Of course there’s more to the story

It happens all the time. Authorities take some action which is clearly out of proportion to whatever has allegedly happened. Other people report on the incident, generating a lot of negative publicity. In response to the calls from the public, the authorities explain that there is more to the story. Those authorities then tell us that there is more “information” they neglected to mention before, and they spout of a story that sounds like a six-year-old’s excuse for why they didn’t break that lamp whose broken pieces they are standing over. Other people then repeat the excuses from the authorities as if said excuses were independently verified facts. Those of us who raised concerns about the original action are told to let it go, because “there’s more to the story.

Of course there’s more to the story. There always is. But like all things in life 95% of the “more” is either pure b.s. or irrelevant…

This is currently happening in Maryland. Last week, police announced to the public that a teacher had been arrested “because school authorities has learned he had several aliases,” and that under those aliases the teacher had written two books about a school shooting. The school board had placed him on leave, police had taken him in “for emergency evaluation.”

Now the two books were science fiction novels set eight hundred years in the future. And the so-called aliases? The teacher published those novels under a pseudonym.

A pseudonym for publishing purposes does not constitute an alias. But these people don’t know that.

Last week the local police were practically boasting to places like CBS News of how they had stopped a horrible terrorist plot. They talked about searching the school to make sure that he had hid no weapons or explosives there. None were found. They searched his home for weapons and explosives. None were found. But, he wrote these two books, see! Oh, and they had found “materials related to the school shootings some years ago at Columbine.”

And then all the phone calls and emails started coming in. Then, they started issuing clarifications. The teacher hasn’t been “imprisoned,” they tell us. He certainly hasn’t been arrested. He’s being held, in a medical facility, for evaluation. Held against his will, and he was taken there by police, and the police had a lot of fun telling CBS News that they had stopped this dangerous guy, but he isn’t imprisoned, no!

And they claim that they can’t tell us more because it’s a medical matter, now.

Except, of course, that many of the public aren’t buying it. So they keep telling us more. It isn’t just about the books (even though the books was all they wanted to talk about last week). They understand that writing fiction doesn’t make someone a terrorist, no. And yes, obviously the information about an old school shooting might be nothing more than research for these works of fiction. Reaseach doesn’t make someone a terrorist, either.

However, there was a letter to the school board. The letter raised concerns. When asked if the letter contained threats, they said it didn’t. But it was a four-page letter and it raised concerns.

When asked if the letter was the initial impetus for their actions, why didn’t they mention it until the entire world had come clamoring to their door and pointed out how ridiculous it was to arrest someone for writing a couple of science fiction books? They said that it was all part of a pattern that was “very concerning.”

But they refuse to produce the letter. They refuse to produce the arrested man.

And they get really irritated that people keep referring to him as arrested. He hasn’t been arrested. He was taken away for emergency evaluation. And it’s a medical matter that they can’t comment on.

And then they proceeded to mention that it is possible the teacher had an inappropriate relationship with a younger person last year. Not a student, no, parents of kids who attended the school with this teacher should not be worried about anything like that. It’s just, you know, another detail.

Which again they are only bringing up now, and which they aren’t presenting any evidence of, and which was never mentioned earlier.

I’ve been following this story only lightly, until an acquaintance who is normally a thoughtful person posted a link to some site that was regurgitating the prosecutor’s talking points without any skepticism, along with the evaluation, “looks like there’s more to the story and we shouldn’t be concerned.”

Actually, this means exactly the opposite. We should be more concerned, because the people giving us these stories that don’t pass the minimal smell test for plausibility, let alone relevancy, are piling up ever-changing and contradictory details faster and faster. That’s like the proverbial lie: once you tell the first one, as people begin to catch you out, you’re forced to keep coming up with ever more elaborate untruths to try to explain your growing pile of lies away.

It doesn’t help that the prosecutor in question has a history of this sort of thing: within the last year he was involved in a long, drawn out attempt to arrest three teen-age members of a not-famous rap group because there were guns (or props that looked like guns) in a music video they made. An attempt that went nowhere because they couldn’t even establish probable cause to believe there might have been some sort of crime committed related to the guns in the video.

Oh, and the prosecutor, who keeps telling us he’s not allowed to tell us details because they violate the medical privacy of the man they’ve “removed for medical evaluation” now says that the four-page letter was an “emotional resignation letter” from his teaching job.

Um, if he resigned, why did the school board suspend him without pay after receiving this letter?

Yes, there is more to the story. But right now all the details that we’re getting prove nothing except that this prosecutors and the police he’s working with can shovel a lot of b.s.


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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I used to publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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