TurningWheels

Thursday, July 10, 2003
 
Ah, the schtoopidity

Sometimes the sheer stoopidity of people is mind-boggling. And follow that up with stoopid people who are surprised that those of us with common sense find them stoopid.

Exhibit A:

An instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College gave his students a brilliant homework assignment: write an email to an elected official which states, "kill the President." Most students did not take him seriously, however one student actually sent this email to their Representative in Washington. His office immediately turned the email over to Capitol police. The Secret Service is now investigating.

Michael Ballou, a part-time lecturer who teaches an "Introduction to U.S. Government" course at the college's Petaluma campus, intended the assignment to be an "experiential exercise that would instill a sense of fear so they would have a better sense of why more people don't participate in the political process," said Doug Garrison, the vice president and executive dean of the Petaluma campus.

The instructor was not available for an interview for this article, however he has been interviewed on local radio. He claims that this is an exercise he has used before to demonstrate the fear of government we have here in America. Yes, you read that correctly. Never mind that the President of the United States is probably the biggest target for assasins in the world, and for this the Secret Service takes threats very seriously. All threats. He wanted to prove that (paraphrasing) "our fear should not be of terrorists or foreign invaders, but our own government." He wanted his students to feel fear of their government, and apparently felt that this method was a-okay.

These are the freakazoids that are teaching our future generations. I hope he remembers to always keep one eye on the sky. You never know when those black helicopters will show up to take you away.

Update:
Just found this article about the incident.

Ballou said the goal of the exercise was to get students to think about what could happen if they did send the e-mail or make such a statement.

"Just the act of saying that and knowing your e-mail could be tapped and your phone listened to, you get a wave of fear over you and you realize we're actually afraid of our own government," he said.

Yep, the same way that a wave of fear would come over me if I joked that I had a bomb in my suitcase as I boarded a plane. Fear that I'm going to be arrested. Dude, making a threat to the President is a felony. Any normal human being will be overcome by fear when partaking in an illegal activity. I am overcome with fear when I run through an "orange" light... it has nothing to do with fear of government, per se. It's fear of getting caught doing something wrong. What a dumb-ass.

"The point of the assignment was to experience fear of the government," said Andrea Joy of Windsor, adding that she didn't send an e-mail. "Everybody did by just suggesting the assignment. At no point was Michael advocating any violence.

"The reaction really validated his point," Joy said.

The only point this exercise validated is consequences. Every action has a reaction (and that reaction, Missy, is that of a group that is charged with protecting our President from threats). When you break the law, expect to pay the price. A college instructor certainly should not be assigning an illegal activity to his students. Only in the Bay Area.




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