Terrorists, real ones, need never attack the United States of America again. They don’t need to; we are doing a fine job destroying ourselves these days, thank you very much…
When I read the story of Ahmed Mohamed I, like many others, was outraged and sad. Whatever happened to a kid being able to show someone a clock is just a clock? That could have been proven in the school office. The arrest and interrogation at the police station was unnecessary.
The police could have listened to his presentation, or just the teacher and the principal for that matter. They could have realized he was telling the truth, seeing it for themselves. He could have taken the thing apart enough to convince them.
They could have ended the matter with an apology to him and sent him back to class with his clock. Or, if the police had already been called in, they could have confirmed what he showed them and told them, apologized for the misunderstanding, praised his ability, and left the school smiling and wishing more kids were like Ahmed.
That is not how it ended, as we all know, and I believe the reason goes beyond Islamophobia, though that is certainly what I believe started the trouble Ahmed found himself in.
But that is not what is dragging the matter out now. What came after the Islamophobia is what has me moved enough to blog tonight.
Americans, in large part, have lost the ability to admit when they are wrong. That’s pride. We have become full of it. Many in positions of authority – teachers, police, administrators, public officials – can not tolerate feelings of embarrassment. It would destroy some people to admit to being wrong and having to ask for forgiveness.
Many with badly damaged self-esteem feel they must be seen as never making a mistake. To be seen as anything less than right 100% of the time is unthinkable to many individuals. This is obviously delusional thinking, yet many refuse to abandon their position no matter what proof to the contrary is offered to them on an issue.
I saw that in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is the reason many, like Richard Glossip, are still on death row or serving life sentences. Prosecutors and judges are loath to admit when they have been wrong. Watch “Death Row Stories” sometime and you will see what I mean. The new evidence exonnerates an individual, yet the lead investigator just will not let it go. It is sickening. It takes not only an act of Congress, as the saying goes, it takes an act of God sometimes to free someone no matter how obvious the wrongful conviction becomes. Pride stands in the way.
I am aware when I write that I often sound authoritative. I am passionate and confident in what I believe. I am not shy to speak my mind. And yet, when I am wrong, it does not destroy me to say so. I know how to apologize. And I know how to take the next step and ask for forgiveness after I apologize.
I once told a troll on Twitter, long ago before I realized you just cannot talk to them under any circumstances, that if it turns out I am wrong about Dzhokhar, I will publicly admit it on my blog. The person scoffed at the idea, probably because they couldn’t imagine taking the same action if and when evidence or events ever prove that they are wrong about the facts of the Boston Marathon bombing.
But I digress… back to Ahmed tonight.
Further proof for what I am saying is that 1) The police still have his clock (that fact is beyond ridiculous) 2) The boy was suspended for three days and 3) The police are saying Ahmed could still be charged with making a hoax bomb.
Those three facts are so incredible to me. I really had to get hold of my anger when I read them. I can’t believe the lengths these people are willing to go to in order to save face, to be seen as justified in their heavy-handed response in actually arresting him instead of having him show them it was just a clock in the school office. Knowing that they would have an impossible time getting the “making a hoax bomb” charge to stick because they could never prove intent to hoax anyone does not make me feel any better about them holding the possibility over Ahmed’s head.
This is how I would sum up the events that occurred:
1) The teacher and the principal were victims of Islamophobia and the police were called in.
2) The police showed up in force and found it was not a bomb but a clock, just like the boy repeatedly said.
3) This led to embarrassment on the part of all in authority. They could not switch gears from fear to acceptance of the truth that there was no threat.
4) Now, in keeping the clock, suspending the boy for three days, and saying he could still face charges for making a hoax bomb when there is zero reason to believe he meant to hoax anyone is an attempt to protect the egos of the adults involved and justify their actions.
Sorry, folks, but that’s the way I see it. I believe terrorists, real ones, laugh at what is going on in this country. They see what we are blindly doing to ourselves.
The terrorist attack on September 11 was so horrific, opening the door to so much fear, that another attack is not needed. We will finish the job ourselves, unless we wake up.
I have already had my own brush with Islamophobia. I didn’t know it was in me. I blogged about it in the post titled “That’s Not Mecca.” As I said in that post, it was a teachable moment I will never forget and I am glad it happened.
I just wish it would happen to more of us.