High school student in Kentucky faces felony charges for writing a zombie story

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134 Responses to “High school student in Kentucky faces felony charges for writing a zombie story”

  1. trr says:

    Kentucky Goth has a hard time registering in my brain.

  2. treetop says:

    Very old story. Kid has since gone on with his life. There’s only one word to describe him, and should come as no surprise. Goth.

  3. Xopher says:

    Pronouncing something plagiarized because the quality is too good is a grave error, I agree.

    I wrote some detailed descriptions of the process of becoming a vampire one time, and on a less sophisticated website than BB, one of the less sophisticated members THERE thought I was perfectly serious and asked how I knew all those details.

    I felt bad, but also complimented.

    • Antinous says:

      Pronouncing something plagiarized because the quality is too good is a grave error

      I kept getting busted in my rapid drawing class because the teacher couldn’t believe that I could turn out better drawings in less time than the rest of the class.

  4. Master Mahan says:

    Someone really needs to explain the concept of putting a date on a news story to this station.

  5. anthony says:

    Antinous,

    I researched zero tolerance a little since your post.
    If my district enforces the policy in particular, it’s not explicit. By that I mean there seems to be some attention paid to nuance in situations that call for administrative action.
    My point has more to do with being preemptive. Maybe that sounds too military. What I mean to convey is a belief that potential threats should be assessed and dealt with (or dismissed) appropriately. Is creative writing a potential threat? Is violent or disturbing artwork indicative of a coming threat? Sometimes yes, most of the time no.

    • Antinous says:

      Zero tolerance says always yes. And it discourages investigation. If you must punish the innocent or lose your job, that’s a pretty big disincentive to ascertain guilt or innocence.

  6. doggo says:

    William Poole?! OMG! It’s Bill the Butcher!

    “Despite maiming a number of opponents in various brawls there is no evidence of William Poole having killed any of his opponents.”

    Oh. Well. Not to worry then.

  7. anthony says:

    What did the teacher think you were doing other than producing excellent drawings quickly-snapping photos?

    • Antinous says:

      It was our homework assignments. We’d have to do a 30 minute, 5 minute and 1 minute drawing of the same thing. My 1 minutes usually looked better than most people’s 30 minutes. The fact that I was the only student in class that already knew how to draw didn’t seem to enter his calculations. Or he just hated me. Your choice.

  8. Thinkerer says:

    Although this brings to mind some of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s stories of arrest and exile to the gulag, a quick search shows that it’s a story from March, 2005 and came to nothing . I think the BB blog editor zombies were asleep or something for this one…

  9. salimfadhley says:

    I am a dumbass for submitting this – the story was resolved years ago:

    Google’s cache still has a blogger’s report on the “Kentucky Zombie Case”.

    http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:vUri3d-N_RIJ:oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/03/kentucky-zombie-update.html+kentucky+zombie+update&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=uk

  10. morcheeba says:

    #63 – you feel a compulsion to place this kid in some sort of stereotype? The world doesn’t need more of that.

  11. Takuan says:

    zero tolerance means you weigh the same as a duck.

  12. Cupcake Faerie says:

    Hmmm. Zombies, red state, was McCain anywhere nearby?

  13. Miss Cellania says:

    I did the same thing as a junior high school student in Kentucky, except this was in the early 70s and I was writing scary stories in class. The teacher sent the writing to the principle, who called me in. He shut the door, praised me for my excellent imagination and writing skills, warned me not to disrupt class anymore, and sent me back.

  14. anthony says:

    I’m with you, Antinous. You are saying zero tolerance policies stand in the way of meaningful strategies that might recognize problems early and head them off.
    So far as the school system goes, we could talk endlessly about its flaws. I know I could.

  15. anthony says:

    I usually get a few students per class who draw better than I did at their age, and one or two a year who really blow me out of the water. I hope I’m as good to them as your teacher was dismissive of you. Hope you are still drawing.
    I had horrible art teachers to match the horrible teachers in every other subject.

  16. Sean Grimm says:

    I’m fairly certain I read about another high school kid being arrested for writing a story about a zombie attack at his school. I know it was in America, but it might have been a few years ago.

    I know not -all- cops are idiots but when you have something like this you have to wonder where the ones with common sense are. Do they actually believe this kid plans on creating a zombie army to overrun his high school or are they “interpreting” the story as some kind of subconscious lashing out to hurt people but he’s using zombies as his expression of hate? I wouldn’t think they were capable of that kind of deep insight, especially since I doubt his grandparents or the arresting officer(s) are training psychologists/psychoanalysts.

    Don’t punish this kid for his lack of original story concept.

  17. demidan says:

    Jebus muther fooking crist on a stick! Cretia or Kentucky you decide!

  18. anthony says:

    Yeah, come on. Never heard of ‘Southern Gothic’?

  19. Anonymous says:

    FEAR!FEAR!

  20. keeprockalive88 says:

    Wow… i’m so glad this country likes to punish creativity.

    This country takes things WAY to seriously.

