BuddhaInABucket: “Why were you in China?” asked the passport control officer, a woman with the appearance and disposition of a prison matron.
“None of your business,” I said.
And then he could have gone on with his life.
“I gave you a written declaration,” I said.
“I need to know if you want to amend that written declaration,” he said. “I need to know if there’s anything undeclared in these bags.”
I stood silently.
Visibly frustrated, he turned to a superior, who had been watching, and said that I refused to answer his questions.
“Just inspect his bags,” the senior officer said. “He has a right to remain silent.”
The CBP goons want U.S. citizens to answer their questions as a ritualistic bow to their power. Well, CBP has no power over me. I am a law-abiding citizen, and, as such, I am the master, and the federal cops are my servants. They would do well to remember that.
Wouldn't a better bang for the buck be to get as many like minded individual to this simultaneously in one airport (don't ask about logistics) or in many airports on one day and make sure the press knows? If there is one thing Starcraft has taught me is not to send out one zerg...you need to mass them in a bunch to be effective.
This. Her day already sucks. You can get all kierkegaardian about why she's evil for cooperating with the system, or you can let her do her job, and then write a letter to your congressperson.
Border control is different from most police interaction. Customs has more rights to search and detain you than a random cop would. ... A cop can't ask to search my backpack without reason, but at customs they have every right to look through your bag. It's really not that complicated.
We should only assert our rights when it's convenient for those in power. I forget, did Tom Jefferson or Rosa Parks say that?
Sure he did, because Mr. Lukacs chose to respond in such a way that the customs person felt obliged to instigate a separate procedure, which was a pain for everyone involved. We can argue about whether or not her response was warranted or correct, but that's a separate discussion from whether instigating that process made life more difficult for her.
Yeah, again: No, not really. It in fact does me no harm whatsoever to tell a customs agent, as I did last week, for example, that I'm coming back to the US after visiting Australia, and I was visiting there for pleasure.
And he wasn't even guilty of anything. He had nothing of contraband and no reason to be evasive. All he was doing was wasting the FSA's time, and his own time.
Seriously, people, just comply. It makes it that much easier to point to those who don't as proof of their guilt.
She said that her questions were mandated by Congress...
I liked the guy who compared this guy to Rosa Parks. That was classy.
I also expect that in the main, most people don't travel for funerals or anal cancer surgery (or such), and that answering "business," "pleasure," or "vacation," is not particularly onerous or invasive, when such an answer is requested.
"What I'm getting at is that this behavior in any other context would be absurd. If you saw someone acting this way in a market you'd think, "Whoa, wacko," but since he was needlessly rude to law enforcement and refused to answer simple questions, that's somehow worthy of praise? Why? Because cops aren't people, they don't deserve a little basic respect?"
Refusing to answer questions in customs and presenting this as some kind of challenge to the state when other people have actually fought and died for his right to do so is hypocritical. Or at least vicarious living.
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