Get ’em while they are young.

The U.S. Secret Service seems to want to teach that freedom of speech is not tolerated, and the youngest pupil may be a seventh grader. Yahoo News reports that a seventh grader threatened the president in a homework essay and the child is now the subject of an investigation. The unreleased essay has been described as rambling and non-specific, but school authorities found it troubling. Daniel Burns, chairman of the West Warwick School Committee said,

“anyone that writes what’s on his mind, where he wants to do away with or kill people, it’s something you’ve got to pay attention to.”

While I understand that threatening the president is a felony, I cannot understand the inability to gauge risk. We are talking about a kid- probably an eleven year old. Surely the king’s men aren’t physically threatened by a child. Reading the article, I recalled Orwell. In 1984, children were used to inform on their parents. Mr. Burns opines,

“Someone in the 7th grade just doesn’t gather this information by themselves. I was concerned where that came from.”

Hmmm, are the parents now an item of interest? Or maybe it is the neighbor. I mean, if this is a common view, surely the feds have thought of it too.

I am more than a little concerned here. SG told us recently about that little provision in the Patriot Act which would limit free speech at any “special event of national significance.” I guess junior high is an area of national significance now, and they haven’t even passed that bullshit law yet. Many of our fellow Americans accept the death of the first amendment as a necessary casualty in our “War on Whatever” but like Stephen, I don’t. And I hope that the kid, when he is done with the shock therapy I mean counseling, has enough America left in him to speak out.

  1. hmm… “The student is undergoing counseling”, Burns said.
    And I wonder what kind of “counseling” that would be?

  2. I am going to rape and kill the president.

    ed- I really don’t want to meet the Secret Service, so let me do them the favor and make them track you down themselves:
    IP: ,

  3. I never though about the connection to the 1984 kids ratting out their rents and questioning a kid about essays because their ideas probably come from their parents…

    Good catch, and scary to say the least.