Police Drop Case Against Kid Who Made Clock, While Mayor Worries About The Impact… On The Police

from the because-that's-who-really-go-hurt-here dept

This morning we wrote about the ridiculous situation down in Irving Texas where school officials and the local police totally freaked out and overreacted to a 14 year old student, Ahmed Mohamed, who built a clock in his spare time and showed it to two of his teachers. The story has exploded nationwide, with even President Obama weighing in and inviting Ahmed to the White House. Famed astronaut Chris Hadfield has invited Ahmed to appear on his Generator show. He’s been invited to visit Facebook, Google, MIT and probably lots of other places as well.

Seeing all this, it’s not surprising that police have closed the case, but are still standing by the whole thing.

On Wednesday, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said that the arresting officers quickly determined there was no immediate threat the device would detonate, which is why they did not evacuate the high school. The officers weren?t sure if Ahmed had intended to cause alarm, so they took him into custody, Boyd said.

?Our follow-up investigation was to determine whether there was intent created by what the student brought to school, or whether it was just a naive set of circumstances, with him not recognizing the suspicious nature of the situation,? Boyd said at a news conference.

Asked if a white student would have been treated differently, he said, ?Our reaction would have been the same either way.?

Irving’s mayor, Beth Van Duyne, who made national news earlier this year for some ridiculous anti-Islamic slurs, has finally weighed in on the issue on Facebook, posting a comment that focused entirely on bogus claims about safety and (originally) concluding it by calling on people not to use this against the police:

I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered. They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel. To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a Hoax Bomb to a school campus. Following this investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.

After a bunch of people noted that she said absolutely nothing about Ahmed, or his creativity or education, she went back in and edited the statement to actually mention him (you can click on the “edited” line up top to see the original) which did not include the following:

As a parent, I agree that if this happened to my child I would be very upset. It is my sincere desire that Irving ISD students are encouraged to use their creativity, develop innovations and explore their interests in a manner that fosters higher learning. Hopefully, we can all learn from this week?s events and the student, who has obvious gifts, will not feel at all discouraged from pursuing his talent in electronics and engineering.

Yes, and to actually do that, you would think it would require actually addressing how and why this happened in the first place. Which would mean actually mentioning him in your original statement, rather than later, after everyone’s called you out for not mentioning it.

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Comments on “Police Drop Case Against Kid Who Made Clock, While Mayor Worries About The Impact… On The Police”

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None says:

Re: Re:

So do these procedures they run include surmising brown people aren’t allowed to possess electronics? I read the student handbook that the Irving school district publishes regarding banned items. Nothing in the list of banned items even mentions electronics except for the ban on networked electronics – intended for communication, or electronics used to vape/smoke. So to assert that the school had a blanket policy of banning electronics is an outright lie. Go read the policy for yourself. This is why nobody with a functioning brain and a respect for diversity would live in Texas (Austin being the possible exception).

Anonymous Coward says:

I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered.

Apparently treat everyone like a criminal upon accusation but without evidence is good enough for this fucking turd eh?

We are literally becoming what we fought to resist all of this time! AND what the Founding Fathers WARNED us against!

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Did you know the DHS is teaching law enforcement that the founding fathers were terrorists and anyone that respects and supports what they did should be suspected of supporting terrorism?

How sad and twisted things have gotten that I honestly can’t tell if you’re kidding or not.

George Washington was a cryptologist spymaster. The DHS is warning libraries from offering tor. QED. I think it’s less a joke than a warning. Perhaps the DHS should tell the FBI to go after this Washington character.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Roll it back to zero

its all good! keep the fun coming anyone getting overly butt hurt about these things deserve the butt hurt.

I would say that here in Texas we all have thick skins but the article would point me out as a liar pretty quickly.

So I guess I can just say… I have thick skin, but still like to play in the arena for the fun too!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Roll it back to zero

You can make fun of Texas all you want, our Economy speaks for itself!

It sure does! That economy sure is great for the people of Texas.

