• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Maryland Teacher Arrested For Writing Story About A Shooting 900 Years In The Future

A teacher in Maryland finds himself suspended and the subject of  a police investigation because of a science fiction story he wrote that includes a shooting at a school in the 31st Century:

He’s a man with many names, and the books he has written have raised the concerns of the Dorchester County Board of Education and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.

Early last week the school board was alerted that one of its eighth grade language arts teachers at Mace’s Lane Middle School had several aliases.  Police said that under those names, he wrote two fictional books about the largest school shooting in the country’s history set in the future.  Now, Patrick McLaw is placed on leave.

Dr. K.S. Voltaer is better known by some in Dorchester County as Patrick McLaw, or even Patrick Beale.  Not only was he a teacher at Mace’s Lane Middle School in Cambridge, but according to Dorchester Sheriff James Phillips, McLaw is also the author of two books: “The Insurrectionist” and its sequel, “Lillith’s Heir.”

Those books are what caught the attention of police and school board officials in Dorchester County.  “The Insurrectionist” is about two school shootings set in the future, the largest in the country’s history.

Phillips said McLaw was taken in for an emergency medical evaluation. The sheriff would not disclose where McLaw is now, but he did say that he is not on the Eastern Shore. The same day that McLaw was taken in for an evaluation, police swept Mace’s Lane Middle School for bombs and guns, coming up empty.

Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Wagner said the Dorchester County Board of Education has taken its own action.

“We have advised our community that the gentleman has been placed on administrative leave, and has been prohibited from entering any Dorchester County public school property,” Wagner said.

The 23-year-old language arts teacher had already taught at the school for a year.  

With school starting Tuesday, some parents tell WBOC they are concerned about safety, but both Wagner and Phillips said there is nothing to worry about.

So let me get this straight. A guy who happens to be teaching reading and writing among other things writes a a book about something that happens 900 years from now, so he gets picked up and taken in for mental evaluation while both his home and the school he works at are subjected to police searches. And now police will be present on the first day of school. Because of what exactly?

I’m all for being pro-active when it comes to people who might be threats, but this is insane.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    Maybe we can get George Lucas arrested there too, in his stories they blow up whole planets, has to have schools on them.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  2. Not to mention what happened at the Jedi Temple in ROTS

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  3. Ben says:

    I’m not even so sure that he’s been technically arrested. From the few press reports I’ve been able to read, it seems he’s been involuntarily committed, which is even worse, especially since it seems that they are concealing his location, and we don’t even know if he has been granted access to an attorney.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  4. Fair point, but in some sense what happened to him falls into the definition of an “arrest” since it was clearly not free to leave.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    If there’s absolutely nothing more to this than what’s been reported, then the implications of this story are terrifying for anyone who teaches writing and publishes crime fiction or non-fiction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  6. Franklin says:

    As you usually warn, Doug, there may be more to the story here. On the face of it, I agree it sounds silly. But all this mysterious ‘not on the Eastern seaboard’ and ‘committed to a mental institution’ suggests to me that multiple people are taking something very serious. I’m not sure that ‘something’ is just a simple fictional story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  7. Ben says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Of course he’s not free to leave, I’m not arguing that point. Involuntary commitment is much more odious than simply being arrested. Being arrested confers upon you a large panoply of well-established rights. Involuntary commitment is a legal gray area where you can be basically disappeared for a period of time, with no rights whatsoever.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  8. beth says:

    @Franklin: I’m definitely in the “there’s way more to this story than being reported” camp. I think there may be issues of medical privacy that are keeping all the details from being released. I’m sure students and parents will start posting on Facebook and newspaper article comment sections and we’ll find out the whole story by and by.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    A guy who happens to be teaching reading and writing among other things writes a a book about something that happens 900 years from now, so he gets picked up and taken in for mental evaluation while both his home and the school he works at are subjected to police searches.

    Worse than that — the book’s publication date is 2011, so it’s not “writes a book”, it’s “wrote a book at least three and possibly more years ago”….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Not to mention what happened at the Jedi Temple in ROTS

    Even the younglings?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. Rafer Janders says:

    I’m all for being pro-active when it comes to people who might be threats,

    I’m not, since anyone “might” be a threat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  12. Gustopher says:

    I wish I had more faith in police and fell into the “there’s more to this than they are saying” camp, but “gross police overreach” seems so much more plausible these days.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  13. Mikey says:

    @Ben:

    Involuntary commitment is a legal gray area where you can be basically disappeared for a period of time, with no rights whatsoever.

