Asininity Goes to Middle School
The Secret Service is investigating a seventh-grader who wrote a school essay that authorities say advocated violence against President Bush, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and others.First off, I never knew the Secret Service handled security for Oprah, but then again I didn't know that the NSA were engaging in widespread, illegal surveillance of US citizens, either, so maybe I don't know that much.
Was this highly dangerous seventh-grader from Rhode Island distributing a pamphlet containing his bizarre and bloody manifesto? No, he was just doing his homework.
The boy's homework assignment for English class was to write what he would do on a perfect day. In addition to the president and Winfrey, the boy wrote that violence should be directed at executives of Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart, police and school officials said.Did he say that violence should be directed at these people, or that he was going do the job himself? I never knew that wishing karmic or divine justice on people was a federal crime. If it is, why isn’t Pat Robertson in leg-irons right now?
I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Secret Service has trouble telling the difference between fantasy and reality. Just because you daydream about offing Oprah Winfrey (and, come on, who hasn't done that?), that doesn't mean you're actually going to do it (unless you get a clear shot, that is).
The real question is, how did this essay come to the attention of the Secret Service? What hypersensitive, over-protective ninny at the West Warwick middle school passed an English essay along to the authorities? Was the kid also wearing a black trench coat? If he was wearing a black trench coat and liked Marilyn Manson, then I'd understand. Creativity and imagination have their limits, after all. There are certain things that just should not be expressed in a creative writing assignment. These things are best left bottled up inside where they can mutate into actual homicidal tendencies. What do you think high school is for?
Now, the kid didn't get arrested because what he wrote (the text has not been released) didn't amount to a concrete threat against the president. He has been barred from school, however, "but as a mental health rather than disciplinary precaution." Fantastic! That'll teach him not to harbor animosity toward authority figures. Apparently wishing violence upon people means you're crazy. And here I thought that was just the American way.