More on the teacher who wrote futuristic novels about school shootings, and was taken for mental health check

September 3, 2014

Over the weekend, several readers e-mailed me about this story, which has gotten a lot of online coverage; today, though, the Los Angeles Times reports that the investigation was triggered by something other than the books:

“It didn’t start with the books and it didn’t end with the books,” State’s Attorney for Wicomico County Matt Maciarello told The Times. “It’s not even a factor in what law enforcement is doing now.” …

Concerns about McLaw were raised after he sent a four-page letter to officials in Dorchester County. Those concerns brought together authorities from multiple jurisdictions, including health authorities.

McLaw’s attorney, David Moore, tells The Times that his client was taken in for a mental health evaluation. “He is receiving treatment,” Moore said….

McLaw’s letter was of primary concern to health-care officials, Maciarello says. It, combined with complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime from various jurisdictions led to his suspension.

It’s of course still possible that local authorities overreacted — it’s hard to tell for sure from such limited information — but at this point I’m skeptical that this really is a case of a writer being persecuted for his futuristic novels.

More from Ken White (PopeHat) and Robby Soave (Reason Hit & Run)

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.
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Eugene Volokh · September 2, 2014