- - Sunday, September 27, 2015


America is a great nation, but its people are living in very dangerous times.

Sometimes it seems like each week brings news of another dramatic violent attack: a church targeted by a racist gunman, soldiers ambushed on military bases, a young journalist gunned down on live TV, shootings on college campuses, at high schools and even middle and elementary schools.

The attacks of Sept. 11 and the scores of other attempted assaults have shown that we are right to be vigilant. But when school officials in Texas took swift security precautions to protect their students recently, they instead found themselves tarred and feathered, accused of hatred and Islamophobia.

The supposed crime? Arresting and questioning a 14-year-old Somali-American student who showed up at school with a self-made “clock,” consisting of a metallic case containing a jumble of wires connected to a timing device that looked eerily like a bomb. Shared on social media, the images of the “clock” — when placed beside the photo of an actual explosive device — show them to be virtually indistinguishable. Don’t believe me? Ask some of the American soldiers who have had their arms, legs and other body parts blown off in Iraq, and they can tell you how much it resembled the real thing.

In the end, the real explosion produced by the boy bringing this device to school took place in the press. The mainstream media outlets fell headlong into the honey trap, falling over themselves to express outrage over Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest and to condemn the school for putting a premium on the security of its students while holding up the Muslim boy as a victim.

The more one looks at the facts, the more this entire affair appears to be orchestrated. This boy, who has been lauded for his brilliance, should have known full well that bringing a wire-laden device inside a metal suitcase to his school would cause alarm. In fact, he said so himself in one of the dozens of interviews that he gave in the immediate aftermath of his arrest, noting that he didn’t secure the case because “I didn’t want to unlock it to make it seem like a threat, so I just used a simple cable, so it won’t look that much suspicious.”

The school and its staff are required to alert administrators and the police to immediately address any suspicious incidents or objects. Yet when questioned about his device, the boy reportedly declined to be forthcoming with law enforcement or explain why he brought it to school.

President Obama wasted little time jumping into the fray, politicizing the affair and throwing law enforcement under the bus, which is ironic for someone who relies on 24/7 protection. “Cool clock, Ahmed,” he tweeted. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

Are you kidding me? Let’s be serious for a moment: What do you think would have happened if Ahmed or any other visitor to the White House showed up unannounced with something in a backpack that even faintly resembled his “clock?” The bomb squad would arrive at warp speed and the person immediately detained. Why shouldn’t we expect a similar reaction in a school with thousands of vulnerable children who don’t happen to live under the protection of the Secret Service?

Other aspects of the whole affair seem too staged to be true. The image of the slender boy in a NASA T-shirt in handcuffs was meant to be provocative, which is precisely why it went viral. However, the photo was apparently not taken at the school but inside the police station, after police offered to remove the cuffs but were asked to leave them on so that his sister could take a photo of him first.

The next day, Ahmed and his family were scheduled to meet the mayor, police chief and other officials. Instead, they linked up with the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a press conference, where Ahmed paraded before the cameras in his NASA T-shirt.

Apparently, this family is no stranger to the limelight.

The father ran twice for the presidency in his native Sudan. When American preacher Terry Jones, who nearly started a holy war by burning the Koran, offered to debate the text of all the Muslims in America, it was Ahmed’s father who stepped forward to do so.

Deliberate provocations such as this “clock” stunt will ultimately make our schools and our country less safe. Next time, instead of erring on the side of protecting our students, the school administrators and police may hesitate out of fear that they are about to be dragged through the mud and labeled by the political correctness police as prejudiced bigots if they act swiftly and decisively.

These incidents have divisive effects on American society, but they can also be dangerous. Somewhere down the line, when a citizen discovers a clock that is actually attached to a bomb, PC paralysis may result in hesitation or inaction and ultimately the loss of American lives.

Armstrong Williams is sole owner/manager of Howard Stirk Holdings and executive editor of American CurrentSee online magazine.

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