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In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

timothy posted about a month and a half ago | from the thought-crime-in-maryland dept.

Censorship 441

An anonymous reader writes A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report — "taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future."

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Sue the bastards (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806917)

Wow. Talk about a lawsuit that you are *guaranteed* to win.

This guy is going to make millions.

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806925)

Let's hope so.

Re:Sue the bastards (5, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806981)

I don't know. It sounds like they kidnapped him in the night, forced him to leave hims hometown, and have imprisoned him somewhere against his will, just based on a fictional novel --- probably a jail or psych ward, where they are already administering drugs, so he won't have the mental faculties left to pursue any action, not that he could without ability to travel and speak to an attorney.

McLaw was suspended by the Dorchester County Board of Education pending an investigation and is no longer in the area. He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807541)

Someone should write a dystopian sci-fi novel about this (oh wait/Yo Dawg...).

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807029)

The person's chances are not all that good. Unless the union backs them up (and even then it can be a stretch) schools are pretty hard to go up against. "Think of the children", while often mocked, is a pretty powerful rallying cry for local officials who might be worried about parental outrage or practicing 'cover your ass' security where it is better to come down hard and be seeing to be doing something then risk something happening and be blamed for not acting. The life of some middle school teacher does not even begin to factor in.

Re:Sue the bastards (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807103)

The schools are good at keeping people from teaching.

But they do this by paying LARGE amounts of money.

If the union backs him, he will probably get his job.

If the union does not back him, he won't get his job, he will instead get a ton of money.

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Funny)

chemicaldave (1776600) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807123)

"Think of the children"

The book is 900 years in the future. I think you mean "Think of the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren."

Re:Sue the bastards (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807377)

The person's chances are not all that good. Unless the union backs them up (and even then it can be a stretch) schools are pretty hard to go up against. "Think of the children", while often mocked, is a pretty powerful rallying cry for local officials who might be worried about parental outrage or practicing 'cover your ass' security where it is better to come down hard and be seeing to be doing something then risk something happening and be blamed for not acting. The life of some middle school teacher does not even begin to factor in.

Nah... I don't live in Maryland, but in my state... in my highschool, one of our teachers that was in his mid 30's started "Dating" a freshman. She broke up with him, so he started sending her letters, stalking her, finally ended up crawling in her bedroom window one night and her dad caught him. They fired him, he was charged and convicted of statutory, but then a judge forced the school to hire him back, with back pay. As far as I know he's still teaching there. Totally ostracized and they gave him a "Shop class" that no one takes, but he has a job.

So yea, it's pretty hard to get fired as a teacher.

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807495)

On the other hand, in my high school we had a teacher with whom a freshman became obsessed including showing up drunk at his house. Even though he never did anything with her and rebuffed her advances he was fired because parents were concerned about one of their daughters and a teacher.

Meanwhile one of our other teachers, a woman, was known to sleep with students and married one after he graduated, nothing was ever done to her. The difficulty of firing a teacher pretty much comes down to how much PR is involved and if the union feels it will be better served getting rid of the person vs keeping them, either due to internal or external political concerns.

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807549)

Think of the children is the battle cry of Tyrants everywhere. I won't vote for anyone, even if I agree 99% with them politically, if they make any statement similar to "do it for the children". I urge every slashdotter to do the same this election cycle, even if it means voting for the "other guy". AND let the Politicians know that hiding behind skirts and baby strollers is what terrorists do.

Re:Sue the bastards (4, Interesting)

donscarletti (569232) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807161)

If his books are any good in the slightest, then he's going to make a killing on this publicity.

Not necessarily (5, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807191)

Wow. Talk about a lawsuit that you are *guaranteed* to win.

This guy is going to make millions.

My best friend is an attorney and we've known each other for years. He has taught me a lot about how the law really works in the USA (I live in the US too by the way). Literally anything can happen in court. You may be right in that the odds may be good that he'll be able to sue and win, but it all depends on factors we can't control or predict. The judge the case gets is important. If it's a jury trial, the outcome may have more to do with the abilities of the lawyers involved than the actual merits of the case. Then if you don't like the verdict and appeal it, you go back to square one because some appellate judges tend to favor one side over the other. You get a really conservative appellate male judge in the Scalia mold and you could find that he'll basically allow the government to do anything if they feel that public safety was potentially at risk. Keep in mind too that the author may be greatly exaggerating what happened to him and what really happened may be a lot less sensational than the news report.

Re:Not necessarily (4, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807267)

Keep in mind too that the author may be greatly exaggerating

Keep in mind that nobody's spoken to the author. Sheriff Phillips is the one telling everyone that he "is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere."

Re:Not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807513)

You get a really conservative appellate male judge in the Scalia mold and you could find that he'll basically allow the government to do anything if they feel that public safety was potentially at risk.

Times have changed, my friend.

Sue the bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807309)

You would think huh? With all the searching they're doing, they'll find something they can pin against him that, at a minimum will ruin his career. This is 0 tolerance we're talking about, they won't back down.

We're now clearly on the road to Fahrenheit 454.

Re:Sue the bastards (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807395)

So far they haven't.

Re:Sue the bastards (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807371)

Hopefully, but probably not. The author is black.

Re:Sue the bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807439)

There would be a lot less hysteria if the summary told us Patrick was black. How he escaped another "police involved shooting" is beyond me. Probably doesn't smoke marijuana is the best I can tell.

In Soviet Maryland (5, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806927)

Book burns you.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (4, Interesting)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806977)

Stephen King is probably lucky he lives in a different area of the northeast.......otherwise, he'd be on trial for all sorts of sick demented things.

Seriously, though -- if the teacher had other suspicious behaviours, it would be one thing, but just writing a fictional story based on an area he's familiar with isn't enough to indicate criminal thought.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (0)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807023)

In some respects, there are so many preventative measures that police and other organizations feel they need to take to avoid future litigation for "not acting", that you can't necessarily blame the police or the school. Its a no win situation for them. I am not sure it helps perspective to call every search performed a 'raid', either.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (5, Informative)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807061)

they need to take to avoid future litigation for "not acting", that you can't necessarily blame the police

This isn't accurate. The police are under no requirements to act - they even won a Supreme Court case regarding the matter.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807167)

Indeed, and it is a point of honor and responsibility that those who swear othes to protect and serve us do so even if it means sacrificing that power and authority.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (2)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807169)

that you can't necessarily blame the police or the school.

Sure I can. Screwing up people's lives is immoral, and they definitely can be blamed for taking actions which do exactly that, regardless of any societal pressure being put on them.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807171)

One can *absolutely* blame the police for acting in a manner contrary to the Constitutional rights of the citizens they serve. There is no "think of the children" grey area or exception, they are foundational rights, period.

Either the police have a lot more than they are letting onto at the moment, or this man's life has been imploded so egregiously that he is going to buy an island with the money he will be able to sue for.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807473)

period.

"period" is a childish and nonsensical argument. Don't use it.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807501)

As far as I know, it's just something used for emphasis, and isn't being put forth as an actual argument. "childish" and "nonsensical" are completely subjective descriptions in this case. Period.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807195)

Additionally, it very likely was a 'raid'. Any time police even think weapons or bombs might be involved, it's a SWAT-level response to search anything. I very much doubt they just sent in a couple uniformed cops to politely go through things, they would have gone in ready for battle.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807203)

The police don't need to act on every tip reported in. If that were the case, they would need to respond to every 911 call that reported that the McDonald's teller gave them a medium fries and not a large like they ordered. You know, because it might possibly become a violent situation and if they don't act they might be to blame.

Even if they did "act" on this tip, all it would warrant might be a visit to the guy's house to talk with him briefly and run some background checks on him. That would have shown that he's a fiction writer and not publishing some manifesto about how he's going to go berserk and kill everyone. Then the author and the police would go their own ways with as little fuss as possible. Forcibly taking him in for "an emergency medical evaluation", not letting anyone know where he is, and releasing statements phrasing everything he did as if he was an imminent threat isn't "acting", it's overreacting. Overreacting never takes down valid threats - at least, not without also taking down a lot of non-threats as well. If they actually, properly "acted", we wouldn't be reading about this because it would have been a routine interview and closing of the report.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (4, Informative)

powerlord (28156) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807463)

Except this is Maryland.

The police there think that being close to the capital has granted them more authority, and the people are wacko, self-entitled over-reactors to start with.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

... During the period from 1962 until 1967, Cambridge was a center of Civil Rights Movement protests as blacks sought access to work and housing. They also wanted to end racial segregation of schools and other public facilities. Race-related violence erupted in Cambridge in 1963 and 1967, and forces of the Maryland National Guard were assigned to the city to assist local authorities with peace-keeping efforts.[13] The leader of the radical movement was H. Rap Brown, the Minister of Justice of The Black Panther Party,[14] and local organizer Gloria Richardson.[15] These individuals incited the local community to burn the 2nd Ward area of Cambridge, Maryland which housed most of the African American community. The local population's homes, most of which were destroyed, were rebuilt under a 1969 Public Housing Act by the then Governor, Spiro Agnew and the Federal Government. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, public segregation in Cambridge officially ended. ...

