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Students Asked To Plot Terror Attack 13

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-to-kill-in-500-words-or-less dept.
A Pueblo County High School history teacher was surprised that people would think giving 110 freshmen an assignment to come up with a plot for an act of terrorism was a bad idea. The teacher says the assignment was to illustrate an act of terrorism on American soil, and that she just learned places and dates in college, and not common sense. Gini Fischer, a mother of one of the students, says, "To ask them to use their creative energies to come up with a plot for an act of terrorism is very ludicrous".

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Students Asked To Plot Terror Attack

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  • I'd do that. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TehBlahhh (947819) on Monday May 11, 2009 @02:39PM (#27911685)
    I'd set that exercise. Its a perfectly good educational exercise, both in critical thinking and security.

    To be a white hat you need to think like a black hat.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In IT security we are taught to think like the hacker to better understand attack vectors. In fact, at university we are not only taught how the various hacks work, but how to perform them. This is critical to understanding how to defend against them. In the same sense this exercise would have lead the vast majority of the students to understand how to defend against terrorism threats.

    • by Rary (566291)

      In IT security we are taught to think like the hacker to better understand attack vectors. In fact, at university we are not only taught how the various hacks work, but how to perform them. This is critical to understanding how to defend against them. In the same sense this exercise would have lead the vast majority of the students to understand how to defend against terrorism threats.

      Yeah, but in that case you're in a class specifically to learn IT security.

      These aren't people training to be soldiers, or police officers, or part of any kind of security force. This is a high school history class. What, exactly, did this teacher think she was teaching her history students?

      • Yeah, but in that case you're in a class specifically to learn IT security.

        These aren't people training to be soldiers, or police officers, or part of any kind of security force. This is a high school history class. What, exactly, did this teacher think she was teaching her history students?

        In my health class in high school we learned how to put condoms to avoid the risk of getting STDs. They weren't training us to be prostitutes or young unwed mothers. They were preparing us for life. Perhaps this teacher actually cared about making sure her students had the critical thinking skills to know what to do in case they ever found themselves in a situation similar to 9-11 or whatnot. Perhaps the kid who ran home and had "two minutes to come up with a plot for an act of terrorism" didn't explain the assignment properly to her mother. It is a shame this teacher isn't allowed to teach her students to think outside the box and to see the bigger picture. Perhaps we should have a "Common Sense 101" that kids have to pass in order to graduate.

      • by sjames (1099)

        What, exactly, did this teacher think she was teaching her history students?

        That it is much easier to commit terrorism than it is to prevent it? That the steps required to absolutely prevent terrorism are more destructive to a society than the terrorism itself? That stopping terrorism is like playing whack-a-mole because anybody can be one if they are sufficiently motivated?

        It's hard to say without the whole story, but it's not that hard to imagine any number of legitimate educational objectives. It's too bad so many people wet their pants at the mere mention of terrorism these day

  • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @01:43AM (#27918551)
    The real problem is that if people were to think seriously about possible acts of terrorism against the United States, they would realize that it is pretty much pointless to expect many of them not to succeed. Try this exercise yourself.

    Come up with 5 scenarios where you could inflict harm in a spectacular fashion against a group of people. The point of your attack is to raise panic and fear in the average American citizen. Would you target a high security area like an airport? What group or groups would you target to maximize fear and create chaos?

    For me, I would arrange my attacks in such a way as to make them virtually unstoppable. A high security facility is a lot of effort when you can get far more mileage out of a church, school, or movie theater. A plain white 4 year old honda civic or something virtually invisible to the average driver on the road is the perfect way of delivering fear. Knowledge of basic chemistry means that there are hundreds of chemicals in plain sight that could be combined to make an explosive device.

    The reason I believe the government tries so hard to have asshole-level security measures at airports is so that they can distract people and prevent them from thinking about the 1000 other ways a terrorist might ravage the peace of mind of the ordinary person. The problem is that we allow terrorist assholes to use fear to change us.

    Nathan Hale was hanged by the neck by the British as a traitor during the American Revolution. His words were, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Patrick Henry shouted out in a speech, "Give me liberty or give me death!" These men understood that fear of pain or death can't keep us from holding to our ideals.

    We don't need distractions to overcome fear, we need backbone. Keeping our children from understanding the realities of the situation just teaches them to shove their head in the sand. And that is the reason this sort of exercise is valuable. They should come to terms with the fact that bad things will most likely happen again, and be emotionally prepared to say "fuck you" in response to terrorists, not run to hand their rights away like America did following 9/11.
  • This is a really good idea, I think, and the teacher should be allowed to proceed.

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