 1. Texas ranks first in executions.
 2. Texas ranks first in the number of uninsured.
 3. Texas ranks second in food insecurity.
 4. Texas ranks last in mental health expenditures.
 5. Texas was labeled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as “the worst state in America to be a child.”
 6. Texas is 47th in tax expenditures that directly benefit their citizens.
 7. Texas ranks last in the percent of population that has a high school diploma.
 8. Texas ranks last in Workers’ compensation coverage.
 9. Texas ranks 4th in the percentage of children living in poverty.
10. Texas ranks 2nd in the number of children enrolled in public schools.
11. Texas ranks 2nd in overall birth rate.
12. Texas ranks 49th in the number of poor people covered by Medicaid.
13. Texas ranks 48th in the number of people covered by employer-based health insurance.
14. Texas ranks 49th in per capita spending on Medicaid.
15. Texas ranks last in the percentage of non-elderly women with health insurance.
16. Texas ranks last in the percentage of women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.
17. Texas ranks 49th in the average credit score of Americans.
18. Texas ranks 1st in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
19. Texas ranks 1st in the amount of toxic chemicals released into water.
20. Texas ranks 1st in the amount of hazardous waste generated.


AJ says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Roll it back to zero

Such bullshit. The actual “People” of Texas are doing just fine. Your numbers include the second largest population of illegal immigrants in the country. Study after study, and I’ll link one below, has proven that illegal immigrants utilize more government assistance programs than native residence. Remove the people that are in the state illegally from your rankings, and you’ll find those numbers swinging wildly in the other direction.

Your just as bad as the extreme right, your little Lib 2012 list of stupid may have many on this site fooled, but it’s all bullshit. Except maybe the last three 18, 19, 20 I could buy, but I would also like to see it broken down by population and size of state.. ie pollution per square mile/per person.

My hat is off to you Texas. You have the second strongest economy in the union even with all your illegal immigration issues. Good Work.





AJ says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Roll it back to zero

The legal Citizens of Texas. Including the ones, who like my wife and family, immigrated legally. Going through all the proper interviews and paperwork, doing exactly as the law required. We didn’t like the process, it was costly and difficult, but we did it because that is what the law required.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Roll it back to zero

Be careful of what you wish.

There are plenty of people out there that want to make all inmigrants illegal (well, what they actually want is to kill them), whether they entered legally or not.

You are pretty much playing into their game. And don’t think they will check if you got the documents once they start with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Roll it back to zero

Btw, you’re mistaken in one thing.

People don’t use the Government Assistance programs because they are inmigrants, but because they are poor.

Inmigrants happen to be poor in most cases, that’s why they are going out of their country to seek for better opportunities in another. If they were rich, they wouldn’t go to Texas, take that for sure.

Or maybe yes, but you’d be licking their shoes clean. See how cozy is one of the US presidents with one:


Anonymous Coward says:

Whew! Thank Allah to Zoroaster that's over! Once Techdirt shines its one candle-power, that's end of story!

Now you can get back to juggling your alleged support of copyright with outright support of mega-pirate greasy blob Kim Dotcom.

And get hot on the Author’s Guild! Now they’re claiming losing income! Weigh in with your fact-less self-styled “authority” against those having mere real data!

Attempt #8. Masnick can’t keep me out (yet won’t take responsibility to delete comments once get in), so the censor — I mean “report” button is the last weapon. Use it, kids!

Anonymous Coward says:

So this ridiculous, paranoid zero-tolerance war on boys catches a Muslim kid and suddenly there’s international outrage?

This is not a race issue! It affects all races, and seemingly only boys.

Maybe it’ll drive some sort of change now that the progressive types have played the race card. But it’d be nice if it didn’t have to happen that way for people to care.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Our follow-up investigation was to determine whether there was intent created by what the student brought to school, or whether it was just a naive set of circumstances, with him not recognizing the suspicious nature of the situation,” Boyd said at a news conference.

A “naive set of circumstances”.
A 14-year old “not recognizing the suspicious nature of the situation”.

Therein lies the nub of this story – a young man is not yet terrified of innovation, as explained so eloquently and unconsciously by Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tell the White House to come to us

Whoa there buddy, you seriously expect a bunch of peasants to develop that kind of backbone?

Besides, there are other & better methods for expressing discontent. I do not like Obama, but would not refuse an invitation to the White House myself. I am certainly mature enough have discourse without being petulant about it.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Tell the White House to come to us

Petulant or not, your conversation at the White House would not be public. On the other hand, publicly stating that there is more terror cause by our governments actions than by terrorists in this country, would be…um effective, especially when the issue has become so…erm public.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Tell the White House to come to us

You can still make a public statement that you intend to go and inform said president that you do not like the terror state of fear as currently generated on a daily basis by the gubmint.

Attending under that flag would likely get far more positive attention as opposed to the negative attention of a decline. In fact more people would be yakking about the decline more than the reason for it, with the reason quickly getting marginalized as being petty.

Jason. says:

The mayor should be worried, there are a large number of heavily armed idiots running around his town, in blue uniforms and shiny little badges on their chests, and now everyone knows about it.

Used to be the village idiots were mostly regulated to jobs where intelligence wasn’t a qualification for the position they held in the community. Today in Texas, they are given badges and guns.

Let the Darwin games begin.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The mayor should be worried, there are a large number of heavily armed idiots running around his town, in blue uniforms

Despite cultural references to the contrary, cops have not worn blue in a long time. Black is much more common. This seems to have changed right around when they became fascinated with being a paramilitary organization – all the toys of the real military, none of the training or responsibility.

Zonker says:

Of course, now the Irving Police Dept will be charging Ahmed with material support for ISIS terrorists because his sister created a Twitter account for him during this whole ordeal. They need to determine if his intent was to use it to recruit for ISIS. Hopefully, this is just another naive set of circumstances where Ahmed did not recognize the suspicious nature of creating a social media account to spread knowledge of how to make a clock/timer/”looks like a bomb to me” in school.

We all need to be careful in these dangerous times, don’t cha know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I bet they could charge his parents with moving to the states with the sole purpose of spending the next 60 years making a family and integrating into society to make their suicide attack all the more effective.

I mean if we are going to arrest people based on what they could do, the sky is the limit.

The police could collectively start lining people up and executing them. we should probably jail them all to prevent what they could do just to be safe.

Anonymous Coward says:

Irving: A new level of stupid!

Now we need an investigation to insure that The Irving schools and PD are not propagating this new level of stupidity (prejudice and bigotry) that has now become Irving’s trademark and signature for the foreseeable future. It seems that their level of tech advancement stops at the hammer, hard to figure how the PD manages repeating weapons without shooting themselves or each other.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Thought experiment: Say a fourteen-year-old kid did build a bomb.

When I was fourteen, I remember that things that went boom were pretty cool. This was also deep into the cold war and the US was flying pointy super-sonic planes that dropped bombs all over the mid-east and South America. It was a regular news thing, and Reagan made many speeches about how great it was to be American.

And in my case, I was reading my dad’s copies of Aviation Week all the time, and we knew the difference between a Maverick and an AIM9 and an AAMRAM and a Harpoon. Bombs, bombs everywhere. I knew how bombs worked enough that I could probably become an accomplished demolitionist with practice and materials to practice on. (Pro-tip: start tiny.)

So what if I not only soldiered together and re-cased a timing mechanism but I made a payload out clay (for the C4) and expended gas canisters (for the detonators) and in Hollywood style ran the wires red and blue. (Hint, if you cut either one, it’ll prevent the detonators from discharging and defuse the bomb. No tension necessary for which wire to cut).

And then, I take my contraption to school for good old fashioned show and tell, because there’s nothing in the guidelines regarding non-functional models, especially if they’re presented as a non-functional. And kids will make models of the darndest things.

When a teacher asks me what’s in the little briefcase, I, open it up and say “It’s a model briefcase bomb. See? Here’s the timer. These are the detonators. This is the combustible fuel. If this were real, it’d nicely demolish this building.” (Except not really. Schools are built like prisons. Instead it would liquefy everyone inside from shock.)

Now, it was the cold war, I was a white kid, had some laid back teachers (at least regarding smart white kids) and they’d probably laugh it off. In fact, if I did what the kid did in The Manhattan Project (1986, John Lithgow) I’d probably have to explain, no, this is a real live nuke. This core contains real weapons-grade uranium and I almost died from radiation poisoning making it. If I arm it, it would lay waste to the town and set Angeles Crest forest afire. Only then would they get nervous that I might be serious.

But because it’s 2015, post 9/11 and quite a few over-publicized shootings, and I’m a brown-skinned Arab named Ahmed in Texas, the teachers, administration and freakin’ police go into a full panic even when he doesn’t model the payload and calls it a clock.