Re:In Soviet Maryland (5, Insightful)

Zalbik (308903) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807219)

you can't necessarily blame the police or the school

Yes I certainly can; people who uphold bad laws are almost as bad as those who enact them.

And more importantly, unless there was evidence that this teacher was posing an immediate threat to children, they had no authority to arrest / detain him, regardless of any potential future litigation.

To put it simply, based on the current description of the situation, it appears the police did something both illegal and immoral and the school board did something immoral and possibly illegal.

Note: Every news story I find on this is pretty vague on the details. I suspect there is more going on here than initially reported. The news agencies have quite possibly left out important and pertinent information as it makes a great click-bait story.

Re:In Soviet Maryland (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807591)

You CANNOT stop crime. And arresting people for "Pre Crime" is right out of Sci-Fi (Minority Report).

A free society is messy. And often terribly so. We MUST accept being messy, sometimes nasty and ugly, if we are to truly appreciate the beautiful. Anything less is ugly, without any beauty to appreciate.

Now I just have to ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806929)

I want to read that novel.

Re:Now I just have to ... (2)

RDW (41497) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807515)

I want to read that novel.

Check out the Amazon extract ('But amid all the despair and hopelessness, people were working indefatigably to stabilise the nation and alleviate the prevalent tumult; and on 28 August 2298, the sedulousness of these committed inidividual was recompensed.') and you might change your mind. Still, if the original article is accurate there's no justification for his treatment, and the implications are deeply disturbing. Have we been told the full story?

Clap clap (1)

mlkj (3794193) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806933)

I'd say "Only in America" but that's sadly not true.

Re:Clap clap (3, Interesting)

sycodon (149926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807093)

Check off one more box on the list of Police State attributes we are now experiencing.

What an idiot! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806947)

He should have made the plot around child molesting instead of shooting! Geeze!

Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806953)

I'd be interested to know if this teacher's school system has a union.

Re:Union? (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807065)

This is exactly the type of situation unions were originally created to deal with, but they are still politically expedient entities and even if the teacher has tenure it might might not defend the person. After all, they do not want to be painted as being soft on potential school shooters.

Re:Union? (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807075)

(adding)

Looking at the teacher's age, they would not have tenure yet, so they will probably get no help from the union. Pre-tenure teachers are sacrificial, they can be fired at any time for any reason without recourse most of the time.

Re:Union? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807115)

True. But they can't be kidnapped and held against their will.

He won't be getting his job back. He might get a lot of cash.

Re:Union? (1)

Dins (2538550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807311)

Yeah, I think we're missing a big chunk of the story. He constitutionally can't be held against his will unless he's being charged with a crime past a certain point (24 hours I think?) Of course the cops know this, and if this went down exactly as reported the cops would also know they'd be setting themselves up for a HUGE lawsuit.

If it DID go down like the reports we have, I hope this guy sues the fuck out of the cops and the school and wins. But something makes me think we might not know the whole story.

Re:Union? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807455)

Since when do cops knowing what they are doing is wrong stop them.

Re:Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807511)

The only side telling their story so far is the Sheriff. I guess when they finally allow him to leave the "location known to law enforcement" without the "ability to travel anywhere" we'll get to hear the whole story, but I'm honestly starting to suspect the "whole story" is that the "location known to law enforcement" is the morgue after he "committed suicide" after being shot in the back twice with a cop's shotgun, and after Ferguson, the Sheriff wants the story to die along with him.

We use to do this all the time in the 50's as well (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806957)

In the USA. We just didn't do it to very rich white people. And we had the Mafia to do it to the lower class whites.

This is nothing new kids. The internet just made it visible for us all to go OMFG collectively.

Re:We use to do this all the time in the 50's as w (1)

Hentai (165906) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807035)

We still don't, actually. He's neither rich nor white.

Re:We use to do this all the time in the 50's as w (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807087)

I didn't RTFA :) Thx for pointing that out. My point still stands. We never really had that much freedom individually in this country. It was just way less visible in our past than in the soviets past. IMO.

Re:We use to do this all the time in the 50's as w (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807381)

hey I saw movies and news from that time period and I'm calling BS. There was nobody but white people in the USA at that time

Prequel (4, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806963)

Well after this he'll have plenty of great material for a 900-year prequel that will tackle some different, but still very troubling, social issues.

