The element of surprise

A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.

CHARLES DE GAULLE, former French president and military general

IT WAS THE FIRST DAY of fall semester at Conway High School—Jim Owen’s world history class. Mr. Owen had a reputation for being one of the toughest teachers at CHS, but also one of the best. Class started the way most others do on the first day: The teacher introduced himself, explained what the class was about, how many tests there would be, how the grading would work, and so on. About 20 minutes into class, four teenaged boys burst into the room, all wearing ski masks and brandishing weapons. ...

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