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By now you've probably heard about Kiera Wilmot, the 16-year-old Florida girl who botched a science experiment with a plastic bottle and toilet cleaner. The bottle ended up exploding, and though no one was hurt and no property damaged, Kiera was expelled from high school and is now being prosecuted as an adult for discharging a weapon on school grounds. She had an exemplary behavioral record up until that point.

Kiera is, as one might expect, black. The notion of a white girl getting hauled off to jail for a harmless expression of intellectual curiosity is dubious, to say the least. And though the rise of "zero tolerance" policies in American schools should theoretically be race-neutral, that's not the reality. According to the Dignity in Schools campaign, "students of color... are more likely to be suspended and expelled than their peers for the same behavior" and "African American students [are] 3.5 times as likely to be expelled" as whites. What happened to Kiera Wilmot is part of a broader story about racial disparities in our criminal justice system.

Yet we don't have to go macro to get the whiff of racial bias in this case. The prosecutor who decided to throw the book at Kiera is one Tammy Glotfelty, an assistant state attorney in Florida. The officer who arrested Kiera named Glotfelty in his police report:

I THEN CONTACTED ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY TAMMY GLOTFELTY VIA TELEPHONE. I ADVISED [HER] OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE AND SHE ADVISED THIS OFFICER TO FILE THE CHARGES OF, POSSESSING OR DISCHARGING WEAPONS OR FIREARMS AT A SCHOOL SPONSORED EVENT OR ON SCHOOL PROPERTY F.S.S. 790.115 (1) AND MAKING, POSSESSING, THROWING, PROJECTING, PLACING, OR DISCHARGING ANY DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE F.S.S. 790.161 (A).
Sounds absurdly harsh, right? And there has been no reversal of this decision since then. But Glotfelty isn't always so heartless. Just last week, she decided not to prosecute a teenager named Taylor Richardson who accidentally shot and killed his younger brother with a BB gun. Glotfelty declared the case "a tragic accident." I don't doubt that it was. The Richardson kid will probably have nightmares about this incident for the rest of his life. But I do wonder how to make sense of a prosecutor who one week shows understandable compassion for a kid who made a terrible mistake and the next week insists on giving a teenager the harshest possible sanction for something that didn't harm anyone.

The first Tammy Glotfelty has a normal-sized heart in her chest. The second one has a hole there.

There is one fact, however, that may help us figure out the discrepancy between Glotfelty #1 and Glotfelty #2: The Richardson family is white.

Am I accusing Glotfelty of conscious racial bias? Nope. Self-awareness isn't the issue here. And maybe she has good reasons for treating these two cases differently. Hey, Taylor was 13 instead of 16; perhaps that makes all the difference in her eyes. But I can't shake the feeling that these two stories would have unfolded quite differently if the races of the children had been reversed. Somehow the white Kiera Wilmot would have had her story end with an adult touching her shoulder saying "I'm just glad you're alright." And the black Taylor Richardson would have heard platitudes about "taking responsibility" while being led away in handcuffs.

The school-to-prison pipeline has become a very real phenomenon in this country, at least in communities of color. Suspending and expelling students for minor misbehavior has become routine despite there being no evidence that these steps improve school safety and strong evidence that they are linked to increased odds of behavior problems later. Moreover, prosecuting children as adults can destroy their chances of becoming productive members of society later in life. If prosecutors like Tammy Glotfelty really want to get serious about public safety, they'll work to transform our racially disparate justice system and refuse to put harmless black students behind bars.

Poll

Is Kiera Wilmot's prosecution racially motivated?

54%76 votes
29%41 votes
16%23 votes

| 140 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  So sad (5+ / 0-)

    but unsurprising in my home state. This type of thing happens all too often here...

    "In the battle of existence, Talent is the punch; Tact is the clever footwork. Wilson Mizner -7.25/-5.64

    by mikejay611 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:00:20 PM PDT

  •  Simple litmus test to those who say it isn't... (11+ / 0-)

    racially based.

    How would you feel if a white teenager, who did something similar, but in a Northern city with a black DA, black police officer, black principal, majority black population, majority black student body, was subjected to the same level of reaction and treatment?

    I don't even have to answer that one for you, do I?

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:02:59 PM PDT

    •  Fair question (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Achillios0311, Avila

      I think I would blame bloody-minded stupidity and hatred of young people rather than racism in that case.