  21. huntsu says:

    I wonder if you can show Carrie on the TV in KY?

  22. zuzu says:

    When I was a kid in primary school, I had an English class assignment to write a short story. For whatever reason I don’t remember now, perhaps because of how the assignment was framed, I wrote it about escalating acts of vandalism and destruction of the school, in a “can I top that?” style, sorta like the Aristocrats joke without the scat.

    Anyway, I got brought into the principal’s office a day or two later, because the teacher gave it to her, and the principal questioned me about it. Mostly I remember defending my young self that “of course it’s fictional”, with a premature child-like sense of “Is she for real?” and “Is she really this stupid?”

    But what I remember most was that I had to then apologize for what I wrote, and write another paper as the assignment. As if there was something “wrong” or “invalid” about what I already wrote. If they established that I wasn’t making an actual threat of violence, then where was the problem? Yes, apparently teachers and school faculty have a cognitive problem with the very idea of “bad things” happening to or in their schools.

  23. Tabitha at From Single to Married says:

    Wow! I understand being cautious in this day and age, but when have we gone too far?

  24. Banksynergy says:

    It may be irresponsible to ignore what could be warning signs of a troubled kid. Sometimes violent writing or artwork really does lead to real threats.

    I like to think of it this way:

    So, the kid sits down and writes a gory story about zombies attacking his school.

    Which of the following courses of action would be most likely to encourage the sort of anger, resentment or feelings of being misunderstood or out of place that might lead him to actually act out violence, or threats of violence?

    a)Grandparents find the story and tell him that he’s a creative, imaginative writer and encourage him to write more.

    b)Grandparents find story, freak out and call the cops. Boy gets dragged into a detention center, and faces charges, which are subsequently dropped.

  25. raisinlove says:

    Wow, I wrote a story about the whole world being taken over by zombies. Guantanamo here I come!

  26. jamesbow says:

    Hi there. This case is three years old. Poole was initially charged with the second degree felony of “terroristic threatening”. Prosecuters later downgraded that charge to the lesser misdemeanour (but absolutely dumbass) charge of “attempt to commit terroristic threatening.” The defence lawyers had a bit of good fun with that:

    ‘“Apart from the legal arguments, the notion of an ‘attempt to threaten’ is an absurdity,” Barker writes. “As a practical matter, how does a person attempt to make a threat? The mere concept is nonsense.”’

    Charges were dropped almost three years ago today, although Poole remained on probation for two years after the case, and nothing has happened since. I believe the man has moved on, although it seems that this story will crop up again and again, like an Internet meme, on the basis of the zombie element.

    I was one of the bloggers who covered the Poole case from beginning to end. You can read all of my posts about it here.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “I look forward to this kid suing the police force and winning.”

    Whereas I look forward to this kid unleashing his zombie hordes on the police and his grandparents.
    nom nom nom

  28. technomonk13 says:

    what is sad is that boing boing made a very similar post about this incident when it was actually relevent,once again with minimal research on the actual story:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2005/03/04/write-a-zombie-story.html

    nc.

  29. Bobdotcom says:

    Regardless of the age or eventual outcome of this story, it’s clear that “zero tolerance” has allowed school administrators to eschew all common sense when dealing with any potential situation.

    I used to write (and illustrate) stories covering all manner of off-color genres in high school. The teachers who bothered to comment on the stories typically had little more to say than, “you’ve got quite the imagination there, kid.”

  30. zuzu says:

    Alexander Inglis, author of Principles of Secondary Education, wrote that the new schools were being expressly created to serve a command economy and command society, one in which the controlling coalition would be drawn from important institutional stakeholders in the future. According to Inglis, the first function of schooling is adjustive, establishing fixed habits of reaction to authority. This prepares the young to accept whatever management dictates when they are grown.

    Second is the diagnostic function. School determines each student’s “proper” social role, logging it mathematically on cumulative records to justify the next function, sorting. Individuals are to be trained only so far as their likely destination in the social machine, not one step beyond. Conformity is the fourth function. Kids are to be made alike, not from any passion for egalitarianism, but so future behavior will be predictable, in service to market and political research.

    Next is the hygienic function. This has nothing to do with individual health, only the health of the “race.” This is polite code for saying that school should accelerate Darwinian natural selection by tagging the unfit so clearly that they drop from the reproduction sweepstakes.

    And last is the propadeutic function, a fancy word meaning that a small fraction of kids will slowly be trained to take over management of the system, guardians of a population deliberately dumbed down and rendered childlike in order that government and economic life can be managed with a minimum of hassle.

    And there you have the formula: adjustment, diagnosis, sorting, conformity, racial hygiene, and continuity. This is the man after whom an honor lecture in education at Harvard is named. According to James Bryant Conant – another progressive aristocrat from whom I first learned of Inglis in a perfectly frightening book called The Child, the Parent, and the State (1949) – the school transformation had been ordered by “certain industrialists and the innovative who were altering the nature of the industrial process.”

