Culture

The Corner

#IStandWithAhmed — Against Authoritarian Idiocy

Someone’s been watching too much Jeff Dunham. Via the Associated Press:

A 14-year-old Muslim boy has been arrested in North Texas after a high school teacher decided that a homemade clock he brought to class could be a bomb.

Ahmed Mohamed, who enjoys tinkering with electronics, proudly took the clock to MacArthur High in Irving on Monday.

But one teacher raised concerns that it looked like a bomb, prompting the school principal and several police officers to question him, search his belongings and march him from the school in handcuffs.

Police don’t believe the device is dangerous, but say it could be mistaken for a fake explosive.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

[At a press conference Wednesday morning, Irving Police Chief Larry] Boyd said, “We are confident it’s not an explosive device” intended to cause “alarm.” Rather, he said, officers determined it was “a hoax bomb” and a “naive accident.”

As a result, he said, no charges will be filed against Ahmed, and “the case is considered closed.” He also said “the reaction would have been the same regardless” of the student’s skin color.

Here’s the “bomb”:

Unlike the Twitter hordes, I’m inclined not to spin this into some profound comment on our “cultural moment.” If it’s a comment on anything, it’s on the astonishing deficit of common sense at MacArthur High School and among local authorities — the teacher who began this fiasco, the principal who exacerbated it, and the police department that used five police officers to interrogate a lanky NASA-tech aspirant, and also thought it appropriate to make Ahmed do the perp walk out of homeroom. No one thought to ask Ahmed’s engineering teacher about this? To give Ahmed’s parents a quick ring? Everyone involved in this circus should be prohibited from watching any more 24.

But this has become a story about nationwide “Islamophobia” and “white privilege”—

—or about those crazy-racist-redneck-gun-obsessed Texans—

—and it’s not about either. It’s about a few people in positions of authority who overreacted to the possibility of a weapon. Which, as it happens, is a too-frequent occurrence all over the country, regardless of the color of your skin.

In Maryland, there was the seven-year-old Maryland boy who bit a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun (suspended), the five-year-old with a bright red cap gun (suspended), the three six-year-old boys suspended for making “finger guns” during a game of cops and robbers (suspended), and the eleven-year-old who said the word “gun” on a school bus (suspended).

There was an eight-year-old finger-gun wielder in Florida (suspended), and a ten-year-old sharpshooter in Ohio (suspended).

There was the 12-year-old keychain-gunslinger in Rhode Island (suspended).

There were the two Virginia seventh-graders who were playing with airsoft guns at one of the student’s homes (suspended).

There was the five-year-old Pennsylvania girl who took aim at classmates with a Hello Kitty “bubble gun.” Suspended (for making – and I quote – “terroristic threats”).

There was the 16-year-old South Carolina student who wrote, in response to a prompt, “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.” Suspended.

And there was the 14-year-old West Virginia student who wore a NRA t-shirt to school. Suspended and arrested.

None of these cases involved accusations of “Islamophobia,” and none were in Texas. Stupidity is equal-opportunity.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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