Re:Prequel (3, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806991)

Are school shootings really a social issue? I don't think it has either a hashtag nor a dedicated jezebel columnist, so how can we be sure?

well they effect society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807199)

Which is the only definition that matters, whether you're a right-wing nutter like kruach aum or a leftwing nutter like a jezebel columnist.

Re:Prequel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807211)

School shootings all seem to have this one thing in common - phsychotropic drugs as prescribed by psychs. They have strong suicidal and homicidal side effects. The list is long, from Hitler, shooter of Pres Reagan; John Lennon, Colombine, etc, etc. You could call that a social issue as people are being prescribed these in volume. Take the military, massive amount of suicide as a result of being prescribed mental health drugs that are psychotropic. Read the warning labels on them!
or easier google: psychotropic drugging.

No more fiction writing in the US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806975)

Or you'll get detained for your story that involves explosions or gritty situations. Goodbye freedom, it was doubleplus good having you.

EFF Should help (2)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a month and a half ago | (#47806987)

I know its a bit of a stretch of the mission, but based on what is known as of now, I think the EFF (and maybe even the ACLU) should come to this guys aid. Is this sort of thing exactly why we establish these sorts of organizations - to protect free speech be it online or on paper?

Re:EFF Should help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807101)

If things really are as they seem to be, I agree that both of these organizations would likely be interested.

Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47806997)

Those blue state basterds are at ir again destroying freedom one step at a time!

Re:Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807053)

The Eastern shore is conservative.

Slow on the take (5, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807071)

As if the story itself could not be more horrible I can't believe the books were published in 2011 and 2013 and just now they decide to go after him. Either he pissed off someone high up and they just found a reason to go after the guy or some bored cop just got around to discovering fiction...

Unbelievable!

Re:Slow on the take (2)

Jesrad (716567) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807349)

Well, there is a word [liberty.me] that defines accurately what is happening here, but because this word has been slowly stripped of its rich meaning and turned into an empty slur, most people have stopped using it appropriately, instead merely employing it as a slur. For shame, really, because its attached historical lessons are desperately needed these days.

Re:Slow on the take (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807583)

For shame, really, because its attached historical lessons are desperately needed these days.

Don't worry, we're about to get re-educated on the matter. And this time there isn't any "free world" left to come to the rescue, just Stalin - er, Putin.

Guilty (2)

el jocko del oeste (2450190) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807077)

I read the opening paragraph of his book on Amazon. The man *is* guilty of a crime. Assault and battery on the world of literature!

Really, his stuff is "dark and stormy night" bad. Toss him in jail. No, wait, that's not a severe enough punishment for what he's done. Something more extreme is required. I know, make him teach middle school!

Re:Guilty (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807289)

Wait. Snoopy wrote that line hundreds of times.

You're not putting down Snoopy, are you?

Re:Guilty (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807573)

Snoopy was smart enough to not publish his novels. Besides he never or out of the first paragraph.

Set In The Past (5, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807085)

Instead of 900 years in the future, he should have set it in the past. Or at least included dinosaurs. You'd never get in trouble for writing about Dinosaurs... Oops, sorry. Forget about that. [ibtimes.com]

In all seriousness, though, school shootings are a problem. However, I'm much more afraid of my oldest son (who begins middle school in a couple of days) getting in trouble for someone mistaking something he says/does as being a threat against the school than I am afraid that someone will walk into the building and kill a bunch of people. (My oldest is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and anxiety disorder. He can tend to be clueless about "other meanings" to the things he says or how people might take offense to certain phrases that he means in an innocent manner. Not a good combination with overzealous administrators who are jumping at the slightest whiff of trouble.)

Re:Set In The Past (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807217)

>He can tend to be clueless about "other meanings" to the things he says or how people might take offense to certain phrases that he means in an innocent manner.

What I meant to say was: pass the salt, please.

Set In The Past (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807253)

I have the same fears with my 6 year old daughter. Yesterday we were playing and she pretended to set me on fire with magic from a fairy crown. I in turn used my water bending abilities to douse myself and trap her in a whirl pool. I am pretty sure threatening to roast a person alive is against school rules, as well as unlawful detainment and, considering the drought my state is facing, so allowing imaginary water runoff to irrigate adjacent properties. She would have been expelled and sentenced to 13 years in the Muppet gulags.

Set In The Past (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807505)

The problem is that apparently some officials believe that school shootings would somehow become less of a problem if nobody is allowed to talk or write about them...

