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Yesterday, NY Times Journalist Rukmini Callimachi obtained images of the journal found on accused NYC/NJ bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami after he was shot and captured by police in New Jersey on Monday morning. The blood-stained journal, which reveals rhetoric commonly used by ISIS/Daesh, also reveals something far more important: Ahmad Khan Rahami dots his “i” with a little circle. This was remarked upon.

A look at Rahami’s journal

Is this how pre-teen girls write? Today we shall be investigating this critical matter.

I am going to take this moment to admit that from about ages 8 to 10, I read A LOT of Ann Martin’s modern classic children’s series, The Babysitter’s Club. As an awkward pre-teen who was probably some sort of weird combination of a Kristi and Mary-Anne, I was determined to aspire to be a Stacey or a Claudia instead (No one likes you, Dawn or Mallory. Jessi and I were cool because we both did ballet). One easy way to do this was, of course, through the handwriting. Stacey dotted her “i’s” with little hearts. I quickly found I was too lazy to do this - but circles were easy, and still cutesy!

Stacey McGill’s handwriting from The Babysitter Club’s series

Result: Point for preteen-girl-esque handwriting

But do people who are not pre-teen girls ALSO possibly write with circles over their i’s instead of dots? For analysis, I checked with always-reliable pop-psychology websites and handwriting-analysis websites, which I am sure rigorously base their conclusions on... something. From Psychologia:

The way you dot, or don’t dot, your i’s says a lot about your personality; those placing the dot high have imaginative personalities and those writing it off to the left tend to procrastinate. If your handwriting shows a circle instead of a dot then you allegedly possess a childlike quality, and using a dash is said to be typical of overly critical individuals. Only organized and emphatic people place the dot firmly above the i when writing by hand.


Result: Point for preteen-esque person, if not necessarily a girl.

Some commenters on Twitter suggested that Rahami writes his i’s with circles because handwriting in Pashto or Dari (the main native languages of Afghanistan) sometimes use circles instead of three dots over certain letters, such as the letter “ش”. This is a fair cultural point, except that Dari and Pashto also have many letters with just a single dot over them, meaning if Rahami was literate in those languages (I do not know at this time how old Rahami was when he came to the United States or what his education level was at that time), using a circle over his “i’s” would most likely still be a stylistic choice, and not a cultural artifact.


Result: Inconclusive

In conclusion, I think it’s fair to say Ahmad Khan Rahami has the handwriting of a certain type of pre-teen girl - namely, the type I was - insecure, awkward, and thinking something like a change in handwriting style might make me more popular. However, I grew out of this, as most kids do, by the time I reached high school and had to take notes quickly for class, turning my handwriting into the messy scrawl as it is today.


What do you think? Do pre-teen boys go through this stage as well? Do the Hardy Boys books have inspirational handwriting types that young boys aim for? Do you still write like this today, with dots over your “i’s”? Are you also an aspiring terrorist? Is Ahmad Khan Rahami, by using the handwriting of a pre-teen girl in his terrorist manifesto, subtly undermining the predominant patriarchal system present in current Islamic terrorist ideology? Please leave your thoughts below.

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