Should Allen Lee have been punished?

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As reported in the Sun-Times today, police Thursday released portions of an essay used to charge a Cary-Grove High School student with disorderly conduct, leaving several experts puzzled at an arrest based on such schoolwork.

Asked to write about whatever he wanted in a creative writing class, would-be Marine and honors student Allen Lee, 18, described a violent dream in which he shot people and then "had sex with the dead bodies.''

But then he immediately dismissed the idea as a mere joke, writing, "not really, but it would be funny if I did.''

Lee said Thursday he was "completely shocked'' to be arrested Tuesday for his essay, especially because written instructions told kids not to "censor'' what they wrote.

"In creative writing, you're told to exaggerate,'' said Lee. "It was supposed to be just junk. . . .

"There definitely is violent content, but they're taking it out of context and making it something it isn't.''

--------------- TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ---------------

Should Allen Lee have been punished for writing this essay? Does punishment violate his first-amendment rights? Is your opinion different in the wake of the Virginia Tech Massacre than it would have been before that disaster?

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86 Comments

I do not believe he should have been punished, instead he should be given a pych evaluation and counseling. Normal children do not write violent and graphic stories like this.

We do not have the full text of the assignment, nor do we know what oral directions were given to the class. What if the teacher said, "Don't censor yourself; shocking is OK; just write whatever comes to mind."

We all imagine gruesome, or sexual, or embarrasing things we wouldn't typically say out loud. Creative writing should be a vehicle to let those things out. Isn't that better than keeping them in? (The professors at Virginia Tech who told the world how they told Cho that his writing was unacceptable bear some responsibility for supressing a means of escape and relief.)

The police and school officials responsible for this young man's arrest are the real criminals. Public education and law enforcement have combined to show America how incompetent our public servants really are. With a government like this, you're damn right we need to bear arms.

He shouldn't have been punished but what can you expect when the liberal media decides what can and cannot be said. This is unfortunately going to happen after the Don Imus situation. Be very careful the liberals are taking away our freedoms, they hijacked Freedom of Speech and now or working on Gun Control.

I think this kid is guilty of having no common sense at all. To write something like that, so soon after the worst school shooting in US history shows a total lack of judgment-what kind of reaction did he expect?? I admit that to charge him with Dis. Conduct is overkill, but he should at least have his stupid head slapped!!

I think anyone who thinks this kid should be arrested is an idiot plain and simple. Obviously someone forgot that this was a creative writing class and that violence is referenced in almost everything we watch on tv and read in comic books. This poor kid may have some issues, but arresting this guy might be provoking him more than helping him if he has a problem. Maybe more defining rules in assignments should be introduced such as "no references to violence in any ways". But should we go that far? If this happened a year ago, the nerds at Cary Police Dept probably would have just laughed at this incident.

Regarding the VT killer, as described in my earlier post, I do not mean to suggest the VT professors are responsible for Cho's conduct. I point out, however, that suppressing a creative writer's ideas because you don't like the message is neither an educationally sound practice nor an intelligent response in a creative curriculum.

I don't think of this as "creative" writing in any way or form. The child has "issues", and I wouldn't want him to be a part of the Marine Corp. if he has fantasies of having sex with dead bodies. He is blatantly evil, and sending him to a shrink, could even be more detrimental. He needs to be punished by his parents(not the cops) and he needs to pray for his evil actions that he may not be sold out them. We all need to pray for our youth. There is power in prayer. Amen.

Okay, so this kid probably shouldn't have been arrested. However, creative writing or not, it is still disturbing. There have been so many accusations following incidents such as Columbine HS and Virginia Tech.....so many "warning signs" that were dismissed, but later used to actually point to the crimes that took place. This is not "normal" day-dreaming. But, I guess that just speaks volumes into the way our society has become; where a kid talks about shooting people, doing drugs, and having sex with dead bodies, and the authorities who question those thoughts are the bad guys.

I taught creative writing for five years. Why would the teacher wait until the last six weeks of school to have a problem with a student's writing? If the student didn't exhibit problems earlier in the semester, then a sit down would have been enough. This is a fear-based reaction to the media, and possibly racist; I can't imagine a white football player having to go through this in suburban academia. The teacher knows darn well that if William Burroughs followed the same instructions he would have come up with something far worse.


Thomas P. Huston
Oak Park

Why is it that creativity has to be about violence, there are so many other expressions. Since the gunman in the Va. tragedy was of Asian descent and still a fresh wound, I believe he was being disrepectful and that it was probably done for shock value and he got shocked.

You blame this on Liberals? Give me a break. The problem is with the school teacher, or the LAWYERS that the right wing use to sue sue sue. The school over-reacted. Who the heck assigns something saying "do not censor what you write" and then contacts the police? Not a counselor, or any other intervention, but the POLICE. It's absurd. Utterly ridiculous. It was a WRITING ASSIGNMENT! It's wasn't a fantasy dream journal that someone found for crying out loud.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said

"PEOPLE SHOW YOU WHO THEY ARE ... PAY ATTENTION."

When an old arch-conservative like me and a "former Weatherman" both agree then we must be right: Arresting ANYONE for writing ANYTHING is utterly unconstitutional. Whether it was written before or after VT is completely irrelevent. We either have constitutional rights or we don't. If we don't then they have a lot more to worry about than some kid's fantasies.

Can anyone say "knee-jerk." Is it just a coincedence that Mr. Lee is from an Asian background? If my son were to have written something along the same lines, I doubt he would have been arrested. He is a kid. There is a big difference between a senior in college and a senior in high school. I remember being given free-reign on writting assignments and all I wanted to acheive was shock value. I think it is a sad day for us when kids are getting arrested for writing stories.

