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It is Only Funny Because No One Got Hurt

September 17, 2015
Plain English Version
Ahmed Mohamed

Ahmed Mohamed

A funny thing happened in Irving, Texas. School and police officials thought a homemade clock was a ticking time bomb.

Ahmed Mohamed is a 14 years old student. He brought his homemade clock to show his engineering teacher. The teacher said, “That is really nice. I advise you not to show to any other teacher.” That turned out to be good advice.

Ahmed put it is his school bag. The clock’s alarm went off in his English class. He showed the clock to the teacher. Alarmed, she said, “It looks like a bomb.” A few periods later, the principle and the police pull Ahmed out of class.

The rest is classic American ethnic comedy. Ahmed found himself in a room with four officers closely questioning him. The police say the clock is a “hoax bomb.” One of the officers is quoted as saying when he saw Ahmed, “Yup. That is who I thought it was.” His name and skin tone had done him in. He ended up in handcuffs facing a three-day school suspension.

How does the story end? Happily. The police admitted they had no case against him. He walked out of school and went home.

Of course, the case goes viral on social media.

President Obama tweeted Ahmed: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

A happy ending. But.

Kids in America have been killed by police for carrying water pistols that look like guns. The country is on edge. Especially the police. It is time to exercise a little mindfulness. Common sense says not to take something to school that can be mistaken for a time bomb or a pistol. Some groups, including Muslim children, fit the stereotype of a suspect group.

Parents tell their kids to obey police instructions. That is good advice. Another piece of advice: be aware of what you are doing and how it may look to others.

Source: The Washington Post September 16, 2015

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