Wednesday, April 09, 2008

When Cheerleaders Attack

(Editor's Note: Cooking With Amy will return ... another day. I have other things on my mind, and this is one of them.)

These girls will LONG for the days when MySpace was their biggest problem. More on this story from NBC (because I can't get it out of my head) ...

The 16-year-old victim suffered a concussion, and has hearing loss in her left ear and some loss of vision in her left eye, (Sheriff Grady) Judd said. Her face is obscured in the video and her name is being withheld.

Facing charges of battery, false imprisonment and kidnapping are (and their names are NOT withheld because they are being charged, thanks in large part to the evidence they created in the form of a videotape, which will likely convict them) Mercades Nichols, 17, Brittini Hardcastle, 17, April Cooper, 14, Cara Murphy, 16, Britney Mayes, 17, Kayla Hassell, 15, Zachary Ashley, 17, and Stephen Schumaker, 18. (I'm sorry. Can you please repeat those names? Mercades Nichols, 17, Brittini Hardcastle, 17, April Cooper, 14, Cara Murphy, 16, Britney Mayes, 17, Kayla Hassell, 15, Zachary Ashley, 17, and Stephen Schumaker, 18.)

The two boys are accused of acting as lookouts outside the house in which the beating took place on March 30. (And who says chivalry is dead?)

All are in juvenile detention except for Schumaker, an adult, who was booked into the Polk County Jail and released on $5,000 bond.

Oh, and this next little tidbit from Mercades Nichols' mom just makes the whole thing even more riveting:
“First of all, the tape that was released is only three minutes long. (The original intent behind the video was to post it on YouTube so that everyone would see how cool they are.) That was the worst of it,” she said, contradicting the sheriff. (Judd has repeatedly stated that the victim was knocked unconscious for a time. And the camera kept rolling.) “My daughter is the one who turned the video tape over to the sheriff’s department for evidence. My daughter turned it over to them.” (Well, kudos to Mercades Nichols! You should be named Polk County Citizen of the Year! Where was that backbone when the attack was going on?)

Judd said the most shocking thing about the attack is how lightly the alleged assailants took their actions. (Meredith) Vieira asked him if they showed any remorse when they were arrested.

“None at all,” he said. “When we had them arrested and in detention, they were laughing and joking, ‘Guess we’re not going to go to the beach on this spring break.’ One girl actually asked our detective, ‘Am I going to be released in time to go to cheerleading practice tomorrow?’ ” (Enough with the cheerleading already!)

This reminds me of a story a friend told me not too long ago. A girl of about 15 years old was brought into a local principal's office for having marijuana in her purse. While she and the principal were waiting for the POLICE TO ARRIVE, she asked, "So, I guess you're going to call my parents?" And she asked this as if it were an inconvenience, not as if she were scared.

I like to think that if one of my kids had been in her shoes, they would be pleading, "Do whatever you want, but PLEASE DON'T CALL MY MOTHER!!!"

We've had one slight run-in with cyber-bullying via MySpace, and it wasn't pleasant. We resolved it the old-fashioned way. We called the culprit's parents and asked nicely for the material to be removed. And it was. End of story. Will the two kids ever be best friends? Probably not, but I don't care. Lesson learned: Hey, your parents, her parents, his parents, everyone's parents ARE WATCHING YOU.

I've spent/wasted enough time navigating Facebook and MySpace to know that teenage girls are still the most insecure people on the planet and that they're willing to brag (or lie) to the entire world about the things they've done. A few minutes of fame, whether it's being promiscuous, acting with violence or talking smack is still fame. For most, it's as close to notoriety as they're going to get. Unless, of course, they get caught and are then splashed across network TV and newspapers across the country and then they ROCKET to fame and sit there for a few days.

Feeling pretty famous NOW, Mercades Nichols, Brittini Hardcastle, April Cooper, Cara Murphy, Britney Mayes, Kayla Hassell, Zachary Ashley and Stephen Schumaker?

You might find more thoughts on cheerleader attacks over at