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Peter Watts beaten and arrested at US Border

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Hugo-award-nominated science fiction author Dr. Peter Watts is in serious legal trouble after he was beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned by American border guards at a Canada U.S. border crossing December 8. This is a call to friends, fans and colleagues to help.

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What the hell?

Man, I hate airport security. They have to be some of the most unhappiest workers in the world, especially the American ones. I recently had a slight bit of bother with airport security, but thankfully did not receive any physical harm!

Poor dude.

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Well, that's one side of the story.

Not to be too cynical, but I don't know the guy and I'm not going to start throwing money at him to fight the system unless I have some reasonable basis to believe that the system did him an injustice. Border guards don't tend to beat or pepper spray someone for no reason -- often it might be a bad reason, but his "standing around minding my own business" story just doesn't jive with me.

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I agree - we have one side of the story. There is another, and if I were going to donate money, I would want to see and evaluate the other side of the story as well.

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If you read the comments on that article, there seems to be a lot of people that are having trouble with US border guards, so he isn't the first to have a problem. He did question what the search was about, so maybe that was why they took such aggressive action. I'll wait and see before I form a final opinion on the matter.

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I've found the guards at the Can/USA border to be uhm... unfriendly and channeling their inner Buford T. Pusser, but that doesn't usually go beyond some eye contact and some silly questions.

I never thought to question them though.

I'm thinking that'll be a multi-verse choice that Peter Watts doesn't make again.

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Nope. Dude got out of the car during a traffic-stop-type temporary detention. I'm not saying he had it coming, and I'm not saying the guards used appropriate force is restraining him, but he screwed up in getting out of the car, and he screwed up when he didn't comply with their orders to get in the car.

Out here you'd get a verbal warning, two if you're lucky, and then it's a tasering (if you're lucky again, otherwise it's a Philly-style baton party) followed by forcible restraint.

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On both sides of the US-Canadian border I've come across nice guards and jerk guards. I've had my car searched a few times, had to prove my paternity once, and my coolers searched for contraband fruit/Canadian beef.

In all these experiences, I fall back on Chris Rock's guide on how not to get your ass kicked by the police.

It appears Peter Watts may have violated the "shut the fuck up" rule. I think there are times when silent rage is a better option than vocal-dissent-followed-by-ass-kicking.

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This topic should probably be in gen chat. I think it might benefit from some of our board lawyers and/or cops.

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The STFU rule is always in effect. Cops are fucking bullies. Do not give them a reason to have fun at the expense of your nerve endings.

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Some cops are assholes looking for an excuse, and some are just good guys trying to do a tough job, but they have procedures to follow and those procedures prioritize the safety of the officer. You jump out of a car during a traffic stop, start behaving aggressively... that's not even the STFU rule. That's putting your safety and the cop's safety at risk.

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The USDA cops are pretty bad, too. I got threatened by one when I drove to Washington, then Vancouver, then back into the US a few days later. The car was full of stuff, I thought I had gotten rid of all the produce, but the guard decided to search anyway. She found an apple at the bottom of a bag which I hadn't noticed (which had a Washington sticker on it, go figure), and then decided that every thing in the car would have to be checked. I stepped toward the car reflexively to help unpack, and got threatened with arrest if I moved any closer, and threatened with a large fine for smuggling fruit. I decided to STFU then and just let them tear everything apart. I also decided, no more road trips to Canada.

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The STFU rule is always in effect. Cops are fucking bullies. Do not give them a reason to have fun at the expense of your nerve endings.

Dunno. I talked with a Swedish border guard about his rights to search my car last thursday and he completely failed to beat or taser me. In fact, I didn't see any weapon like utility on his person - not even a mag

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I have no idea what actually happened and it seems like he got screwed over royally...but it reminded me of this

NVM Ixodes posted it already. I cry your pardon.

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In all these experiences, I fall back on Chris Rock's guide on how not to get your ass kicked by the police.

The video is intended as comedy, but most of the things he says are dead on. He should not have gotten out of the car.

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Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle.

So, he was crossing back into the US, on his way home to Canada, after already being inside the US? Why else would US CBP search him? Unless he was driving a semi and needed export documents, he should have (in theory) paid his toll and kept on trucking over the bridge to CDN CBP. I've crossed a bajillion times at 1000 Islands Bridge and Ogdensburg, both Ontario/NY State POE and once at Pigeon River, in Ontario/MN. I have never been detained/searched by the outgoing CBP so, this raises some flags for me. More details would be needed to get any sense of what actually happened.

edited to change Massena to Ogdensburg

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Guest Raidne

I've had my car searched twice, been detained for questioning once, and, the last time, the guy threatened to have my car impounded because I was crossing the MI/Canada border without a pasport (which was not legally necessary or even customary at the time). My best guess is that they flagged my license after the first search, and I was getting messed with ever since because of that.

Having said all that, if you get out of your car without being told you are CRAZY.

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