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Another bullied kid in jail

By puzzlingevidence in Op-Ed
Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:47:33 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

An Ottawa Sun story tells of yet another bullied high school student jailed for writing a story about revenge, while the students who have perpetrated a campaign of physical abuse against him still roam free.

Yes, it's another "Hellmouth" tale, but this is the first such occurance I've ever heard of at a Canadian school. My fear is that it won't be the last.

I'm stunned and amazed that the Ontario Provincial Police would lock him up over Christmas, while refusing to pursue charges against his attackers (I read yesterday in the Vancouver Province that he was beaten bloody by a gang of close to a dozen kids).

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose. I'm sensitive to the issue because I was badly beaten a couple of times in high school (in the early 1980s), receiving a broken collarbone, among other injuries. No charges were ever pursued by police, but I was later investigated based on false allegations that I threatened to kill one of my attackers.

What mentality could drive such a skewed system of justice? Why is it somehow more dangerous to write a story than to gang-attack someone?

While I despise the increasingly litigious nature of our society, I fear that seeking civil redress may be the only way to awaken those in power.


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Can jailing someone for writing a story ever be justified?
o Yes 8%
o No 80%
o You should be jailed for this story 5%
o Hell, I wish I'd been jailed for my stories 4%
o Inoshiro 0%

Votes: 124
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o An Ottawa Sun story
o Also by puzzlingevidence

Display: Sort:
Another bullied kid in jail | 53 comments (47 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose (3.50 / 10) (#5)
by puzzlingevidence on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:04:41 PM EST

Mea culpa. By request, I've placed this here as a topical comment, so it stays with the story.

"Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose" means "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

It's one of those phrases that (to me) is more effective in the original language of use, like:
"l'esprit d'escalier" (spirit of the staircase -- the feeling that you should have made a witty comeback when you had the chance) or
"Cui bono?" ("Who profits?" -- the original sense of "Follow the money") or
"Vergangenheitsbewaltigung" (coming to terms with the past).

"Mea culpa" means "I am culpable" or "my fault" ;)

A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge

Correction (3.50 / 4) (#6)
by itsbruce on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:11:05 PM EST

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".


It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Sort of (3.33 / 3) (#8)
by puzzlingevidence on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:18:57 PM EST

Both wordings work; my version is less gramatically correct, but is also used.

A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge
[ Parent ]

Doesn't work, sorry (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Broco on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:19:27 PM EST

I don't usually bother mentioning nitpicks like this, but since you're arguing about it and I happen to be a native speaker of French...

Your version is missing a few words. Using "ça" instead of "c'est la" is just plain wrong. "ça" is an informal variation of "cela", which means "it" or "this". "c'est la" is an abbreviated form of "cela est la", which means "it is the". So your version is basically missing the words equivalent to "is the". It translates roughly to "The more it changes, the more it same thing."

Maybe your version is used by English speakers who don't know a word of French, but no native Francophone would ever say such a thing, except perhaps as a mispronunciation in rapid speech. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" is the correct usage. (though a few variants, like "Plus ça change, plus ça reste pareil", are also good)

Klingon function calls do not have "parameters" - they have "arguments" - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
[ Parent ]

Actually... (3.50 / 2) (#27)
by puzzlingevidence on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:54:43 PM EST

I checked with my boss, a native speaker of French (Quebecois) and he informs me that either is acceptable, regardless of being grammatically correct.

Thank you for your input, though.

A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge
[ Parent ]

Look ... (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by Broco on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 10:28:43 PM EST

Try this search on Google, and you won't find a single instance of it. You only come up with thousands of hits for one of the correct variants. It's not used at all. Maybe there was a misunderstanding with your boss.

Klingon function calls do not have "parameters" - they have "arguments" - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
[ Parent ]

Strange... (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by puzzlingevidence on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 11:06:08 PM EST

It came up with close to 40 hits when I did the search for "Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose".

I don't see how there was a misunderstanding; I emailed him the question and he came to my desk in person.

It's like "I could care less" and "I couldn't care less". Grammatically, one means the opposite of the other. In the vernacular, they mean the same.

A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge
[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by pb on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 12:19:40 AM EST

Where are you from? Maybe you're not a native Quebecian; I know I'm not. :)

Actually, I don't know French at all, but I learned enough Spanish (and for that matter English, being a native speaker) to know the sorts of regional and colloquial differences that exist in a language, especially in different states or countries.

For example, Spanish in Spain is pretty fundamentally different from Spanish in Mexico. And I'm sure Spanish in Mexico is somewhat different in the Yucatan, where there is still native "Indian" blood. And it's always different in a casual conversation as compared to a formal setting...