Be very careful the liberals are taking away our freedoms, they hijacked Freedom of Speech

You must be joking. The liberals are responsible for taking away free speech? Point the finger at gun control, if that's your issue. But to try to tie that to freedom of speech is ridiculous. What about all the right-wing christians who petition the FCC in the thousands to regulate what can and cannot cross the airwaves? Are they exempt from criticism?

This kid should be able to write whatever he or she wants. It's pure censorship by these local authorities.

If people can be arrested for what they write, then we may as well cart off all the mystery and fictional writers. Nora Roberts/Patricia Cornwell watch out,you could be next. I am a mental health professional and feel the arrest is ridiculous.

Being arrested for written word, what's next arrest for the spoken word.....Nazis all.

This smells of racism. The teacher needs counseling.

The Law is an Ass - Charles Dickens

(“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.” - Oliver Twist)

I don’t think that Lee should be punished, he did nothing wrong. He is only a couple of months away from graduating and I am sure that that is all that he is thinking of. It’s his last month of his entire high school career so he feels embolden.

The teacher set the parameters for the way she wanted the essays written and he followed instructions.

Now, if there was a history of bad behavior then there should be cause for concern. The teacher felt a sense of urgency and I applaud her for doing what she did. Clearly him being arrested is completely unreasonable. The V Tech shootings saddens me, but there is no reason to go over board. There was a lapse of judgment in the V Tech shootings. If there was a killer, or “shooter” on the lose then there should have been some sort of a lock down.

Nowadays anyone can pick up a gun and start shooting into a crowd, why should we be afraid of these terrorists.

The lines of school, state and religion are being questioned and we as a society continue to lose more and more rights. What makes one person safe, and confident makes someone else feel threatened and persecuted.

Good Luck to Lee.

"Be very careful the liberals are taking away our freedoms, they hijacked Freedom of Speech and now or working on Gun Control"

Bush took away more freedom from us then any other president in American History. Bush should have been pulled away from office from day one.

"Public education and law enforcement have combined to show America how incompetent our public servants really are. With a government like this, you're damn right we need to bear arms"

Completely agree with you. Good call, we should be allowed to bare arms.


My 0.02

Granted, the kid's probably a dope to have written what he wrote, and the essay is most likely considered 'dangerous' by those who deem film-makers of 'Pulp Fiction' & 'Natural Born Killers' and the like scums of the earth, but it is the so called 'EDUCATORS' that inhabit the halls of institutions such as Carey-Grove High whom in my mind are the more insidious.
I mean, whatever happened to conflict resolution scenarios such as 'a talk in the principal's office', or 'go see the school counselor', or 'let's bring the parents in and have a meaningful discussion together'!?
I know the flavor of the day is to say one must be vigilent in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, but for a series of 'educators' to deal with a creative-writing class assignment with such lack of sensitivity, such lack of critical analysis, such knee-jerk reaction based ignorance is criminal. I just hope the boy is intelligent and resilient enough to weather the trauma and the damage these 'educators' have inflicted upon him.
If these 'educators' had hoped to preemptively prevent a tragedy, they might just have shown themselves to be one, for the world to see.
All I have to say to the 1st year English teacher, the head of the school's English Department and the principal of Cary-Grove High School is "SHAME".

I DON'T THINK HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ARRESTED. BUT APPARENTLY HE SHOULD BE TAUGHT A LESSON ON SENSITIVITY. Unfortunately for him he doesn't realized how much this affected people and their lives. He definitely needs counseling.

If Stephen King had wrote a paper like that when he was in school, he would probably be writing novels from prison.

It's nice to know that the moral standards of our country (if there were any to begin with) are being safeguarded by paranoid, right-leaning "adults" that believe the answer to everything lies in prayer (an individual practice saved for those seeking sprituality). As for not wanting this young man to serve in the Marine Corps because he appears to be comfortable with violence seems like the exact reason you would want him toting a weapon. Odds are that this kid was testing limits and boundaries and he now faces public humiliation and conjecture at HIS EXPENSE, not the teacher who betrayed his trust. The assignment was explicit about withholding judgement, and 'stream-of-conscious' writing. Shame on this teacher.

This is the way of the world. One Asian man goes crazy and shoots a bunch of people. Now every Asian in every school is going to do the same thing (At least percieved). I think that after Jeffrey Dahmer started eating people, every white man should have been interogated for cannibalistic tendencies. After Timothy McVeigh blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, every white man should have been investigated for Terrorist activity. Because one mentally ill man did something crazy does not condemn the whole race of people.

Has anyone even considered the fact that maybe this was done purposefully. We have an honor's student with the intention to join the Marines -- obviously bright and capable. But what if this was to ensure a paid-for college education and maybe a new home for his parents. The ramafications of these charges are going to be huge. There will be a law suit and more than likey a generous settlement in Alan Lee's favor. It was outrageous to get the authorities involved, I understand the need to be sensitive especially after the devesation that occured on Virgina's Tech's campus but maybe the kid is just trying to make a point and he is going to be play the race card. An Asian student arrested for writing a violent story in a creative writing class -- that has law suit all over it and I honestly believe Alan Lee did this to get a reaction and maybe even a little money. Yes, we have to take or any students behavior seriously but they are smarter and more cost-effective ways to have handled this.

The kid needs a better writing teacher, not jail time. His prose is awful.

