Young Mohamed with his fake bomb/clock …..

There has been a lot of righteous indignation about the arrest of 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed  for bringing a home-made clock to school but which was taken as a threat by an English teacher. The indignation has been about this “brilliant inventor” being handcuffed and led away by “stupid police”. The school, its teachers and the police have come in for heavy criticism. Mark Zuckerberg and even President Obama have come out in support of this “clever and creative” young boy.

When I first came across the story I also thought that the authorities had been rather heavy handed. But now I am not so sure.

This photo provided by the Irving Police Department shows the homemade clock that Ahmed Mohamed brought to school, Wednesday, Sept.16, 2015, in Irving. Police detained the 14-year-old Muslim boy after a teacher at MacArthur High School decided that the homemade clock he brought to class looked like a bomb, according to school and police officials. The family of Ahmed Mohamed said the boy was suspended for three days from the school in the Dallas suburb.

Irving Police /AP

It looks more and more as if either the boy was pretty stupid or that the whole episode was engineered with the help of his father and some others. A 14 year old must be pretty stupid to not realise that his clock – which looked nothing like a clock – would not be taken at face value for what it looked like. Moreover to bring it to school on 9/11 is either malicious or just idiotic. And the police never took it for a “bomb”. They took it for the “fake bomb” it looked like. The picture of the boy in handcuffs was apparently staged by his father and taken by his sister after the cuffs had been removed.

This from Jerry Pournelle who, I have found, tends to check his facts quite carefully

He was charged, not with making a bomb, but with making a fake bomb.  He repeatedly was uncooperative with the authorities before he was arrested; in particular he would never say why he brought a bomb-looking object – it looks like NCIS or any other TV show bomb – to school on 9/11. He just insisted it was a clock. …..

It is clear they did not think that pencil box with its ugly contents was a bomb, and they did not treat the incident as a bomb. They thought, as I would have thought, that looked like a fake bomb, and they acted accordingly. They gave him ample opportunity to explain why he would bring an object that eerily resembled most of the bombs you see on TV action adventures to school on 9/11. He did not cooperate, but insisted that it was a clock. He would have had to be very naïve and somewhat retarded not to recognize that nearly everyone would get the first impression that it was in fact a bomb, but he kept insisting that it was a clock. ….. Under Texas law, is a crime to scare people with a fake bomb. That was explained to him. He grinned and said it was a clock. ……

At the police station the handcuffs were removed. So far he had not been photographed in handcuffs, but at the police station young Mohammed’s father insisted that they be put back on him so that his sister could photograph him in handcuffs. The police naively complied.

The story was pushed by the Council on American Islamic Relations which seems to have an enviable ease of access to the President.

Maybe not so much a story of a bright young Muslim boy being discriminated against. More perhaps of a stupid boy craving attention.

Would you like your fellow air passenger to be carrying such a clock?

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