  31. Takuan says:

    “never let your schooling interfere with your education”

  32. Anonymous says:

    Department of Homeland Stupidity…
    I could see if it was about shooting up the school, or something PLAUSIBLE. Seriously? Zombies? How in the hell are zombies considered a threat? Unless… The kid is an evil Geneticist/bio engineer! That’s it! He must have learned it in the high quality schools we have in this country…
    The kid should sue, if convicted, for whatever he can get.
    As a mother of 4, I hope that he is not convicted of anything. He at least was trying to write something, on his own, not for school, he has goals in mind. I think the good people of teh internetz should petition/write many letters to that states legislature/county courts if this boy is convicted.
    And to G-ma and G-pa, he is freaking 18!?! What the hell are you doing reading his stories? And why are you so afraid of zombies? They are the stuff sci-fiction and horror stories are made of.
    Has anyone ever heard a TRUE story about zombies? Not counting the “zombies” excepting the ones in pre-dynastic Egypt ( http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/hierakonpolis/zombies.html ) and in Haiti, produced by voodoo/drugs given to produce a dead-like state, only to have the drugs wear off and “return to the living”?
    Okay just ranting… but this is one of the dumbest things I have heard about someone arrested for.

  33. Takuan says:

    and of course:
    God made the idiot for practice. Then he made school boards.”
    Mark Twain

  34. technomonk13 says:

    Bobdotcom, I understand your point, and i also understand the points in regard to stifling creativity, but it must be pointed out that boing boing has falsely reported this story twice. The threat was a good deal more credible as a threat than this site has, now twice, led people to believe. Was there some overreaction on authorities part in this case? Perhaps.. But not to the degree that was first believed. I love this site, but some attempt at research and responsibility on their part would be nice. That being said, let everyone continue to quip about zombie invasions, how their own crappy zombies stories would have them inprisoned, on watch lists etc… Wldn’t wnt rlty t rn n thr slf rghts prd.

  35. noen says:

    Anthony
    That’s universally difficult to do whether you are religious or not (distinguishing the creative from the disturbed).

    It isn’t that hard. It does require that you actually know the kid, know his home life and that you have something resembling a brain. That means smaller school and a principle who isn’t a mindless drone.

    Preemption would be nice. Actually caring for and nurturing children and treating them as real human beings with personal integrity would be even better. But that would cost money.

    Zuzu
    School shootings are caused by this kind of button-down arbitrary social control enforced by school officials.

    Nonsense, the causes are most likely either mental illness and/or a dysfunctional family life. The school is just an excuse.

  36. technomonk13 says:

    of course, all of that being said, i will be hiding my journal a bit better before my robot army master plans are discovered.

  37. Geoff Sebesta says:

    Look, the school had NOTHING to do with this. The grandparents called the cops, the cops arrested the kid. I know — I interviewed the principal of the school at the time of the incident!

    Why s ths thr-yr-ld-crp stll n th frnt pg?

    I know this won’t make a difference to all the people who are commenting without reading, or to all the people who are using this opportunity to sharpen their hilarious Kentucky jokes, but will someone please mod this garbage already? You are not doing the site any favors here.

    • Antinous says:

      We’ve established that the story is three years old. It’s no longer necessary to keep announcing it. Happy Unintentional Irony Day.

  38. Anonymous says:

    ACLU would be DROOLING all over this.

  39. 0xdeadbeef says:

    I am as outraged now as I was three years ago!

    Ok, I’m spent.

    The Internet needs a “write a violent story” day. It’d be like nanowrimo, but for angry disaffected malcontents who get bored easily.

  40. jancola says:

    Very interesting link salimfadhley, thank you for posting it.

  41. oxymoron69 says:

    Land of the ‘free’ home of the ‘brave’….
    Jesus, I wrote and drew FAR worse things than that AND submitted them for english classes here in Canada.

    You know what kinda shit happened when the faculty didn’t like what you’d written?

    I sure as fuck didn’t get arrested for writing stories about killing, rape and drugs.
    But, I still have a 66% for my grade 12 english mark because of it.

    Everyday, the internets drive the fact home just a little bit more that, the USA appears to be the most backward, prudish, greed-driven, paranoid western world country on the face of the planet.

    I guess maybe I should consider myself lucky that I was raised and continue to live in a part of the world where tolerance and free speech still matter and writing about real world topics like violence and drugs is accepted and not demonized.

    I’m glad to now hear that he’s free, but this is a story I’ll soon not forget.
    Especially the fact that now he’s likely burdened in his home area as being a “terr’rist”.

    “Attempt to threaten”
    Psssh… what a bunch of pussies.

  42. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Noen, the underlying causes of school shootings aren’t well known enough for you to be rude to Zuzu about them, or slighting to Anthony about how to avert them. I don’t believe they’ve been demonstrated to solely stem from illness and/or family life; and if they did, more of them would happen in other settings.

    I’ve heard some interesting allegations about them correlating with a tolerance for bullying, esp. for bullying by a designated elite; but I don’t know whether that’s been investigated in any systematic way.

