Writers and artists are commonly known to suffer for their art, but there are some cases where the suffering is taken way too far. Middle school teacher Patrick McLaw is learning this first hand.
For those of you who haven’t heard about this yet, Patrick McLaw is a middle school teacher in Maryland who self published a few science fiction books under a pen name. Somehow the school board was alerted that McLaw had several aliases and this look into them uncovered his novels. The novel that caused the most stir is The Insurrectionist which is about a school massacre taking place 900 years in the future. It was published in 2011 before he was hired to work at the school. There was also concern about The Insurrectionist’s sequel, Lilith’s Heir.
As a result, the police swept the school and McLaw’s home for guns and weapons at least twice and have come up empty. A search of the Maryland State Police databases show that the 23 year old author does not have any registered weapons. In addition to the searches, McLaw was taken for an “emergency medical evaluation” and placed on an leave of absence. He isn’t allowed to come on school property or attend events during this time and is banned from country properties in Dorchester and Wicomico counties. As for McLaw’s whereabouts, no one knows anything for certain except that he isn’t on the Eastern Shore. He also isn’t allowed to leave the location.
Local police and other law enforcement agencies are doing their best to protect the children that attend the school from the dangers of fiction. A police presence will be in force as long as it is deemed necessary.
Is anyone else as alarmed and outraged about this as I am?
Although no one has all the facts yet, McLaw seems to be an innocent and productive member of society. He was nominated for teacher of the year and made national headlines when he helped a student self publish books on Amazon. Yet because he used a pen name, because he wrote a couple books about controversial topics, he is being held against his will and treated like a criminal. Does that seem fair? Does that seem rational?
The unfortunate thing is that several reports such as this one spin it so that McLaw is in the wrong. That this type of overreaction is for the safety of the public and the children. Nevermind there were no weapons or bombs found in the school or his home. Nevermind that this is a violation of his 1st Amendment rights. Nevermind he was forced to take a medical evaluation and is being held against his will. It doesn’t matter that McLaw’s life will probably be ruined as a result of this. All that matters is that the children and public are shielded from the dangers of fiction.
What do you think? Is this a warranted reaction or does this cross a line? Let’s talk about it in the comments.