Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Did you hear about the ninth grader from Irving, Texas that got arrested yesterday for not bringing a bomb to school? Of course you did. Forget Kim Kardashian’s ass… this is the story that broke the internet.
ENTER THE TECHNO-TERRORIST
Ahmed Mohamed looks like any other 14-year-old nerd: lanky and awkward and a tad too bright for his own good. Yesterday, Ahmed went to school as usual, except this time he brought along his home-made digital clock (surely in a doomed plan to woo some single ladies). Unfortunately for Ahmed, the clock–which no sane person would ever mistake for a bomb–was mistaken for a bomb, and Ahmed was promptly reported and removed from the school by the police.
Then he was arrested.
How could anyone mistake that jumbled mess of electronics and wires for a bomb? Have these people never seen at least a photo of an actual bomb? Look at it! Even the least bomb- and tech-savvy readers can figure out that this “bomb” is missing one key ingredient: the part that goes boom.
It’s just an LCD display and a bunch of basic circuitry, for fuck’s sake.
How did no-one, after taking a quick look at “the bomb”, not think to themselves “Huh… Maybe I’m a fucking idiot”?
Surely, for this mistake to happen, Ahmed had to have been all secretive and weird about his digital clock, right? Maybe even tinkered with it while looking suspicious, like some sort of old-timey Bond villain…
First thing he did was attempt to show it to his teacher, possibly expecting some sort of praise. Instead he found himself under arrest by the police, who clearly have nothing better to do than to “question” (read: interrogate) teens over a disassembled and then reassembled digital clock.
Ahmed repeatedly explained that it was not, in fact, a bomb that he had shown to his teacher (because that would have been the stupidest thing to do if he’d in fact built a bomb), but a clock. But the officers that arrested him were not going to just believe the word of a ninth grader. This was serious business.
“We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock.”
– Officer James McLellan
Do you know why that’s all he had to say? Because it was a clock!
But wait, don’t go into an uncontrolled fit of rage and destruction just yet. Because, unsurprisingly enough, this gets worse.
See, later, after Ahmed was released from the police, Irving Mayor Van Duyne decided to get on Facebook and wax lyrical about how the valiant efforts of Irving police officers are what keeps us all safe from clock-building, teenage techno-terrorists like Ahmed. This is precisely what we need… more fear-mongering.
“I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools. Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant.”
– Mayor Van Duyne
Even after realizing their ridiculous mistake, Ahmed was suspended from school for three days and is now considering moving to another school because of this whole ordeal.
You may now go ahead and destroy something small and fragile, if that helps in any way.
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
This is the world we live in now. We’re so afraid of “the bomb” that we fail to recognize the efforts of a 14-year-old who built a digital clock and brought it to school to show it to his teacher. We’ve had the word “terrorism” (and the fear of it) pounded into our heads every day since 9/11. We’re so afraid of the bad that we forget to look at the good; we’d rather destroy a kid’s spirit without question than maintain an inquisitive attitude towards life and technology. Because what we don’t understand is scary and we can’t possibly handle anything we do not understand.
We are so entrenched in our fear of a world that moves faster than we can can keep up, that we are unwilling to give a kid the benefit of the doubt.
“I repeatedly told them, ‘It’s a clock,’ but no matter how much I told them, I guess that’s not a bold enough answer to them. I want it [the clock] back, with my humility.”
– Ahmed Mohamed, speaking of the police
And how do you think Ahmed’s classmates and peers felt when they saw him get arrested for just building something?
When the Mayor feels like she can justify arresting a teenager for absolutely no reason other than his teacher’s and the police officers’ technophobia (the fact that he’s a Muslim kid couldn’t hurt), with utter disregard to the psychological damage done to him and his peers, because, you know, “terrorism“, then we truly are screwed.
If you’d like to join the 76,000+ people (including the President of the US himself) offering their support to Ahmed, head over to @istandwithahmed and consider leaving a word of encouragement. It might not mean much to you, but it will definitely mean a lot to him.
“I wanted to have my teacher see that I want to be an engineer when I grow up, so I guess now I get millions of people watching me be an engineer.”
– Ahmed Mohamed