Undemocratic Journalism

I’ve noticed something, in all the recent coverage of my travails. It’s pretty much happened without me.

I mean, sure, it’s about me. (Proximately, at least — I’d argue it’s ultimately about something much greater than a minor dust-up between an ageing author and some border-crawling nitwit who apparently lists We Hate Islam and Glenn Beck among his favorite facebook pages.) But in terms of actual mainstream coverage — well, for example, we’ve got four newspapers here in Toronto. All have covered the verdict to some degree. None, though, have approached me for comment. The closest I got to a question from the press was when the National Post left a voicemail saying they’d already written a story, thank you, but could I provide them with a photo to go with it? Even the reporter from the Times-Herald — the only journalist in sight during the actual trial — wasn’t up for so much as casual eye contact as far as I could tell.

Which is all cool. Given the slant of the Times-Herald’s reportage to date, I doubt that I’d have had much to say to her anyway. And it would have seemed odder to me if I hadn’t just watched one of my jurors trying to set the record straight everywhere from the Times-Herald clear over to boingboing — only to be told that her intimate knowledge of the case was irrelevant, that her opinion didn’t matter any more than anyone else’s, that she should just shut the fuck up.

This is a democracy, you see. Majority rules. Why should a few pointy-headed “experts” get to decide whether the earth was created in six days?

As it turns out, though, there is someone out there who actually took the time to chat with me over the holidays. Steve Humphrey’s story has just gone live over at NewsFix, and he’s not only talked to me, he’s read my books to boot; he leads off with a scene from Maelstrom in which a couple of thugs with badges and shockprods throw their weight around on a Seattle pier. I’d totally forgotten about writing that.  His story goes into significantly greater depth than most of the big-name papers ever bothered to.

If the picture of me leaning against the subterranean walls of C’Est What proves a little too much to bear, there’s another story that went up the other day over at Quill & Quire. Laura Godfrey didn’t interview me (although I think she tried — there was an e-mail in the backlog from a week or so ago I only just got to), but she is one of the very few reporters who didn’t reflexively repeat the spurious allegation that I’d been convicted of “assault”. And while she didn’t manage to get in touch with me personally, she did spend some time at Bakka-Phoenix over the weekend, chatting with folks in the local circle. I haven’t been out much since coming home, so I didn’t know until reading Godfrey’s article that all these folks had said the kind things they did. Thank you, Chris, and Karl, and Rob (and Dave. Again.)

So there you have it:  two online fountains to wash the taste of all that democratic journalism out of your mouth.  Now I have to get back to filling out these presentencing forms.  Can anyone tell me why “None” and “No facial hair” are listed as separate options under “Facial Hair”?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday March 23 2010at 04:03 pm , filed under ink on art, interviews, Squidgate . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

71 Responses to “Undemocratic Journalism”

  1. Peter said: “Now I have to get back to filling out these presentencing forms.”
    This should not be happening at all, let alone figuring out why “no facial hair” is not the same as “none”. Just one loopy thing after another…

    By the way Peter, cute and sweet picture, looking innocent and all… :)

    “Searchin’ through the fragments of my dream shattered sleep…”
    Canadian National Treasure Gordon Lightfoot

  2. Tell me that is razor-burn and not more face-punching residue on your big Irish mug in the NetFix photo.

    Can anyone tell me why “None” and “No facial hair” are listed as separate options under “Facial Hair”

    Nope. Although as an observer of the human face, I can say that men who can grow a full beard but shave it close look very different from those who cannot, even if closely shaved.

    Maybe it’s to make darn sure – “I know you put down ‘none’, but do you mean ‘no facial hair’?”

  3. *trepidation*

    Um, why do they need to know if you have facial hair.

  4. Peter said what many of us already know: “None, though, have approached me for comment.”

    Peter, dude, don’t you know by now that much of the news nowadays, whether hardcopy dead tree form or cyberspace website, is no longer about fairness, the facts, truth, covering all sides and all angles?

    So much of it has just become another version of the trashbloid mentality in order to sell the news or gain readership. Is it any wonder that many people are no longer taking the news seriously anymore?

    Man, I miss that wonderful Peter Jennings, a Canadian who became an American. Now there was a good, caring human who took news reporting seriously with grace, integrity, style and humility.

