Still more on Kentucky Zombies

And now William Poole has had his first day in court: “A chilling and sometimes violent account of a school takeover raised eyebrows during a hearing in Clark County District Court Tuesday afternoon. What’s still unclear is whether 18-year-old William Poole’s journal entries were a fictional story or details of a plan to recruit a gang to unleash an armed assault on George Rogers Clark High School.” This article from the Winchester Sun is worth reading, because the question staff writer Tim Weldon asks–were the writings “a fictional story or details of a plan”–receives a firm answer.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. “Detective Steve Caudill testified that neither teacher had any knowledge of what Poole had written and there was no mention of zombies in any of the writings.” No Shaun of the Dead fanfic to be found here. But if Poole’s writings weren’t part of a zombie story, then what did Poole write? I’ll excerpt several paragraphs:

In the overview to his writings, Poole wrote, “We will shut down all the other groups that come against us.” The only way to join the brotherhood, he wrote, “is doing something stupid.”

A separate story, titled “War” was described by Caudill as “futuristic,” and referred to a group of people sitting down at a kitchen table, where they plan a takeover of a school, determining how long it will take for police to arrive on the scene. “They will all die together,” Poole wrote.

Another excerpt, read by Caudill, states, “All the boys sit down at the kitchen table and start planning it out. They wrote down how many teachers, students and guards were at the high school. Also, how long it would take police to get there. They wrote down what was needed and how they was going to do it. They agreed right there they they would all die together.”

He continued, “They yelled, ‘kill them,’ and all the soldiers of Zone 2 started shooting. They are dropping every one of them. After five minutes, all the people are laying on the ground dead.”

Other documents, titled “Death of a Soldier” tells his family goodbye and list two separate dates for his death, Nov. 20, 2004, and Feb. 19, 2005. The latter date was three days before Poole was arrested.

When I read these five paragraphs, I get the sense that Poole’s writings were fiction. If Poole were planning a school takeover, why write the plan in a narrative format where it’s hardly useful? I see narrative here. Not good narrative, granted, but it’s still narrative. Zombies would have been a useful brightline to show the writings to be fictional, but the mere fact that Poole wrote a narrative should mark the writings clear enough as fiction, not a plan.

One last excerpt from the Sun’s article: “Poole told police that a teacher at [George Rogers Clark High School] read the piece called the ‘Overview,’ and warned that Poole could be in trouble if others at school saw it.” As The Student Press Law Center and other sources have pointed out, “Under Kentucky law, a person is guilty of terroristic threatening in the second degree when they threaten to ‘commit any act likely to result in death or serious physical injury’ to students, teachers or employees of a school. ‘A threat directed at a person or persons or at a school does not need to identify a specific person or persons or school in order for a violation of this section to occur,’ the law reads.” Writing a story about a school takeover may be tasteless and Poole should be guilty of nothing more than extremely poor judgment in his choice of subjects, but under this law he could be facing draconian punishments for having the audacity to put the thoughts in his mind down on paper. In the post-Columbine universe we may find Poole’s thoughts repugnant and anti-social, but just from the excerpts read what Poole wrote marks itself clearly as fiction.

Poole is a persecuted writer, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

32 thoughts on “Still more on Kentucky Zombies

  1. Pingback: Bow. James Bow.
  2. Hey, that’s kinda scary, cause I live in winchester and my sister is a junior @ grc!!! it’s sad, cause i didn’t even kno that william got arrested, even tho the story kinda seemed familiar.

  3. Kae,

    I find your post very interesting, because there’s been another individual moving through the blogosphere claiming to be from your school as well and claiming that Poole was well known throughout the school as having a history of problems. There’s nothing like an actual eye-witness account. If you have the time, what can you confirm?

  4. I DO go to GRC…George Rogers Clark. I am a junior there, and I have known William since 4th grade. If you don’t believe me I will gladly take a picture of my 4th grade year book on my webcam and show you…But anyways, I find this whole thing about his writings completely ridiculous. If you want to talk sometime, just let me know!


    btw – my name is Shaina

  5. As a mother, and a Winchester resident, I find this whole thing very disturbing. There are more instances that happen that aren’t blown up to this porportion, in high school as well as middle and elementary school. Yes, Winchester is a small town, but it used to be a safe town, I’m not too sure of that now. As much as I’d like to believe in William Poole’s innocence, there is something that just doesn’t ring true. According to the news, there was no English lesson like he claims, and there have been several students, current and former who have come forward to say that William Poole wanted them to join him in his “army or soldiers” (can’t remember which one the news said) There were dates in his writing stating when this terrorist act was to occur, he was arrested just a few days prior to those dates. Just wanted to put my two cents in.

