Monday, November 23, 2015

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 Year Old Handcuffed for Making Clock, Demands $15m Compensation

Ahmed Mohamed's family is demanding 15 million dollars and written apologies from the local mayor and police chief.  The letter to city authorities emphasizes the suffering Ahmed went through: "Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to.  The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence...  The school and city officials involved knew what they needed to do to protect Ahmed's rights.  They just decided not to do it."

AP Photo
On the day Ahmed was arrested, he brought a homemade clock to school to show to his engineering teacher.  Later, Ahmed's clock went off during English class and when he revealed the device the teacher notified the police.  He was fingerprinted and mug shots were taken at a local juvenile detention center.  Including an interrogation by multiple officers, Ahmed was suspended for three days.  After these events, Ahmed gained lots of publicity going on to meet President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg.

With the media being quick to play the race and religion card, the teacher and police were discredited.  We should take a second to consider the possibility that his clock was indeed a bomb hoax.  In middle school, Ahmed had racked up weeks of suspensions and pulled pranks on his teacher with a homemade remote control.  The police uploaded a picture of his clock online and many people believe that his invention that he made was actually a clock originally built by Micronta that he rearranged in a pencil box.   If this were truly the case, is Ahmed worthy of receiving a city proclamation in New York City calling him "a role model for young people who want to pursue careers in math, science and engineering, and improve the world for future generations?"  Although it may seem that I am discrediting Ahmed, I simply want to showcase opposing arguments.

What are your opinions on this topic?  Is Ahmed Mohamed's family justified in their demands?  With school shootings and other incidents where we hear afterwards "this could have been prevented if only we paid more attention to the sings," did the school and local police truly over react?  Finally if you care to do some research on your own, do you think Ahmed's clock was a bomb hoax or not?



Grant Hillman said...

This is what happens when someone's "fifteen minutes of fame" run out. If we're being completely honest here, before today, Ahmed's story had basically dropped out of circulation in the media, having been replaced by the controversies at the University of Missouri, Harvard, and other colleges, and the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, France. I won't speak on whether or not I think Ahmed's clock was fake and this entire situation was a setup - that's a debate for another time. But I will say that Ahmed's demands are absolutely ridiculous. I don't care how much "psychological trauma" Ahmed experienced during this whole ordeal, nor do I care if employees allegedly "disregarded" district policies regarding detaining and interrogating; the Irving Independent School District and the City of Irving shouldn't have to fork over $15 million in order to keep this kid quiet. The news has already been circulated that Ahmed and his family have since moved to Qatar, leading me to believe that his family is simply trying to squeeze every cent they can out of this exposure, and just take the money and run. And if it is true that Ahmed didn't "invent" the clock, this all makes him no better than a common scam artist. I sincerely hope the school district and the city don't cave in to his ludicrous demands.

Rachael Howard said...

What are your opinions on this topic?
-I do think that the clock did look like a bomb ( however I think if a kids from a different race brought in the same clock the teacher probably would of looked at it, let the kid explain, and make them put it away; I don't think they would of made a huge deal of it like they did with Ahmed. That being said, I don't really look at the school board as being "terrible people" for making such a big deal of it with Ahmed due to all the terrorist attacks that have happened recently and because of ISIS (I am not saying that their reaction to this is acceptable, I am just saying that it is understandable). I did not know that Ahmed had been suspended multiple times before this. With this new knowledge I think it is completely understandable why the teacher immediately called the police.
Is Ahmed Mohamed's family justified in their demands?
-I do think that their reaction is understandable. I probably would of demanded the same thing. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that they are asking for that much. The damage was not that significant. Plus they already have a bunch of public support due to this and do not need to further the fact that they "won" and the school "loses". I think a written apology is acceptable thing to ask for and whipping his record clean of the suspension he got from this is also acceptable; anything above that is unacceptable.

With school shootings and other incidents where we hear afterwards "this could have been prevented if only we paid more attention to the sings," did the school and local police truly over react?
-I do not think that they overreacted to this incident because of the current events with terrorist attacks and ISIS. Like I said their behavior is understandable not acceptable.I also think it was understandable due to the fact he was not a well behaved kid and had been suspended multiple times previously.

Finally if you care to do some research on your own, do you think Ahmed's clock was a bomb hoax or not?
- (kind of ridiculous that they have a Wikipedia page for this- just saying)
Due to his apparent bad character with the multiple suspensions, I think that he did intend to prank the teacher by making the clock look like a bomb. However, I do not think he had some master plan to get arrested and then sue. I think he made the clock look like a bomb solely to prank and made it a functioning clock so he would not get in trouble.
I think this article makes a valid point. We are celebrating Ahmed for being inventive but we aren't celebrating others making being inventive, we aren't giving them free stuff or money. The only reason Ahmed got money for this is because of his race, not everyone knows about his previous misconducts, and the school so quickly jumping to conclusions and getting the police involved. I also think that the fact that this happened in Texas also helps people sympathize with Ahmed since Texas kind of has this stereotype of being a racist state.

Jonathan Liu said...

I completely agree with Grant - this seems like a pretty classic example of the 15 minutes of fame running out. I think that the $15 million dollars in compensation as well as asking for written apologies is pretty ridiculous -- neither the mayor nor the chief were even involved in this, and they would undoubtedly write a generic apology letter on behalf of the officers. However, I don't even think the police did anything wrong. A bomb threat is always a very serious concern, and there's really no proof that if Ahmed had been white, the police wouldn't have cuffed him. Policemen do this all the time -- reasonable suspicion is plenty enough to arrest someone, and you can't argue that there was no probable cause other than race because he had a clock that looked like a bomb. This was good, honest police-ing on the police's part, and Ahmed's coverage was already a little ridiculous. So this definitely seems like him just trying to regain the publicity that he temporarily had and then lost, but something tells me that this publicity isn't going to be as positive as the last time.

Mr. Silton said...

Glad to see this post come up, as this entire episode was a social media and mainstream media narrative fail, and I'm embarrassed to have mentioned it in class before the facts had been confirmed.

In addition to questions about the clock itself and this lawsuit, this family's trip to meet with a war criminal (the President of Sudan; look into "Darfur" and prepare to be appalled) was under-reported in the press. Mr. Mohamed is a bit of a attention seeker, it turns out, as he was in the national news on a previous occasion when he stepped forth to challenge a pastor in Florida who was preparing to burn a stack of Korans (Terry Jones was the pastor's name IIRC). Somehow, this was not reported in the first few days after the event, either.

I have little doubt that Ahmed was subject to obnoxious teasing at the very least, and probably open hostility as well, but my sympathy is negated by the sum total of their behavior. It seems to me that the preponderance of the evidence is that this family trolled the school and the liberal establishment to great effect.

If so, everyone in America loses: conservative America, while less blinded by social media in this instance and understandably feeling validated, loses when some of their fellow Americans end up with an exaggerated sense of Islamaphobia and prejudice; liberal America loses because conservative media has used this episode to sow mistrust and disdain towards them. Muslim Americans lose, too: Islamaphobia is a real problem, but those who don't want to see it now have a convenient example upon which to hang their disbelief.

Rewarding this nonsense with $15 million beggars belief.