    I’m wondering what you’re basing this on, because I’ve attended several dozen involuntary commitment court proceedings and the patients always had a lawyer and a psychiatrist, state-provided if necessary. Their rights seemed well-defined and protected to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Gustopher says:

    @Franklin: He is “not on the Eastern Shore”, not “not on the eastern seaboard”.

    The Eastern Shore is just what that area is called, so he was moved from a small town hospital to somewhere larger. Not shipped off to a mysterious CIA interrogation chamber somewhere, or whatever “not on the eastern seaboard” conjures up.

    And another fun fact: the author is black. No idea this is relevant, but if we are going to be speculating on the motives of people, why not start with the police? The racist police. The racist police who acted badly when a man got belligerent when police searched his home for weapons and bombs because of a book he wrote several years ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  15. michael reynolds says:

    Why? Because of guns, duh. This is the inevitable result of institutions trying to adapt to a gun-saturated culture.

    You know, the gun nuts keep saying we need to pay more attention to “warning signs” of mental issues rather than their guns. Well, this is what that looks like.

    Now that it’s more concrete, maybe more people will be able to see what is obvious, which is that no, we can’t simply increase our vigilance re: crazy people, because to do so demands a paranoid and intrusive Big Brother society that will regularly tar normal folks. All so that heedless, reckless morons can play with guns.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

  16. CSK says:

    McLaw passed a background check before he was hired for this job. He was also up for a teaching award last year. Nothing in the way of weaponry was found in his home after a police search. Thus far, no one has reported that he made any threats, or talked about shooting up the school, or spoke or behaved in any way that suggested he might be planning a massacre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    And another fun fact: the author is black.

    Also, it is very rare for a black person to engage in mass murder. The one exception I can think of is the DC sniper***. I think every profile the FBI comes up with starts with, “The perpetrator is white….”

    *** If anyone can think of others, please chime in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  18. James says:

    Interesting how he has many names and aliases like it is something sinister when nom de plumes are rather normal in the writing industry

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @James:
    Indeed. I’ve got 13.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. Mikey says:

    Here’s some additional information. Apparently this had nothing whatsoever to do with the books.

    Mental health issues, not books, led to teacher’s suspension

    Reports circulated this weekend that a middle school teacher in Dorchester County, Md., had been placed on administrative leave over his two futuristic novels about school violence. That is not that case, authorities tell the L.A. Times.

    “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.”

    He’s also got a lawyer who is aware of the situation.

    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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. Anonne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    The Navy Yard shooter a couple of years ago. Also, the Atlanta child killings from the 80s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    If anyone can think of others, please chime in.

    Idi Amin, Mobuto Sese Seko, Jonas Savimbi, and Robert Mugabe, but…yeah, those are a bit off-point as to what you’re really asking….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  23. Chmee says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The difference is that if they put you in the mental facility they can hold as long as they like, i.e. indefinite detention.

    Careful what you think and dream; eventually they’ll be able to monitor that too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Tyrell says:

    Maybe the guy actually came from the future to somehow prevent these shootings? Does that make sense or is it some sort of time paradox deal?
    “Deja Vu” : a good movie about the time travel paradox, just do not think too hard as you watch it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Anonne:

    The Navy Yard shooter a couple of years ago.

    I did not know he was black.

    Also, the Atlanta child killings from the 80s.

    Oh yeah, Wayne something or other wasn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. Anonne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Wayne Williams, yes, was the one in Atlanta. The Navy Yard shooter was mentally unstable, Aaron Alexis. Williams, he’s just evil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Franklin says:

    @Gustopher:

    He is “not on the Eastern Shore”, not “not on the eastern seaboard”.

    Oops, good point. You can see how my mind translated something I didn’t recognize. Badly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Welcome to our Police State, managed by boy-men in camouflage ready to deploy military weaponry to deal with any private citizen who so much as steps on one blade of grass. We don’t even do the Papers, Please. BLAMMO! “They were comin right for us!”

    These “law enforcement” zealots need to be sued out of existence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. JKB says:

    @Mikey:

    I was wondering how a 3 yr old book could justify “emergency medical care” but a commenter elsewhere admitted after being outraged, a bit more research indicated the actions were prompted by a 4 page letter that authorities were characterizing as a “departure letter”. However, the LA Times had latched on to the novels as their hook.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Mikey says:

    @JKB: The whole initial story just stunk to me. Thrown in jail for a book that came out in 2012? There had to be more.

    And it turns out there is, and the initial story was pretty much sensationalized B. S. loosely based on what actually happened.

    I don’t know what’s worse–the media outlets playing up the nonsense, or people sucking it up because it fit their preconceptions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Eric Florack says:

    @Gustopher: actually, gross *government* over-reach.
    I doubt seriously that the police would act on anything that happened years ago, without a body, or some influence from above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0