An Inability to Tell Time

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I heard this morning that the Twittersphere was all agog at what occurred in a small town in Texas.  A Muslim teen no, a gifted Muslim teen, created his own proto-type clock from scratch and took it to school to show his teacher.  The teacher took one look at it, and let’s be real, probably looked at the bearer of the academic gift, his background, and immediately erred on the side of caution and thought, terrorist, bomb, help!

Ahmed Mohamed was initially arrested but subsequently released when authorities discovered that what he had was, effectively, a clock, for real.    And now, everyone feels a certain way about the teacher, the police and the manner that authorities dealt with the situation. They shouldn’t be judged so harshly.  I’m of a mind that while little Ahmed might be ingenious enough to build a clock; he, nor his parents, nevertheless don’t know what time it is.

And that’s the problem; they all should.  By all accounts, he’s a very smart young man; I’m confident the product of two very smart people.  Furthermore, I have to think his parents are intelligent enough to determine that sending their Muslim son to school in Texas with something that resembles even remotely a bomb, even though they know it’s not, might not be prudent.

I worry that people nowadays create situations and then stand back and wait for others to say, “OOOO, look at what you did”.  And once that occurs they get all on a high horse about whatever and reap the subsequent public rewards of outrage over a situation that was of their own making.

Ahmed has received kudos from Silicon Valley, Good Morning America, NASA, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well as an invitation to the White House.  Would any of these tokens been offered had he not been arrested?  I’m thinking not since it was the arrest that produced notoriety and brought the attention.

Besides, wasn’t this something that could’ve been better planned for by Ahmed; and if not him then with his parents?  Again, I’m going with the fact that he’s an intelligent young person.  He obviously is aware of the necessity of having a sound plan of action; a proper way of going about things.  Without such considerations, he wouldn’t have been able to create his timepiece.  So then why all of a sudden did he get so thoughtless?

Devil’s advocate, I’m sure that underneath that brilliant mind lurks the soul of an ordinary 14-year old adolescent; spontaneous and perpetually in a hurry.  Besides busting at the seams with creativity, he’s full of exuberant anticipation about the world and his place in it.  With that in mind, I can see how he might overlook a consideration such as restraint.

But which of us wasn’t as a child growing up?  It was our parents who reigned us in when they saw that such enthusiastic energy would come back to hurt us.  In this case, it was Ahmed’s parents who failed to do so.

Having botched it in that regard, I think it’s disingenuous for them to cry foul when they didn’t necessarily do their own due diligence to protect their son.  The “time” is thus: people are going to feel a certain way about Muslims the same way that they’re going to feel a certain way about African-Americans, Mexicans or any other “dangerous” demographic out there.  It’s a condition of the times we live in.

Allowing folks to take the train to Dumbsville ignoring such pertinent facts is something we as a country have to improve on.  After all, we all should know how to tell time by now.



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