Because not only is the US scared to death of brown people, it’s also peopled by paranoid cowards.

We need a good German Blitz to give us some perspective.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Thought experiment: Say a fourteen-year-old kid did build a bomb.

Because not only is the US scared to death of brown people, it’s also peopled by paranoid cowards.

I think it’s a little more specific than that. If it had been a brown kid name Juan or Jang-Jyh, I’m not sure there would have been such a flipout. But Ahmed sounds like some kind of Arab Muslim Al Qaeda terrorist name.

lars626 (profile) says:

They determined that it was not an immediate danger so they did not evacuate the school. But Ahmed was so dangerous that they put handcuffs on him.

He brought it to show his teachers. Are the teachers so ignorant that they did not recognize what the components were? Maybe in elementary school, but this was high school; and the junior high has a robotics program. Or did the principal freak out and not even bother to have a science teacher even look at it.

This kind of over reaction cannot be tolerated. With this type of thinking some of the stuff my buddy George built in high school (1967) would have had half the town evacuated.

Anonymous Coward says:

There are so many stupid stories in the world, it takes serious multi-level stupidity to make the news. Fortunately, there are English teachers to provide it.

LOOK! It looks like a MOVIE bomb. So, maybe the kid is going to make a movie? Or is it that this teacher can’t distinguish between movies and real life? Is this really someone we want explaining literature?

Moby Dick: “No, his name really wasn’t ‘Ishmael’. It was ‘Herman.’ He was probably a terrorist using an alias.”

Let’s not even get into science fiction?

Or, maybe real bombs always look like movie bombs. What’s the stupidist possible thing to do with a real bomb? Yes, confiscate it….

If I were in this teacher’s class I’d try to get all my classmates to bring clocks to class on the same day — or maybe half of them bring clocks and the other half bring beepers.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Baker

I already expressed my comments on how unintelligent the school and police are before.
If you look closely at the “device” it appears that the kid took apart a
alarm clock and put the guts in a pencil case. Not to take anything away
from his inquisitiveness, all the press about him “building” a clock seems
to give him a bit too much credit. Hey it is great, I took things apart; repackaged and re-purposed them when I was a kid too.

Glenn says:

Amazing points:
1. Police think things like this (science projects) don’t belong in a school. Too funny.
2. Police admitting they would have behaved the same (aka just as stupidly) if a “white student” had brought a clock to school. OMG!
(And, frankly, I’ve never heard the term “Hoax Bomb”–capitalized no less–before. Is that a thing?)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

A hoax bomb is indeed a thing. So are hoax guns. The differentiator is what they are being represented as being, not what they look like. If you bundle up a few dowels and tell everyone it’s a bomb, you’ve made a “hoax bomb”. Legally, hoax weapon perpetrators can be punished as if they were the real thing.

The flip side is that if you made a device that looks like a real bomb and tell everyone it’s not a real bomb, then you haven’t made a “hoax bomb”.

This student made something that didn’t look like a bomb, and that he wasn’t claiming was a bomb, and so what he made was obviously not a hoax bomb.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Make A Bomb In The Shape Of A Gun...

…and nobody will give you a second glance. Because in the US you have a much-ballyhooed constitutional right to carry guns, not bombs.

The article on Al Jazeera includes a couple of pictures making a pointed comparison of Ahmed in handcuffs, and a couple of anglo kids openly carrying guns and getting away with it.

Mark Wing (user link) says:

People are reactionary and prone to stereotypes. I used to go to high school with a girl that was 2 feet tall and she rode around in a tiny, motorized, wheelchair. She had been on a regular on a TV sitcom and some people may even picture who I’m talking about.

Anyway, this tiny, white, disabled, celebrity was the biggest hell raiser in the whole school. Anyone else would have done time for half her antics. Every day she would have the principal call me out of class so she could smoke a joint with me. I don’t think I ever went to 10th grade English, and I got an A because the school valued my service by “working with the disabled.”

So, a white, nerdy kid could bring a nuclear reactor to school, but my half-Latino step son gets frisked in class because he had candy 2 days after Halloween, and they accuse him of stealing it, even though nobody had any missing. Quick call from my lawyer gets the lunch lady fired. 10 years later and I still fume about it.

