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January 1, 2008

Naming Names

These comics first ran several years ago but even then, ever since Columbine, kids younger than Ruthie were being suspended for writing lists such as these — and Library Ladies would have been fired for not ratting them out.

Post-9/11, these lists were being called “terroristic threats,” and kids were being hauled off to the police station. In handcuffs.

All this being said, though, “I guess I’ll have to add one more name” was perversely funny.


  1. If anybody thinks I’m exaggerating about “terroristic threats,” check out this article which I chose entirely at random from my old crime site (there were about two dozen more I could have reprinted, each of them equally appropriate).

    Comment by Cidu Bill — January 1, 2008 @ 9:23 am

  2. I knew about the Columbine list thing, but not the terrorist.


    I’m so bad – first list that came to my mind was Nixon’s famous one.

    Comment by Kaitlyn — January 1, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  3. I know a lot of people hate “One Big Happy” – and I do admit it tends toward the cute/trite a little too much – but I LOOOVE Ruthie! She redeems herself often enough to make this strip a must-read for me. The last panel of the second strip makes me wanna high-five her!

    Comment by L.B. Wylie — January 1, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  4. She didn’t just write a list of names, though. She wrote a story. If something bad happens to the kids in the story, it might be interpreted that it might be what she wants to do in real life. She might be the victim in the story, though. It could be her against the monster, Billy or trying to escape the dirty thief, Janey. Or can kids get arrested for writing that too?

    Comment by bAT L. — January 2, 2008 @ 12:14 am

  5. Kids have been suspended from school and even arrested for stories. A few years back some middle-schooler in Canada (in case you think Canada is less nuts than we are) was arrested after writing a story in which several of his classmates were killed. This sounds almost reasonable, except that the class assignment required the students to use all the words in a particular list, and the list included words like “bloody”

    The teacher gave the kid an A, by the way; and then a parent of one of the kids found out about the story, and you can pretty much guess what happened next.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — January 2, 2008 @ 12:38 am

  6. We don’t have enough information to conclude that this is the kind of story that would be interpreted as a threat. It sounds like the kids in the story were just mean and looked bad.

    That said, Bill’s point really puts Ruthie’s mom’s advice in question.

    Comment by John — January 2, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  7. The second strip is great. It reminds me of a gag that could show up in the (pre-Columbine, pre-9/11) Calvin & Hobbes strips, only Calvin probably would’ve got sent to the principal.

    Looking back at those old C&H strips, it’d be interesting to see how some would play today – what with Calvin fantasizing about blowing up the school with a missile and planning the demises of his classmates (through tiger mutilation, T-Rex attack, etc).

    Ah, the good old days.

    Comment by The Ploughman — January 2, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  8. Somehow, Ruthie seems immune to the Columbine creepiness for me because she seems to live in a simpler time – I picture her living next door to the Cleavers or the Brady Bunch.

    Also, the book may be more of a slam book (have they been outlawed too?) than a bloody narrative, although I realize everyone’s hyper-cautious these days. I just hope and pray that Ruthie doesn’t end up in reform school!

    Comment by L.B. Wylie — January 3, 2008 @ 1:33 am

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