Full Text Of Allen Lee Essay Plus Analysis

Full Text Of Allen Lee Essay Plus Analysis

The name of Allen Lee surfaced in an article in THE TELEGRAPH posted on Friday April 27th 2007. The article was by Daniel Yee, an Associated Press writer. It was headlined COURT HEARS CASE OF STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR "DISTURBING" STORY and was online on the www.macon.com site.

The article was about a high school girl who was suspended for ten days back in 2003 for writing a story in which her math teacher gets shot. She was in court to try to get the suspension expunged from her record on the grounds that her First Amendment right to free speech had been violated. The three judges on the panel of the federal appeals court which was hearing her case reserved their judgment, which they would probably not deliver for some weeks.

The article wraps up with news of the kid arrested in Illinois, Allen Lee, aged 18, saying this:

" [Lee] was arrested this week after writing that "it would be funny" to dream about opening fire in a building and having sex with the dead victims, authorities said.

"Another passage in the essay advised his teacher at Cary-Grove High School: "don't be surprised on inspiring the first CG shooting," according to a criminal complaint filed this week."

Be careful what you imagine dreaming about seems to be the message here.

I found further news of Lee's case on the site www.belleville.com. It seems his Marine Corps career, the dream job for which he just recently signed enlistment papers, has been trashed by his legal entanglements.

The Marine Corps has discharged him from his contract. Don't want him any more. That dream you had, kid? It's over.

He's been charged, now, with two counts of disorderly conduct, which I don't understand because, after all, he only wrote the one piece of creative writing.

The www.belleville.com article is by Megan Reichgott, an
Associated Press writer, and includes the following:

""The charges are a product of paranoia, born in the aftermath of the massacre of 32 students at Virginia Tech by a social outcast who then killed himself, said one of Lee's attorneys, Thomas Loizzo.

"" "Once the dust settles, once they look at this through clearer glasses, we think that the state will do the right thing and dismiss the charges," Loizzo said.""

If so, then Lee will reenlist with the Marine Corps.

If not, well, it's not exactly going to be a plus for the future of creative writing in the United States of America.

Meantime, the Daily Herald, online at www.dailyherald.com, reports that one of Lee's lawyers has released the text of the essay for "context."

The site provides a version of the essay, but it's an expurgated version, "with language not normally allowed in the Daily Herald removed and noted."

Reminds me of Dick Nixon's tapes, the ones which surfaced after Watergate, the transcripts of which were always peppered with "expletive deleted."

The full text of Lee's essay is provided on this page in the form made available by the Daily Herald. Now that the actual essay is available for the public to read, we can ask the question of whether it was reasonable for the teacher to denounce the student.

By denouncing the student, the teacher may have ruined the student's life. So what was there in the essay which justified the denunciation?

On objective analysis, the essay does not fall into the realms of the scary. It is not the obsessed text of a psycho who is locked into a slaughterhouse vision. Rather, it is a text in which, in places, a teenage kid amuses himself by free-associating in a mode of naughtiness.

Lee is, not to point too fine a point on it, acting out, evidently in response to the face that he doesn't like the fact that curriculum requirements force him to participate in the creative writing course, which he sees as being irrelevant to his Marine Corps future.

If you're teaching high school, and if you encounter a kid who is acting out, then my view is that you should be able to handle the situation in a level-headed fashion. If you're the kind of person who has a hysterical reaction to some kid being a bit naughty, then you're not fit to be a high school teacher. You should quit teaching high school and go do some job where you won't actively harm the people who you are responsible for. Be a mail carrier, that'd be a job which would keep you out of mischief.

Thinking back to my own high school days, I remember an incident in which one of our teachers had a situation in which a kid was, very plainly, seeking to embarrass the teacher. And the teacher handled it in a mature fashion, as I will now describe.

In those days, in the rural community in New Zealand where I went to high school, the teachers used to make extra money by driving the school bus. One day, the driver was our science teacher, whose name I remember (accurately, I hope) as being Kit Singleton.

As he was driving alone, one of the teenage boys on the bus asked him, within the hearing of a bunch of the rest of us, whether it would be possible for him, the boy, to have breasts like a girl.

I think that was the question, though, as it was asked and answered over thirty years ago, I couldn't swear to the exact wording of either question or answer, not in a court of law.

