Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, September 22, 2008

The First Word in “Border Patrol” is — “BORDER”

I live near the Canadian border. In fact I can see Vancouver Island (British Columbia) from my house. According to some people, that makes me a foreign policy expert. But I digress…

The Border Patrol has a strong presence here, since we’re at an international border. That’s fine. But lately the Border Patrol has been holding highway checkpoints far, far away from the Canadian border.

This has been pissing off a lot of people. It’s by far the most divisive issue in this area. The local paper is full of letters to the editor, pro and con. I've done several posts about it at my local blog, and they’ve drawn more comments than every other local issue put together.

There's a strong need to protect the border — no argument there. In 1999 an Algerian terrorist was intercepted at the border here. This was two years before the September 11th attacks.

But at these highway checkpoints, they aren't just looking for terrorists and illegal aliens, even though that’s their stated purpose. They’ve also been arresting people for drug possession, among other things. One person was arrested for possession of medical marijuana. He had a prescription that was legal in the State of Washington but in violation of federal law. Again, this arrest took place miles and miles from the Canadian border. What the fuck does this have to do with terrorism and illegal immigration?

Unless there's something unique about this area, I’m guessing this same issue is raging among millions of Americans who live near the Canadian and Mexican borders.

What do you think about this? Are these Border Patrol highway checkpoints making us safer? Or is this just another back door for Big Brother to invade everybody’s private life?

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Blogger Snave said...

I was unaware this was happening up your way, Tom. I used to live in your town 19 years ago, which I guess also makes me a foreign policy expert because I saw Vancouver Island a few times from my house too, but I also digress...

I'd like to think the increased presence of Border Patrol would make us safer, and that's what the left was arguing for in 2004. You know, make our ports and borders safer here at home, instead of spending all the money on something like Iraq. Well, if things are being made safer here in America, that could be to the good.

But if rightwingers (i.e. a lot a of police and military are rightwingers) want to use this as a club, or as a way to further infringe on our civil liberties, I don't see anything much good about it. If they are concentrating on us Americans as the problem, and if they are trying to keep us safe from ourselves instead of safe from the terrorists... those are problems. A terrorist might happen along only once in a blue moon, but the patrols need to maintain that focus and not use their authority as an excuse to pick on American citizens.

It seems they need to make up their minds as to what is most important in relation to the stated purpose of the increased border patrols. I think the more they are looking for drugs, the less they are likely to be looking for terrorist threats... or the more likely they will be to actually overlook terrorists.

I think it is vitally important we get a change at the top in our country. It would take years for a new attitude to filter down into the ranks, but if there was something other than a punitive attitude at the top, it might eventually help those doing things like Border Patrol to better discern what their duties are and what aspects are of the most importance.

Of course changing the culture is probably too monumental a task... sigh...

September 22, 2008 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger rockync said...

What I think is that if the Republicans win or steal the election in November, we can expect even more KGB type intrusions like you are experiencing up there. That is very scary news to me.
So anybody on the southern border seeing stuff like this?

September 22, 2008 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: That's right, we're both officially experts on all things Canadian.

It's a tough issue. Everyone wants to be safe from terrorist attacks. But it's too easy for the anti-terror forces to get caught up in drug raids and other intrusive actions that serve no purpose. And of course anybody who protests the Big Brother aspect of this is met with "don't you want to be safe from terrorists?!?" or "this is what we have to do to keep the country safe. We haven't been attacked for over 7 years. It's working."

Rockync: I'm afraid you're right. No matter how tight the budget is, there's always a few billion dollars lying around for KGB-type intrusions.

September 22, 2008 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

This is unbelievable. I lived in the Inland Northwest; so I am aware of the area. The act of stopping USAmericans' entirely supercedes their INALIENABLE RIGHTS!!! Where is the Probable Cause??? I've posted the articles which openly have US officials stating we all are the "potential" terrorists...... Welcome to the new Orwellian Fascist AmeriKa.

United In Peace And Freedom

September 22, 2008 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

AHB: Yup, coming to a highway near you.

September 23, 2008 at 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They aren't going to catch any terrorists swimming the Rio Grande, crossing the desert or even across one of the Great Lakes so ... they have to justify their big budget and the purpose of their jobs in the meantime by random drug checks and intrusions.

Then there is the rising private detention industry -- the migrant-military complex. Everyone profits except for the American taxpayer and the detained.

Thanks for this, I am in Northern California so don't get to see this happening in front of my eyes. I do know and blogged about the border wall in Vermont though.

September 23, 2008 at 12:48 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prerna: That's exactly it. They get this huge budget that's more than they need, so then they have to do whatever they can to justify it and get that much money again next year.

It's all part of that Prison-Industrial Complex, one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy.

September 23, 2008 at 1:37 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Come on, man, you know how this works. First, you start smoking weed for glaucoma, and next you're strapping bombs to your back and shouting "Allah" as you blow up a schoolbus full of nuns.

September 23, 2008 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger rockync said...

When the communists moved into the Eastern European countries they would end up oppressing for decades, the first thing they did was build a barrier (Iron Curtain/Berlin Wall) and set up border patrols. So, what is OUR government up to?...
I may have to move back to and obtain citizenship in the country my parents escaped from 60 years ago - how ironic that would be!

September 23, 2008 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Like they say, terrorists (like junkies) all started off on marijuana.

Rockync: Yes, that would be the supreme irony. We seem to be adopting a lot of characteristics of those former Iron Curtain countries. About the only thing missing is the "redistribution of wealth," which was the main reason our government hated the Soviet Union.

September 23, 2008 at 11:02 AM  

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