What the hell is that Arabic kid’s dad supposed to tell him. “Sorry, son, we live in a fucked up world.” We are building a society where a majority of the adults are going to be completely disenfranchised.

Home school isn’t the answer, because your child may end up good at, math but children need to be properly socialized, just like pets.

Public schools aren’t working. It’s basically “every child left behind.”

This one kid is going to be fine. I was looking last night and he already has prestigious mentors. But what about all the other kids that get fucked over and it never goes viral? How do we help those kids? How many kids are going to steal the phone out of my car because that’s what society programmed them to do?

You reap what you sow, as an individual, but also as a society. Right now we are sowing a pretty fucked up garden.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Even if he has the wrong reason, he’s right – home schooling isn’t the answer. What percentage of parents have all these qualifications?

– good (enough) at teaching
– have enough money to stay home and teach/supervise kids instead of working
– deeply interested and invested in childrens’ education
– willing to home school kids

Unless that changes from the very small minority it is now to almost everyone, we need schools, and we need them to be better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Public schools do work. If they are properly funded and staffed.

Check Finland:


That’s how education should be. The problem is that you, US citizens, get as paranoid as a North Korean leader when you hear about “universal healthcare” or “universal schooling” and start talking about taxes, about people leeching from the state or about communism. If you’d hear about countries where to go to the university and get a degree you don’t need to get a multi-year credit, you’d have foam spewing out of your mouth.

So yeah, it’s true that your society is programmed. But in a different way.

But mark my words: if everyone gets access to a quality education, it’s easier to have an educated citizenry than in a country where everyone looks for themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

To be honest, they might have made the greatest favour of his life to this kid. Of course, they did so without realizing it and it doesn’t compensate a bit for the shit he had to go through.

You see, this kid got contacted by Obama and by Zuckerberg (and offered, somewhat, a chance to visit the later). If he and his parents are quick to capitalize this, this kid might have carved himself a chance to land a good education and a good job in 10 years.

Actually, being able to build a clock at 14 is the kind of people that tech companies want: they want the knowledge and particularly, the attitude to do so.

So yeah, I wouldn’t reject Obama’s invitation if I were the kid, and I would try to capitalize this issue the most if I could, at least to get a place in a good high school that would further my abilities, and in a university (like the MIT) to further my education, if possible through a scholarship. And maybe end up working in places like Google, Facebook or any of the big ones doing the job he likes. You see, they might have their issues, but I’ve read that they are good places to work at.

Fuck political issues or whatever, he has to think about his future, not about others.

And to be honest, he deserves it. And not for what happened or any shit of that. But because you don’t find many people curious enough at that age.

That’s the kind of attitude that deserves a prize, not the kids that are being brainwashed by the shit on the TV.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: police officers should be subject to voter approval.

Something like the “Missouri Plan” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Plan) which allows the police department to nominate officers, subject to voter approval, with limited terms. And, yes, I can imagine a ballot with 100 cops on it, the vast majority of whom the voters have never heard of. But when one makes a name for himself by being a total dumbshit the voters at least have a mechanism for taking his gun away.

How many would actually be removed from the public payroll by this mechanism? Somewhere between zero and very, very few. But they would all be thinking about it. And when they actually do fuck up (as everyone does) they would be a lot more likely to be contrite about it, rather than insisting that they made the right decision, it’s just that the public is too stupid to understand it.

Anonymous Coward says:

So proper police procedure is to break the laws regarding the rights suspects have and to refuse to hear anything other than what they have already decided is the verdict.

Then when they cannot coerce a confession dictated how they want to charge them with anything and everything they can to cover their tracks for harassing an innocent person.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

People Confusing Dramatic Conventions With Reality.

To take an obvious point, bombs do not blink lights, and they do not beep. That is a literary convention of bad Hollywood science fiction movies. The “property language” of bad science fiction movies is as hyper-style-ized as the body language of ballet. In ballet, if you want to express menacing rampant sexuality, the barbarians are going to come and rape you, that kind of thing, you do a move like lifting weights, only with your legs turned out, to the accompaniment of pounding music, eg. the Moor in the Nutcracker Suite. Star Trek managed to get away from all that kind of stuff, to a degree, because Gene Roddenberry called in his favors, and got some introductions to real scientists, notably Harvey Lynn of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who could tell him when he was talking BS.