  6. I want to let you all know that I am kin to William Poole and I do honestly believe that he had every intention in trying to take over the school. He has been in trouble most all of his life. His parents were both always in trouble. I believe he is guilty and if he is found guilty he should be punished to the fullest. Everyone else who tried to do this would be punished. Even though he is my family, if he is guilty he should have to do his time.

  7. I have been tyring to find more updated material on this case, and I luckily stumbled across this site. I was wondering….would one of you who are so close to the area, and W. Poole, e-mail me as this case develops? I’d really appreciate it….every time I Google I only come up with the original story. My email is :

    THanx if you can help!


  8. WOOPS sorry….for some weird reason it didn’t show up on the link I saved to this site prior to posting. Strange.

  9. I go to GRC. I didn’t know William personally but a few of my friends did. From what they’ve told me he needs some serious anger management and/or counceling. People that I’ve talked to did make fun of him and said that he has a bad temper. From my point of view I don’t see his story as being fictional. Perhaps because it is written in a narrative way gives off the sense that it is fictional but there could still be truth behind it. Why anyone would write a ‘story’ like that anyway is beyond me. Judging by his actions and the violence of the story there is still a high chance that he could have put his ‘fictoinal plan’ to use.

  10. Max:

    Just because kids say things about other kids doesn’t make it true. I’ve used this word it seems like a million times since this thing began, but it’s called hearsay. And kids are since my time up till now are notorious for telling stories about people they don’t like— or people they don’t even know— just to get attention. Heck even adults do it.

    As far as “why anyone would write a story like that” there are many reasons. Allyn makes some good points. So does James Bow at this link :

    At the very beginnining of that link he has a link to his first blog.

    Why do people write stories like this? Many reasons….it’s actually healthy to get ones feelings out into fiction for one, if you have anger issues. Was Stephen King a madman because he wrote Carrie and Rage ? He admits in several of his books prologue’s that he had anger issues. I can’t prove that, so I guess to be fair you can consider it hearsay. I don’t have time to go back thru every Stephen King book. But those are books by him, and they both concern teens causing harm to their schools.

    How many horror films or stories exist? Too many to count. Many of them are popular, and alot of them are classics. Are these all the work of people who wanted to do people harm? I’d guess that some of them probably could have been. I hate my society and my government and have huge anger management problems and ya know what? It’s when I DON’T write that the problems manifest in reality. Don’t worry I have therapy 😉 .

  11. Alex,
    First off let me say, as a member of the US Military, if you hate your government and hate your society so much, LEAVE…Good luck finding someplace that will let you publish your views freely…Hell I’ll even come help you pack. Now then…people like this kid (and Alex) do have problems and need help. The reason most kids lash out like this, in my opinion, is lack of discipline growing up. I totally believe this kid is guilty based on the information presented to me. To let him get away with this would let all the other kids out there who are mad because they are getting made fun of at school (hey bud, that’s part of growing up) know that this behavior will go on unpunished.

  12. Yeah Juan, we don’t want kids thinking they can get away with something as heinous as putting their thoughts in a private journal.After poking around a bit, I’ve found that there are too many conflicting reports to make any kind of a reasonable conclusion on Poole. That judge better have a damn good reason to seal the story (covering his ass doesn’t count). Specifics of the case aside though, that law is a blatant violation of the Bill of Rights. I swear this country seems to fall apart just a little more every time I turn around.

  13. Background, I agree with you 110%. Juan, your statements only further prove the point that this government, its laws and its military are completely out of control. We don’t need “soldiers” like you protecting us. Since you obviously don’t believe in protecting the constitution, why don’t YOU get out?

    The question of whether this boy William needs psychological help is probably undeniable, but his writings certainly don’t make him a criminal. Think about it… If we were to start imprisoning people for this kind of writing, Hollywood would be in big trouble. Furthermore, should we really be squelching those who write about overthrowing leadership? This country was built on the very idea that not only should the expression of free thought be leagal, but encouraged!

    I am a professional playwrite, and I too have felt the sting of government sanctioned censorship. If you don’t think it happens, you better wake up. Were Mr. Poole’s constitutional rights violated? No, the Patriot Act took his right to free speech… just as it did to all of us. It’s time to write your congress, ladies and gentlemen. Demand that they start following their oath of office before it’s too late.

    “America lost it’s most valuable citizen on 9/11… her name was Liberty.”


  14. Juan, I thank you for your services and sacrifices. But, your comments are unwarranted and completely out of line. Why is it that the liberals in this post-9/11 country are constantly attacked for their “unpatriotic” views?

    As far as this case goes, I’m interested in any updates. Although the Schiavo affair seemed more urgent, I find it disturbing that a situation like this has not captured a fraction of our nation’s attention. What will the consequences be after his trial is over, especially if he is convicted? Why are we disallowed from seeing his writings?! Why is the government prosecuting a citizen for exercising a basic freedom? I am curious as to which part of the Patriot Act affects Poole’s indictment. I am not familiar with the act, so any information would be much appreciated.

    Personally, I feel that Poole’s arrest is a result of our administration’s rhetoric of fear, which perpetuates the attitude that a terror attack is inevitable, and therefore demands that we, as responsible and patriotic citizens, be vigilant on all fronts, even if that means reporting our grandsons for writing violent journal entries. It is amazing (and sad, considering the significant event sparking this change) that in just a few years, we have moved from striking down a 1993 FAA proposal to ban air travelers from carrying knives to arresting an 18 year old for his private ruminations, as if he had written an Al Qaeda training manual. It seems that we are faced with a difficult choice. I’m not saying I don’t think terrorism is a viable threat; I only mean that we risk losing our basic freedoms if we allow our government to carry its war into our own living rooms and private thoughts. How can we check this? Vote, for chrissakes. Even after this past election, I have some faith in the voting system.

    As a writer, I am disheartened by the authoritiies’ actions in this case. As an American, I am even less impressed. This whole incident isn’t just about whether or not Poole needs help, or whether or not the school was threatened; it’s also about establishing the government’s scope of power in regulating the way we express ourselves. I think that’s something we need to realize.

  15. Juan, you and people like you are the reason for the troubled youth of today. I AM a high school student, not some big shot military man, and I know that bullying in schools is NOT everyday and acceptable. Assholes like you torture other kids because of their OWN insecurites, and in a way, people like YOU are responsible for people like Eric (Columbine Shooter). YOU push them to do shit like that. You got me all worked up, sayin that that stuff was NORMAL. bullshizit, is all I have left to say!

    Colleen Baldwin. any other replys can be sent to

  16. and another thing. Leave William and Alex the *u*k alone. I mean, I appreciate some people in the military, but not you. Just because you fight for our country doesn’t mean you are some kind of god or something. Why don’t YOU leave. shit, i’ll help YOU pack. if i don’t vomit from the stench of you piggish pride first! Get A LIFE, quit pickin on other people, and lose the ego, you are coming off as PATHETIC to EVERYONE.
    To everyone else… lol:
    I think that what William Poole wrote was no different then the movie Elephant, or any other similar movies. Hell, why don’t we arrest some of these directors we got here makin movies like that? His JOURNAL wasn’t even out circulating in the public like movies. (That is until his grandma decided to ruin his life). People around here make bomb threats and don’t get punished as harshly. I mean, i respect the gov’t is being so paranoid, with the recent shootings and all, but must we make our statement by ruining some poor guy’s life? He was obviously teased in school (probably by asses like Juan), and decided to take his anger out in his writing, which I think is a good way, I mean, he never killed anyone! Seriously! Why don’t you guys arrest the whole teen race?! I’m sure we write about the same stuff as William, except we don’t have Grandma’s all up in our face arresting our asses! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD TODAY!? I’M CURIOUS TO KNOW!


  17. I normally just “lurk” on these types of sites. However, this subject is very near and dear to my heart. I am the mother of a teenager that many would see as a bit different. In reality, he is one of the kindest, most gentle people that I know. He once gave a man his lunch money while on a field trip from school. His third grade teacher could not believe that a kid would do such a thing. But if you were to see my son on the street or in the hallway of your local high school you would think, “What a weirdo!” He wears black clothes most of the time, could not buy a trench coat fast enough after the Columbine shootings, has been drawing violent pictures most of his life and makes his mother worry about how others perceive him on a daily basis. Well, last year he found himself the focus of a “terrorist threat to his high school” investigation by our local police department. The basis of the threat was writings/drawings in his notebook. I might add that when the Superintendent of Education can not recognize basic chemisty notes, we might need to look at our educational system a little harder. I told my son that his sense of humor was going to come back to haunt him. And, I was right. Well, luckily, my son had a family that believed in him. We hired a good lawyer and suddenly the local police department decided that they would be happy to just let him drop out of school six weeks before his graduation and go away quietly. He received his GED and is now a sophomore in college. I might add that he had never been in any kind of trouble at his high school. He has been able to move on with his life, I just hope that the people who are investigating this kid’s writings keep an open mind to the possibility that maybe, just maybe that all that he was doing and was ever going to do about his teen angst was to write about it. If there is more to this than writing then I am sure that the truth will come out in time. And, I might add that there are many ways to love one’s country.

