Monday, August 3, 2009
http://epwsgdp1.courts.state.va.us (Link sometimes doesn't work. If not, go to http://courtbar.org/caseIndex.htm Click on "General District Court Index by County"
Search "Barber, Steven"
Be sure that Wise County General District is selected, Traffic/Criminal, Active/Inactive.
And here's audio of the committal hearing that found me to be sane, not a threat to myself/others, not fitting the criteria for involuntary admission, etc.:
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The misdemeanor first:
§ 18.2-308.1:2. Purchase, possession or transportation of firearm by persons adjudicated legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated; penalty.
It shall be unlawful for any person who has been adjudicated (i) legally incompetent pursuant to former § 37.1-128.02 or former § 37.1-134, (ii) mentally incapacitated pursuant to former § 37.1-128.1 or former § 37.1-132
I wasn't adjudicated any of that stuff in italics because the statutes that this law is pursuant to expired in 2005. [Edit: Strike "expired" and replace with "repealed." Duh!]
or (iii) incapacitated pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 37.2-1000 et seq.) of Title 37.2 and whose competency or capacity has not been restored pursuant to former § 37.1-134.1 or § 37.2-1012, to purchase, possess, or transport any firearm. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
(1994, c. 907; 1997, c. 921; 2004, c. 995.)
That's not applicable because A) I never have been assigned a guardian or a conservator and B) if the state said I had been, then they should have been served with the warrants, not me.
Now for the felony.
§ 18.2-308.2:2 at part K:
K. Any person willfully and intentionally making a materially false statement on the consent form required in subsection B or C or on such firearm transaction records as may be required by federal law, shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony.
From the misdemeanor, I assume that the felony is questioning my answer of "No" to Question F. on the ATF's Form 4473
Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?
Now for the nitty-gritty part.
I recommend a quick review of the facts here
The Temporary Detention order is an order of detainment not involuntary committal.
A TDO is done by the magistrate. A Judge or Special Justice is the only one that can involuntarily commit someone.
And here is the purpose of my hearing with the Special Justice
And I was not deemed mentally incompetent or mentally ill nor was I involuntarily committed.
Proof One and Proof Two
So just what was the origin of the involuntarily committed garbage that you can read about in the papers?
Answer (MUST CLICK ON THIS ONE!!!)
(Please note that Sgt. Wyatt is the UVA Wise Campus Police officer who dragged me out of class, had me under custody, delivered me to Daphne Blanton for the TDO evaluation, etc.)
How effective was his under-oath willful and materially false statement?
Just what would make the college go to such great lengths to slander me as being mentally ill and involuntarily committed?
You see, when Sgt. Wyatt asked if I had any weapons in my vehicle I informed in that yes, I did (three in total, and only two of which were loaded), I also informed him that while I knew this was against school policy, but that also the school's policy was illegal. See, Virginia has a pre-emption law when it comes to firearms. The law says that certain groups can't prohibit the possession of firearms. One of the groups that can't is a local agency. Specifically:
§ 15.2-915. Control of firearms; applicability to authorities and local governmental agencies.
A. No locality shall adopt or enforce any ordinance, resolution or motion, as permitted by § 15.2-1425, and no agent of such locality shall take any administrative action, governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof other than those expressly authorized by statute. For purposes of this section, a statute that does not refer to firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, shall not be construed to provide express authorization.
Nothing in this section shall prohibit a locality from adopting workplace rules relating to terms and conditions of employment of the workforce. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101 from acting within the scope of his duties.
The provisions of this section applicable to a locality shall also apply to any authority or to a local governmental entity, including a department or agency, but not including any local or regional jail or juvenile detention facility.
B. Any local ordinance, resolution or motion adopted prior to the effective date of this act governing the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof, other than those expressly authorized by statute, is invalid.
(1987, c. 629, § 15.1-29.15; 1988, c. 392; 1997, cc. 550, 587; 2002, c. 484; 2003, c. 943; 2004, cc. 837, 923.)
