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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Student Arrested for Writing an Essay

So it goes.

After Virgina Tech, there was a disturbing and all-too-familiar trend: talk-show hosts and radio callers and newspaper editorials spoke about early detection. They spoke of extra protections and new standards. They treated bad plays and disturbing creative writing as, somehow, evidence of a person capable of the worst crimes. That is a trend that is far more disturbing than a teenage boy writing about shooting stuff.

We have not heard any real talk of an uptick in the gun control laws. We should. But we won't. (For an excellent essay about this, try this one.)

I don't tend to comment on things like this. Especially not publically. I'm not connected to anyone at Virginia Tech, and I'm not qualified or connected enough to claim some expertise on campus security, gun laws and violence.

I will say, though, that we will never, ever be able to prevent violent crime by treating creative writing, no matter how "disturbing" as dangerous. A free society is not a society that places safety above freedom. It can't be. If you want to be entirely safe from harm, you are welcome to enter solitary confinement.


Ian G said...

Sheesh. You'd think, in a school environment, someone with authority could have a reaction other than "OMG! Another crazy Asian shooter kid! Get 'im!"

Sadly, but typically, the VA Tech atrocity has produced another round of profiling and paranoia, instead of any sort of attempt to think about real issues. Like gun control and mental health care, for starters.

Jamespeak said...

It's sad that the media gets into a ravenous frenzy over events like this, but that's what happens when you've got competitive 24-hour news sources (once you've covered the who's, what's, where's and when's, you still need to fill the airwaves with something).

The sad truth is that things like this (this shooting, the one at Columbine), as tragic as it was (is), is the result of a crazy person. It doesn't happen often and it's awful when it does, but it does happen (i.e., a genuinely insane person flips out) and there really isn't much that can be done about it (although thankfully in the minority, there will always be Very Crazy People, and there will always be a time when one Very Crazy Person flips out [or Flips Out, in Title Case]).

I have a tough time stomaching the "How Did This Happen?" debates, especially when all they really come up with is "analysis" of the movies the Crazy Person watched or the music the Crazy Person listened to.

Alison Croggon said...

I suppose the sickening factor is that a bomb goes off in a Baghdad universty, killing 60 people, mainly young women, and it barely rates a paragraph. If there were photos, presidential regrets, nation-wide mourning etc about that incident, things might be a little different. But it's much easier to avoid the actual violence of the culture and to blame artists.

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