9th Grader Arrested, Searched For Building A Clock

A 14-year-old in Dallas, Texas has been arrested for bringing a clock to his school. [Ahmed Mohamed] could be any one of us. He’s a tinkerer, pulling apart scrap appliances and building projects from the parts. He was a member of the his middle school robotics team. The clock was built from a standard four digit seven segment display and a circuit board. [Ahmed] built the circuit inside a Vaultz hard pencil case like this one. He then did what every other experimenter, inventor, hacker, or maker before him has done: He showed off his creation.

Unfortunately for [Ahmed] one of his teachers immediately leapt to the conclusion that this electronic project was a “hoax bomb” of some sort. The police were called, [Ahmed] was pulled out of class and arrested. He was then brought to a detention center where he and his possessions were searched. [Ahmed] is now serving a three-day suspension from school. His clock is considered evidence to be used in a possible criminal case against him.

If this situation doesn’t get your blood boiling, then we don’t know what does. Not only is there a glaring racial issue here, but also an issue of allowing kids to bring their projects to school. We hope you’ll join us in expressing outrage at this whole debacle, as well as supporting [Ahmed] in any way you can. Let’s join together as a community to make sure a few small-minded individuals don’t break the spirit of this budding hardware hacker.

For anyone out there who would like to support [Ahmed]’s education even when his school won’t, [Anil Dash] is will be in contact with the family later today. We’re offering a gift card for the hackaday store and we would assume other contributions would also be welcome. -Ed.

493 thoughts on “9th Grader Arrested, Searched For Building A Clock

    1. RTFA, dumbass. “Mohamed is familiar with anti-Islamic politics. He once made national headlines for debating a Florida pastor who burned a Quran.”

      The father is known to the police, and of course the teachers know who the kid’s father is. : “They led Ahmed into a room where four other police officers waited. He said an officer he’d never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.””

      Now, whether you argue about any *racial* aspects of this, or the fact that it was just an issue with this family is a matter of semantics. The father, and by extension, the kid, are known to the police because of their ethnicity/religion.

      1. “Known to the police” doesn’t imply “dodgy Islamic asshole”, and being prepared to debate your religion doesn’t make you a terrorist. Apply the fairness test. What if this was a kid in Arabia who had debated a right wing Imam who had burned a bible?
        If he had come to class and said “look at this bomb I built” then the police might have a point. “look at this clock”? Get real!
        Apparently you’re a bigoted right wing asshole yourself.

          1. Or long hair and beard, a scary homeless person in America. Evicted folks sleep outside, while foreclosed and abandoned houses decay in disrepair. Welcome to America, now get a job.

      2. “but I don’t see the race element (islam and other beliefs in magic invisible sky fairies being a type of “faith” opposed to a “race”).”

        So you do, but you insist on driving the distinction between ‘race’ and ‘faith’ so you can feel smug about it not being a race issue?

      3. forget reason on hackaday

        I’ve noticed that this sit is not just conservative but right wing and just loves the “establishment”

        this was a disgusting case of right wing islamaphobia, a trend that is sweeping the globe

        but then again I’m from a “socialist, welfare state that embraces multi-culturalism”, so what would I know…

          1. DO you think a white kid would have been arrested (or even reported) in the same situation? I doubt it. All the way up the chain here we see people virtue signaling their racism disguised as ‘an abundance of caution’, while EVERYBODY obviously knew this kid hadn’t made a bomb (or even a hoax bomb)


      4. There are a lot of “dodgy Christian assholes” too. (aka: The Tea Party and its supporters) ;^) There are numerous dodgy assholes everywhere that everyone has to put up with. The real issue here is the persecution of the innocent. Neither race or faith should bring any implications to a bright young kid who is simply showing off a cool project he took pride in building. As far as I am concerned, what he did is no different than a kid who enjoys video games showing off his PSVita or DS in class. What they did/are doing to him is not right. I understand there is a “real threat to our nation”, but certain actions in regards to this are an affront to our social liberties. This is the result of fear-mongering, and the consequences are all too real.

        1. it was almost as threatening as video recording police beatin a homless guy… good thing there wasn’t a sharpened pencil it that box, we would hear about a another missing child (guantanamo bay).

        2. Sounds like you’re making shit up.

          Hold unlike this kid Ahmed who came to school like usual, wearing a NASA t-shirt and first showing his project to his engineering teacher before the clock accidentally beeped in his class during another class, you conceal yourself behind the pseudonym “MicroGuy” and link to yahoo as an evasive move, all this while posting comments on a “hacker” site post about terror suspicion? Very dubious behaviour man! Looks like you’re almost trying to provoke a visit from the NSA for terror baiting or terror planning. The jig is up MicroGuy, I hope the man comes a knocking on your door soon!

      5. “The father, and by extension, the kid, are known to the police because of their ethnicity/religion.”
        Wrong. They are know because his older sister was suspended on a prior occasion for making a bomb threat and his father is a public agitator for Islam.

          1. Amen. In the ‘pictures of our class’ section of one of my early yearbooks, there’s a pic of me showing off something very close… it was a KIM-1 running a timer. I still have that KIM-1 up on my office wall. The yearbook is hidden away in a drawer.

      1. The thing though is that the teachers know the kid, and engineering teachers should know what a clock is.
        And a school is suppose to know how to deal sanely with kids and not traumatize them for fun and giggles.

        But maybe I’m weird or old-fashioned..

        1. The problem isn’t the teachers, or the cops, necessarily. It is the concept of zero tolerance coupled with the fear of liability. I’m sure that in the case of the school, there is a well delineated course of action that takes rational though out of the equation entirely. The police only investigated the complaint made by the school.

          Of course any sane person would be able to tell that it wasn’t a bomb as it lacked a key ingredient, i.e. explosives or in this case “hoax” explosives. Police should be able to use their discretion when it comes to detaining someone, but again due to the nature of the incident, it’s likely that their “hands were tied”. No one wants to risk responsibility for another school mass murder.

          1. ^THIS^ Everybody is so indoctrinated into this type of thinking nowadays because of the overwhelming drum beat of Political Correctness and fears of Litigation, that dumb decisions are made out of perceived fear and perceived offense. All the teacher had to do was ask ‘What’ it was, and maybe let the kid explain how it worked!

            This is a really sad indicator of the state of society nowadays.

          2. @x3n0x
            “…because of the overwhelming drum beat of Political Correctness and fears of Litigation”
            wait … WHAT?! .. now Political Correctness means racial profiling?

          3. hey @x3n0x – my understanding is that the teacher *did* ask “‘What’ it was” …and the kid refused to explain how it worked.
            Then the police asked. …and the kid refused to explain how it worked.
            Then Ahmed was taken in for questioning. Not “jailed.”

            And it was a freaking countdown timer in a metal “briefcase.”
            The kid may not be a terrorist, but he is an idiot.

            The unfortunate part of this whole debacle is “everybody is so indoctrinated into this type of thinking nowadays because of the overwhelming drum beat of Political Correctness and fears of Litigation, that dumb decisions are made out of perceived fear and perceived offense.” So, as stated and hated above… SJW

        2. The story that I read said the Science teacher DID know it was just a clock, and advised him not to show it off or let the other teachers see it. But apparently it beeped and they asked about it.

          1. Based on the vague timeline I’ve built up in my head from the various stories the kid showed his Engineering Teacher during an earlier class and was advised against “show & tell” presumably to avoid just such a situation arising. Then later in another class where the Engineering Teacher was not present the thing beeped perhaps the lad genuinely misunderstood the advice he had been given or perhaps he was just a teenager being awkward no one but he knows for sure.

            The reactions of the School are understandable as they reacted for the best as they could see it in a “No Win” situation which they found themselves in by accident or design of someone else. To quote a phrase often used in the Security and Personal Protection industries “We have to be lucky every day the Bad guys only need to be lucky once!” this is what I mean about a “No Win” situation for the school. If they didn’t react and it was a bomb HEADLINE “LAX SCHOOL SECURITY CAUSES BOMB BLOODBATH” or react as they have and we have the current shitstorm instead. I know which I prefer.

            Was the kid just exercising poor judgement in interpreting his Engineering Teachers advice, being a stroppy adolescent or following a carefully choreographed plan to create just such a media event? We will probably never know for sure.

          2. It’s clear they never thought it was a bomb: they didn’t evacuate the school, call the bomb squad, or blow it up. The “better safe than sorry” excuse just doesn’t fly.

    2. He has a Middle Eastern name, therefore it is assumed that the teacher/police thought that he must be carrying a bomb of some sort.

      Anyway, this is simply a testament to the class of idiot we have teaching our kids today. Anyone who supports the teachers’ unions is supporting the inability of the school administration or the parents of children in that school/district from being able to get rid of any teacher who would stifle the creativity of any child with their mentally deficient assumptions about 7-digit LED displays attached to a box with some little hookup wires.

      Really, though, how do you get a 7-digit display and a breadboard to explode? If we could make that happen, makerspaces would be that much more fun (because fun is linearly proportional to how dangerous the activity is!).

        1. They use their bargaining powers to create rules under which they are employed that basically make it impossible to fire them. It doesn’t matter if the teacher’s students aren’t actually learning anything… nor whether the teacher is stifling students’ desire to learn outside of the classroom. It really seems like no one can fire the teacher until he/she sleeps with (rapes, statutory or otherwise) a student.

          I’m going to predict right now that this teacher will be in no way reprimanded for his/her actions, and unless this community does something drastic to repair the trauma caused to this kid, he might never try to take up another electronics project ever again.

          1. What do you know beyond what was given in the Dallas Morning News that the teacher deserves a reprimand? As far as any of know she was following policy put in place by school administration or school board policy. I pro labor, damn right I support teacher unions. In the event they are as powerful as you characterize under No Child Left Behind teachers who share rewards for students doing well equitably withadministrators receive & administrators would share equitably with teachers any consequences when students perform poorly. The kid most likely has experience more shit than any of us ever had, you do him no justice when you underestimate his resiliency when you use this to cover old tired teacher union ground.

          2. @Lupus Mechanicus
            Yes! Curse the socialists and their feeble attempts at social justice and liberty. Long live the fake democracy where the dollars rules the ballot, where the filthy rich get even richer at the expense of the poor and the environment, all under the false pretense that this is what it means to be ‘free’. Yay!

          3. There is zero evidence that union busting creates more teacher accountability or better education. You’re hijacking this case of a kid being the victim of both racism and possibly “techie/nerd phobia” in order to spew your anti-union rant.

