With regard to a recent letter by David Ryder (“It’s reasonable to question suspicious-looking devices,” Sept. 19) in support of treating 14-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed like he was Timothy McVeigh or 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, church bomber “Dynamite Bob” Chambliss, I felt the writer left out a few important points.

It seems that if the police were as well trained as the letter writer believes and actually believed that the device in question was a bomb, they would have evacuated the school. They didn’t.

As someone who was a high school student in the Oklahoma City bombing era, I can attest to there being frequent evacuations at the hint of anything amiss. I’m sure nothing has changed in the turbulent years since.

So why was young Ahmed interrogated, handcuffed, humiliated and arrested for something that it seems no one believed was a real threat?

Simply a gross overreaction by glory-seeking hero wanna-bes? Or more a toxic byproduct of a populace fed a steady diet of fear, scapegoating and grievance? (Go, Trump!)

Earlier this month, an arson attack on a Planned Parenthood in Washington state endangered the lives of employees, patients, bystanders and firefighters. What happened in Washington was a terrorist attack on American soil.

If previous incidents of terrorism committed by the so-called “pro-life” movement are any indication, the perpetrators of the Washington state attack will have nothing in common either ethnically or religiously with young Ahmed Mohamed.

Yet even knowing all this, the wrongful persecution of an adolescent boy with a gift for gadgetry seems to bring a kind of sick satisfaction to some. I find that sad, not just for those individuals but for our society as a whole.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach