Jurassic Park is just another one in a long line of promethean tales designed to show all of us mere mortals that if we dare to reach for the stars we just might catch one — and it’ll burn us alive.
And West World.
And TLC’s “Waterfalls.”
Each one offering a more terrifying warning than the one before. Seriously, man, don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to because those other rivers and lakes, well, they might have AIDS — lots and lots of AIDS.
However, I’ve recently begun to wonder if we’re misinterpreting the message behind Jurassic Park. I mean, if you watch the movie, the general gist seems to be that one man’s hubris — in this case park owner John Hammond — nearly deprived him of the things he holds most dear — his grandchildren. Once again, it’s the Doc Frankenstein rub: Science is great and all until you violate the divine order of things and then shit gets all catastrophically catawampus, except that in the real-life it isn’t like that after all. That is unless you count Healthcare.gov. Or maybe Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video.
That’s all beside the point. The real lesson to be learned from Jurassic Park has nothing to do with science and vanity and all that jazz. It’s really about a company with an HR problem.
See, John Hammond’s error wasn’t in bringing dinosaurs back to life. And it wasn’t in creating a gigantic dino-filled dream park. Nope. His mistake was hiring a dumbass who left all the cages to the dino pens open. If Hammond hadn’t hired that asshole, none of the other shit would have happened.
Which brings us to the strange and sad case of 16-year-old Alex Stone.
Maybe you know this, maybe you don’t, but Stone is the Summerville High School student who was suspended earlier this week and, ultimately, arrested on campus for killing a dinosaur with a gun.
Wait, wait. That’s not exactly true. See, Stone didn’t have a gun, and, well, we all know dinosaurs were buried under the earth by Satan 6,000 years ago to fool future archeologists and the poor, misguided souls who have the misfortune to believe in carbon-dating.
I’ll try that again: Alex Stone was suspended from Summerville High School and arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct because he wrote the following two sentences during a classroom exercise: I got a gun and took care of business. I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur.
Now, evidently for the folks at Summerville High these two sentences alone were cause enough to call the cops. Here’s Summerville police department officer Sheri Williams’ account of what happened:
On 08/19/2014 I was notified by [Asst. Principal Preston] Giet that he had received an e-mail from the witness, Ms. [Jessica] Lewis (resource teacher) on 08/18/2014 late in the evening while she was looking through her students’ assignments. Mr. Giet stated that the e-mail stated that the suspect had written in a classroom assignment that he had “bought a gun to take care of business.” Mr. Giet stated that he met with Ms. Lewis on 08/19/2014 in the morning and Ms. Lewis gave him the suspect’s assignment. While administrators, Officer Floyd, and I looked for the suspect, all students were held in their homeroom classes until the suspect was located, bookbag located, and locker was cleared with negative results for a weapon The suspect was escorted to Mr. Giet’s office by Officer Floyd and myself. Mr. Giet asked the suspect about the comment written on the assignment, to which the suspect became very irate that it was just a joke. The suspect continued to be disruptive and was placed in handcuffs, which were double locked and check[ed] for fit, and was advised he was being detained for disturbing schools. While Officer Floyd transported the suspect to Summerville Police Department, I called and spoke with the suspect’s mother and advised her of the incident. The suspect was booked and released to his mother after signing a custodial promise form. The suspect’s classroom assignment was later placed into SPD Evidence.
What’s particularly interesting to note here is that at no time does Officer Williams mention the elephant, er, dinosaur, in the room — namely that the Stone claimed to have killed his neighbor’s pet dinosaur with a gun.
The whole scenario is ludicrous of course, and it points to the increasing criminalization of typical juvenile behavior by school administrators and law enforcement — at least when that typical juvenile behavior takes place on school grounds.
But even if we take into account the zero-tolerance policies that local schools have enacted when it comes to weapons, the principle problem here is that Stone didn’t have a gun. More importantly, he didn’t threaten to use one on his fellow students, his teachers, or anyone else.
In fact, Stone’s only true crime appears to be nothing more than flipping out that he was being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d lose my fucking shit if I was detained by police officers and searched because I killed an imaginary pet dinosaur. When it comes down to it, it certainly seems like Alex Stone did nothing wrong.
Local attorney David Aylor evidently feels the same way. He now represents Stone. In a press release, the lawyer writes:
This is a perfect example of ‘political correctness’ that has exceeded the boundaries of common sense. Students were asked to write about themselves and a creative Facebook status update – just days into the new school year – and my client was arrested and suspended after a school assignment … Can you imagine George Orwell or William Shakespeare being arrested for their fictional writing – pieces that are considered literary classics?”
When I spoke with Aylor, he says he doesn’t yet know if Stone’s week-long suspension can be appealed, but if it can be, he will. Aylor also says that he will fight the criminal charges.
Anyhow, here’s wishing Stone and his lawyer the best of luck.