      1. ” how do you get a 7-(segment) display and a breadboard to explode?


        Not only are the people involved acting as hysterical bigots (and trying to cover their butts with “But…but…but…it could have been a *hoax* bomb and that’s illegal too”), but they don’t realize that real bombs aren’t usually built with huge glowing displays for heroes to disarm (by cutting the blue wire with the white stripe).


      2. As a white kid, I got busted for having a soft-side pencil case, with a tiny hammer, C-clamp and screw driver in school. This was in the early 70’s.
        One of MY kids got suspended for 3 days in 2nd grade for sitting at an assigned table in class, with another kid who folded a sheet of paper in half lengthwise, twice, then at a 90 degree angle. The teacher said it looked like a *-GASP-* GUN !!! That kid had the cops called on him, got suspended for a week & had to appear before a magistrate.
        Stupid little white kid, fabricating a weapon of mass destruction in class.
        And stupid my kid for not running away and screaming in horror, like Donald Sutherland at the end of the movie “Body Snatchers”.

        1. I got a 3 day suspension in 7th grade for having a hypercard deck on my school-issued floppy disk that depicted a tree growing and then turning into a mushroom cloud. This despite easily verifiable protest that I built the animation for my science report about environmental destruction. Perhaps this sort of willful administrative ignorance is just meant to impart the ultimate lesson you get from a decade of mandatory schooling: the system is stupid and doesn’t care about you.

          1. I was suspended in high school for creating a student council election poster where I photoshopped my friend’s head onto Keanu Reeves’ body from The Matrix Revolutions, with “Matrix” in the title changed to the candidate’s name. I was careful to choose a scene where Keanu Reeves wasn’t holding any guns, because I wasn’t stupid and knew I’d get in trouble for that. Apparently, though, the character’s black trenchcoat and sunglasses were “implied violence”, so the administration ripped down the posters, suspended everyone on the election campaign team, and ejected the candidate from the running.

            Just keeping your kids safe, everyone!

    3. If the kid was white with a father “known to the police” do you think it would have caused the same reaction?

      Americans have been blaster with fear imagery of the “terrorist arab” by their government for so long now they no longer pause to question it .

      1. Please put the words “highly uneducated” in front of “americans” some of us that actually have education and intelligence don’t panic easily.

        The problem is that typically police are highly uneducated here and are nothing more than footsoldiers blindly doing what they are told. Teachers here in the USA are also incredibly uneducated, they don’t know anything at all outside of the basic education classes and the very narrow topic they studied. (Disclaimer: my family has several teachers, I am embarrassed that the low level of education they have makes them teachers)

        This coupled with the constant fear based news we get create the problem that you see here in this article.

        1. Well said. It used to be “Reds under the beds”, now its “Home grown Jihadi’s”… but whichever bigotry is accepted in the main stream, the result will be the same.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_

          We are as a whole, on average, uneducated. This suits those in power as it allows them to dictate what we think.

          When they want our opinion, they give it to us. Currently in Europe, we are being bombarded with messages about “swarms” of “migrants” “invading” us.

          We are not, however being shown the daily carnage that is driving people to flee their homes in the hope of finding shelter from wars which our governments are all too keen to stoke. Remember arms sales==money==power but if you don’c “consume” those weapons, you wont buy more.

          Think on this 20 years from now when all of your freedoms have been eroded and your liberty has been taken away in the name of protecting you from terrorists. When drones patrol the sky to police the curfew and public meetings are banned. If you think this is a rant, bear in mind that my words will almost certainly now be stored in a faceless government warehouse full of “metadata”, since the post contains several words that will trip the NSA “content filters”. You wont be able to know this for certain of course because of the fact that this is a “state secret”.

    4. I took a “lie detector” to school in the 5th grade. It was actually my grandfathers slot car dyno(imagine a tiny dynamometer that’s about the size of a bread box – complete with rollers, and gauges to show you the output of your slot car motor). But my dad added a secret switch to the back that I could secretly trigger and make all the volts/amps needles jump around when someone was “lying”. Good times! Among other things – I’d sometimes get the nerve to ask girls if they like me, and if they said no – I’d make the needles move like they were telling a fib! Good times. The teachers asked me to stop bringing it to school because it was causing too much of a ruckus. (in other words, the laughs and giggles were bothering them during their smoke break) – BTW – Regarding this story…. – I don’t think race has anything to do with this. I do think that’s why it made the new. But those are two different things, aren’t they?

    5. The only thing glaring is the stupidity and ignorance of the school employees and the police. Seems like everyone wants to assume the worst and nobody had any common sense.

      Feel bad for Ahmed. He needs to know that he did nothing wrong. Would really like to see him get a call from MIT or Stanford. The kid has talent that shouldn’t be discouraged.

      1. there is no implied talent in his creation. he took a clock out of a box and put it in another box. i’m below average and was doing significantly more sophisticated things when I was 14…

    6. 1. He is clearly of middle eastern descent.
      2. Bomb, hoax bomb…
      Put it together and your good to go.
      The question is simple.
      Is it a violation of school rules do bring a clock? Do watches count?
      The Hoax bomb line is pretty weak IMHO he showed it to his engineering teacher and told him it was a clock. At no time did he say it was a bomb…
      People get a grip. It is not the electronics that make a bomb it is the chemistry.

      1. The hypocrisy of your comment is astounding. You say SJW is a term that bigots use… then talk about their prejudice. Don’t you think it’s possible that SJW is a term that non-bigots might use as well?

        1. No, it’s not. It’s literally a term saying “These people are bad for fighting for social justice”. Social Justice should be an admirable thing. The term “Social Justice Warrior” is exclusively used to denigrate those who fight for social justice. It is a bigoted term.

          You may argue that they have dictionary definitions and together they are harmless, but in reality words have social meaning, and the term “social justice warrior” has a heavily negative connotation socially.

          I stand by my statement, we need to leave that term behind, as well as many other bigoted terms. They have no place in civilized conversation.

        2. Depends on what your definition of social justice is. I agree that the term social justice warrior is negative and should be used that way and I will continue to use it that way to describe these hypocrites.

        3. Gotta go with Bryan here. The term is explicitly intended to turn something positive — improving social justice — into something negative, and make people look deluded or ridiculous for trying to improve things for others. It’s almost always used as an ad hominem, in situations where you have no real arguments. “Oh, these people are wrong, because… uh… SJW!”

          If you use it, it says everything about you, and nothing about anyone else.

        4. “Social Justice” is not a positive term at all. It is false flag term used relabel unjust policies and as just. For example, it would be “socially just” to take from those who earned something to give to someone else who didn’t earn it on the mere bases of unequal outcomes, with no trial and no evidence. That’s called injustice in my book. The overall idea is to override individual rights an replace them with group rights. The term Social Justice Warrior refers to the kind of crazy ideologues who believe in this backwards nonsense.

      2. Like you said, “words have social meaning”. And the fact is some collectivist “progressives” have embraced the term. You know, the people who believe “social justice” means the death of the Individual, freedom of speech and thought, gender and of course, all white males. If those are the bigots you were referring to, then I agree,

      1. while race may be a factor, these comparisons are not really valid. There are just too many variables. I did dozens of things in middle school and high school in the 90s, that would have resulted in permanent expulsion and likely criminal prosecution, probably as an adult, under only slightly different circumstances, such as under different leadership or a different “first move” by the closest authority figure. Then instead of becoming an educated affluent person making demonstratively positive impacts on the planet I would be a useless street urchin with no education and possibly a felony conviction. The criminal justice system is an anachronistic nightmare that has far outlived its usefulness, is not consistent with contemporary science on human behavior, and acts as a significant drain on our resources, happiness, and potential as a society.

      2. There is a big difference between many of those in that link this story, they were for school projects while the one Ahmed built was not. Ahmed did not build a clock, he transferred an existing alarm clock into a briefcase sized box which is what bomb makers tend to do. The whole idea that his race had anything to do with this is funny, plenty of white kids have been expelled and arrested for less such as biting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun or pointing your hand at someone and making gun noises.

    7. Wow, this kid really pulled one over all those with a guilty conscience. Not only did he not “make” a clock, he was going for a HOAX bomb to, in some way, fulfill his sisters threats of “I’m going to blow up this school”. Coincidence? I think not. So funny seeing the liberals loosing their minds.

    1. +1! Educate the educators (no pun intended).

      In social engineering, it is impossible to truly NOT profile something or someone. Even when you attempt to scientifically un-profile, people aren’t objective. Give the teacher some slack here.
      She got rooted. She had no idea what it was.

      1. In what universe should a person who is unable to recognize a clock when she sees one be allowed to teach anyone anything? The teacher was a moronic bigot, the principal was a moronic bigot, and the police sure as heck were moronic bigots! None of them should keep their jobs after this.

        On a side note, it’s telling that the administrators’ section of the Irving Independent School District web site is closed. :D

        1. Was no question about it being a clock, was about whether it was a hoax bomb. Why would you rip the guts out of an alarm clock and put them in a closed box where you cant even see the display? People jump to call them racists/bigots yet don’t ask more questions about this whole story. This was not a class project so why would he bring it to school? He didn’t build the clock just put it in a closed briefcase sized pencil box. Sounds a bit suspicious to me. Maybe the reaction from this whole ordeal is what he intended.

      1. Not that way in the states though. Lots of classes on lesson planning, dealing with individual needs (IEP’s Individual Education Plans), classroom management, 1 year or semester of student teaching. First year teacher gets a professional mentor teacher and other support (is supposed to anyway). Required continuing course and seminar work weekends and evenings to get “clock hours” towards promotion. 5th year college required within a few years of starting, very rigorous Master Teacher program, on and on and at very low pay for the long hours.

        70% of new teachers quit in the first 3 years after 4 to 5 years of college preparation because the school administrations suck so badly. The rules about gun shapes, oddball electronic gadgets, any kind of pill, like aspirin, etc. all come from on-high. No lockers anymore and what you can have in your backpack is well defined. Teachers are “Mandated Reporters” under the law. They shall take action when they see a violation.

        I recall a kid removed from school because of an Airsoft pistol in his pack. For better or worse, things like this are considered dry-runs today. The same applies to the home made clock/timer. It is a far cry from the pipe bomb making contest at my Jr. High.

        1. This is totally right. The teacher in question may have even known this was likely not a problem but you can get canned for failing to report things. Teachers loose more and more discretion about both big and small things. People go on about teacher’s unions pulze! They are largely a waste of money that are toothless and have no power to back a teacher. You fail to get renewal of your contract, you can kiss your chances of working outside of the worst schools goodbye. Administration of schools is so bad because many of the administrators became such because they couldn’t cut it as a teacher.

