Friday, March 19th, 2010
30

Get Beaten By Border Guards? Get Convicted of a Felony

WATTS: FELONPeter Watts, the super-dark scifi writer, is now a felon, because he didn't lay down on the ground after border guards (Canada-America, not Mexico-America!) punched him in the face repeatedly. (Also because he didn't lay down on the ground, and asked what the hell was going on, he got pepper-sprayed in the face.) This is a felony because "assault" seems to be classified much the same way as "resist" or "impede." So if you impede someone's fist with your face, boom, felony. Sentencing is forthcoming; he faces two years. This is pretty much in every which way a travesty, particularly as it involves a guy who rescues stray cats in his spare time.

30 Comments / Post A Comment

I swear, the Awl offices must be in Canada, because you appear to have a cultural content quote.

Moff (#28)

Actually, the salient issue here has everything to do with the, uh, U.S.

Oh, the post says it was Canadian border guards but the article says US. I remember it as Canadian.

I DID TOO apparently. Sigh.

Fixed a little!

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

They were US guards, guarding the US. From someone leaving it.

Moff (#28)

@formerly: Ah, I did not notice that.

@Choire: AT LEAST WE KNOW WHOM TO BLAME.

A ticket counter clerk at Newark kept insisting I needed a passport to get on a plane to Newfoundland. She finally understood that, hey, I don't need to prove anything to LEAVE the country.

benis (#3,178)

huh? you were able to fly to another country without a passport?

Jonny Diamond (#3,799)

As a not-infrequent crosser of the great undefended border, this story scares the crap out of me. I shiver at the thought of all those dumb times I was lippy with the border cops. Gotta hand it to Watts, though, his account of the trial is almost preternaturally fair.

kneetoe (#1,881)

The last time I went to Canada, I said I had no booze in the car, and then my 8-year-old daughter said what about that wine, and then there was a very uncomfortable pause and the border guard lady got kind of unpleasant (although, and this is sort of the point, she didn't attack us or spray us with anything). Then my wife lied about how much wine we actually had, which I considered ballsy in a not good way, and then, after we got through, I had to yell at my daughter about not exposing the lies we tell at the Canada border. Good show all around.

Moff (#28)

When I was about nine, we were selling our house, and my mom was hardcore complaining about our realtor one day. So then when I met him a couple days later, naturally, the first thing I said was, "Well, he doesn't look like a snake."

I'm pretty sure I was aware of what I was doing.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Oh she knew what she was doing alright.

HiredGoons (#603)

I was so that kid.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Beatrix is awesome, but man was I pissed. And it only gets worse when you realize that your the one arguing (loudly) for telling lies to the police. Because you don't want to pay a fee. Yikes.

HiredGoons (#603)

@kneetoe: You don't live in Boston by any chance do you?

kneetoe (#1,881)

I do indeed. Do we know each other (he says, trying to think if he's said anything TOO embarrassing)?

kneetoe (#1,881)

@HG: If so we'll have to discuss it another time–

HiredGoons (#603)

@kneetoe: is your wife named Cher?

kneetoe (#1,881)

Drat: –as I'm out of here for the weekend and off to a place where the internets don't work so well.

kneetoe (#1,881)

@HG: No–must be another Kneetoe.

HiredGoons (#603)

Ah, my Art History teacher in college had a daughter named Beatrix about the same age.

Bittersweet (#765)

@kneetoe – you're in Boston! I knew I liked you for a reason. We cross the northern border a few times a year, with strict instructions to our 7-year-old to keep her mouth shut at Customs. Is this what I have to look forward to next year? Cripes.

HiredGoons (#603)

I remember crossing the border into Montreal with a learner's permit and a note from my parents.

brent_cox (#40)

I did roughly the same thing to sneak through ON to get to Ann Arbor when I was a very young driver, without the note from the parents.

Everyone used to just drive on over to the casino in Windsor, get all fucked up, and then drive on back.

Those were the good old days.

"Dear Canada, Please give HiredGoons a good home."

oudemia (#177)

"If found, please return to Port Authority Bus Station."

Paul Ford (#4,068)

Is it selfish that I am upset about this not because of the injustice but because Watts writes such incredibly messed-up and bleak sci-fi, and I don't want the stupid, stupid government to cut off my endless supply of deep-sea-diving mindfuck trauma nightmares?

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Yes it is selfish, but on the bright side, you'll feel much better when you realize he'll have lots of time to write.

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