Lots of outrage one way or another about the Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed who brought a “home made” clock to school which was confused as a bomb leading to an arrest and suspension.
Photo released by Irving Police Department:
From a technical standpoint there really isn’t anything there to make it look like an explosive device, but in all honesty I cannot fault a teacher needing to make a decision that it does arguably look like a timing device. Reporting it to the principal/administrator for further review is an appropriate course of action.
I can even defend detainment if they felt police should be involved to determine if there was any risk to the public, but arrest is overblown for this situation.
What caused this over reaction? Zero tolerance in schools.
Instead of actually bothering to use our intelligent minds that schools should be focusing on teaching out to use critical thinking we are instead confined to locations that train you to regurgitate information and methods to pass standardized tests. Standardized tests are not the problem, but we have fundamentally lost focus of the old English proverb: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
People trying to claim this over reaction was due to his ethnicity or religion based on name is absurd. Were a student of any other skin color or religion to do the same they would suffer the same over reaction because schools can’t think themselves.
How do I know this with a certainty? Because as a white male high school student I would have been treated the exact same. I was in fact when I was caught using school computers in a computer lab to play video games during lunch time. No threats occurred to the public and no physical harm to the equipment. Simply put I was doing something I was not supposed to do, but it resulted in a 3 day in school suspension due to use of computer technology and zero tolerance idiocy of adherence to a policy they don’t even understand.
Debunking the clock as fraud
Now people are making claims that the “home made” clock is anything but based on the release of the photo.
There is much factual basis for the assertions made there since you are dealing with printed circuit boards and 120 VAC power supply that just would not be found a strict “home made” build . This short video looks very familiar to the police photo.
I will not however go as far to say it was for publicity reasons or nefarious purposes to create a panic intentionally. It is theoretically plausible that the student’s parents either had access to raw materials or they intentionally disassembled a store bought clock for the student to re-assemble.
The moral of the story is that bringing an item like this to school is something that you can do, but not the smartest choice. There should be some learning involved to understand the risk of misunderstands in a public space that does have to deal with terrorism. It is a situation that teaches maturity, but one that should not have any permanent consequences.
The political correctness however is sending the wrong message by idolizing this student and the outcry over the punishment. I can agree the punishment is overblown simply due to their zero tolerance, not due to any racial or religious reasons.
There is a very strong risk that this student or others watching will get the idea that creating publicity and renown for in effect doing nothing special will be rewarded with fame and success. The only due rewards for this action is a life lesson, opportunity to show/grow character, and gain some maturity. I hope the child learns fast that everything else that is happening is people trying to use him and the situation for their benefit, not out of genuine care of concern.
One reply on “Texas scare over clock”
Great commentary and certainly on the mark. Perhaps another issue is political correctness, which appears to have trumped all reason. One thing to consider, the phobia against a religion that calls for the eradication of all non-believers, might have nothing to do with skin tone or bias, but based on understanding the threat and can be based on the fact that 9/11/01 and many other terrorist attacks carried out in the name of a particular religion, happened because “the dots were not connected”. It was a series of small innocent incidents that by themselves were odd, but certainly not worthy of an over-reaction, yet preparing for the event and designed to cleverly lure those responsible into a type of myopic slumber. To confront those learning to fly a plane only in the takeoff mode for example was not enough to raise the concerns that could connect the dots. What if they had over-reacted and questioned them vigorously? Could they have stopped what was coming? Would President Clinton had made fun of law enforcement who investigated and invited the men suspected to the White House and made celebrities out of them?
Terrorists have penetrated our porous borders and established sleeper cells all over the country. Let’s say for just a minute that this stunt is by design and for the next many months gets repeated over and over by copy-cats and planted terrorists alike, until school officials and police are shamed into submission with no reaction whatsoever; then one beautiful sunny day a young boy carries his clock to school (or maybe multiple schools across the country) and takes out several thousand of America’s finest young of all denominations and skin tone in a gruesome terrorist attack that no one “saw coming”. The pundits will say the officials failed to connect the dots.