  43. anomaly69 says:

    And my friends wonder why I have such a low opinion of humanity. I’m so dumbfounded by the ever increasing level of stupidity I see around me I just don’t know what to do or say about it. It makes me want to cry some days.

    Maybe the earth will get luck and be hit by an asteroid that wipes out humans so something else can rise up.

  44. Takuan says:

    so why don’t all military academies have them daily?

  45. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a song I was taught before I even started school, around age five, by two other kids who were in second and third grade while their mother chuckled as I sang with them…what would happen to me now? (Glory, glory hallelujah)

    “My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school.

    We have tortured every teacher and we’ve broken every rule.

    Now we’re marching down the hall to nail the principal to the wall,

    Reform school here we come!”

    Can you imagine the chaos this would create now?!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean that you can’t have an emergency evacuation plan for High Schools in Kentucky? Seems to me that you would have to mention a fire or other calamity happening at a High School in order to dream up that plan. Sounds like terrorism to me.

  47. anthony says:

    maybe military academies perpetuate a reliance on father figures who lay down the law? Or is it because there rank is clearly defined and therefore accepted? Or because there is the promise of some future position of power to be wielded over another?
    Takuan you are sharpness.

  48. anthony says:

    Noen?

    “It isn’t that hard. It does require that you actually know the kid, know his home life and that you have something resembling a brain. That means smaller school and a principle who isn’t a mindless drone.

    Preemption would be nice. Actually caring for and nurturing children and treating them as real human beings with personal integrity would be even better. But that would cost money.”

    From what experience are you making these claims? It’s not that hard to distinguish creativity from disturbed thinking in adolescents? Caring for children with integrity doesn’t happen because it’s too expensive? I am not following you on this.

  49. Jamie Sue says:

    “Everyday, the internets drive the fact home just a little bit more that, the USA appears to be the most backward, prudish, greed-driven, paranoid western world country on the face of the planet”

    Very well spoken.

    • Antinous says:

      the USA appears to be the most backward, prudish, greed-driven, paranoid western world country on the face of the planet

      When did the UK leave the earth?

  50. Grisly says:

    Walking Dead is the best comic not done by Alan Moore. Glad some inside insight came from that quarter.

  51. Digital Artz says:

    This old man is thinking:
    Have we lost our minds in the country???

  52. anthony says:

    Noen, earlier you wrote this on another thread:

    “Brain research has shown that adolescent minds are profoundly different than those of adults. They lack judgment and are incapable of understanding the consequences of their behavior.”

    If you believe that how hard is it to accept concern over adolescent fantasies involving violent death in a school setting after Columbine?

  53. Cool Products says:

    Poor kid, LOL at his own grandparents for turning him in on conspiracy to commit terrorist acts…for writing a story about zombies.

  54. sparx says:

    I always wrote violent stories in highschool just to get interesting reactions from teachers. It usually worked a treat… I was extremely bored.

    However, I did well enough in English – was my best mark in my final exams. The weird teacher reactions probably encouraged me to write more and inadvertently gave me more practice than I would have otherwise bothered with.

  55. Xopher says:

    Well, I’m glad nothing came of it, and I hope he’s living well now. If some of the stuff I wrote in high school were written today, I might be busted for “attempt to threaten to commit sodomy” or something.

    Also, I hope his grandparents fall and break their hips. Or at least that he never speaks to them again.

  56. Guysmiley says:

    “Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it’s a felony in the state of Kentucky,” said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill. He then added “Dem der dehibidah, y’all.”

  57. Lucifer says:

    There once existed a website where people would post stories and then other people would post comments about those stories. One day, a zombie began to scour the website and devoured the people who commented. He tore off their limbs, ripped off their throats, sliced off their underdeveloped genitalia. Blood dripped from the servers along ethernet cables. Before signing off, he swore to destroy the state of Kentucky with his zombie superpowers.

  58. Pete Carlton says:

    This is a wake-up call to all you Kentuckians who possess matter involving functions. Felons!

  59. noen says:

    the school transformation had been ordered by…

    The Illuminati!!!!

  60. Geoff Sebesta says:

    You know this happened three years ago, right?

    I remember this — it happened at my high school. I called the Vice Principal and interviewed him about it, too. A lot was written about this. In March of 2005.

    If you’re really interested I can dig up the old files.

  61. Duffong says:

    Oh the many different ways to express “wow”.

    Wow, wOw, woW, WOw, wOW, WOW, wow, WoW.

    Grandparents + cops + fail = ridiculous

    And lastly, thank God he didn’t write a Harry Potter sorcery novel, he would have really been screwed.

  62. Chuck says:

    I’ve been saying it for YEARS…

    The police need to march down to the bookstore, visit the horror section, make a list of all the authors on the shelves, and conduct a coordinated raid arresting all these people making their terrorist threats.

    “Lookie here — a pack of legal pads and a fountain pen. Throw it in the evidence bag.”

  63. anthony says:

    “Stupid, ignorant, religious people cannot distinguish the creative from the disturbed”.