But, certainly, the question was about transformation: can a boy become, in whole or part, a girl?

I surface this memory because it is a memory of an occasion on which a student did something provocative and the teacher handled it gracefully. Kit Singleton responded to the kid by answering the question in a good-natured factual manner, and began going into the details of how such a transformation could be managed.

Pretty soon, the kid was plainly embarrassed, and evidently regretted having asked the question.

When you're a teacher and a kid acts you, you have a choice as to how you handle it. To my way of thinking, the full text that Lee has transcribed from his notebook does not indicate that he's a maniac killer.

Lee, very reasonably, wants to have his essay read as a whole, and does not want it to be distorted by having quotes from it yanked out of context.

Respecting his wishes, I deliver the full text below. But right now I want to focus on the part where Lee talks about a teacher who is, presumably, the one who read the essay and then denounced him.

"Most new/young teachers are laid back, and cooperative with students as feedback and input into the curriculum and atmosphere. My current English teacher is a control freak intent on setting a gap between herself and her students like a 63 year old white male fortune 500 company CEO, and a illegal immigrant. If CG was a private catholic school, I could understand, but wtf is her problem. And baking brownies and rice crispies does not make up for it, way to try and justify yourself as a good teacher while underhandidly looking for complements on your cooking. No quarrel on you qualifications as a writer, but as a teacher, don't be surprised on inspiring the first cg shooting."

There's a serious point here, which is that good teachers encourage their students by cultivating intrinsic motivation, getting the students to see that there are payoffs in the course of study itself. As a science teacher, back in my high school days, Kit singleton successfully did this in the science lab.

Good teachers do not try to manage a class by providing extrinsic motivation in the form of, for example, home baked cookies.

As I write this, the teacher is currently hiding out, masked by anonymity. But if the case goes to court then, presumably, the teacher will have to take the stand. And, if was Lee's lawyer, then I would ask this question:

"Are you a control freak, as Lee's essay puts it? And is having the student talk back to you what really upsets you about this essay?"

That's the question I'd ask.

Now, was Lee acting out and being deliberately provocative in his expletive-splattered venture into the realms of free association? Yes, he was, but the mature course of action for the teacher would be to just ignore the adolescent provocation, and critique the essay deadpan.

As an instructor, I would have just contented myself by noting that an essay should be divided into paragraphs for ease of reading. Then, if I wanted to, I could have followed through by commenting on issues of style, punctuation and spelling.

I would certainly not have let the essay get to me at a personal level.

But what I believe has happened is that Lee's teacher is in fact the "control freak" depicted by the essay. Lee has nailed the teacher. He has gotten under the teacher's skin.

If I was Lee's lawyer, and had the teacher on the stand, I'd ask this question:

"Did you denounce Lee because you thought he was a serious risk to you personally or to the community? Or did you denounce Lee because he accurately nailed you as a control freak, and that got under your skin?"

I think that would be a valid question, one I'd be interesting in hearing in court.

The situation described is one in which the teacher seems to be stumbling badly. If you're trying to motivate your students by giving them extrinsic rewards, such as the products of your own kitchen, then you're on the wrong track, and you don't really know how to do your job.

My take is that Lee got into trouble because his essay accurately nails his teacher. That his teacher is the "control freak" depicted in the essay. That Lee has gotten into trouble not by surfacing disturbing murder-related imagery but by exercising his First Amendment right to free speech and criticising the school curriculum, the management of the school and the teaching of the course which he has been coerced into participating in.

Lee is not a psycho nut who needs to be sent to a psychiatric institution. He's just an adolescent kid who has some growing up to do, which I don't think is a crime in itself. And an excellent place for him to do that growing up would be the Marine Corps, which is where he wants to go. As for his high school, my take on Lee's essay is that he's outgrown his high school. It's time for him to move on.

And his teacher, I think, should move on too, to a different job.

Looking now at Lee's essay as a whole, I'm going to choose an appropriate title for it.

When I was studying Japanese, we would sometimes be given a text in Japanese and, as a reading comprehension task, be asked to come up with an appropriate title. I've done this task with respect to Lee's essay, and the title that I have arrived at is not MY CARNAGE GROUND FANTASIES but, rather, MY PROBLEMS WITH THIS SCHOOL: CURRICULUM DESIGN, SCHOOL MANAGEMENT AND TEACHING.

