Oh look, it's the new face of terror: A bright 14-year old. But he's Muslim!!!!!!!!

Of course there's a backlash. Couldn't possibly have any story about a Muslim kid mistakenly accused of making a hoax bomb and then showered with love from fellow geeks, and have that be the end of it. Gotta gin it up into yet another front in the Culture Wars.

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So far, the rightwing backlash has come in three flavors, frequently mixed together for a delicious swirl of fear and paranoia. The mildest version is a defense of the school and the cops: "Well, of COURSE they thought it was a bomb! Just look at the thing! It looks like a bomb in a movie!" After all, the catchphrase "if you see something, say something" mindset has Kept Us Safe since 9/11, hasn't it?

Flavor two is that liberals are hypocrites to complain about Ahmed's treatment, since their paranoia over guns has led to Zero Tolerance policies everywhere, and kids are also punished for chewing their Pop-tarts into the shape of a gun, and no liberal has ever complained about that (WRONG).

The final flavor is a more toxic brew in which Barack Obama is manipulating the reaction to Ahmed's story, either naïvely in the cause of divisive political correctness, or to deliberately make it easier for Muslim terrorists, his natural allies, to move among us. And maybe the whole thing was a set-up by Obama and his Muslim minions from the start!

As an example of the first stream of dopey justification for the school's overreaction, we have Andrea Tantaros on Fox News's "Outnumbered" Thursday, explaining that the school was right and Obama should butt out and keep his fool mouth shut:

This story is really -- I mean it has everyone I think scratching their heads. This clock -- does anyone think that it did not look like a dangerous weapon out of a Die Hard movie? What the president did, Sandra, by elevating this story to national attention, is he basically got rid of "if you see something, say something." The teacher did her job. We have an FBI document out there right now that talks about what to look for. Okay? This is part of it and we've seen terror attacks before. We've seen them use cell phones and innate objects.

And as everyone knows, those innate objects are among the most dangerous ones in the world. It's just their nature to be that way. Besides, said Tantaros, Ahmed's clearly going to be OK, as long as he doesn't become a terrorist, so Barack Obama shouldn't have interfered:

And look, Ahmed is a smart kid. He's probably going to go to MIT and make a ton of money, but he did a really dumb thing and brought it to school and the president just elevated this to a national issue that doesn't deserve elevating frankly.

Now kids will think that it's perfectly normal to be curious and to build things, some of which might look like things from movies that scare us! What if it had been a real bomb that he willingly showed to his teacher, after all? Does the man have no common sense?

As the conversation continued, we learned who the REAL victim is: a hypothetical kid wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt who did exactly the same thing. If that happened, says guest Jonah Goldberg, "it would be very interesting how the culture would flip on this...then we'd be hearing how the school officials did what they had to do, in days of mass shootings and the Colorado shooting and blahblahblahblahblah, and South Carolina, and I would have sympathy for that." And then he brings up the Pop Tarts: "What drives me crazy is that nobody freaks out over the kids who are suspended over making a gun out of a Pop Tart, or drawing something silly on a piece of paper, and everyone's rushing to defend this kid because of the political correctness angle."

And so let us now say that this is all a load of bullshit. We are "vigilant" to the point of paranoia, especially about anything with wires and lights, which of course HAS to be a bomb. Remember the Great Mooninite Freakout in Boston in 2007? Or, as we mentioned in our first piece on Ahmed, the MIT student (damn these tech nerds) who had machine gun-wielding cops aiming at her when she (stupidly, maybe) went straight from Career Day to Logan Airport and forgot to take off a light-up name tag that she'd built?

Yes, in a few rare instances, a bombing has been prevented by an Alert Citizen phoning the police about a wayward backpack. The attempted bombing of Spokane's MLK Day parade in 2011 comes to mind, as does the failed Times Square bomb in 2010, though in that case the whole freaking car was smoking. But for the most part, "if you see something, say something" has largely brought us a lot of fear and paranoia, and what security expert Bruce Schneier dubbed a "War on the Unexpected":If it's out of the ordinary, FEAR IT. Same goes for "Zero Tolerance" policies that have resulted in kids being sent home for having plastic army men or one high school student giving another an aspirin. That's not so much a liberal thing as it is the brainless function of institutions where Keeping Order is a matter of brainlessly looking for excuses to punish ANYONE.

And then there's the ugly lying shit, like ugly lying shithead Pam Geller, who informs us at Dead Breitbart's Home For Eternal Paranoia, "This whole thing smells like a setup." She explains that OF COURSE the thing looked like a bomb:

Police officers said the electronic components and wires inside his Vaultz pencil case (which is the size of a briefcase) looked like a “hoax bomb,” according to local news station WFAA.

WFAA didn't say the clock was the size of a suitcase; that's all Geller. And maybe it is. Just look at the scary photo!

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

We checked the size of a Vaultz pencil case on Amazon. It's eight and a half inches long, five inches wide. If that's "the size of a briefcase," then we should probably look into whether Ahmed was planning to make his getaway in Malibu Barbie's Dream Corvette. Or we should ask Pam Geller how big the electrical sockets are in her home.

Also too, the whole thing had to be fishy because Ahmed's father, Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed, has been active in debating anti-Muslim crazies like Terry Jones, the guy with the First Church Of Jesus The Koran-Burner, which means that OBVIOUSLY Ahmed was sent to school to force a fake "islamophobia" event. There is no such thing as Islamophobia, after all, since all fear of Muslims is justified:

The whole thing has clearly been a setup, and its effect will be to make Americans less safe. If you ever see a Muslim with a suspicious object, remember the lesson of Ahmed Mohamed: to say something would be “racism.” That could end up being the epitaph of America and the free world.

To ramp up the paranoia another notch, the "Center for Security Policy," an anti-Islam group headed by Frank Gaffney (the perfectly sane guy who thinks anti-tax loon Grover Norquist is a Muslim Brotherhood spy) now insists that the dangerous 8.5-inch briefcase clock "looks exactly like a number of IED triggers that were produced by the Iranians and used to kill U.S. troops in the war in Iraq.” Jim Hanson, the group's VP, said on his podcast that the clock was really "half a bomb," which we suppose could also be said of every digital watch and cell phone in the country. Gaffney agreed, and suggested that there just HAS to be more to the story, which "is not being fully explored and explained."

Gaffney also said that the entire controversy over Mohamed’s clock appeared to be an “influence operation” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group that Gaffney claimed is using “professional victim-promoting” to wage a “civilization jihad” in connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

So remember, kids, STAY AFRAID. Pam Geller and Frank Gaffney have car payments to make, and there are scary Muslims and scary Muslim plots everywhere. Maybe right in your child's school, doing science!

[Media Matters / Breitbart / BoingBoing / Schneier on Security / The Intercept]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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