0 thoughts on “SF writer Peter Watts beaten and arrested at US Border”

  1. There was a time when we aspired to be the land of the free, home of the brave. There was a time when we believed in innocent until proven guilty.

    This makes me very sad for what the USA has become.

  2. A piece of knowledge I really wish I’d shared far and wide a couple of years ago: If you cross the border in a rental car, expect extra suspicion. Lots of extra suspicion. See Emma’s LJ for more details.

  3. Good to know. I’ve been stopped at state borderlines and checked every time I’ve moved in a moving van. I don’t leave US borders enough to have much experience with it, but by all accounts, it’s not fun. I’ll be sure to avoid the rental car experience.

  4. While I’m totally on Watts’ side and I hope he hands them their asses in court I’m wondering if it was smart for him to get out of his car and confront them while they were searching his car, if I’m not mistaken in some US states much worse could happen to you if you got out of your car during a pull-over (tazered, shot maybe).

  5. The “smart” thing to do when faced with police or soldiers is to cringe submissively and do exactly what they tell you to do while addressing them with unfailing politeness. So yes, that would include not getting out of the car until they tell you to, not asking them any questions, and giving them any of your possessions they ask for, because they’re armed and have nearly unlimited discretion at the US border to do anything they want to you.

    However, that is not the world that I want to live in.

  6. Russ: I agree. “Smart” should not be “absolutely necessary.” Especially in a situation where someone is EXITING the country.

  7. I’m confused…I’ve cross into canada and back like 10,000+ times to play hockey..at all hours and times and various different crossings. Several times I’ve been quite drunk. I have never gotten out of my car except when they want to search it and even then you drive it to a place and you are expected to get out and they do their search thing..if he got out “at the boarder” I gotta ask what was he thinking ? And he is suppose to get out at the search station and go into the office for the id check..

    something is missing here..its sounds like this guy got out of his car when you are not suppose to.

  8. Yes. And, as we all know, getting out of your car “at the wrong time” in the view of authority, is a good reason to be beaten and to be thrown, wet and bruised, into a cold cell, then being left to walk to Canada in your shirt sleeves. What sort of world would it be if everyone felt free to get out of their car “at the wrong time?” They should have executed him on the spot.

  9. shrug. What sort of world would it be if people who broke the rules, even the one we dont like, were sent on a luxury cruise instead of thrown in a cold wet jail.

    Hopefully the guy learned his lesson and wont try to cross the boarder high or stupid again. Until we are willing to pay public employees enough to attract the best and the brightest we have to trust “authority” doesnt want to lose their job roughing up random people.

  10. Evrett, how would you like it if it were a crime to post while high or stupid? The net would be a much better place, and you’d get room and board free.

  11. I have to say that if you are in this situation, it is in your best interest to do what the cops say. If you feel they are being unprofessional or unreasonable, or that their search is unconstitutional, ask them for their names and badge numbers and take the issue up with their superiors. I work in law enforcement and I can tell you personally that they will get their asses busted if they are out of line.

    Physically struggling against a police officer, even mildly, is never a good idea, even if they are in the wrong. With their training and tools, you will always lose.

  12. Doug, the issue is not what is the best action to take. The issue is: what sort of state are we living in where this happens?

  13. I still have to wonder what else he did to draw their ire. They didn’t just randomly pull him aside to search him, and decide to beat him. A dislike for minimum wage authority figures is one thing, but taxing their feeble patience doesn’t seem wise. Something is still missing here, I believe.

  14. I find it funny how poeple automaticly jump to defend the well armed, guards. With what sounds like the old rape defense ie she wore low cut clothing, or she must have encouraged it. While totally ignoreing the fact that thier is no possable excuse for armed “plural” men to beat unarmed “singular” man, let alone the acts after ward. Plus the fact the the armed men are supposed to be trained profesionals thierfore should be held to a higher standered, or at least some standard. If mouthing off to someone is an exceptable defence to beat the crap out of poeple then, what does freedom of speach mean? freedom to say only inofenceive things? Freedom to meekly be quite?

  15. @Wolfrom #14

    I have to say this world would be much better off if people used their brains all the time, but for whatever reason they don’t. Driving across a border is not the time for shenanigans. I think everyone will agree with that.

    The thing is there is more going on at the Canada/America border than most people know or even think about. The Border Guards on both sides are escalating harassment of the other’s citizens. For instance, while attempting to cross the border for a business trip to Toronto I was denied by a Canadian guard. He was confrontational, obstructive, and throughly unhelpful. I spent 2 days trying to bring the required paperwork to them, and the border guards on our side were getting pissed on my behalf. I was amazed that they take things so personally, but thinking back on it I can see how it becomes your whole world. Guards on both sides develop a world view totally at odds with the one worlders, and then one of them does something without thinking and suddenly they are getting the crap beat out of them because their world views are so far apart neither can see the others point of view.

    To the guy just trying to get home it was probably these guys are being fascist jerks, and I am someone not to be trifled with.

    To the guards it was probably, this person is acting suspiciously, and here is a chance to do our job and give those sanctimonious Canadians the business.

    Most likely they are both at fault. Still being a veteran and all I am going to give the guards the benefit of the doubt. till I get more details. And I imagine those of you that haven’t served are going to continue to be outraged until all the details come out. Then most of you will continue to be outraged…

  16. To me, the issue is neither whether Watts made the best decision, nor is it the character of the individual guards. Rather, it is how and why this happened in the broader sense.

    If the guards were authoritarian jerks exceeding their authority, then the question is: why are people like this hired for this position? If they are conscientious individuals carrying out their duty as best they can, then the question is: under what sort of State are we living that this sort of response is considered proper and acceptable?

  17. I went to the National Archives the other day, walked straight up to the guard and said “What’s the policy on pocket knives?” Guy pulled me out of line and was making a really big deal about my fully legal (you know, under four inches and all that) pocket knife that never, ever leaves my side.
    Athe must have been in a good mood, though, because it came out in conversation that I’m military. Apparently that changed everything.
    An hour later I was staring down at a piece of parchment that guarantees my right to carry that same knife, and a great deal heavier and more-shootier weapons. I reflected on irony and fear.

    So, yeah. Peter Watts isn’t a citizen of the US, so if ya’ll as citizens are aggrieved, I suggest letting someone higher in the situation know. State Senators and Congressmen would be a good first stop, for anyone living in the relevant state. Either way, let your Congressman know. Gotta make noise, you know. *grimace* I’m barred, though.

Leave a Reply