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I’m not sure what this is all about, but it’s creepy, kind of Parallax View-ish. Man who used ‘kill the president’ in class found dead.

Michael H. Ballou, a Santa Rosa Junior College instructor questioned last year by the Secret Service over a controversial assignment involving President Bush, has died, the Sonoma County coroner said Tuesday.

The 49-year-old political science instructor died Saturday at his Guerneville home where he lived alone, Sheriff’s Sgt. Will Wallman said.

The cause of his death is under investigation, but detectives have ruled out homicide, Wallman said. “There’s nothing to say he died at the hands of another, but, otherwise, the book is wide open.”

…He became embroiled in controversy in the summer of 2003 when he assigned students to compose an e-mail with the words “kill the president” in the body of the text.

Ballou said he was trying to demonstrate to students’ fear of government and the “growing police state.”

Although he said students were instructed not to send the message, one e-mailed it to the Washington office of Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena. Within days, Secret Service agents arrived to question Ballou .

Ballou defended his lesson, saying he meant no harm to the president. In a newspaper column, Ballou said the response proved his point.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding