In a telling admission on video, Ahmed Mohamed—the MacArthur High School freshman student in Texas who was arrested for bringing what school officials and police believed was a “hoax bomb” to school—implied that he knew that the clock he had built would look suspicious and threatening.
Ahmed asserted, “I closed [the ‘clock’] with a cable, I didn’t want to lock it to make it seem like a threat. So I just used a simple cable so it won’t look that much suspicious.” Ahmed’s assessment would juxtapose nicely with police chief Larry Boyd, who had stated that the clock was “certainly suspicious in nature.”
Boyd, unaware of Ahmed’s belief that that the clock could look suspicious, even allowed that Ahmed had no idea of the clock’s ripple effect, saying, “The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,” adding that the incident was a “naive accident.”
Ahmed just can’t seem to make up his mind; he acknowledged in the video that the clock could look suspicious, yet admitted that when the clock beeped in class and the teacher told him it looked like a bomb, he responded, “It doesn’t look like a bomb to me.’”
The resultant media furor over Ahmed’s arrest triggered an invitation for Ahmed to visit the White House, a White House invitation to address NASA scientists and astronauts at Astronomy Night, and an invitation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to meet the Facebook founder.
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne had initially defended the school district and police, asserting, “I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools… Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant.” She later softened her approach, saying she would be “very upset” had her child been treated as Ahmed was, adding, “Hopefully, we can all learn from this week’s events and the student, who has obvious gifts, will not feel at all discouraged from pursuing his talent in electronics and engineering.”
Even though Ahmed admitted that his engineering teacher advised him not to bring the suspicious-looking clock to school, White House spokesman Josh Earnest intoned, “It’s clear that at least some of Ahmed’s teachers failed him. That’s too bad, but it’s not too late for all of us to use this as a teachable moment and to search our own conscience for biases in whatever form they take.”