My favorite silly language argument, though, is when people argue about exact quotings of translated text. For example, that famous quote from Marx: was it "Religion is the opium of the people" or "Religion is the opiate of the masses"? Well, I'm pretty sure he originally said it in German, so it doesn't really matter, now, does it, provided you get the meaning across...

So, in closing, for a casual reference that is surely in widespread use in the area, we've wasted way too much time on this. Just explain what it means, understand that people somewhere actually say this, and go on with your life; that's my plan.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
To show off my 1337 hTmL skillz (3.66 / 6) (#9)
by 0xdeadbeef on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:21:34 PM EST

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

[ Parent ]
More 1337 skillz (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by YesNoCancel on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 04:40:15 PM EST


See? I know how to encode umlauts! ;)

[ Parent ]

Poor french... (3.75 / 4) (#10)
by Alternity on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:43:05 PM EST

I don't mean to be an @ss but.. Actually it should be "Plus ca change, plus c'est pareil" :o) The way you wrote it would be about "The more it changes, more it same". And while it's understandable it's not good form. Sorry, had to say it ;o)

"When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun...
so one day when I was six I did
[ Parent ]
Oh Canaduh? (4.16 / 18) (#7)
by Signal 11 on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:13:59 PM EST

Hey, I see you guys are finally modernizing, getting all that wonderful capitalism and global democracy into you! Good to hear. Soon, you'll be beating the crap out of your neighbors, complaining about welfare, the economy, and reading articles on the frontpages of your newspapers asking "Are we a nation of slobs?" Hey hey, this is progress! Ha ha, only serious.

I've gotten desensitized to this kind of thing, mainly because it is so common here. Every day hundreds of kids are assaulted in our public schools while the school officials and politicians turn a blind eye to it. If the kid fights back, we'll have to drug him up until he's properly dossile and non-combative. The net result is we are creating a culture of disenfranchised youth (and adults) who are sick of the system. Witness the deep resonance felt by the entire geek community when the first Hellmouth story was posted (and then the dismay when they realized they'd stoked Katz's ego and had to sit through the next seven). The fact of the matter is, this is common.

The common scapegoats are violence on television, lack of role models, not being tough enough on crime, and "moral depravity" (I really like that one). In reality, it's none of them. It's a symptom of the values and beliefs of our society, brought on by (in part!) rapid modernization and capitalism, which has thrown our entire value system into chaos across the board.

That's why the conservatives have been elected in this country (the US) - people want a breather. Gender roles are up in the air, feminists are demanding "more than equal" rights, our civil rights are under attack, our judicial system is a sinking boat - dragging our legislative bodies down with it, and now I hear we're on the brink of a recession.

So, uh, like, duh - of course people are alittle edgy right now, and it shows up in increased violence in the workplace and in schools. Remember, unhappy parents make for unhappy kids - and a rise in abuse. I think though the reactionary forces at work here are only going to intensify and worsen the situation.

I can't provide any advice on how to fix the problems of the world, but I can tell you how you can help another person, especially a kid: Give them some respect. Listen to them. Believe what they say, and act on it. If a kid is saying he's being abused, don't dismiss it out of hand or say it's his/her fault. Offer realistic advice, instead of the tired dogma we're all used to. Sure, drugs are bad, but rather than just saying drugs will make your genitals shrivel up, your lungs turn black, and your eyesight to go to crap, why not share your own personal experiences, and provide medical information about drugs? Most teens are capable of making rational, adult, decisions - they're a shorter version of many of the "adults" I see walking around the office every day. We often are blinded by our own values and subjective morality and try to judge people instead of accept them as people - as a result, we often can't really hear what these kids are trying to say. Pull up a chair and give them some sustained attention and thought, and you can find a solution for both of you. Honest - try it.

I don't find it at all suprising that the police did this. They're the last line of defense, and the worst at helping a situation like this. Now, not only have you isolated this kid, you've also attached the stigma of having been a "rat", meaning when he goes back to school, he'll be beat up again - and worse. If a girl had been gang-raped, those kids would now be behind jail, yet because it was a male-on-male crime, it goes unpunished. That is sexism. Both crimes are violent, and need swift justice. What I'm seeing here is eerily familiar to our own political systems on the other side of the great lakes.

Canadians, for your own safety and well-being - stop this before you have a problem on your hands you are ill equipped to deal with. Take an active role - call them, talk to the kids, march into school and bust down the doors if you have to - but whatever you do, do something!

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

In my experience... (4.85 / 14) (#12)
by Forum on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 03:58:22 PM EST

I'm glad all he did was write a story. Hell, the authorities should be glad it was a story, and not a pipe bomb with a letter attached stuffed behind the bleachers.