University of Virginia (And thus the Wise campus) is applicable because it is an Agency under the Virginia Administrative Code. Also, Jones v. Commonwealth, 267 Va. 218, 223, 591 S.E.2d 72, 75 (2004) held that UVA is a governmental entity.
Virginia has a common law principle known as the Dillon Rule. It states that unless the General Assembly explicitly gives you the power to do something, you don't have the power to do it. The GA has never given college campuses the power to ban guns (except for Virginia Commonwealth University , and a few others NOT INCLUDING UVA or UVA Wise under the Virginia Administrative Code, e.g. George Mason.)
A state statute explicitly allows for CHP holders to have concealed firearms in their vehicles on K-12 school property when the vehicles are in parking lots or other places of ingress or egress. It would stand to reason that should be allowed when there are more adults around and less kindergartners.
Uh oh, says UVA Wise. Steve Barber is going to sue us!!!
So they come up with a phony-baloney psych evaluation to petition for the TDO. (Two points on how it's phony-baloney: A) In the middle of the interview, I informed the counselor (Daphne Blanton) that I needed to urinate and that I had a pocket knife--I asked if she would like to hold on to it as a sign of good faith whereas I was going to the restroom alone. She said that would not be necessary, and I was then left in a bathroom with a door shut--alone--with a pocket knife--when she would soon diagnose me with suicidal and/or homicidal ideation. B) On the chart with all of the symptoms to circle, she did NOT mark 'depressed.' In the diagnoses section, she diagnosed me as being "depressed." I'm not a doctor, but I find it pretty suspicious that depression is not a prerequisite symptom for being diagnosed with depression.
Well, then--surprise surprise--I get a clean bill of health from the psych ward and from the General District Court. What is UVA Wise to do to stop the lawsuit now?
Let's have a fall guy (Sgt. Wyatt) say I was involuntarily committed the day after I was adjudicated to not be mentally ill! (My hearing and discharge was March 3, Sgt. Wyatt's evidence on March 4, and my CHP suspended on March 5.)
Curious note about my CHP suspension. I was told it was suspended, not by the officer required to serve me with a notice (that never happened!!!) but rather by Dr. Juhan (UVA Wise Vice Chancellor)at my expulsion hearing on campus weeks later. I received the papers after being told by him when I went to the Clerk's Office myself.
And the school is in trouble another way for suspending my CHP.
Universities are required to follow FERPA. TITLE 20 > CHAPTER 31 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part 4 > § 1232g
From the UVA Wise Student Handbook:
UVa-Wise complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This act restricts the information concerning the students that the college can make available without the student‘s consent. A complete review of the Release of Student Information Policy may be obtained from the Registrar‘s Office. The University of Virginia‘s College at Wise maintains the confidentiality of education records; neither such records, nor personally identifiable information contained therein, except for directory information, shall be released without student permission except as authorized by the Act. Exceptions to this policy are only made under the conditions specified by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. They are:
a) directory information (routine information concerning a student‘s name, address, telephone number, etc.),
b) release of information in an emergency where such information is necessary for the protection of the health or safety of the student,
c) release of information to other College staff members who have a legitimate educational need for the information,
d) in connection with financial aid for which a student has applied,
e) under court order or subpoena.
Problem for Wise: I had been trespassed from campus and my firearms confiscated by Campus Police days before they turned over a copy of the short story and the scanned image of the concealed carry permit to the Prosecutor in Scott County. How is it an emergency to ban my permit when they have my guns and I can't come on campus?
There wasn't a court order for the papers, they were the ones to initiate faxing them to the Commonwealth Attorney.
One final problem for Wise. Again from the Student Handbook:
The College is a community of scholars in which the ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of the individual are sustained. It is committed to preserving the exercise of any right guaranteed to individuals by the Constitution.
DC v. Heller?
Of course later on it states in the Code of Conduct:
Generally, prohibited conduct for which a student is subject to discipline is defined as, but not limited to, the following: [...] 7. Possession, storage, or use of any kind of firearms, air rifles or air pistols, BB guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, firecrackers or fireworks, nunchakus, gasoline, explosives or other combustible materials, and knives with a blade longer than six inches, other than ones used as kitchen tools.
It's my understanding that a Code of Conduct can be construed as a type of contract, and that when a contract contradicts itself, there is a preference for the interpretation of the person who DID NOT CHOSE the language.
Needless to say I didn't choose the language in the Code of Conduct for UVA Wise.
My character has been defamed across the whole state (Richmond Times Dispatch, etc. quoted Sgt. Wyatt's "involuntarily committed" lie.)
My right to possess a firearm was Deprived Under the Color of Law.
Obtaining the TDO without a legitimate psychological evaluation was an Abuse of Process.
Not being served with a notice of my CHP being suspended was a violation of Due Process.
Charging me with these two crimes is Malicious Prosecution.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It's easy to simply dismiss his psychotic rant as being a token of jealousy: indeed, it appears that if you add up my quotations line by line, I've published more in the Wall Street Journal than he has had published in anything. But on the other hand he's slept with more UVA Wise students than I have, so shouldn't that make us even?
Regardless, here is some history with Professor Nicholas Kiersey that virtually no one knows about.
He had his International Relations class literally SLANDER a conservative student on campus for a GRADE:
A prominent conservative on campus (the one The Highland Cavalier will actually publish) named Justin Jurek wrote an editorial claiming that the "Anti-war movement can be anti-American" or so the title went.
Kiersey's International Relations class then did a rebuttal in the next issue of the college paper. Keep in mind it was a class project and no one dissented--Kiersey kept detailed notes of his facilitation of the project. The class mis-characterized his argument as being that the "Anti-war movement IS anti-American" They even lied and said,
Mr. Jurek chooses to characterize the people of the Middle East as "terrorists and tyrants" and "enemies of civilization."
Needless to say, Justin Jurek never even used the words "terrorists and tyrants" or "enemies of civilization" in his editorial.
Anyway, long story short: we had kept his original editorial, scanned the image, and put it in Notes From Underground's counter-rebuttal to Kiersey's class proving they were lying about Jurek's argument, making quotes up out of thin air, etc.
The Non-Bribe Bribe
Kiersey then arranged for a hush-hush meeting to be held with me, himself, and another professor who was my adviser. At that meeting, he offered over $200 (the cost of printing the issue) for us to not distribute it on campus, sheepishly saying, "Don't take this as a bribe." A compromise was reached (at his protest!) where we censored ourselves for a rather glib insult we used against him in reference to a separate topic ("Kiersey flexed his spindly little academic muscles..." was what the fuss was about). We whited-out that one line and distributed the issue despite his protest.
The next incident happened when I caught him plagiarizing a book review done by the Southern Poverty Law center of Pat Buchanan's book State of Emergency. He quoted verbatim part of the review done by SPL with no citation. I took notice only because the original review resorts to outright fabrication--
White America is changing color, Buchanan argues -- "one of the greatest tragedies in human history." [note: said both by SPLC and by Kiersey in a slide used for his class]
And as trivia here's what Buchanan really said:
This is not immigration as America knew it, when men and women made a conscious choice to turn their backs on their native lands and cross the ocean to become Americans. This is an invasion, the greatest invasion in history. Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened in so short a span of time. There are 36 million immigrants and their children in the United States today, almost as many as came to America between Jamestown in 1607 and the Kennedy election of 1960. Nearly 90 percent of all immigrants now come from continents and countries whose peoples have never been assimilated fully into any Western country. Against the will of a vast majority of Americans, America is being transformed. As our elites nervously avert their gaze or welcome the invasion, we are witness to one of the great tragedies in human history.
It's plain for all to see that a) the SPLC read Buchanan's book and is deliberately and maliciously accusing him of racism. And b) Kiersey didn't read Buchanan's book, and stole a book review from a leftist think tank without citation. [note: I cannot find the slide in question anymore--however, at the time of the incident I showed it to a handful of inner-circle friends, a professor within Kiersey's department, and also his department chair.]
