Gossip And Slander

Slander is a weapon wielded by those who are seeking to hurt another. Nothing more, nothing less. 

It is not some kind of warning to others about a person, especially since it's rarely even true. I have heard gossipers try to justify it, saying "there is always a basis in truth in rumors", which is of course pure cowshit; slander is nearly always based on something "normal" and innocent about a person that has been twisted, embellished, and completely fictionalized into something far removed from the "truth". Yes, you did go to the grocery store yesterday, that's true... but the rest of the story about WHY you went, and what you did there, was pure lies, It took elaborate ridiculous fiction, which the creator thoroughly enjoyed weaving, to turn it into something negative about you. This is how slander is created. A habitual fiction-weaver with envy toward you saw you at the store, and their envy coupled with their rich and very active fantasy life resulted in a Tall Tale. They then tell others their Tall Tale, which gets them attention, which they like, and paints you as some kind of bad person, which they also like. 
The real fact is that you went to the grocery store... (dah dah dahhh..) and bought some food... and put it in your car... and went home. You may have even eaten some of it when you got there... 

Ever notice that murderers and rapists were not targets of gossip and slander in their community? When locals are interviewed about them, everyone says that they were either "nice" or "quiet", that they either liked them or didn't know much about them. The reason they weren't being slandered is because no one envied them. People who are actually doing something wrong or heinous are usually very good at stroking the egos of gossips. So there's goes that excuse that slander is for warning others about a person's character. It's a crock of horse dookey. Slander is a weapon, that's all. The person people should be wondering about is the one spreading negative implications about others.

There is no reason to slander, gossip, or spread negative rumors about another person other than trying to hurt them. It results in people treating them differently, shunning, isolation, and turning them into a target. Slander can turn a person's life from forward looking, happy and thriving into a mess of obstacles and darkness, while one by one people who have heard these rumors and were too cowardly or lazy to think twice before buying into them begin to treat the target in a weird, creepy way, like the person is no longer "one of us". Opportunities for education, work, and networking disappear one by one as the rumors spread and people distance themselves from the person. 

People don't just shun the target of slander because they believe the rumors, they also do it because of their self-centered compulsion to protect their comfort over the life and well-being of another human being. They're afraid that if they don't go along with the crowd, they'll be next. And since they don't stand up for the person being slandered today, they may well be next, because no one is doing anything to stop this train wreck. Communities, families, and organizations that are rife with gossip are also rife with depression and other mental illnesses.
Everyone knows how cruel slander is, that's why they do it. If it happened to them they would have a spastic meltdown, but most people who slander seem to have convinced themselves that they are so wonderful that no one would ever do it to them. Unfortunately for them, the truth about slander is that it has nothing to do with the targeted person, and everything to do with the person talking. So all it takes is for someone to be envious of them for any reason, even if that reason is something ridiculously petty, and Presto! instant target!
I don't like it being done to me, so I don't do it to others, even those who I know for a fact have slandered me, because that's what my values are. I hold "not trying to hurt others" high on my priority list.

There is no excuse or legitimate defense for it, none whatsoever.

If we want to protect children from bad people, we should teach them about their own boundaries and how to look out for themselves and their friends and loved ones. Don't teach them to backstab others by modeling the behavior. Don't be one of the people that children have to learn to protect themselves FROM.