CLASS STRUGLES Nobody laughed when Mountain View College sophomore FRED ALLEN BRYANT rose to present his demonstration to his speech class last spring. He calmly assembled a foot-long bomb device made out of two-inch pipe and inserted the fuse.

Though Bryant explained that the device contained black pepper instead of gunpowder, JOHN CISSNE, then a part-time instructor, had a sinking feeling anyway. Reluctant to upset the student, Cissne let him finish. After the other students had left the classroom. Cissne took Bryant and the device to the office of the department head, who notified security.

Within minutes, dozens of federal agents from Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms descended on the Oak Cliff campus, cordoning off the west entrance and much of the vestibule. Later, the bomb squad arrived and took the device to another location for examination. Bryant, meanwhile, skipped his next class and disappeared .

The classroom bomb turned out to be a dud loaded only with black pepper, just as Bryant had said, but the authorities deemed the matter noth-ing to sneeze at. “If (he device had been real and gone off.” said one of the ATF agents, “it would have taken out most of those people. It would have been real bad.”

The feds went out to the terrified student’s house and gave him a good lecture, T-Man style. Assembling or possessing a pipe bomb, real or not, they told him, can get you 20 years. And though Bryant might not have thought much about it. he had just showed 20 of his classmates how to make a bomb.

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