Friday, June 17, 2005

About that wild and crazy border-crossing ...

Have been wanting to say something profound about that weird man who crossed the border from Canada a couple of weeks ago. The words were hard to find. It was all so obvious. Surely everyone had reacted to the news similarly, but I wasn't sure. After all, the jokes were numerous and the night show hosts must be having a field day. "Stranger passes immigration carrying brass knuckles, a sword, a knife and a chainsaw stained with what appeared to be blood." How crazy is that?

Allowing it to pass without comment seemed the wisest course. After all, wouldn't anyone reading those words feel the same shock over the lack of "homeland security"? That would be only one aspect of the incident, however. There was so much more to the story, not to mention the decapitated male body plus that of some unidentified woman found later. This, plus the fact that the Canadian justice system was awaiting his appearance in court that very day.

What did it say to me? The obvious was that this was the ultimate example of white privilege. The explanations given quite seriously by some good friends and some public figures were that -- the immigration agents could not be held to blame since there were no grounds upon which to hold him. (They'd confiscated his weapons, after all.) He'd received an unknown number of points simply for being white -- a kind of affirmative action not often considered publicly but silently accorded to the anointed.

Were that wild man of a different skin color; black or brown or had he appeared middle eastern, would there have been any hesitation to hold him at the border until a thorough investigation had been undertaken? The double standard has allowed for the imprisonment of hundreds (thousands?) of darkskinned people with no known crimes on record -- to be held for years in Guantanamo and elsewhere. Many have been released as innocents after losing years out of their lives to our paranoia. Many are suffering torture at the hands of American "contractors" in our names after being flown into countries known to embrace the most brutal of interrogation practices. I cannot imagine that we "good Germans" haven't taken our outrage to the streets before now in an effort to stop such practices in our names.

It is painfully clear that this obvious sociopath was given a pass because our government would never hold a "white guy" until there was clear evidence of a good reason to do so. "We had no valid reason to keep him from entering the USA. That being so, we had to allow him through."

The irony is inescapable.

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