I really don't understand Professor Kiersey's duplicity. On one hand he says:
I can tell you that he is a thoughtful and intelligent young man, capable of great insight. Unlike many of the students who come to the campus, who instinctively replicate the dominant political worldview of their surrounding culture, Barber has the ability to explain the reasoning behind his views. With so much potential, it is a shame that his academic career has come to this end.
But then he goes on to say:
Since his arrival on campus in Fall of 2007, Mr Barber strategically sought to make himself a very public figure. He advocated extremely controversial viewpoints in a series of inflammatory articles in his underground newspaper, wherein he also regularly targeting "liberal" faculty for views he deemed to be anti-American....As the record suggests, Barber had a penchant for generating controversy simply for the sake of it. Where Barnes' actions were focused on raising awareness about an important issue, Barber's actions were of a rather more egotistical nature, focused simply on raising awareness about himself.
Had Mr Barber been allowed to remain in school, there would have been a revolt among faculty and students alike. The school was right to find whatever legal means it could to keep him from ever setting foot in the place again.
An ironic statement given that there actually was a protest IN SUPPORT OF ME outside of Dr. Juhan's office at my expulsion hearing. I'm also assuming I have some guardian angel faculty member who took the story to the Roanoke Times (they had my Notes From Underground email so I'm suspecting a friend not a foe).
It's funny that liberals (he likes saying "marxist with a little 'm'") like Kiersey rant and rave about diversity, but then when they start losing arguments they start calling their opponents gay. That's especially interesting because it was known in the newspapers that I am considering re-enlisting.
While it's true it is extremely un-collegiate to be outing students on their blogs, I suppose it would also be un-collegiate for me to announce that Kiersey has slept with multiple students on campus: something he bragged about at a drunken night in the local watering hole known as Mosby's. But then again, they kicked me out of school so who cares if I'm being un-collegiate. His braggadocio resulted in an emergency faculty meeting where faculty were reminded about their ethical obligations. Anyway, he's leaving Wise for some no-named place in Ohio.
Kiersey is really a nutball Marxist, who frequents Hamas propaganda sites to form his political opinions. Indeed in an entry on his own blog he referenced an article done by Electronic Intifada on how Obama is too pro-Israel (an assertion dubious as Holocaust denial IMO) as why he didn't support Obama.
I would pray that he gets deported back to Ireland, but on second thought he's probably too dangerous to be allowed on an airplane.
I remember it wasn't long ago when Kiersey was offering me job references:
I suppose after his plagiarism, blatant duplicity, unprofessional conduct, and affinity for Hamas propaganda, I could call Ohio University at Chillicothe to return the favor.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Pen is Mightier...and More Dangerous(May 6, 2008) When Steven Barber turned in his midterm creative writing assignment at the University of Virginia's College at Wise (UVA-Wise), he was hoping for a good grade to complement his 3.9 grade point average. Instead, Barber was expelled from school, locked in a mental institution for three days, and had his concealed carry permit revoked.
by Jeff Knox
Barber's fictional story was a first person narrative of a troubled college student consumed by depression, paranoia, drug addiction, and alcoholism as he struggles with one of tragedy's recurrent themes, "To be or not to be." The character progresses through fear, anger, and despair; sleeping with a gun under his pillow after the Virginia Tech massacre, contemplating the murder of an unpleasant professor, and finally deciding on suicide. The entire story is just contemplation – no characters, real or fictional were harmed in the telling of the story – and Barber himself is nothing like the character he described.
But Barber's professor, Christopher Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and some of the class members were uncomfortable with the story. No one complained about another student's paper which included violent, bloody murder, but that carnage was carried out with a knife while Barber's character had a gun. Perhaps someone in the class knew that Barber owned guns and feared that the character in the story represented its author's secret desires. Whatever their motivation, their concerns were shared with the college administration who decided to involve the campus police. Within 24 hours of sharing his writing project, Barber was confronted by campus police who questioned him about his frame of mind, searched his person and his room, and asked him about weapons. Barber, believing he had Virginia law on his side, admitted that he did have three pistols locked in his car whereupon the police searched the car and confiscated the guns.