    That’s universally difficult to do whether you are religious or not, and especially if you are applying your discriminating apparatus to high school students.

    This issue is wrapped in a larger one. I believe in free speech (even though it’s not technically available to minors in a public school) and with encouraging kids to read and write-to explore any and all avenues of creativity. However, the reality is that caution needs to be applied along with encouragement since in a given high school environment you have many differing types of students from a wide range of backgrounds. It may be irresponsible to ignore what could be warning signs of a troubled kid. Sometimes violent writing or artwork really does lead to real threats. Methods and responses should of course be appropriate, but let’s not ignore the bloodshed in US schools over the past decade.

  64. Takuan says:

    has anyone done a sociology theses on the concept of a “stupidity pump”? A mechanism whereby some tribes methodically lower their collective IQ by systematically expelling the intelligent and creative – thereby pumping more stupidity into their little enclave? Moron memes would have to be essentially parasitic since a larger body politic to feed them, keep them somewhat clean and keep them from what would ordinarily be their fate (consumption by a smarter competitor) would be required.

    I suppose others should be grateful though. A steady inflow of new talent is a blessing.

  65. Rick. says:

    The terrorists win. I’ll just sit on my couch and wait to be beheaded.

  66. Deidzoeb says:

    I was going to say the kid needed to write the standard disclaimer more prominently: “This homework is a work of fiction. All characters, situations, undead beings and institutions are fictional. Any resemblance to real schools where I would like to eat my classmates is purely coincidental.”

    But then the cop says: “Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it’s a felony in the state of Kentucky,” said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill.

    If a person writes a non-fiction account of being assaulted at school, and someone else interprets it as fictional and threatening, would Det. Caudill consider it a felony? Maybe he’d be better to claim it was a non-fiction event that he witnessed?

    The fact that it happened back in 2005 explains their overreaction. That was only FOUR YEARS after 9/11, when everyone was so jumpy that it was justified to throw anyone in jail if they said BOO. Don’t you remember the national Halloween arrests of 2004?

  67. Daemon says:

    Somebody needs to seriously make the whole zombie thing less boring. Better yet, replace it with something else. We need a vampire apocalypse movie or a werewolf apocalypse movie.

    Heck, those monsters are actually supposed to be contagious, unlike zombies, where contagion was a late addition.

  68. hlehmann2 says:

    “are police not allowed to use their brains in the US?”

    You’re forgetting that this is Kentucky. Y knw, mrns.

  69. Todd Sieling says:

    I really, really wonder about the kind of world these kids will grow up to create after being raised in this kind of anti-intellectual zero-tolerance climate. These are the people who will be taking care of us as seniors, applying the lessons they’ve been taught about what is right and wrong, and how to treat people.

  70. Tony Moore says:

    Between what i wrote in English class and what i drew in art class, i’m astounded i wasn’t arrested. I guess back then, folks used a little common sense.

    Robert Kirkman and i are both from Kentucky, and we started The Walking Dead here and initially based in in our hometown. That’s not to say i did catch some guff while doing some research. Some a-hole at the hospital called me in to the cops because i was taking pictures of the hospital, and the police later pulled me over after having seen me taking pictures out on the street at night. Once i told ‘em i was doing a comic book and the main character was a cop, they were all smiles and even posed and let me get some good reference pics of their gear.

    Times are different, i suppose. I wrote long stories involving detailed firefights, among a slew of other potentially unsettling topics, and carried a pocketknife on me at all times. Fear following a few bad apples have spoiled things for the rest of the bunch, i guess.

    -T

  71. zuzu says:

    I believe in free speech (even though it’s not technically available to minors in a public school

    Why is that, exactly? Public school is a government institution, by definition obligated to uphold the Bill of Rights.

    Sometimes violent writing or artwork really does lead to real threats.

    Then deal with it if and when it becomes a threat; not pre-emptively.

    let’s not ignore the bloodshed in US schools over the past decade.

    School shootings are caused by this kind of button-down arbitrary social control enforced by school officials. Arguing for more micromanaging of students’ lives is akin to “the beatings will continue until morale improves”.

  72. Tony Moore says:

    and hey, don’t act like Kentucky is so much worse than everyplace else. i’ve been to nearly every state, and i’m pretty sure the whole world is overrun by idiots.

    Besides if it weren’t for Kentucky and overbearing police, we’d never have known Hunter Thompson.

  73. Noelegy says:

    Riiiiiiiiiight. Because all those laws in place BEFORE kids started shooting up schools really prevented any harm from being done. This’ll get’em for sure!

  74. Noelegy says:

    And yes, stupid things happen all over the place, but only when they happen in the southern US do people seem to feel the need to comment on the location as well.

  75. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Poagao @1: That deserved more attention than it got.

    AndyGates @6: You’re right. In fact, it was a worse offense in their case — they showed their stories to half the world.

    Chibir @17: Thank you. I’ve pointed it out to Cory.

