ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - Dr. Krister Knapp teaches a Global War On Terrorism class at Washington University. He was especially touched by Monday's bombings at the Boston marathon. "I lived in Boston ten years went to graduate school there and I'm originally from New England," said Knapp.
Given that, it's no surprise Dr. Knapp used the tragic event as a topic of discussion in Tuesday's class. The catch is his students - juniors and seniors - were no longer students. They were pretending to be members of the National Security Council addressing President Obama about who maybe responsible for the blasts. "These terrorist attacks happen so quickly. They seem to come out of the blue," Knapp added.
Dr. Knapp made his instructions perfectly clear. "What I'd like to get your thoughts on is whether you think this may be an individual or a group whether this is domestic or foreign."
Students were quick to respond. "I think that the likelihood of this being an actual foreign group that enters the U.S. to carry out the attack is extremely unlikely," said one student.
"I don't think it makes that much sense for a militant extremist. it just doesn't have the qualities if that makes sense in a target they look for," added another.
They relied on information gathered online, including heartbreaking articles about a child holding a sign that reads: NO MORE HURTING PEOPLE. “There’s a lot of amputees and seeing the images of amputees that's going to psychologically affect people than actually killing people."
They also discussed the makeup of the bombs. "They used pressure cookers filled with bb’s and nails and explosions and they're timed devices."
What the attack symbolizes. "The attack took place on Patriot’s Day in Boston," one student interjected.
Another students talked about the aesthetics at the finish line as a clue to what the attack may symbolize. "At the finish line all of those flags. That’s an attack on every one."
They also took a close look at how technology will play a major role finding the culprits. "We're able to use all of these clues from still cameras and video camera everyone has to see to piece together what happened."
Like police, the students don't know who is responsible for the act of terrorism, but they agree with their peer from Boston, who summed up the discussion saying, "I think Bostonians will respond only positively to this and we'll get through the tragedy together."