      (And I more than suspect the real case we're talking about is racially biased).

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:53:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Achillios0311

      According to this story, the police officer called the prosecutor about the case.  As far as we know, the police officer didn't say, oh, btw the girl is black".  We also know the prosecutor hadn't laid eyes on the girl.  Until I know one of those two things definetivly happened, I'll remain unconvinced that this was racially motivated.

      •  For the officer to mention race when describing (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angryallen, Lujane, a2nite, Avila

        the suspect would be pretty standard.  Completely routine, in fact: age, race, gender.  "We have a forty year old white male," or "I've detained a sixteen year old black female."  It would be striking if he didn't.

        --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

        by Fiona West on Thu May 02, 2013 at 01:59:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well then (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          harlinchi, Lujane

          I'd have to certainly reconsider my position if that was the case.  I'm not familiar with these procedures.  But for me to reconsider, I'd have to know that was said.  If it was, then I'd have to admit that the probability of racism being a factor goes up exponentially.

    •  Sure, here you go. (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, there was a white boy who did exactly the same thing, and he's already charged and in prison.

      http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/...

      So yes, this is only an issue if the bomber is a girl or nonwhite. Otherwise, nobody cares.

  •  nope (6+ / 0-)

    (answer to the title question)

  •  This is an outrage! Someone should contact her (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, karmsy, SilentBrook, Lujane, Avila

    Congress critter about this!

    The girl was only doing a science experiment, not trying to blow up the school.  This is the most severe case of overreaction I've ever heard of, and no, if she had been some blue-eyed blonde teenager of Swedish descent, I do not believe she would have been prosecuted.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:10:08 PM PDT

  •  Does water flow downhill? Hell, yes! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:13:06 PM PDT

  •  I picked "maybe" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilW, DontTaseMeBro, SilentBrook, Lujane

    although I think it's more like "probably."

    Things sure have changed in the last few decades, though.  I would have been expelled a dozen times over if school authorities were as unreasonable back then as they are now.

    I hope the public exposure of this case leads to a better resolution.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:16:13 PM PDT

  •  In the same month as the Boston Marathon? (4+ / 0-)

    I would think people would be a bit touchy about bomb stuff.

    I'll vote: YES, a white girl would.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:19:57 PM PDT

  •  What was the "experiment?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Achillios0311

    "Will I be able to make a bomb?"

    Because she happened to be black I knew it was just a matter of time before somebody pulled out the race card. Didn't take long.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:21:54 PM PDT

    •  Have you ever incarnated as a male teenager? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348, SilentBrook

      It's easier to understand if you think of what boys do, even though she's a girl.

      "What will happen?" is something they do without adult regard for results.

      If this wasn't an experiment, then Mythbusters isn't.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:58:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, a male - mostly baseball and music. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fhcec

        Actually I recall I had a chemistry set too - I experimented so much my parents thought I was going to make a bomb so they got rid of it.  Actually I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Just mixing things to see what happened.  lol

        Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

        by dov12348 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 01:08:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I appreciate the openness of your response to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, fhcec, Orinoco

      "Are you remembering what teenage boys do?".  But I also want to say a bit about "the race card."  

      It's a touchy term, since it's usually used to imply that the mention of race is unreasonable or unfair.  So the person who "played the race card" should be ashamed of themselves, and their argument should be discounted.

      But it's often important to talk about race, even when its role is not neat and clear. And we're supposed to be more open these days, more able to talk about race, right?

      In this situation, the response of the school system was excessive and blind and just nutty, whatever color the student was.  But there's also another layer.

      THere is a widespread pattern of black youths, especially black males, being disproportionately punished, ie punished more severely than white youths who do the same thing.  The stats I've seen focus mostly on two areas of punishment: expulsion from school, and being arrested, charged, and jailed for small-scale marijuana use.  THis is a really serious problem, as it reduces the number of kids who graduate from high school, much less get into college, thereby damaging their work-life prospects in a serious, long-term way.  And jail is even worse. It's crazy.  Crime rates are going down but young black people are flooding into jails.  Why?  Because of disparate treatment  of black youth in the justice system.  And how many of those kids may never really get their lives back on track?

      And how can we not call what's happening racist?  Any particular DA or police officer might be completely innocent of racist intent.  But the way the justice system is functioning is racist, and it's doing serious harm.

