Sep 172015

The internet is aflame over the story of Ahmed Mohamed and his home-made clock. In short, his piece of electronics got him suspended and arrested because the school thought it was a “hoax bomb.” As would have been entirely predictable, since the kid ain’t lily white, and since he is a Muslim, the claims are going around that this is clearly a case of unwarranted Islamophobia, a result of America’s racist demonization of our peaceful Islamic brethren.


You know, there might be a case to be made here. Except… hmmm. Let’s take a look at the clock in question:

Hmm. That’s kinda… dodgy. Sure, it’s probably just the electronic bits needed to make a clock (in a not-in-the-slightest-suspicious hard-shell case). But imagine trying to take that through the airport as a carry-on. Does it look like a bomb? Well, I don’t see any explosives. But does it look like what a lot of people seem to think a bomb looks like? Well… yeah, I guess. Is it over-reaction on the part of the authorities? Almost certainly. Is it Islamophobia? Is it racism? Hmmmm…









Now, if you can make a case that that Pop-Tart looks as much like a real gun as that briefcase-clock looks like a briefcase bomb, then *maybe* you’ll have a case that Ahmed is the victim of racism or Islamophobia, more than he’s a victim of “zero tolerance” policies. Let me know when any of these *other* kids get invited to the White House like Ahmed did.

 Posted by at 12:15 pm
  • Dan Sharp

    Hey – I had that exact same gun keychain over 30 years ago! Good to see the old toys are still in circulation. Actually, damn, I had a whole arsenal of them. Flintlock pistol, Colt .45 etc. Happy days. Gotta dig them out of the attic sometime!

  • Knigh26

    Why was he even bringing the “clock” to school?

    • Scottlowther

      To show off, apparently. It’s wholly understandable. If I’d slapped together a functional digital clock at that age, I’d’ve wanted to show off as well. But thirty years ago the chances of getting arrested for having a “hoax bomb” probably would have been much lower. And even if I had been arrested, I can’t imagine that too many ethnic/religious groups would have raced to my aid.

      • Knigh26

        30 years ago I slapped together a digital clock on one of those breadboard kits my grandfather got me, it’s not that big of a deal. But in today’s environment why the Sheol didn’t he take a picture first and get permission?

        • Herp McDerp

          But in today’s environment why the Sheol didn’t he take a picture first and get permission?

          1. Possibly because he’s a thirteen-year-old boy, and such creatures generally have a lot of enthusiasm and creativity but not a lot of common sense.

          2. Why should he get permission? He knows it isn’t a bomb, he knows it doesn’t even look like a bomb, and he knows that this is America, where you don’t have to get permission to engage in legal activities.

          One annoying thing is that various news sources are saying he built the clock into a suitcase, so it’s only natural that it would be mistaken for a suitcase bomb. Bull! He built it into a pencil case that appears to measure about twelve inches by eight. And that seems to have been a good choice for an enclosure — if you look at the seven-segment LED clock display, each digit seems to be somewhere between two and three inches tall, and the display barely fits into the case.

          I’m not altogether sure he actually “built” the clock. It looks to me as if he simply took an off-the-shelf large-display digital clock, removed the active components, and mounted them in the pencil case. The long, narrow gizmo between the clock circuit board and the transformer appears to be what’s left of a strip of pushbuttons for setting the time and alarm.

          • Paul451

            2. Why should he get permission? He knows it isn’t a bomb, he knows it doesn’t even look like a bomb,

            It so didn’t look like a bomb that no-one at the school, nor the police, treated it as a bomb. They didn’t evacuate the school, nor call in the bomb squad/FD. Except they arrested the kid for making a “hoax bomb”, even though the kid didn’t actually make any threats, nor leave the clock where others could find it.

          • Herp McDerp

            Bingo. If anyone should have been arrested for perpetrating a bomb hoax, it should have been that English teacher (assuming she’s the one who called the cops).

          • Herp McDerp

            Hah! I knew it! The kid didn’t “build” the clock, he just repackaged an obsolete clock from Radio Shack!


            Okay, I’m now persuaded that the little shit wanted to cause a commotion. To hell with him.

          • publiusr

            Maybe a dry run even. See what you can get away with–and if caught, cry injustice. He got a free scholarship out of it.
            I wish someone had given me one at that age.

    • Paul451

      Supposedly his middle school had an encouraging “maker” culture. Clubs, teachers encouraging kids to work on extra projects, etc. He wanted to find something similar in high school, so he brought a demonstration for his engineering/science teacher.

      (As for the race thing, that stems from a comment allegedly made by one of the cops. When Ahmed walked into the Principals office, one of the cops supposedly rolled his eyes and said something to the effect of “I knew it’d be one of them.”)

  • sferrin

    Damn. When I was in 4th grade I took a range box full of Estes rocket stuff to school and had it sitting by my desk all day because I was going to launch them after school. Even had a BOMARC in there. That’d probably garner an announcement from Obama, a SWAT team, and a flock of PTSD councilors today. Only attention I got was my teachers and classmates wanted me to launch during lunch time so everybody could watch.

    • Brianna Aubin

      You wouldn’t get a message from the White House, actually. Your name isn’t Mohammed.

      • DJF

        The question is, will he be able to take his briefcase clock on a flight to Washington and will he be allowed to take it into the White House?

        • Brianna Aubin

          He could probably get it through checked luggage. But into the White House…? Only because they’ll already know what it is, I think. If he’d just tried to take it in there without having the prior national incident to smooth his way, it probably would have been confiscated, or worse. Guards with drawn guns wouldn’t shock me, honestly.

  • Jandanagger Laterobinson

    It’s quite a reach but perhaps we can try to understand the faculty’s concern that any reference to guns by those in the formative years – pop tart chewing, cup cakes, sketches, blowing away dinosaurs, deaf children sign language (WTF) etc. may be a reason for a letter to the parents. Perhaps.

    82,000 gun deaths since the Newtown massacre.

    The difference with the brown muslim kid’s case is that he brought a clock to school. Never was a gun, let alone a bomb. It’s probably just the regurgitated remnants of some Chinese knockoff he bought at Walmart, but I’m not sure I could do it. Smart kid. For his transgression he was handcuffed, illegally transported to juvenile detention and interrogated for hours without access to his parents. Section 52.025 of the Texas Family Code directly states “A child may not be left unattended in a juvenile processing office and is entitled to be accompanied by the child’s
    parent, guardian, or other custodian or by the child’s attorney”.

    One of the arresting cops at the school apparently acknowledged Ahmed as a troublemaker, despite never having seen him before.

    Now I don’t know. If he happened to be a white Christian kid with a staunchly English name, do you not think it might have gone another way ? Perhaps to the head of the class to
    explain how his clock works.

    With no handcuffs.

    • Scottlowther

      > If he happened to be a white Christian kid with a staunchly English name, do you not think it might have gone another way ?

      Sure. Straight to juvie with about five minutes of press.

    • sferrin

      “82,000 gun deaths since the Newtown massacre.”

      How many auto deaths? Presumably they put the school on lockdown if somebody draws a picture of a race car?

    • jud

      i think you’ve missed the point……… zero tolerance is a failure of a policy in school saying if the kid was white blah blah blah examples are rampant of WHITE kids who are being punished so keep racism out of this