Something More Important
In case you have not been watching, the sf blogosphere has been full of righteous anger on behalf of author Peter Watts, who was arrested and beaten (beaten and arrested?) by US Border Patrol Officers last Tuesday.
There is a defense fund set up. Links are at the Scalzi post and at Making Light, I think.
I'm not going to get into arguing the fine points. I'm not really worrying about "he should have known better," for example, because US police procedures are not standard around the world, and also? No US police agency that I know of justifies using more force than is necessary to subdue a person. In other countries, it is perfectly normal to question the police as to the reasons for a search of a vehicle. Me, I'd have just done what the cops said -- not because I fear the police, but because I have known enough cops over the years to know that people who don't follow their orders can make *some* cops jumpy, and I don't like to be around jumpy people carrying loaded guns.
The sad truth is that we live in a country where people in positions of authority feel no need to justify their actions. One would think that the border folks might have thought about the fact that borders are places where cultural norms cannot be assumed to be the same. One would think.
More importantly, one would think that people who apparently posed no real threat wouldn't get pepper-sprayed, beaten, and arrested.