      So then here comes a case of yet another black youth, this time a 16 year old girl, a model student, who makes a loud noise and scares some people (including herself) -- and they want to expel her and lay serious criminal charges on her, as an adult.

      This is just bound to upset and anger people, because not only is it patently wrong, it's also that same pattern of disparate punishment again, and that's outrageous.  Until I see news of the conviction of any white kid who makes mini-booms outside the classroom, who harms nothing and no one and is threatened with jail time -- until then, I see this as part of a racist pattern of unfair punishment in our justice system.  It's eating kids alive, and it's got to stop.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:39:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Both. (0+ / 0-)

      They're playing the Race Card AND the Gender Card. Blogs like Feministing have picked this up as a sexist issue, while other blogs have picked it up as a racist issue.

      The problem is that it's all smoke and mirrors. A WHITE BOY has already been sentenced and sent to prison for exactly the same thing, and there hasn't been a single moment of public outcry for his release.

      http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/...

  •  The prosecution and expelling (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, FG, bevenro, Lujane

    were just stupid. Nothing indicates that if the girl were white that the government would not have acted just as stupidly. You can fall into a trap seeing every bad thing someone does to a black person as being rooted in bias. Making such allegations without any evidence is counterproductive to race relations; the simple fact that the victim here of government overreach is black is not evidence in and of itself.

  •  I have no idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orinoco, Lujane

    about the racial intent.

    I do know that schools and local police are putting children IN JAIL these days for minor offenses like a little graffiti or a joint or something, which is absolutely crazy.

  •  I don't think you can draw a racial conclusion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy, Lujane

    based on the bb gun incident. It is highly, highly unusual that a bb was able to cause that much damage (except to an eye or ear drum). The boy's life is shattered. He is paying a very heavy price for his carelessness.

    You need to have more evidence that the state attorney is a racist than those two incidents.

    However, yes, black kids and black adults are being treated differently by law enforcement as well as school officials, as a general rule.

    Authorities there need to rethink this case.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:31:01 PM PDT

  •  Please. (6+ / 0-)

    You began your diary with a dishonest premise. The bottle didn't "end up exploding." It was her intended result. It was not a "botched experiment," she put those specific things in a bottle and screwed the lid on it for a very specific reason.

    Now you are accusing the ADA, the police officer, and whomever else of racism.

    And believe me, I was nearly expelled for cutting classes. I mean I had to beg to graduate, and my grades were excellent. If they had caught me blowing something up, wow, I would have been expelled instantly.

    I'm afraid that my signature won't match the mood of my comment.

    by heybuddy on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:37:08 PM PDT

    •  actually she thought it would just smoke (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, prgsvmama26

      Exploding was not her intended result. She didn't know what she was doing. And she should have gotten a few days of detention for mixing chemicals together carelessly, unsupervised, and without consulting a teacher. That's it. No expulsion, no prosecution.

      •  she should have had some guidance from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moonbatlulu

        the science teacher.

        I've never participated in - or even seen - a science fair, so I have no idea what the usual procedures are, but I find it unusual that she was not mentored in preparing this "experiment". That, by itself, shows teacher neglect, or poor planning for the fair, at the least.

        Lots and lots of people don't know that common household cleaning fluids can be dangerous if improperly stored or mixed.

        How many Californians living in earthquake zones have the cleaning fluids stored near each other that can produce noxious combinations, if not explosions?

        Why wasn't her experiment vetted, why wasn't she mentored? That's what I don't understand about this story.

        "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

        by fhcec on Thu May 02, 2013 at 05:45:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You've got some questionable assumptions too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Orinoco

      First, a diary can sometimes start with a mistaken or inaccurate premise. What's your reason for assuming the diarist is "dishonest"?

      Second, we dont know what the girl's intent was in putting a chemical in a small amount of water (a cup or less).  She may have been just messing around, as students who like chemistry are surprisingly likely to do.  (I'm the lit/history nerd, don't ask ME to explain why.)  Some have assumed she was trying to make a "Drano bomb," thought the coverage I saw didn't mention Drano and said "toilet cleanser."  (Perhaps you saw other coverage.)

      Third, she didn't blow anything up, or make a mixture that had anything approaching the power to blow anything up.  She was on the grounds rather than in the school, there's no evidence she was targetting any property, and the principle was convinced she wasn't trying to hurt anyone.  Which she couldn't have.  So comparing that to a student caught "blowing something up" is a stretch. Nobody would object to expulsion if she were caught blowing something up.

