An 11 year old at Millennial Tech Magnet School in San Diego, actually used his mind and created something. Using an empty soda bottle as a structure, he assembled components to create a motion detector. He brought it to school to show his friends (inventing something at a Tech magnet school - horrors!).
A vice principal noted the interest and of course did the prudent thing. He assumed the child had determined a way to explode air with only electronics in an otherwise empty bottle and called the police (evacuated the school).
The device was found to be harmless, the child's home was found to be free of hazardous materials. The child was found to be innocent of any wrongdoing. The police recommended that the family get counseling (for promoting thought and invention apparently).
This is another example of an appalling trend.
In September of 2007, Star Simpson, an engineering student at MIT went to the airport to pick up a friend. Upon asking for information at the airport, she was promptly arrested, detained, and accused of being a terrorist (what is it about Boston?).
Her crime? Wearing a sweatshirt with lights on it that was obviously home made.
Then there is the Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion (also in Boston) where two men put up what were essentially Light Brights around the city. Obviously, these men (and the Cartoon Network) were working for Al Qaeda.
People fear what they don't understand - I get that. The country is also lamenting over the lack of interest in science by our students. Don't they get that we, as a society, are actually punishing that interest? We seem to be doing everything we can to drive our kids away from any technical interests they may have. (I'll cover how over-protectiveness and fear of litigation is also try to kill science education later)
Something has to be done. We need to look at things with common sense and not overreact constantly. If we continue to quash ideas, invention, and expression then the terrorists have indeed won.