Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock: Another Reason I’m Leaving the Left
The radical left loves nothing so much as a trumped-up excuse to go on and on about how awful the United States of America is. Apparently, we have so few real problems in this world that the left needs to make up some. The latest non-problem problem that shows just how “awful” the U.S. is is Ahmed Mohamed and his clock. Now, I don’t know why Mohamed would take an old clock out of its housing, put it inside a storage case and call it an “invention.” There might be a context in which it makes sense. Maybe Mohamed is developmentally delayed and doesn’t understand what an “invention” is. Perhaps there’s some advantage to having to open the case to see the time. Maybe he’s so young he doesn’t remember when people used to wear watches on their wrist and thinks carrying a battery operated clock with you is a good idea. Clearly, the kid’s no genius. Honestly, though, he’s fourteen and maybe we should just leave it at that.
What’s really getting to me is that a every leftist political commentator has to grandstand about how Islamophobic we are. Are there Islamophobic individuals? Yes. I think Pamela Geller is really weird. She’s another one who contrives controversies. I’m all for fighting back when someone wants to limit freedom of speech. I’m pretty clear about that. I’ve said that if you can’t say that cartoonists shouldn’t be killed over a drawing without adding a “but…” you’ve got your priorities seriously backwards. At the same time, I think seeking controversies is unhealthy behavior. However, Pamela Geller is an anomaly and doesn’t represent the United States. That we have to tolerate her antics due to our belief in freedom is speech is how it should be.
I’m not really sure why I got off on Pamela Geller. There’s the brouhaha with Ben Carson recently saying, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” although he would consider voting for a Muslim for Congress. I’m not sure how Ben Carson feels about atheists, agnostics, Jews, Catholics and Mormons. Again, Ben Carson is not in any way a typical American. We’re not all neurosurgeon last I checked.
A recent Gallup poll shows that 38 percent of U.S. residents would not vote for a Muslim for president. That’s not nearly where I’d personally like to see that number, but to put it in perspective 40 percent wouldn’t vote for an atheist, 25 percent wouldn’t vote for an Evangelical Christian and 50 percent wouldn’t vote for a socialist.
If anyone really wants to move the needle on that 38 percent, berating everyone about how prejudiced they are is not the way to go about it. You’d probably do better with one of those touchy-feely ad campaigns, “The friendly Muslim next door” type of thing.
Not having been there, it’s hard to say whether or not the kid should have been arrested, however it’s worth noting that he is far from the first. After the shooting in Columbine, Colorado many schools developed various plans. As part of a federal mandate, schools developed “zero tolerance” policies which do not allow for discretion on the part of teachers and administrators. Further more, bomb scares are not unknown. The school where my mother worked had a series of them. Apparently, some kids thought it was amusing to have the school day disrupted. Finally, the school let it be known that anyone being caught phoning in a scare would be prosecuted. Suspecting either a real bomb or a hoax is far from crazy.
Before Littleton, Colorado over 90% of school-based bomb threats were pranks. Callers often gave little information, such as “there s a bomb in the building,” and hung up quickly. Many school administrators managed the bomb threats without evacuating. Currently, this must be weighed carefully against the statistical increase in more violent types of youth crime. According to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms, there were 2,217 bombing incidents in America in 1997, 107 (5%) of them occurred in educational settings.
As to the idea that Ahmed Mohamed would never have been arrested and escorted from school by the police if he hadn’t been Muslim, a good parallel is the case of Kiera Wilmot, who’s probably relieved that she’s mostly been forgotten.
On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16 year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small 8 oz water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida. The reaction caused a small explosion that caused the top to pop up and produced some smoke. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.
The story doesn’t say what Wilmot’s religion is, so I confess I’m just assuming that she’s not Muslim mainly due to probability. Muslims are the least numerous religion throughout the U.S.
What was the response to this mistake?
After the explosion Wilmot was taken into custody by a school resources officer and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. She will be tried as an adult.
She was then taken to a juvenile assessment center. She was also expelled from school and will be forced to complete her diploma through an expulsion program.
Kiera had been a good student with no history of being disciplined and everyone at the school understood it to be an accident.
A follow-up report in USA Today shows that it all turned out okay for her in the end. The situation did get national attention, which was the reason she was allowed back into school. Still, no White House invite, no Google invite, no offer of an internship from Zuckerberg. An internship might have been useful to her since the follow-up reports mentions that she went on to college to major in robotic and mechanical engineering. In all likelihood, though, she’s probably better off without the notoriety.
Still, I’m getting sick of this ritualistic self-flagellation that the left expects on a semi-regular basis. Do they actually think they’re gaining anything from this? People on the extremes just harden into their own positions and the middle feels lost and alienated. Seeing that we’re approaching an election in which we can anticipate little to no enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate, this is just plain self-defeating on their part. On the other hand, I think the far left likes it when the right has the upper hand. They don’t have to do anything except gloat in their superiority to their “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, “Islamophobic” neighbors. If the rest of the country weren’t so bad they wouldn’t look so good.
For information on “zero tolerance” policies there is a Wikipedia article.
Wilmot’s “weapon” was a plastic bottle with carbon dioxide under pressure. A couple decades earlier, glass Coke bottles would explode when they were knocked off shelves in grocery stores. Should the Coke distributors have been arrested for planting “explosive devices” in grocery stores? Should kids be arrested for dumping Mentos into a bottle of Coke and screwing the cap back on? How about screwing the cap on a bottle with dry ice and water? And what about removing the containment wire from a bottle of champagne an shaking the bottle. I think the school over-reacted and owed her an apology.
In the case of Ahmed, many news articles had a photo of the clock, and only a complete imbecile would have thought it was anything other than a crude clock. The cops were so worried that it would explode that they put it in their car when they arrested Ahmed. The only people who mentioned anything about a bomb were the cops and some ding-a-ling at his school. Without exception, under intense interrogation, Ahmed insisted that it was only a clock. (And sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.) To top off everything, he refused to sign, under the threat of expulsion, a statement that he intentionally misrepresented the clock as a bomb. The cops also refused to return his bomb, presumably to study how it would explode. With such a dire threat, why was the bomb squad not called in? I’m afraid that both the police force and the school owe him an apology and then some.
No, I’m not an ultra-liberal. I just despair that the American public is so dismally ignorant.
Perhaps you remember when Richard Jewel was arrested for the Atlanta bombing after clearing as many as he could from the area around the bomb. The FBI caught him red-handed with the incriminating evidence — a Mickey Mouse watch and a box of Disney VHS tapes. …And the press swallowed it all.
One good thing that could come out of this is a review of zero tolerance policies. “The policy assumption is that inflexibility is a deterrent because, no matter how or why the rule was broken, the fact that the rule was broken is the basis for the imposition of the penalty.” Since that includes incidents that are entirely accidental, like Wilmot’s, that’s quite insane when you think about it.
Actually, the kids who get media attention probably have the better situation. I strongly suspect there are some very unfair cases we never hear about. The zero tolerance policies enabled the “kids for cash” scandal to happen, a pretty nightmarish scenario.