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Old 08-25-2010, 07:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Plan a terrorist attack, get an A?

High school teacher asks class to plan terror attack - CNN.com

I'm not sure high school is the proper place for this type of assignment, but it highlights a big part of implementing good security... You have to anticipate how the terrorists are going to attack you, and be able to prevent it. It is done in computer security all the time. The problem comes when you come up with an attack and have no good way to prevent it or anticipate it.

Do you think that this was a good assignment to get the students to think about security in their everyday lives? Do you think that they would come up or expose weaknesses that security personal can't easily defend against? Maybe they are trying to find out how evil the kids are? Or do you think that the teacher was trying to come up with ideas to implement... that would be a good movie idea.

*I wouldn't write down your own ideas if you have any, you don't want to get investigated.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think most people would have issues with the following:

Plan a murder
Plan an arson
Plan an assassination

If this were an advanced class, a college class on security, then that's different. But it was an environment class that was asked to plan a chemical or biological attack. Don't think so.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It really drives me crazy when people talk about things being inappropriate for high school students. While they're in school we have to protect them from the big bad world but the day they turn 18/graduate, they're supposed to be critically thinking citizens capable of handling all the rights and responsibilities. When the hell are they supposed to learn how; major cram session that night?

High school is the place explicitly for cultivating adults.

This lesson plays right into that thought line and I actually think this has the potential to be a fantastic civics lesson. It's a shame that in our world today this teacher is more than likely going to get fired. Maybe not in Austrailia though, where they tend to be a bit more laid back.

In the US there is actually probably a law against it, somewhere in the patriot act.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It really drives me crazy when people talk about things being inappropriate for high school students. While they're in school we have to protect them from the big bad world but the day they turn 18/graduate, they're supposed to be critically thinking citizens capable of handling all the rights and responsibilities. When the hell are they supposed to learn how; major cram session that night?

High school is the place explicitly for cultivating adults.

This lesson plays right into that thought line and I actually think this has the potential to be a fantastic civics lesson. It's a shame that in our world today this teacher is more than likely going to get fired. Maybe not in Austrailia though, where they tend to be a bit more laid back.

In the US there is actually probably a law against it, somewhere in the patriot act.
Yeah, I agree with you about this. And I think this piece totally blows the whole thing out of proportion (shocking! TV news blowing something way out of proportion!).

That said, I have to admit, as a teacher, I find this to be a very weird assignment. It's just a little...creepy, but not in the "shake their complacency" way that sometimes creative offbeat assignments are (anyone ever see the based-on-true-story movie "The Wave?" You know what I mean).
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Maybe not the appropriate class to teach something like that in, but they're on the right track. I'd be more okay with letting an advanced class teacher give that assignment more than a lower level class teacher, but then again, for all I know this was a higher class.

Hektore speaks the truth. I wish there were more thought provoking assignments like this.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I did this in college. It was a useful tool for exploring the types of weaknesses exploited by terrorists as well as the planning process and logistics involved. If you can reverse engineer a type of attack, you can help prevent it. All this high school McCarthyism shit needs to stop.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have a problem with this. The teacher might as well ask the students to plan a party. Unbelievably easy. In the five minutes that I spent deciding how to respond to this, I came up with three plans, all with a decent chance of success. Other than that, it might help the kids be more aware. I guess it all depends on how the assignment was structured. Maybe the news syndicates will get their hands on the prompt.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd rather have my kid thinking about how to plan a terrorist attack with a teacher's supervision than without.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Maybe not in Austrailia though, where they tend to be a bit more laid back.
Don't worry, we have our fair share of knee jerk reactionaries and Z-grade journalists willing to do a beat up.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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What is shocking is that a students uncle was burnt alive by a terrorist.

Ok maybe I just made that up, but it probably made you react a drop more outraged. There is no way the teacher knew for sure that no relative of any of the students never had been a victim, or saw something that bothered them. On a personal note most people would not know that about me, that I had friends who were a victim (or maybe you would cause i live in NYC). It is just a traumatic and horrifying thing to ask of a child. And yes 15 is still a child.

There is a big difference between learning about being a terrorist, and learning about terrorism. And this crosses the line.

We entrust our children to teachers and do force on them i feel to much responsibility to mold our children, but there are certain things that a teacher should know is just wrong.

Last edited by Xazy; 08-27-2010 at 04:41 AM..
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Craven Morehead View Post
I think most people would have issues with the following:

Plan a murder
Plan an arson
Plan an assassination

If this were an advanced class, a college class on security, then that's different. But it was an environment class that was asked to plan a chemical or biological attack. Don't think so.
Those all sound like they'd teach students a thousand times more critical thinking and problem solving than anything I learned in high school. That's a class I'd never skip
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What is shocking is that a students uncle was burnt alive by a terrorist.

Ok maybe I just made that up, but it probably made you react a drop more outraged.
Not really.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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It is just a traumatic and horrifying thing to ask of a child. And yes 15 is still a child.