    Anthony @18, 19: I absolutely agree that his school should have procedures in place to assess students who’ve been alleged to have problems. Strict rules require careful administration.

    I’ll disagree with you about his grammar. It’s nonstandard, which is not the same thing as being wrong. The multiple negative used as an intensifier has a long history in English, as witness Chaucer’s quadruple-negative description of the Knight in the General Prologue:

    He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
    In al his lyf unto no maner wight.

    Older forms of English survive to this day in the Appalachians, as evidenced by Mr. Poole’s extremely emphatic sixfold negation.

    Plain old munged grammar would probably indicate an insensitivity to language, which is a bad sign in an aspiring writer. Regionally nonstandard grammar just means he’s from Appalachia. It’s not diagnostic of his overall knack for language.

    Shadowfirebird @21, your comment was posted just twenty minutes after Chibir’s, so there’s a good chance you hadn’t seen his when you wrote yours. All that aside, your basic point is spot-on.

    Treetop @23, did you see neither Chibir’s nor Shadowfirebird’s comments?

    Thinkerer @26, 4:54 AM:

    Although this brings to mind some of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s stories of arrest and exile to the gulag, a quick search shows that it’s a story from March, 2005 and came to nothing. I think the BB blog editor zombies were asleep or something for this one…

    Let’s see. Your timestamp puts your comment 1:33 after Chibir’s, 1:09 after Shadowfirebird’s, and 0:57 after Treetop’s. Now explain again who’s “asleep or something”?

    SalimFadhley @27, thank you for the mea culpa, and for the additional information on this case.

    Jamesbow @36, 5:38 AM:

    Hi there. This case is three years old.

    So we hear.

    Poole was initially charged with the second degree felony of “terroristic threatening”. Prosecuters later downgraded that charge to the lesser misdemeanour (but absolutely dumbass) charge of “attempt to commit terroristic threatening.” The defence lawyers had a bit of good fun with that:
    ‘“Apart from the legal arguments, the notion of an ‘attempt to threaten’ is an absurdity,” Barker writes. “As a practical matter, how does a person attempt to make a threat? The mere concept is nonsense.”’

    That’s a good point. An uncommunicated threat does not exist. All you’ve got then is an allegation that the person desired to or intended to make a threat, which wouldn’t meet the legal standards and requirements of the Spanish Inquisition.

    Thanks for the link to your summary page about the William Poole case.

    Technomonk @38:

    what is sad is that boing boing made a very similar post about this incident

    I think what’s sad here is that your observation was posted 2:28 after Chibir’s, 2:04 after Shadowfirebird’s, 1:52 after Treetop’s, 0:55 after Thinkerer’s, and 0:11 after Jamesbow’s. It’s possible you didn’t see Jamesbow’s. With the first four, you have no such excuse.

    when it was actually relevent,

    I suggest you read the posts at Jamesbow’s site, and find out why the story’s still relevant.

    once again with minimal research on the actual story.

    And how did the first instance of the story manage to be a once-again?

    Technomonk @40 … Oh, never mind. No point to it. Still, good luck with the robot army master plans.

    Oxymoron69 @43:

    Everyday, the internets drive the fact home just a little bit more that, the USA appears to be the most backward, prudish, greed-driven, paranoid western world country on the face of the planet.

    I can see getting “backward” and “paranoid” from that story, but where’s the rest of that list coming from?

    Geoff Sebesta @50, 7:50 AM:

    You know this happened three years ago, right?

    I’ll bet you’re psychic, and can tell what I’m thinking right now.

    That said, I’d love to see your old files on the case. Dig ‘em up.

    Popvoid @60, all is forgiven for a fact like that.

    Antinous @80: Hi!

    Odd fact: Most newbie writers blow up their home towns at least once. If you’re ever reading a story or watching a movie or TV show, and the location getting trashed is a specific yet inobvious place, odds are that’s where the author grew up.

  76. mgfarrelly says:

    A bit of an anecdote, not to be over-sharing.
    When I was a senior in high school I took a creative writing class. I went to an all-boys Catholic school that was very “old school”, so having a creative outlet was a rare thing.

    I wrote a story about an inmate at an asylum whose roommate is some kind of monster. Of course no one believes him and, not surprising, the monster gets him. It was a Lovecraft story with a bit of Robert Bloch in there too, I’ll cop to the influences.

    Our teacher picked the best stories to read aloud. He picked mine and invited several other English teachers to come listen, something he hadn’t done before.

    The whole class was dead quiet. The last line was something like “They had no trouble cleaning the room. Blood comes off tile very easily with a bit of soap and a hose.”

    My AP English teacher gasped, turned to me with a smile and said “Jeeeez. You’re a weird one Farrelly.” I felt so much pride, I thought I’d burst.

    I’ve never committed an act of violence, never gotten mixed up in drugs or drink. I’m a librarian and a nationally published columnist. I’ve had several stories published as well as a graphic novel. I can trace it all back to the simple, wonderful rush I got in that classroom years ago.

    Encourage kids to write. Period.

