It seem sadly inevitable. Whenever we have a national tragedy, a pattern of repression — often flavored with a racist or at least anti-nonconformist undertone — breaks out. After the Columbine tragedy, schools rushed in to expell any kid that looked like a Goth and put “zero tolerance” policies in place that did little for safety but lots to satisfy panic. After 9/11, we got to see anyone who looked even vaguely middle eastern subject to extra searches, police stops, and occassionally getting dragged away on suspicion of something or other.
Now, sadly, it’s happening again. First, lets pump up the gullible with a non-stop media orgy of “How did we miss the signs?” “Kids these days are so violent, and exposed to so many violent influences.” “Who knows where or when the next mad student will strike?” “It could be anyone! It could be the (Asian) kid next door!” etc., etc., etc. And lets keep flashing the same pictures of the VA Tech murderer over and over and over — in case anyone missed he’s Asian.
All set, than lets zoom ahead to where our latest outbreak of post-trauma panic is taking place. According to this story in the Chicago Tribune, it would appear that the police have arrested Allen Lee for “disturbing the peace.” His criminal conduct? An essay he wrote in his creative writing class disturbed his teacher, who took it to the department head, who took it to the principal, who called the police, who had young Allen Lee arrested. His father subsequently paid the $75 bail, so they obviously do not consider him an imminent threat of some undefined terrible thing.
Until last week, Allen Lee was a straight A student with a contract to enter the Marine Corps after graduation. Other than being Asian, he does not appear to share much in common with VA Tech murdered Sueng Hui Cho. Lee wrote his essay for a creative writing class, in which the teacher urged Lee and the other students to “express their emotions through writing.”
More below . . . .
UPDATE: Here is a link to the essay in question and some author commentary. I am ungenerous enough to wonder if the teacher would have found it so “disturbing” if she had not been personally insulted as a bad teacher delluding herself.