Kids in high school are pretty much twisted--what about the kid in art class who draws heavy metal, quasi-satanic images or violent images from his favorite video game? Shouldn't he or she be arrested too? With enough teachers being arrested themselves for sexually abusing their students why does this young man's free-form writing institute as an arrest in comparison? In light of VT I think it was a case of WWA: Writing While Asian.

Two things. The boy that wrote this is probably a typical teenager in the US who is assaulted daily by images of violence, lyrics touting mysogeny and a culture that seems to try to outdo itself in increasingly crass behavior. We revel in it, it seems.

For a teacher to punish, no, have an author arrested for his writings seems counter to what is important in schools. That of providing a clear, consistent approach to guiding the young minds of our next generations.

Shame on the teacher and administration who havent the courage to guide students in a more reasoned manner.

Arrest might not have been the correct line of action. However, regardless of whether this boy was joking or not, the simple fact that he showed a complete lack of sensitivity to the events that are very much a reality these days and that have taken place so recently, convinces me that there is something mentally or emotionally wrong with him. That, in itself, is extremelyalarming. Why would any student anywhere write something like that considering what just happened at Virginia Tech? I really believe he absolutely is a threat to the students and faculty at that school. I would be outraged as a student if he was allowed to return and I would probably transfer.

If this only a piece and samples of what he writes please pay attention is a bomb on process to explode! Put him under surveillance and don’t let him go back to the school. This is not FUNNY!, this is not a JOKE!, protect the people around him.

A person writing something like that needs medical, mental and guidance attention, with no excuses if he has straight "A". His parents teachers and friends needs to be careful because he can mentally, physical and psychological can explode with out warning signs and make actions totally wrong!

Believe me if he is a friend of my kids, I immediately order my kids to terminate and avoid that evil human person

Thought Crime. pure and simple.

Wake up here people! This is just a High School kid trying to get attention. He should have been refered to the school counselors who should then have gotten his parents involved. This is just another knee-jerk reaction by the local officials and the police to impose their misguided will onto another victim. The police in the northwest suburbs couldn't catch and convict mass murderers for years, maybe its because they were concentrating on easier prey.

I'm embarassed for his teacher, Cary-Grove High School, this state and this country that this kid would be arrested. Maybe we should arrest Steven King for all his gruesome writings. Are we really attempting to censor people's thoughts now? I think the people who overreacted and arrested this kid are more in need of counseling than the student.

As a parent of two creative and imaginative children, I am terrified by the thought that an inexperienced teacher could have my children arrested for successfully completing an assigned essay This boys writing was not scribbled in a notebook under his bed, it was written in response to a teacher's request in a creative writing class.

Living in a country which recently undertook a war in the attempt to bring freedom and liberty in a foreign land, it is unconceivable to me that we stand by and watch students arrested for expressing themselves. I sincerely hope that the parents in this district will have the courage to demand that this teacher be dismissed and the administration severely censured.


It's an outrageous arrest. That the police even released the parts of the essay in order to convince people that the arrest was justified shows that they know they were in the wrong. You wouldn't see them release bullet casings in a murder investigation to satisfy the public. But of course, this is a culture of hysteria in which the police are called because a guy doesn't take his ski mask off in 40 degree weather. (University of Iowa IIRC)

Had the creative writing teacher and the Cary-Grove administration done their jobs, they would not have validated some immature musings by turning this kid into a free speech hero. What will probably happen next is the Cary-Grove administration will regret all the negative national publicity this story has generated and they'll blame the creative writing teacher for starting this brouhaha.

It looks like the "thought police" are out in full force! What ever happened to our 1st amendment rights to freedom of speech? I guess the thought police (media and government) have taken those very rights away along with the patriot act. The only right we have as Americans are the "right to do what we are told and have truly become a nation of wussbags. If the law is unbiased he will win his case in the Supreme Court.

McHERNY COUNTY DA IS SHOWING RACISM

I don't believe he should be punished for his creative writing assignment that indicated they shouldn't censor themselves. I would really be curious to know if this teacher would have reacted to the writings of both Steven King and Clive Barker if she had taught them in class. There is a genre for this type of creative writing.

He should never have been arrested. There is something called free speech and it can be excercised at any time. This was a creative writing class. As much as it was insensitive for him to write such a disturbing entry so soon after Virginia Tech, he was told not to censor, so he let his creativity soar. When a topic is on everyone's mind, it finds its way into popular culture, so why should a student not have the right to make what could have been a brilliant piece just because current events snuck into the heart of the piece. He was probably not even aware that he was writing "to disturb".

You can't shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater. You shouldn't write a violent, intentionally disturbing paper about killing people in your school and turn it in for class. ESPECIALLY given what's been happening, not only last week, but with school violence in general. I woudl expect 18-year-olds to understand this.

If he honestly chose to write that paper for creative reasons, he should have talked to the teacher about it before hand. You don't write paper in first person, accusing your teacher of inciting a school shooting. That is truly disgusting.

There is a difference betwee uncensored creative writing and incendiary threats. I think this paper falls squarely in the latter category.

What about protecting our children? Maybe this is why so much violence has occured in our school system. If we would read the warning signs properly, tragedies could be avoided. This child has crossed the line of what constitutes a safe environment for all, therefore he needs to be removed and his issues need to be addressed instead of allowing him to rejoin society and risk him acting out on his "fanasies."

Thought crime. Thought police. See Orwell, Geo. "1984" for ultimate result.

Horror is part of our fictional heritage, look at William Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe as examples they both wrote about horror and chaos.