  77. BBNinja says:

    Is owning a concealed Zombie also considered a criminal offense?

  78. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Noelegy, don’t. It just makes you sound whiny. Besides, there are other areas that get that treatment.

  79. DrewFitz says:

    I live in Clark County and go to that school! Though, I wasn’t at that school at the time of that event. Oh well.

  80. jordan says:

    So, is Carrie banned from Kentucky video stores?

    (or is it okay because it’s fiction, whereas zombies are obviously real?)

  81. popvoid says:

    This isn’t a new story, but there is a fun fact footnote to it. One of the “red flags” that is listed as a potential warning sign for high school mayhem is: Did he play any Live Action Role-Playing(LARP) games at any time before his arrest?

    Here’s the aformentioned police detective, Steve Caudill, dressed up as Daniel Boone, re-enacting the Siege of Boonesborough.

  82. noen says:

    Stupid, ignorant, religious people cannot distinguish the creative from the disturbed. Disturbed students do write down their fantasies which is what had the authorities so frightened. They would defend themselves by saying they had no way to know if William Poole intended to act on his stories. This is how the authoritarian, reactionary mind works.

  83. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Jordan, as far as I can tell, fiction about blowing up your home town or your alma mater is only “terroristic” if you’re young and powerless. By contrast, any work that’s commercially published or made into a movie or TV show is permissible, no matter how violent and vengeful it is.

  84. holtt says:

    Th nly zmbs hr r th ns tht pst hlf 3 yr ld stry…

  85. Zooter says:

    This kid must have *REALLY* pissed off his Grandparents.

  86. maryofkentucky says:

    @hlehmann2: “You’re forgetting that this is Kentucky. You know, morons.”

    :’( I’m a moron. :’(

    I’ll admit, (and be deeply disturbed by it), that Kentucky has quite a few terribly bleak statistics. But, if I may ask, please try to refrain from writing everyone in a particular group off as being a particular way. Some of us here are fighting the good fight and trying to make it a better place.

    I’m sure this comment is just in reference to the poverty, often terrible education system, obesity, etc., but it’s just always disheartening to read something like that.

    *I’m aware that this is an old story.

  87. poagao says:

    Ironically, all the real zombies will avoid the area, due to a pronounced lack of their favorite food.

  88. nanuq says:

    I guess George Romero should be arrested as an accessory.

  89. Pete says:

    Hey, you don’t know that this kid isn’t actually a voodoo master.

  90. error404 says:

    are police not allowed to use their brains in the US?

    A letter of of the law doggedly blinkered mind set seems to be in play.

  91. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    @1

    Zombies don’t eat brains anyway, unless instructed to by their zombie masters. A lot of people get that wrong.

  92. andygates says:

    What dunderheads. I lol’d!

    (Later: Buffy writers arrested)

  93. angusm says:

    But what if a band of zombies _did_ attack the high school and it came out that the police had known about the threat and had done nothing? What then?

  94. LB says:

    Writers write what they know.

    Kids know school.

    It’s a felony in KY to write about school.

    Therefore, they do not want kids to be writers.

  95. anthony says:

    Zuzu, when you are a student in a free public institution the teachers and administration act by law as kind of “lay parents”, and so your right to free speech is defined by the limits they set.
    As to your other responses to my comments, you basically re-stated what I had already written, so i don’t see your argument, except for the bit about school violence. That doesn’t happen as a result of a Focault-like prison/school model as much as it is the result of bullying in a cruel school culture plus poor socialization. That’s my two cents.

  96. Blue Tyson says:

    This presumably means in Kentucky they should be arresting any local governments for running libraries with school destruction stories.

    Also bookshop owners, too?

  97. anthony says:

    And hello, Teresa!

  98. DreadLetterDay says:

    What kind of grandparents would run straight to the police with something like this? What kind of police would take it even the slightest bit seriously, as soon as the word ‘zombie’ is mentioned?

    This doesn’t add up. There’s more to this story.

  99. cycle23 says:

    Dreadletterday, there is KENTUCKY to this story. That adds up like 1 + 1 = 3.

  100. Godzilla says:

    I look forward to this kid suing the police force and winning.

  101. j5ive says:

    Takuan said:

    has anyone done a sociology theses on the concept of a “stupidity pump”? A mechanism whereby some tribes methodically lower their collective IQ by systematically expelling the intelligent and creative – thereby pumping more stupidity into their little enclave? Moron memes would have to be essentially parasitic since a larger body politic to feed them, keep them somewhat clean and keep them from what would ordinarily be their fate (consumption by a smarter competitor) would be required.

    Idiocracy anyone?

  102. UrinalPooper says:

    I remember the good old days… when a ‘terroristic threat’ had to be REASONABLE. Where the $%)& is the ACLU?

  103. mdh says:

    I want a picture of the kid.

    5 bucks says hes ‘emo’, ‘goth’, or an “A/V kid”.

    I can’t fuckingbelieve this.