Sure, we get this all the time in the American public school system. Doesn't that say something? I don't know how many of you were, but I was involved in something similar in my High School days. One of my umm.. overweight friends who was constantly abused attempted many times to inform the teachers and the campus police of what was going on, to no avail.

So what do you do in a situation like this? This is what he did. He brought a gun to school. Sitting in class, someone threw an apple at him. He stood up, brandished the pistol, and then realizing it was a bit to late to back down, apologized, and shot himself in the head in the classroom. That was in a tiny Georgia town called Woodstock. The high school, Etowah. You have probably never heard of it, and probably never will after this, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

His parents sued the school for negligence. (They lost BTW) How's that for a capitalistic way to honor your son's memory?

But I digress. This doesn't just happen in the Columbine Highs, and the inner cities. It happens everywhere, and if you, if we, want it to stop, we need to start listening to our children. In the immortal words of The Doors - "The time to hesitate is through."


-- "When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake." -HC
this is important!!! (1.38 / 13) (#13)
by drew irs on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 04:04:28 PM EST

i remember when i was back in school and some retard kids starting picking on me and giving me grief just because i was smarter than they were and their dads used to beat up on them all the time. the teachers were no help at all, they would just pretend like it wasn't important and that i was making a fuss about nothing!!! can you believe it??? if i was in that kind of position i would think it was part of my job to help students if they were in a difficult position, but oh no, they just wanted everything to be nice and quiet!

anyway, in the end i was quite lucky because my folks moved after my dad lost his job at the office, and the people at my new school weren't quite as big retards! apart from this one kid, who smelled really bad even though he hadn't hit puberty and had any sweat glands develop, and we all used to laugh at him.

well as you can see i have a pretty poor opinion of most teachers who would rather ignore trouble than have to do anything about it!! i mean, what do they get paid for?!! it seems like these people aren't earning their wages any more, and as an honest taxpayer this PISSES ME OFF!!! they need to stop harassing students in trenchcoats and start helping people in trouble out. i mean, trenchcoats are pretty lame, but it doesn't make you a bad person just for wearing one.


Buh. (3.66 / 3) (#17)
by Trencher on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 05:20:14 PM EST

I find it hard to believe that you fail to see the irony of this post.

anyway, in the end i was quite lucky because my folks moved after my dad lost his job at the office, and the people at my new school weren't quite as big retards! apart from this one kid, who smelled really bad even though he hadn't hit puberty and had any sweat glands develop, and we all used to laugh at him.

So, you managed to get out of your bad situation, and immediately became an instigator for placing someone else in that position.
I believe we all attract situations that will teach us something, and continue to do so until we learn the lesson. Do people still call you names, laugh at you, push you around? Maybe you should stop treating others like that; they probably enjoy it just as much as you do.
It's the first step in growing up.

"Arguing online is like the Special Olympics. It doesn't matter if you win or lose, you're still a retard." RWR
[ Parent ]
YHBT. YHL. HAND. (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by Broco on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:36:08 PM EST

This is this guy's only comment, and his bio says:

hi, i'm drew, i work in an office by day, but by night i'm an inter-net rock star!!!

It's pretty clear this guy is purposely trying to sound like an idiot. So, you've been trolled. I just wanted to mention it so you'll learn the lesson of being more suspicious of obviously stupid posts :).

It's too bad people have started posting blatant trolls on K5. Oh well, I guess it had to come eventually. Just don't feed them.

Klingon function calls do not have "parameters" - they have "arguments" - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
[ Parent ]

drew (2.00 / 2) (#25)
by emanuelb on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:45:17 PM EST

But this guy is the famous drew! His web site at http://drew.corrupt.net/ rules, especially the lego porn he posted today. He has a somewhat unique way of expressing himself :-)

I actually discovered his site as a result of following a K5 comment link to exploding dog, and then finding drew on the links.

A sense of humour is definitely needed when reading his work (it cannot be taken literally).

[ Parent ]
LIE!!! (none / 0) (#52)
by vestan on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 07:00:00 PM EST

he is the real drew, and <strike>i am the real pokey the penguin.</strike>
"a pill, for the world, to give worms to ex-girlfriends!"
[ Parent ]
you are wrong (none / 0) (#53)
by loren5 on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 10:23:51 PM EST

that is not drew from http://drew.corrupt.net they do not even talk alike. go look at the webpage it is proof

[ Parent ]
Something somebody isn't telling us (3.33 / 6) (#16)
by squigly on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 05:01:16 PM EST

The teacher, the principle, and the police all felt that it was appropriate to lock this kid up. Didn't any of them think that this might be a little extreme?

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
I should have been jailed! (4.00 / 6) (#18)
by anthrem on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 07:29:43 PM EST


You know, as a now and then Slashdot reader, I can remember reading the Hellmouth series and thinking that, 'this should have been around when I was in high school'. After all, when I was in high school, despite the fact I played football (a horrible mistake I made to try to date cheerleaders;once a nerd, always a nerd! I guess I should move this to a diary entry...), I was still ignored, made fun of, and generally treated like an asshole, simply because I was different. I read books, I didn't smoke pot, I didn't drink at all. Probably the clinical depression had something to do with it, but I am still different, depression dealt with or not.

When I was in high school, as a senior, I took a creative writing class. Having adored for many years the story that Stephen King, as Richard Bachman, wrote, called 'the Rage', I decided to write a play, based on the same idea. I can remember having the thought of doing such a thing as a grade schooler. The thought of finally getting the attention that I so desperately desired from the rest of my peers was a faraway dream, something that seemed so impossible that only a desperate act would be enough.

It comes out of a desire to simply be oneself. As a kid, it is tough to be oneself, because, at least here in the US, it is verboten to be different than the crowds. Assimilation is, suposedly, the key to success. Once a person accepts themself, the key to the right door is found.

The fact that this poor guy is sitting in jail, whilst the people that brutalized him are out running around, living it up simply speaks to the out of whack values we all possess now. "Power is good, how you get it is unimportant. Stepping on 'little people' happens; don't sweat it. Money is the only important goal, people and quality are a distant second." I decided to live the way I wanted, in a world that won't validate my values. This is the thing; I don't care. Hopefully, what I can achieve is to teach at least one person that being yourself doesn't mean beating other around down for not being like you.

Disclaimer: I am a Buddhist. I am a Social Worker. Filter all written above throught that.
Why sue? (2.50 / 2) (#19)
by sigwinch on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 07:40:25 PM EST

While I despise the increasingly litigious nature of our society, I fear that seeking civil redress may be the only way to awaken those in power.

"Awaken"?! You seem to think the authorities are simply unaware of what is going on, and everything will change if you can somehow enlighten them. Or maybe you think they're merely lazy, and a nice lawsuit can get them jumping. Bah! They do things like this because they don't care, because they have consciously decided that certain castes of people can be written off as losses.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.

Why sue? (3.33 / 3) (#21)
by sigwinch on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 08:34:39 PM EST

(Replying to myself -- somehow managed to hit post before I was finished.)

I don't think a lawsuit will change much of anything. Besides which a lawsuit is expensive, and can be turned against the plaintiff by a clever defendent. I think the solution is direct action. Make a video tape of the assaults and use it for blackmail (blackmail the attackers, blackmail the cops for not arresting them, use your imagination). Or use the video to publicly humiliate the attackers. Put it on TV (TV stations *love* blood'n'gore) and ask "Why are our children not being protected?"

Or simply execute the attackers. In nearly all jurisdictions, it is a defense to murder that the deceased was assaulting someone. Especially if the torture, execution, and police negligence are clearly documented on video. It only takes one acquittal in the media circus to drastically change the social outlook on juvenile torture.

"Juvenile tortue". Hmmm...that's a good phrase. "Bullying" is too weak, it implies that the attackers were just a little overexuberant at making fun of someone. Being able to clearly and vividly describe something is the first step in making other people understand it.

If overt force makes you squeamish, get revenge indirectly. Subscribe the attackers to every magazine there is. Fill out credit card applications in their name, have the cards sent to a post office box, then mail the cards to random addresses in Russia and Pakistan. Pour milk into the air intake of their cars. Take out S&M lesbian personals ad and list their phone numbers. Phone in an anonymous tip that the attackers are selling heroin. Be creative. They, with the cooperation of law enforcement, are setting aside the law to hurt you, so you shouldn't feel bad at turning the situation around. Just don't get caught. (On second thought, maybe this is a bad idea. Any advice to teenagers that ends with "just don't get caught" is probably doomed. ;-)

Whatever you do, don't just take it quietly, especially if you're young. Until you learn to stand up for yourself, people will walk all over you, and it won't magically stop when you leave school. They'll keep hurting you for the rest of your life if you let them.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Why is it somehow more dangerous to write a story? (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by Blarney on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 08:24:20 PM EST

Because words are weapons.

There is a social norm in our society which is probably best expressed in cowboy movies. The "right" thing to do is a "fair fight".

Guns aren't fair, lead pipes aren't fair, bombs aren't fair, and words aren't fair.

There wouldn't be any punishment at all if he took one of the bullys on hand-to-hand, no weapons at all. Of course, he'd probably end up hospitalized again.

That's the system. Many people believe that a "fair" fistfight is the only way to settle a dispute, and the winner of it is always right! This is most likely some type of primate instinct.

