In 2001 (pre-9/11) a gifted (non-muslim) 9 year old student by the name of Jason Anagnos was arrested, charged and convicted for having brought a fake bomb along on his gifted-and-talented class field trip.
The so-called bomb consisted of duck and soy sauce leftover from his familys Chinese dinner which he wrapped in tissue paper.
What triggered the bomb alert was not the contents of the fake bomb, it was what Jason had written on the outside of the tiny package of Chinese sauces; Danger Warning Swanton Bomb. For those who do not follow wrestling, the Swanton Bomb is a WWF move. Young Jason was a WWF fan.
Jasons parents were warned by the prosecutor that if Jason was convicted in a trial, he may end up facing a more severe penalty. Not having the stomach to put their 9 year old son through a trial his parents decided that their son should plead guilty. As a result Jason was sentenced to a years probation and 10 hours of community service, but not before he was suspended for a week and ordered by the principal to undergo a psych eval which he passed.
Via James Taranto:
EAST HANOVER, N.J. The police complaint reads like something out of Monty Pythons Flying Circus: The defendant did within the jurisdiction of this court knowingly construct a fake bomb . . . specifically by wrapping up several packages of duck sauce and soy sauce inside tissue paper, taping it up with clear tape and writing on it Danger Warning Swanton Bomb, therefore in violation of NJS 2C:33-3.
Wait, it gets even more surreal. The perpetrator, Jason Anagnos, was all of nine years old when he committed this crime. Jason, now 10 and on probation, is a bright, somewhat shy young man who plays Little League and is a fan of the World Wrestling Federation. The Swanton Bomb, he explains to me on a sweltering summer afternoon in his familys backyard, is a WWF move…..
Jasons trouble with the law began on March 29 , when his gifted-and-talented class at East Hanover Central School took a field trip to a museum. He had assembled the Swanton bomb it was, in his description, roughly three inches square as a gag the previous night, using leftovers from the familys Chinese dinner. During the trip he showed it to his friend Lucas.
Jasons teacher was not amused. She took him aside and scolded him, saying he might scare somebody. She confiscated the bomb, and that was that or so it seemed. Jason had no idea he was in any trouble. Until the next morning, that is, when Jason was called out of music class and summoned to Principal Lawrence Mendelowitzs office. Waiting for him were not only his parents and Mr. Mendelowitz, but a policeman, who interrogated the boy about the Swanton bomb.
Yet his ordeal was not over. On April 3, Detective Thomas Fahy had filed a delinquency complaint with the New Jersey Superior Court. Jasons parents didnt want to put their son through a trial, and they couldnt afford to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer. Jasons father, Gene Anagnos, says a prosecutor told him the penalty would be more severe if Jason were convicted in a trial than if he pleaded guilty. So in late April he did, and was sentenced to a years probation and 10 hours of community service.
……And even Principal Mendelowitz, the man who decided this was a matter worthy of police attention, acknowledged in a letter to Jasons parents that I do not believe Jason intended to cause harm.
I guess a kid has to actually write the word bomb on a hoax bomb before it is considered a threat. 14 year old Ahmed Mohameds hoax digital clock briefcase bomb, which, unlike Jasons resembled an actual bomb was merely a clever non-school sanctioned project that the nerdy prideful muslim teen pranced around school with in his backpack.
And then it beeped.
Upon closer inspection of their individual fake bombs which boy would be/should be detained and interrogated if either of them had been caught with their fake bombs during a school field trip tour of the White House?
If in the pre-9/11 spring of 2001 Ahmed had printed warning bomb on his project as an ill advised joke as Jason had, would he still have gotten off (aside from the 3 day suspension that is) scot-free?
If Jason committed his crime as a muslim boy would he had been patted on the head and forgiven for his careless indiscretion?
If Jason committed his crime as a muslim boy in post-9/11 2015 would he had been patted on the head and forgiven for his careless indiscretion?
If non-muslim Jason had brought an exact replica of Ahmeds digital briefcase clock to school in 2015 would he have suffered the same legal consequences as he did with his Chinese sauce tissue paper encased fake bomb? Or would he have walked?
If Ahmed was not a muslim but a white Christian teen would…never mind…that one is just to damn obvious.
In 14 year old Ahmeds case, the islamophobia card was thrown down so fast that his ordeal was over nearly as soon as it had begun.
Yet 9 year old Jason was convicted.
Generally speaking, while I believe that school administrators should always err on the side of caution, a through investigation should be standard operating procedure as opposed to knee-jerk reactionaries turning a child into a criminal overnight due to their broad interpretation of zero tolerance policies.
- Hey Ahmed, You Didnt Build That! Muslim Teens Digital Clock Invention A Fraudulent Hoax
- Judge Napolitano Says Clock Hoax Now Potentially a Fraud Case