I think the teacher might have had a grudge against the student, and this was his/her last chance to ruin his life. There are instructors out there who think that way.

I have met a few, and they will do anything to ruin you if they have the opportunity. I had one teacher when I was in middle school no matter what kind of work I did, she would always give me a D. When my grandparents cornered her and asked her why, her explanation was "Her father was Native American, she doesn't deserve to get ahead."

The chuckleheads who run the high school are the folks who need to be 'counseled,' not the young Mr. Lee. It is the arrogance of hypocrisy for his writing teacher to tell him to write anything that comes to mind, and then--when he does--to have him arrested. She's the one who needs the talking-to, and if I were Mr. Lee's father, I would certainly volunteer; in fact, I would insist.

A large proportion of the population now live in a state of permanent, undifferentiated fear, where anything can pop out at any time and strike them down.

If anything, it is the teacher and his/her superiors who contacted the police who need counseling; they are obviously not equipped to deal with even low levels of anxiety. Are these the kind of people we want teaching or children?

What a pathetic testimony to how our ideals are unraveling in this country.

It is absurd that this student was locked up. First because it was clear that he didn't step out of lines of specifics of the assignment, because there wasn't any. Secondly, because if the tradegy at Virginia Tech hadn't occurred then the only attention given to this kid's story would have been from his classroom only. Which leads me to point out of the imcompetence of those involved in this expulsion/arrest-clearly his stunt was related to and influenced by the Virginia Tech incident. I just hope was the arrest was punishment and not an actual first step to ruining someone's life because they think he's mentally unstable. This student is just an insensitive and lacking of morals. His parents should have been locked up.

As a parent of a 16 and 14 year old boys, I think that common sense after the tragedy of VT and other school shootings should have been taught by the parents. One needs to be taught about the sensitivity factor and right and wrong. That job is done by the parents and these parents failed.

Everything has been thrown out the window with freedom this, freedom that. I know that freedom is the exact foundation for which this country is based upon. If he had started the essay with this is not to be taken seriously and so forth, stressed it at the very beginning, it might have not been taking this far. I believe in freedom and enjoy every aspect of it, but I think he wanted to scare the teacher and authoritive figures by submitting the comment at the end of the essay that he would never intend to do harm. It was probably written in small print at the very end and consisted of one line. Did the parents read this before he submitted it? If so, they are part to blame for this incident and should be looked at seriously as part of this crime. Yes it is a crime to scare with intent. I believe he got the response he wanted but thought he could get away with it. The parents at Columbine did not even know the children had guns! Trust me if my son had an arsonal of guns, I would know.

As for Steven King, yes creative writing has made him the man he is today but I think that he would even have the common sense to know where to submit such writings and which places not to. Carrie probably would not have been submittted in high school. As a matter of fact, it was published first in a porno magazine.

Are people so simple minded that they see only two choices - ignoring the student or charging him with a crime? The school authorities acted improperly and unwisely. If the essay is truly disturbing, what about calling the parents in for a conference and setting up a session with a mental health professional to evaluate the student? If troubled children are threatened with punishment they will not reach out for help, nor will their friends alert teachers or parents to problems they perceive. These people are too stupid to be entrusted with the education of our children.

I should like to suggest that there is genuine criminality here. It is to be found in the fact that the Cary-Grove school has designated this kid an "honors" student. Look at his writing! He has a very promising future as a rap lyricist. Perhaps this is all the better the Cary-Grove school can do. You know what they say: "GIGO" (garbage in, garbage out).

Why is this appropriate writing? We create movies and books all under the protection of “free speech” and expect a good outcome for those who watch or read the material. Where in culture do we see good models of what we would like our children to become? Over the last four decades we have continually pulled down boundaries in society under the rouse of “rights and freedom to choose”, but has this served our society well? How has this served us well? By lowering our standards as a people we have seen America slide from leading the world in education, production and innovation to leading in categories that are rejected by a civilized world. Is it any wonder the world looks at Americans with scorn? As adults, teachers and parents we must do all we can to live lives that will model well for the next generation how to live and succeed as citizens and make our country a better, safer place to live. This is what the generations before us have done. We must do the same and not accept anything less calling it freedom.

The PROSECUTOR, and the POLICE should be sued for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment for detaining the writer. It's one thing to threaten; it's quite another thing to write for a creative writing class. Does anyone doubt that some essays in the same class were extremely sexual in nature, given the ever present raging hormones in high school? Perhaps those writers should be charged with crimes as well! (NOT)

Are you kidding me....What this kid wrote was a direct threat to the CG school by saying..."you may have inspired a CG shooting". And the fact that he is Asian has NO bearing. I wouldn't care if he were caucasian, African American, Hispanic, whatever the race...that child would be pulled from school so fast their head would spin!!!

I am all for freedom of speech. I am all for creative writing - I have a degree in screenwriting...but when a student implies that his creative writing or that the instructor may have inspired a shooting - to me - this is a threat!!! Plain and simple.

I consider myself a liberal. But I am fed up with people crying racism...and let's not do anything for fear we are going to be sued. Are you JOKING!!! How many students were killed that were of many races and religion in Virginia...How many more killings will it take for us to pull our heads out of the sand and realize that this is NO JOKE!!!

If I were a parent at that school, I would say THANK YOU!!! Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge that this person needs help. He should have been arrested...he made a threat. What child writes something like this and say it was a joke. If this was my child, not only would he have been arrested...he would have to deal with me and his father.