Of course these conventions can be burlesqued, turned on their heads, made fun of. A really cute little ballerina can dance the Moor part, perhaps wearing a fake dongle two feet long. Similarly, Jane Fonda did something like that with the mechanical monsters in Barbarella. “You shameless girl, you broke the sexual-torture machine I was using on you!” says the mad scientist, as Fonda looks at him with a gently pitying expression, intimating that it was fun while it lasted, and no hard feelings that the machine just couldn’t stand up to her level of play.

The same kind of police officer who panics about blinking lights will probably shoot a little girl in a witch costume on Halloween night, because he is convinced that she really is a witch, and he is superstitious like an ignorant medieval peasant, and is terrified of witches.

The kind of cop whose “education” consist more or less entirely of watching re-runs on television is likely to be sort of primitive. It is sad that the teachers in Irving, Texas, schools are equally stupid. Obviously, an Irving high school diploma is not worth the paper it is printed on, and people who graduate from Irving cannot expect to go to a real university.

David says:

Re: People Confusing Dramatic Conventions With Reality.

The same kind of police officer who panics about blinking lights will probably shoot a little girl in a witch costume on Halloween night, because he is convinced that she really is a witch, and he is superstitious like an ignorant medieval peasant, and is terrified of witches.

No, no, no. You need to burn witches, not shoot them. Man, you are just unfit for police service.

David says:

Man, am I glad I'm old

I mean, in my youth computer kits did not generally include stuff like cases or power supplies, so my computer was boards mounted in some old drawer, with transformers and wiring all around. Digital clocks were hand-wired together with TTL chips and wires and stuff like that.

Movie bombs look like movie bombs because somebody freaking builds them from parts using standard electronics skills and components.

Any actual bomb will never, ever, sport LED digit displays. You don’t waste space and current and conspicuousness on that.

Nowadays personal computers are running at freaking clock frequencies making it impossible to hand-assemble them. But there is still a lot of other things you can wire together for show, effect and education.

Including a digital clock that may even intentionally look like a movie bomb. But you can be rather sure that when they detonate a movie bomb in a movie, the movie bomb props have nothing to do with it. Not least of all because filming a bomb from close up does not result in marketable material.

Probably every film studio has about 4 different countdown displays they use for all their films. I’d not be surprised to see Nixie tube displays in a current film. It would likely be a nice insider joke.

Just like makeup is an insider joke for physicians.

Anonymous Coward says:

“President Obama weighing in and inviting Ahmed to the white house”

Mr Joe Average
I’ve done it dad, i’ve made, im going to the whitehouse

Later that day,

Discovery Channel Reporter:
“A pleasure to meet you Mr Average, can you tell our audience out there the history of your whitehouse”

Mr Average joe
“Well, um, its a house.”

Fame supersedes reality

Anonymous Coward says:

“with him not recognizing the suspicious nature of the situation”

A suspicious nature that many are being manipulated and allow themselves to be manipulated into

This is the symptoms to fear, seing things that are’nt there, and a mandate to act without consequence on these things that are’nt there….

Sacrifice is a word i hear bandied around, but for whom exactly, certainly not for this clock maker

spodula (profile) says:

"Declined to prosecute"

Which i think is a shortform for the prosecutors declining to join the long list of people making themselves look like idiots over this matter.

I mean, this probably rates up there with the poor man who drew the short straw to have to tell a judge with a straight face that an 80 year old nun was an imminent threat to national security…

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

What's Wrong With Alike?

I don’t have anything against identical houses. I grew up in one in Cincinnati. About 1870, there was a farmer who had two daughters. So, when they got married, he built two identical houses, facing each other, maybe twenty or thirty yards apart, and about a hundred yards from his own house. To further complicate matters, the boy in the other house was my best friend. We were in and out of each other’s houses, we got into mischief together. Our mothers arranged for us to get the usual childhood diseases together (measles, mumps, chicken pox, this being before vaccines). As for the father’s house, by the 1960’s, the child in our age-range in that house was a girl, so we weren’t quite as close. The two daughter’s houses were kit houses, supplied as sets of precut, pre-drilled, and numbered planks. The family house in Boston was also a kit house of substantially the same design, built in, I think, 1892. When it was sold, the people who bought it immediately applied for a historic preservation certificate. I suppose my parents must have looked for something which made them feel like home.