More to the story? (3, Interesting)

Media Archivist (3478167) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807099)

All of the stories I have read about this use the same reference: WBOC. There is, as of yet, no other source. I think there is more to this story than has been reported so far. I am not suggesting the lack of facts is a coverup, just that it is still in the early stages of falling into place.

Re:More to the story? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807319)

Don't worry, by the time the truth/ whole story comes out the media won't care and the teacher will have been tried by social media, the union and the media well before being released.

Re:More to the story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807471)

The cynic in me says that this looks like a rather successful advertising campaign for the guy's books.

Well Obviously... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807113)

Only a verifiable head case would write about a school shooting 900 years in the future. I have it on good authority that the last 'chemical/kinetic homicide' was recorded in the waning days of the Transcend Uprising in 2234. By 2914, the most common spree killings, by method, are 'engineered retroviruses', 'covert antimatter decanting', and nanoassembler override.

Also, ever since Heuristic Neural Patterning became economically viable in the mid 24th century, 'school' exists as little more than a footnote in some of the low level neural patterning modules. I'm not sure why you'd expect to find enough people for a mass casualty incident visiting one.

change.org petition (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807125)

There is a petition at Change.org requiring the county school superintendent to apologize.
https://www.change.org/p/dr-he... [change.org]

Re:change.org petition (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807283)

Has *anything* ever changed from having a bunch of people sign a change.org petition?

Re:change.org petition (0)

ClintJCL (264898) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807581)

Yes. Now shut the fuck up.

Re:change.org petition (5, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807593)

Well, there was the Declaration of Independence, but those people followed up the petition with gunfire.

Don't Compare One Guy Getting Fired... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807131)

...to a regime that killed some 20-30 million people [battleswarmblog.com] . Sounds like the guy got jobbed for sure, but Soviet punishment would have been to kill the guy and his family, or at least exile them to a Siberian work camp for 10 years.

It's like violating Godwin's Law, except for commies...

Re:Don't Compare One Guy Getting Fired... (5, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807247)

They aren't comparing his getting fired to Soviet-style punishment. The comparison is to the forcing him, against his will, to "an emergency medical evaluation" in a location that only the police know of and won't release any details about. Making a guy disappear because he's suspected of bad behavior isn't something that's supposed to happen in the US. (That last statement might sound a bit naive. Take it as a goal for how our country should operate instead of the totalitarian method of just letting the authorities do whatever they want for whatever reason.)

Sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807145)

There are plenty of fucked up novels out there that involve sick shit with children... It's the goddamn terrorist tag that's causing this type of behavior by the law.. In their eyes we're the enemy, they're right, and we're wrong. I get it we're living in an age where you can be arrested for shitty rap lyrics on Facebook so it's not too big of a shock to be reading this.

Marylander Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807149)

The Eastern Shore is the right-wing part of the state, before anyone brings that up.

"rest of the story" (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807179)

So in the original piece there is one commenter ranting about how the paper is not publishing 'the rest of the story' (which will vindicate the board of education and police) because they are enjoying the traffic they are getting.. yet I am not seeing this poster actually present any new information.

Has anyone heard anything that might even slightly justify this.. ahm... I am not sure it is even an 'arrest'... hrm... event?

Re:"rest of the story" (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807391)

(adding)

According to people who claim to 'know more', he was using aliases for real life things like when he applied for the job, not just pseudonyms for writing. People claiming to be parents have also chimed in saying there was 'real fear' around this person, but I would not be surprised if this fear came after the board discovered his books as opposed to before.

There are also claims he sent a 'disturbing letter' to the school board, but 'it was not their place to update with facts', so I am skeptical of the poster.

Re:"rest of the story" (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807491)

(adding)

According to people who claim to 'know more', he was using aliases for real life things like when he applied for the job, not just pseudonyms for writing. People claiming to be parents have also chimed in saying there was 'real fear' around this person, but I would not be surprised if this fear came after the board discovered his books as opposed to before.

There are also claims he sent a 'disturbing letter' to the school board, but 'it was not their place to update with facts', so I am skeptical of the poster.

yea, the only way this could really end up making any sense was that some old lady librarian at the school found his books, got concerned and went to the school-board/police... who had to talk to him for due diligence, and when they did talk to him, they found out completely by accident that the dude was actually nuts. Maybe he threatened suicide or took a swing at a cop? Getting someone committed is NOT easy, I've tried doing it before, it's nearly impossible.

If they really committed him for writing 2 books, no matter how bad they are, this is completely off the rails insane.

Re:"rest of the story" (1)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807525)

It would not be unheard of though. This is a small town going into an election year, and here you have a scary angry black man associated with scary fiction who might murder your children so the big responsible sheriff and school board sweep in to protect their loving citizens.

In the threads on the local site I see a lot of parents chiming in that they are glad this happened, that it is better to be safe then sorry, or even going as far as to say that anyone who would own (much less write) such books is not someone they want near their kids in the first place.

Re:"rest of the story" (1)

Feces's Edge (3801473) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807561)

A lot of parents are irrational morons with no respect for the constitution or individual liberties. Nevermind that this country was founded on a distrust of government or that it's supposed to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Then again, I don't think this applies just to parents.

Voltaire (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807213)

It's awesome that his pen name was Voltaer [amazon.com] which sounds like a reference to Voltaire [wikipedia.org] who was fighting for civil rights and had his books burned.

It sounds like this guy is brilliant. He was smart enough to use a pen name to hide his writings from his students, and also smart enough to choose a pen name that mocks anyone who uses these writings to defame him. Clearly, Voltaire should now be required reading by Dorchester county students.

Re:Voltaire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807485)

Clearly, Voltaire should now be required reading by Dorchester county students.

...and administrators.

Re:Voltaire (2)

Zeromous (668365) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807499)

I was beginning to think I was the only one who caught this. Put this in your pack for the next time you need to explain irony and coincidence with someone.

Terrible terrible terrible... (1)

iwaki007 (118291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807241)

This is terrible. All across the country it seems that local government's are becoming more aggressive. This poor guy wrote a fictional book, set in the future and is now being severely punished for it. What will come next? Will we /.ers become targets? I remember in the past thinking "nope, that can never happen in the States", now I see that it is happening. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Has anyone actually READ the book? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807245)

I've only read the Amazon precis, but it *seems* like the shooting is a plot device against which the author has characters act and react. Not all that different than Nevil Shute using a nuclear war as the backdrop for "On The Beach."

I am, frankly, of two minds about this. On one hand, possibly support a glory seaking attention hound. On the other, be tracked and branded as someone who "supports violence in schools" by buying the e-book. On the gripping hand, just read the thing myself and make up my own mind...

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807295)

Because, as we all know, people that plan to commit a horrific crime always write a novel about it first.

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807379)

There's a good documentary film about that entitled "Basic Instinct".

And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807327)

This, and yet no one went after Tom Clancy who basically planned 9/11 (i.e. kamikazing a passenger plane into the White House).

Re:And yet (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807393)

Maybe they were going to do just that to him but what with his being dead and all it's kind of hard

Re: And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807567)

Before being dead and after he wrote it he was rich. Rich people are untouchable. Rich people are gods.

and yet Twilight still exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807421)

And yet Stephenie Meyer is still free to write her crap. C'mon at least arrest her for that god awful twilight series.

Every country has freedom of expression (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807423)

But it's what happens to you afterwards that reveal its true qualities.

truth? (1)

idanity (591710) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807537)

did he stumble upon the future plan(s) ? is his book too much like the base model for all control that we are facing, or are teachers just not allowed to write a book?

There's always a possibility of mental illness. (1, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807545)

Hang on. Everyone is jumping to the conclusion that a perfectly normal teacher just happened to be grabbed and taken for an "emergency medical evaluation" because he had innocently written a book. It is also quite possible that he is actually suffering from mental illness -- schizophrenia often manifests itself in early adulthood, for example -- and that his books were originally written as a coping mechanism for the early stages of illness. Remember, approximately 1% of the population will suffer from schizotypal symptoms at some point in their lives.

The most likely explanation is that the teacher's behavior had grown erratic and he had shown signs of mental disorder that caused grave concern in his co-workers and friends.

Do Everything Wrong Day (3, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a month and a half ago | (#47807553)

There should be a Do Everything Wrong Day where students and teachers alike do things like play dodgeball, cops and robbers, offer pats on the back and hugs, bring copies of Mad Magazine and Guns and Ammo to school, call each other names, walk to school, say they look nice today, and so on and so on. Then everyone lodges official complaints against everyone else, so administrators now will either have to either suspend everyone and then crawl through hundreds if not thousands of hearings, or agree that a lot of the rules against these things are ludicrous if not completely anti-American.

The slogan for the day? "If everyone is in trouble, nobody is."

.

What freedoms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47807589)

George Orwell says hi.

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