    “I’d argue it’s ultimately about something much greater than a minor dust-up between…”

    Certainly, it is ultimately beyond what happened to you, the incident, but this something greater IS a result of YOU and what happened to YOU.

    Such humble down to earth rendering of your ordeal as “a minor dust-up”, but most people know otherwise. There is absolutely nothing minor about being treated as if you weren’t a human being, and being attacked, punched and pepper sprayed by some people in the veneer of border guards with the mentality of an angry enraged bully just a hairs’ trigger away from being tripped by their own narrowminded view of the world.

    And then to have to endure being framed, railroaded and pinned like a captured butterfly upon board because the wrongdoers lie and concoct fiction in order to make it stick to you in their efforts to cover their own rears, at the same time retaliating, indirectly threatening and villifying you in response to their jig being up, and the flim flam of a sham dog and pony show as it was revealed to be, where people truly saw that all one had to do was to pass through the smoke and mirrors, lift the curtain, revealing a fakery that was being passed off as reality…

    “…an ageing author…”

    Please don’t put yourself down. Unless you are refering to the “mature and mellow” definition of that word. Ultimately, every living thing is ageing, whether a baby or a human being of 100.

    “…and some border-crawling nitwit…”

    Uh, nitwit? Too kind a word to use…

    “Running on borrowed time, if truth’s to be told.”

  5. Funny. I wondered today if they were getting back at you for this, but they don’t sound like fans (or big readers, for that matter):

    When shown photos of people mutilated during car accidents or Homeland Security interviews, for example, Donnie’s skin conductivity and ECG were scarcely different from when he was shown neutral pictures such as landscapes or still-lifes.

  6. I love that Humphrey calls you a “convicted novelist” in the title of that piece. That has a certain ring to it (google keyword campaign, anyone? It’s the only way to beat dumb journalism these days)…

    The portrait photography though… yeah… wow… uhm… Hm. Yeah…

  7. Also on dumb journalism: I always used to think that the tv stations were the worst – in that they put all their energies into shoving some doll in front of the camera and having them glibly bounce through the day’s headlines. I thought the print media (and their online equivalents) were somehow better, that at least they’d have some remnants of true journalism left, but it looks like that would be hoping for too much.

    The net reduces everything to hearsay and crappy re-ification. The fact that a reporter can even publish things (where’s their boss?!) when one of the key figures is quite available for comment is just astounding.

    If you’d been paris hilton though, they’d ‘ave been camped outside your apartment with telescopic lenses at the crack of dawn. Way to go, journalists of the new century.

  8. Peter, I’m glad to hear that some responsible journalist got the story straight. I’ll keep plugging along. The whole situation really makes me question why my family sacrificed stability, education, and career for 17 years moving from army base to army base so some fucked-up law could be applied to some fucked-up situation. HHMMMMM. So much for freedom.

  9. Always nice to have a couple people with nice things to say about you. Or just people that will ask for facts before coming up with their story.

    You know, -reporters-.

  10. @proudinjun: Don’t ever doubt what you did, and what you and your family and loved ones sacrificed. I am sure that there is way more good and beautiful that went with all of that sacrificing that clearly outweighs the four days of believing that as a juror, you did what you were supposed to do. We have all been there at some point or other in some way or other.

    And will surely do so for the rest of our lives. Being human.

    What really matters is that what happened is really being seen for what it truly is, and hopefully the right thing will be done.

    Most importantly, do not at all self-flaggelate yourself or live your life at this point in time with any sense of defeat, failure or self-recrimination, for that is not warranted in any way whatsoever.

    Think of this, see this, as a sort of crossroads, a juncture, for you to cross and continue upon this journey that is your life, and continue to learn, grow, becoming wiser and the best human being that you can be.

    This is what we are all, hopefully, doing, striving for.

    Do be proud of being you, for being human.

    May you walk in beauty always.

    “In the skin of our fingers, we can see the trail of the wind; it shows us where the wind blew when are ancestors were created.” ~ Navajo Legend

    “In her starry shade of dim and solitary loveliness, I learn the language of another world.” ~ George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

  11. Peter said: “If the picture of me leaning against the subterranean walls of C’Est What proves a little too much to bear…”

    So sorry Peter, I believe I mistook the photo as recent. (Isn’t it?) Are you inferring this is from “over the holidays” as in last year when you were still healing from the beating? Is this why Hljóðlegur, said “Tell me that is razor-burn and not more face-punching residue on your big Irish mug in the NetFix photo”? (More?) What?

