L. Neil Smith's
Number 311, March 20, 2005

"This is your government, people."

Stephen King is a Felon
by Francis A Ney, Jr.

Exclusive to TLE

I wonder what would happen if Stephen King decided to have a book-signing in Lexington, Kentucky this weekend?

If the events of two weeks ago are any indication, he would be arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted and thrown in jail, charged with felonious possession of terrorist material. That's what happened to 18 year old William Poole, a high-school junior. Apparently, the Kentucky legislature has made it a crime to write or possess any material involving "violence directed at a public institution" which makes the works of Stephen King, Tom Clancy (among others) and even the Bible, illegal.

Leaving aside the horrendous detail that this kid was turned in to the authorities by his own grandparents, this law and the enforcement of it has got to be one of the most egregious examples of zero-tolerance/zero-thought and crimethink to date. Quintupling the bail only serves notice that the prosecuting authorities, as well as the judge, haven't seen the First Amendment since law school and were likely out sick when the subject was covered. Nor was it covered in whatever POST curriculum the arresting officers received, if any.

Color me shocked, but not surprised. In an environment where a student can be expelled for drawing a picture of a family member in military uniform holding a (gasp) gun, a first-grader can be expelled as a drug pusher for gathering up weeds and dirt, and a citizen can be placed on the no-fly list merely for telling the feds parading down Main Street they're buck-ass naked, sending in the Gestapo to arrest someone writing generic horror fiction is the next logical step in enforcing tyranny and suppressing freedom of expression. You don't even have to be in school anymore, as Minitruth—oops, I mean Homeland Security—has successfully recruited your own family to turn you in for writing bad fiction. And if you don't have fame, money, and a bunch of lawyers ready to fight for your rights, you'll end up in jail with a felony record that makes you a second class citizen forever: No ballot, no firearms, and no college scholarships.

Heck, most public school students don't even know what Minitruth was, as the seminal works of George Orwell are not only not taught, but have been removed from the school libraries as subversive literature. Students even tell pollsters that the First Amendment goes too far and that journalists should be licensed and inspected by the government. Do civics classes even exist in the kiddie indoctrination camps these days?

But the most disturbing thing I have seen in relationship to this case are the things I have not seen. There has been no outcry from the sources I would otherwise expect to be all over this like ugly on a gorilla. Nothing from the ACLU, nothing from FIRE, nothing from IJ, not a word from even the Libertarian Party. Maybe it's because the police now claim that William Poole was planning to start a "nationwide gang" and are using his notes and stories to prove it. Sounds like the vilification of the Branch Davidians during the 51 days prior to the witch burning, but on a smaller scale.

Does Stephen King even have the stones to go to Lexington and dare the cops to arrest him? Does he even care enough to show a modicum of support to a fellow author who doesn't enjoy the protections he receives? Or is he going to do the smart and safe thing and stay out of Kentucky?


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