I'm not sure where this world is going...but if we do not do something about these kinds of things and do something fast about illegal gun sales and handgun sales here in the US...we will not have any children to lead this country. I am scared!!! Very scared for our children!!!

Would somthing like the Virginia shooting happen in Switzerland? What about China? What about Denmark??? Where is it happening?? Here in the US where we are all afraid we are going to embark on someone elses freedom!

We better change the rules of the road here fast or some day we may not have any roads left to travel.

For the same reason you don't say "I have a bomb" in an airport (even if you're just joking and trying to be funny), you don't write about gunning down classmates 1 week after the worse mass murdue in US history at a public university. It's the unwritten rule and if you want to try and push the issue to see what you can get away with, this kid found out.
Punishment? I don't know, but certainly a serious psych eval and very close observation for a long time.

A few minor points:

1. “As a teacher, don’t be surprised on inspiring the first CG [Cary-Grove High School] shooting.”

-The words that I marked in red do not mean that he [himself] is inspiring the shooting, they mean don't be surprised if it does happen. Lee is basing the essay on previous events such as Columbine and the V-Tech shooting. (He is saying that the world is so messed up that anything can happen in this world, including details mentioned in this essay.)

2. “Blood, sex, booze. Drugs, drugs, drugs are fun. Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab, s..t..a..b...puke.”

-These are just thoughts of the average killer. Onomotopoeia is often used to liven up an essay, especially in creative writing. Basically the writer is telling the reader what the killer is thinking first hand before he/she thinks of killing anyone. The writer is also using imitation, just showing how stupid the killer sounds by saying things as he/she acts upon thought, and possibility, showing possible reasons why the killer would commit such an act.

3. “So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P 90s
[submachine guns] and started shooting everyone, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did.”

-This statement is simply misleading, and maybe a little strange, but nothing to arrest/suspend over. This brings a couple possibilities to mind:
~~The writer just needed something to liven up the essay. (Maybe it was a little much, as it could be offensive on many levels.)
~~You could tell the writer was extending his imagination to the essay. (I have researched that type of gun) There is no way he could have shot 2 of them at once, had sex with bodies, and gotten away with it.
~~Misleading part: "Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did." Would it have been funny to actually have the dream (meaning he didn't actually have the dream and chose those words as a filler) or was the writer speaking of the last portion of the statement: "...had sex with the dead bodies."? Will we ever know?

4. My point: Personally, I think if Allen Lee really wanted to get arrested or suspended, he would have thought of something a little more creative than just writing. Creative writing is supposed to spark the imagination, whether based on true events, or just off the top of his head.

Conclusion: No, I don't think he should get suspended over his essay.

"Okay, so this kid probably shouldn't have been arrested. However, creative writing or not, it is still disturbing. There have been so many accusations following incidents such as Columbine HS and Virginia Tech.....so many "warning signs" that were dismissed, but later used to actually point to the crimes that took place. This is not "normal" day-dreaming. But, I guess that just speaks volumes into the way our society has become; where a kid talks about shooting people, doing drugs, and having sex with dead bodies, and the authorities who question those thoughts are the bad guys."

No, comments like this are what are wrong with society. It seems that we pick and choose at the truth just to argue a point.

There is an enormous difference. The V-Tech Killer was harassing women and was suicidal according to his parents. The Columbine killers where stockpiling artillery and where part of the “trench coat mafia”. One of the two even maimed animals as a child. Those are definite signs that something is wrong.

Lee only wrote a paper according to his teacher’s directions. He didn’t daydream anything, he was told to write a paper and he took lyrics from songs and excerpts from his video games and put them together on paper. Some of things that he wrote where pretty idiotic but it’s Creative Writing; “marked by the ability or power to create : given to creating ”. It’s not as if he is sharpening knives in his bedroom or cleaning out his tech 9.


Looks like Law Enforcement got it "right" again! (LOL). Its obviouls that there was no investigating of any kind. Im no detective, but taking into account the VT incident = at best he should have been pulled from class PENDING a investigation into his background, interview his classmates and then base a decision upon completion of the investigation. It smells of "jumping the gun" with a "smudge" of racism - had he not been Asian and maybe Caucasian, would they pursued this in that manner. What is very clear now that the possibility of a lawsuit exists with all kind of potential angles on which to sue. I totally understand to a certain extent because no one wants a repeat of Virginia Tech, but it certainly is overkill to the 3rd power and it only raises eyebrows in the Asian Community because that was a fear that they could be singled out for possible retribution - simply because they are Asian. Now the kid who wrote this - is a typical teenager. They act before they think and in a lot of cases, the thought process isn't used at all. It was boneheaded to say the least. If Im an Asian male - the last thing I'd would have done was to "creatively write" anything that can be associated with the recent incident at VT. He needs some counseling and perhaps some sensitivity counseling but to be arrested is ridiculous to say the least.

THIS COULD BE TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT:

But then he immediately dismissed the idea as a mere joke, writing, "not really, but it would be funny if I did.''

He is NOT referring to "it would be funny if he killed people".. he is referring to "it would be funny if he had a dreamt about killing people".. thats a HUGE difference. If I woke up tomorrow and dreamt the night before about killing people, I would find it funny (i might find it slightly disturbing, but i would still laugh at it)... he basically was writing that "he dreamt about killing people" and then wrote "well really I didn't dream about that crap, but it would be funny if i did dream about it."


