back to article Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school

It should come as no surprise in a paranoid world addicted to security theatre: a 14-year-old hacker – in the old sense of the word – has been arrested in Dallas for bringing a home-made clock to school. While the device the student brought to school was harmless, The Dallas Morning News reports that 9th-grader and electronics …

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  1. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    Hysteria

    Terrorists have won.

    1. billat29
      Coat

      Re: Hysteria

      No they haven't.

      If they had succeeded in blowing up airliners we would have to get to airports early so our bags could be x-rayed, we'd have to take off our shoes and belts and be body scanned and take no liquids on board, turn our electronics on for verification and

      No. Wait....

      1. Captain Hogwash
        Facepalm

        Re: turn our electronics on for verification

        Security drone: Please turn on you electronic device for verification.

        Suicidally inclined Ne'er do well: With pleasure.

      2. Ojustaboo

        Re: Hysteria

        Airport security always amazes me, I was at Stansted recently, there must have been about 2000 people queued close together waiting to get through the security scanners

        If I was a terrorist wanting to kill the most people, why bother with a plane when I can simply blow the queue up?

        Surely this is a disaster waiting to happen.

        1. Preston Munchensonton
          Mushroom

          Re: Hysteria

          How the f*ck will we ever restore normality here?

          Remember, remember, the 5th of November...

        2. OffBeatMammal

          Re: Hysteria

          I refer you to the late Iain M Bank's "Transitions" for a description of exactly that. As a fairly frequent flyer (in the US) every week I walk past possible opportunities to cause significant mayhem that the current theater does nothing to prevent or even acknowledge (because there's no money to be made off it)

        3. Amorous Cowherder

          Re: Hysteria

          ( Just make a note here...."User Ojustaboo on forum is a terrorist and has made obvious serious threats to kill many people in a public place.". Please stay in your home user and security service staff will be round shortly to violate both you and your rights! )

        4. dotdavid

          Re: Hysteria

          "If I was a terrorist wanting to kill the most people, why bother with a plane when I can simply blow the queue up?"

          Indeed. And if they somehow manage to make airports safe, what about train stations? Bus stations? Shopping centres? Sports games?

          It's all theatre, and airports/planes are only different because flying is an unusual-enough activity for most of us that we accept the pointless "security check" procedure as just part of the process.

          1. Frank Bough

            Re: Hysteria

            FFS how soon we forget. A passenger plane makes a big mess when it hits something at 500mph, irrespective of how many people die on board. Grow up. Remember 7/7?

        5. John Sanders
          Holmes

          Re: Hysteria

          >>If I was a terrorist wanting to kill the most people, why bother with a plane when I can simply blow the queue up?

          The plane guarantees a certain level of shock effect not granted if the bomb just goes off at the airport.

          That and the well known Arab obsession with blowing up airplanes or other things with them.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103#Criminal_inquiry

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson's_Field_hijackings

          And many more, I do not have the time to find now, google is your friend.

        6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Ojustaboo Re: Hysteria

          "Airport security always amazes me, I was at Stansted recently, there must have been about 2000 people queued close together waiting to get through the security scanners...." Yes, terrorists have tried attacking airports before, such as the Japanes Red Army Faction attack on Lod (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lod_Airport_massacre). The problem is big attacks like the Lod incident need a lot of planning and communication between terrorists, something we are getting very good at spotting and disrupting, and airport security has got a lot tougher. Half-arsed attempts like that at Glasgow in 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_International_Airport_attack) simply don't bring the high casualty numbers the terrorists want because external security measures (bollards in the Glasgow case) are also in place. So you might think a terrorists could just take a bomb into a packed concourse? But the simple fact a small explosive will cause a large aircraft to crash, killing all onboard, whilst a small explosive in an open concourse area will probably kill or maim a few dozen at most. The London Tube bombings were in tightly confined areas which maximised the blast effect, yet still did not kill the high number of deaths just one of their bombs would have caused on an airliner. And assembling a bigger bomb is both more likely to get you detected and also harder to transport to the attack site. That's why most airports nowadays have carparks well away from terminal buildings and panel security fencing - to discourage carbombers. And most larger Western airports have plenty of security and surveillance on the approaches to the airport itself, which is why AQ switched to trying to fit bombs in packaged items like printers from foreign airports with lower security (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_planes_bomb_plot). So, you can probably feel pretty safe in an airport security queue, the biggest threat to your health is probably from the "food" at the airport restaurants.

          1. Vic

            Re: Ojustaboo Hysteria

            The problem is big attacks like the Lod incident need a lot of planning and communication between terrorists

            A fuck site less planning than getting explosives through even old-style security and blowing up a plane. If the latter is considered a sufficient risk to warrant the intrusive stuff we have now, why not the former? It's easier, and likely to cause far more casualties.

            Half-arsed attempts like that at Glasgow in 2007

            ...Are half-arsed.

            I blame Hollywood - putting a can of petrol in a car does not make a bomb. It's quite difficult to achieve detonation with a gallon of four star.

            But the simple fact a small explosive will cause a large aircraft to crash, killing all onboard, whilst a small explosive in an open concourse area will probably kill or maim a few dozen at most.

            But it's so much easier - and as we see from the London bus bombings, even a comparatively small number of casualties will have all the effect a terrorist could want.

            Vic.

          2. Irongut

            Re: Ojustaboo Hysteria @Matt Bryant

            The Glasgow Airport attempt was not half-arsed it was clueless, idiotic and a complete failure. Even without the bollards a burning jeep full of petrol in the front doors would have done very little. Anyone who knows Glasgow Airport or has driven round it could think of a dozen better plans to cause chaos in five minutes. The most shocking thing about it was that those people were working in the NHS - not from an "oh my god terrorists in the NHS" point of view but from a "how did such brainless idiots get jobs in the NHS?" point of view.

        7. Riku

          Re: Hysteria

          It (bombing crowds at airports) already has, in 2011, 37 people were killed and 173 injured in an attack at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domodedovo_International_Airport_bombing

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12268662

          As a frequent flyer and having formerly worked with a firm in London providing security to high-net-worth individuals, their residences and places of business, I can assure you that airport security exists for three reasons:

          1. Security theatre so the general public can "feel" safe and thus continue flying in ever-greater numbers. This ensures most airlines stay in business (as most of them are leveraged to run on the edge of bankruptcy every day).

          2. So that politicians can be seen to be "doing something" about it, ("Quick, here come the voters, everyone look busy.")

          3. So that aforementioned politicians can transfer further wealth from the consumer/taxpayer (for they are one and the same) to the military-industrial complex who make and supply all manner of "security" equipment. Most of which can be defeated, (even THz body scanners).

          Airport security will stop the casual nutter, but no government, no matter how much technology they gain, or how many of your freedoms they take away, will ever stop any individual suitably comitted to their task.

          As for airport queues, it also scares the hell out of me when I see large crowds at the doors of the US "Black Friday" sales, those are easy pickings for the lone wolf or the organised group making simultaneous strikes. Depressing Christmas sales by keeping people away from stores and malls would seriously hurt economies where business balance sheets do indeed "go into the black" during the Christmas shopping spree.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Hysteria

            This ensures most airlines stay in business (as most of them are leveraged to run on the edge of bankruptcy every day).

            Really? That close to the edge? If so, how come they didn't all collapse in 2010 during the European airspace shutdown when Eyjafjallajökull erupted? I agree with the rest of your post though.

            1. Riku

              Re: Hysteria

              I do take your point and many of the larger "flag carriers" do have reasonable reserves, but not as much as you might think (or hope).

              In general ticketing T's&C's, things like volcanic eruptions (acts of the great fairy-tale in the sky), mean they basically don't have to give you the money back. Most of the flights cancelled, being trans-Atlantic, would have been paid up well in advance. This is different to you not spending the money in the first place after giving up on flying. If people, en masse, decide to stop flying in general, then bankruptcy shall almost certainly ensue.

              However, for several airlines, Eyjafjallajökull represented a close call:

              http://globalinsolvency.com/headlines/airlines-warn-bankruptcy-and-call-end-restrictions

              There is an excellent article on this at the FT, unfortunately it's locked behind their paywall.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Hysteria

                Thanks for the elaboration, I'd not realised some were that close to the edge.

      3. John Sanders
        Facepalm

        Re: Hysteria

        You forgot poor old margaret 89 years old, native UK citizen, having to take off her shoes and be subjected to body scans for the sake of non-discriminatory security policies.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hysteria

      "Terrorists have won."

