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Math 101: Geometry applications in presidential assassination

President Obama

According to an article in the Birmingham (Alabama) News, a Jefferson County math teacher, Gregory Harrison, was visited by the US Secret Service after it was reported that he had used shooting President Obama to provide a practical application of the concepts of parallel lines and angles.

The newspaper reports that the Secret Service closed their investigation after determining that the teacher was not “a credible threat.” The fellow may not be a threat to President Obama, but he is an incredibly bad example for his students.

A 9th grader at the school said:

“We all make mistakes, and we should be able to learn from our mistakes,” she said. “What he said was just wrong and inappropri­ate. Everyone’s got their own opinions, but we have to be aware of our sur­roundings. At this point, it just needs to be handled in a way that it won’t be re­peated.”

After a flood of telephone calls from across the nation, the Superintendent Phil Hammonds announced that Harrison has been placed on leave, pending a decision that might possibly include termination. Superintendent Hammonds described the incident as a “great embarrassment” to the District.

8 Responses to Math 101: Geometry applications in presidential assassination

  1. avatar
    aarrgghh May 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    i wonder what mr harrison thinks of the practical application of the concept of “blowback”?

  2. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett May 18, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    If this teacher had done a similar thought experiment with Bush I think he’d be suffering blowback at Gitmo.

  3. avatar
    Scott Brown May 19, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Tremlett – I think you are wrong. I think plenty of teachers spoke out against Bush, in fact, my children came home from high school telling me the crap that teachers would teach about Bush – I don’t remember a story about them getting visited by the SS.

    It’s not that we supported Bush (I think Obama is just an extension of the bad Bush policies), but as President the office deserves our respect, no matter which party holds the office.

  4. avatar
    Scientist May 19, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Scott Brown-“Speaking out” is a far cry from discussing angles to take shots. Personally, I think teachers should leave their politics at the classroom door, but to compare someone saying “Bush (or Obama) is an idiot” with talking about firing guns is quite outlandish (no personal criticism of Scott implied, Doc).

  5. avatar
    Greg May 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Scott Brown: Tremlett – I think you are wrong.I think plenty of teachers spoke out against Bush, in fact, my children came home from high school telling me the crap that teachers would teach about Bush – I don’t remember a story about them getting visited by the SS.

    I would imagine you are selectively remembering things. First, that you are remembering “speaking out against Bush” as somehow similar to plotting assassination angles. Second, you seem to be forgetting the times when the Secret Service investigated threats made against the President – like the 14 year-old charged in the linked story for an e-mailed threat. Or this high school band. Or this LA Times cartoonist.

    The Secret Service is an apolitical organization and they investigate any threats on the President, no matter how silly.

  6. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett May 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    Scott Brown: Tremlett – I think you are wrong. I think plenty of teachers spoke out against Bush, in fact, my children came home from high school telling me the crap that teachers would teach about Bush – I don’t remember a story about them getting visited by the SS.

    First off, there’s a difference between talking sheep about the President – which, yes, shouldn’t really be appropriate for teachers to do in front of students – and doing what that teacher did. [Personal comment deleted.]

  7. avatar
    Snow May 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    For a teacher to be teaching kids how to kill anyone is repulsive and totally inappropriate. I wouldn’t want him any where near my kids.

  8. avatar
    G May 20, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    Scott Brown: but as President the office deserves our respect, no matter which party holds the office.

    Scott Brown – I agree with that statement completely. Please try to remind yourself of that as much as possible.

    I would hope you can understand why so many of the birther’s actions and accusations, (which have nothing to do with reasonable policy debate), demonstrate an extreme disrespect for the office of President.