A Navy veteran and Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit holder, Barber cooperated with the police and administration through all of the searches and questions even when they took him into custody and transported him to a mental hospital for three days of evaluation. After three days of questions, group therapy, tests, and more questions, Barber was given a clean bill of health and released on his own recognizance. Meanwhile his Concealed Weapons Permit had been revoked and he was expelled from the university.
Eventually the guns were turned over to Barber's father, but his appeal of the expulsion was denied and even though the prosecutor who rushed through an emergency revocation of the concealed carry permit admits that it was based on faulty information, Barber has not been able to get it reinstated. The prosecutor says that he based his request for the permit revocation on information from the campus police stating that Barber had been "involuntarily committed" when in fact he had simply been detained for observation and evaluation. Such a detention is not lawful grounds for the revocation of a permit, especially when the evaluation results in a clean bill of health. When questioned about the error, the prosecutor laid the blame on the campus police for using the wrong terminology, but went on to say that he intended to find some other mechanism to justify his actions and insure that Barber's permit is not restored.
There is no question that Barber violated school policy by having firearms in his locked car on campus, but he broke no laws. There is some disagreement about a college or university's right to prohibit firearms, particularly in locked cars. Virginia law forbids any government agency or entity from restricting firearms – even within the State Capitol – but makes an exception for colleges and universities to apply restrictions to staff and students. Barber contends that those restrictions can not extend to a locked car on campus whether it belongs to a student or not, but so far that contention has fallen on deaf ears. Barber would like to hire an attorney to challenge the school's position, regain admission to the university, and recoup his lost credit hours. He also needs an attorney to help him get his carry permit back, but the cost involved for these endeavors is beyond Barber's ability to manage and no offer of assistance has been forthcoming from any of the organizations with the wherewithal to provide it.
At this point Barber is working to pay off the unexpectedly due student loans for the education that was unexpectedly preempted and considering reenlisting in the Navy to help get his life back on track. He is hopeful that he will eventually be able to recover his carry permit, but has all but given up hope of forcing the school to reinstate him. It is simply tragic that this young man's future has been derailed all because he wrote a story that was just a little too compelling for an education system which believes tools instigate actions rather than the other way around.
Schools Struggle With Dark WritingsIn the Wake of Virginia Tech Killings,
Colleges Weigh Students' Safety vs. Free Speech
When Steven Barber turned in a short story this semester for his creative-writing class at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, his instructor was alarmed. The 23-year-old student had produced an imagined account of someone on the edge of a violent breakdown, touching on suicide and murder.
"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.
In the year before the Virginia Tech massacre, the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, wrote multiple pieces of alarming fiction that troubled teachers and classmates alike. Now, schools are trying to distinguish the dark musings of college fiction from deadly manifestos that foretell campus violence. But the schools, trying to protect their communities, don't always know when to act. And when they do, they may infringe on the rights of those students under scrutiny.
After the shootings, the creative-writing faculty at Virginia Tech put out a guide to help instructors identify and respond to disturbing fictional work. The University of New Mexico has created a hot line to take calls from professors with worries about students, including concerns about writing that contains "credible threats of harm to self or others." And Boston University has published a brochure, "Helping Students in Distress," that advises faculty to watch for writing with themes of "hopelessness, social isolation, rage or despair," among other things.
Yet some experts worry that these measures pose legal or ethical risks. Psychologists caution that it is nearly impossible to predict future violence. Professors are being asked to do something for which they are untrained -- assess a work for signs of a troubled psyche. Complicating the issue further, college students are at an age where the part of the brain that manages behavior is still developing, so they don't always understand the consequences of their words. "It takes a lot more than one or two papers to see if someone has a psychiatric problem," says Gwen Dungy, executive director of NASPA -- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
If they overreact, schools could violate students' privacy and civil rights. Some schools, such as Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Ga., are finding it helpful to scrutinize students' Facebook or MySpace pages, for example. First Amendment experts warn that this practice can violate freedom-of-speech protections.