    Or are you yet again, making fun of yourself? Huh? I may be newer to this blog, but I had taken some time to look at the old one that was harder on the eyes with the white word on black background. And yes, I caught those Watts swipes at your own face. Cut that out. There is nothing wrong with your visage. (Except perhaps your reluctance to smile, I suppose, sorta.) (Since you and Banana seem to believe the two of you are interchangeable, and he seems a bit grumpy naturally).

    Or am I yet again seeing something that isn’t there. Perhaps I should just make like I have blind sight and pretend my brain’s been hacked, oh well, what can you do.

    What kinda Irish name is Watts?

  12. Re: facial hair – I think one of them means no facial hair by choice, whereas the other means no facial hair period. Which is which? Got me.

  13. It is quite a culture shock for me to hear of a jury member being vocal about their case afterward. You see, I sit as a lay judge (which is the closest analogy to a juror that we have here in Finland) in my local court of first instance, and I would never dream of talking to the press about a case I participated in. “The court speaks in the judgment, and is otherwise silent,” I was told when I started, and I find that wise advice.

    Then again, we are required to include our reasoning in the judgment. I gather a jury never does.

    That said, in my experience, journalists always report judgments wrong. Too often the error is major.

  14. via the facebook support group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=348936790393

    For those who are writing letters or just thinking about it, please see the following link for a well-crafted effort addressed to Jennifer Granholm, the governor of Michigan:

    http://www.escapingthetrunk.net/?p=678

    You can submit your comment to the governor online via http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21995-65331–,00.html

    Based on her bio, she could be a sympathetic figure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Granholm

  15. It seems Uncle Sam wants us too (not in the same way he wants YOU of course…):

    http://tinyurl.com/ykggrgb

    N.B. You get a mention in comment #3.

    $200M to promote tourism to the U.S.A. Money well spent?

  16. @keanani. You said: Is this why Hljóðlegur, said “Tell me that is razor-burn and not more face-punching residue on your big Irish mug in the NetFix photo”? (More?) What?

    I took the photo to be very recent, so was hoping I was seeing a little razor burn and not remants of injuries from the December incident.

  17. Grow facial hair as Civil Disobedience. Think “Evil Kirk.”
    Alternatively, ask the Judge for a lobotomy. Or the chemical version.
    You’re too smart for your own good; that’s what’s really going on here, a
    Lilliputian sacrifice, a big mind being tethered and devoured upon by a ravenous herd.
    Learn to recite these lines: “Me Good Slave. Me watch Fox News.” as an act of contrition and acknowledgment of the US hegemony .

    Looking at the Polanski case, I think it came down
    to the Swiss finally forcing the US to say what penalty it was going to impose.
    The US balked.
    US Probation while someone, a foreign National is living in Canada doesn’t really make sense so they might, God Forbid, ask for jail time. Wouldn’t that set off a bit of an international brouhaha, especially at a time when diplomacy is supposed to be warming? The whole thing comes across more as a kidnapping than justice being served. Does Harper have the balls to say “Enough’s enough”?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  18. I are not a journalist; however, I do write an op-ed column for my local newspaper. Strictly speaking, I am supposed to stick to local and regional issues, but given that Wisconsin borders Canada and is next door to Michigan, I think I can justify writing about what happened to you. (Whether my editor would agree, I don’t know.)

    If you have the time, I’d appreciate your dropping me an email — and if you have any links to the Times-Herald stories, perhaps you could share them (yes, that is an extremely lazy request, I realize, and of course I am perfectly capable of searching for them myself if need be).

    There is no huge hurry — I have two more immediate things to write about — but I think your case needs more stateside publicity. I’m sorry it’s not the New York Times or the Washington Post, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is the best I can do.

  19. It’s worth reflecting that democracy as we practice it is a pretty new idea. The idea that EVERYONE should have the vote/a voice is a concept that would have had the Founding Fathers rolling in their graves. Sure, they were products of their time, and kept slaves, and would never have conceived have giving women the right to vote. No forgiving them there. But their real worry was keeping the mob out of the government. If Ben Franklin was alive today he’d be aghast that the asshats who believe everything Fox News tells them are actually VOTERS . .he’d probably be tempted to write the whole republican experiment off.

