You can argue that writing about a school shooting as an actively employed teacher is a bit tone-deaf to the sensibilities of parents whose students he teaches. That hardly calls for an arrest and an ’emergency medical (psych?) evaluation’. I’d say propriety would be in writing under a pen name. Which he did. Perfect propriety might be in sitting on the finished manuscripts until he was employed outside the field. But what writer can sit on a finished work of fiction — or should be asked to — once it is written? I don’t think I’ve heard of one.
This seems to be a manifestation of the fearful, shivering, paranoid social slope we’re headed down collectively as western society. I don’t care for it one bit. Living in fear (especially, as it seems in this case, racism-flavored fear) is not for me. And it shouldn’t be for you.
A teacher wrote a science-fiction novel set in the far future (2902), and in the novel are two school shootings (a topic I imagine most school teachers think about from time to time, given their responsibilities).
Apparently authorship is now considered some sort of crime. Robby Soave posts at Reason.com:
A Dorchester County, Maryland, teacher was taken in for an “emergency medical evaluation,” suspended from his job, and barred from setting foot on another public school. Authorities searched his school, Mace’s Lane Middle School in Cambridge, for weapons. As classes resumed, parents worried that their children were in danger, so police decided to remain on the premises to watch over them.
What happened? The teacher, Patrick McLaw, published a fiction novel. Under a pen name. About a made-up school shooting. Set in the year 2902.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which part of that was criminal, or negligent, or…
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