"Right now, if a university administrator claims that someone is a threat, even if that threat is virtually unsupportable and completely unreasonable, they have carte blanche to do what they want," says Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
He cites an incident last year at Valdosta State as a case in point. After T. Hayden Barnes read in the student newspaper about the school's plan to build two multimillion-dollar parking decks, he posted fliers around campus objecting to the project for environmental reasons. Mr. Barnes, now 23, also wrote about it on his blog, voiced his concerns to several members of the school's board of regents and asked objectors to contact the university's president, Ronald M. Zaccari. Within a month, Mr. Barnes says, President Zaccari had met with him and told him that he had "personally embarrassed him" and that Mr. Zaccari "could not forgive him." Mr. Barnes says he apologized.
Mr. Barnes then had a letter to the editor of the student paper published and created a collage that he posted on his Facebook page. It included several pictures -- of automobile exhaust, a gas mask and the university president, among other images -- and the words, "Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage."
On May 7, 2007, Mr. Barnes, then a junior, found a letter from President Zaccari under his dorm-room door saying that Mr. Barnes presented "a clear and present danger" and that he had been expelled. Attached was a copy of his collage.
In order to apply for readmission, the letter said, Mr. Barnes would need to present correspondence from a psychiatrist indicating that he wasn't a danger to himself or others, as well as documentation proving he would receive therapy during his tenure at school.
Mr. Barnes sued the university and its board of regents in January, claiming freedom-of-speech and due-process violations, among other complaints. "Political persecution under the guise of mental-health threats shouldn't happen on our campuses," he says. Mr. Barnes appealed the expulsion. On Jan. 17, 2008, the administration sent him a one-sentence letter saying he had been reinstated. His suit is pending. Valdosta State declined to comment on the case.
What distinguishes Mr. Barber's experience at Wise College is that the school took action over a classroom assignment for which he was expected to exercise his imagination. The problem for Mr. Scalia, the instructor, was the story's references to the class and its assignments and to the murder of a professor called Mr. Christopher, a name identical to his own first name. Mr. Barber, a Navy veteran who served in the Iraq war, wrote of stockpiling alcohol and drugs for a binge and sleeping with the "cold and heavy steel" of a gun under his pillow. "I knew I had a choice," he wrote. "Murder or suicide. Either way, death was imminent."
Mr. Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, says he had strongly recommended that students not write in the first person and avoid depictions of excessive alcohol or drug use. He gave these instructions, he said, to prevent clichéd writing and to help them develop perspectives other than their own. Mr. Barber ignored his advice. "I went straight to the administration because the story was directed at me," says Mr. Scalia, adding he had received an email from a student expressing her own concerns about the piece.
Administrators at Wise, in Wise., Va., detained and questioned Mr. Barber on Friday, Feb. 29, the morning after he passed out copies of his draft. Campus police found three weapons in his car: a revolver and two semiautomatic weapons. Two guns were loaded. Mr. Barber says he showed them his permit to carry concealed weapons. Wise prohibits guns on campus. Mr. Barber told administrators that he wasn't suicidal or homicidal, and that he chose the subject because "everybody cares about Virginia Tech."
"The military trusted me to guard a billion-dollar warship with an automatic machine gun," he says, "but I can't bring a little pistol to class, and I have a permit?"
Wise College declined to comment on the specifics of Mr. Barber's case. Gary Juhan, a university vice chancellor, says that when assessing whether a student is a danger to himself or others, administrators look at everything they know about the student, including behavior, past writings, gun ownership and judicial history. "We try to build as complete a picture as we can," he says. "You have to go quickly as distress can be carried out to the community."