  20. I’m doing what I can to try and fight the spread of disinformation. Every time I find another website repeating the same old crap, I reply in the comments section to try and get the real story told:

    http://gamingbolt.com/2010/03/23/crysis-2-author-guilty-of-assualting-u-s-federal-officer/

    My comments were hastily thrown together, but I hope the main message is clear. I invite all members of Squid Nation to visit the above link and add their two cents.

  21. Peter, a couple of things. How is that while you are 15 years older than me (according to one article I saw) but you have way less wrinkles? I guess having a dark world view is good for the skin?

    Second, please take down that facebook link. I followed it and looked at some of the groups Mr. Beaudry is a part of. Five minutes of that and I was hoping for the vampires/scramblers/behemoth to arrive and rectify the situation.

  22. Damn, I just went back again. To quote Homer J. Simpson “Urge to kill rising!”

  23. Unless the Canadian press lives in some sort of bubble that shields it from what the rest of the world has to endure, it too suffers from a declining readership. Newspaper journalists nowadays tend to be little more than editors for the stories the papers buy from the press agencies.

  24. About the form, our U.S, census form asks for the # of residents for question #1. A paraphrase of #2 is “Anyone else live there? Babies count, too.” Who says there are no second chances?

    Maybe “no facial hair” is just in case you thought “none” referred to not having a face. Quite plausible, considering why you’re filling out the form in the first place.

  25. “he leads off with a scene from Maelstrom in which a couple of thugs with badges and shockprods throw their weight around on a Seattle pier”

    If that scene is the first time little Lenie uses her weapon of gas destruction (pops suicide pill for that joke) then it was probably my second favorite moment in the series.

    The first of course Lenie asking Ken “Who the fuck are you?” after some whimsical acrobatics. Now I have to reread the whole motherfucker again.

    Oh what, Pete you’re still here!? I don’t need you for comment, not like you were there or anything. Hope the chin is above the horizon these days. And if you do go to jail then comfort yourself with this knowledge: I shall take upon your mantle as Canada’s surliest sci-fi author should this perfidious event of late demand it.

    Cheerio!

  26. it’s like at that dating site where you have to fill out your religion. “none” or “atheist”.

    not that i have ever visited a dating site.

  27. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by torforgeauthors, KathrynC, catvincent, Alyx Dellamonica, C. Cameron and others. C. Cameron said: RT @KathrynC: Peter Watts on the coverage: http://bit.ly/c23X2F [...]

  28. Hmm, I wonder why no one is seeing the obvious as to this issue of facial hair. Choices: None? ~Or~ No facial hair?

    The question in and of itself is bogus and quite open to interpretation.

    As far as I know, and can see, every single human on the face of this planet has “facial hair”. I consider my eyelashes and eyebrows facial hair. It exists on my face and not some other place on my body. What about the “peach fuzz”. That’s hair on the face too.

    Also, due to hormonal fluctuations, and levels of that all proud and
    mighty maley hormone testosterone, some women get into a hairy
    situation with their chin and the area above the upper lip. Is that not
    facial hair? What about a hair or two sprouting from a mole? Is it a
    matter of having to use a razor versus tweezers?

    “And Jesus, he wants to go to Venus, leaving Levon far behind,
    take a balloon and go sailing while Levon, Levon slowly dies…”

  29. @Mats who indirectly revealed: “not that I have ever visited a dating site.”

    That’s ok Mats, no shame. You gotta find love, affection and that other human stuff wherever, whenever, and however you can. You take the chance that like minds connecting through cyberspace will be the same in the flesh.

    Just be open yet careful, it can be a big ‘ole bad cyberworld out there.

    “God got his ass kicked the first time He came down here slumming,
    He had the balls to come, the Gall to die and then forgive us-
    No, I don’t wonder why…”
    ~ Tomorrow Wendy (Concrete Blonde)

  30. Keanani says;
    Also, due to hormonal fluctuations, and levels of that all proud and
    mighty maley hormone testosterone, some women get into a hairy
    situation with their chin and the area above the upper lip. Is that not
    facial hair? What about a hair or two sprouting from a mole? Is it a
    matter of having to use a razor versus tweezers?