I believe that, in this essay, the preoccupation which dominates Lee's mind is not his relationship to the world of slaughterhouse fantasies but, rather, his relationship to his school curriculum and his teacher.

I believe that Lee's First Amendment rights have been violated, that his right to free speech has been disrespected, and that the catastrophic consequences that have been inflicted upon him are out of all proportion to what he has actually done wrong. What he has actually done wrong is no more than to act out in a provocative adolescent fashion. And, as I've indicated above, if you're a high school teacher then you should be able to handle provocative adolescents. If you can't, you're not suitable for that job.

Because my text ends at this point, I have not inserted any quote marks in the text which is appended, the text consisting of the text which Lee transcribed from his notebook on his lawyer's instructions, and the explanatory notes which Lee, as the author, has provided.

Okay, I'm done, so here's Allen Lee, speaking to the world in his own voice:

Blood sex and Booze. Drugs Drugs Drugs are fun. Stab, Stab, Stab, S…t…a…b…, poke. "So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P90s and started shooting everyone…, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did." Umm, yeah, what to wright about…… I'm leaving to join the Marines and I really don't give a [expletive] about my academics, so why does the only class that's complete [expletive], happen to be the only required class…enough said. The model citizen would stay around to vote in new board member to change the 4 years of English policy, but no one really stays around to vote for that kind of local crap, so whoever gets there name on the Ballet with a pretty face gets to do what the [expletive] ever they want with local ordinance. A person is smart, but people are dumb selfish animals. We can't make rules for ourselves so we vote others to do it for us, but we can't even do that right, I meen seriously, Bush for President? And our other option was John Kerry who claimed to parktake in Vietnam Special Forces missions that haven't been declassified…. [expletive]. So Power Flower Super Mario. Pudge, hook, rot, dismember "Fresh Meat." Most new/young teachers are laid back, and cooperative with students as feedback and input into the curriculum and atmosphere. My current English teacher is a control freak intent on setting a gap between herself and her students like a 63 year old white male fortune 500 company CEO, and a illegal immigrant. If CG was a private catholic school, I could understand, but wtf is her problem. And baking brownies and rice crispies does not make up for it, way to try and justify yourself as a good teacher while underhandidly looking for complements on your cooking. No quarrel on you qualifications as a writer, but as a teacher, don't be surprised on inspiring the first cg shooting.

Author's Note:

This production of the writing is done in the most accurate manner I can depict of the original writing.

Grammar and spelling mistakes are included at the best accuracy possible.

The first phrase in questions is in fact a Green Day song. The second reference to drugs is in relation to the schools history of drug problems.

I am personally clean of all controlled substances. The statement in quotes is done so as a non personal statement as I would have done in reference to a character for a story.

The reference to the gun P90 is from a video game, combined with a reference to necrophilia as a comment regarding a seriously messed up situation. A situation such as the rape of villagers during a raid by U.S. troops in Vietnam.

I really do not care too much about by continuing academia as in relation to grades. I do however believe on continuing my personal education, and I am actually still working for my classes.

My views on the graduation requirements explain themselves.

The reference to Mario and Pudge (a DOTA character) are completely random as is this essay.

The reference to a person being smart and people being dumb is based on a quote from "Men in Black."

I generally do believe the public opinion is best.

The rest of the essay is rather self explanatory, the main statement in question I have already released a comment online about.

I request that all information I have released is read together, and nothing is given separately or as an excerpt as the administration has seen fit to do.

On an additional note, I have completed the MEPS (Military Entry Processing Station) examinations, and yes a psychiatric evaluation is included in the process. If I'm qualified to defend the country, I believe I'm qualified to attend school.


Threat To Freedom Of Speech In The United States

Threat To Freedom Of Speech In The United States

This hot off the press from the Chicago Tribune: student writes an essay, teacher doesn't like it, cops arrest student for disorderly conduct.

The story is by Tribune staff reporters Jeff Long and Carolyn Starks and was published on April 26, 2007.

It starts like this:

"Told to express emotion for a creative-writing class, high school senior Allen Lee penned an essay so disturbing to his teacher, school administrators and police that he was charged with disorderly conduct, officials said Wednesday.

"Lee, 18, a straight-A student at Cary-Grove High School, was arrested Tuesday near his home and charged with the misdemeanor for an essay police described as violently disturbing but not directed toward any specific person or location."

