Canadian Writer Beaten at Border, Charged With Crime of “Being Punched in the Face”

12/14/2009 11:53 AM |

Crossing the border

This one is scary to me. As a foreigner living in your beautiful, angry nation, I have had more than my share of awkward, unpleasant border crossings, particularly by car (seriously, everyone loves you by train or by plane, but thinks you’re a terrorist/pedophile by car or by bus). Also, it’s “Canadians get punched” day here at The L.

So, reading about Canadian sci-fi writer Peter Watts awful run-in with Michigan border guards really just freaks me out—BECAUSE IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU (by which I mean me, a foreign national). After returning from helping a friend move, Watts was told to get out of his rented vehicle, and when he asked what the reason for the search was, he was beaten, restrained and pepper-sprayed. He was then thrown into jail, and charged with assaulting a federal employee; to make matters worse, once Watts posted bail he was released in his shirt sleeves onto the Canadian side of the border in the middle of the night, right into the teeth of an early winter storm. But perhaps the worst part of all this is that he has to face these charges in Michigan, where he’s looking at up to two years in prison. This just sucks. I fucking hate border guards.

Head over here, or here, to contribute to his legal fund.

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