All the evidence points towards Amanda Todd being someone with a highly overactive imagination. In other words, she told tall tales to cover her actions. Like most addicts (I’m talking of her addiction to online attention here) she’s been caught up in a turmoil that has gone way beyond her control but instead of coming clean and owning up to it, she digs an ever deeper hole for herself. Like most addicts, she has begun with the ‘I can handle it’ attitude (telling her father that the December flash was ‘no big deal’) and now she is in full head-spinning denial mode. She’s fucked, basically.
This was Amanda’s first attempt to explain her predicament to the whole world. Or at least her 1272 friends on Facebook. Posted as her status in November 2011, it’s just after the Tyler Boo encounter, and immediately after the Austin Collins event. It’s desperation.
‘I’m so sorry, everyone who got the links from austin collins’. Note that it says links. We’re led to believe that it was just one picture. I’m guessing that they were multiple links to all of her shows. But that’s relatively unimportant. What is quite sad is that, in her panic, she’s probably allowed a bad situation to get even worse. If all of her 1272 Facebook friends didn’t see the links, they sure would now. But I always feel there’s a dichotomy where Amanda is concerned – is she genuinely sending out a sort of explanatory plea, or is she actually loving all the drama?
‘When I was 11 years old i got a message saying ‘I have all your information, I will come find you if you don’t flash and do this for me’. So she was 11, was she? That’s 2007-2008. Feasible, I suppose, but it doesn’t match the ‘I was flattered into it by someone I thought was 12’ story. It doesn’t match any of the September video story at all. This is the story of some young kid who has been randomly approached by some sort of murderous killer. Well, I guess even that’s possible. Christ, with this story there’s no limit to what could be true or not true. Only last week Carol Todd had the guy down as promising Amanda a music career.
‘so I was scared I said ‘one time okay’ so I did it’. Still within the realms of possibility, but it takes an effort to really trust this. Given that this person contacted Amanda when she was 11, let’s say he first arrived in November 2008 (using the very latest date before she was 12). Amanda’s BlogTV performances were at the very earliest November 2009 (assuming she joined BlogTV on her 13th birthday to keep to the membership rules), and extremely reliably put much closer to December 2010. It’s all happening very, very slowly. But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.
‘And he said if I didn’t do it again he would send to all port coquitlam. I wasn’t going to do it again so he sent it to everyone in port coquitlam. Teachers, friends, family. on Christmas’. So let’s get this straight. This guy approaches Amanda when she is 11 years old. Two years later, when she’s just had her fourteenth birthday, Amanda flashes in front of 150 viewers on BlogTV and then says ‘Enough is enough’. Cool story, bro. But I’m guessing that the writers of the Amanda Todd legend could make it sound plausible.
‘So I moved. I thought new start for my messup would be good then he followed me’. This has always been a difficult part of the story to comprehend. Let’s just – to be extremely generous – assume that Amanda didn’t continue on Ustream with her show; that she didn’t carry on with YouTube; that she didn’t do you know what on Dialogoo. Even if we take the stripped down (pardon the expression) version and assume it was all about one flash incident, it’s hard to see why moving would mean somebody on the Internet suddenly being unable to contact Amanda. And it’s not easy to work out why, if this guy has already sent the links to everyone in Port Coquitlam, any threat remains. It’s at this point when excuses have to be made. Why didn’t Amanda get protected by the cops? Why not just ignore him? Why not stay offline for a while? Set Facebook privacy higher?
‘He stalked and found out my new school my new school and friends and now you guys all got the link’. We’ll still stay in benefit of the doubt mode and assume that Amanda didn’t broadcast her details all over the place, and that the guy was a stalking mastermind. However, in all the other versions of the story there is no link sent by Austin Collins – he simply sets up a profile, builds up a friend list containing a lot of Amanda’s social circle, and changes his profile picture to the picture of her boobs. My opinion is that Austin Collins isn’t linked to the mystery first predator from when Amanda was 11 years old (mainly because I think that person never existed). He or she is more likely to be either a Capper type from post BlogTV days or a local troublemaker. My money is on local troublemaker, despite the fact that it’s all Aydin Coban.
‘Judge me or be there for me wichever you guys want. But right now I feel like shit I feel so sad and sick’. By this time, Amanda must have been realising that she was way out of her depth. The cruel story, in which she has been stalked and persecuted, becomes even more heartbreaking. Anyone coming to this story fresh and reading this sad status update must be in tears by now. Except we know that it wasn’t quite like Amanda described. However, what we do seem to know is that this was the final episode in Amanda’s online adventure.
‘That he’s gonna do this for the rest of my life and there’s nothing I can do’. The Austin Collins thing must have come as a shock for Amanda. After the December 2010 revelations, she must have thought she was invulnerable. Nothing much happened. She was allowed to continue doing whatever she wanted, there were no apparent sanctions on her behaviour. She’s not frightened by Tyler Boo, and there’s been no dent in her popularity. In fact, this photo:
shows that Amanda certainly didn’t lose all of her friends. The photo is from Amanda’s 15th birthday party and shows all of her motley crew, just a couple of weeks after this status update.
