Anyone who thinks the following isn’t "alarming" should have his clock cleaned:
• Fourteen year-old student brings homemade "clock" to school.
• Device has a timer, protruding wires and electronic circuitry.
• Device makes beeping sound in student’s suitcase during class.
• Teacher, uncertain what it is, contacts school officials, who notify police.
• Student, who happens to be Muslim, is questioned and arrested.
• Forces of political correctness circle the wagons, blindly defending student; viciously attacking school officials and police as racist; demanding the student be given an apology; and screaming that he should file lawsuits for his "ordeal."
• The nation’s "elite," from President Obama to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, fawn over student and throw compliments his way like he was God’s gift to America.
This situation epitomizes modern-day America: A small but very vocal minority shouts "racist" every time they feel "offended," encompassing everything from comedians’ jokes to law enforcement profiling to criminals being "disenfranchised" when police use force apprehending them.
The biggest casualty is America’s security, because every time we don’t push back, the PC bullies have free reign to eviscerate all who oppose them. And our enemies become emboldened, with the blueprint for "success" falling right into their laps.
Let’s look at the real story behind the firestorm engulfing the McArthur High School in Irving, Texas:
1) The big controversy is whether the student, Ahmed Mohamed, was "profiled" because he was Muslim. In other words, was he detained and arrested because of his skin color and religion? How that is controversial in the first place is mindboggling. Two answers:
• Anyone possessing such a device should have been dealt with in exactly the same way.
• But if he was profiled, you can still make the argument that it was justified.
Are there terrorists other than Muslims? Of course, including red-blooded boy-next-door Americans, such as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and numerous mass shooters.
Yet the sad but true reality of today’s world is that people meeting certain criteria require extra scrutiny. Islamic militants, including those who have discreetly assimilated into American society as part of "sleeper cells," are, and should be, at the top of that list. For those labeling that "discriminatory," a quick refresher – facts, not opinion – is in order: All 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Muslim. As were the Fort Hood shooter, the Boston Bombers, the Fort Dix Six, and the Chattanooga military installation shooter. Ditto for the Times Square bomber, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and the Garland, Texas, shooter.
It was Islamic terrorists who bombed the London tube, trains in Madrid, and shot up the Charlie Hebdo office in France. And let’s not forget the myriad death threats by Muslim fundamentalists to any editor who dared exercise freedom of speech by publishing Mohammed cartoons.
Without making America into a bigger police state, we must redouble our efforts to identify threats, and ultimately, thwart attacks. And while no ethnicity, nationality or religion should be "off the table" to profiling, it is irresponsible to deliberately look the other way in scrutinizing those who fit possible "red flag" profiles. We could certainly use more tact in certain profiling situations, but, unequivocally, we cannot afford to base security procedures, or lack thereof, on hurt feeings.
2) It was bad enough that President Obama stuck his nose where it didn’t belong, but to shoot from the hip without the facts makes the sin mortal. Inviting Ahmed to the White House – really, Mr. President? This incident rises to that occasion? – and telling him to bring the clock, while claiming Ahmed’s teachers "failed him," are prime examples of why the president’s ratings continue to plummet. Big on gimmicks, small on substance.
And it’s not without irony that, while the president criticizes the school’s security protocols, the number of intruders who have literally walked into the White House has been unprecedented under his watch. Time to refocus your priorities, Mr. President.
3) Many are calling for apologies to Ahmed and his family. Well, here’s some free advice to the police and school district: Don’t do it. Not now, not ever. There’s no need.
And for what exactly should they be apologizing? Doing their jobs?
An unknown contraption – definitely not a stretch thinking it resembled an explosive device – is discovered in a school, the authorities are notified, and the police investigate. How is anything about that wrong?
Using the critics’ rationale, it must therefore also be wrong to report suspicious devices in malls and movie theatres. See one at an airport or bus terminal? No problem. Simply ignore it. After all, this is America, land of the free and home of the naïve.
4) Let’s talk about profiling. Colleges, businesses and the government profile to determine whom they want to target, admit, and hire. Israel actively profiles, and as a result, its El Al airline, despite being a high-value target, has been hijacked only once. And law enforcement, especially the FBI, uses profiling to catch serial killers and other dangerous criminals.
Was it wrong to have profiled Irish Catholic students carrying suspicious packages in Northern Ireland several decades ago? Of course not.
That certainly doesn’t mean Ahmed should have been treated as a terrorist suspect while being detained, and questions must be answered about reports, if true, that he was denied access to his parents and a lawyer during questioning. But those things have nothing to do with the fact that both school and law enforcement officials performed their jobs.
5) Ahmed was suspended because, in today’s climate, you simply cannot bring that kind of thing to school. Period. If he’s as smart as his defenders make him out to be, he should have known the response that would be generated.
6) If, as the critics state, the teachers and police overreacted, what should they have done? Nothing? Hoped for the best? Taken Ahmed at his word? As usual, the silence is deafening.
One has to wonder what their response will be if someone actually detonates a bomb at a school, with scores killed and maimed. Since suicidal radicals have shown no hesitation about using their children as sacrificial bomb carriers, nothing should be assumed or taken for granted that "it couldn’t happen here."
The same Monday-morning quarterbacks ravaging the officials in Irving would undoubtedly complain that our children weren’t protected, and demand answers as to how the school administration was blind-sided, why it didn’t employ better security precautions, and why elements of profiling weren’t utilized. The hypocrisy of the PC crowd knows no bounds.
If Americans don’t stand up for common sense security policies, and reject politically correct measures that imperil the nation, sooner or later the clock will strike 12, and the once-great American fairy tale will turn into a nightmare.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected].