Boy arrested for doodling, tinkering

A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was arrested for having chemicals at home that could have been used to make a bomb but weren’t, reports the Press of Atlantic City. He also had electronic parts at home that weren’t being used to make a bomb. Police Chief Pat Moran said, “There was no indication he was making a bomb, or using a bomb or detonating a bomb.”

Nonetheless, high school junior was charged with possession of an explosive device and booked into Harborfields Detention Center. Later — it’s not clear how much later — charges were dropped, reports Salon. After all, he didn’t actually possess an explosive device. My house has chemicals that probably could be mixed to create a bomb. And we’ve got lots of electronic parts. I’m sure my husband is capable of building a bomb. All that stops him is a lack of homicidal intent. And, fortunately, he’s completed high school.

The Cedar Creek High School student’s teacher had reported him for doodling what might have been weapons in a notebook. The boy’s mother said he’d drawn a flaming glove. That’s why the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is publicizing the case, reports Reason‘s Hit & Run. Apparently, flaming gloves are a common comic book fantasy.

A former Boy Scout, her son  “volunteers to help senior citizens,” said the mother.

She says his passion for collecting old stuff, taking it apart and rebuilding things lead to this arrest.

“He takes the parts and he builds things with them. Good things,” she explained.

That’s probably why he attends Cedar Creek, a magnet school with an engineering focus and a stress on hands-on learning.
School officials said the student hadn’t made threats and wasn’t in conflict with anyone, but the superintendent praised the teacher for reporting the doodler to police. Post-Newtown hysteria will be with us for awhile.

Gossiping is also a criminal offense these days. The Press also reports:

A 15-year-old girl was arrested at Mainland Regional High School and charged with false public alarm after she allegedly sent a text message to a friend stating that she had heard a rumor that there would be a shooting at the school on Friday.

If she’d heard such a rumor, as opposed to making it up herself, wouldn’t she have a public duty to pass it on? After all, the Cedar Creek teacher who turned in the doodling student wasn’t arrested for “false public alarm.”