Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Censorship Education United States Your Rights Online

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist 441

An anonymous reader writes A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report — "taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

Comments Filter:
  • by JeffAtl ( 1737988 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:03AM (#47807061)

    they need to take to avoid future litigation for "not acting", that you can't necessarily blame the police

    This isn't accurate. The police are under no requirements to act - they even won a Supreme Court case regarding the matter.

  • Not necessarily (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:17AM (#47807191)

    Wow. Talk about a lawsuit that you are *guaranteed* to win.

    This guy is going to make millions.

    My best friend is an attorney and we've known each other for years. He has taught me a lot about how the law really works in the USA (I live in the US too by the way). Literally anything can happen in court. You may be right in that the odds may be good that he'll be able to sue and win, but it all depends on factors we can't control or predict. The judge the case gets is important. If it's a jury trial, the outcome may have more to do with the abilities of the lawyers involved than the actual merits of the case. Then if you don't like the verdict and appeal it, you go back to square one because some appellate judges tend to favor one side over the other. You get a really conservative appellate male judge in the Scalia mold and you could find that he'll basically allow the government to do anything if they feel that public safety was potentially at risk. Keep in mind too that the author may be greatly exaggerating what happened to him and what really happened may be a lot less sensational than the news report.

  • Re:Not necessarily (Score:5, Informative)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:25AM (#47807267) Journal

    Keep in mind too that the author may be greatly exaggerating

    Keep in mind that nobody's spoken to the author. Sheriff Phillips is the one telling everyone that he "is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere."

  • Re:Sue the bastards (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:34AM (#47807371)

    Hopefully, but probably not. The author is black.

  • by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @11:42AM (#47807463) Journal

    Except this is Maryland.

    The police there think that being close to the capital has granted them more authority, and the people are wacko, self-entitled over-reactors to start with. []

    ... During the period from 1962 until 1967, Cambridge was a center of Civil Rights Movement protests as blacks sought access to work and housing. They also wanted to end racial segregation of schools and other public facilities. Race-related violence erupted in Cambridge in 1963 and 1967, and forces of the Maryland National Guard were assigned to the city to assist local authorities with peace-keeping efforts.[13] The leader of the radical movement was H. Rap Brown, the Minister of Justice of The Black Panther Party,[14] and local organizer Gloria Richardson.[15] These individuals incited the local community to burn the 2nd Ward area of Cambridge, Maryland which housed most of the African American community. The local population's homes, most of which were destroyed, were rebuilt under a 1969 Public Housing Act by the then Governor, Spiro Agnew and the Federal Government. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, public segregation in Cambridge officially ended. ...

  • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:22PM (#47808651)

    Well, there's also the school board's press release: []

  • Re:Sue the bastards (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phreakiture ( 547094 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @03:31PM (#47809965) Homepage

    I have no idea what the real story is,

    There is a less hysterical piece at NewsOne [], also this from the Washington Times []. There is also an opposing opinion in the Baltimore Sun [].

    Does that help?

  • Re:Sue the bastards (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:03PM (#47810269)

    Does that help?

    Yes, that helps, since these sources contradict many of the "facts", and the main theme, of TFA:

    - His book The Insurrectionist [] was published more than three years ago.
    - School authorities have been aware of the book since it was first published.
    - His book had little or no influence on the decision to place him on administrative leave.
    - The main reason for his suspension was a "bizarre" four page letter that he wrote to county officials, that raised mental health concerns.
    - He has not been arrested, and is not being charged with any offence (TFA does not say he was, buy many commenters here have assumed this).
    - It does not appear that his mental health evaluation was mandatory or coerced in anyway other than as a condition of returning to work.

    So it appears that there were some legitimate concerns about his mental health, and that authorities' response to those concerns was measured and reasonable.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.