      Most importantly -- to say that a situation is racist or has racially prejudicial results is not a claim that everyone involved is a racist.  I haven't heard anyone at all make guesses about the character or intention of either the officer or the DA.  There have been some general statements that in Polk County, Florida racism would not be surprising.  And it wouldn't.

      I think we need more discussion on this site about institutionalized racism (the kind that's gotten built into the system and just keeps going almost automatically).

      I'm glad you were allowed to graduate.  It would have been a real injustice if you hadn't been.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:27:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd go with a 1-2 day suspension. Not an (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lina, Lujane

      expulsion.

      Maybe if she had gotten a few suspensions before for doing this sort of thing--but she sounds like a good student.

  •  In all honesty (7+ / 0-)

    If I were the judge and this case came before me I'd throw it out as being stupid, and then I'd order the girl's expulsion reversed and the state to pay her legal fees.

    This whole thing is just an exercise in stupidity.

    “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

    by bayushisan on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:37:26 PM PDT

  •  I wonder about the D.A.'s statement (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, PhilW, SilentBrook, Lujane

    that she chose not to prosecute the brother based in part because:

    "Our office has considered this case, keeping in mind that (Taylor) is 13 years of age and is a student at Roosevelt Academy," a letter forwarded Thursday from Assistant State Attorney Tammy Glotfelty to Polk County Sheriff's Detective Ernest Fulcher said. Fulcher investigated the shooting.
    Is that an upscale school or ademically superior? And, if not why was it a deciding factor in her decision?

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:44:40 PM PDT

  •  Can we stop calling this a science experiment? (16+ / 0-)

    A science experiment is something you do when you don't know the outcome, and want to find out. I'm sure anyone mixing toilet cleaner and aluminum foil in a plastic bottle has seen the results on one of the numerous YouTube videos, and the question is not, What Will Happen? but Can I Do That?

    Now, the Can I Do That impulse is pretty much universal, and strong in kids that age who really are wondering what they can and can't do, but it's a coming of age thing rather than a science thing.

    Kiera made a loud noise happen on her school campus. She put gas into a plastic container until the pressure built up enough so the container popped with a loud noise. The only real difference between what she did and blowing up a balloon until it pops is the container holds more pressure than a balloon, so the pop is louder when it finally happens.

    This device isn't a weapon or a firearm. There are no explosive materials involved. As for destruction, well, the plastic bottle broke, and I suppose if she'd put it in a paper shopping bag, the paper bag would have been shredded. But if placed near a wall, the wall would still be standing, unmarked. The ground it sat on had no crater blown out of it, no windows broke. It made a loud noise when it popped.

    That's it. Kiera made a loud noise happen on her school campus. Exciting? probably. Interesting? absolutely. Disruptive? I suppose so, since it was a surprise to the adults around.

    But criminal? You've got to be kidding me.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:53:00 PM PDT

    •  Great post. nt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, Lujane, fhcec, Orinoco

      I see what you did there.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:00:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Intellectual curiosity must be stopped! (0+ / 0-)

      because it is more important that our high school graduates pass a test, not think for themselves.  Much of the Zero Tolerance is based on this premise.  If Faux Noise is going to succeed, if the right wing is going to win, if the corporations and banks wish to continue their theft of the commonwealth, then it is imperative that we stop smart children from thinking.  Toss them all in privately held corporate jails!  Jesse Lava compares this to an accidental shooting, but that is comparing apples and oranges.  

  •  The 'science-experiment' meme is lame. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Orinoco

    And frankly detracts from the injustice of felony charges and expulsion.

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:00:44 PM PDT

    •  the "bomb" meme is equally lame (0+ / 0-)

      It was an apparatus to generate hydrogen gas. It contained no explosives. It was in a plastic bottle which burst from plain old ordinary gas pressure, no different than what happens if you shake a soda bottle too long, or drop a menthos in a bottle of Coke and screw the cap on. High school chem students have been doing these sort of things ever since there have BEEN high school chem students.

      She is not the Unabomber.  She is not a ninja ober terrist. The sky is not falling.

      Punish her for breaking safety rules, yes. But treat her as a felony criminal Al Qaeda super-terrist oh noes? We have lost our fucking minds.  (sigh)

  •  Ugh. It would help if you understood a little (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lina, Lujane, Orinoco

    better how a criminal prosecution is initiated.  Basically, once you arrest someone, you can only hold them for a very limited period of time before the government has to charge them with a crime.  When someone creates a small-scale explosion that results in the police being called, of course they're going to be arrested.  That's the only responsible thing to do while the details are being investigated.  So in order for the police to hang on to her while they are investigating further (making sure there were no explosives involved, making sure no one was the target of the explosion, making sure there are no other devices out there), they have to charge her with an offense.  

    In the Richardson (BB gun) case, the kid was never arrested because there was nothing to investigate.  It was immediately apparent what had happened, and there was no reason to detain him.  For that reason, the government had time to actually think through whether it wanted to charge him with a crime.  

    I'll take this back completely if the charges are still pending in a month.  $5 says they're dismissed once the details are sorted out.

  •  this is obscene fear rather than race. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Orinoco

    Yes, in that school district a white girl would have had the same punishment.  It's the same overzealous insanity that leads us to prosecute/suspend/expel kids for doing things like hugging in class, or wearing slightly political T-shirts, or cutting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun.

    Race isn't the issue here.  Utter stupidity is.

    That said, the girl should probably have gotten sent to the principal's office and a call home--maybe a day suspension.  Playing with explosive chemicals in school isn't a joke, and someone could get hurt.

    •  i probably overstated 'explosive chemicals' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Orinoco

      but even playing with a chemistry set on school grounds should warrant the same punishment.  Principals office, call home, and some detention.  Kids should know better.

      The expulsion/prosecution business is just demented.

  •  Florida (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    What a joke of a state.

    Everything about it spells racism.

  •  Most white folk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Don't understand racism.What did black people do to be treated like crap?

  •  Nope cause everyone feel bad for white girls (0+ / 0-)
  •  The Laura Bush effect ... (0+ / 0-)

    When Laura Bush was a teenager, she ran a stop sign causing a fatal accident.  She was never charged with manslaughter ..she was even given a ticket for running the stop sign ...
    But if she had been a Hispanic male or even a Hispanic or black female, you can bet she would have been charged. .. and probably a white young male from the wrong side of the tracks would have also been charged.

    white girls can do no wrong ...

    I think this case shows a severe case of overreaction by the authorities involved and I do think race is contributing to that overreaction

    Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

    by moonbatlulu on Thu May 02, 2013 at 06:35:33 PM PDT

  •  Change.org petition to drop the charges (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prgsvmama26

    http://www.change.org/...

    And in answer to your question, of course.  And frankly you are kinder to Glotfelty than I would be.  No I don't think her actions were consciously racist, but that is kind of the point.  My god, it's 2013, not 1953 and she ought to know better.

    sh

  •  I think a white girl might (0+ / 0-)

    In this case - http://bigstory.ap.org/... - a white 5 year old was suspended from school for threatening to shoot friends with a soap bubble gun.

    Hysterical authority figures aren't necessarily color blind, but their stupidity is.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Fri May 03, 2013 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

  •  it's hard to tell if it's racism or just (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    more silly pants-peeing on America's part after Boston--"the terrists will kill us all oh noes !!!!!!"  Although it should be noted that this is happening in Polk County, Florida, the reddest of the red and one of the "patriot militia" capitols of the world.  "Racism" is generally the default position there.

    But certainly those of us here who are yammering about "bombs oh noes !!!!" have fallen victim to the pants-peeing. It was not "a bomb".  It was not "an explosive device".  It was a commonly-used process to generate hydrogen gas for lab experiments. I doubt there is anyone here who was a high school chem student in the 80's or 90's who didn't make the same thing.

    But I think this story (and certainly the reaction to it here) has more to do with the US as a society collectively wetting our pants in terror and losing our goddamn minds (again) over two kids in Boston with a homemade pipe bomb. We have, as a society, learned absolutely nothing at all from 9-11 and our massive silly over-reaction to it, and are now entirely willing to run around with our arms waving in the air and do exactly the same thing again.  (sigh)

    The girl is not the Unabomber, not a superninja Al Qaeda international Muslim terrist oh noes--and should not be treated as one.  It's just silly pants-peeing on our part.

  •  I bet if she were MUSLIM, she'd be on a plane to (1+ / 0-)
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    Oh Mary Oh

    Gitmo already, for some "enhanced interrogation".

    And there would be fools here cheering that.

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