      2. After she graduated college, you would not believe the hoops my girlfriend had to jump through to become certified as a teach in the state of Illinois. Many tests, all accompanied by payments for the test and the certification once the test was passed. It was just a ridiculous collection of requirements, the local state office couldn’t even keep up with it. At one point, they weren’t even set up to take payment for a test/certification combo that they said was required. This was after they finally figured out it was required. Nobody unqualified for the position, at least in the state of Illinois, accidently falls into a job as a teacher.

  1. The bomb minded people strike again, the terrorists have truly won. Remember a few years ago when this happened? History will continue to repeat itself through jealousy, fear, and ignorance. This is why I was afraid to bring this kind of stuff to school when I was a child. When I did bring my projects to school I got strange looks as if I where some natural freak who was smarter than everyone else, or possibly dangerous.

    1. How dare you do work outside the curriculum or assigned reading?! Heretic! BURN THE WITCH!
      The only time I learned stuff at that age, that wasn’t math or literature, was dicking on the computer off hours. Only thing that lead me to become an engineer rather than enlist like a lot of other guys… (Raised military brat).

      1. I think many of us suffered from this in the past in one form or another. People fear what they don’t understand, be it intellectual or cultural understanding. Regardless of the kids ethnicity/religion, he’s one of us, and we gotta protect each other (especially kids) when someone tries to persecute the practical pursuit of knowledge and inventiveness. I don’t care what god you pray to, what political party you vote for, what color your skin is. If you’re a kid soldering clocks together and breaking your toys to learn how they work, you’re one of us, you’re a hacker and should be proud.

        Here’s one of my favourite videos from jeri ellsworths channel, seems right to share it here:

      1. I used to. Up till the point that having a leatherman on my person is treated as a criminal offence with 3 years in prison, my reasons for having it as a tool are down to the judge/jury to decide is ok in their own narrow minded view.
        A leatherman in public place here is treated in the same manner as a 9″ hunting knife.
        I’m not prepared to be the test case. Welcome to the UK.

          1. @Andy

            Irony is, murders per capita in the “Wild West” are at or below current per-capita rates.

            Do you have any references to support this? My recollection from reading several books on development in the west, particularly the move west with the railroad construction say 1850s to 1880s is that murders were incredibly frequent, among the leading causes of death. Namely for the same reasons you suggest drive a higher murder rate today…. Namely, they were, young men, that often converged in large numbers to very small places with ample access to whiskey, gambling, prostitution, and relatively good all-cash wages. My understanding is that it was not uncommon that there would be several murders per week in camps measured in the thousands, which compared today would be frighteningly high…

        1. I agree whole heartedly. I grew up and was allowed sharp things, there were razor gangs in Glasgow, and guys running about with swords in gangland circles.

          There are fairly draconian limitations on the kind of knife you can carry in the UK now. https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives – however what made the most difference to knife crime in Scotland, wasn’t the knee jerk banning of knives, but education initiatives.

          Knives are not the problem in this case, the nutters now carry screwdrivers instead. The problem comes when we allow fear to dictate the law, rather than reason. The tendency then is to go to one extreme or the other. In the USA, everybody must have a gun to protect themselves, in the UK, nobody can carry a knife in case they suddenly decide to hack each other to bits with the pointy bit of their leatherman. Both extremes are equally crazy.

          Watch out, or pretty soon the law will be changed such that carrying something that “looks like a bomb” will be a crime, that allows a police officer to tazer you (or even shoot you) simply because they are suspicious about a few wires.

          1. No “pretty soon” about it. Police already taser folks holding something suspicious, such as a cellphone while recording police activity (that police claim to have mistaken as a weapon). This just happened to a man recently, in fact. Having brown skin seems to aggravate the situation, though light-skinned folks also get shot for asking police the wrong questions now and then. Almost anything can be mistaken as a weapon, such as a lawn sprinkler a man was holding while killed by police who claimed it looked like a weapon. And with movies and TV, wires and electronics devices are scary too.

          2. > “In the USA, everybody must have a gun to protect themselves.”

            Is this really the view the rest of the world has of us? We have the *right* to have a gun (bear arms) to protect ourselves, but the entire country isn’t some caricature of the old west… Those screaming how guns turn people evil or those screaming back ‘muh freedoms’ are only the vocal minorities.

          3. @Pannick

            Irony is, murders per capita in the “Wild West” are at or below current per-capita rates. (Mostly because the people per-square mile was a lot lower; people, like particles, become energetic when compressed. Still, the point stands).

            But seriously; why can’t people accept the concept of “If a person isn’t hurting other people (against that person’s will or without their informed consent), leave them the hell alone?”

            Instead, litigation, regulation, incarceration. What we need is education to break this stagnation and act as an inspiration, and the termination of the legislation which is a defamation of the foundation of this nation.

          4. @ Pannick

            Not the view I have as a well travelled Brit.
            It’s not that you need to have a firearm to protect yourself it’s just that as a people you seem to be a little too immature to have the responsibility of allowing freedom of ownership in your society.
            It’s said that if you criminalise something like guns or knives you are really just persecuting the average Joe, criminals are still going to break the law.
            Your problem with guns is a society issue. A question of responsibility and an understanding of your own culture and values both as individuals and as part of society.
            To me looking in from the outside, the American dream of getting rich is about screwing everyone in your way to success. If you dont have money you are a nobody. And no one can tell you what to do, there is some well ingrained arrogance of being the best in the world, as if the rest of us aspire to be like America.
            There are many countries in Europe that have access to guns and don’t have Americas problems. Why is that?
            I like to think it’s got a lot to do with social welfare. Your politics are very right or certainly right of centre. Europe tends to be a little more left leaning, a little more support is given to society. We look after the people that have nothing far better than in the USA. If you give someone nothing to lose, demonise them, ghettoise them, what do you realistically expect of them?
            Get Rich or Die Tryin.

            Sadly tho as someone comment above, if people only get their understanding from movies (regards what bombs look like) it’s hard to think that everyone in the US doesn’t have a 38 in their glove box and an AR in the bedroom.

            I would love to own firearms and become proficient with them like any other tools, but in the UK it’s not allowed for the ones which interest me without quite massive restrictions on their use. Due mostly to two incidents in which a lone gunman with obvious mental health issues had access to firearms and went on a spree killing.
            The knee jerk reaction is to ban everything. We do that here. It’s a British thing. There are also paedophiles hiding on every street corner. Don’t stop to ask a kid for directions or help them if they fall over, you pedo.

            Luckily across Europe there are more progressive countries and they are only 90 minute flight away.
            So there is a chance to go shooting within easy reach.
            It’s just damn expensive and I suppose now I risk being detained at the airport for explosive residue !!

            BTW Tazers are considered firearms by UK law too and thus serious prison time.

        1. I may have to steal that remark… not sure how I’m going to shoehorn it in to the conversation, but its too good to let it pass. I too came close to a caffeine related nasal explosion. Brown and green streaks on a 24″ monitor is not a good look. Keep up the good work.

  2. I always loved carrying projects to school. This is insane. How can one see an up-counting clock as a bomb with countdown system? And how does one interrogate a minor without the presence of their parents? I am hugely disappointed.

    1. Terrorists are very sneaky, he could have it set to blow up when the clock reaches a certain time rather than after a certain time passes. – sarcasm

      fyi – Post 9/11 in the US, anyone suspected to be a terrorist forfeits their human rights.

      1. Correction: Anyone suspected as a terrorist has their rights forfeited for them, or summarily stripped , with no contest. Wont be long before everyone who disagrees with the mainstream whim of the time is deemed a ‘domestic terrorist’

    2. yeah me too. I remember making a small battery pack, switch and terminal block box which seemed to come in handy during science lessons more than I thought it would! Sat in my pencil case and everything – teachers never cared.

    1. Oh my gosh!
      “Clocks can be used to set off bombs!”
      Extra! Extra!
      “So can paperclips!”

      So, I see you have a paperclip.
      What are you going to use that for?
      Clipping paper together.
      Haha! A likely story. You’re under arrest for carrying a hoax bomb.

  3. Now that I think about it there was an instance in college where a kid down the hall thought I was building bombs because I had a bunch of motorcycle parts and was always tinkering with stuff in my dorm room. Nothing ever came of it, but media-fueled paranoia can make people jump to some weird conclusions. Fortunately for me my skin happens to be white, otherwise there’s a good chance that could have gone a lot worse.

  4. “School isn’t a place for smart people… It’s a waste of time. Bunch of people runnin’ around bumpin’ into each other, got a guy up front says, ‘2 + 2,’ and the people in the back say, ‘4.’ Then the bell rings and they give you a carton of milk and a piece of paper that says you can go take a dump or somethin’. I mean, it’s not a place for smart people, Jerry. I know that’s not a popular opinion, but that’s my two cents on the issue.”

    I feel bad for the kid. If he’s excited about electronics at that young of an age, to the point of doing projects, with this bullshit he might shy away from it now. Hopefully not.

    1. America, get your shit together. Get it all together, and put it in a backpack, all your shit. So it’s together. And if you’ve got to take it somewhere, take it somewhere, you know. Take it to the shit store and sell it. Or put it in a shit museum I don’t care what you do. You just gotta get it together.

      Get your shit together.

      1. What associations? Other than a father that debated a bigot of a pastor. A pastor who in all likelihood his ignorant that of his “Christian Country” has no problems dealing with radical Muslims if there’s a dollar in doing so.

      1. If you truly think that “maybe I should try and make this so that really stupid people don’t panic.” is some sort of crime, or wrong in any sense, then great. Welcome to the world of thought crime. (Also, go look up the term “useful idiot.” You are one.)

      2. Yep, that detail didn’t help much, nor did the Cheshire Cat selfie of the family on the way to the lawyers. Usually people charge-off for counsel due to a disquieting sense of injustice – no cause for such jubilation.

  5. I love when people look cross ways at parents who home school their children. Wake up folks, closed minded, short sighted, test teaching excuses for teachers run rampant while kids with energy and desire to learn get told “that’s not how it works.” Nothing like this ever happened to our kids (which are successful grown adults now) but we didn’t wait for it to happen. We could see the writing on the wall. Want to hack something? Hack your kids education into something useful. Build stuff together without some teacher tell them “you can’t do that.” Expose them to tons of concepts, and see what sticks. Let them learn what they want to learn, and they’ll be experts in it (I’m using that term loosely).

