The Ahmed Debacle
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
I have been away from the keys most of the day, and am just now learning about what happened to that poor kid Ahmed Mohamed in Texas. From the NYT:
Ahmed Mohamed’s homemade alarm clock got him suspended from his suburban Dallas high school and detained and handcuffed by police officers on Monday after school officials accused him of making a fake bomb. By Wednesday, it had brought him an invitation to the White House, support from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg, and a moment of head-spinning attention as questions arose whether he had been targeted because of his name and his religion.
As a result, a 14-year-old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Tex., who is partial to tinkering, technology and NASA T-shirts and wants to go to M.I.T., found himself in a social media whirlwind that reflected the nation’s charged debates on Islam, immigration and ethnicity.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” President Obama said on Twitter. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” Mr. Obama’s staff invited Ahmed to the White House for Astronomy Night on Oct. 19, an event bringing together scientists, engineers, astronauts, teachers and students to spend a night stargazing from the South Lawn.
Good for Obama. What kind of dumbasses call the cops on a kid who built a freaking clock?! More:
Ahmed’s father, Mohamed El Hassan, 54, was at turns humble, emotional, grateful and patriotic, making it a point to mention they lived in their house for more than 30 years and that his son had fixed his car, his phone, his electricity and his computer and had built, in true all-American fashion, a go-kart. “That is not America,” he said of Ahmed’s detainment. “That is not us. That is not like us.”
The Irving police chief, Larry Boyd, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the officers were justified in detaining the teenager based on the information they had at the time, when initially it was “not immediately evident that” Ahmed’s clock was a class experiment. He added, however, that the police had “no evidence to support that there was an intention to create an alarm.” Asked whether the police would have reacted differently if Ahmed had been white, Chief Boyd said they would have followed the same procedures.
“You can’t take things like that to school,” he said.
You know, I can believe that. I mean, I am sure the kid’s being Muslim had something to do with it, but we are so insane about Zero Tolerance that it’s easy to imagine this happening to an ordinary white geek.
If some nervous nellie who had no idea what they were looking at came to look at our homeschooled son’s chemistry lab, or saw his electronics tinkering, they would probably soil their drawers and call Homeland Security.
They fingerprinted this Ahmed kid and took a mug shot! Where is the common sense?! Yep, #IStandWithAhmed too.
UPDATE:Alan Jacobs nails it:
There are many, many things that could be said about Ahmed Mohamed’s experience, but the most important one, I think, is this: the staff at his school continue to believe that the most reasonable and appropriate thing they could have done when they saw Ahmed’s clock is to call the police and have the boy taken away in handcuffs and interrogated. Not talk to Ahmed, or ask him serious questions about the device he made, or warn him that such a thing could easily be misinterpreted, or contact his parents and get them involved … nope. Call the cops, cuff him, interrogate him.