And to whomever thinks liberals like to squelsh freedoms, your world is flipped up side down. Conservatives are those who fight to censor radio, tv, movies, games, literature... Conservatives came up with the crap Patriot Act. The liberals are the ones fighting to protect freedom of speech. Right to bear arms, thats way off topic. And Imus, wtf does this have to do with Imus, it has all to do with VT incident, it has all to do with this kid being asian and the school adminstation over reacting because of VT incident.

Of course this young man should not have been punished. Whatever one may think of the content of his essay or of his writing style, he is an excellent student, and in my opinion, caused neither actual nor potential harm in completing his assignment as he understood it. The first year teacher who freaked out over this assignment could use some better mentoring--what response would occur to an actual threat? There are much more serious and urgent problems in the schools and in the world outside the school that need to be addressed and solved. Focusing on the fiction writing of a teenager who shows no signs of anti-social or violent behavior or even violent intent, and who is an exemplary student, is a knee-jerk reaction and a diversion from attempting to resolve real problems. This student's father left a China in which censorship, lack of civil liberties and attempts at mind control were the norm. Why should his son or anyone else suffer from an American version of the same?

It's interesting reading these comments, particularly a couple of the posts. First, "anonymous" opines that the kid isn't "normal". Define "Normal". Are we then to assume then after "Normal" is defined, that we'll be free to purge the ABnormal, undesirables? Normalcy is not the appropriate yardstick to use, particularly when analyzing teenagers. Second, arresting teenagers for fulfilling creative writing assignments is probably not the slippery slope we want our society to embrace. Finally, I am frankly surprised that the kid wasn't charged under the terrorism statutes. I can assure most of you that had Allen Lee lived in Macomb County, Michigan, Eric Smith, the crack law and order prosecutor would be on national television howling about how this kid should be locked up for twenty years. Mr. Smith, apparently in agreement with some of the zealots posting comments here, promotes with delighted enthusiasm every opportunity to throw away another teenager like so much stinking garbage. Clearly, the kid needs to be counseled and scrutinized for his incredibly inappropriate story. But we need to remember two important concepts before we condemn all "abnormal" teenagers to the garbage heap: Parental responsibility, and Adult responsibility. It's our RESPONSIBILITY as adults to analyze each circumstance and individual for the appropriate punishment and intervention. Painting with the broad brush that colors all teenagers who get into trouble as unredeemable predators not only abdicates our responsibility to them, it's simply ignorant and lazy.

Are you INSANE? Kids write about every possible sick thing you can think of.

Just look at what is shown on TV as a preview to the SAW III Movie. Scalpels in the eyes, cutting off toes, implanting a key behind someones eye that unlocks a deadly trap around their head.

You are teaching kids to NEVER talk about their feelings. This is going to backfire in a big way. Kids feeling angry or violent or depressed will not be able to talk about it.

This repression will cause more outbursts.

Just look at suicude. Suicides went up when it was taboo and down when there were safe ANON ways to discuss your feelings.

Violence is going to go up as people with these feelings (and this kid Lee doesn't even count in this) are singled out and picked on even more.

What we need is tolerance for self expression, not additional alienation.

If I was in school and being picked on, then I expressed my anger in a violent story and I was singled out even more? It would push me closer to taking a hammer to someones head.

I don't know if an arrest was warranted. But, given what happened at Virgina Tech last week and the heightened sensitivity of violence in schools and public places, I think this student should be expelled for his writings and forced into counseling. What was he thinking? In the same manner that you can't jokingly yell "bomb" in an airport without getting arrested you shouldn't be able to submit literature that implies that the safety of others might be at stake. Stupid boy! Are you going to tell me that this boy couldn't find something else that was "creative" to write about? It's very apparent that this young man wanted a reaction and he got one.

Considering the past incidentance of campus violence, this student used very poor taste to say the least. However to try to criminalize it is ludicrous. Definetley some counseling on human sensitivity would be in order.
The danger here is that the past events CAN NOT be allowed to create over re-action in lieu of proper concern.

Neal

If this student is arrested for his composition, then by such logic it is time to arrest Stephen King, all writers of CSI, writers of all horror-slaster movies, video games rated r and over, and so forth.

Then do we begin to censor dangerous thoughts .... freedom, liberty, self-expression, pursuit of happiness, ....

A little too soon after the Virginia Incident. What did he think was going to happen? If your next door neighbor was murdered in their own home, then the next day you go out and tell people it would be fun to go to another neighbor and murder them, don't you think it would be taken seriously? For him to write a story like that was dumb and imature, looks like someone looking for the spotlight.

Hasn't anyone in Cary heard about the First Amendment? Are we still a Democracy? We creep dangerously closer to losing our freedoms as Big Brother becomes more and more oppressive.

Both the Cary Police and the Cary School Administration are a disgrace. To link Lee's poorly written essay to the VT tragedy is racist.

According to newspaper reports, Allen Lee had already passed the Marine's psych exam, so further examination by a psychologist working for a school system that has demonstrated its inadequacies would be worthless if not redundant.

I am a former high school creative writing teacher, and I am not surprised by the reaction of the teacher in this case. It is an unfortunate reality that she would be held personally liable for failing to bring attention to this writing if Lee did in fact at some future time commit any violent acts. But this fact is more of a reflection on the litigious nature of our society and the failure of public education institutions to adequately deflect liability from instructors. It's an insurance issue - for real.

The part about this that is most ridiculous to me is that the writing was done as a 'free writing' assignment. There is no time in a free writing assignment to edit or polish your work. The entire point of free writing is to push the writer into an uncomfortable pace so that their tendency to 'compose' is transformed into something more like a stream-of-consciousness recording. Free writing is never a finished work. It rarely yields anything more useful than a single thought or phrase to be explored more fully in additional writing excercises or drafts.

