Alabama Teacher Explains Angles of Presidential Assassination

NoTargetShootingA Birmingham, Alabama area geometry teacher used the unfortunate example of shooting the president to illustrate the issue of angles, prompting a Secret Service investigation.

“We did not find a credible threat,” said Roy Sex­ton, special agent in charge of Birmingham’s Secret Service office. “As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked into it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation.”

The teacher was appar­ently teaching his geometry students about parallel lines and angles, officials said. He used the example of where to stand and aim if shooting Obama.

“He was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,’ ” said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.

Efforts to reach the teacher for comment Mon­day were unsuccessful.   Superintendent Phil Hammonds said the teacher remains at work, and there are no plans for termination.   “We are going to have a long conversation with him about what’s appropriate,” Hammonds said. “It was extremely poor judgment on his part, and a poor choice of words.”

This is one of those rare cases where federal security authorities and a local school board actually have wide discretion and yet exercised perfectly reasonable judgment.

Clearly, the teacher was trying to spice up his lecture with a memorable and cutting edge example.  Just as clearly, it was a stupid one.  And yet, quite obviously, he wasn’t actually plotting to kill the president.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mpw280 says:

    Poor timing not poor judgement on the teachers part, if he had used the example 3 years ago it would have been just fine. mpw

  2. Anderson says:

    Alabama: God’s gift to Mississippi.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    There’s no criminal act. But there was criminal stupidity. He should be fired.

  4. Alabama: God’s gift to Mississippi.

    As a born and bred Mississippian, I must agree.

  5. Of course, if lesbian high school students are the issue, we look worse.

  6. Pug says:

    Don’t be surprised if the Texas Board of Education votes to require this method of teaching geometry in their curriculum.

  7. Juneau: says:

    If it had been GWB as the named official involved in the example, you wouldn’t have heard a peep. Mainly because the right didn’t run whining to the closest authority when something like this happened.

  8. carpeicthus says:

    Yes, Juneau. You have never, ever heard a complaint about liberal teachers. David Horowitz hasn’t made his entire career on such whining.

    Go back to sleep.

  9. arczi says:

    Creative teacher

  10. Juneau: says:

    The left has perfected whining as a mode of communication. The right is just getting warmed up 🙂