Re: Story as more dangerous (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by sigwinch on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 08:40:29 PM EST

Because words are weapons.

Or because school personnel have poor memories. Some thug punching a kid in the face happens once, and is easily pushed out of the mind. Words written on paper are harder to forget. Pull the paper out of the desk, and it is brought before the mind all over again. Many of these people are governed mostly by their emotions. To them, something they personally experience a dozen times is unacceptable, but something they only see once is just fine. What it is doesn't mattery -- it's the quantity that counts.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Bark is worse than the bite (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by retinaburn on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:17:12 AM EST

A story describing violence can be worse than hearing/seeing it because you can adjust time. You can describe in pains taking detail each blow, and the feelings of both parties. While when you see/participate in a fight much of the detail is lost in the quick-pace, adrenilin situation.

That being said anyone feel like taking a trip to Alberta, I got me a lead pipe that needs bending and I hear heads are the best way.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Nit pick (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:30:18 AM EST

That being said anyone feel like taking a trip to Alberta
That's a rather strange route to take to get just south of Ottawa.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Wow brain no work (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by retinaburn on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 01:04:07 PM EST

I wonder where I got Alberta from ...hmmm time to upgrade.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

[ Parent ]
Addendum to the story (4.00 / 4) (#26)
by puzzlingevidence on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:52:40 PM EST

A user posted essentially the same story as this (quickly voted into oblivion), with a good link to a related story:

Windsor Star story

Thanks to canar for this.

Unbelievably (and allegedly), after the student was thrown in jail, his younger brother's life was threatened on the school bus on his way to a different school (in the same district -- probably a middle school). The younger brother allegedly then threatened to blow up two schools. And now the younger brother is *also* being held in jail without bail.

On whose word? I suspect that this other bunch of bullies decided that if enough of them came up with the same story "hey, let's tell the principal that this kid threatened to blow up the school" they could get him in trouble.

I am appalled.

Tomorrow, I'm calling up the Ottawa Sun to find out if there's a legal defense fund for this family. I've got a chunk of money in my charity fund I'll donate.

Thankfully, a number of prominent Canadian writers have started speaking out on this issue (in support of the student who wrote the story). I'll post links when available.

A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge

Another Look At This... (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by Canar on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:57:20 PM EST

I missed the posting of this story, originally, and accidentally posted another version of it (Found here.) However, there is a major detail that this post and the story linked has left out, that's covered by my link. The kid was jailed for uttering threats, and the only basis for this charge was the story he wrote. This is what frightens me.

I know that this is the Canadian government, and we have amazingly wack free speech laws, but nonetheless, this is a enormous violation of these. Added to what puzzlingevidence said, this is outrageous! And to think that this was difficult to find. This sort of thing could set a precedent for the censorship and punishment of people who say things politicians don't like. 1984, people... *shudder*

Hmmm... (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 08:33:52 AM EST

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "wack free speech laws". I'd appreciate an explanation.

This boy clearly did nothing illegal here. The charge against him is uttering death threats, which he clearly has not done (His attorney isn't aware of any evidence existing, and the crown would be obliged to inform him if there was). We're looking at a case of overreaction by a small-town school (and board), small-town cops (as much as the OPP are a provincial unit, many of them end up serving in an area close to where they were raised), and small-town crown attorneys. I certainly hope that somewhere in this mess we find a reasonably intelligent small-town judge.

Hopefully, under the weight of national (and international) pressure, local officials back down and give this boy (and his brother) the apology they deserve.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go on a witch hunt for email addresses. Time for a good old fashioned Canadian letter writing campaign.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Where to write. (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:18:26 AM EST

If you wish to write a letter to the Ontario Provincial Police voicing your disgust at this injustice, here is a good place to start. Alternatively, there is a web form with which you can email them.


I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Some other links (4.25 / 4) (#32)
by sugarman on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:46:33 AM EST

A couple more articles about the story, courtesy of the Globe and Mail:

  • Article #1
  • Article #2

    Both the articles (especially the second) have more information than the original link. I'll withhold my comments for now, but I think it's safe to say there may be more to this than meets the eye.


  • Couple more links... (4.33 / 3) (#33)
    by sugarman on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:56:36 AM EST

    Damn, posted too soon. I hate replying to myself...

    Anyways, here is an overview of the Safe Schools Act that the kid was hauled in under.

    Here is the Code of Conduct, and the text of Bill 81. (warning: crappy Word html follows)

    [ Parent ]

    Actually (3.50 / 2) (#40)
    by Phil the Canuck on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 11:38:45 AM EST

    He was "hauled in" on a charge of uttering death threats, based solely on the text of his story. The crime that he has been accused of is a criminal code violation, Safe Schools isn't behind the arrest.


