Monday, December 14, 2009

Border Guards Beat Up Science Fiction Writer

Over the weekend of December 5 - 7, Dr. Peter Watts, a Canadian science fiction writer, was helping a friend move to Nebraska. On the 8th, driving back home, Watts was stopped in Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police. When Watts got out of his rental car to ask what the problem was, the border guards responded by beating him up, dosing him with pepper spray, and locking him up. Local police charged him with assaulting a federal officer, held him overnight, impounded his possessions, and after he posted bail, dropped him off in a Canadian winter storm in his shirtsleeves.

Why do the border police act like this? Partly because the War On Some Drugs has transformed them into an American Gestapo. Partly because they know that they can act with impunity, that they are never going to held accountable for their abuse of power. The Cop Who Breaks The Rules is a beloved American archetype, from Dirty Harry Callahan to Jack Bauer. We like living in a police state, secure in the knowledge that the cops only beat up bad guys, and that we ourselves will never wind up on the wrong end of a nightstick, a taser, or some pepper spray.


Nancy Green said...

Hey Nomi, thanks for the nice comment. You can use my X-mas story any time, I'm honored.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes in the throws of enthusiasm, mistakes are made. If those mistakes are acknowledged, it is more difficult to act with directed abandon on the next bad guy. These guys who thrive on going in harms way are very seldom equipped with the intellect and strong mental health it takes to excercise restraint. It would be interesting to hear the whole story, that is both points of view

Thomas Kalinowski said...

Ah, the ever-popular anonymous blame-the-victim post. Because there's always got to be at least one.

You contribute nothing, anonymous. You contribute less than nothing. I am the poorer for having read your ungrammatical knee-jerk defense of the indefensible. It saddens me that I must acknowledge that we are the same species. It saddens me that the human race is capable of producing people like you.