By 'Death Note', I don't mean the standard issue given to shinigamis. I mean one he'd made himself with a staple and some sheets of paper folded in two. Nobody died.
I feel like I'm insulting your intelligence having to clarify that, but apparently its a thing that whole herds of adults - some in positions of authority - wouldn't consider for themselves. Their panic and, dare we say, over-reaction led by example to stir even their Tween children into worrying for their lives.
So to reiterate, the homemade Death Note didn't cause heart-attacks, nor any other mode of fatality, within 40 seconds.
Nevertheless, the police were called and the seventh grader arrested. He's been suspended from Jewett City's Griswold Middle School until the end of term (actually just a few days in this instance), with his future inclusion dependent upon the result of a police investigation.
A Connecticut Kira at Griswold Middle School
The friend 'phoned home, fearing for his own life. Whereupon his father pretty much lost the plot in panicking and instead of saying, "Son, such notebooks belong to the realm of myth and fantasy, you're quite safe. Do you want me to come anyway?" Dad 'phoned the school and demanded that they keep his boy safe until he got there.
Apparently the class-mate's name wasn't even amongst those scrawled within.
School Superintendent Paul Smith stated that there was 'less than six' names listed. (So five? Four? Why is he the superintendent of a school, if he can't count up to six?) His office confiscated the notebook on Friday (June 12th 2015), then sat on it all weekend.
The following Monday, the police were called in to deal with the dangerous thirteen year old and his book. The parents or guardians of those children listed within it were privately notified.
Then on Tuesday, a school-wide e-mail went out to every parent. Mass panic ensued forthwith.
Jewett City Parents Panic Over Juvenile
Well it would be, if a child's educational future wasn't hanging in the balance.
Let me illustrate with how some parents were quoted in the media:
- “We were petrified, absolutely petrified." - Kim Gauthier (WFSB 3 Eyewitness News, June 16th 2015)
- "What's being done? I made a call to the school. I wanted to be assured that (my son) was safe at the time." - Tony Gauthier (husband of the above) (NBH Connecticut, June 17th 2015)
- “It is concerning (sic) that a young child wrote a letter like that.” - Crystal Littlefield (WTNH Connecticut News 8, June 17th 2015)
- “It is pretty frightening. You never know what goes on in a kid’s mind, at that point." - Tom Buris (Ibid)
- "I'm more shocked than anything that this stuff is going on in the school. "More information would have helped me understand this situation more." Rodney McCoy (The Bulletin (Norwich), June 16th 2015)
Meanwhile School Superintendent Paul Smith did imply that some parents had been downright rational about it all, asking him if the notebook couldn't be considered an expression of creativity.
In an interview with Wolverine Radio, Smith explained that he'd been over many quite innocent scenarios as suggested by parents in conversation with him. But his stance was that 'the school really has no reaction but to go all the way to the extreme of this is a credible threat.' (My Griswold, News, date not given)
Though, in fairness, the mass e-mail sent to parents that Tuesday did iterate that the school judged their children to be safe and all end of term events would continue as scheduled.
However, Connecticut State Police Sgt. Shane Hassett told the press, "Those in the book were meant to die."
He doesn't state how.
Pst! The Death Note isn't Real
Perhaps I'm missing the point or prematurely losing patience in the sheer relentless with which these kind of stories keep coming up. Maybe my cynicism and lack of compassion comes from knowing all about the manga. Therefore grasping its preternatural plot-line enough to know that a wouldn't be a credible threat in the real world.
But I don't think so. A simple internet search, or a question in a book-store or the library would inform those parents just as much.
So where is the common sense? Where is the touch upon reality?
Just once, I want to hear about a parent, police officer, teacher or educational administrator pausing to think, 'Erm, does this Death Note work as advertised? Because if not, then it's fundamentally a few bits of paper folded together in a home-made booklet.'
There's a very easy test to find out. Place your hand upon the paper. Do you see a shinigami? Nope? Then it's probably not going to give anyone a heart attack, give or take those allowing their blood pressure to rise out of sheer paranoia.
In fact, there's an even easier test to discover its authenticity. Are you a character in a Japanese manga? No. Then it's not a blasted Death Note!
Between me and you, the object is fictitious. If your child bought a pair of plastic fangs, would you panic that (s)he had become Dracula? No! By the same token, a black notebook, however well designed and/or horrifically inscribed, does not make your kid Kira.*
Now let's address a more pertinent question - why is your child so desperate that to kill - even in fantasy - seems the only way forward? Or is it that your little one is a bully? In which case, for the sake of those being psychologically intimidated, parent him/her.
Or better still, why are YOU living in so much fear that a 13 year old with a piece of paper sounds so very threatening?
These are the questions which seem key to me.
Replica Death Notes Available as Toys
The Griswold boy didn't have to make his own Death Note replica. Money permitting, he could have bought a fairly realistic prop quite easily.
Cosplayers and other fans have been adding them to their collections for years!
Reproduction Death Notes are harmlessly marketed as toys - with a huge array from which to choose right here on Death Note News.