Who Knew?


Ever since I first wrote this signature post for my blog I have had the pleasure of learning so much more and meeting so many new people through my blog and social media. So I wanted to repost it for those new and wonderful people that have become so supportive of my writing. Thanks guys, you know who you are.

Who Knew? by Veronica Romm

Who knew knowledge could be sorrow?

Who knew our rights could be stripped away?

Who knew laws could never govern?

Who knew leaders could get lost?

Who knew identities could be stolen?

Who knew faces could be altered?

Who knew science could betray us?

Who knew history could be ignored?

Who knew evil could be taught?

Who knew heroes could be villains?

Who knew our neighbors could be saints?

Who knew sinners could be teachers?

Who knew clothes could make the man?

Who knew possessions could be priceless?

Who knew wealth could be so hungry?

Who knew money could buy power?

Who knew fame could be an illness?

Who knew words could soon be censored?

Who knew hate could turn to love?

Who knew our bodies could betray us?

Who knew hearts could really break?

Who knew laughter could be medicine?

Who knew our children could be cruel?

Who knew man could choose a bomb?

Who knew mothers could kill their babies?

Who knew sisters could be strangers?

Who knew our sons could die at war?

Who knew pain could be a business?

Who knew pleasure could lead to death?

Who knew friends could turn against us?

Who knew memories could fade so quickly?

Who knew lovers could be untrue?

Who knew time could heal all wounds?

Who knew questions could be left unanswered?

Copyright ©2007 Veronica Romm

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Megan Meier: Internet hoax victim


Social networking and it’s pros and cons have been debated since the popularity of such sites as Myspace, Facebook and Twitter have increased and become part of the new Internet age. The Megan Meier’s story is particularly disturbing and has all the elements that are facilitating an adolescent epidemic of risk taking and poor judgment. To quickly sum up the Megan Meier’s story is difficult for there are many layers. It involves female friendships, parenting skills, MySpace, boys and very irresponsible adults.

Megan Meier

Megan apparently had a falling out with her close friend and neighbor and this neighbors mom Lori Drew was concerned that Megan was going to say indecent things about her daughter. She quickly created a MySpace profile of a young handsome boy she named Josh Evans from a neighboring town, and started communicating with Megan in a flirtatious way. Megan had been dealing with self esteem issues along with every other adolescent, and found the attention of the young man exciting. He was cute and sweet and could really understand her. He told her she was pretty and wanted to be her boyfriend. She had no reason to think anything else was happening. Three weeks into the Internet relationship, he turned on Megan and said she was not the kind of person he wanted to associate with due to things he heard from kids at her school. She responded with shock, tears and hanging herself with a belt as her parents got ready for dinner downstairs.

It was quickly disclosed that the boy with whom Megan had bonded was really a collaborative effort of a family, initiated by the matriarch Mrs. Drew, and maintained by all. They explained that they started the profile on MySpace to protect their daughter from slanderous talk (never did Megan say a bad thing about her neighbor or anyone else). Since the rest of the neighborhood found out about the families twisted game, the Drew’s has complained of harassment on several occasions. To date there will be no charges found against the MySpace family hoax or any of the participants. A tragedy like this is unthinkable yet it is subtle, societal and scary.

Lori Drew

Update:
Since the story broke I have been paying close attention to the outcome. The strong outcry from all over propelled the law to be reassessed. While the heinous acts of this adult became known across the nation, and indeed even the world, justice seemed to escape Megan Meier.

In May 2008, a federal grand jury in California defied Missouri officials’ refusal to prosecute the case. It indicted Lori Drew on charges of fraudulently using an account on MySpace. Finally, someone had the (courage) to FIND a law to fit the case. Someone finally figured out how to tell Lori Drew that what she did was wrong. Justice was coming, from California of all places!


Well now the verdict is in.

While jurors could not agree on the four charges brought by the federal indictment, they did find Lori Drew guilty of three misdemeanor offenses. This is not the victory we had hoped for. However, no longer will this adult walk away — completely unpunished for her actions. Kansascity.com

This story has been one that managed to be so disgraceful and kept my attention hoping that some sort of justice would be served.  Originally I feared that there would not be any charges brought against Lori Drew due to the tenuous nature of the crime.  I am pleased to know that the case appalled many and that there were lawyers willing to find any loophole to indict Drew.  Her behavior displays the absolute worst in people, callus and calculated Drew spun a web that led to a death.  Her irresponsible and reckless disregard for the feelings of a teenager, her malice and anti-social penchant for bullying is the worst example she could possibly set for  her own children.  God help her family and hopefully this will be a lesson for others who think the Internet is a means for abuse and bullying.

Please read The New Yorker piece on this story here.

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (on the Web 2.0)


From the archives and for new friends:

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We have all been through a breakup and felt the inevitable pangs of pain, surges of tears and very real mourning period following the end of a relationship.  In today’s world, where social networking and social media can be a significant part of many of our lives, old fashioned heartbreak can be compounded by the “Internet breakup”.

Breaking up with someone with whom you shared your likes and dislikes, sent xoxo’s and matched compatibility quiz results with on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and of course the uber-popular Youtube, along with the many other social networks brings forth an entirely new set of issues.  For instance, how long does one wait to remove from one’s page the comments, photos, and “gifts” (sent while in the often delusional. blissful cloud of love) that stare back and now haunt you? This person was your No. 1 spot in your top friends for heavens sake! What is one to do?

Once these are removed and the STATUS in the profile changes from any of the oh-so-charming descriptions ranging from “it’s complicated” or “in committed relationship” to “single”, what is the proper etiquette for well wishers and others who will invariably ask how you are coping, what happened and other questions that may be sincere but can burn through the screen like molten lava?  What to do with the bevy of comments left to make sure you “keep your chin up”, that they are “thinking of you” and whatever other trite phrase  delivered in glitter loitering in cyberspace like floating bullets in a Matrix-like freeze frame. Makes one want to pownce directly into a gaping void.