    Public Schools are just funding farms and kids are the cattle.

    1. Agreed 100%, and well said, fellow homeschooler. My wife and I refused to let our son be “educated” by the same horrible people and in the same horrible way we were.

      Teachers these days have no accountability, no common sense, and no ability to actually teach.

      1. A friend of mine spent years getting an education degree. He taught high school math. Principal walks in one day, and in front of the entire class explains to him that he’s failing too many students. The kids realize they can play the game of “he won’t fail me, I’m the smartest kid in the class” and so they all start slacking off. So the principal tells him he needs to get control of his class. “No, you get control of the class. I quit.” And just like that he walked. I was very proud of him for sticking to morals, even though he ruined his career for that entire school district. Last I heard he was out of the education field completely.

      2. How do you take care of the social aspect? Homeschooling means they don’t get to interact with lots of kids their age in a setting where their parents aren’t around. Is there an alternative to that? I’m honestly curious about this.

        1. Most areas have home schooling co-ops, and yes you have to work to keep the kids socialized. We all know about “that one weird home schooled kid” who grew up under a rock. Those are by far the exception. In my family we regularly socialized with other kids around our kids ages. They also had a lot of cousins and also friends around their age in our religious organization. Balance must be had, but it’s not impossible. Plus, kids spend more time around adults and tend to become more well rounded as a result.

  6. The questin is: Why he brought that in the school? What was his intent? If to show off, then maybe allright. If to scare kids and/or teachers, then he deserves it.
    As a kid, we were not allowed to bring anything not realted with our lessons to the classes.

    1. If you only had read the article:

      He showed it to his engineering teacher first thing Monday morning and didn’t get quite the reaction he’d hoped for.
      “He was like, ‘That’s really nice,’” Ahmed said. “‘I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’”

    2. “As a kid, we were not allowed to bring anything not realted with our lessons to the classes.”
      You must have gone to a boarding school, or something.

      Most schools don’t care what you bring as long as it’s not dangerous, offensive, or distracting to the class.

      1. The de facto definitions for “dangerous”, “offensive” and “distracting” have become rather more excessively broad compared to when I was grist for the public-education mill, lo these many years ago. Nowadays it’s pretty much “everything that is not compulsory is forbidden”. And heaven forfend if you try to make a principled argument against the sort of Orwellian totalitarian overreach forced upon the educational arena nowadays; you will be branded the sort of troublemaker up with which the established order will not put. :P

  7. I went to Wallach IX at the Tyrant’s command … My orders were to suppress the Mentat school you thought you had hidden there … I, a Mentat, forced to suppress a school that trained people the way I was trained. I knew why he ordered it, of course, and so do you.

  8. If he is innocent than this is terrible. most of you are worried about the short term consequences of something like that but i would be more worried about ever obtaining any government clearances with something like that on my record.

    Now if he’s guilty, which from the video and his associations among other things i have made the assumption he is, than he deserves everything and more to come to him and his parents.

    1. Guilty of what exactly?

      He isn’t guilty of actually making a bomb. I think we can all agree that he wouldn’t be making upset videos on youtube if that was the case.

      He isn’t guilty of trying to terrify people by pretending it was a bomb, since according to the article the police have admitted he wasn’t:
      “Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.”

      I guess he’s apparently guilty of not listening when a teacher advises you to do something. Last I checked the punishment for that is not “everything and more” coming to you and your parents though.

    2. Guilty by association? The number amount of wrong in your post makes my head hurt.
      1. He told everyone it was a clock.
      2. It was a clock.

      Even his father did nothing more than debate some preacher that decided to burn Qurans. You know about debate right? The peaceful, intellectual way to work out issues..

      1. based on another comment that says “known to the police” is the reason i included his associations. and i meant guilty of making a hoax bomb. but the question i have is did he really tell everyone it was a clock? if he did than yeah he is not guilty.

    3. You know what, I disagree with you on a particular point that no one else has put forward yet:

      ” if he’s guilty… than he deserves everything and more”

      No, if he brought a hoax bomb to school with the intent of scaring people for laughs or to feel superior he does not deserve what has and will happen. Because he’s a kid who was interested in engineering. And he could be trained and guided and molded into a fine upstanding individual who will help the world. What would happen though is that this intelligent kid, who is already feeling the pain of racism and stigmatization, would be suspended or expelled. He could get a criminal record which may majorly impact his ability go to college or get a job. The world actually *will* be out to get him and his options will be slim. But what he could become is an intelligent, creative person with a drive to learn and an enemy to fight. And his fight may not be pretty.

      This could *ruin* his life and the lives of others by consequence. What he deserves is for people to talk with him compassionately and empathetically and ask whether his intent was to harm or scare anyone. Then they should talk to whatever idiot thought this could be a bomb and reported him and review their goddamn stupid policy that got this kid in trouble because that policy isn’t helping anyone.

        1. If his intent was to cause physical harm (or even emotional harm, that is attempting to *scar* not *scare*) then he should get the necessary mental help and if it is determined he is unable to control himself incarceration or placement in a mental health facility.

          I do not believe in the US prison system as it exists for a number of reasons and until we have an appropriate replacement we’ll have major issues in poverty, inequality and recidivism. If you send a bomb maker to prison and he gets out he’ll just be an older bomb maker who can’t get a legitimate job but was both traumatized and taught in prison who could have used his bombs. If he doesn’t get out you’ve just tortured a man to death.

  9. How the world changes. When I was at school I built an astable multivibrator flashing a bulb (Pre LED days, old git). The physics teacher took me to see the head and the head asked me if I could make it flash the lights on the stage for school plays. :)

  10. Ignorance on both sides of that story. The kid knew it would be mistaken as a threat. As did the first teacher who really should have kept the device to avoid this bs. As did his father who probably hoped this would happpen so he can troll his way into a political debate. Cynicism aside, it was not necessary to get the police involved for what i assume was a first offence.

    Besides, everybody knows Muslims don’t use timers. They just click the switch in their hand.

      1. Yes. Exactly. In society you try not to do something that could be perceived as a threat. You don’t fly your drone at the airport. You don’t load your gun at the bank. You don’t lurch your car forword at crosswalks. You don’t play with your lighter at the gas pump.

        I posted to play devils advocate because most of the readers on this site are quick to defend this kid. I know there is an alarming and ugly racial intolerance at play here, but any kid who stuffs an awkward looking clock into an unorthodox case should definitely be made aware of his (or her.. Sorry ladies) mistake after taking it to a public place especially a school. Like i said the first teacher should have done something. He could have nicley asked if he could hold on to it for the day. Maybe make an excuse that he’d like to show other students. The teacher who failed to recognize a young hobbyist as just a kid with a hobby who wants to show off should not have escalated it to getting the law involved. The law should have been able to recognize it for what it was, but decided to go the profiling route without any investigation…

        It’s ignorance of the ignorance of others. As if nobody thinks “what happens if…” anymore.

        And i find the logo to completely misrepresent the spirit of this website. It’s like a play on the old Hackers Manifesto or something? I don’t get it. And a hacker is a movie character or a digital theif. Hobbyaday. Hobbyist. I guess that just doesn’t sound cool enough.

        Also if any of you “hackers”” are bored I’d really like to see a functioning taco cannon.

  11. I’m afraid, but I can’t make an opinion without knowing both side of the story. What does the teacher actually say ?
    If I were a police officer, and get a call saying “I’ve a 10 year old kid right there with something that looks like an electronic bomb”, I would first make sure that the caller is not high (even more if it’s a teacher). So something’s missing here, we only have one side of the story, and if it’s currently the truth, then it’s a shame, but until we also get the other side, then I’ll be able to make me an opinion on it.

  12. little better read than the initial article with more info especially with his father being a lawyer for CAIR. Also not everyone in a school has a tech background, if you are in an english class and plug in something in the wall that resembles what could be a bomb how is the teacher supposed to know what is actually is. And why did he get it out after his science teacher told him he probably should not. There is a lot going on here that isn’t being told just over reaction


          1. No, if you are in custody, you are under arrest. In the US, they then have 48 hours to charge you with a crime or release you.

            If you are detained, you may ask to be released, and they must either arrest you or release you.

    1. Exactly, what if the device in question was indeed some harmful device, and teacher did not checked it? Whole America would now be yelling at teachers and police for their negligence. Teacher and police in this case acted just as they should, false positive is much better than tragedy because you didn’t check suspicious device.
      BTW, it is not quite normal to come in school with briefcase, plug it in electric outlet to make strange noises and then refuse to answer questions to authorities. That would get you detained in any country, not just America.

        1. It is threatening behavior whether implied or not to scare people.

          The following is a quote from Wikipedia:

          Threat, Criminal threatening (or threatening behavior) is the crime of intentionally or knowingly putting another person in fear of bodily injury. “Threat of harm generally involves a perception of injury…physical or mental damage…act or instance of injury, or a material and detriment or loss to a person.”[2] “A terroristic threat is a crime generally involving a threat to commit violence communicated with the intent to terrorize other.”[3]

          “Intimidation” is the name of a criminal offense in several U.S. states.



          The quote says threat involves a perception of injury so there doesn’t need to be a threat for people to be scared and it would be called “breaking the law”.

    2. “if you are in an english class and plug in something in the wall that resembles what could be a bomb how is the teacher supposed to know what is actually is.”

      There’s nothing wrong with having caution. If the teacher thought it was a bomb, it would be wise for them to evacuate the students and contact authorities (I note that they didn’t – they simply confiscated it then noted authorities – either they didn’t really think it was a bomb, or are not very bright to understand the risks of handling a bomb of unknown origin).


      After the authorities have investigated it, and found that there is no explosive, all it can do is keep time – and that he never told people or implied it was a bomb (police admit he told everyone it was a clock – and that’s what it actually was), punishing him for something he didn’t do (suspension from school, police are still considering charges for placing a “hoax bomb”) is wholly inappropriate.

      Maintaining a heightened sense of alert can improve safety. Maintaining a heightened sense of alert will also result in false alarms. Zero tolerance policies that punish people because someone else made a judgement call that triggered a false alarm is just a power play.

    3. The father isn’t a lawyer with CAIR the article reads “Ahmed, his father, and attorneys with CAIR said they plan to meet with the principal and the police chief on Wednesday afternoon”

    1. It is not only the U.S.A. the fear of terrosism is everywhere in occident. The media are responsible for that madness. People look at the world from the news and everythings in the news is negative.

      Critical minds are scarces.

