Monday, September 21, 2015

Thoughts on Ahmed's Clock:

The clock itself seems to be the guts of an old RadioShack clock put into a briefcase shaped pencil case.

Is that inconsistent with a young person interested in electronics? No. Taking the working guts out of something and putting them in to a different case is a pretty common activity for young people interested in mechanical and electronic things.

Was he trying to make it look like a bomb? Probably, but probably not because he wanted other people think it was a bomb. He likely wanted to make something cool, and bombs are kinda cool in the same way a 7-year-old might make a gun out of a pop-tart because guns are cool. Or in the same way I, as a kid, scraped a bunch of plaster out of the middle of some plasterboard and put it in sandwich baggies as a prop for some imagined drama the neighborhood kids were playing out. Because cocaine was cool when I saw it in crime movies.

Did he think the adults would actually think it was a bomb? Probably not. I mean he is 14, and even though he may have thought bombs were cool, and wanted something that kind of looked like a bomb, I doubt he thought adults were stupid enough to think it actually was a bomb. ESPECIALLY considering he is a good student, and had been involved with a robotics club when he was in middle school.

Was this some part of a larger political ploy by the CAIR or some other Islamic group? I highly doubt it. Yes there are tensions between Irving, and other Texas cities, and the Muslim community. And a lot of people were very quick to jump on race as a motivating factor for the police and school administrators. I just don't think it's likely that the substantial over-reaction to Ahmed's Clock, could have been predicted.

What should have happened? Well, for one, the technology teacher could have said more than just "don't show it to anyone else." If he had instead said, "Someone could mistake this for a bomb and if they do you are going to get in trouble for it. Why don't you leave it with me and come and get it at the end of the day." That would have been that. If the principal at the school had, instead of calling the police, called Ahmed's parents, this likely would not have made national news. And I don't believe for a minute the principal actually thought it was a bomb, because if he did he would have evacuated the school.

What should happen now? I think Ahmed made a mistake, though not a malicious one. A detention plus maybe some extra work, perhaps researching the effects of bomb scares to give him a sense of scale of what could happen. It would also probably be a good thing if he had access to outlets for his creative energies, which it seems like he is going to get. Ultimately this is a teachable moment for him, and I hope the moment is used wisely by the adults around him.

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