Last night I was reading reddit and a new article came through. This time it stopped me in my tracks. A story about a fellow author who wrote a book and was then placed on leave for being “suspicious.” Others have mentioned he may have been arrested. They are definitely looking at charging him with something.
The facts, according to the article: He was a teacher at a middle school. He wrote two books under pen names. He published them on Amazon. The books were about “the largest school shooting in history.” Both works of fiction.
After reading it I posted the article to G+ and we had an interesting conversation that made me want to write a more in-depth blog post… so fair warning. It’s going to get deep around here.
Ever since 9/11, just 13 years ago, there have been many articles hitting the news about the over zealous “no tolerance” policies in our schools. Now, I will say that not all of it is due to 9/11. There was also Columbine, the Aurora theater shooting, and the recent school shootings in a few other states. We have had a lot more mass shootings, it seems, in the last decade then ever before.
Because of the no tolerance act we have now had:
A boy suspended for accidentally making his pop tart look like a gun.
A boy suspended for twirling a pencil.
7 year old yelled at for paper ‘gun’, then harassed and called a murderer by students.
A boy was suspended for having a PAPERCLIP in his pocket.
And there are TONS of examples where that came from.
What’s more interesting: The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) outlines “no tolerance polices” and has gone on record as saying: “Zero tolerance policies are complex, costly and generally ineffective.” They also say they cause racial discrimination, negative impact on education, high rate of repeat suspensions, and increase the drop out rate.
So… why not start suspending, or even arresting people who write books about school shootings. Never mind that you would need to arrest a lot of people who wrote similar books. Goodreads has a list of 39 books, all with school shootings in them.
It’s actually gotten a little scary here. With NSA watching everything we do, and news reporters suggesting police use water cannons on protesters, and everything else going on over in Ferguson at the moment, it’s feels like it is dangerous to be a citizen.
I spoke to a friend who lives in Europe and his view point of America at the moment is that it is one of the most dangerous places to live. That… that makes me sad, honestly. This use to be “the home of the free.” Is it now? I’m no longer sure.
I write what I write because it is what effects me. If I write about a school shooting it’s probably because I’m afraid one might happen to my children, not that I want to perpetrate one. If I write about a child that was abused it is because I was abused and I want others to know the signs of abuse so they can avoid it, not because I want to do it. If I write about murder, or nuclear bombs, or ghosts popping out of the grave to rip a persons head off.. it’s entertainment, it’s examination of things that effect society. The man who wrote Lolita wasn’t a child molester. VC Andrews didn’t have sex with her siblings. It’s writing.
1984, the thought police. Are we there yet? I hope not. But I don’t know anymore. I’m not proud of my country like I use to be either.