The problem is, this is where the story splits in two. The ardent Todd fans believe that Amanda was plagued by one stalker because of one incident. And who wouldn’t believe it, given this honest story straight from the victim herself? But the non-believers (yes, it all is rather quasi-religious) don’t quite fall for it all, given that all the evidence describes a totally different history. Anyway.
‘he made you all think he was a young boy in his teens that is going to westview when he’s over 30+, he’s Tyler Boo’. It’s entirely feasible that Austin Collins is some sort of trickster. At a push, he might even be Aydin Coban, but there are some things to query. We can accept that everyone knew Amanda was going to Westview. Amanda wasn’t secretive, and it would have been splurged all over her social media connections. It would have taken no effort to set up a false profile and try to friend all of Amanda’s friends, as she wouldn’t have kept her friends list private. But why would Amanda be so convinced that he’s over 30+? Where would that come from? And she refers to Tyler Boo in an odd way – as if all of her friends would be familiar with the name. Tyler Boo must have posted something on Amanda’s profile (he refers to it in conversation) so must have existed as one of Amanda’s online friends.
‘he’s a sick pedofile. The best thing I can say now is don’t send it, block him, don’t click on it’. Like I’ve written earlier, the Amanda Todd legend has it that Austin Collins simply changed his profile picture. I would have thought that if Austin Collins had bothered to make a profile, he would have just put up the link/s as a post to his wall. But Amanda does seem to say that Austin Collins sent a link to people.
‘I really don’t know what to do anymore’. This is the saddest part of all this. The Todd legend version has Amanda caught in a trap constructed by someone else – an evil stalker. Closer to the truth is that she was trapped by two things – the infernal online world and her own arrogance. A few months ago I might have written ‘stupidity’ rather than ‘arrogance’. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. I did think of the phrase ‘hoisted by her own petard’ but I think that’s not the right one. It’s that old victim-blaming quandary. Amanda pushed her luck.
At this time, Amanda had nowhere to turn. Carol would be flaming mad at her (it was at this time that Carol refused yet again to have anything to do with her daughter). Norm by this time would have lost patience. Even the RCMP weren’t on her side. In reality, though, her friends stayed around. Shylah and the others, even though they had been involved with all the nonsense back in December 2010, didn’t leave her. Concerning all the flashing history, it really blew itself out. Though it’s remained at the centre of the debacle, its contribution to Amanda’s end is negligible.
Amanda had a tendency to be a self-centred drama queen. What really killed Amanda wasn’t all this online fiasco, it was what happened in the real world. Though the online stuff caused a certain amount of damage in that it gave her a reputation for being an idiot (that was the general opinion from her peers) and it caused a major rift from her family, it wasn’t until she encountered the mysteries of real relationships that she caved in. For the kind of kids at CABE (her school), flashing your tits was a minor incident. Amanda’s pal Dillin Willes had already been in major drug rehab, most of the girls were delinquent write-offs. Amanda was in the Little League. It wasn’t until Amanda broke the rules of teenhood that she got in emotional trouble.
Anyways. What of this status update of Amanda’s? Given that Amanda was such a liar, that her mother has continued with the lies to a point of madness, and that the press has added layer and layer of misinformation, it’s really difficult to sort out fact from fiction any more. All you can do is look at what we know.
Amanda says she was first contacted when she was 11 years old. From 2009 we have the quote ‘isabella is amanda todd she’s a real bitch’ and that’s the closest we can get to the commencement of any online hatred. Amanda has somehow got into her head that someone is out to kill her, but that’s just her being over-dramatic. From May 2011 – ‘ Hey, follow back:( its amanda you followed me before i had to delete my twitter from a stalker trying to kill me , please:(‘.
If Amanda had been 11 when the blackmail threat first started, her comment on January 4th, 2011 is odd:
‘its amanda here, ah i am getting black mailed and the cops are out looking for the guy that posted the video of me flashing to all my family members and friends because i didnt do stuff with him on cam. put that in ur news poeople are also getting charged but the site is shut down.’
The above comment was sent to the Daily Capper, and that doesn’t make sense either. If we assume that the flashing capture has always been the BlogTV one from mid-December 2010, then this guy only ever had about a week to issue the blackmail threat, get a refusal, then send it out. So all in all, the 11 years old stuff is absolute bullshit – so much so that I reckon it’s a typing error and is meant to be 13. Also, I find it really, really tough to imagine that an 11 year old who encounters such a threat isn’t going to run straight to parents. But hey, it’s a weird world.
And, of course, we know that Amanda wasn’t online just the once.
As cheerleader in October/November 2010.
As BlogTV star in December 2010.
And as Dialogoo diddler in April/May 2011.
Although it makes sense that she might move after the flashing picture escapes so that she can get away from her school and start afresh, on closer inspection it’s ridiculous. For a start, we know that it was because her father moved, but we also know that virtually every kid within 100 miles of Vancouver knew all about it. Moving from Port Coquitlam to Maple Ridge was hardly going to sort things out.
As for the rest? I wish we could guarantee that the Austin Collins link was actually to the BlogTV flash. From Amanda’s panic, I’m not so sure. Everyone she knew was aware of that incident. Austin Collins releasing it again would have been slightly pointless. Anyway – it’s possible. Can we guarantee that Austin Collins is Tyler Boo? That he is someone aged 30+? Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee anything except we will probably never know the full truth.
Anyways. Have a think about it. Or not.