  18. Gee Juan, a bit fascist ? Do you even have a clue about what the Founding Fathers fought about and against to bring about the USA? Check them out…you can find their collected works in pretty many places. Now Jefferson, for one, not only wrote that We The People are endowed by a Creator with our rights. No government nor country provides those rights. “Governments are instituted among men deriving their JUST powers from the CONSENT of THOSE GOVERNED”. Minus the caps, that’s from…why by golly!..the Declaration of Independence! Jefferson also goes on to suggest that if enough of We The People don’t agree with the government, we have the RIGHT to alter or abolish it. That also from the Declaration. Now Many, many of our Founding Fathers have many,many writings on how We The People are to protect civil liberties. Guess they don’t bother teaching you military types what our Founders intended tho, eh?

    Oh by the way, along with helping me pack, are you gonna throw me 5-8 thousand dollars that it would likely take to set up residence in another country. You see Juan, I am one of the ‘poor and disenfranchised’, and I hold society to blame for a good deal of that. There are a ton of things I could list about the government I don’t like, but let’s get back to William Poole and your beliefs shall we?

    Juan said : “Now then…people like this kid do have problems and need help.”

    What gives you the athourity to decide that Juan? Do you link with ESP to Poole and know what’s in his head?

    Juan wrote: ” I totally believe this kid is guilty based on the information presented to me. ”

    Key words: YOU BELIEVE. And please, share with us this information presented to you Juan. Is it actual evidence, or just hearsay. Do you know the difference?

    Juan wrote: “To let him get away with this would let all the other kids out there who are mad because they are getting made fun of at school .”

    What exactly is he ‘getting away with’ Juan ? He wrote some stories. Has he violated you or anyone elses rights? No. So what exactly is he ‘getting away with’ ?

    PS: If I ever get to the point where I write well enough to get published, yes Juan..there are PLENTY of places outside your warped vision of the USA that will publish. No worry’s there.

  19. That’s bizarre. The first time I clicked the link I got an article about a Texas student arrested and charged with a felony because he wrote on the desk. Then I reloaded the page and I got the William Poole story.


  20. I think I’ve figured out the problem.

    The Zero Intelligence post “moves” based upon updates. When the story is updated with new information it gets a new URL.

  21. 😡 This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m so sick of overzealous lawmakers siding with uneducated and frightened mobs trying to pass laws to extend the agenda of this neo-fascist crap. I relate to Becca and alot of other people out there. Some people are just different. I was one of those weird kids in grade school who wore a trench coat and listened to “goth” music. Then when Columbine happened suddenly the odd kids were thought to be potentially dangerous.

    I knew alot of people in grade school who loved horror movies, wore black clothing, wrote zombie and other horror fiction, and were considered by many to be the weird kids. But none of them ever hurt a single person in any way.

    At the very very VERY most, I would say the worst the Kentucky courts should be able to do is require the kid to go to counseling. If he never wrote on paper: “I will do (x) on (x) Signed (x)” Then there really isn’t an issue here at all except for the people who need to get over the fact that they’ll never understand some people. Just because they might scare you, doesn’t give you an excuse to lock them up.

    And another thing. I want every one of you “concerned” or otherwise inclined people to go online and search zombie fiction on google. You’ll find that there is a great wealth of fiction about the end of the world and masses of the living dead. Should all zombie authors be locked up? Should we lock up the legendary George Romero? What about those people who wrote Shaun of the Dead?

    By the way, the weird kids I knew from high school are all in college earning degrees now in psychology and philosophy, and one is in the language program as well as the military. They’re all good people who want the betterment of humanity and to contribute to our wonderful society. I rarely contribute to online postings, but this one is a no “braaaaaaaainer.”

  22. Pingback: Bow. James Bow.
  23. I’m from England and i know im posting kind of late but my Genetics teacher mentioned the story to me and i have to say this is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!! This guy was just writing a work of fiction, nothing wrong with that. I personally have written zombie stories and horror (purely cos i cant write comedy or anything else) so why is he being punished. Why is writing a fictional story involving ZOMBIES in any way related to terroristic behaviour? I dont know the world seems to be going down the crapper. I know that when this guy was arrested (2005?) there was a lot of scare about terrorism but that doesnt make it ok to punish people for such ridiculous things. William Poole I cant find any info on what happened with the case but i sure as hell hope you kick someones ass, they sure as hell deserve it.

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