In a different era, Kiera Wilmot of Bartow, Fla. would be celebrated. A gifted 16-year-old African American student at Bartow High School with a love for science would usually mean that she would go on to become an award-winning doctor, engineer or even an astronaut.
But in 2013 America, Kiera Wilmot is considered by some to be a threat, not because she has a violent nature, but because her acumen has some confusing her with a terrorist.
On Monday, Wilmot was arrested on allegations that she detonated explosive materials on school property.
Always known for inquisitive and scientific endeavors, Kiera Wilmot says that the explosion was part of a scientific experiment, not any form of terroristic action.
Nevertheless, she faces felony charges of making, possessing or discharging a destructive device and with possessing or discharging weapons on school grounds.
Understandably, the country is on high alert after the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, but it is crucial that Americans do not overact to every action of inquisitive children, and spend their time focusing on actual terroristic threats, both foreign and domestic.
And although all of the facts probably have not been released in the Kiera Wilmot case, if local police officers are wrong, then their overzealous reaction to an intelligent African American girl could cause significant harm to her future and prosperity.
After most terroristic attacks, Americans tend to become understandably proactive against any possible terroristic attacks. However, why are law enforcement officials becoming proactive against an intelligent high school student when they could have been proactive with the Tsarnaev family, considering the FBI had proof that the accused mastermind of the Boston bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had discussed jihad with his mother in 2011.
According to the Associated Press, “Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said. In another conversation, the mother was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials said.”
Although the FBI said that the Russians withheld information about Tamerlan and his mother’s radicalization, politicians like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York believe that enough information existed to warrant the FBI interviewing Tamerlan. Had that happened, the tragic events that occurred in Boston might have been avoided.
But instead of questioning the Tsarnaev brothers, local police choose to question high school students like Kiera Wilmot and arrest them for felonies, which could kill her potential even though she had no intention of killing or hurting innocent people like the alleged Boston bombers.
I am not saying that Kiera Wilmot does not deserve punishment. Allegedly setting off an explosion at school, or anywhere else, is a serious matter and should be taken seriously. However, law enforcement officials should not play tough against young people who are harmless and ignore the people who pose a real threat to our safety.
Furthermore, publications like TheLedger.com make matters worse when they publish the home address of the Wilmot family, which could possibly put their safety in danger.
Nevertheless, we are living in a different and unique era. Safety for Americans should be paramount, but saving Americans from harmless teenagers is definitely not saving any lives. It is possibly only ruining lives.