This is topic Student going to jail for essay... what the? in forum Rants, Raves, Rumors! at The Geek Culture Forums!.


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Posted by littlenewsie (Member # 7241) on April 27, 2007, 20:04:
 
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/27/student.essay.arrest.ap/index.html

I understand the essay was graphic, but being criminally charged? I don't know if I agree with that. I agree the essay never should have been written. That was the kid's mistake, but to serve jail time over an essay? I don't think that's the message we want to send to kids.
 
Posted by iWanToUseaMac (Member # 4993) on April 27, 2007, 20:16:
 
Wasn't it enough to send him to the school counsellor, Americans have become too paranoid and in their fear, they're are doing the wrong thing.
 
Posted by Just_Jess_B (Member # 2161) on April 27, 2007, 21:36:
 
What's better is that the assignment was about writing what came to the person's head. Arresting a kid for doing something that no one but the teacher saw isn't worth arrest. Maybe some couch time at the front office with the therapist, but not arrest.

Fucking pansies, pissing their pants at the idea people like sex and blood and gore. Yes, it was violent, but they've half-got boys in lacy pink panties these days! Of course he rebelled in his head, because he can't express it! I mean, with GRRRRRL Power! and "Boys are Dumb, throw Rocks at them!" being accepted but the opposite being worth jail time?

Ugh. It was disturbing but not worth jail time. May that kid get a good lawyer, because he did what he was told, disturbing or not. And by the way? He's going to some day be a good artist because he GETS controversy. Let's just hope the feel-good namby pamby people don't get in the way of constructive expression of his feelings.

Redirect, people, don't shut it down.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on April 27, 2007, 22:42:
 
Ah, ya gotta love "The Land Of The Free" [Frown]
 
Posted by ewomack (Member # 3225) on April 28, 2007, 06:02:
 
AUGH! That's despicable beyond despicableness... "Land of the Free" no more, apparently... What's scary is that I used to have a morbid sense of humor way back in Junior high. I'd write about violence and draw disturbing pictures, but everyone dismissed it as pubescent junk, which it was. I turned out normal. Had I been in school today, I probably would have been put in jail for that crap. AUGH! Makes my intestines tie up in knots... [Mad]
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on April 28, 2007, 07:32:
 
You guys are too soft. That kid needs a good scare... a good sense of what the consequences of acting on any of that horrific stuff would be. I don't advocate a jail term, just a night in prison to put the "fear of God" into him... get him to think twice about pursuing a path of violence.
 
Posted by Just_Jess_B (Member # 2161) on April 28, 2007, 08:01:
 
While I agree that what he did was improper, his behavior never reflected it. You cannot arrest someone for disorderly conduct/public disturbance (which is what I recall him being arrested for) if it only involved a teacher!

Yes, it's violent and distasteful and terrifying. Yes, he needs to be put into county mental for a week and have a REAL assessment done. But he doesn't need to be put in jail at this point. He committed no crime, and that's the argument I have on this.

He may actually have mental damage. Tossing him in a violent place instead of medicating him is only going to aggravate it. And the "fear of God" thing? Doesn't apply here. This is law and ethics, not morality and religion. If he is suffering from a serious mental disorder that warps his reality, he already is in Hell, and fearing God means nothing only because he already feels God has abandoned him.

It's because of Virginia Tech that this happened, and while he is stupid as Hell for doing this right now, the FIRST STEP is always to make sure it's not something more serious than "ADHD" and doesn't get called or diagnosed ADHD and swept under the rug.

I agree -- don't ignore it or paste over it. I agree -- treat it like a real threat. This, however, was enacted in his head, which is where it needs to be handled.
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on April 28, 2007, 08:18:
 
Religion? Pah! Haven't you ever heard the expression "fear of God" used in a non-religious way before?

This kid has no fear of anything, no consciousness of what's appropriate if he thinks "it would be funny" if violence occurred in his school. Typical school punishment like suspension (in or out of school) isn't effective. Take the kid out of the cocoon of school and put him in a real-world environment like jail for the night. Let him experience what incarceration and the lack of control are like. Hopefully he will wise up and realize that violence is not fun and games.
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on April 28, 2007, 09:11:
 
There's a pretty good chance he already knows that.

Lots of people have dark fantasies. Some even write those fantasies into books or make them into movies, and sometimes those books hit the best-seller list or the movies become blockbusters because they speak to other people's fantasies. Actually acting on those fantasies is so rare that it makes headlines because the vast majority of the population is aware of the consequences of their actions and makes the choice not to face them (though it could be argued the Columbine killers and the VTech guy also chose not to face the consequences of their actions).

So sad that we've now introduced thoughtcrime into American society.
 
Posted by WinterSolstice (Member # 934) on April 28, 2007, 09:36:
 
Now that we can blame on Bush [Big Grin]
 
Posted by maximile (Member # 3446) on April 28, 2007, 09:54:
 
Yeah, come on. School is the time when you should feel free to play with the limits of what's acceptable to other people. It's certainly not a sign of some mental health problem.

And even if it was, that's hardly relevant. He shouldn't be put in prison until he commits a crime. He shouldn't be forced to take any mental assessments, and he shouldn't have the fear of god put in him.

