Sunday, February 27, 2005

Zombie Terrorist Charges

This is a pretty bizarre story. Taking everything at face value, it seems that an eighteen year old high school student wrote a zombie story which takes place in a high school (not his own). His loving grandparents apparently discovered the tale and, no doubt fearing their grandchild was a burgeoning psychopath, took the story to the cops who have charged him with making terrorist threats.

This is a pretty worrying development; police investigators say they found materials which "outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers and police" - emphasis mine. I should hope so if they were zombies- violence is the only way to deal with the walking dead.

So a kid writes a story and he is arrested for using his imagination? Now, of course if this kid had turned psycho and caused some sort of massacre people would have been asking, but why wasn't he stopped? Didn't anyone know he was a lunatic? Wasn't anyone reading his journal? That's fair enough but when a theatre group can put on a play about assassinating the President, and who knows how may writers can publish books about all sorts of horrific massacres, no one bats an eyelid. No one is arrested for making terrorist threats. I can remember writing a pretty shoddy tale about Russians invading my school (well, they invaded the whole country not just the school) when I was a teenager. I didn't mention my school by name or the teachers or even the pupils, but I it was based on it. Should I have been arrested as a potential Columbine killer? Or is this a storm in a teacup? What about freedom of speech? Shouldn't we be encouraging kids to write down their fantasies rather than acting them out?

I'm in pretty serious trouble if writing stuff like this down is making a terrorist threat (whom was he threatening by the way? Wouldn't it be a threat if he'd actually, you know, threatened someone instead of writing a story?). In my own collection of scribbles I've reduced whole cities, even continents, to ashes. Millions have died in horrible ways- nuclear war, plague, natural disasters, vampires, and yes- even zombies. I've launched wars, struck terrorist attacks, spied on foreign powers and even planned assassinations. I've also repelled the odd alien invasion. None of it is threatening though (unless you count the writing style and that's more offensive than threatening) - it's fiction. It'll be interesting to see how this story pans out.

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