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Muslim Boy Arrested in Texas for DOING SCIENCE

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Sorta transcript:

A 14-year old Muslim boy was arrested in Texas this week for making his own clock and bringing it to school. As we all know, clocks are a necessary feature of all the bombs we see on television. If it weren’t for the clock part, we would have no idea how much time we have left to run away, or cut the green wire, or hacksaw our arm off.

The good news is that the boy, Ahmed Mohamed, is getting a huge outpouring of support from the Internet, including from President Obama who invited him to bring his clock to the White House. That’s probably not going to ease the minds of the Texas high school administrators, of course, since they probably think Obama is a Muslim, too, and so he probably just wants to examine the death clock to find out how to put them into large-scale production and use them to take away Texans’ guns. Somehow.

This is all reminiscent of Kiera Wilmot, the 16-year old black Florida girl who was arrested and expelled from school two years ago for creating an unapproved small chemical reaction in a science lab. The reaction caused a “pop” and a bit of smoke, for which the girl faced felony charges.

I know it’s a bit of a done trope to say “in my day,” but seriously. When I was in high school, a chemistry teacher let my friends write their names in a flammable liquid on their tables and then set it on fire. And as I mentioned in a previous video, just prior to my day, when kids could drink at 18, my biology teacher would let seniors brew beer for their final project.

Of course, we also had jarts, aka lawn darts, aka deadly projectiles that you were encouraged to hurl at your siblings for a fun summertime activity. And when I say “deadly” I’m not kidding. Children were murdered by them. Even our “girliest” toys were lethal: Easy Bake Ovens may as well have come with a recipe for baked children fingers, and they were especially deadly when combined with flammable Rainbow Brite sleeping bags. Oh, and of course there were those Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kids that looked like they were eating little plastic snacks, which was super cute until they turned on our very children and began trying to consume their tiny fingers and strands of hair.

Chuckie was a documentary, you guys.

I guess what I’m saying is that things weren’t necessarily better before we had safety regulations, and we shouldn’t be fooled into false nostalgia. But we do have to strive to maintain a really difficult balance, between keeping kids alive and giving them room to make mistakes. Or for Christ’s sake, at least room to make something that looks like a pipe bomb but absolutely obviously is not.

I mean, I’m a person who travels with the Quizotron machine, which looks as close to a bomb as you can get without having a clock attached. If I were a Muslim man, I’d never get through security.

And that brings me to the other bit of bad news in Ahmed’s story: the school followed up with a letter to all the district’s parents in which they didn’t apologize, but instead advised them to make sure their kids say something if they see something. Way to make the racial profiling worse, assholes! How about this: if you see something, ask what it is. Maybe you’ll learn something, like how to make a clock and how to not overreact and end up nearly ruining a kid’s life.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. September 19, 2015 at 1:06 pm —

    I wonder if anyone noticed that IRL bombs don’t have timers. That’s just an artistic conceit. Just like the idea that all bombs have the same color scheme on the wires.

    This is actually Evil Overlord List #15.

  2. September 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm —

    Correct me if Im wrong, but didnt they neglect to evacuate the school or otherwise behave as if it was a bomb?

    • September 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm —

      Yeah it’s not accurate to say that they mistook it for a bomb. They knew it wasn’t a bomb, but they knew that they could play dumb and prosecute this kid for something he didn’t do. So they called the cops who went along with the scheme.

    • September 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm —

      I think that is why police were saying “hoax bomb” since it obviously did not contain any package of explosives. Calling is a “hoax bomb” gives them cover to treat it as a terrorism investigation and fabricate scenarios where it may have been part of criminal act (e.g., leaving it beneath someone’s car) without the whole bother of needing to find something actually dangerous.

      • September 19, 2015 at 8:46 pm —

        In order for it to be a “hoax bomb”, wouldnt he have to have not insisted it was a clock….?

        • September 20, 2015 at 3:44 am —

          Stop it! If you keep making sense, the terrorists will win.

  3. September 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm —

    So you did not metion a whole angle to this that is kind of blowing my mind right now with it’s level of stupid. Accoring to the intrepid reporter below, did you know that Ahmed did not actually “invent” a (the?) digital clock?!?!?!? If the media could lie to us about this who knows what else about this story is fishy?! (I’m imagining a handlebar ‘stash and a magnifying glass with eyebrow raised in the direction of those liberal sheeple who were foolish enough to believe the MSM hype)

    http://blogs.artvoice.com/techvoice/2015/09/17/reverse-engineering-ahmed-mohameds-clock-and-ourselves/

    • September 20, 2015 at 12:21 am —

      Yes, the Republicans switched to this particular meme after they suddenly discovered that nobody outside their racist little world thought it at all bad that Obama would choose to side with a non-white Muslim kid.

      According to wing nut theory, Obama was obliged to take up the cause of every white kid arrested for terrorism after taking a home project to school. There being none, he was obliged to do nothing at all. Because, TERRORIRSTSSS! MUSLIMESS!

      Oh and they are now blaming liberuls for the ‘zero tollerance’ policy in schools like it was the Democrats who invented a five color alert terror scheme and spent two and a half years using it to ramp up terrorism panic until the Abu Graihb photos came out and we all realized that the panics that weren’t invented to keep inconvenient news off the telly were the result of beating a confession out of some wretch in a black cell somewhere.

      Oh and lest anyone imagine Abu Ghraib made any of us safe, that is where most of the ISIS high command first met up.

      • September 29, 2015 at 11:05 pm —

        Do you think it’s relevant that he lied about having built the clock? That it is a commercially produced alarm clock with the case removed is indisputable.

  4. September 20, 2015 at 11:29 am —

    Rebecca Watson,

    The school administrators are such morons at that school, including Ahmed’s science teacher.

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