    I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
    [ Parent ]

    Safe schools (3.00 / 2) (#42)
    by sugarman on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 01:22:08 PM EST

    Hmmm, I was under the impression that Safe Schools was behind the suspension. A call by a parent to the OPP is what prompted the search and the arrest.

    In any event, I don't think that the authorities over-reacted or acted poorly here. The only injustice has been the length of incarceration. He likely should have been released after it was determined that no bomb existed.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Safe Schools (3.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Phil the Canuck on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:43:45 PM EST

    I was under the impression that Safe Schools was behind the suspension.
    You may well be right. Frankly, while I believe the school suspension was wrong, it's really not that important to me. A school suspension would at least not leave any significant emotional damage. I was focusing on the search and arrest.

    I don't think that the authorities over-reacted or acted poorly here.
    On that I disagree entirely. This boy was arrested over a piece of creative writing. I've read the text of "Twisted", and there's nothing resembling a death threat in there. The only thing that keeps it from being a generic, run-of-the-mill monologue is the school's knowledge that he fit the description of the character (an outcast who had the crap beaten out of him). Plus a bit of Columbine hysteria.

    Not only was he arrested for a work of fiction, he has been jailed without bail or trial through Christmas, New Years and his 16th birthday. Ths kid should be testing for his learner's permit, not sitting in a jail cell. Jailed despite a lack of anything but circumstantial evidence, after what was quite possibly an illegal search of his home. In Canada, one has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The opposite happened here. Your last statement also presumes guilt.

    When I first read this story, I sensed a liberal spin. I suspected some piece of evidence against the boy was being left out. If you read through the various linked articles in this discussion, you'll find an article with a quote from the defence attorney. The attorney reported that he was aware of no evidence aside from the story. Essentially, that means my original suspicion was wrong. The crown is obligated to disclose evidence to defence attorneys. There either is no evidence, or the crown is illegally withholding it.

    This whole incident is disgusting, period. It would be slightly less so if the OPP and school were to take action against those who swarmed him, but disgusting nonetheless.

    There's the basics of why I believe justice failed here. I'd be interested to learn why you don't think the authorities blew it here.


    I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
    [ Parent ]

    Reasonable expectations (4.00 / 1) (#45)
    by sugarman on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 07:44:03 PM EST

    I'd be interested to learn why you don't think the authorities blew it here.

    Let me just clarify that I think the authorities have blown it now, but not initially. The length of time for the incarceration has been totally ridiculous, and this should have been resolved last millenium, for pete's sake.

    Also, I have not had the opportunity to read the essay in question. I'm going mostly on the Globe and Mail articles.

    That being said, here's where I'm coming from. If I'm at an airport and I joke at the check-in about having a bomb in my case, it is not unreasonable to assume that I'll spend the reast of the day being subjected to a BCS, hospital strength laxatives, and likely charged with Criminal Mischief at the end of it and be escorted out in cuffs. Furthermore, if the story gets out that I was telling the truth, but the authorities did not follow the above procedure, it would be a media circus, coupled with a witch-hunt by TPTB. If I was a passenger on the same plane, I would likely hope the bastard who made that joke got exactly that treatment.

    Anyhoo, the analogy holds true, I believe. The defendant made a comment about detonating a bomb in the lunch room during it's peak usage, presumably to cause as much damage as possible. In this instance he was not getting back at just his attackers, or those who had beaten him earlier, but at everyone in the school, regardless of guilt.

    Now, the political climate with regards to schools has changed. 15 years ago, I could probably have written the same, but I suspect that I would have had a number of visits to the school counselor and possibly recieved a suspension. Given recent events, school boards are likely to take this thing a lot more seriously. As it is, in went to a group made up of parents and a trustee. Without even knowing who wrote the story and why, if someone wrote about wiping out a school lunchroom, with my kids potentially in it as well, I'd be calling the cops.

    So the cops are now involved. They have reason to believe there might be a bomb, and they search his house as well. Probably not that hard to get a warrant. If anything, I'm surprised all they did was print out a hardcopy of the story, and not grab the whole PC to see if he had a copy of "The Anarchist's Cookbook" or some damn thing. So they take him in for questioning, etc.

    If anything, I think the kid brother's comments about blowing up 2 other schools are probably the reason for the extended stay. Now they have to check things with much more scrutiny, and see if these kids are telling the truth at all.

    The thing is, while it might sound absurd to say that "this kid was jailed for writing a piece of fiction", the reverse is completely indefensible. A bomb does go off, in a crowded lunchroom, killing and maiming students (heck, even one). The teachers, the school board, the cops, all would have to answer to "Well, he threatened to do it. Everyone heard it. Why is my baby dead." and the only defense they would have would be "Well, we thought it was a piece of fiction."