There is a big difference between learning about being a terrorist, and learning about terrorism. And this crosses the line.
When I was 15 I was aware of some messed up shit. 15 is three short years away from setting the kid free to go out and live on their own, they should be aware of what a terrorist is capable of, and the best way to do that is get then inside the head of one. Critical thinking and problem solving at it's finest, like MSD said. A 15 year old can and will realize the meaning of this assignment. I doubt this would do any traumatic damage to teens and if I was 15 I'd be insulted that you look down on me as being "too innocent" to learn about a true problem in this world.
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Those all sound like they'd teach students a thousand times more critical thinking and problem solving than anything I learned in high school. That's a class I'd never skip

Not really.
If critical thinking were the end result there are thousands of topics to choose from that would yield the same benefit but would be a positive experience and something that might actually better society rather than how to be a terrorist.

There are only so many hours in a day for teaching, why spend it teaching a negative? Turn it around, use it productively. Sure, some may think about this outside of class without teacher guidance. But that is only some, a very small percentage. Teach this in class and 100% of them do.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If critical thinking were the end result there are thousands of topics to choose from that would yield the same benefit but would be a positive experience and something that might actually better society rather than how to be a terrorist.

There are only so many hours in a day for teaching, why spend it teaching a negative? Turn it around, use it productively. Sure, some may think about this outside of class without teacher guidance. But that is only some, a very small percentage. Teach this in class and 100% of them do.
It's not teaching them how to be a terrorist. They aren't learning about things like "how to blow up a bomb strapped to your chest" or "take this gun and shoot that guy." The teacher isn't telling them tips and tricks about being a terrorist. They are using what they already know and applying it to what they think a terrorist could do.

You don't think getting inside a terrorist mind is positive? I think it is. "Hey, that building is of high value with low security and if I wanted to attack it I could." It eliminates possible weak points. They are turning a negative (terrorist attack) into a positive (solving problems, thinking ahead and planning).

To me, that would be a fun project. I'd work hard and think critically about what could really happen. That would be my favorite class by far.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well once you get into the lesson, you realize how the logistics of carrying out a massive casualty attack are insanely easy. The difficult part is procurement of supplies. Nuclear/Chemical/Biological weapons are not easy to come by. Kinda puts the importance of preventing their proliferation front and center. When you realize how easy it is for you, you realize how easy it is for anyone else. You can't just tell kids, you have a show them, then they care. I firmly believe that the only reason a nuke hasn't gone off in a major population centre in the US (yet) is because nukes aren't easy to get your hands on.

That's not an important or positive lesson?
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Well once you get into the lesson, you realize how the logistics of carrying out a massive casualty attack are insanely easy. The difficult part is procurement of supplies. Nuclear/Chemical/Biological weapons are not easy to come by. Kinda puts the importance of preventing their proliferation front and center. When you realize how easy it is for you, you realize how easy it is for anyone else. You can't just tell kids, you have a show them, then they care. I firmly believe that the only reason a nuke hasn't gone off in a major population centre in the US (yet) is because nukes aren't easy to get your hands on.

That's not an important or positive lesson?
I love generalizations. I just spent the last three years researching this topic at the college level and you say it's insanely easy.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I love generalizations. I just spent the last three years researching this topic at the college level and you say it's insanely easy.
How hard could it be? There's a serious lack of security in some parts of the world and I'm sure if someone had the resources and knowledge they would know what to do.

I have not taken any kind of class on this subject, and I'm genuinely interested in how hard (or easy) a terrorist attack could be. To me, it seems pretty easy and it's surprising there haven't been more. Then again, the relatively small amount might be because there is more security than I think. I don't know for sure.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I don't know for sure.
Okay. Just checking. I like to make wild assumptions about the world and I'm always grateful when somebody reigns me in with facts or experience.

As far as some basic education on the subject, check out:
The Jihad Next Door The Jihad Next Door
,
The Five Front War The Five Front War
, and the Fort Dix attack plot summary on Wikipedia.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I firmly believe that the only reason a nuke hasn't gone off in a major population centre in the US (yet) is because nukes aren't easy to get your hands on.
Quote:
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How hard could it be? There's a serious lack of security in some parts of the world and I'm sure if someone had the resources and knowledge they would know what to do.
http://www.vbs.tv/watch/the-vice-gui...n-dirty-bombs/

Yeah.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
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How much harder can it be to sneak a weapon in somewhere than a same-sized load of drugs - Of course we all know how rare drugs are...
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Look at that, easy to do. MSD, you'd think stuff like that only happens in the movies. Scary world we live in where anyone can get their hands on explosives that dangerous. I remember seeing something on 60 Minutes a few months back about a group who got into a nuclear plant with no resistance. Maybe it wasn't a nuke plant, but it was something of high value. South Africa maybe?
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:55 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Fun video. The skeptical viewer comments make more sense to me, though.

"Where's the bomb?" I mean, I can make a big metal lance point on a lathe, too.

My question is how many black market nukes are still just sitting around waiting to be deployed?

How many pussy-ass badguys are holding onto these things, huh? What are they waiting for?

Just maybe they really like Futurama and hope for similar American cartoons in the future.

...

And as stated in the video comments:

You know what Bulgarians like to do more than selling black market weapons?

Tell tall tales about selling black market weapons to bearded American reporters.

I figure legit arms dealers don't stay in business long if they're blabbing to anybody.

Especially not Americans with cameras.

...

Just to inspire confidence in how safe we are, here's the cliche counterterrorism cover-your-six argument:

If they could have done it, it would have already happened.
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