K Rash says:


Did I spell that right?

I don’t blame the school system for being cautious, but ANY IDIOT, should be intelligent enough to see/discover. Hummm, maybe this is a clock just like my student says, like “WHERE.s THE EXPLOSIVE AGENT” for this bomb. Nothing that looks like an explosive agent, maybe, just must maybe it is a CLOCK. Cindy Lew HOO…

Nicci Stevens (profile) says:

We heard from the Mayor, how about the Police Chief?

“We have always had an outstanding relationship with the Muslim community,” Irving Police Department chief Larry Boyd said on Wednesday. “Incidents like this present challenges. We want to learn how we can move forward and turn this into a positive”.

Let me be sure I get this straight: This kid with brown skin named Ahmed created a challenging incident to law enforcement for wanting to show his skills at electronics.

Mr. Boyd, the way you move forward is to stop thinking that brown skinned kids are terrorists. There are 7bn people on this planet and most of them are non-white. They are not all terrorists, communists, illegal aliens, muslims, hindus, catholics, they are merely people who go on living their lives. Some live here in the good ole US of A and some *gasp* even in Iriving, TX. You’re contributing to the fear that is being sold to us by the government and the media and this fear gets more people killed than you could possibly imagine so long as you’re so closed minded to think a 14 year old boy is a threat because he created technology.

Mr. Boyd, I would remind you of another Texas resident, not from Irving, but he lived down around Houston. In the late 1960s and 1970s he worked with NASA. He helped determine landing sites on the moon, trained astronauts in lunar geology and geological observance from high lunar orbit. He was an intelligent and gregarious man with great sense of humor. Of course in the late 50’s and 60’s, when he attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, nobody would have been afraid of young Farouk El-Baz, with his arab accent or that he was born in Egypt.

There are very bad people out there who want to do very bad things, Mr. Boyd, I agree. When you start handing out fear to people on a daily basis, however, at some point you cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Until 9/11, sir, I might remind you, also, the greatest act of terrorism in USA, in any time any of us can remember, was not perpetrated by foreign nationals. Should we have been suspicious of people in rented moving trucks? Before that, I believe it was when the British set the president’s residence ablaze forcing it to later be painted white.

Anonymous Coward says:

The police refused to allow Ahmed to contact his parents while in custody, which as I understand it is a whole bunch of illegal–he specifically asked for his parents more than once. The principal tried to get the kid to sign a confession, also without allowing him to call his parents.

I hate the way Americans automatically want to sue for the smallest thing, but this is no small thing. This is pretty effin’ big, to coin a phrase. I want to see lawsuits for large sums and people forced to apologize on-camera to this kid.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Real Bombs

I think it might be helpful to discuss what real bombs look like. At a first approximation, bombs come in two types, those intended to kill people (Anti-Personnel), and those intended to destroy stuff (Demolition, Incendiary, Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft, etc.). The defining characteristic is that it has a lot of material which can become bullets in an explosion. Metal is a more satisfactory bullet material than anything else, on account of its high density. Typically, the weight of metal is about ten times the weight of explosive, or more. The implication is that a magnetic detector is usually very good at detecting enough metal to be a significant threat. If it can pick up an automatic pistol or a knife, it can pick up a typical fragmentation bomb.

Practically all explosives contain nitrate groups, the result of washing the explosives’ precursors in nitric acid. A nitrate group contains extra oxygen in easily releasable (unstable) form, immediately proximate to a fuel molecule, and thereby allows a fuel to become an explosive. Nitrate sniffers seem to work reasonably well, without too many false positives. A nitrate sniffer can be a machine, or a dog, or even a cage-full of rats.

Incidentally, the pressure-cooker bombs used in the Boston Marathon bombing were fantastically inefficient, doing no more damage than standard “pineapple” hand grenades could be expected to do. The principle of an efficient grenade casing is that the casing absorbs the force of the explosion by expanding to perhaps twice its original size, and then splits up into pre-serrated fragments, which fly outwards.

