*Okay, this is Sarah speaking. The mollusc and I some communication issues, so the promo post will go up around two my time tomorrow and for the end of the year I’ll put up promo posts (mostly for other people) in the afternoon. I’ll take care to inform you at the top of those where the post of the day is — completely out-of-itly yours – SAH*
Tin foil hat or reality speaking?- Amanda Green
Approximately a week ago, a 12 year old in Arlington, TX was taken into custody after telling another student that he had a bomb in his backpack. In September, a 14 year old was arrested in Irving, TX, on suspicion of bringing a homemade clock bomb to school. On December 16th, the Los Angeles school district canceled all classes after receiving threats against the district while New York City decided similar threats made against its schools were not credible. The following day, the Dallas Independent School District, Houston ISD and others around the nation received similar threats. These recent incidents have played out against the backdrop of the horror of the attack in San Bernardino on December 9th.
I bring up the Arlington incident for a couple of reasons. The first is the level of outrage I’ve been seeing on social media that seems to be looking at the event in a fishbowl that excludes everything else that has been happening in the world of late. Yes, the boy was arrested. Yes, he was taken to juvenile detention and held there over the weekend. Yes, he was charged with making a terroristic threat (or the equivalent) and has to wear an ankle monitor until he has his day in court. Yes, his parents say they were not notified of what happened and didn’t know until they finally contacted the school and then called 911.
What the social media accounts don’t tell you is that the boy admitted he told another classmate that he had a bomb in his backpack. They don’t tell you that the school did, according to reports, try to make contact with the parents. They don’t tell you that it isn’t all that unusual to hold a juvenile offender over the weekend until a judge can determine if probable cause exists to hold an offender.
Instead, we are greeted with the “but he did it because he was bullied” and “profiling” because the boy is, allegedly, a Sikh. It doesn’t fit the narrative that the boy never mentioned his religion and the police say all they reacted to was the fact that there was an allegation that he claimed to have a bomb and he, allegedly, confirmed he had said he had one. Let’s forget that we have lived in a world since 9/11 where making jokes about bombs and guns and such things can get you arrested and EVERYONE KNOWS IT.
Forget that this happened just days after a terrorist attack that left a number of people dead or injured in California, an attack that has Texas ties.
Forget that we are talking about a young man who is, presumably, old enough and capable of understanding right from wrong and the consequences of his actions.
I’m not saying there wasn’t some amount of profiling going on. It is quite possible that it was. What I’m on my high horse about is the fact that the allegations are being automatically dismissed by a certain group of people simply because it fits their political narrative. This tendency to react based on narrative and without taking into account all the facts – and in situations like this that has to include events going on in the world around us – can wind up leading to situations that will bite us in the butt.
Which leads to the various threats that were called in to the school districts around the country. Los Angeles has been hit hard in the media because it took the approach of closing down the schools for the day instead of running the risk that the threat was real. NYC took the opposite approach. I didn’t think too much about it at the time except to wonder if the NYPD had better intelligence than had LA. But when the other threats were called in the next day, I wondered if it was time to pull out the tin foil hat.
Sure, the threats could have been coincidental. A handful of students around the country could have decided they wanted out early instead of taking finals. After all, the new Star Wars movie would be opening soon and they might have wanted to go find their places in line. But the timing and the fact similarly worded threats were being used. . . . well, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.
The so-called rational part of my brain kept telling me there was nothing to worry about. Then there was the part trained by law enforcement officials, the part that doesn’t like crowds and always looks for other explanations for why something happens. That part wondered if the threats were simply meant to see how the local school districts, their security contingents and the local police forces would respond. That is part of intelligence gathering. Send in the threat and then watch to see what sort of warnings, if any, are released to the public and see what sort of response the authorities make to determine if the threat is real.
Fortunately for everyone, none of the threats turned out to be real. It was reassuring to see the head of the DISD and the Dallas mayor talking about how they not only conferred with DPD but with the administrations in the other cities receiving treats as well as their local police departments and the Feds. They took the threat seriously and did everything they could to make sure our children were safe. I fully expect to learn sooner, rather than later, that the Dallas threat was made by a kid who didn’t want to go to school the next day and who heard about the LA and NYC threats and decided to play copycat.
The thing is, that isn’t the sort of threat we can take for granted. Nor can we take for granted comments made by someone, and I don’t care how old that person is, that they have a bomb. In the Arlington case, 12 years old is old enough to know there are consequences to actions. Page eight of the Arlington ISD Student Code of Conduct states that:
Students have a responsibility to show consideration for the physical, social, and emotional well-being of others. At a minimum, this may be demonstrated by: Using kind and courteous language and refraining from making profane, insulting, threatening, or inflammatory remarks. (emphasis added)
Further in the Code of Conduct, threatening behavior is defined as a Group 3 Misbehavior that can be punished by emergency removal from the campus and referral to law enforcement, among other options. Group 4 Misbehaviors include terroristic threats which, duh, includes saying you have a bomb. The same responses are available to the school as well as expulsion and more. (pg. 39) Arlington ISD, like most school districts, take threats seriously. If you search for “threat” in the Code of Conduct, you will find 54 instances of its use.
This means, the student in question knew or reasonably should have known there would be consequences to his actions that day in school. Was he bullied? I don’t know but will admit it is possible. However, there are better ways to deal with bullying than claiming you have a bomb, especially when less than two weeks have passed after a terrorist attack within our shores.
I guess what I’m trying to say it is time to start holding our children responsible for their actions. Being a Texan, this is something that has been very much in the forefront of our media of late. The affluenza teen, Ethan Crouch, successfully used the defense of never having been made to know there was such a thing as a consequence to his actions to avoid prison time after killing four people in a drunk driving accident. Instead of prison time, he was given 10 years probation. Now he and his mother are on the lam, possibly having fled the country. The poor little rich boy once again is trying to avoid consequences of bad decisions and actions.
It is time we all remember there are consequences and we need to make wise choices or face the fallout. That applies not only to our personal lives but to the decisions our politicians make as well. We cannot and should not try to be best buds with those who want to see our destruction. We should not make our next generation weak by not teaching them that there are those out there who want to destroy us and by constantly telling them that they are wonderful and special and can do no wrong.
In short, it is time for our country to wake up, grow up and grow a pair again (well, at least for your politicians to. Most of the rest of us already have. At least I hope so.) Or maybe it is time to be fitted with a new tin foil hat.