      Maybe, but it looks like the Establishment has gladly jumped on the trolley and will ride it to the end of the line.

      Sad how that works, really.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Hysteria

        The Establishment has won. Terrorism was their excuse.

    3. The Axe

      Re: Hysteria

      Also looks like Hollywood has won too if the cops and authorities think a bomb has to look like a movie bomb. Have they not seen a real bomb? No need to answer that, its obvious.

      1. dotdavid

        Re: Hysteria

        "Hollywood has won too if the cops and authorities think a bomb has to look like a movie bomb"

        Lets just hope Hollywood never depicts a car bomb, we'd all get arrested driving to work.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: Hysteria

          "Lets just hope Hollywood never depicts a car bomb, we'd all get arrested driving to work."

          Only if you look Arabic (to a cop, that is)

          Regarding the poor kid: Appalling behaviour by the police and the school principal, but alas not unexpected. The principal is rather unprincipled, methinks

          1. MrXavia

            Re: Hysteria

            I would hope the principal gets sacked for such behaviour, also how could the police question a minor without his parents present?

            1. sysconfig

              Re: "also how could the police question a minor without his parents present?"

              As soon as law enforcement *think* they are dealing with anything remotely attributable to terrorism, they'll generously waive due process and fair trials, keep proceedings secret from the public, or just lock you away for extended periods of time until they find something that they can make stick (too bad if that doesn't happen)...

              Wonder what happens if a shoplifter wears a "I have friends in Syria" t-shirt...

              "This person, who has obviously been recruited by ISIS, was caught stealing chewing gum to finalise a makeshift weapon of mass destruction..."

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hysteria

              how could the police question a minor without his parents present?

              Easy. Under anti-terror laws, your rights and humanity are suspended. Age is no excuse, after all, you could be faking that.

              How the f*ck will we ever restore normality here?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Hysteria

                by giving it back to the native americans?

                1. cubapete

                  Re: Hysteria

                  I give at the casino!

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hysteria

              > how could the police question a minor without his parents present?

              If police invoke the T-word, they are allowed to do anything they like.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Hysteria

            If they keep going round arresting brown kids with Arab names for stupid reasons, anyone would think that they want to perpetuate an ethnic minority feeling they are not part of the society in the country in which they live.

          3. Someone Else Silver badge
            FAIL

            @ Michael H.F. Wilkinson -- Re: Hysteria

            Regarding the poor kid: Appalling behaviour by the police and the school principal, but alas not unexpected. The principal is rather unprincipled, methinks

            The principal is a low-level, Tejano functionary whose main job is to make sure everyone is dressed according to some arbitrary rule, and with how to sneak "intelligent design" into the curriculum. Rational thought is not, nor apparently has ever been, a requirement for the job, and seems to be actively discouraged.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: The Axe Re: Hysteria

        "....if the cops and authorities think a bomb has to look like a movie bomb...." Really? How about teachers? If you had bothered to research the story you might have heard that it was a teacher that spotted the clock and thought it might be a device, and that teacher alerted school authorities who then called the police. Sorry to dispel your no-doubt cherished fantasy that American police are just waiting to pounce on any non-white kid that passes but the problem was not of their making, they had to respond to the report. It's also very likely a first responder would not have any form of training on identifying an IED, it's why they have bomb disposal squads in larger cities.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Hysteria

      There are 2 billion passenger flights a year. Since the improved security we have around an extra 2 hours at the airport before each flight. That's about 6 thousand lifetimes wasted at airports every year which is considerably higher than terrorists manage.

      And the economic cost of the time wasted...in expensive coffee shops and restaurants.

      I wonder if Costa paid for 9/11 training?

      1. Jedit

        "I wonder if Costa paid for 9/11 training?"

        Well, obviously. Everyone knows that things in airport terminals Costa bomb.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Tom 7 Re: Hysteria

        "....an extra 2 hours at the airport before each flight. That's about 6 thousand lifetimes wasted at airports every year which is considerably higher than terrorists manage....." Wow, you seriously want to compare the loss of two hours to the loss of a real life to a terror attack?!?!? Seriously!?! You do understand that the loss of a life means no more hours at all? What's next, you want to decide life or car insurance should be discarded because you had to spend ten minutes filling out a form to apply? Is taking those few seconds to fasten your seatbelt (or probably minutes going by the limited mental agility your post displays) every time you get in a car, which must add up to quite a few hours lost over the years, are you going to just as stupidly claim that is a greater "economic cost" than going through the windscreen in the event of an accident?