    [ Parent ]

    Well... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Phil the Canuck on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 08:26:10 AM EST

    The analogy doesn't hold true for me. He didn't shout "bomb!" in the school cafeteria. I hate to think what would have happened to me, thinking back to some of my creative writing experiments in high school. At one point, as a side project, I wrote a long series of poems detailing my fictional fall from sanity (OK, maybe not entirely fictional). I ended up submitting it as a project and got an A+, coupled with a request from the teacher to publish some of the works.

    I'd have been OK with the OPP searching the school for evidence, and not horribly upset by the home search. However, upon finding no evidence of a criminal act, the police should have packed up and gone home. Period. But they didn't, did they? They arrested him on heresay and circumstantial evidence, and are holding him without bail.

    The brother's comments should have no bearing on this case, and for all we know the OPP are applying the same standards to that arrest.

    I'll leave you with a couple of thoughts. Firstly, even if this kid had made death threats, and it's pretty clear that he didn't, he made them to people who had beaten him bloody. A pack of bullies who haven't even gotten detention. The Columbine and Alberta shootings have taught us nothing if we can't recoginise that the problem doesn't lie in the acts themselves, but in the events that precede them. If this kid had received justice, he may well have not felt the need to write a revenge fantasy.

    Finally, and most profoundly, what kind of precendent does a case like this set? To quote the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms section 2(b):
    (Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    How do we take this fundamental freedom seriously if it can be set aside by a school shooting in Alberta? At what point are you willing to set aside your basic rigths for the illusion of safety?


    I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
    [ Parent ]

    Another incident ... (3.00 / 1) (#49)
    by sugarman on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 10:43:52 AM EST

    Today, front page news on the papers as I'm on the way to work. It is online here.

    While not a direct parallel, (there is an obvious difference between a hitlist and a story), much of the handling has been the same. This youth was also arrested. However, he has since been moved to psychiatric care where the situation can be worked on. Perhaps an issue in Ontario, (hey, I think he's been in jail for an unreasonable amount of time too) is a facilities problem as well.

    Anyhoo, more on this as it develops, I'm sure.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Another Incident. (3.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Phil the Canuck on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 01:00:02 PM EST

    The difference being that this arrest was legal. :)


    I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
    [ Parent ]

    Who needs Vietnam for flashbacks? I've got School! (4.00 / 5) (#34)
    by WolfWings on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 06:21:00 AM EST

    I'm not sure how to start this, let alone finish it. Reading this story brings back flashbacks to my middle-school days. Days which showed why I was on the cross-country team in High School, spent running the ~1.5 miles home trying to outpace anywhere from 4 to 12 other students on bicycles, my bicycle sitting dead back at school.

    There were many times I didn't outrun them, especially at first.

    I loved my German WWII summer/winter army coat, and kept the liner in during the summer for a reason. Because it was rated and handled -40 below wonderfully, one can imagine how thick it was. It cushioned the blows well.

    Needless to say, before I was given that coat (which I still have to this day) I learned how to bandage and clean any wounds I got from being literally kicked around like a socker ball. Unlike some folks I've met, I was lucky. They never used anything worse than a steel-toed boot.

    I spoke out with my stories as well. In fact, I spoke out quite harshly and loudly with them at times, as this was before the Decade of the Lawyers. In the proverbial "Age of Innocence" before the shootings and bombings occured. I walked the halls and walkways of the campus, in fact I even found the access ladders and how to get around the roofs. Some of my stories, many fanciful, used a quite detailed description of areas of the school students were patently not allowed to enter.

    I didn't have to worry about the police arresting me back then for using as a setting for a story somewhere I could walk with my own two sneakers and examine down to the small red gum-wrapper faded pink with age that was in the seam on the concrete wall like a lady bug floating in a pool of blue. (No, I never used anything near that long except during an assignment to specifically make synonmys and such. Although run-on sentences are still my most bitter foe.)

    Sometimes, when I dream, I dream of an age of reason, an age of sanity, where the lawyers and stupid laws and days upon days of reading about SLAPPs will just Go The Hell Away. But then I wake up, and realize that Hemmingway said it best, as he did for Dorothy Stratten.

    If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them... It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

    These are truly sad times we live in, one can home that regardless of whatever power or lack of power the Internet may have over our lives past, present, or future, that people use it to communicate these ordeals all the more rapidly. Hell, pick up the phone, dial a random local phone number, make a new friend you didn't even know you had. If we don't take control of our lives, of our future, who will? Those already in control I fear will stay in control.