When I used this technique in class, I would never collect the papers - there is nothing to be fairly graded in such an exercise beyond participation. The only value of the text of a free write is for the author. Just walk around the classroom during the free write period and give credit to those who are actually writing.

The thought police are alive and well and coming to a community near you.

This is nothing but the thought police.

A little common sense, please! There may be some coincidences, but this does not even begin to look anything near what happened in Virginia Tech. I understand that some people are shaking in their boots thinking that this might be a precursor to something similar. Has anyone thought that this might be his way of getting that massacre out of his mind, so this story might be BECAUSE of what happened in the first place?

This is not teaching our children good things, not this reaction

Just like no one is permitted to scream “BOMB” in an airport (even as a joke), students should not be permitted to make school shooting threats in their assignments.

I am a student, and if anyone makes a threat like that at my school, I hope administrators take it seriously, instead of just waiting around to see how it plays out like the administrators at Columbine and V-Tech did.

I really don't understand why everyone is blaming this poor teacher. She didn't call the police; she called her boss which is exactly what she should have done in the situation. Perhaps the only thing she should have done is specify that students' writing should be school-appropriate. Also, if you read the text of the essay, the student simply did not like the teacher and he wanted to cause problems. Unfortunately, the worst way to handle it is to write about violence, "having sex with bodies," and school shootings. Now he's getting exactly what he wanted with everyone blaming the teacher and calling for her head. Give her a break, and punish the kid somehow.

This is pretty dumb. If he's an "A" student, that means he's been working hard, living up to and exceeding the expectations the school sets. Therefore, even if the essay disturbed the teacher, Allen should have gotten some consideration based on his past record, and they should have responded to it in a different way than arresting him. The teacher comes off as naive in all this. Considering that such things as school shootings have happened (not to mention every day violent crime, war, etc.), and students hear the news like anyone, how can you say "don't censor yourself" and then be shocked when they turn in something shocking? It's the teacher's job to establish beforehand for the students what makes a paper acceptable.

I'm finding this situation a tough one to swallow. Had this been a regular essay, I might have understood the uproar. If someone is specifically instructed by authority to "not censor" and "write anything," why should anyone be shocked.

I had thoughts and writings that were by far more graphic at Mr. Lee's age. I can speak from experience that many of my contemporaries did as well.

However, thougths and words are not actions. Moreover, when delivered in the proper context, it is even more disturbing to consider the actions taken against Mr. Lee. Disorderly conduct changes for precicely following the instructions of an authority figure.

What does this say to our youth? What does this say to all of us.

It would seem to me that what Mr. Lee wrote, as an Asian man and in the wake of Virginia Tech, is very logical. Why would those issues not be first and formost on his mind?

I fear the days that seem to be coming--days when we not only can not express ourselves, but are jailed for following the prescribed laws and instructions given to us.

I just finished reading A Clockwork Orange. I was greatly alarmed and disturbed by the violent imagery. Can I have Anthony Burgess arrested for Disorderly Conduct?

No, he should not have been punished. I read the teacher's instructions, and it clearly stated that they should write whatever comes to mind, without sensoring themselves. The goal of the assignment was freewriting, not writing whatever you decide to censor in your mind.

If one went through a week of school and arrested every kid who made a threatening or hateful comment you would have a lot of average kids in custody. Even if you only gathered up the kids who uttered death threats or used a combination of the word 'hate' and some profanity.

It was not smart to make such comments on paper or a week after a major school shooting. But if such feelings are more than just words it is important that they are expressed in such a way that they may be identified and dealt with in a constructive manner.

One of the main reasons this event is such a big deal is because Virginia Tech is fresh in the public's mind. One school shooting out of the approx. 301 million people in the United States is bound to happen. Either crack down on every incidence where a teenager had shared unsociable thoughts or move on with one's life and only look out for extraordinary cases where the person has a trail of violent suggestion.

No human can claim they have never had a violent dream, thought, or wish.

He shouldn't have been punished. Writing something creative and fictional doesn't automatically mean you are mentally "defective", nor does it mean you have the goals to kill people or commit necrophilia. There is a difference between free speech and foreshadowing a school shooting. If anything, he could've been called to the office and talked to, then they maybe could have looked at his records. If he didn't display any signs or hints of illness or violence, why imprison him?

He hasn't done anything illegal but write a paper. These administrators should feel ashamed. And like another person said, this will probably backfire, and create more violence, because of the lack of spread feelings.

This is a sad day for America and the 1st amendment.

I can't figure out whether the kid's writing is demented, abnormal or threatening in nature or simply reflects the graphic violence to which our kids are constantly exposed via video games, movies and books that are marketed to them relentlessly.

The kid at least should have gotten a talk with a counselor or a teacher perhaps in the presence of his parents. The most severe first reaction should have been a private consultation with a psychologist to determine whether the kid's writing is a prank, a telling indicator of his future course of action or simply a product of what the kid's teacher had asked him to do in the first place, especially given that the teacher said it was very likely that no one, yes, no one would read the story and that the writing should not be censored or edited.

What the DA, the police and the school did was, at best, gross overreaction and, at worst, ignorance further fueled by overt racism. Frankly, I think it is somewhere in between.

"Land of the free? Whoever told you that was your enemy!"

-Rage Against The Machine

So, now we arrest people for free expression? Ah well, these days the Bill of Rights may as well be written on toilet paper anyhow! As Jack Cafferty said, "it's getting more and more like North Korea around here every day."