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Tom 7 Hysteria

          s'funny....the powers that be like to equate ~3000 deaths in the US to ~1,000,000+ deaths in the middle east. That's a lot of "no more hours at all" right there, but I suppose some hours are worth more than others.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Tom 7 Hysteria

          "Wow, you seriously want to compare the loss of two hours to the loss of a real life to a terror attack?!?!?"

          No, he was comparing 2 billion x 2 hours, ie 4 billion hours per year against a fairly unlikely risk.

          Or put another way, 1/2 million *years* of wasted time against a fairly unlikely risk.

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hysteria

        If you go back and look/listen to what Bin Laden said about 9/11, it wasn't the lives or the buildings that were important targets. It was the economics of the US he wanted to hurt. Your examples alone show that he got what he wanted. This kid has been sucked into the theater and the yawning pit of paranoia that has since gripped a lot of everyday activities.

    5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Hysteria

      Let's play "spot the difference", shall we?

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/de/e7/de/dee7dea7cf3dd9021d18aa875eb6d062.jpg

    6. Madeye

      Re: Hysteria

      The terrorists, like the bomb, are mostly make believe. They, like the bomb, are only there to validate the institutional racism of the police in the US and, increasingly, elsewhere.

      If he's black, he must have a gun

      If he's brown, it's a bomb he'll be carrying

      Dare we live in the hope that the US will get it's house in order before they spread this poisonous doctrine to the rest of the supposedly free world?

    7. Amorous Cowherder
      Pint

      Re: Hysteria

      With no wars to worry about in the West the security services need a way to ensure their budgets aren't cut, so they invent a bogeyman that puts the willies up everyone. The frightened stay indoors glued to their "Shit-spouts (tm)" also known as TV screens, live in fear of dying from disease or terrorism and in the meantime the advertisers can swoop in and sell them more mindless shit they really don't need. Surely you know the real reason for all this "brown-people hating" bullshit? To ensure the dirty, unwashed masses are too busy fighting among themselves to bother seeing the real truth that they are all being bent over a barrel by the 1% and...well we all know what happens to a turkey at Crimble time!

      Cheers!

      ( "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine..." )

    8. PleebSmash
      Facepalm

      Re: Hysteria

      This Tiny Tim Terrorist was wearing a NASA t-shirt when arrested.

      You can't make this shit up.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Time-

    to take all modern technology from these cops.They don't understand it. Let them live in the dark ages that they so fear.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    "There was no broader explanation..."

    There's the problem, people are dealing with something they have no clue about. On the one hand kids are encouraged to tinker with electronics, on the other hand somebody sees wires and an LED display and they are in Hollywood make-believe Bruce Willis dreamland.

    So many people these days are so wrapped up in their own little world, they can't see how anyone could possibly be different from them, and enjoy different things to them.

    Same problem is being encountered daily with people going through airport security with Raspberry Pis, Arduinos and similar devices. A Raspberry Pi in a (not transparent) enclosure rarely gets a second look. A naked Raspberry Pi raises eyebrows and some people have reported getting them confiscated.

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      FAIL

      "He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation"

      It's a clock. What was he suppose to do? If he'd started talking about time pieces, relativity and the twin paradox they'd probably have done him for wasting police time or something equally spurious.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Lesson to be learnt

      Buy a iwatch or go to jail. It's just un-American not to consume.

      I can't wait for the first bomb to be found which is made from an iPhone jammed directly into a lump of c4. Bonus points for a big red button of obviousness.

      1. nsld

        Re: Lesson to be learnt

        Well Flavor Flav of Public Enemy fame is royally fucked by this!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lesson to be learnt

        I can't wait for the first bomb to be found which is made from an iPhone jammed directly into a lump of c4. Bonus points for a big red button of obviousness.

        It also needs a loud bleeping sound (that in Hollywood movies never seems to be audible to the bad guys) and a visible countdown. As they would have to get that past the App Store police I reckon it'll be a jailbroken iPhone, making it Truly Evil™

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: Lesson to be learnt

          Now now, don't be giving the Winphone guys any ideas ....

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