first amendment, remember that?

via the ever radiant and vigilant Robyn Bender, this link to a boingboing story about police shenanigans on a Florida college campus.

Imagine you’re a college student. You write short stories. You experiment with style and tone. You post your stories on the internet. One of the stories you post is about somebody who murders two people and then joins the army.

The phone rings.

Voice: You the guy who wrote ‘I am Ready to Serve My Country‘ and posted it on LiveJournal?
You: Um, yes, that’s me.
Voice: We’d like you to come down and give us a hair and sputum sample, oh and, fingerprints.

It’s true. The campus police wanted to compare the student’s DNA and fingerprints to evidence from unsolved murders going back ten years. And why? Because he wrote a short short (three paragraphs long) about somebody who kills two people.

The student refused. Interviews were conducted, with the student, with the student’s professors. A recurring theme in the questions posed by the officers: Did the faculty really think it was appropriate for students to be writing this kind of thing?

Apparently these college police think they have something to contribute to the curriculum.

Now, I’ve got some questions too: what are they doing reading internet stories anyway? No shoplifters to nab? No parking tickets to write? And in the spirit of the thing, I’m wondering who else they’re pressuring for DNA and fingerprints. I wonder if they’ve ever heard of the ACLU, or if maybe the (so called) Patriot Act has gone to their (so called) heads.