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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Complacency Weighs on Me

In my blog surfing I came upon the following post:

in which Peter Watts, a science fiction writer was beaten, pepper sprayed and detained at a US border crossing when returning to Canada. He was detained and then after bail arrangements were made he was dropped off without a coat in the cold and without transportation (they seized his car). His only 'crime' it seems, if getting out of his car to ask what was going on when the border guards swarmed his car.

I keep thinking about this. I don't know him, but I am appalled by the way this has all played out for him. To be sure, I only have his testimony so it might have played out differently, but no matter how I play it in my head it is wrong. Now, would I have gotten out of the car? Probably not. Now, would I have been flagged and pulled over, probably not. But in our world, you don't really think this kind of thing can happen. You assume that everyone is reasonable and they are obviously not. I worry about my complacency. I avoid risky situations, true, but many situations of risk do not exist for me because of who I am and what I look like. I hear about things like this and I worry about my sons who, in the future, may be walking down a city street (presumed safe) and jumped because they are adolescent males. In our world - this world of plenty that we in North America live in - why do people stoop to inhumanity, like these border guards did. Was there not one of them that knew that abandoning a man in blizzard-like conditions without a coat and transportation was inhuman? I worry and I don't know what to do. It is hard to understand.

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