I feel I am now at the point where I can deal with the Amanda Todd story properly.
It’s been a long haul, for this has been a truly complex story. Red herrings, deceit, hysteria have all clouded the issue, but at the end of the day the history of it all was as old as the hills – young person makes a ton of mistakes, falls in with a bad crowd, goes out of control, and by the time people come to terms with it, it’s all too late.
Emergency signs that should have been noted as far back as when she was nine years old were ignored simply because, at the time, they would have only been seen as emergency signs by the most pessimistic and world-weary type of person. Who would have known that a child singing ‘Oh Canada’ on webcam would have led not to fame and fortune as a recording star, but to an addiction to online attention that would eventually prove fatal?
And yet huge warnings went ignored. There was a point at which – somewhere around 2010 – all the alarm bells were ringing out loud but for some reason, which I will try to explain as the story unfolds, they were overlooked.
There are children who go to a building site and, despite ‘Keep Out’ and ‘Danger’ signs, have an adventure that results in no harm or just a few scraped knees. And who is to say that this is not part of growing up?
For Amanda, to a certain extent, the world of the Internet was her dangerous building site adventure. Except instead of coming through it with a scraped knee, she was fatally injured.
Of course, other factors made it worse. Amanda didn’t have to go far to enter into danger but, perhaps even more soul-destroyingly, the idiocy of adults around her facilitated it all. And it would appear that Amanda was far more of a risk-taker than others.
When I was young, I was always the one who pushed it too far. Why be a wimp and have a sneaky sip of illicit alcohol when you can neck an entire bottle? Why have a secret cigarette in the school toilets when you can smoke twenty a day in broad daylight? And wasn’t it quite an image to be the one who had a record amount of school detention and suspension? There’s nothing like a reputation to make one’s self-esteem rocket.
And it would appear that Amanda was like that – the one who never quite cottoned on to when enough is enough. And, of course, she never had anyone telling her that there were limits, and she had friends who encouraged it.
Over the next few days, I will endeavour to write the full TRUE story of Amanda’s life. In a way, it’s actually quite simple now. What I find most gut-wrenching is that, with the benefit of hindsight, it all now looks so obvious. And I’m guessing that it’s not particularly unique.
The reader who has stayed with the story for so long (are there any left?) will still ask why I do all this, and I will seek to explain.
The Amanda Todd story is powerful, yet it has been wasted because the true lessons haven’t been learned. To say that cyberbullying caused it is the same as saying that me getting drunk and driving myself over a cliff is the fault of the car manufacturer. To seek to blame predators, stalkers and pedophiles is like shooting a lion in a zoo because it bites the child that has been allowed to climb the barricades and squeeze through the bars.
But I sincerely believe, or perhaps hope is a better word, that it will, in some way, provide closure. The story that will unfold over the next few days will, I think, be the most accurate and thoroughly researched account that is ever likely to exist. In a slightly bizarre way, it will be like an open letter to Carol Todd and her family.
I have yet to formulate in my mind the full approach. I am tempted to name names, but I’m not sure if that is necessary. I will try to be as succinct as possible (something most readers will know that I find difficult). The Todd people always challenge me to show evidence, but they should by now be aware that the evidence I provide is – to be honest – quite astonishing, even though I say that myself.
Carol Todd talks of things like restorative justice. I can see her reasoning. I am working in the dark when trying to contemplate reactions to what I write. I can only imagine that the names mentioned in the previous post will have caused some consternation, and will have been greeted with howls of derision. But comments are always welcome.
At the end of the week I will have presented Carol Todd with the whole story. It might not be what she wanted to hear, or she might actually know it already. All I can say is – hand on heart – this is my best attempt to finally unravel the whole conundrum, and to finally present the completed jigsaw puzzle. The full tragic history will, I think, finally be told. Whether it makes a difference or not, I don’t really care any more. Maybe, if we examine all this, it will be more closure for me than for anyone else. But maybe someone will learn something. Who knows?
btw – just in case people are thinking I’m off track, let’s just say I know what happened at Kway. And what is the answer to this little riddle?
What did Amanda do with glowsticks, and why did it become her nickname? Was it:
a) Use them to illuminate her way home on a dark night
b) Wave them around in the air at the local rave
c) Masturbate with them in her online shows?
Most people will guess the answer, which comes courtesy of Tess Anderson. I will supply the correct response in my next post. No prizes will be given. And yes, it is weird.