Off The Wall: Blaze Controversy

Steve Barton writes,

Mike Rowe, you’re an arrogant a-hole for saying that we as Americans are cartoonish buffoons for not knowing what a “bomb” looks like. Who puts a clock in a briefcase that his parents would let him take this to school knowing it looked quite a bit like a bomb? I used to like/respect Mike Rowe, but he needs to fade away after insulting us all!

Hi Steve

Seems my comments on The Blaze have ruffled your feathers. Well, you’re not alone. Lot’s of people are surprised that I’d say anything in defense of a kid who intentionally brought a device onto school property that resembled a bomb – including me! I just watched the video and cringed, because my comments as presented do not begin to reflect my actual feelings about what happened in Texas.

I assure you, if I thought for a second my “first thoughts” about a serious incident would be used to comprise an entire “story” on The Blaze, I’d have taken a very different approach to my answer. Now, I’m afraid the lack of context has created a false impression. Allow me to clarify.

Prior to the Ahmed question, I’d been talking about the degree to which Americans had become “disconnected” from things like energy, work, food, and a few other fundamental things I typically blather on about. My larger point was that most of these “disconnects” are rooted in a basic misunderstanding of how the world actually works. We’re confused about the way jobs are “created.” We’re no longer impressed by the miracle of affordable electiricty, or indoor plumbing, or the simple fact that 1.5% of the population is feeding 300 million people three times a day. My comments about Ahmed and his timer were intended to amplify my belief that most people are likewise disconnected from the world of high explosives. I was trying, unsuccessfully in this clip, to make the point that bombs have become so ubiquitous – (shoes, underwear, suitcases, etc.) – that few people could be reasonably expected to identify one at a glance.

That was the context of my comments, and as the headline says, it was the “first thing” that stuck me about the incident. It was not the “second thing,” or the “third thing,” or of course – the “Most Important Thing” – which I’ll gladly spell out for you now. Ready? Here it is, with quotes and everything, ready for attribution –

“If you’re going to bring something into a school in this day and age that the average person is likely to identify as a weapon – you should expect to be treated very, very roughly. I don’t care if your name’s Andrew or Ahmed. It’s not going to end well for you.” – Mike Rowe.

Obviously, we can’t expect our teachers to know the difference between weapons that are fake and weapons that a real. Nor can we expect them to know the difference between a genuine threat and an empty one. It would be helpful if the bad guys wore black hats and the good guys wore white hats and all bombs looked like the thing Ahmed brought to school that day. Alas, those days are gone, if they were ever here at all. We can no longer assume that anything is exactly what it appears to be – including articles on the internet.

Anyway Steve, you’re not wrong to wonder why I would say such a hair-brained thing. But if you really care about the truth, I might suggest you dig a little deeper than a random sound-bite posted for no other purpose than ginning up controversy before scooping up your marbles and stomping home. There’s only one place on line (or on the air,) where I’m in complete control of what I say and what is actually published or broadcast. And that place is here.

Carry on –

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