June 08, 2005

A murder suspect was allowed to enter the U.S. from Canada after being questioned by customs agents about the homemade sword, hatchet, brass knuckles, and chain saw (that apparently appeared to be stained with blood) he was carrying. His picture is worth it alone

Nice! And to think I was detained in U.S. cutoms for three hours at JFK airport upon arrival from Malaysia last year - - for no apparent reason. Gee, I think I look fairly normal!

  • It's probably a good tactic to look completely twisted in a such a photo. You'd hardly be recognized when(if?) you revert to 'normal'.
  • ``Our people don't have a crime lab up there. They can't look at a chain saw and decide if it's blood or rust or red paint.'' Eeee-yah. I often paint my house with a chain saw. Looking bizarre in no reason to detain someone at the border, but if your heritage is anything other than European... http://www.injusticebusters.com/2003/Arar_Maher.htm BTW, I gots me a new hairstyle.
  • Oh, my God ... he looks totally anime. Eeriest photo ever.
  • Jerry Only is going to sue.
  • Anthony said Despres was questioned for two hours before he was released. During that time, he said, customs agents employed ``every conceivable method'' to check for warrants or see if Despres had broken any laws in trying to re-enter the country. Seems like they tried. I do realize that the injustice is on the other end of this -- unwarranted detaining of people who appear Arabic, etc. However, in this particular case, it seems like they followed the guidelines. This guy does look insane. I wonder when that photo was taken -- during detention? some other time with a different context? Freaky.
  • At a time when peaceful demonstrators at the Republican convention in NYC are rounded up like cattle and held for two days without being charged, all in the name of security, this does look like a terrible slip. If you manage to dredge up the "quaint" and saner worldview most of us had circa 1999, though, it looks more reasonable. I'm with Zanshin - it would seem that in this case the rules were mostly followed. And when he became a suspect, he was found and detained, with no (further) harm done. I wonder what the justification is for confiscating items like a hatchet? If I had a hunting cabin in Canada, would I not be permitted to take my rifle, hatchet, hunting knife, etc., back and forth between the US and Canada? The photo is priceless.
  • This is because Canadians are allowed to own chainsaws without a licence.
  • *looks nervously over at sugarmilktea, edges over on chair
  • Not to worry GramMa... I keep my chainsaw nice 'n clean.
  • Ah, now I have that warm, cuddly feeling of security. Next time on an airplane, I might be seated right next to a serial killer, but a brown-skinned terrureest... why, that's unpossible! I'll try to wear no socks and have my toenails painted red next time I'm asked to take off my shoes at the airport. Perhaps they'll wave me in faster.
  • Jerry Only is going to sue. And I thought I was only one that thought "devilock!" hmm... was this a news FPP???
  • Oh...you scaredycat Yankees. First you confiscate our chainsaws; next it'll be all "Sir? You cannot bring your bear across the border". How's a guy supposed to jack a 7-11 without his bear? Goddamn police state.
  • The article mentions he was a naturalized U.S. citizen, and it sounds like that played a factor in their inability to detain him any longer.
  • Say for example: You are a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Lebanon. You have lived in the U.S. for 20 years. You have a U.S. education and you have no criminal record (hell, you've never even had a traffic ticket). You take a three-week trip to Lebanon to visit your father who is dying of cancer. Upon your return to the U.S., you are plucked from the customs line before they've even had a look at your passport. You carry only a small suitcase with clothing. You are probed, questioned, detained for over eight hours and basically treated as a brown-skinned terrureest. You are humiliated in numerous ways. Treated as an animal rather than a human. And on the flipside, you have this case. You can look bizarre to boot, carry a stained chainsaw and still manage to get past border agents after a couple of hours of questioning. But oh no, god forbid that you have dark-colored skin. All eyes on you, making you believe, just maybe, that you are some kind of bad person... hmm... was this a news FPP??? Sorry, is there a new rule that you have to preemptively apologize for a news FPP?
  • Sugarmilktea: they look suspiciously at you if you're coming from Malaysia, you know. It's full of Muslims, dontcherknow.
  • Good grief.
  • I am aware of that, yes. But does that mean every person entering the U.S. from a country that is predominately of the Muslim faith should be detained hours on end with no justification? WPDK, I read your link after I made my previous post, kinda strange how similar the stories are.
  • No, the new rule is pick on the new guy!
  • Ok, who is the new guy? /blonde
  • Heavens, yes! Everyone coming from Malaysia should be detained until irrefutable evidence is produced indicating that they have not been unduly influenced nay, convertalised, to that heathen so-called faith. We must impropugate the supersullininity of muslimosity and expuncturize the terrorations of islamicizers. So we'll send them off to Yemenistan or the Emiration of Saudinistas and have them do our torturizations interrogations for us. If yer comin' from Canadia, though, you're only in trouble if yer not white. The Maher Arar situation may not be the best counterexample which should be compared to this particular case. As PY mentions above, this fellow is a naturalised American citizen. As I understand it, the INS/DOH'S (apostrophe mine) have pretty much unbounded authority over noncitizens, but have a few more limitations on dealing with 'merkin citizens. It hasn't stopped them from holding people indefinitely in some other cases where they have the liberty of declaring people "enemy combatants" or suspect you of being the nth member of the 9/11 highjackers.
  • There's a Monty Python sketch in which a policeman is reading a list of charges against a prisoner; one of them is "wilfully and persistently being a foreigner"...
  • "naturalized U.S. citizen" that sounds funny to me. "pasteurized U.S. citizen"...that tastes funny to me.
  • >'merkin citizens. What- no merkin jokes?
  • Anybody ever seen Highway 61, where Jello Biafra plays a US Customs agent? "The US is like my house. Would you let someone who had been arrested for indecent exposure into your house?"
  • StB - what, that one didn't count?
  • sugarmilktea, I wasn't suggesting that his naturalized citizen status was the only or even critical factor in why he was allowed to go. It was something that hadn't been brough up that far in the thread, though, so I mentioned it to add it to the mix. Is your Lebanese naturalized US citizen scenario a real person's story? It wouldn't surprise me if it was. U.S. born and raised citizens who traveled to Toronto to attend a Muslim religious conference (one of them a scholar who had visited the White House in the days after 9/11 to meet & pray with GWB) were interrogated, fingerprinted and photographed on the way back into the U.S. Recently, some of them sued the Dept. of Homeland Security. The scholar (Hamza Yusuf) is of Greek ancestry and wasn't wearing religious clothing so his name probably triggered the reaction. A Customs & Border Protection spokeswoman quoted in the article says, "U.S. citizens have the right to refuse fingerprinting." The "Whiteness Checkpoint", a teacher's view of a Vermont Border Patrol checkpoint, describes the shortcuts that officers, "many of them Hispanic," take:
    When that barrier was first set up in December 2003, ostensibly to fight terrorism, Border Patrol agents stopped every driver to ask, "American citizen?" But long before summer, they started waving white people like me right on through. We've been more or less exempt ever since, regardless of the threat alert's color.
  • Sorry sugarmilktea, I jumped the gun thinking that you were describing the Arar case. The only situation that I can think of involving a naturalised US citizen is the case of a fellow out in Oregon but the details escape me.
  • Great movie, js. Or perhaps it just had great scenes. Been a while.
  • It's probably a good tactic to look completely twisted in a such a photo. You'd hardly be recognized when(if?) you revert to 'normal'. This reminds me of when, back in the 1980s, I defended a buddy in a street brawl in NYC, and ended up getting a beer bottle cracked over my head, and spending much of the night in the emergency room to get the resulting gash on my skull stitched up. Ugly scene; blood everywhere. Funny thing was, when I returned to the hospital 2 weeks later to get the stitches removed, I had the same resident as had stitched me up in the first place, but he didn't recognize me. Where I'd been in shorts and a t-shirt and covered in blood 2 weeks earlier, now I was in a suit and tie and carrying a nice briefcase. The resident was flabbergasted at how different I looked when he finally put 2 and 2 together. /boring reminiscing
  • regardless of the threat alert's color Well duh, the Threat Alert color is never white.
  • Only ameteurs jack 7-11s with bears anymore. All the smooth criminals are using wolverines now.
  • Oh, and the threat alert color for today is... Blackwatch Plaid. we stepped it back from Rush's "Moving Pictures" after the Canadian menace was captured
  • Another difference is air travel vs non-air travel. Any international travel almost always requires more hoops jumped through when it's by air than by car, bus, train, whatever else. Like passports aren't needed, etc... (I'm not trying to justify anything, btw. I just think it's a relevant factor towards some of the differences in treatment.)
  • "Sir? You cannot bring your bear across the border".i> Crap.
  • PY, Is your Lebanese naturalized US citizen scenario a real person's story? truly, for true... And sorry if my post seemed to imply that your naturalized U.S. citizen comment was stated as a critical factor. I did realize that you didn't intend it that way, and actually did appreciate the topic being mentioned in the thread. And no worries ooga_booga...