From The Rocky Mountain News
Secret Service pays visit to Boulder High
By Hector Gutierrez, Rocky Mountain News
November 12, 2004
Bob Dylan's Masters of War is a hard-hitting, anti-war song produced more than 20 years before any current Boulder High School student was born.
More than 40 years after its release, the song has been resurrected at Boulder High with huge and confusing repercussions that prompted Secret Service agents to pay the campus a visit Thursday.
Some students and parents apparently let the Secret Service and talk-radio stations know they were unhappy with the plan of a trio of students to do a poetry reading of the song, accompanied by background music, according to Ron Cabrera, the school's principal.
Rumors were rampant that during an audition and rehearsal for today's talent show, the students changed Dylan's powerful last verse at the end of the song to say that they hoped that President Bush was going to die.
The last verse begins: "And I hope that you die; And your death'll come soon."
Secret Service agents interviewed Cabrera on Thursday to determine what all the uproar was about and whether any threats were being made against the president's life.
"They were following up and doing their due diligence," Cabrera said of the agents' visit. "They had been receiving calls from the community and, in the course of the talk show, felt like they had heard (the students) inciting physical harm to the president."
Cabrera said he talked to the students and teachers who have been working with them, and he was told the group, which calls itself the Coalition of the Willing, made no reference to Bush.
"I don't know why it surfaced," Cabrera said of the complaints. "I think they're surprised by all the allegations."
Cabrera said he also showed the agents the lyrics of the entire song. The agents appeared to have left satisfied that no bona-fide threat was being directed at the president, he said.
The principal said the students' performance of the song at the talent show upholds their right to express themselves, and he did not think it was inappropriate in a campus setting.
A Secret Service spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Cabrera acknowledged that the group did consider at one time naming itself the "Tali-banned." A teacher persuaded the teens to drop the title because it was offensive, he said.