1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Teacher suspended by paranoid officials over fictional novels

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by GingerCoffee, Sep 1, 2014.

    Did This Teacher's Novel Cause Craziest Police Overreaction Ever?
    :eek:

    The Daily KOS is on the case.



    On the bright side, think of the publicity this will give his two self published novels. :D

    Honestly though, it's as bad as suspending that kid for biting his graham cracker into the shape of a gun and pretending to shoot it. The real dangerous kids get overlooked and people freak out about nonsensical stuff like this. You'd think they'd talk to people who knew the teacher before this knee jerk reacting.


     
  2. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    No, no I don't. I'm not surprised the whole system works poorly. I'm shocked it works at all.

    Probably won't help that he's black... <-- shot across the bow; let's see who I hit. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it had been a nonfiction novel, then I'd say the guy was seriously screwed up. :whistle: But yeah, welcome to the world of "Keep Us Safe at All Costs"...
     
  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is how to create a chilling effect on the artistic and intellectual endeavor of fiction.

    It has always bothered me when children's imagination and curiosity is met with concern rather than praise from elders. It stifles them. It discourages them from doing something that satisfies them and contributes to the world. It tells them that it is not okay to be themselves -- that they should be bothered by their own thoughts. That they are not normal, and everyone must be normal.

    And now this bullshit, which is a personal matter, has manifested itself within the system that controls children's gateway to academic achievement / the piece of paper that people look at to judge whether you are qualified to do something, and it has manifested itself within the system that uses the threat of violence or prison to force people to obey laws.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Which is interesting because almost all of these school shooters have been white. The Virginia Tech shooter was Asian.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I keep hoping that there's something that we don't know that makes this less Big-Brother insane. But, sadly, I don't see any evidence of that.
     
  7. Swiveltaffy
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    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

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    To boot, judging ignorantly from that accolade, he was probably a good teacher; and the shit educational system could use that type of faculty member.
     
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  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It sort of makes sense in a world where chemistry teachers cook meth.

    Oh wait, that's imaginary.

    This doesn't make any sense.
     
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  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Does your book represent your desire to go on a school shooting spree?"

    "If I wanted to go on a school shooting spree, then why would I write a book that tells you my plan?"
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    What I never understood is why law enforcement officials go after people like this and yet can't seem to stop shooters who leave behind evidence in the form of YouTube videos and manifestos.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That was my thought too, @thirdwind.
     
  12. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    "How stupid do you think we are? Of course you'd say that. Now admit your guilt, you sick bastard!"

    ETA: to @thirdwind's question, my uneducated guess is because, to quote The Cube, it's a headless jumble operating under the illusion of a masterplan. Meaning sometimes there's no whistle-blower or the detectives or whomever don't spot that particular YT vid or forum post or whatever, or maybe someone reported it, but the report got lost among all the false reports or someone crying wolf, or perhaps the person receiving the report had a hangover, bad day, or whatever, and for whatever reason, didn't react or notice that specific report that would've turned out to be for real etc.
    There are so many things that can and do go wrong in the system 'cause it's run by humans, starting from the person noticing the suspicious video to the human-built gear that's responsible for conveying that report to the human who (or whose superiors) should notice and react to that report etc.
    But that's just a guess.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
  13. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Arguments such as that were actually used in ancient Greece, and they sometimes worked. A person might be charged with attacking another man at a bar, and his argument would state that a huge, muscular man like himself wouldn't hit a short, scrawny person because it would be too obvious.

    Now that I've added nothing to this conversation, I will bow out.
     
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  14. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    No, it probably won't. :( Unless that causes some people to make a whole bunch of noise about this.
     
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  15. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    I'm sure someone will call this a First Amendment violation. I think I'd agree with them.
     
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  16. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    As much as I think the first amendment is ignored these days, and as bad as I think it is that this happened to the teacher, I would not call it a first amendment violation. No one is censoring the book. The book itself is not on trial; his character is on trial and the book is being used (misused) as evidence. He is on trial not for something he did, but for something people are afraid that he might do. (So much for innocent until proven guilty, huh?)
     
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  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Daily Kos says First, Second, Fourth, and Eighth. I'm not clear on how the Second applies, offhand, given that apparently he didn't have any weapons. I suppose the premise is that if he did have them, perfectly legally, they'd be used as evidence against him?
     
  18. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder what those administrators must think of Gillian Flynn...

    This is nuts.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The First Amendment forbids "restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely". Your right to speak freely isn't worth much if you're imprisoned for exercising it.
     
  20. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Granted, the book is being used/misused as evidence rather than a law against such books but I believe there is still sufficient cause to go forward with a first amendment suit. The courts have ruled frequently on such things as having INS agents at polling places and other assorted scenario's in which fear is used to prevent entire groups of people from exercising their first amendment rights.

    If a reasonable person can be made to fear that writing a fantasy book under a pseudonym about a mythical explosion that occurs some nine centuries in the future will get them treated as a terrorist...
    is no different (to my mind) than:
    If a reasonable person can be made to fear heading to a voting kiosk to make their vote heard will get them picked up for voting Hispanic by the INS standing ready with paddy wagons and dogs...

    If we fear exercising our rights, we've lost them.
     
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  21. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There have been a lot of exceptions made to free speech over the years by the Supreme Court, some for the good in my opinion. That said, you can tell the system is messed up when the applicability of hate crimes has been reduced because it violates free speech, yet a school can fire a teacher because he wrote a book that has violence in it.
     
  22. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is Patrick McLaw in prison?
    This is much more persuasive. Creating a chilling effect on speech sort of defeats the purpose of freedom of speech, even if we ignore the consequences faced by McLaw and only focus on how people in the future will feel about writing about touchy subjects.

    Still, it is a big stretch to go from "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press" to "a public school shall not judge someone's character based on his writing and then use that character judgment to declare him too dangerous to keep around if that might discourage other people from writing."

    But thankfully, there are plenty of arguments to be made against what they did to him that do not rely on the first amendment. There was a huge debate when the bill of rights was first drafted, and its most vocal detractors were not the ones who objected to the rights -- they were the ones who feared that if certain rights were encoded in the constitution, then other rights would be ignored. The bill of rights should not have even been necessary because if the government stuck to its purpose, then it would never have a reason to violate those rights. That is why the ninth amendment was added as a compromise. But I think even with that compromise, the fears of the detractors have somewhat come true: it is so easy to apply the bill of rights to any given situation where a certain type of right is violated that I fear that the courts' and the general public's ability to make negative arguments against rights violations has atrophied. (A positive argument is "the constitution protects this right"; a negative argument is "the government had no business concerning itself with this in the first place.")

    So the biggest argument for McLaw is that he lost his job* because a decision was made by people who had no business making it.

    * And his freedom, if temporarily.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
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  23. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Well, it is the same education system that fired teachers for putting Catcher in the Rye on the curriculum. And apparently, sometimes still do!
     
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  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My impression is that he was arrested for an "emergency medical evaluation" and may still be in custody, yes. Nobody really seems to know, and that's one of the scariest bits.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lost his job, and quite possibly held in custody without charges being filed.
     

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