      1. I live in Europe.
        We had years of internal terrorism and we are now very near to a lot of fucked up people (ISIS). I have no fear. My dad had no fear (in the ’70) . We live our life without this kind of fear and paranoia that i see in the USA.
        If here a teacher had done this kind of escalation, if here the police had done this kind of escalation they would be kicked in the ass (not metaforically). We can’t understand how you can live under this kind of “terror” (in USA). We can’t understand why there is not a “strong reaction” by people in USA. Here there are strikes and there was revolutions (and historically some times in a “little violent” way :-D) for much much much less….

    2. texas is a special brand of stupid. much lower than the general stupidity of the US, overall.

      yes, a lot of this issue is due to texas being so paranoid about anyone non-white and non-christian. and even non-male (texas is vehemently anti-women, as well; read up on how they go out of their way to make it nearly impossible for women to exerciser their LEGAL right to control their own bodies re: birth).

      there’s a reason why texas has this reputation. any news blog that covers the US will have a ton of submissions about texas being stupid about this or that or the other thing.

      until recently, they continued to rally around the confederate flag. still fighting the civil war. sigh… ;(

      texas needs to be shamed into the modern world since they don’t seem to want to join us, willingly.

      1. You are correct, Texas will not join the rest of the world. We do not believe in socialism and will not succumb to it.

        Way to generalize and show how tolerant you are though. Careful, your ignorance is showing…

      2. Texas: The only state to secede from TWO countries to preserve slavery.

        Not to mention their independence due to illegal immigration. It’s kind of funny how much they complain when it’s what is responsible for them not being a part of Mexico in the first place.

        1. Just because the Texicans of a century and a half gone were in the wrong on the issue of slavery doesn’t mean the Texans of today are in error on the issues of economics and individual liberty.

          1. They will never listen to that. It doesn’t fit in with their world view or at least their ignorant view of Texas, which to be honst, I’m ok with them thinking. If people believe this place is really bad they will stop flooding here and turning the place into mini malls and subdivision HOA housing and creating traffic problems – along with bringing all of their failed socialist politics that destroyed the places they came from and for some reason think they will work this time… We’re doing just fine without them, thanks.

          2. You’re right. Modern day Texans are wrong on social and economic individual liberties for completely different reasons. What’s your full time employment rate like again? How many people have health coverage? How many pregnancy clinics are left and how many have been shut down? And what’s up with your govenor suing his neighbor for a tree falling on him and paralyzing him after going jogging 45min after a tornado and then using his position in power to remove disability rights to people in your state after receiving his multi million dollar payout?

            Yah, modern day Texas kicks so much ass

  13. For my blood to boil I’d have to know who to be angry with. Law enforcement is good place to begin if the questioned Ahmed without his parent’s knowledge. As far as we know the teacher was following policy in reporting. In the event she didn’t report it and it turned out to be a hoax bomb, the teacher still would be in much hot water criminally, union or not. I’m not sure that Ahmed’s dad debating a bigoted bible burning pastor is any kind of of evidence. As far Ahmed goes I don’t think we should under estimate his resiliency.

  14. “…..We’re offering a gift card….” I’d hold off for a bit until more is known. Who knows his lawyer maybe lining up a “gift card” for him already. But my first reflex is this is another over-reaction, like the kid suspended for a crudely gun shaped paper cutout.

  15. One more reason to end schools at the youth level. Parents, good software, and the web are all that is needed. Then there is this messing with how to do arithmetic so parents can’t help do homework. The student says we have to do it this way and the parent goes, WTF and leaves the student to wallow in BS. I saw this 50 years ago with the “new math” and my parents.
    Doing head arithmetic in this day and age is an anachronism as much as handwriting. It will never be used in work or commerce, unless an EMP throws us back. Then the stuff to know how to do will be about reloading shells, guns, smithing, farming and lots of stuff not taught at all today.

    1. I have a friend/occasional coworker who “does head math” He’s a welder and does more accurate calculations, faster than the engineers in the office do with their computers.
      He works on nuclear reactor components. (Yes, he does record everything though for paperwork reasons.) He has kept projects on time and ahead of schedule even, when the office is having ‘technical issues.’ Short of full blown Mad Max style apocalypse.
      If something comes up at the Nuclear power station during an emergency that requires math. I know who I’m counting on.

    2. Head arithmetic (at least simple sub 100 addition/subtraction and multiplication/division) will be used in almost every job. Here in Netherlands they teach kids how to use calculators instead. You have no idea how frustrating it is to pay at a restaurant or bar here. Me and my friends regularly calculate our tabs in 30 seconds and then spend the next 10 minutes explaining that if they’d give us a 10 Euro bill we’d be even. At which point we just give up and wait for him/her to punch in the prices in the register. *sigh*

  16. I’m not excusing this or anything, but just out of curiosity: did he bring this to school at around 9/11? Because the wave of 9/11 remembrance newsitems might have driven the school/cops into a frenzy.

    1. agreed, story said monday so i suppose the 7 or 14th? wonder when the kid started school, although if he did not start this month then I’d say this was real bad timing on his part just doing it in september even 14 years out but some racism||racial stereotyping was probably involved too.

      1. It’s funny how the US keeps thinking that there would be a ‘remembrance’ attack on 9/11 when after it not happening the next year, the year after and all the years more and not even the 10th anniversary it should be clear that is not the thinking of the islamic fanatics. And yet they continue to suggest it in the various media and congressional circles that they are interested in such a thing.
        I think the US doesn’t quite get how not-special 9/11 is in the long line of violence around islam fanaticism, and how there are dates that are much more significant to these people..
        But that’s a general thing with all countries, they project their own thinking and what they think is important on outsiders, who often have no clue why it would be considered important to anybody but those projecting entities.

        People eh, what can you do..

    1. ‘these days’ being ten years ago.

      Also, has there ever been a bomb with blinking red display and beeping like in the various movies/TV shows? I mean EVER? Any real bomb that ever had a timer had a LCD display AFAIK, and I never heard of one with the red bright display.
      It’s like having a bomb that is a large black round thing with a small cylinder on top with a fuse sticking out.with big white letters on it saying ‘bomb’.

  17. The Price of freedom is eterenal vigilance. now how that vigilance is implemented is an ongoing proces of trial and error, much worse than any hacker can fathom.
    or you can just crawl onto an island, and hope noone else lives there and figure your own answer to the question of life, the universe and everything else.

    Good day to you, and the kid served his purpose as bait to sample the atmosphere.

    1. “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

      Ben Franklin

      And the idea that this was a deliberate provocation cooked up between the kid and his dad is really sad.

  18. Built a bomb–or something like one–in high school. It was a prop for a play; that blew up, on cue, complete with flashing lights, smoke and sparks. The sparks were courtesy of a HV transformer from a neon sign, which also ignited the ashtray full of black powder contained inside the roughly 1.5’x2.5′ box (with flashing lights and a hinged front that also blew open).

    It actually caused one actor to involuntarily piss herself during dress rehearsal when it got a ‘little’ overloaded; but no one was harmed in the production. Quite effective. We faced no disciplinary action over it.

  19. Another victim of the propaganda at its finest. That makes me sad.

    Google shows a probability of dying in a terrorist attack (as a US civilian citizen) as 3-4 times LESS then the probability of being struck by lightning.

    “Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth.”
    While US is struggling with its own mass(-media) induced paranoia, China is conquering the worlds economy.

    1. His father is a muslim, and ‘known to the police’ for being focal, they probably have snipers outside and are hoping the dad shows up to complain..
      So if you were the dad you’d be dead.

      But the mom is another matter though.. I think she should at least have a nice chat with these people to explain what kind of people they are. Assuming she speaks english (or spanish) at all.

  20. So this kid is arrested on wrong ground and instead of having the police and school apologizing, he is suspended from school 3 days? WTF is wrong with those people. I’ll put them in jail for a crime they didn’t commit but I suspected them to be.

      1. OH? What about those ‘freedom guards’ who volunteered to guard marine recruiting spots? Stood outside with m4’s. Or how about those guys that showed up in ferguson as citizen guards? Also carried m4 and AK’s and such.

        I guess we all imagined that stuff constantly shown on TV and the internet?

        1. Those were not M4’s. An M4 is a NFA title II/Class III weapon (14.5″ barrel select fire carbine rifle – <16" barrel/26" overall) is Class III). They were not carrying assault weapons. They were carrying semi-automatic rifles.

          You can say I'm arguing semantics but I'm really not. If you are going to speak to something and demonize it you should give due respect and learn what you are speaking about. Why is this important? Communication. If we are to have clear and accurate communication it would be wise to have an understanding of that which we are communicating about. Don't you agree?

          *Its also a $200 tax stamp, not $300 as I posted earlier – typo.

          1. No I don’t I used to watch TYT however I feel they have gone downhill aswell. I know their agenda is liberalism which I am fine with, but now they remind me of Fox just a liberal version. When they were first on it was more about news with a liberal taint now it seems more about telling me why I should hate republicans.

        1. An assault rilfe is a Title II firearm which requires ATF form 4, fingerpringing, background checks, a signature from a local CLEO, a six to nine month wait from the ATF and a $300 tax stamp. Not to mention the average cost of an M16 is about $30,000 which puts it out of range for most people. So yeah, try to buy one here too…

          1. What most people call an ‘assault rifle’ is just a semi-automatic rifle that ‘looks tactical’. Typically they are lower power, and small caliber. Non-gun people always confuse them with real military weapons like an M16.

          2. The worrying thing is that the knee jerk reaction to “you can carry around an assault rifle” was so defensive… including a quick run down of what would be required to .. carry around an assault rifle. 1 in 10,000 chance of being shot, per annum.. if you live to be 100, that means you have a 1 in 1,000 chance of being shot. If you know 1,000 people in your lifetime at least one of them will die in a firearms related incident. Them’s not good odds my friend, no matter how you butter them.

          3. The definsiveness was for an ignorance to what an assault weapon is while being lumped into a comment about gun deaths as well as the accusations towards the polic and school for their ignorance. I find it somewhat ironic. In reality, true assault weapons rarely kill anyone except in times of war. Even the media fabricated definition of assault weapons don’t kill very many. In fact, the FBI stats show those scary looking rifles are lumped in with rifles as a whole which kill something like 300 yearly which by contrast around 700 are killed by hands & feet, and around 1600 by bat, chain, 2×4, etc. So you are far more likely to get beaten to death than shot by any rifle, but nobody brings up anything about these evil bats, hands, or feet. No, assault weapons are not the problem. Glorification of violence, lack of respect, lack of value for life, and lack of personal responsibility might be worth looking into…

          4. There is an Assault Rifle (which is a gun with specific characteristics) and requires all that stuff and then there is an “Assault Weapon” which is a nebulous term applied to any gun that has certain cosmetic features and things that make it look “dangerous”.

        2. OtherPeople, you bring up the correct point and kind of what I was baiting for. The school and police are not electronics experts. They are not terrorism experts. They went off the knowledge they have (presumably force fed by the media like the rest of us) plus whatever small amount of training they were given by the government. Now, we have people bringing up assault weapons, which is clearly they are nascent about and just parroting what media has fed them. Not you of course, you are correct in that an assault weapon is a fully automatic weapon which is not so easy to obtain in the U.S. The semi-automatic AR/AK variants (and less common other small arms) are not, by definition, assault rifles even though the willfully ignorant still choose to call them that.

          1. >The semi-automatic AR/AK variants (and less common other small arms) are not, by definition, assault rifles even though the willfully ignorant still choose to call them that.

            Leaving semantics aside, these pseudo tactical weapons have no other use than dick-compensating ego-boosting fetishes. They’re inaccurate single-shot weapons and crappy automatics (after a not too hard to get conversion kit), so you can’t even make the thin argument that they’re good sporting or hunting weapons. But they’re a high-water mark for the NRA and costume accessories for the preppers and “freemen”.

            But enough about guns.

            Is it really OK that paranoia has displaced common sense?

          2. You are completely nascent (willfully?) about firearms so therefore any conversation about them between you and I cannot take place. It would be like Einstein debating the origin of space time with a rock. You at least have to know something about the object of which you are speaking before making any kind of intelligible argument which clearly you do not.

            Carry on.

          3. Ken N
            Screw you man. There are actually good AK based semi-automatic rifles, that are good for hunting. Try Valmet Hunter. Note that newer one has the sight at the end of the barrel, and the magazine release thing is not so visible.

            Is it really ok that FUD has displaced common sense?

          4. Many people out here also use AR variant rifles for hunting. They are modular so you can set up a lower with the trigger and feel you like and just swap out uppers depending on what caliber/optics/barrel length you want. But, people who are ignorant of firearms or hunting wouldn’t know anything about that. And thats OK that they are ignorant of it, they may not like those things. Fair enough. The issue arises when they try and tell others what they can/can’t do or can/can’t own based on their own assumptions/ignorance/false information.

            Related to this article, its this type of ignorance that makes people want to ban things. Electronic gadgets blow people up so the ignorant response is to ban them.

          5. Touchy touchy. Even I know that a good hunting rifle doesn’t work better because it looks like you’re part of a SWAT team. You wanna hunt – buy hunting firearms and hunt. You want a gun to preen with in front of a miror, or to feel cool around your camo-clad friends… you have an issue.

          6. Again man, you show your ignorance. What does it matter what the rifle looks like? The “oooh scary evil” looking AR variant rifle is very popular because it is modular and very customizable. Who cares if it looks like something off the cover of a SWAT magazine? Imagine having a car that you could quickly swap out engines,wings, transmissions, etc depending on how you wanted to drive it that day. Its only “scary” to the uninformed. What people don’t understand they fear, what they fear they destroy. Same old story.

            We all like breadboards, Aduinos, Pis, etc right? We can quickly swap out modular parts. To an ignorant person who watches too much TV those parts all look like terrorist bombs, as evidenced, apparently, by this kid and his clock.

          7. Ken N:
            And what exactly makes a “SWAT team looking” weapon worse at hunting, than a traditional looking weapon? There are a lot of variables to what fits each person. Like a normal shotgun rear is way way too low for me.

            And what if you already have a “tactical looking weapon”, what are you supposed to do? Trash it and buy another, just because it looks wrong to some people? I wonder what name a fobia like that has. Hmm, what if people were judged by their looks too? Weapons aren’t that cheap you know.

        3. It’s funny how I hear about british middle aged workers deciding to go fight isis and them seemingly not having an issue with suddenly having a machine gun when in syria. I wonder how that purchase works, do they have gun shops on the syrian border for new arrivals? Would be a nice victory for market economics if they do :)

      1. Open carry is still allowed in a lot of states. The problem is in most places you would be arrested anyways, disturbing the peace, causing concern, or whatnot. About the only time you can get away with walking around with a rifle in public is during deer season, even then your limited to back roads and public forest.

    1. Non sequitur train now boarding…

      Ok, here we go again with the “assault rifle” thing. Fortunately I keep a canned rant on hand for pasting into these discussions. :)

      The term “assault rifle” comes from the Sturmgewehr 44 (literally “Storm rifle” or “assualt rifle” model of 1944), the first really practical selective-fire infantry weapon. It was an effort to provide increased firepower to individual infantrymen for assaulting heavily defended positions. The Kalashnikov AK-47 and the M-14 and M-16 were refinements or reinterpretations of the assault rifle concept. The essential feature of a true assault rifle is of course the fact that it it’s selective fire: flip a lever and your rifle is now a light machine gun.

      NONE of the weapons currently on the civilian market – not the AR-15, not any of the SiGs or HKs or AK-47 clones, not even the Springfield M1A or the Thompson copies that Auto-Ordinance sells, qualify as “assault rifles”, because NONE of them are capable of firing full-auto, nor are any of them modifiable TO fire full-auto. Internally, for example, an AR-15 is different enough from its military dopplegangers the M-16 and M-4 that it cannot be made to fire more than one round at a time. All the “tactical” stocks, pistol grips, 30 round magazines, accessory rails, lasers, IR scopes, flash suppressors or bipods you care to hang on your hideously expensive tricked out AR will NEVER turn that AR into an M-16. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

      Of course, this trenchant and to-the-point discourse on the ins and outs of the armorer’s trade matters not a whit to the Administration or the Congress or to their fellow-travelers on the television news anchor desk. WHY it doesn’t matter I leave to another rant at another time. :-)

      1. Nonsense. It is the select fire feature that makes it, by definition, an assault rifle in the vain of the original Sturmgewehr. Ar15s have select fire between single shot and 3 round burst. Missing 1 of 3 select fire posistions but keeping 2 doesn’t make it non select fire weapon, ergo, it’s properly called an assault rifle.

  21. People need to grow up. So much hyperbole and faux rage over this. What does every bomb in every movie look like? Who are the ones making the bombs and blowing people up nowdays? An Arab kid comes to school with a scrappy electronic device with a timer on it. WTF did anyone think the school was going to do about it? Pat him on the head? This is the environment WE ALL created. It’s retarded to huff and puff and rage out over this assumed offense by the school. If the kid was so smart he might have realized people these days get a little upset over it. Whether its just or not is irrelevant, this is the current environment.

    Hell, when I was his age (30something years ago) I built similar things but I knew they looked like TV bombs so I never took them anywhere because I didn’t want to get in trouble. Once I made a device with a catapult made from a bent spoon. They were showing drug paraphanelia on TV and apparently some druggies bend the spoon in the same way I did. So then I was very careful to explain what it is (drugs were the big thing at that time, like terrorists are today)

    Hyperbole and stomping your feet isn’t going to win you any support.

    File this one under “No shit, what the hell did you think was going to happen?”

    The positive is that hopefully people on both ends will educate themselves a little more now that its been brought to their attention.

      1. If there is a dark alley where criminals are known to congregate and mug people, and you then choose to still walk down it and get mugged, you are at least partially to blame. It would definitely fall in the “What did you expect would happen?” catagory. This is very simple logic.

          1. Incorrect. The criminals are %100 responsible for the crimes they commit. However, here in reality, if you choose to walk down an alley populated with criminals when there are alternate routes and you get mugged, that is also on you. When I was a child I wanted to stick my finger in a power outlet. My mother told me not to do it because I’d get shocked and it would hurt. I then chose to do it anyway and no big suprise to anyone I did get shocked and it did hurt.

            A huge problem in the U.S. today is the complete and utter lack of self responsibility. Its always the other guy’s fault. It’s always the fault of the inanimate object. I find it hard to believe nobody has mirrors in their house.

          2. There’s a world of difference between “don’t do X because you will get hurt due to your own actions” and “doing X puts you at greater risk of becoming the victim of a crime”.

            Following your reasoning, and holding the victim accountable for their victimisation creates a chilling effect whereby I can prevent anyone from doing something I don’t like by making it known that horrible things happen to people who do that thing – and if they do, well, it’s their own silly fault for doing it anyway.

          3. Yes,the criminal is %100 responsible, the victim is %0 responsible.

            Yes. we should be able to live in a world where you are not afraid to walk in dark alleys. But we don’t. It’s sad but true. Teaching people that they can and should do dangerous things because it won’t be their fault is naive. Unfortunately, we cannot change the world around us. We cannot make the world perfect. (We can try, but until then it will be flawed) So teaching people to fear the dark alley, take precautions, and avoid actions that might make them an easy victim is what we have to do in the real world. Its certainly peoples right to take known risks if they so choose.

            In the case of the boy (boy=victim, school=criminal), sadly he was unaware of the unjust risks associated with his benign actions. It’s not his fault, but now that he has learned about his environment he can make educated choices about his audience. He doesn’t have to comply, but he knows the possible outcomes now. The real world sucks, it shouldn’t, but it does.

            Be honest, if your son/daughter made something cool like this, and he wanted to bring it on the plane to show grandpa when you get there, what would you do?

          4. I agree. What I was criticising was the attitude that because someone is aware of a risk, that makes them somehow culpable if that event comes to pass. When someone is mugged, regardless of how they got mugged, you support them and help them get justice. You don’t start criticizing the events that got them mugged in the first place.

            As to your question: I’d stick it in hold luggage with a note to the TSA screener, or pull aside a screener before sticking our bag in the xray to tell them about it. And I’d tell my kid about the risk that it’d be confiscated, however stupid that would be.

          5. Clearly you don’t understand what personal responsibily is and I’m not going to try to explain it to you. Thanks for being part of the problem.

            On another note, you do bring up an interesting note about proper parenting which begs the question, why did this boy’s father allow him to take such a device to school in the first place? He is a lawyer. Not only that, but a lawyer seemingly well versed in all this insanity surrounding Islam in the U.S. today. If anyone should know the consequences of an Arab child bringing something like that into a school (legalities and fairness aside) it should be him.

