Ozar Technical College located in Ozark, Missouri has dropped charges against suspected terrorist, former instructor, Karl Forge after new information came to light on April 28, 2007. According to Christian County Prosecutor, Ron Cleek, the charges came after Forge made a statement in class that: “I’m a suicide bomber” and while the new information “does not change the allegations presented to me in the beginning, it explains to me part of the why in this matter.”


According to Forge, the statement was intended as a joke that was not well thought out in advance since it came so close on the heels of the Virginia Tech tragedy. He further stated “I am truly sorry that some students felt such a high level of insecurity and confusion that they decided to report the incident as a terrorist threat.” If what he states is true, I cannot help but wonder if the incident was reported by students as a means of targeting Forge in revenge for bad grades or as a means to resolve personality conflict issues. If that is the case then the students won as Forge will not be reinstated to the college even though he was never arrested and will have no criminal history or record of the event.


Therefore, considering that all charges were dropped and Mr. Forge apologized for his unfortunate blunder makes this reviewer question how far the legal system can go in taking away our freedom of speech before we aren’t allow to voice an opinion on anything that is not approved by a governing body first. I also wonder if the students who made these allegations were truly frightened by Mr. Forge’s poorly timed remarks or if they just used them because they wanted to deprive him of his livelihood.  Additionally, were these charges against Mr. Forge treated in a similar manner as those brought by Homeland Security against the American citizenry in which the suspect is denied legal council until after hours of being grilled by the supposed good guys. We may never know the answer to that question but we do know that the Patriot Act has cost many ethnic Americans their dignity and their rights under the Constitution. Therefore, think hard about what the Bush Administration has stolen from you in the name of terror prevention so that if you are ever misunderstood or accused of anything from sexual harassment to terrorism you are not stripped of all your rights since it seems to be that one is now being considered guilty until proven innocent.


Should Forge have been questioned about his statement? Was it inappropriate especially given the timing? The answer is probably yes but should he have lost his livelihood once the situation was put to rest; this reviewer says no. I believe that perhaps a warning would have been appropriate but if you take away a person’s free speech, denying him some latitude in life you will eventually cause such isolation between the people that you will never see them be able to unite for a common cause. This particular case and many cases where sexual harassment charges have been brought have no merit in my eyes but are mainly the actions of accusers who see their only way up the corporate ladder being to sabotage the careers of those above them. In Forge’s case, the best we can wish for the man is that he will soon find another position where the school administration is more broadminded than was the case in Ozark. Terrorist or Patsy? You decide.

[tags]Terrorist threat, patsy, Ozark, Missouri, suicide bomber, Karl Forge, Ron Cleek, Patriot Act, Homeland Security, Sexual Harassment, Freedom of Speech, Constitutional Rights, Violation of Civil Liberities[/tags]