    "How good an actor do you have to be to play God?" - Bob Dylan
    Positive Identification (3.75 / 4) (#35)
    by yojimbo-san on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 06:58:34 AM EST

    The only person you can positively identify when an "incident" occurs is the complainant, especially if visible physical effects are present.

    We can't be sure to correctly identify the perpetrators, can we? We weren't there at the time, after all. And someone has to be punished. So keep an eye on the victim, if they do anything in the future we'll know for sure that they've been involved in things like this in the past.

    After all, we wouldn't want to take the victim's word on the identification of the perpetrators. What do they know about justice?
    Quick wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim

    This Is All Too Common (4.33 / 3) (#44)
    by Matrix on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 03:11:29 PM EST

    I was very nearly expelled twice for defending myself against bullies in middle school. Both times, the bullies in question got only a slap on the wrist, the stated reason for which was that anything else would be "damaging to their mental health". This isn't even starting to get into some of the stuff that happened to my brother - whenever he got attacked, the administration tried to convince him that he'd been the one who instigated things. In high school, I got smarter and started hanging around with a bunch of people who took martial arts classes. I also refused to help anyone who even remotely antgonized me, especially in CS courses (failed by most who took them) - people quickly got the message. Taking all honors classes was another way to avoid this - I never had classes with any of the bullies, so many didn't know who I was.

    Needless to say, I got off lucky. Pretty much every day now, I hear stuff on the radio about parents pressing charges against school administrations for standing idly by while their children were attacked. Hopefully, this will get some kind of message through - although I personally doubt it. Most of the school principals I've had would overlook pretty much anything done by the star of the football team (he brings in trophys and stuff!) and crack down hard for any transgression on the non-athletic, generally quite people who helped keep the school's computers running smoothly, or worked on the school newspaper, or got straight As and top places in academic competitions. Why? Well, for my last one, it was obvious. That was what the other principals in the area respected, so that was what he did.

    In general, I've found that public schools are getting far too political. Not that many of the private schools in this area are much better. The idea of giving the public a free basic education is, in general, a good one. But the implimentation seems to be sorely lacking.

    (Apologies if this sounds like a "Oh I was so abused in school" post. I don't intend it to be - I'm just trying to relate some of my own experiences. As I said, this kind of thing seems far too common.)

    "...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
    - Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

    If it helps (4.33 / 3) (#48)
    by telosphilos on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 02:45:27 AM EST

    If it helps anyone else, then don't appologize for it. I survived some very messy situations by being other than what I seemed. I was one of the smallest students from the time I entered elementary school. I reached my full adult hight in the sixth grade and was still shorter than everyone else at 5'2". So, being a small, blond, opionated little girl, I made some bigger people mad at me fairly easily.

    To this day I wonder about the administrators of my junior high. I got into fights with the girl gangs full of druggies from time to time. I did fairly well for myself because at the time I was benching more than most of them weighed. I was very small, but I had about 7% body fat and the rest was all muscle. Fighting dirty and being able to do some major damage meant that after one fight they were a lot more leary of me. After that they always came at me in groups, but most of my guy friends were fairly stout and stuck around me.

    I went to a private highschool afterwards and things got a lot better. The dean actually gave a damn about fights between the students. The last threatened fight that I was supposed to be an unwitting participant in, I got wind of and managed to defuse. I went into the dean's office and told her exactly what was going on and that I wanted nothing to do with fighting. I told her that I knew I was capable of extreme physical harm to an assailant and that I wanted to avoid it so that I could live with myself. She called the foolish girl in and we had a round table about why she thought I needed to be attacked. It turned out that she thought I was a racist for making fun of the cheerleaders who were predominantly hispanic. I pointed out that my first bf was Puerto Rican and did my best to lay that one to rest and we got on with our lives. I think she still hates me though because I humilliated her.

    So really, anyway you can help another person to avoid the fight in the first place is a good deed. (BTW: Girls tend to fight nastier than guys so it is really the female geeks that I worry about. Especially since no one is likely to take them seriously.)

    -- Peace and quiet is a sleeping baby.
    [ Parent ]
    Simply ridiculous (3.00 / 1) (#47)
    by dyskordus on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:47:53 PM EST

    It's bad enough that this kid would be punished for exercising his right to defend himself (fighting back against his assailants). This is even worse.

    He did not make a direct threat at those who attacked him. He wrote a story about doing what many people (myself included) would want to do to those people.

    Using the logic that people could be arrested for writing stories about violence commited outside the law, alot of authors would be in jail now, wouldn't you think?

    "Reality is less than television."-Brian Oblivion.

    nerds of the word, unite! (4.00 / 2) (#51)
    by xah on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 09:22:14 PM EST

    The only thing we have to lose are the bras on our heads.

    Another bullied kid in jail | 53 comments (47 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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