In it Marcus says that the people who bullied Irish student Phoebe Prince to death in South Hadley were not bad people really after all.
"The kids who bullied Phoebe Prince should be punished -- suspended, expelled, required to attend counseling. Still, to be a teenager is to do stupid things. The teenage brain is a work in progress. The prefrontal cortex, the part linked to impulse control, judgment and decision-making, is still maturing."
Wow! she has just given free rein to every teenager, such as the Columbine school killers to do their worst and put it all down to a little delay in mental development. Poor kids, see their cortexes weren't properly developed therefore we should forgive them.
Worse, Marcus implies the bullying was much ado about nothing. She uses a quote from a Slate magazine interview with a South Hadley schoolgirl who says the bullying was no big deal.
"The prevailing sentiment was that, yes, Phoebe had been mistreated but not in some unprecedented way. 'A lot of it was normal girl drama,' one girl (told Slate) . 'If you want to label it bullying, then I've bullied girls and girls have bullied me. . . . It was one of the worst things I've heard of some girls doing to another girl. But it wouldn't have hurt most people that much.'
Blame Phoebe then implies Marcus for taking her own life for bullying that was really just run of the mill.
When you read the frightening descriptions of the nature and extent of the bullying of course you know it was no such thing.
Two separate and vicious gangs assailed her at every opportunity including on the last day of her life locking the door of the library so she could have no way to escape and also firing a soda can at her that hit her full in the head.
Marcus claims the soda can incident is being overplayed.
"One of the juveniles is charged with "assault by means of a dangerous weapon, to wit: a bottle, can or similar beverage container" -- apparently throwing a soda can at Phoebe as she walked home from school the day she died. The other charges include stalking, harassment, violation of civil rights and, my favorite, disturbance of a school assembly."
Marcus is seeking to undercut the legal proceedings as she makes clear
"If all this sounds sounds derisive, it's not because I doubt the seriousness of the conduct but because the specific counts underscore how clumsy a tool criminal law is to deal with such behavior. Charging nine students is casting an awfully wide net."
I wonder if Ruth Marcus has a daughter and if she has how would she react if such behavior was being practiced on her?
I'm sure she wouldn't be quite as understanding. Her column is pure nonsense.