Part of the price for living in a free society is that you're not allowed to treat people writing things like this as criminals, and perhaps because of this you can't stop events like the recent one at Virginia from happening. But though it's difficult to say and see right now, I think that the benefits of such a society are totally worth the problems it causes.
 
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on April 28, 2007, 14:27:
 
What bothers me is that the people responsible for this this and this are still free and walking the streets. I mean, really, they could be walking into a school near you, right now. Someone call the cops!
 
Posted by nerdwithnofriends (Member # 3773) on April 28, 2007, 15:35:
 
WTF, Rhonwyyn? He hasn't done anything, and he hasn't shown any will to. I've had dreams about killing people, it happens. They didn't involve necrophilia, but what the hey, different strokes for different folks.

Everybody thinks about things that they would never do in real-life. I've think about people dying all the time- how in some situations it would make my life easier, and in others it would make my life miserable. What if I was the mechanism of destruction? What if it was someone else and I could stop it?

If you want to imprison someone for thinking things that could be destructive if put into practice, you need to arrest poets, screenwriters, christians, muslims, jews, nuclear physicists, bio-chemists, martial-artists, and mimes.

This boy is guilty of nothing more than thought-crime. Orwell is probably turning over in his grave right now.
 
Posted by Just_Jess_B (Member # 2161) on April 28, 2007, 15:39:
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
What bothers me is that the people responsible for this this and this are still free and walking the streets. I mean, really, they could be walking into a school near you, right now. Someone call the cops!

[Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause]
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on April 28, 2007, 15:39:
 
littlenewsie _________________________ This topic and the Pat Tillman mess by Snaggy make me wonder about ducking bullets back in 67/69. Supposedly 54k of my brothers and a few sisters died to defend the Consitution and stop the spread of Communisum. Shit our own goverment is scaring me more than they did.
 
Posted by Callipygous (Member # 2071) on April 28, 2007, 16:48:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
So sad that we've now introduced thoughtcrime into American society.

You nailed it. We are one step nearer "1984", and that's how it happens, step by step.

Something else occurred to me, if what he wrote was so terrible, is it not worse that a newspaper quotes these offensive and disturbing passages? I hope this thought is not against the law too.. [crazy]
 
Posted by littlenewsie (Member # 7241) on April 28, 2007, 20:17:
 
Well NBC and the other broadcasting companies aired parts of the VT killer's video. Why isn't that a crime or anything like that? Yes, they did apologize after the fact, but then still continued to broadcast the video, only editing it.

Nobody fined the broadcasting companies. Nobody sued them. They got off scott free with only an apology.

Now, this kid comes along and writes a graphic essay and he faces jail time. Excerpts from the article are even provided. I don't get it. If the essay is so disturbing, let's post it all over the Internet! An obvious choice...

Something just isn't right. Makes me wonder why I want to be a journalist...
 
Posted by Mel (Member # 3553) on April 29, 2007, 10:10:
 
The issue here is definitely more about teacher responsibility than free speech. Teachers have to report any writing or talking about shooting up students in schools. One shooting was apparently prevented in Calgary because a parent saw a hit list that her son had. She would have been sorry if she took it as a joke. There is a zero-tolerance rule about stuff like that, and I'm glad they took it seriously. You can't write about shooting kids in school, just like you can't worship Satan in a Christian church. You'll go to bad places for both...
 
Posted by littlenewsie (Member # 7241) on April 29, 2007, 11:21:
 
Mel, while I agree something needs to be done, I don't agree with criminal charges. It was a creative writing piece. If it had been a "what will you be doing in five years" I might be a bit more worried. Yes, the kid should have been referred to counseling but I don't believe in the criminal charges. That's my big problem. Criminal charges for an essay. How is that essay disorderly conduct? And why are there two charges? It was one essay...
 
Posted by Steen (Member # 170) on April 29, 2007, 12:47:
 
I seem to be missing some of the logic here.

Could someone please explain how a jail sentence for an essay would have any deterrent affect on someone who probably plans to kill himself at the end of the shooting spree? After all, that is the most common way the school shootings are ending.
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on April 29, 2007, 15:42:
 
Steen: You mean the same way that one-way flights paid for in cash trigger red flags? [Wink]
 
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on April 29, 2007, 15:48:
 
Y'know, I've been tempted to do that. Close my accounts, slice up my credit card, buy the ticket, disappear and never come back... Not sure where I'd go though. Maybe Alaska, if the winters weren't so dark and cold.

ETA: I think, dman, that Steen's point is that giving someone a taste of the consequences as a deterrent if the person involved has already decided that there will be no consequences for themselves. I also think that there is a very large gap between thinking about a course of action and actually taking it. Writing is a safety valve for a lot of people. Everyone who keeps a journal, raise their hand...*

*I don't keep a journal. I have three younger siblings and, after an unfortunate experience involving a nosy sister and a diary, learned that the only way to keep my dark and/or private thoughts forever secret is to let them rot in my head.
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on April 29, 2007, 18:40:
 
Xanthine: I didn't make my point very clear...perhaps I left far too much to read between the lines. If you buy a one way ticket in cash, you get red flags. If you buy a round trip ticket on a credit card, and *ahem* don't get the opportunity to pay the bill or use the return trip, you get on the flight with no difficulty. Security theater at its finest!
 
