Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Take: Paranoia doesn't Make it Better


"Out of an abundance of caution" and "Err on the side of caution."

Ahmed Mohammed
How about the words, "zero tolerance?"

What do those words really mean?

They mean someone's Civil Rights are about to be violated because someone else made an uninformed accusation that people in charge feel they must do something about even though there is no evidence to support a criminal act or misdeed.

We are living in an era of rampant paranoia stoked by the threat of unrealistically punitive lawsuits for making a bad decision. 

Ahmed Mohammed with clock and sister
I offer the case of a 14 year old boy who brought a homemade clock to school in Irving, Texas, as an example. Ahmed Mohamed was led from school in handcuffs the other day for bringing a creatively designed homemade clock to school. 

Why was he really arrested? No one will likely ever know, but I suspect there was a bit of racial bias involved.

As I read his story, I was struck by some of the statements, especially by one police office who said that the clock looked like a bomb. If it was a bomb, where was the explosive? A police officer should know better. 

But what else concerns me about this situation? Ahmed was questioned by police without either his parents or a legal representative being present. That is not supposed to happen to a juvenile, especially when the results are likely to be that they will be handcuffed and walked out of school in front of the entire student body.

Here's hoping that the city and school district of Irving, Texas pay dearly for their uninformed paranoia which resulted in a significant breach of Ahmed's civil rights!

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." -Joseph Heller (Catch-22)

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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