Officers from the Nashua police district have had to explain to a group of very concerned parents that a recently discovered Death Note-inspired notebook poses no real threat to their childrens' safety.
In Death Note, a young man discovers a magical notebook that once belonged to a "shinigami," a fictional race of creatures that survive on the death of humans.
When Light, the young man, writes someone's name in the notebook, a person with that same name will die almost instantaneously under mysterious circumstances.
Over the course of the manga (which spawned a popular anime series and a live action film) Light realizes that he can control the specifics of a person's death like the time, date, and exact cause by putting more details into the book.
Naturally (because this is fiction) Light develops a God complex, going on a murder spree to kill people that he's determined to be worthy of early deaths.
When teachers at Nashua North high school discovered a homemade death note containing the names of 17 students from the school district, they were immediately alarmed. Like Light's death note, the one they found was filled with specific death scenarios for each of the students listed.
Authorities were called, and even though it's easy to see why the administrators were initially afraid, Nashua Police Chief Andrew Lavoie insisted that the nook itself posed no imminent threat.
“I assigned multiple detectives to this; it is an ongoing investigation,” Lavoie told parents at a forum gathered to discuss the events. “We don’t feel there’s an ongoing safety issue.”
While no arrests were made, superintendent Mark Conrad assured parents that the school had moved to appropriately penalize the student the notebook belonged to. Still, though, some parents felt that not enough action had been taken and that the police were not treating the book as the list of threats that it actually was.
Danielle Charest, whose daughter was one of the 17 students listed in the notebook, expressed her dissatisfaction in a Facebook post. She explained that school officials were slow to inform parents when they first learned of the notebook that she says legitimately frightened her. Charest also said that her daughter's name was put onto the list because she had once given the author a "dirty look" when the two of them were in the second grade.
"Each form of death was different and thought out. Each was sick, twisted and shows the signs of a mentally unstable person as the author," Charest wrote. "The school has taken the position that it is not a threat and did not even contact the parents until the end of the day."
As Comic Book Resources points out, this is far from the first time that a teenager's been inspired to moodily scratch the names of their peers into a makeshift death note. In this year alone there have already been four other instances of similar things happening around the country and notebooks modeled after Light's are fairly easy to find on Etsy.