Posted by uilleann (Member # 1297) on April 29, 2007, 18:50:
 
quote:
Originally posted by littlenewsie:
I agree the essay never should have been written. That was the kid's mistake...

The whole situation is pretty fucked up. The kid did exactly as he was told, after all. Write what is on your mind, uncensored. That in itself is, to me, the Real WTF. No-one should be told to write an uncensored view of their mind, because that's a private domain that we should be entitled to keep to ourselves.

Goodness me, do I ever know what horrors I could unleash if I wrote what was on my mind at the wrong time. Although I think the pain would be marginally greater for the readers than for me. I don't know that anyone would ever think the same of me again if I did.

Having said that, I do worry about a kid who is actually willing to write what he did. That is even more disturbing than the assignment itself.
 
Posted by Sxeptomaniac (Member # 3698) on April 29, 2007, 19:39:
 
I find it ironic that people respond to an article about people freaking out and overreacting by doing the same. The actions of a prosecutor in Illinois are not necessarily those of the entire US. It's certainly not the first time someone has been slapped with ridiculously trumped-up charges.

If they actually manage to convict him on any of that absurdity, I'll start to worry.
 
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on April 30, 2007, 02:52:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
I find it ironic that people respond to an article about people freaking out and overreacting by doing the same. The actions of a prosecutor in Illinois are not necessarily those of the entire US. It's certainly not the first time someone has been slapped with ridiculously trumped-up charges.

If they actually manage to convict him on any of that absurdity, I'll start to worry.

The problem is that he is charged with disorderly conduct. This is very broad and since offending others can be considered tumultulous, his conduct probably falls under the umbrella of this law. I don't know Illinois' definition of disorderly conduct but here is Indiana's.
quote:
A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
(1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
(2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
(3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;

I say he could be convicted considering the histeria of the current state of America.

p.s.

Sorry to all the femminists out there for using the word hysteria.
 
Posted by supaboy (Member # 183) on April 30, 2007, 06:47:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
...the only way to keep my dark and/or private thoughts forever secret is to let them rot in my head.

People at work sometimes make me very, very angry. When that happens, I write a scathing e-mail. Sometimes, I get my co-worker (who understands these things) to proofread the message if I think I've done a particularly good job of skewering, because she will find them amusing.

Then I close the message without saving or sending it.

Getting it onto a screen usually gets it out of my head, and it doesn't matter that it won't ever get read.
 
Posted by Sxeptomaniac (Member # 3698) on April 30, 2007, 09:15:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
I find it ironic that people respond to an article about people freaking out and overreacting by doing the same. The actions of a prosecutor in Illinois are not necessarily those of the entire US. It's certainly not the first time someone has been slapped with ridiculously trumped-up charges.

If they actually manage to convict him on any of that absurdity, I'll start to worry.

The problem is that he is charged with disorderly conduct. This is very broad and since offending others can be considered tumultulous, his conduct probably falls under the umbrella of this law. I don't know Illinois' definition of disorderly conduct but here is Indiana's.
quote:
A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally:
(1) engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct;
(2) makes unreasonable noise and continues to do so after being asked to stop; or
(3) disrupts a lawful assembly of persons;

I say he could be convicted considering the histeria of the current state of America.

Doubt it. Disorderly conduct is public behavior, and his essay was intended as private, from what the article says. Assuming they don't drop the charges altogether (which is quite likely), all he needs is a halfway decent lawyer in order to be found innocent. Even the average public defender could probably get the case completely thrown out.

Yeah, it sucks what this kid could end up going through in order to fight the charges, but I don't think for a minute that the act of charging him with that crap is anything more than a hiccup in the US criminal justice system. The hysteria has faded pretty rapidly along with the news coverage, so it's not likely to be much of a factor, particularly by the time the case goes to court (if it does at all).
 
Posted by drunkennewfiemidget (Member # 2814) on April 30, 2007, 09:29:
 
*points and laughs*
 
Posted by mistersaxon (Member # 6816) on May 03, 2007, 08:05:
 
He should have plagiarised something off Wikipedia like 95% of his classmates.

Ummm, unless he did! <fx: GULP! endfx>
 
Posted by Just_Jess_B (Member # 2161) on May 03, 2007, 16:43:
 
quote:
Originally posted by mistersaxon:
He should have plagiarised something off Wikipedia like 95% of his classmates.

Ummm, unless he did! <fx: GULP! endfx>

Or purchased it.
 
Posted by Mel (Member # 3553) on May 04, 2007, 16:42:
 
Maybe the teacher was doing some kind of psychological test on them by saying that they could uncensor themselves and weed out the nut cases? I think the administration of schools try to make examples of the students sometimes by doing extreme things to those that break the rules, like the time they suspended a boy for taking a steak knife to lunch to cut his apple, as knives are considered weapons = zero tolerance.
 


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