Student Builds Device That Is Not a Bomb, Does Not Attempt to Convince Anyone That It Is a Bomb, Still Might Get Charged With Making a 'Hoax Bomb'

He told everyone it was a clock. And it was.


The Dallas News reports:

You can't run away from time!
Little, Brown

Ahmed Mohamed—who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart—hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High [in Irving, Texas] on Monday.

Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed's circuit-stuffed pencil case.

So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb—though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it's a clock.

According to Mohamed's family, the young clockmaker was suspended for three days.

In many absurd-sounding school discipline cases, the authorities refrain from telling their side of the story. This time, we have cops saying things like this:

Ahmed never claimed his device was anything but a clock, said police spokesman James McLellan. And police have no reason to think it was dangerous. But officers still didn't believe Ahmed was giving them the whole story.

"We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb," McLellan said. "He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation."

Asked what broader explanation the boy could have given, the spokesman explained:

"It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?"

So according to the police spokesman, as relayed by the Dallas News, Mohamed was sent to juvenile detention not for making a bomb, nor for falsely trying to convince people that he had made a bomb, but for making something that he could have pretended was a bomb, had he wanted to, though there's no sign he did. Got that?

NEXT: Drug Dogs Sniffing the U.S. Mail at Burning Man, and Armed BLM Agents Becoming Impromptu Mailmen

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ahmed Mohamed?who makes his own

    I think I found out what the police are thinking.

    1. Yeah, doesn’t take long to figure why a bunch of idiotic Texas cops would do something as dumb as this.

      1. I am OK with them noticing this guy’s device, seeing his name, and going “Hmmm” and investigating further, but after a while it should have been clear that this was a “false positive,” so yes, they are idiots for not letting it go at that point.

        1. I am OK with them noticing this guy’s device, seeing his name, and going “Hmmm”

          I’m not. I don’t want to live in a world where everyone is a suspect. That’s what leads cops to shit their pants at any furtive movement and unload into an innocent person.

          1. Well, I don’t think it’s “anyone”. It’s a person from a demographic that tends to blow shit up more than average, with something that looks sort of bomb-y. It isn’t too unreasonable to check into it. It’s ridiculous to file bullshit charges when nothing illegal occurred.

            1. And since the average is almost zero, more than average is a pointless metric. If you want to talk statistics then you have to realize that the chances that this kid was building a bomb are so small that anyone who got worried about it is being an irrational pants shitter. But I prefer to judge people as individuals rather than as statistics, which makes this even more absurd. I guess once they police were called they had to at least check it out, but they should have never been called in the first place. Whoever looked at this and thought “That could be a bomb” is an irrational pants shitter. Whoever then simply didn’t open it up and see there was no bomb inside is just as bad.

              The mentality of fear that leads to this sort of thing is just totally disconnected from reality.

              1. “irrational pants shitter”?aptly put.

                it’s been epidemic for 2 decades; after 09/11/2001, the military/defense industry/political axis cranked up their Fear.The.Other campaign to 11; proving it effective at retaining power despite visible dissent, thanks to a population:

                ? unaware of how the nation’s arrogant, violent, and repeated intercultural *incompetences* are really seen from *beyond* US borders;

                ? lacking the ability to quantify real relative risk, they are blind to the ruinously expensive yet consistently counter-productive projects engaged in “for their protection”, at grievous future cost to all.

                c) with a collective memory span as short as a very dense goldfish;

                while enduring ongoing psychological pressures of a pathologic social dynamic which whisks away a vast and ever-growing fraction of their aggregate generated wealth, piling it atop the bloated accounts of the most-wealthy 0.1%;

                net, nett: abandoning most Americans to daily realities of stagnant income, uncertain employment stability, appalling child mortality & routine hunger; extraordinary levels of gun-enabled homicide/suicide?ultimately yielding social mobility levels now scoring far below even such class-stratified Old World nations as Britain & France?and above all: becoming increasingly exposed to devastating personal consequences by the rapidly-unravelling remnants of what was already one of the most threadbare social ‘safety nets’ in the developed world.

      2. Being triggered – not just for SJWs anymore

      3. This idiocy is not contained to Texas.

    2. Yep. Thurrs yer problem right thurr

    3. I just started 6 weeks ago and I’ve gotten 2 check for a total of $4,200…this is the best decision I made in a long time! “Thank you for giving me this extraordinary opportunity to make extra money from home. This extra cash has changed my life in so many ways, visit this following website for more details,,, thank you!”


  2. Slam dunk for a civil rights attorney. Stories like this make me wish I had gone to law school instead of engineering school…

    1. Stories like this make me wish I had gone to law school instead of engineering school…

      The current job market should dissuade anyone who is more risk-averse than the grannies putting their whole Social Security checks on single roulette spins.

