I Was A Very Dangerous Boy

I know we live in a heightened state when it comes to written comments or pictures directed at anyone which could be considered a threat. I understand to ignore something is a ridiculous thing to do. We have seen far too many tragic events which could have been stopped if warning signs had not been ignored. This doesn’t mean we should lose our minds.

I stumbled across a story on CNN about an 11 year old boy who drew a picture of himself as a stick figure holding a gun and shooting stick figure teachers. It turns out the boy was instructed by his therapist that when feeling frustrated he should draw a picture to calm himself down. He was apparently frustrated with his teacher at the time. He calmed down and was in the process of throwing the note away when the teacher saw it.

He was sent to the office. Had a discussion with the principal. Mom was called and then the boy was sent back to class. Now I must admit there is a very good chance my school district would have suspended the boy for the picture. We have a zero tolerance policy. Clearly the principal didn’t think the student was an actual threat. Something apparently changed after school let out. Later that night police showed up and hauled the kid out of his house in handcuffs. He was brought to the police station, processed and stuck in an interrogation room (where the mom claims she was not allowed to see him for a long time). He is currently being charged even though he was assessed as a low risk threat by the police themselves.

I can’t help but think about when I was a kid. I had a bully who made regular use of me as a punching bag. I ran scared of that kid for a long time. Humiliation, intimidation, violence, it was a daily ritual when the boy was around. It wasn’t long before I began to seek my revenge in writing. He became my go to villain in my stories. I could probably write a how to book about all the creative ways I did him in. For me revenge was a dish best served with words.

He also wasn’t the only classmate or adult who ended up in one of my stories growing up (do to the amount of embarrassment it would likely cause me amongst my readers we will not discuss the many stories I wrote which involved Bo Derek). Anyone of those stories would likely have led to a suspension for me today, maybe more. It doesn’t change the fact that I think it probably helped me. Calmed me down, allowed me to be creative, and gave me a sense of control I didn’t really have.

Never once did the thought of actually doing anything in my stories cross my mind (okay this might be a lie, i.e. Bo Derek). Yet, I would have probably been considered a very dangerous boy in today’s world. If for no other reason than we seem to give extra power to words and pictures. We ignore thousands of other warning signs but we can nail the obvious one. I am not saying there is an easy answer but I wasn’t very dangerous. Most kids are not dangerous. We can’t ignore things when they happen but we can try not to lose our minds in the process.

Maybe they were trying to scare this boy by throwing him in jail. Maybe they think they are being vigilant by charging him. Maybe all they are really doing is wasting time and money and teaching a kid to distrust adults. I got in trouble plenty of times for things I wrote as a kid but somehow not throwing me in jail hasn’t seemed to turn me into a menace to society.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

3 Responses to “I Was A Very Dangerous Boy”

  1. >when i was in9th grade we did a short story unit and read Masque of the Red Death, the lottery, the gift of hte magi and A Rose for Emily. At the end of that week we had to write a short story. They then were shocked and startled when, based on school policy where they had to report any student writing about death or dying or violence to the counselor, they had to report 1/2 of the class. ::facepalm::

  2. >Truly the same thing happened at my school with the books we read. My stories might have gone just a tad past acceptable 😉

  3. >I read about this. I think it's really stupid. I can understand that, upon seeing that drawing, he would warrant a talking to by the school and his parents, because something was obviously bothering him (prob, hence why he also had a therapist). But jail? Is it really a crime to draw pictures like this? If I drew one right now, would I go to jail? (I'm not going to try and see..too scared.)

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