2015-10-21

FOLLOW-UP: Personal, Corporate, and In-Between Fraud

This is a follow-up to my post from last month about the VW emissions cheating scandal and the case of the arrest of the "clock kid" Ahmed Mohamed.

Regarding the VW emissions cheating scandal, VW executives blamed (link from AP, Reuters, NBC News) "a couple of software engineers". Given how the cheat was pretty much impossible without a collaboration between many engineers of different kinds (mechanical, software, electrical, et cetera), all I can say is the following: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Regarding the case of Ahmed Mohamed, it turns out that he and his family are moving (link from Jessica Contrera, Washington Post) to Qatar, and that this decision was supposedly made less than 24 hours after meeting President Obama in the White House. In my previous post, I pretty much unconditionally defended him against accusations of fraudulent behavior. I still don't believe that he personally would have brought the clock in just to incite the response from the school and police that transpired, because for one, that would require a massive conspiracy, and for another, that absolves the school and police of responsibility for their actions. That said, I am now less sure of his family's actions and motives following the arrest and its initial reporting. Clearly they took advantage of the massive publicity, and while I'm certainly not a fan of that sort of exploitation of publicity, I was hoping that would be the end of the story. Yet now, I can't believe that a Sudanese immigrant family, where the father has run for the presidency of Sudan before, would within the span of 24 hours decide to move to Qatar, unless they already had high-level connections there. My guess now is that while this story would have likely been widely shared regardless of the family's behavior, a lot of the publicity was probably due to the family's influence itself, and they were able to use that to move out to Qatar (and use the story to get the Qatar Foundation to provide Ahmed a scholarship to sweeten the deal). It probably wasn't because of Ahmed's inability to go back to school in his district, because there have been plenty of other cases of kids who have been in situations where they can't go back to school in their home districts because of similar high-profile incidents. In such cases, the family usually moves to another district within the state, another state, or maybe their home country if they immigrated here, as opposed to a totally different country. Anyway, I still do wish Ahmed the best in his studies of engineering, but I now feel at least partially duped in some way by this whole turn of events, and hope that this story finally dies once the family moves out of the country.

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