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A Science Fiction Novelist Is Taken into Custody for Mental Instability

Written by Gary North on September 3, 2014

A man wrote a novel set 900 years in the future. In it, there is an attack in a public school.

The poor guy teaches in a public school.

Bam!  The cops came, and carried him away for observation.

This got written up in The Atlantic.

A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Maryland, 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.

This is one more example of North’s law of bureaucracy: “A bureaucratic rule will at some point be officially enforced to the point of imbecility.”

The public schools of this Maryland school district have gained publicity for themselves far beyond what some low-level official ever expected. The author reports:

I’ve tried to reach the sheriff, so far unsuccessfully, to learn whether McLaw’s “inability to travel anywhere” means that he is under arrest. It is somewhat amazing that local news reports on this case don’t make clear whether McLaw is under arrest, and if so, on what charge. It is equally astonishing that the reporters on this story don’t seem to have used the words “First Amendment” in their questioning of law-enforcement officials, and also astonishing they don’t question the Soviet-sounding practice of ordering an apparently sane person who has been deemed unacceptable by state authorities to undergo a psychological evaluation.

It would be useful to know if McLaw is under investigation for behavior other than writing two novels—and perhaps he will be shown to be a miscreant of some sort—but so far, there is no indication that he is guilty of anything other than having an imagination, although on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as news reports make clear, his imagination is considered an active threat.

(For more on this journey into the Twilight Zone, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.theatlantic.com

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35 thoughts on “A Science Fiction Novelist Is Taken into Custody for Mental Instability

  1. The Dorchester Bored of Education is a local chapter of ISIS.

  2. In the meantime our borders are open for any and every terroist from not only our neighboring southern countries, but, the Middle East terrorist who hate us and daily vow to come here and start mass murders etc… What the hell is wrong with the citizenry of America? have we lost our minds?

  3. George F Somsel says:

    There must be something in the water in Maryland since they consistently seem to do some of the most stupid things. If you value your sanity, get out of Maryland

  4. Grumpy3625 says:

    I truly believe that these bureaucrats actually have no concern for anything except making life miserable for other people so that they can feel superior to those who's lives they make difficult. They are people who are self loathing, discontent, and hateful to others because that is what their job is telling them what to be.

  5. George F Somsel says:

    "Bored [sic] of education"? How appropriate.

  6. So it's not just the children they arrest for drawing a picture opt hat resembles a gun…

  7. If you read the article updates, it's about his overall state of mind, based on a 4 page letter he wrote to the school administrator over the summer, and concerns were raised. Please try to get all the facts before you make assumptions. It makes you look incredibly daft.

  8. Roger Bruner says:

    And to think I used to teach at that school (1968-74). I supposed the Dorchester Country authorities would consider my Christian novels dangerous as well. *sigh*

  9. williefisher says:

    Does this mean that we have another Fannie Farmer lobotomy in the future engineered by the CPUSA?

  10. I hate to be a nitpicker, but Fanny Farmer is a candy company. Therefore you must be referring to Francis Farmer.

  11. williefisher says:

    Ooops, you're right… senior moment

  12. If you value your liberty, move to Texas!

  13. Stupid Is as Stupid does!

  14. George Orwell nailed it. We now have thought police. You must conform to your leaders standards or they will come and take you away. Back in the day, you actually had to commit a crime before the cops showed up at your door. Every author of crime novels and TV shows is now in peril. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  15. Michael KATZ says:

    I'll bet someone would have liked the insane Aurora Theatre shooter to be stopped before he committed the crime, based on his rantings. Thats not Orwellian, that's protection. When it fails we have Auroa and Sandy Hook. and Columbine.Thoughts CAN end up being dangerous. It wasn't his novel, it was writing to his employer in Maryland. I don;t want crazies teaching my kids. There are enough of those as it is.

  16. desierasmus says:

    After reading the article and its two updates, it appears that the authorities have a lot of trouble getting their story straight. Hopefully concerned observers will pursue the case until some light is shed on "all the facts" as you say. More likely, given the usual CYA behavior one sees in such cases, "all the facts" will disappear behind a squid's ink cloud of obfuscation in the name of "not commenting on personnel matters" and "protecting (their victim's) privacy".

    A Freedom of Information request for a scan of the purported letter would be a good place to start in precluding that outcome. As it stands the "details" leaked in the updates support the "he's a crazy guy" narrative, but the changing stories reasonably arouse one's BS sensors.

  17. Succinctly summed up with the citation of "North’s law of bureaucracy: “A bureaucratic rule will at some point be officially enforced to the point of imbecility.” (mind you, I'm no great supporter of the Tea Party, though I'm on board with many of the positions)

    Read more at http://teapartyeconomist.com/2014/09/03/science-f

  18. The first rule of writing is to use what you know. He knows schools so he weaved it in the story. Books are fantasy. Books wrtten to depict three hundred years in the future are total fantsy. This is insane abuse of a persons rights. Now you have to answer to your fantasies that you wrte. Watch ot Stephen King. Some of your stories depict schools.

  19. I hate that you can't edit here. So I will repost to fix my mistakes.

    The first rule of writing is to use what you know. He knows schools so he weaved it in the story. Books are fantasy. Books wrtten to depict three hundred years in the future are total fantasy. This is insane abuse of a persons rights. Now you have to answer to your fantasies that you write. Watch out Stephen King. Some of your stories depict schools.

  20. This is purely outrageous! Less than 50 years ago he would have been lauded for getting something published. The first rule of writing is to write about what you know or have thoroughly researched. He would have been completely qualified to spin a believable yarn about how a school operates.

    What's next,….do we all have a chip planted in our heads so the thought police can monitor our thoughts 24/7? I can just see them fighting over who gets to watch the steady stream of erotica coming from the minds of 16 to 24 year old males. What might be even more shocking is the stream coming from the minds of females in the same age group.
    I'm an old man so sampling my thoughts would probably be very boring but some of my dreams are very bizarre, probably fueled by the medication I need to take. My "monitor" would likely be found in the morning huddled in a corner, screaming his brains out.
    It appears this man was arrested for writing a halfway believable story about what might happen in a school nearly a thousand years in the future that contained some violence against some kids. Using this criteria, we must immediately ban the bible, Shakespeare and absolutely Steven King has to go. Give me a break! Isn't writing a form of speech? Don't we have a constitutional guarantee for free speech? Where does it end? Do we next have to swear allegiance to Der Fuhrer?

  21. Another science fiction writer has an explanation for all the recent PC stupidity with zero tolerance equaling zero common sense time and time again. We are devolving IQ points by an uncaring natural selection process. From his novel the following movie was generated with this link for an explanation–

  22. Is this not the thought police at work ? where anybody can be detained and interrogated for thoughts ?
    We have entered a time of complete insanity and indecency.

  23. There was A Russian man in the 60's I believe, that I read about.

    It seems that the Government had their suspicions about his loyalty and had tapped his phones.

    His dog named Caesar, was breaking out in a rash and scratching all the time, so he took him to the vet.

    He found out what was wrong with the dog and called his wife to let her know that "Caesar has fleas."

    The government agents who were listening in on the conversation, took the message to be some kind of code, and the police showed up at the man's door that night and took him away where they interrogated him and kept him in a cell for a couple of years, until one day they realized that Caesar was the family dog, and did indeed have fleas.

    I don't remember who it was or exactly when it happened, but the story was told by someone famous in the first person, as a true story.

  24. SnarkyMarky says:

    I suppose if his novels were part of the evaluation, then they should involuntarily evaluate Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Mary Rice. Who in their right mind would write those novels?

  25. After this remark they will probably come looking for me ? Replace the whole state school system. With your illegal. alien imposter. Muzzie. President’s Group of Wonderful polite compassionate caring loving ISIS. Intelligent qualified. Teachers !

  26. Wasn't Stephen King a teacher when he wrote "Carrie" : a story that involved a school event …homecoming pig blood dumping?

  27. Does that mean they're going to arrest and 'evaulate' the global warming theory followers? That's pretty much science fiction as well.

  28. AD Roberts says:

    All of this sis well and good. The only thing that appears to be missing is SOMEONE who will be looking out for McLaw's side of the story. There should be someone who is DEFINITELY on McLaw's side who is sitting by the guy who made the decision to INVOLUNTARILY commit him for evaluation. And there should be more than one crazy shrink making any determination as to his sanity.
    That is what the constitution would call for.

  29. AD Roberts says:

    To sane people, Stephen King should be a lot more feared than this dude.

  30. AD Roberts says:

    I am not sure if any of them are actually considered to be IN THEIR RIGHT MIND

  31. Since they are so vague about the content and tone of the letter, we still don't know what its all about. In any case, it seems this guy has been railroaded. The school shooting novel was pubished several years ago. They searched hard (illegally?) and found no sign of any means of actually carrying out this scenario. The Columbine resources, the model of a school, all can easily be a part of his research in preparing to wirte his novel. Just think: if George Orwell were aloive today, teaching in a school, and wrote 1984 under a nom de plume, and the "authorities" (read: functionaries slopping at the public trough and exhibiting all the symptoms of serious delusions of grandeur) learned the connexion, they'd have him off to the sanitarium post haste. Seems Obama's divide, set at each other, and induce chaos is at work here, too. Anything slightly out of the ordinary drone pattern is suspect, and "protective action" must be taken, immediately.

    Wish they'd take such a stand down along the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo in Texas. Thjey imprison a guy like this and release six thuosand violent criminals who are here illegally…….. yeah, that all makes me feel VERY safe. Will I be next? I am challenging this MO…..

  32. When I read Franz Kafka's novel The Trial in a college literature class I was blown away at the atrocity of that cynical, corrupt, tyrannical, merciless government that treated a normal and innocent man that way. The details have changed, but it seems Kafka may well have been writing about this gentleman. His story could well be written and published and rival Kafka's story.. except that the new story would not be fiction. But perhaps Kafka's story was not really fiction anyway. that thought crossed my mind a few times as I read it. It just seemed to real to b a complete fabrication. It HAS to have its roots in reality.

  33. The above article quoted the following: "It would be useful to know if McLaw is under investigation for behavior other than writing two novels—and perhaps he will be shown to be a miscreant of some sort. . ." Notice that no assumptions are being made. Facts are being presented and questions being asked.

  34. TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

    Look, folks: In a gloriously far-left & fundamentally transformed society like we have now in the US, there are simply some things that you may not speak or write about. If you do, the police will come to take you in the dead of night, haul you away to a hospital and vaguely claim that you’re acting strangely. After all, who else but a mentally-ill person would want to write about such taboo subjects?

    Surely not you, dear reader.

    And besides, concepts like civil rights and due process of law are referenced in that old, stodgy and wholly discredited Constitution document. LOL!

    Surely, you are not one of THOSE people who believes in such foolishness. Eh, Comrade?

  35. RedMeatState says:

    at first I thought this might be about L.Ron Hubbard; but then, he's supposed to be dead.