Council the kid, make sure he isn't dangerous, that'd be only prudent. But arrested for writing fiction? Not in MY America!

"Because of pending criminal charges stemming from his essay, Lee's recruiter told him Friday evening that the Marine Corps has discharged him from his contract, said Sgt. Luis R. Agostini, spokesman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Chicago."

Lee is not a Strait-A student for nothing. He found a way out of his contract with the Marine Corps and avoided being sent to Iraq after he graduates. Lee can survive this controversy much easier than he can survive an IED.

My hat is off to you, Lee. You're absolutely brilliant.

Nora Capron is a bad teacher. If she was unprepared for uncensored, free writing she shouldn't have assigned it. The fact that Lee pointed out her inefficiencies and her manipulative ploys to gain likeability with her students in his essay only proves the fact. Now, she can be proud she also is the cause of his being put in a different school and dismissed by the Marines. If anyone should be arrested and prosecuted it is her, for being a failure as a teacher and a human being.

Insensative, stupid, etc. take your choice. Tolerance of the unchecked thoughts such as he wrote leads to events like the virginia Tech slayings. If nothing is done like at virginia Tech how do those people who need help (but don't realize it) get the help they need? Isn't it better to react and get them help or to understand if it's needed than not to react and have more shootings? Lee wasn't hurt. Maybe embarrised but more understanding I believe when it comes to understanding others feelings. Which is a good thing.

Disorderly Conduct-most likely he sat at a desk ,and wrote on a piece of paper,or typed on a computer keyboard.What's disorderly about that? And what do th eauthorities involved think they'll accomplish?

WAKE UP !!!
1. Read the assignement. He did as instructed.
2. Why would he write something like this?
a. 24-hour a day news coverage of VT shootings played and replayed...
b. Horror/slasher movies directed towards teens & young adults are filled with outrageous violence
c. Is there any media outlet (radio, TV, print) in the USA that does not contain sex &/or sexual innuendo?
3. So, when asked to write whatever comes to mind... why is anyone surprised with the outcome.
4. Did he show poor judgment in "not self censoring" in spite of his writing assignment? Sure. If you are going to arrest & jail teenagers for poor judgement then there aren't going to many left arounf to go to school. In fact, if we're going to jail people for poor judgement let's start with the White House and the Congress.
5. Apologize to the kid and send the teacher, principal, police officers and the district attorney back to school, because they obviously missed something. Yes, the kid will probably need counseling, because of "trust issues" and "a persecution complex".

Arresting this young man, as he is and in some states an adult, is absolutely unjust in the injustice society that we live in here in America. It only happens in America! A young man headed to the Marines, to fight and protect all of us here, but not no more over some creative writing assignment that clearly states to write freely about what you wish. This definately was a plot for the teacher, who maybe after seeing the V-Tech incident as a potential threat in the school he/she teaches to weed out anything that resembles the lunitic that went on the shooting rampage in Virginia.
Today, the world is so blind, as to what really is going on in the hands of the law enforcement (the beatings of citizens (Chicago Cop that beat the bartender), the Justice System (the ridiculous accusations of rape and a Prosecutor looking to put a feather in his hat in getting a deal from three young men (Duke Case) only to find out the alledged victim was full of deceitful lies - but we wont charge her (is that because she is a woman). I am a woman, so it is nothing against women, just a wake-up/hello, to teachers having sex with their students and if their pretty teachers, gee they get better treatment than if a man had done something of the same (Debra Lafaye), it appears our own government, whom are citizens as ourselves have based their decisions on their own beliefs and not the law - they make up their own laws. What about all those that continued on with the bomb threats at many schools after the V-Tech shooting, how come they are not brought forth or placed on the Web, in the Media or other or any other problem which has not surfaced to the mass media that we never hear about. This is perfectly a case of; "Lets make an example out of Him." Leave the race issue out of it. Parental Responsibility....thats a joke (whomever wrote that post), the government took that away from the parents. There are a lot of kinds, young people today, that think the world owes them everything, call it a sense of entitlement and it is those very kids that have been taught; "if your parents touch you let us know it is child abuse." I grew up in the 60's -80's and when I did something wrong, I got the belt, lost privledges, shoot my parents even would use a wheeping willow branch on my buttocks - I guarantee you I was not doing what got me in trouble again. Did the way my parents discipline me ruin me, no - did I have missed feelings, yes I did, but why hold a grudge. I get along very well with my parents and they did the best they knew how with out a manual. Parents have no rights anymore!
From a motherly perspective, this young man has some issues going on, but to seek treatment of some sort for him, would be a better option or decision for all parties involved. To jump the gun and arrest him and then plastered him over mass media is pathetic. A Psychiatrist or Psychologist would of been a more appropriate and responsible act on behalf of the school staff. The teacher whom set out the plot to exploit, needs their own mental help from fear or maybe needs to find another career to eliminate what ever demons/fears he or she may be having under the "what if" scenerio. My prays go out to the family of this young man, it will be a long road, and very draining. Remember once in the system it next to impossible to get out and the Justice system loves putting the young youth there. I am parent of experience that resembles the Duke case, and after 4 years still fighting for the rights of a a young man who is labeled a preditor by a Prosecutor who resembles the workings of Nifong! Now wonder why the youth today is out of control or have rages of anger! I am also a parent of a child with special needs that had to fight the school every day to get what my child deserved and was entitled to - a school that would rather push a child through the system v. educate or assist them. Schools today are nothing more then a system of political nonsense.

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