Sunday, September 20, 2015

Rushing to Judgement on Ahmed Mohamed.

There are multiple issues to the case of Ahmed Mohamed, the teenager who brought a clock to school that was mistaken for a bomb (or faux-bomb) and is now a national hero.

The reactions of both the police and the school officials are currently being vilified by the press and everybody I know (many of my friends on Facebook included).

That being said, speaking as a parent, with two kids in a school, and conscious of entrusting our children's safety with our teachers and school every day of the week ... I can't say I fault the school in this case.

Based on the picture provided, I'd pose a question:

if any kid (ANY KID, regardless of race or ethnicity or religious affiliation) brought in a device to YOUR SCHOOL that looked like this, would you really fault the teacher for erring on the side of caution and reporting it, as per conventional school policy?

* * *

Some have also questioned the motivations of the teachers, noting that they detained Ahmed -- but didn't go so far as to evacuate the school, like they would have if they thought it were a real bomb. That being said, it's possible to get into a good bit of trouble for simply bringing in a device that even LOOKS like a bomb, even if it isn't one. The offense would be the equivalent of calling in a bomb threat or introducing the device to create an incident. (Speaking from experience, I had a teenage friend who managed to do precisely the latter).

Again, bracketing for a moment any question of my race or religion -- if I took out a device that looked like the one pictured in public, in any context outside of a science class, I think I'd evoke some suspicion, and I'd find concern warranted, again, *based on the appearance of the device itself*.

* * *

Based on what I've seen so far from analysis on tech blogs (as in the article posted here), it seems possible that the clock was a 1986 Radio Shack model that was disassembled and re-built inside a pencil box.

Beyond that, I think there is all manner of speculation and knee-jerk assumptions being made (one one hand, that the police and school officials are obviously racist or bigoted in motivation; on the other hand, that Ahmed and/or his parents might be less than innocent and might well have designed the device "to look like a bomb", to deliberately provoke the authorities and stage what has become at this point a social-national-cultural media circus).

It's all speculation at this point -- from the left as well as the right. ...

But then, that's precisely what we're motivated to do here on social media before all the facts of any story come out. Rush to judgement.

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