As for the other kind of bomb, that designed to destroy stuff, the only kind which works well on a small scale is typically an Incendiary. Common Incendiaries are gasoline and kindred substances (including Napalm), White Phosphorus, and flammable metals (magnesium, powdered aluminum, notably that in Thermite). Thermite is a mixture of powdered aluminum and iron oxide (rust), When ignited, the aluminum steals the iron’s oxygen, heating the iron to melting point, and the iron can work its way down through cracks, setting fires as it goes. During the air bombardments of the Second World War, in the European Theater, the standard incendiary, used against towns consisting of brick houses, was a two-pound grenade, consisting of a magnesium casing filled with Thermite. These were dropped in cluster bombs, and the individual grenades scattered, landed on rooftops, and began to burn their way down into the buildings. When the Unites States began bombing Japan, it was discovered that most of the buildings in japan were low, and built out of wood and paper. So Napalm was used instead.

The “flash-bang,” which the corrupt police in Georgia used on Baby Bou-Bou would fall more or less in the category of an incendiary, but it actually landed in his crib.

nilrebmik40 (profile) says:

clock bomb irving

So everyone on here would have just sat there beside that clock thing on a plane or in an office building with close quarters and never blinked an eye. Whatever. Schools need to be safe period. That looked nothing like a clock. What a circus. Why can’t people get this upset over real issues like the mentally ill homeless people or the elderly who are living in poverty or the gun violence in our cities. The problems of a privileged kid who should have obeyed the rules is not a worthy cause at all. His family has money, he has a nice home and he will get a great education, that’s not a person who should be put into saint hood he didn’t obey the school policy that his parents legally signed off on at the beginning of the texas school year. Obey the rules and use common sense.

MrTroy (profile) says:

Re: clock bomb irving


So everyone on here would have just sat there beside that clock thing on a plane or in an office building with close quarters and never blinked an eye. Whatever.

I’m not sure what you’re suggesting here. We should be wary of anyone carrying a briefcase?

Schools need to be safe period. That looked nothing like a clock. What a circus.

Things don’t need to look like clocks for schools to be safe. Kids don’t need to be forced to sign confessions saying they brought a bomb to school because it doesn’t look like a clock for schools to be safe. In fact, I would argue that staff should not overreact and persecute their students in order for that student to be safe at school.

Why can’t people get this upset over real issues like the mentally ill homeless people or the elderly who are living in poverty or the gun violence in our cities.

Why do you think people (presumably posters on this forum) don’t get upset of issues like mental health, support for the homeless, eldery povery or gun violence? Would you feel better if twitter blew up about these topics more often?

The problems of a privileged kid who should have obeyed the rules is not a worthy cause at all. His family has money, he has a nice home and he will get a great education, that’s not a person who should be put into saint hood he didn’t obey the school policy that his parents legally signed off on at the beginning of the texas school year. Obey the rules and use common sense.

He has money, therefore being forced to sign a confession for something he didn’t do was okay? What rules are you talking about here, not bringing interesting electronics projects to school? Not succumbing to staff overreactions?

My common sense says that this kid made something kinda cool that he should be proud of showing off, and further that the school administration vastly overreacted and overreached in their authority. What does yours say?

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: clock bomb irving

So everyone on here would have just sat there beside that clock thing on a plane or in an office building with close quarters and never blinked an eye..”

No, most here would have done what the “adults” in the school did – examine the clock.

Once the people here realized it was a clock, they would likely say “Cool clock dude. Show the class what you made.”

However, once the “adults” in the school realized it was a clock – and they did realize it was a clock because not one of them did anything one would automatically do upon finding a bomb – instead of saying “Cool”, they decided to teach this little brown boy a lesson in white supremacy, and said “bomb” and then went through all the non-emergency administrative steps necessary to reporting a possible bomb on premises and then illegally isolating the kid in order to wrest a confession out of him before any outside authority could intervene.

And once they realized that the kid was not going to confess to terrorizing the school and that the world was going to see these assholes for what they were, the assholes sat down and figured out a way to charge the kid with possession of a bomb-like object, rather than admit they were just assholes.

What was the kids crime?

Having a Terrorist-sounding name and being brown in War on Terror Torn America.

This is so obviously the reason, that even the POTUS felt it necessary to do the Hollywood PR apology thing, to show the world that a mistake was made, but we officially fixed it, see.

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