      1. What if I told you that my last name is Silverstein?

    2. I think I’d rather my colleagues were NOT lawyers.

  3. The principal threatened to expel him if he didn’t make a written statement, he said.

    Isn’t that “holy fucking shit” level of illegal?

    1. You’re forgetting about the exception found in Section F, subsection Y, paragraph T, clause W of the law.

      1. Longer name: Chattel. Thanks, Mr. Justice Thomas.

  4. Dunk him and see if he floats!

  5. Congratufuckinlations, you just radicalized a 14-year-old electronics whiz.

    1. It was bound to happen anyway; he would have “accidentally” ended up on a no-fly list and/or discovered a bug in his sock drawer before reaching 17.

    2. But this ensures that there will be radicals for he next generation of counter-terrorists to fight!

  6. Was it a digital clock?

    I could imagine that if it had one of those red LED digital clock displays it might have looked disturbingly bomb-like. Or at least like what one imagines a bomb would look like in a cheesy movie.

    On the other hand if it was just sitting on a breadboard with a chip and nothing else, one would be very stupid to think it was a bomb.
    I’d like to see a picture personally.

    1. a circuit board and power supply wired to a digital display, all strapped inside a case with a tiger hologram on the front.

      A tiger hologram. They should have given this kid a medal.

      1. This explains it. See this is my old High School and their actual mascot is a Cardinal. However, the rival High School is the Irving Tigers…he was punished for not making the hologram a Cardinal.

  7. What does this mean?

    “He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” said Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, who immigrated from Sudan and occasionally returns there to run for president.

    1. His pop must’ve married a Scandanavian broad. The kid looks like he’s from Bangladesh.

      1. Reading that story made me realize why so many vapid, shit-kicking hicks are terrified of immigrants…they’re MODEL Americans.

      2. His childhood in the African village was filled with hardships and struggles, but Mohamed aspired for more and gained his degree from Cairo University in Khartoum in philosophy.

        Education has it’s benefits, but it is not a magic bullet to solve all problems, Mohamed shared, “My struggle did not decrease, but my ambition increased. I worked at Khartoum International airport as an employee of assistance clearance customs until I became the director of clearance customs, and the president of workers. Once I realized my dream was bigger than what Sudan had to offer I immigrated to America in the mid-1980’s.”

        Unfortunately his degree was not accepted in America so he found himself selling hot dogs, candy, and newspapers in Manhattan.

        I’m glad he overcame our nativist credentialism that only permits American philosophy graduates to obtain lucrative bribe-taking government jobs

        1. I agree. He sounds like an asshole.
          Guy with a philosophy degree gets customs inspecting job, rises to level of head customs inspecting asshole, decides that isn’t good enough and comes to America. Woot!
          All the American-born philosophy degree holders should be excited, less foreign competition.

      3. Woh. That is impressive. Thanks for finding the bio.

      1. He sounds like a courageous fellow. That much is obvious.

        Also, a healthy ego.

      2. Um, no. The problem with Islam is that it’s already ultra-Protestant. Sola scriptura and literalist about it. Anti-idols and anti-images just like the hardest-core Calvinists during the most militant phase of the Reformation. Teetotalism to match the hardest-core traditionalist Baptists and Methodists. No hierarchical priesthood to exert a moderating influence; anybody can set themselves up as a religious authority. Demands the state directly enforce laws against everything that’s forbidden in scripture.

        Islam doesn’t need to be Protestantized. It needs to be Catholicized. Popes and bishops comfortable in palaces telling the applecart-upsetting fanatics to cool off or be excommunicated. Nice, scholarly universities where Aristotelian philosophy is accepted as another route to the truth about God, and Averroes is honored for his ideas. Excessively devout young men cloistered in monasteries brewing beer and making wine instead of running around loose. The major summary of theology by a highly-respected saint saying the government shouldn’t outlaw brothels (however sinful they may be) because banning them only makes things worse.

        Really. Just because modern mainline Protestants are secularized into harmlessness doesn’t mean the Reformation had anything to do with it. We were lucky that only came along after three hundred years of secular Aristotelian philosophy being taught by the Church itself.

  8. Parents should be put in the wood chipper. Fucking child abusers!!

    Public school…

  9. From the Dallas News:

    “They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?'” Ahmed said.

    “I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

    “He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.'”

    I expect nothing less from these fucking apes.

  10. Did the brave heroes go home that night? Oh yes, they did, because it was a fucking clock and were told it was a fucking clock.

    What happens when they get home and someone put popcorn in the microwave? Between the popping noise and the clock ticking down, I assume they empty a couple of clips into the kitchen cabinets.

  11. You know what looks like a bomb? A backpack loaded with books. Any kid that brings such a device onto a bus or into a school is a terrorist.

