I have received many angry comments about my blog post on Liza Long. I would like to clarify a few matters.
Some people have written that I must have criticized Long because I am not a parent. In fact, it is precisely because I am a parent that I wrote what I did. Children deserve privacy, especially troubled children. A child does not deserve to have his mother embark on a media tour promoting him as a future mass murderer.
It is hard to dismiss Long’s blog as satire or hyperbole, as some commenters have written, when she has threatened to jail her own child. Read in context with her viral post, her previous posts are disturbing and should be taken seriously. Parenting is the hardest thing a person can do, and every parent feels frustration and anger towards their children at some point. But most of us do not blog about it using our child’s picture, under our real names. Her child’s privacy and reputation have been irrevocably damaged. If he gets the help he needs, he will still have his mother’s cruel words following him online for the rest of his life.
I hope this family gets compassion and support. I hope Long’s call for better mental health services and understanding of the pressures parents face is heeded. The points Long made in her post were important. But she did not need to hurt her son to make them.
Over the past few days, we have had a number of calls for “national conversations” – about guns, about mental health, about safety. We need to have a national conversation about the online privacy of children. Mothers should protect their children, not exploit them for media attention.
The Long family deserves help and understanding, but above all, her children deserve privacy. Long seems to have little interest in this and is embarking on a media tour tomorrow. I hope she changes her mind for the sake of her son.