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OP-ED: Kid clock maker wasn't naive; the adults were paranoid


The police chief of Irving, Texas, says a young Muslim teenager's humiliation and arrest for bringing a homemade clock to school was the result of "a naive accident," presumably on the youth's part.

If so, how very sad.

Have we really reached the point where a mechanically inclined 14-year-old boy is naive for making something extremely clever and wanting to show his teachers?

Should Ahmed Mohamed have said to himself: "Hmm, maybe I shouldn't take this great homemade clock to school because I'm Muslim and my last name is Mohamed and some nervous adult might think it's a bomb"?

No. The problem here is adult paranoia, not youthful naivete.

If you listen to Chief Larry Boyd's statement to reporters, he's still in blame-the-kid mode.

"It certainly was suspicious in nature," he says of the clock.

School resource officers questioned Ahmed, Boyd reported, but "the student would only say that it was a clock, and was not forthcoming at that time about any other details."

Maybe that's because it really was a clock and there were no other details to be forthcoming about?

One can imagine by this time the boy was scared and probably made to feel embarrassed about wanting to show off his clock to a teacher. You wonder what the school officers expected him to say before they called in the cops to handcuff Ahmed and haul him off to a juvenile processing center for more questioning.

Anyway, it sounds as though Ahmed will be fine, having now received invitations to visit the White House, Facebook headquarters and numerous other places of interest to a technically talented 14-year-old.

But if bright young people are supposed to start worrying about whether their creations will be regarded as a threat to national security, I fear for the rest of us.