          6. It is when you know there is a high probability those overreactions will take place. Would you keep a box cutter in your pocket while going through airport security? You just use it for opening boxes right? No harm there…

          7. Why does it absolve the perpetrators of anything? Your half baked thinking on this seems very shallow. According to you there is this 100% responsibility that gets doled out and must always add up to 100%. Suppose there are two people who participate in the murder of someone. Does each only get 50% responsibility? Do they serve half the sentence. What if it is a mob of 100 people who commit the murder. Do they each get 1% responsibility? Seems silly. Makes more sense to think of the criminal responsibility as not being something that is divided up by percentages.

            Plus the victim can carry no criminal responsibility for a crime against themselves, ever. If the odds are 10% that I’ll get mugged going down some dark alley then when I’m robbed I’m no 10% criminally liable for the robbery. I can’t rob myself. That’s ridiculous.

            What I am responsible for however is putting myself at risk, which is perfectly legal for me to do. However, since the cost of a criminal investigation and trial are placed upon society, not myself, then I owe society the duty to be as careful as possible so as not to run up a big bill on society at large. If we had a system where each victim paid to have their own crime investigated then no one else would care. They just say, hey you should put a lock on your door if you don’t want to have to pay for investigators and court costs related to all the robberies you are having. In a collective system however your neighbors are going to bear the costs of your foolishness and get pissed at you.

            You can also raise the cost of investigation by foolish action. So doing things like not getting receipts for cash are stupid acts that drive the cost of investigation up on everyone else.

            It is possible to put yourself a risk of crime in such a way that it makes it harder or impossible to empirically demonstrate that a crime was committed at all. A woman going to the hotel room of a man she didn’t intent to sleep with is such an act. If she then gets raped without resisting that makes it nearly impossible for society to empirically determine whether she even was raped. The rapist is clearly still 100% guilty of the crime but there is 0% empirical evidence there was a crime.

            So the woman is left in a situation where she knows a crime has occurred and no one else does. She was responsible for getting herself into the situation where that could happen. All society can do is throw their hands up. She’s not criminally responsible for any rape that occured but she is responsible for making it impossible for anyone else to tell she was raped. So he is guilty of the rape, he is non-convictable, and she is responsible for the fact he can’t be convicted.

            Supposed she continues in this practice of acting stupidly, getting raped in a way that can’t be proven, going to the police, getting a trial, and having the guy walk away, Well that just drives up the social costs on everyone else who is behaving more sensibly.

            Which is why rape laws used to require evidence the victim resisted to gain a conviction. It places some responsibility on the victim to lower the burden on society in gaining a conviction on a guilty party.

            So yeah, victims can be responsible for the stupid situations they get themselves in and NO that does not absolve the criminal of one iota of guilt.

        1. So, if you are a black women during 1955, and sit on the front seat of the bus, what do you expect?
          If you are an officer on a nuclear submarine during 1962, and refuse to nuke an enemy ship, what do you expect?
          If you are a teenager during 1989, and climb the Berlin Wall, what do you expect?

          Your logic is flawed, ThatRandomGuy.

          1. Flawed how? Please explain.

            Note that I did not say such things are fair or just (in fact, I believe I said the opposite), but simply “the way it is”. OtherPeople seems to understand my point.

          2. Also, your examples are completely unrelated.

            In this example, radical Islamic people do blow people up with electronic devices connected to bombs so to investigate it is not unwarranted at all. Now, all the arrests and everything else is what is debatable.

          3. There is no “reply” button after too many embedded relies, so I will reply here why I see a flaw.

            Because if everybody will always obey the most immediate cause-and-effect “rules”, as your statement suggested, then no one will be bold enough to explore new territory, or to rise against injustice. If people will always choose the most safe actions, in time that will lead (in the best scenario) to stagnation, or (in the worst scenario), to slavery.

            Of course, I might be wrong, and I have no right to emit idealistic judgments from a thousand miles away. I don’t know what would I do if I would leave there.


          4. I never said good things could arise from those who buck trends or choose the unsafe path. In the example of getting mugged in a dark alley, the victim could go in there with a 12ga. street sweeper and perminantly eliminate all of the criminals thus making the world a better place. But that really isn’t the point.

          5. You misconstrued the point. The black woman in 1955 was expecting society to recognize the injustice and correct itself. Which was a reasonable expectation at that time. It would have been far more foolish to do that same thing in 1815. Lots of consequence and little reward. Which is why we don’t blame slaves for failing to stand up to their masters. In large part it is foolish to do so. These are two different issues however. Culpability in criminality and culpability in foolishness. In your example of 1955 there is a greater goal that outweighted the cost so it wasn’t foolish at all. It’s the difference between expending the costs of mining for fools gold verses real gold.

            So you might just want to take that short cut down that dark alley (why else would anyone do it) for the daily benefit of a shorter commute, if you are willing to put up with the cost of an occasional mugging. Just don’t be the extra fool of carrying large sums of cash, and please cooperate with the mugger, and also bring enough cash so he doesn’t get completely pissed and beat you down. It’s your choice and you are responsible for the risks you are taking against a known reality. The reality that there are criminals and that you can make yourself more or less vulnerable to them.

    1. Did you see the kid at all? Can you look more innocent and geeky? And the teachers KNOW the kid, the teacher he wanted to see the clock was an engineering teacher I hear, someone who not only should recognize a geeky kid but who should also understand his interest and as a teacher should freaking guide his students not assault them by calling in 5 cops to freaking arrest him for a clock.

      But it’s not the first time we heard about the totally insane and unacceptable and irresponsible behavior of teachers and staff at US schools, and most of the time there is no hint of anything related to islam or race either, they assault student for the most insane things and fuck up their life for no reason or petty personal dislikes.
      The list of events is long – and makes the US seem like an insane asylum to be frank. So it’s also good PR for the US worldwide. Affecting all americans that way.

    1. So, basically the school admitted it was not a real threat, but they still investigate?!? And instead of cooling down, the school advice the parents to fear their kids minds even more, by indoctrinating them again with the school regulations, and by reminding them to be even more suspicious.

      In other words:
      Yes, we admit we were wrong, but instead off apologizing, we keep investigating the dude.
      Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to inflict even more fear into your child!

    2. That letter includes: “…not bringing items to school that are prohibited”. Which begs the question, was this DIY electronic clock a prohibited item?

      If you look up their Code of Conduct and go to page 6 you’ll find ”’A ―look-alike‖ weapon;”’ is on the prohibited list. So it appears their response is sticking with the story that this was a look-a-like bomb.

      The thing that bothers me is that with our society’s talk about how important STEM is, this sends a horrible message: Kid does engineering at home and gets in trouble when showing it off in school. I would love to see a Mea Culpa from the school. It’s not a problem to be wrong if you can own up to it when the dust settles and learn from it for the next time.

      1. this is texas.

        they WILL double-down on their derp. its in their blood.

        what I’d like to see is a donation project where we send this kid lots of nice test gear, parts, proto boards, and so on. show him that we’re not all afraid of our shadows. the school won’t say they are sorry. won’t happen. they will double-down and they will continue to look foolish in the eyes of the world.

  22. Besides the whole racial issue here My problem was he was interrogated twice without having his parents present which is a big No No. Second I would like to point out this happened in Texas which is known for this kinda racial problem and the fact it only takes one person to overreact then everyone else will follow suit. I used to make and bring things to school all the time, granted I never really showed them to teachers ans there was only two engineering teachers with any real electronics knowledge I never was called out. There is a problem with how this whole event went down and I hope the DA there will laugh at what the cops bring up.

  23. Things like this make people believe that the big USA really is that bad. Why try to show the opposite? It’s a really bad world we live in and every day when I hear the news on the TV or radio, I’m so happy I don’t have kids.

    1. Actually, the world is not bad at all.
      The World is getting better and safer every day.
      These are the safest times since human race existed, just most of the people perceive the reality distorted by the mass-media.

      It’s really unbearable to emotionally participate to all the worst things that happened in the last 24 hours, on the whole Planet, then still think straight after that. And all distilled in a few minutes of “news”. Each and every day.

      The remedy is simple. Turn off the news. In a few months, the life will come back to normal, and you will see the world with different eyes. You might even reconsider having kids.

    2. If it bleeds it leads. Remember these media outlets do not exist to inform you or educate you in any way. They simply exist to sell advertising. Thats it. No more, no less. No conspiracies. No right wing media. No left wing media. Just greedy chumps outwitting the masses and taking their money.

  24. At last, a NEW story on this site about someone hacking something together instead of just using a Pi or Arduino. Its just a shame it was written for the reasons that it was. As was stated, the engineering teacher told him not to show other teachers, they knew what would come of that. Other news sites, however, report that the alarm on the clock went off and that was the reason he was found out in the English class. We may never know what all actually happened because of all the interests at play, but weather the bigots like it or not, he is a member of the hacking community. also, I don’t know the average age of 9th graders these days but the kid is 14. that’s incredible.

  25. “We hope you’ll join us in expressing outrage”

    That’s what the internet is for these days (porn and kittens aside), people stirring up braying mobs who haven’t even read to the bottom of the original article. Although twitter/FB would be a more usual medium for this.

  26. one thing you all need to understand…

    they pick coppers for height, not smarts.

    coppers are a dull, unimaginative lot by definition, that’s why they are coppers.

    We have had an apathetic, predominately stupid electorate bleating for decades “why can’t the gubernment do something about the crime???”

    So our elected idiots have presented a “zero tolerance policy”, more coppers, let the coppers investigate themselves, let the coppers go all para-military and now they are getting out of hand the sheeple are outraged.

    When coppers used to wear blue shirts and ties, not black uniforms and assault vests, the world was a nicer place.

    It is called “escalation” and we all stood by and watched it happen

    1. Let the coppers take anabolic steriods and performance-enhancing drugs, and get ‘roid rage when challenged about their violation of civil rights or lack of basic human decency. At least some police departments in Florida plan to begin “piss testing” cops to get law enforcement steroid abuse (a national epidemic) under control. Thankfully, nobody got shot for “fear of their lives” from this alleged “hoax bomb” device. We need to demilitarize our public servants, and restore sanity to our “fearless leaders”.


      1. There is no hoax bomb, the kid never at any time suggested it was a bomb, that was all projected upon him I understand.
        So perhaps we should not call it that? I don’t call your alarm clock a hoax bomb.

        1. Sorry if my sarcastic irony was misunderstood. I did put it in quotes, and prefix it with “alleged”. But even the word “device” can be scary, so maybe we need to invent all new “safe” terminology for our technology. Or not — neutering our language will only encourage more of the same, on the path to “newspeak” (limiting what we are allowed to THINK). IMHO, we need to re-educate our police and judges and teachers to not be so afraid of those who are smat enough to lead us into the future.