      1. With all due respect, what good are transparent backpacks if the contents are opaque?

        1. do be careful: the TSA gets very upset if anyone starts thinking clearly and aloud about any of their ridiculous over-blown and shallow security theatrics?

  12. Kinda surprised this didn’t happen in Massachusetts. They seem to be on the front lines of shitting their pants over homemade litebrites.

    1. Are you kidding? They expel kids for bringing in a Lego Minifigure’s sidearm here!

      The kids know if they bring any home-made electronics, they are in for it!

  13. Somewhere, John Wayne is facepalming the pants shitting pussification this once proud nation has become.

    1. Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid. – John Wayne

  14. “…but for making something that he could have pretended was a bomb,”

    No, it’s worse than that actually. He was sent to juvenile detention for making something that could have been mistaken for a bomb.

    “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car.”

    So, doesn’t that make people who carry backpacks and hand bags guilty as well? Those are routinely mistaken as devices. The bomb squad deploying for an unattended bag is a pretty common news story. So, I guess it’s time to lock everyone up.

  15. I think the teacher was mad that the kid was smarter than him/her/zir/bumblebee.

  16. “It is more important that guilt should be prosecuted, than it is that innocence be protected; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world, and they all must be punished…. when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the prosecutor will exclaim, ‘it is immaterial to me whether he behaved well or ill, for my win/loss ratio is at stake.’

  17. Sounds like that Supreme Court pot case Raich vsGonzalez.

    Even though no interstate commerce occurred, it might have, therefore there was an effect on interstate commerce by refraining from engaging in interstate commerce, and therefore the refraining from interstate commerce is something that can be regulated under the power to regulate interstate commerce.

    1. Even though there is no legal interstate commerce that could possibly be affected by a person growing her own marijuana.

      Raich not only re-affirms Wickard v. Filburn, but expands the ridiculous argument used in the latter to include the regulation of supply to influence the market price of goods that are already prohibited in interstate commerce. From GvR decision:

      While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety. In both cases, the regulation is squarely within Congress’ commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for that commodity.

      Scalia wrote this nonsense. It is not the usual ridiculous sophistry. It is right out of Kafka.

      1. That is a perfect Kafka parody.

        Home production would cause a person to not enter the interstate market for pot. The government wants to eliminate the interstate market for pot. Therefore the government has a vital interest in stopping you from helping them eliminate interstate trafficking in pot by not buying your pot on the open market…..

  18. If you recently heard a distant loud sound, it was hundreds of millions of people in India and China saying “more jobs for us”.

  19. According to the police, it’s not so much that it could have been thought to be a bomb, but that there was no “broader explination”. I mean, they simply could not understand why someone would do something so unusual, so they distrusted his motives. You can BUY clocks, right? No decent person would want to make one, right? Had nothing to do with his last name, apparently.
    It couldn’t be that he simply wanted to make one so he could learn how it works. Inconcievable! Or that he brought it to school to share his enthusiasm for learning with people he naively believed would be receptive to his enthusiasm (he’s just a kid, after all). Absurd!
    You know, I was that kid once- taking things apart, building things, exploring. Now I am a 40 year old man who re-wires kid’s toys to make my own unique musical instruments (it’s called circuit bending, and it’s a hill of fun). I don’t happen to give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about why I would do such a thing, but I’m not a ward of the state. I wonder what the authorities would think of my hobby? Would they require a “broader explination”, or is it enough just to submit that I’m wierd like that? Would my English surname place me above suspicion?

    1. You are a weirdo. It kinda goes with the libertarian thing.

      For some strange reason, normal people don’t get “because I want to” as an explanation. For those of us interested in liberty, that’s all the explanation anyone needs for doing something that causes no harm to others. For normal people, “because I want to” is kinda the defining characteristic of evil.

      What makes it even more strange is that every one of them has “because I want to” for themselves and whatever their personal desires are. It just doesn’t exist for other people.

    2. Berror is almost like terror, so no.

  20. If ever an alien race comes to Earth to attempt to make contact with us on a peaceful mission, I highly suggest they turn around and leave us alone. We will screw them over at the first possible chance. They’re better off just destroying all human life on the planet.

    Then again, looking at other life forms on this planet, it is for sure that assholes abound everywhere amongst humans and animals. So it is likely aliens are assholes, too. Just destroy life everywhere, because it’s nothing but assholes.

    1. There has never been a wasp that wasn’t an asshole, for example. They are the worst of the animal kingdom. Bastards, the lot of them.

  21. Reason, it’s “Irving” not “Irvine”. Irving is the same city where the Mayor is the queen of anti-muslims and recently hailed a hero for passing the anti Sharia ordinance in response to “Sharia Courts”

  22. “The concern was, what was this thing built for?”

    Oh, about fifteen dollars.

