Depress-y College Writing Can Get You Committed, Expelled

Lord knows what kind of disturbing essays dark writers like David Lynch, Chuck Palahniuk, or Bret Easton Ellis might've written in a college class. But that shit will get you kicked out or committed these days—thanks to the Virginia Tech shooter, who not only killed people, but ruined college creative writing for the rest of us by turning in many a disturbing story. Reports the Wall Street Journal, 23-year-old Steven Barber's story, which included murder and suicide, got him locked up in the nuthouse for the weekend and expelled.

"It had to be acted on immediately," says Christopher Scalia, the instructor. He alerted administrators, who reacted swiftly, searching Mr. Barber's dorm room and car. Upon discovering three guns, they had him committed to a psychiatric institution for a weekend. Then they expelled him.

Yet the psychiatrists who evaluated Mr. Barber during his hospitalization determined he was no threat to himself or others. Mr. Barber says the guns were for protection from threats such as school shootings. He maintains that his story, titled "Sh—-y First Drafts," was merely a fictional attempt to address school shootings such as the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech massacre, which left 33 dead, including the gunman. The story "was supposed to show how disturbed people are who do that," Mr. Barber says.

He had a concealed-weapons permit, which in many parts of the country, is pretty damn normal. A story about breakdowns, suicide, murder? That's the plot of many a Hollywood thriller. Maybe being expelled from college was for the best—the real money is in screenwriting. Somebody get this guy an agent!


Schools Struggle with Dark Writings [WSJ]