  27. It would be absurd to in any way paint this as a terrorist act, yet if the historical aspect of various comments has any grounds, then surely it would be naive to believe it were anything but a political comment. So there you have it; either a celebration of the freedom of speech that all ethnic and religious groups may enjoy in the US without admonition (!), or a deeply divisive ploy for ideological sympathy. Who is right? Is there any such thing as right and wrong? What may be the implications of my either passing, or not casting judgement? Isn’t the best thing I can do just to try to live my own life well, and to not let myself be manipulated into suffering the problems others may be having with theirs?

          1. I probably should have been more explicit in my meaning, and begun that sentence with an ‘If’. Given the reported history, however, then maybe the sentence was just right the first time, and this is precisely the kind of debate we’ve all been manipulated into having. In either case it’s an S.E.P.

  28. I’m saddened that good people – the English teacher and school administration, the police (we have no information to suggest they were otherwise) – feel it necessary to operate in a paranoid and distrustful way to anything just outside their comfort zone.

    I’m even sadder at the number of commenters who think the overreaction was reasonable behaviour, or that the kid deserved to be punished.

    1. Expecting a teacher to know that a bomb is something other than a bunch of wires and LED display (what they see on TV and the movies as a bomb) might be a bit much. I don’t think it’s so unreasonable for them to err on the side of safety and contact people who should know and be able to deal with the threat of a bomb – the police.

      What’s truly awful, is after the suspicion and investigation, punishing the student for what clearly was not a bomb, and what he wasn’t trying to convince people was a bomb (i.e. a “hoax bomb”).

  29. Stuff like this slowly makes me really not want to visit the U.S.: In the past I thought it would be great to visit, learn and exchange. But such creepy stuff is raising fear of random acts. :(

    1. You have to realize there are two versions of the U.S. All of this hyperbole, half-truth, inciteful, sensationalized media which exists purely to make you mad enough to come back and read more – for the rediciculous function of selling advertising (hence this “news” story)…. And the real U.S. which comprises over 300,000,000 people of all colors, cultures, and ideologies…. of which that dubious “news” encompasses an infinitesimally small percentage. If you have a rising fear than the media has done what it has set out to do and you will continue to read it and provide them yet more revenue for consuming their tripe.

      1. I am going to say that… Americans are great. Big-hearted, generous, can-do attitude, git’er done. If you’re in trouble, Americans are usually the first to reach out.

        Many have some big honkin’ blind-spots about guns, race relations and the role of government, but as long as us furriners avoid those topics, we usually get along. Nobody’s perfect.

        1. I’m from England, and I recently had to travel to Tennessee to work on some software running a part of a television network’s broadcast centre. I have to admit that I was worried about being a single female visiting ‘The South’, but my experience there was really wonderful, everyone was so nice to me. Striking up a conversation with a stranger in England is fairly unusual, but I met many people over in the states who were happy to talk.

    2. The last time I went to the US was in 2002 for a 5 month work assignment. At every airport, I and my wife got the full “travelling while brown” treatment with extra checks and questioning by security.

      At Dallas, I was stopped at the boarding gate, told to take off my shoes and belt, empty my backpack and then accused of tampering with my laptop because they spotted the threaded hole without a screw in it (for the docking station). Didn’t seem bothered by the electronic components I was also carrying.

      It took a lot of straight-faced explaining to be allowed to board just as the gate was being closed. Vowed never to go to the US again.

      I now have young kids who want to go to the US but I have heard plenty of bad stories from friends about how they get treated by the TSA on holidays there.

      Hearing stories like this just reinforces my view. At the same age as this boy, I was making electronic circuits, occasionally taking them to school for science fairs and never had a problem. No child should be treated like this for showing initiative to learn and make.

      1. The TSA treats us the same way. Don’t think you are special. Please stow the overinflated victim mentality. Ask ANY American what they think of the TSA. You will be hard pressed to find one that has anything less than disdain for that government sanctioned terrorist organization.

        1. I don’t see myself as a victim or special. This is purely my experience. I’ve travelled to a lot of countries and the USA was the only country where I got this sort of treatment (pre TSA). I took quite a few internal flights with white work colleagues and every time, I would get an orange tag on my backpack and be the only one taken aside for a going over. No such problem in Europe or Asia even when travelling alone.

  30. “Not only is there a glaring racial issue here”

    My major problems with this statement:
    1) Even if you ignore the high probability that the kid’s father wanted this outcome, you can’t ignore that any adult even remotely familiar with the public school system would be fully aware of how this project would be perceived. If there’s any outrage here it should be towards the father for not stepping up and explaining that nowadays schools are paranoid about anything that could even remotely be considered a weapon or even a representation of a weapon. Since this article clearly has nothing to do with hacks or electronics, at least pretend to do some thinking on the subject, maybe offer alternative narratives to your own.

    2) There’s absolutely no evidence of a “glaring racial issue” outside the fact that this is a news story. Lots and LOTS of kids are suspended, detained, etc. for bringing “weapons” to school and don’t make the news, because they aren’t muslim. Many years ago I was nearly expelled (after much fighting by my parents I was only suspended) for taking a pair of sewing scissors to elementary school in my pocket. Not the sharp kind mind you, the folding, rounded tip, 1″ variety. A mechanical pencil would be vastly more effective as a weapon. I’m about as caucasian as they come, so no national outrage for me.

    3) EVEN IF I’m way off base, and this IS a serious racial issue, why the hell are you dragging hackaday into it? What does that aspect of the story offer hackaday readers? As it stands it’s not a terribly interesting story, and you didn’t include many details about the construction of the clock, just that he used standard four digit seven segment displays, a standard circuit board, and a hard pencil case. Is this what hackaday has become? How did this make it past an editor?

    1. > Even if you ignore the high probability that the kid’s father wanted this outcome

      You need to prove this, or else you’re just as guilty of playing the race/ethnicity card as everyone else.

      I agree with you that the race thing puts this in the spotlight. But coming from the same mindset as in your comment above, I suspect the police bore down especially hard because of who the kid’s dad is.

      It’s a reasonable topic for HaD because it shows the pitfalls of hacking in today’s paranoid climate. I’m surprised there isn’t more security attention on hackers. All it would take is for one nut to actually make a bang using an Arduino and an ESP-01, and we’d all be on a shortlist.

      1. “I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)”

    2. Half of the things on Hackaday these days are just using a Pi or Arduino to do things that are completely normal for that product. Nothing is terribly new and exciting anymore. THIS article belongs here because the kid is a hacker being attacked but not for the reasons most are attacked for. No it may not be interesting but he is one of us.

  31. So, who is the teacher that got her/his feathers ruffled over a 14 year old non-caucasian kid (who happens to be muslim)..? Can anyone name the administrators involved? How about the names of the cops… We have the name of the victim of this racially driven asshat event, what about the adults involved? Can we send this kid some home project starter boards and gear so he can pick up his pace of building. Can’t wait to see his first (?) science fair project…. Texas!??? ugh.

  32. Obviously, the authorities need to nip this sort of thing in the bud before it gets out of hand…..
    The next thing you know, the kid will bring “Origin of the species”, by Charles Darwin, to school, or worse, “The god delusion”, by Richard Dawkins….
    ….Think of the children.

  33. Absolutely presumptuous to assume that there is a racial issue here. A stupidity issue? Definitely.

    Go read up on the kid who was suspended for chewing a pop tart into the shape of a gun and the boy who had a “behavior report” filed on him because he teacher asked him to look at the clouds and draw what he saw. He saw a cloud that looked like a gun, drew it, got in trouble. Both white kids, I might add.

    Please drop the crappy, unsupported racial aspect of this and focus instead on what the real problem is — teachers who overreact when kids act like kids!!! I support Ahmed 100%, but not because of his race and not because I perceive a racial component to the school’s stupidity. I support Ahmed because the teacher was wrong and needs to learn not to be an idiot. I support Ahmed because there is no way an 9th grader should be questioned and/or searched without a parent present!

    1. I agree with just about everything you’ve said. The boy’s background (and father) might have played a factor in how the police handled this. And it certainly helps vault the story from 6th page to front page.

      Nonetheless – crappy way to have handled this, regardless of race or ethnicity.

        1. From the pics, looks like a fire hazard waiting to happen.

          Also, who took the pic? Looks like a great photo op to have him in handcuffs. Sorry, but this story is so fishy and the kid’s attitude too.

    2. I don’t think the English teacher did overreact. Ahmed has admitted on video that he knew the device looks suspicious. He showed it to the engineering teacher who told him to not show it to anyone else. He instead showed it to several teachers (we don’t know in what fashion maybe in the same way he later did in English class). Then in English class he sat near an electric socket, plugged it in, set the alarm to go off during class, and waited. It went off during class disrupting it. The teacher told him to put it away. He brought it up to the teacher who thought it look like a “Movie bomb”, which it does. Plus the thing is electrically dangerous. She rightfully confiscated an item that broke at least three rules in the student handbook. She reports him because of mandatory reporting rules.

      He’s pulled from a later class and refuses to inform the principal or the police anything they need to know and just keeps parroting “Its a clock” which is not relevant. What is relevant are questions like “Why did you bring it to school? What is the purpose? Etc.” Which Ahmed could have cleared up easily. He didn’t and therefore ended up in handcuffs because that too is standard policy. Unfortunately someone goofed on other protocols about informing the parents, etc.

      Otherwise this was simply a case of a kid pranking a teacher and getting in trouble for it. More trouble than he bargained for but whatever. BTW, his sister had made a bomb threat in the past and had been suspended for that. His father (an Islamic activist) also encouraged Ahmed to bring a dangerous electric device into school unannounce that looked like a suitcase bomb on the day after 9/11.

      BTW, he didn’t make or invent anything so there really was no reason for him to bring it in to show a teacher. There was no engineering club, science fair or science project due. The “clock”/pencil box mock movie bomb thingy was so unimpressive his engineering teacher said “That’s nice. Don’t show it to any other teacher”.

      Yet despite the fact Ahmed knew it was a suspicious device before he brought it to school (by his own video admission), despite his sisters run in with bomb threats, despite student handbook rules against bringing such things to school without prior approval, despite his engineering teacher telling him to NOT show it again, and despite his having accomplished the stated goal of showing it off to the engineering teacher ,… Ahmed decided to plug it in at English class and set it off to disturb the lesson.

      Sounds like he at least deserved his suspension. He certainly doesn’t deserve a visit to the president, kudos from Facebook’s founder, or gifts from Microsoft. They’ve all been had.

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