As in the traditional break up there is always the division of “friends”.  The Internet makes that division a blatantly public and often childish process.  Do they “De-friend you?”  Do you “De-friend” them?  Who does what and how long until someone takes action?  There is always that one first friend that is brave enough to make the friend switch. This person simply enjoys the new friendship more than the original friendship, yet inevitably puts themselves into the center of what may turn into a battle of loyalties, criticism and of course the unbearable insult of being De-friended (they also risk negative posts and g-d knows what from the slighted party).  These friends that once felt Linkdin may experience the pain of being blocked, ignored or even… dare I say… spammed.

So as you sit there and ponder the thought “OMG” this could happen to me and your heart goes all a twitter, feeling like drinking a tumblr of whatever is readily available in the house, I ask you, what are the new rules governing this era of Internet everything? How should this go down and how can you emerge relatively unscathed from all the added remnants now gathering in the cloud? How does one go from being the couple of Web 2.0 to …Web no.0?”

I hereby offer a few initial suggestions and I am sure I will come up with many more, but I need to know what you, the tech-lover, thinks.  Perhaps together we can come up with some basic framework for keeping our net presence intact as we navigate the treacherous on-line break up?

Rules of Disengagement for Internet-related break ups

 

1. Do not post a breakup blog explaining the gory details.  Such things should be private, even in today’s voyeuristic world.

2. Removal of ex should be done gradually. i.e. they did not disappear from the face of the earth, just perhaps from your life or more visibly, your vlog.  This should be adhered to in order to avoid the inevitable onslaught of queries about your separation. Do it for the other person, if not for yourself.

3. Do not post new pictures of yourself with an ex, a new whatever or overtly salacious images in an attempt to inflict additional pain on your ex (no mater how much you think you hate them).4. It is not recommended posting hourly, self-involved mood updates that will not only indulge the voyeurism of others, but cheapen the anguish you both feel. In a nutshell, don’t twit a twitter.

5. While sending angry emails/IM’s in the wake of your break up, do not digg yourself a hole you cannot climb out of.  This means that words on a screen are forever. Permanent. Nothing is ever truly erased from the web.  So pick your jabs wisely and don’t stumbleupon your own immature cruelty.

6. Do not badmouth your ex. You are an adult..

7. Avoid “tracking” your ex’s web activity. This can only lead to obsession and worse, web stalking.

8. Do not refer in any way to your suddenly, even remarkable renewed sex drive, virility, or promiscuity. This is so far beneath you as to be found somewhere deep in the Earth’s mantle.

9. Take a break from social media. We could all use one.

10. Eat, drink, be merry and do not let the bad experience disillusion you as to the viability of another Web-based relationship – we all benefit from social media, both platonic-socially, and if we are careful and a bit lucky, we may fall for another Tech-god  again, with markedly better results.

Written in collaboration with Michelle Oshen

Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm

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Goodbye Leningrad


A little girl I am whisked away. All together, Mama, Papa and Babushka (grandma) board a plane to who knows where. We all land safely, on some ground. I ask “Is this where we are moving to?”

         “No, dear not yet, this is where we wait.” I am told.

          Wait?  Alright then, it is a lovely place. Near the beach we stay with Senora Maria. They don’t speak my language here, I quickly realize.  They speak Italian, we are in Lodispoli, somewhere south of Rome, Mama tells me.  There are children there and they are friendly, we play outside, mostly on the beach and I learn “ciao” and many new words as I play each day.  I understand them soon enough and they laugh when I say something funny in Italian but they help me and I learn.

          Three months fly by and the wait is over, we must board another plane. Babushka is tired and somewhat ill; she seems scared as mama and papa explain that we have the “Visa’s” whatever those are, but they are happy so I know it must be a good thing. As the plane lands safely once again I ask “Is this where we are going to live?”  Mama says yes while busy making sure our parcels are all there.

          There are very few parcels, and I was only allowed to bring my favorite doll, just one.  I left the rest behind with my best friend, Katya. She seemed happy but still cried that morning when we left.  She knew we would not see each other again; she was older than I and much cleverer.

          So there we are in a very busy airport once again, waiting.  Suddenly I am whisked into the arms of a beautiful young girl.  She hugs me as black tears rush down her face.  Mama is confused but I know this girl, it is Marina my only cousin.   Mama is shocked she has grown so much, a woman she is and they hug and cry.  Bella and George my Totya (aunt) and Dadya (uncle) are there too.  Everyone is crying, but not me, it’s too exciting with all the commotion.

           I hold Babushkas hand as we walk through “JFK” and it is a long walk for her.  She is tired, very tired and I want to leave this place with all the strange people speaking another language I don’t understand.  Marina speaks it well and I laugh when I learn my first word, “OK”.  Everything is “ok” as we get into the van with our parcels and everyone in the van together.  Mama and Bella keep crying and laughing, they act strange and nervous but I am OK.  We are on our way to our new house, it is May 10, 1979 and it is hotter than I have ever felt before.

Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm

Can also be found on Blogsboro.com

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History lesson


History serves to inform and prepare. In order to learn we must be acutely aware. When all has been tried, nothing being a mystery,How are we expected to appreciate history?The most brilliant minds that came before us.

The teachers, our heroes, and always the infamous.

Einstein, Tesla and Salvador Dali,

Allowing every sense to make a decision

Never lose sight of your personal vision.

Will it ever be equal?

We don’t need anymore sequels.

Why so politically correct?

Say what you mean you’ll earn more respect.

The police shoot first, with little concern.

When will these bullies actually learn?

What are the new taboos?

Doesn’t anyone have a thing to lose?

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