useless the cops are. But I guess it’s too late now (and yes, I have been tempted to find out for myself, and it would be possible if I could be bothered, but after the treatment by the Todd supporters, well….no).
However, what good would it do to pursue Austin Collins? Chances are that it is yet another 14 year old; almost 100% sure to be a minor. Chances are that they are fully aware of the story – whether or not they lose sleep is another question. And really – at what point do all the people in this story need to move on? Austin Collins is found – then what? Vilified, punished, slapped on the wrist, for what is just a stupid prank? Stigmatised forever? Is it worth it? Some people will say yes – those who believe that revenge is good. It would send a message out to future idiots. But it never works. People get the electric chair – it doesn’t stop murders. Yes – there will be some kid wandering around maybe feeling guilty, maybe not. Maybe the child has his/her own problems. But it’s time to move forward. There’s been enough hatred emanating from this story already.
And to the Todd supporters. Think – if you have the desire to track down Austin Collins, then why not track down the people who made the anti-Kody Maxson pages? Why not track down and punish all those amongst you who threatened me with death, or threatened others with violence? Remember this – whatever I might say, it took a toll on me, yet never once did I report anyone. Take a good long look at yourselves before you embark on your next vigilante adventure.
But we need to pause. Is it not odd that the Todds seemed to have so much access to all this? Was Carol guilty of stupidity yet again? Should she, instead of becoming obsessed with collecting screen-shots and what have you, simply have concentrated on keeping Amanda safe and secure?
And another oddity. The Fifth Estate seem to have manfactured the Tyler Boo and Austin Collins profiles. Look closely – they are not screen-shots, they are reconstructed profiles. Not a wise thing to do for suspicious onlookers like me.
Tyler Boo. Much of what I have said above about Austin Collins can apply here. Not a predator, not some old guy – just a teen idiot. But here again there is an oddity, which I have mentioned in an earlier post. Tyler Boo knew a lot about Amanda, which means that either he/she was very close to the story or that Amanda gave out all her details. How would Tyler Boo know that she moved school, or that the police arrived? And it’s odd that he/she asks for three shows.
What else? Well, rather briefly we see what has become known as the ‘twerking’ video. The program presenter admits that Amanda just couldn’t keep away from webcams, but doesn’t say much more – like it was the public who complained in late 2011. There is still talk of blackmail, yet he acknowledges that the ‘twerking’ video was done by Amanda for attention.
OK – now a bit of observation. The September video done in Amanda’s bedroom? I will stick my neck out here and say ‘No it wasn’t’. But that’s just a gut thing. I could be wrong. It’s just that it doesn’t look like Amanda’s room.
So overall, what can I say?
This documentary proves that I was right. In some of my descriptions of what happened, I was spot on – BlogTV, her age, her problems, her continuation through to November 2011, the fact that she resorted to the Internet voluntarily and without coercion. All the people who said I lied – well, you were wrong.
The documentary was jumbled – it couldn’t decide if it was an anti-blackmail story, or a ‘keep your daughter off the Internet’ one. It conveniently left out the weed smoking, the drinking, and Amanda’s partying, rather overdoing the idea that she was almost a recluse.
We saw both Norm’s stupidity – even after the cops came, he still saw the webcam as harmless – yet we saw genuine grief from him.
What was noticeable, of course, was Carol’s rather weird approach to protecting her daughter. The role of the police has been questioned here, but they did all they could. Remember – there was no trace of any predator/blackmailer malarkey when they first turned up, and I guess that they must have thought that their presence was enough to ensure that the child would at least be supervised and controlled. If the cops go round on December 23rd 2010, then find out that Amanda and Shylah were back online three weeks later, what were they meant to do?
The ‘Austin Collins’ event was meaningless. It wasn’t blackmail/predator activity, it was some idiot using the Amanda picture to create a ‘shitfest’. And in reality, it wouldn’t have done so. Unfortunately for Amanda, her reputation was out there. And it is sad. Any solution? Maybe change Amanda’s name; move her to another area of Canada; but hey, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
What is still surprising is the ongoing nature of it all – BlogTV end of 2010, blackmail possibilities; still online three weeks later; still exposing herself and performing on Dialogoo; ‘Austin Collins’; it still goes on.
Then we get ‘Tyler Boo’ – really? Almost inevitable. But it’s all confusing. From what some commentators and Carol Todd say, it’s totally acceptable for Amanda to go on BlogTV, Dialogoo, Omegle and so on and expose herself for likes, but when people actually watch, that’s all bad. ‘Tyler Boo’ was a chancer, but Amanda and her family already knew that all this stuff was going on. It’s like leaving your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition in the worst part of town, and then complaining when it gets stolen.
Of course ‘Tyler Boo’ and ‘Austin Collins’ were little shits, but it goes back to what I said ages ago: where there’s prey, there’s predators. Amanda not only made herself that prey, she was allowed to do so.
And let’s not forget. These events tailed off around November 2011. To a certain extent, it was a closed book. Within a few months, it was mostly forgotten. Amanda just made a new rod for her back in the sex episode, kicking off yet another round of trouble. Then what do we get? The (I believe) fatal September video.
The Amanda Todd story, as I seem to have said a million times, is incredibly complex. I am reminded of the ‘For Want of a Nail’ rhyme – there were many opportunities, many forks in the road, many mistakes, but I still point my finger at those who should have been more protective. My rhyme might be ‘For want of a jot of parental discipline’. Carol says that Amanda ‘won’ when it came to the question of a webcam. It would appear that Amanda won when it came to more and more web access, to smoking marijuana, to drinking – to just about everything. She was out of control.
For Amanda, it’s all too late. So (maybe) I finish with my last piece of advice:
Parents. Look after your children. Love them and protect them. Get wise. Get educated.
Ta ta! And if I don’t get round to another post – Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyful Eid, May the Force be With You!
Enjoy the video. All proceeds for the song go to the NSPCC.