A photo of Lee accompanies the article and it's obvious that his features are Asian features.

Apparently if your unpublished writings can disturb someone, like your teacher, then you can be hit with a disorderly conduct charge, and you can get slammed into jail for thirty days and fined $1,500.

The kid's dad, Albert Lee, says:

"I understand what happened recently at Virginia Tech."

But adds:

"I don't see how somebody can get charged by writing in their homework. The teacher asked them to express themselves, and he followed instructions."

Welcome to the fascist state, that's what I say.

On a more temperate note, to my mind what has happened raises a serious issue concerning the teacher-student relationship. I've been teaching English in Japan for the better part of the last ten years, and I've taught everything from elementary school classes to classes at university level.

What has come through to me, very clearly, from this experience, is that the teacher-student relationship is a power relationship. And if the student won't accept the subordinate role, then the student won't make progress.

My view of the incident outlined above is that the student did accept the subordinate role. The teacher said "Jump!" And indicated how high he should jump. So he jumped.

Now the kid who did what he was told is in the limelight, and is in trouble, and the teacher, who is responsible for this situation, who had the power and who issued the order, is hiding out disguised as Lord Anonymous.

If the kid is going to end up in court on a charge of disorderly conduct, then, logically, the teacher who coerced him into committing this crime then the teacher should be in the dock too, charged with inciting disorderly conduct.

As a teacher, I think the high school instructor failed the student, and should come out of hiding, should apologise for what has happened, and to atone in public for what I see as being a sin.

In addition to being a teacher, I'm also a published writer. One of the several books I've had published is the massive sword and sorcery saga, THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER, which weighs in at over 250,000 words.

If you're interested in taking a peek, go to zenvirus.com and you'll find the entire text is online to read for free. You can also buy the book as a paperback novel from Amazon.com.

THE WITCHLORD AND THE WEAPONMASTER contains some extremely strong stuff, including extreme torture. When I wrote this extreme stuff, I didn't have the cops come knocking at the door to arrest me. Instead, I got paid good money for writing it.

If I was ever asked to pass on my skills as a creative writing instructor, then obviously I'd have to think through the legal ramifications of encouraging students to write as I do.

But my problems would pale by comparison with those that William Burroughs would have faced, if (a) he was still alive and (b) he wanted to teach people to write as he does.

Burroughs, for those of you who have not yet encountered him, is the extremest writer in the English language, author of books such as THE NAKED LUNCH and THE TICKET WHICH EXPLODED. He was a some-time junkie who wrote books of apocalyptic hallucinatory violence, loaded with sex, drugs and horror which is probably beyond the realms of most people's imaginations.

If that's not what you want, if all you want is Jane Austen, well, fine, Jane's written all her books, and they'll bear rereading. If that's your bag, I don't mean to disrespect you.

But my take on writing is conditioned by my respect for Ezra Pound, the great American poet (mad, unfortunately, and rabid in a number of unpleasant ways) who said that artists are the antennae of the race. (Artists or poets, I don't remember which, since I'm quoting from memory for a book which I haven't so much as glanced at in more than three decades.)

I believe that artists, poets, writers, novelists, are the antennae of the race. Their function is to detect what is out there in the world and to communicate the truth of what they detect.

And the truths of our apocalyptic world are the hard truths of Virginia Tech, of the war in Iraq, of the genocide in Darfur, of ... but you know this catalog of disorders, right?

Looking specifically at Virginia Tech, my view is that its legitimate for creative writers of all ages to engage in writing which reflects what has happened, and they shouldn't be constrained in doing so by the threat that their teacher is going to turn out to be a stool pigeon, a state informer, a spy for the local constabulary, one of the minions of Big Brother, deputized by the Thought Police to work to put those who are perceived as aberrant in jail.

If such a trend is allowed to flourish, if everyone who writes is going to be scrutinized and invigilated, and if everyone who fails the "as gentlewomanly as Jane Austen" test gets kicked out of the creative writing course and sent to some kind of institution, then we can say goodbye to the world of writing as we know it.

When Cho Seung-Hui gunned down 32 people and then shot himself, he was aiming for undying fame. He did succeed in killing all those people. What Cho did should not be used in manner which permits him not only to kill all those people but, in addition, to slay free speech.