  104. buddy66 says:

    My mother actually has a “descriptive paragraph” I wrote many many years ago for a 10th grade high school class! I describe in first-person how it feels to change into a werewolf. It is badly warmed-over Derleth, Bloch, etc, all purply and pastiched. The teacher gave it an “F” and wrote in the margin, “Next time you steal somebody’s writing, steal the spelling and punctuation too!” Since my mother had seen me writing it the week before at the kitchen table, she knew it was mine. We did not protest, however, but took it as a compliment. As she told my father, “His teacher thinks it’s professional.”

  105. mrspook says:

    OK. Kid wrote *crappy* zombie story and he’s not David Wellington, nor was it in haiku from or Marvel comic. Any way we can help this poor guy?

  106. anthony says:

    Oh, shoot! Zuzu, I also disagree with your other answer. You totally need to be preemptive when it comes to school violence! Why wait for the warning signs to develop into something irreversible. Schools just
    need to be sure the measures they take are appropriate, and not over-reactions.

    • Antinous says:

      You totally need to be preemptive when it comes to school violence!

      One of the reasons that zero tolerance is such a disaster. Under zero tolerance, if there’s a problem, the school simply sanctions everyone involved per the rules without any sincere investigation into the root cause of the incident. If a bully assaulted me and I was suspended for defending myself, automatic weaponry would loom large in my mind.

  107. dequeued says:

    Let me get this straight, he didn’t even distribute this to anyone?
    Someone found it, and reported it??
    What the hell is wrong with people?

  108. Takuan says:

    painful how many so-called teachers are so inutterably incompetent that they dare call plaigarism without being able to produce side-by-copy the original work.

  109. Winston Smith says:

    Thoughtcrime!

  110. Anonymous says:

    Too late! The Zombies have already eaten the brains of school officials and the police!

  111. mdh says:

    So it’s illegal for schoolkids to posess things that reference the school?

    Must make planning the PTA meetings by word of mouth a real nightmare.

    Is planning a haunted house illegal there “because it might scare the children”?

    What a nation we’ve become. Yay US!

  112. Takuan says:

    so the sure fire way to stay out of trouble is to send your unsolicited manuscript to Hollywood. They’ll throw it out unread (except the good ones) but you will have an iron clad alibi to write what you will. Which gives me an idea… any particularly iniquitous publishing houses out there that deserve to receive every high-school splatter-fest script?

  113. Right_Arm_Vivi says:

    Oh come on…no wonder people say america is being “dumbed down”…we are punishing kids for creativity!

  114. pirano says:

    Yikes! If things were like this 25 years ago, I’d probably still be in jail.

  115. ChibiR says:

    This sounds awfully familiar… Ah yes, it should be: This story is from 2005 and even popped up on Boing Boing back then (which is how I stumbled over it in the first place). It’s a bit unfortunate that the LEX18 page doesn’t have a date.

  116. anthony says:

    Even if the kid had drawn a comic version with all the disturbing imagery of a zombie movie the school ought to have some plan in place to address any perceived red flags. Where was the assessment? If there was any concern he should have been referred to a counselor first.
    It’s dangerous when administrations feel they can confidently decode teen metaphors as homicidal feelings.
    I also think there may be more to the story, though.

  117. anthony says:

    Quoth the author:

    “It didn’t mention nobody who lives in Clark County, didn’t mention (George Rogers Clark High School), didn’t mention no principal or cops, nothing,”

    His spoken grammar don’t bode well for his writing.

  118. Anonymous says:

    Guess they won’t be releasing this movie:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926063/
    In there either…

  119. shadowfirebird says:

    This appears to be old news. Events have transpired since. Allegedly:

    * No zombies in the story.
    * He said it was schoolwork, but not according to his teachers.
    * He’s been re-arrested for jumping bail.

    This seems to cover events as well as anything.

    Of course, none of this detracts from the basic point that he was arrested for writing something and not showing it to anyone. Which is ridiculous no matter what his motives or intentions were.

  120. FLG says:

    OMG! He’s synthesised the Rage virus and is planning to infect his school! TERROR!

    And like #8 said, what the hell is up with his grandparents?

    Kentucky, I like your chicken (occasionally), but I do not like this.

  121. Takuan says:

    why, it’s as if school administrators were dull-witted, ass-covering, career bureaucrats incapable of actually administering…. or something.

  122. anthony says:

    It sounds like what you mean is that Zero tolerance is a bad idea. Being preemptive (in a non-Bushian, positive way) is needed.
    And what is this zero tolerance anyway? It’s not an official set of school legislation I’m aware of. Is it an implicit thing?

    • Antinous says:

      Zero tolerance is the concept of compelling persons in positions of authority, who might otherwise exercise their discretion in making subjective judgments regarding the severity of a given offense, to impose a pre-determined punishment regardless of individual culpability or “extenuating circumstances”.

      Communities and school boards commonly adopt official zero tolerance policies, forcing school officials to comply or be fired. There’s nothing implicit. Adopting zero tolerance policies theoretically reduces liability. It also abrogates responsibility.

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