When he turned in his story, Mr. Barber was on university probation for charges that included violating the school's alcohol policy and possession of a "tonfa," a martial-arts weapon similar to a policeman's nightstick. He says that he had a 3.9 grade-point average for the fall semester and made the dean's list, and that he had participated in a debate on race relations the night he turned in his story. "That's not antisocial behavior," he says.
Then school administrators got a temporary-detention order for Mr. Barber, mandating that he be held at a local psychiatric hospital for evaluation. Mr. Barber spent the weekend there, in an unlocked room with a nurse checking on him every 15 minutes. "I was scared to be alone," he says. "There are literally mentally ill people there."
On Monday morning, the hospital released Mr. Barber, after deciding he was neither mentally ill nor a threat to himself or others. He wasn't allowed to return to campus. Several days later, the university expelled him. He unsuccessfully appealed his expulsion.
Mr. Barber says now that he wouldn't write the same story. "I want to be at Wise, so I would write about butterflies and rainbows."
The college stands by its actions, but Mr. Juhan, the vice chancellor, is sensitive to potential downsides of its approach. Says Mr. Juhan: "How long would Edgar Allan Poe, who attended the University of Virginia, have lasted with his writings?"
It bears repeating that:
A) I was slandered by the college when they said I was involuntarily committed when I hadn't been.
B) Virginia has a pre-emption law for firearms. The school's ban on firearms is illegal.
C) If the only school policy I violated was the (illegal) ban on firearms, then that would not be a violation of my probation with the University.
I really need legal help, so if anyone is interested in helping me out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . (Or if you're from the Heritage Foundation, you should just cut to the chase and hire me :-) )
Friday, April 11, 2008
Overreactions Unfairly Stigmatize Mentally Ill
Austin is retired and lives in Wytheville.
In the news recently were articles about an expelled UVa-Wise student. I do not know all the story, but what caught my eye was the police saying the man was committed to a mental institution from Feb. 29 to March 3, at which time his evaluators found nothing wrong with him. Yet his permit for a gun had already been suspended.
My concern is how out of control law officers and all law personnel are with fear, and then how the media can ruin a person's life in his or her neighborhood.
I feel something should be done, but what? I have horrible anxiety attacks to where I must call someone to come in and sit with me, all because I wrote a letter to Gov. Kaine on Aug. 20 and asked someone to read it and tell me if I should change anything. She either did not read the entire letter or mistook the last lines as my being suicidal.
She got a restraining order. I was picked up, hauled away and no family member knew where I was for three days. When I saw a doctor, judge and others the third day, they understood it was not a suicide note but a letter asking for help.
I was sent home to a burned supper and pans that had cooked for three days. Most horrible is the attitude I get from the neighbors. In their opinion, the police surely would not have hauled me off if I hadn't been crazy. The anxiety attacks are so horrible; I have days I do not go out or answer the phone. And, yes, I take medication and therapy.
If this young man has even a ghost of a chance finding a lawyer to sue, I wish him good luck. Most of all I pray someone can start classes to teach government officials, police officers, lawyers or whomever that there is a difference between real honest threats and just written words for a class paper or a letter asking for help.
I agree they can take immediate action in case of danger; however, within an hour, no longer than two, they should call in family or relatives to understand, especially if it is a written letter. Coming in like vultures and having no reasoning is just as bad or worse than what slaves went through.
I am not a doctor, lawyer or anyone of importance, but I can tell when someone is a danger by watching that person.
The actions of a person who commits suicide or kills someone should be compiled along with their history, and classes given at all schools and colleges to help people see the signs. Just the few details the media give us after a tragedy shows there were signs long before and no one took notice. Did the man stand out as angry or odd?
In past generations, people in my family have committed suicide. They were angry and short-tempered for days, then suddenly one day everything was so great the family couldn't understand. They did however a few hours later when the person was found dead.
The whole point of this letter to the editor is that often there is a serious disconnect between the person's actions (asking for help/writing an essay) and the reaction (TDO, etc.). In my case that this person cites and in their case they were adjudicated to NOT be mentally ill.
Didn't stop the Roanoke Times from monkeying around with the headline. Sheesh.