  23. No more science projects at this high school. The terrorists have won, haven’t they.

  24. “He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.'”

    What a moron.

    So you take a budding engineering prodigy, and you accuse him of being a bomb maker, and arrest him. God Bless Texas.

    1. “He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.”

      This is what a movie bomb looks like –

  25. I suspect there’s something we’re not getting. Some other thing that happened that is now forever going to be hidden because it makes this all make sense.

    I would want to know why Ahmed Mohamed built a little clock and stuffed it in a pencil case. Was there an assignment? Why stuff it in a pencil case? Why bring it to school to show it off if it’s something you threw together in 20 minutes and is not among the cool things you can make? Why not bring something roboty if you’re wanting to be involved with a robotics club? Hell–you WERE involved in a robotics club two months ago, surely you have something more impressive lying around your room. Why was the alarm set to go off at all? Why would you do that?

    The truth is, Ahmed did something stupid. He’s a kid, they do things like that. He built a movie bomb with a digital countdown display. And he got caught when it went off. And he got in trouble for it.

    He never said it was a bomb. Because it wasn’t. But it was made to LOOK like a bomb. Because looking like a bomb is what made it cool enough to show off.


    1. Kids bring all kinds of stupid stuff to school to show off. Sometimes they get busted for doing it. WHEN they get busted it is always best to not come clean and try to minimize the issue– ‘It’s just a clock!” If he sticks with this and acts upset enough,it could be a gold mine. As long as he doesn’t have a friend or family member who can ruin it.

      Any kid would have gotten into trouble for this. Ahmed got into a bit more because Ahmed Mohamed brought a fake bomb to school right after 9/11. People get kinda weirded out by fake bombs–particularly when the person who has one is named ‘Mohamed’– around the anniverary of a huge terrorist attack for some odd reason.

      But, like I said, as long as he’s smart enough to pull a ralphie, adults will take care of this for him. CAIR will do it’s best to ACTUALLY radicalize him(they always need fodder for the jihad), his dad’s moderate Muslim status will be used to add to the affront that this is.

      All he has to do is keep quiet.

      1. jeez, it’s like none of you remember being kids.

      2. For the record, this is parody, and you’re not really this stupid, right?

        1. Ah, you don’t remember being a kid. okay. Just say that.

        2. Unfortunately, this is perfectly in keeping with his pattern of posts.

          Note he almost exclusively shows up when there’s something having to do with Muslims.

        3. This has to be parody – it just has to be!

  26. Swift overreaction by the cops to a potential bomb hoax prevented the need for responding to a bomb hoax.

  27. Hypothetical crimes are still crimes. To jail with you, young man.

  28. Daniel Cummings, Principal

    Patrick Smith, Assistant Principal
    Discipline M-N

    Jose L. Parra, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

    1. I wrote to them

      Mr. Cummings,

      I recently read an article about Ahmed Mohamed, and his subsequent suspension from your school. I had planned on writing a long-winded letter to you regarding the treatment of Mr. Mohamed, but I doubt that would do either of us any good. Suffice it to say that, as far as I can tell, your school and police department are both run by moronic, pants-wetting fascists.

      I would hope that the school would encourage innovation, rather than punish it. Also, that you might try employing a bit of common sense as you interact with students.


      1. My letter was:

        Dear Mr. Cummings,

        You should be racked with embarrassment from your treatment of Ahmed Mohamed.

        You terrorized a smart boy. In an ideal world you and all of the teachers involved would be fired. However, I’m sure the establishment will protect everyone since establishments rarely admit when they are wrong.

        I don’t live in Irving, but I live in Texas. I sincerely hope that your unthinking dedication to safety does not infect our schools here.


  29. Dang, now Hillary Clinton joined in and this will devolve into partisan shit flinging.

  30. Hopefully his parents will teach him that he is a genius surrounded by idiots and he needs to live his life that way from now on. Don’t trigger the idiots to behave idiotically toward you if you can help it.

  31. Reason #5,962 why I’m moving to Hong Kong if I ever have kids.

  32. This smells fishy. His father has been involved in anti-“islamaphobia” activism in the past.
    Look at IED pictures and they look similar to his “clock”. Any serious school administrator should have reacted the same. Then perhaps release him, not arrest him. But still we don’t know details. Mass shootings at schools are real (spare me the BS statistics). You can’t even draw pictures of guns or wear american flags on your t-shirt in these PC schools. There have been several ISIS teen recruits from the USA, all otherwise “normal” kids, and recent Jihad violence in Texas. You’re being baited with fake-racism, so you won’t stand up against Jihad. Next week “brown kids” will start bringing their own pressure cookers to class, and blame “Islamaphobia” when people react rationally to the dare. Just watch. Show the actual police statements. Still unclear. The whole media charade is bogus. This looks like a stunt, and it’s working.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.