    Blech. Okay, fine, go ahead and bring up the paucity of sexual dimorphism among homo sapien sapien types.

    Here we are, thinking happy little thoughts about girls being made of sugar n spice n everything nice, and you trot out a video of about mole tweezing. Nice.

    I, for one, am going to youtube to look for baby animals doing cute things. A bunny eating a dandelion, perhaps.

  31. I feel better already:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SqBdS0XkV4&feature=related

    Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  32. @Hljóðlegur who said: “Here we are, thinking happy little thoughts about girls being made of sugar n spice n everything nice, and you trot out a video of about mole tweezing. Nice.”

    Sorry. :) Just trying to explain the “facial hair” thing. (Hey, spice is not exactly sweet or nice…)

  33. He looks like a winner. Of course, now I feel dirty for looking because I know not only his politcal views but his sexual taste in women. Black women, brunettes, and suicide girls. Yet, somehow suicide girls and conservative doesn’t quite mesh with me.

    I actually find it amusing that you mention that nobody bothered asking you, because logically that’d be the first thing to do, right? It’s what you’d expect, except it’s not like that anymore. I also was fascinated by the mention of the beating on the pier, because I had read that scene less than an hour before reading about what happened to you, which lead me here.

  34. @keanani:

    :D

    No worries. Bunnies with flowers cures it all. ;)

  35. Hm. Update to the freethesquid.org site today.

  36. I’m still curious about the alleged 1991 conviction in Canada. Saying that you don’t have a record in Canada is a far cry from stating that you never had a record in Canada.

    What happened in Guelph? Was this another supposedly random unprovoked attack by cops who overreacted?

    For someone who is so vocal about their case, Dr. Watts seems strangey silent on the details of that alleged incident….

  37. Being a fan of Glen Beck should be a felony, not asking “Why?”.

  38. @Fritz

    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, or off-topic messages in an online community with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    Quoting Peter Watts:

    > But I can state this much unequivocally: I do not have a criminal record in
    > Canada. I have never been convicted of anything in Canada; those of you
    > who want to find evidence to the contrary, knock yourselves out and good
    > luck.

    Playing the insinuation game is sooo easy. I do wonder about your true motivations (see how easy it is!)

    Last time you posted

    > I’m sure Dr. Watts was not a threat. The guards may have been able to
    > deescalate the situation.

    So what’s the game here Fritz? Does deescalation no longer rule the day? Or is this all just a bit of fun with the man under the microscope? Is this even about Herr Doktor Watts and his ongoing tribulations? Or is it something else that’s bothering you? Beware: if you are looking for therapy, then you get what you pay for.

  39. Fritz opined,

    I’m still curious about the alleged 1991 conviction in Canada. Saying that you don’t have a record in Canada is a far cry from stating that you never had a record in Canada. … For someone who is so vocal about their case, Dr. Watts seems strangey silent on the details of that alleged incident….

    Sigh. Fine.

    I never had a record in Canada. I’ve been staying silent about it because, for some reason, the Prosecutor still seems to be worrying at it and I don’t want to muddy the waters. But fuck it.

    In 1991, while riding my bicycle along a deserted road at 2 a.m., I was pulled over by a cop; apparently I had not come to a complete stop during a right turn a half-block previously. I wanted to know what my legal rights and obligations were (that’s exactly how I put it) before presenting ID — my thinking being, since I was not driving a motor vehicle, I probably wasn’t even obligated to be carrying ID. So I asked the cop about my rights and obligations; he repeated his demand; I said I wanted an answer; I was arrested.

    $400 to the Salvation Army and it went away: conditional discharge, which under Canadian Law means that there’s no conviction and my record is clear. If Fritz wants to call the Guelph courthouse, he may be able to prevail upon them to send him an official notice to the effect that all the relevant records have long since been destroyed because it was such a dick-ass case.

    What this establishes is that I am a habitual questioner of cops regarding my rights and standing — so habitual, in fact, that at this rate I’ll ask someone with a badge yet another question as early as 2030!

    But now that I’ve got your attention, Fritz, I’d like to address a couple of falsehoods you planted a bit further upstream. To wit:

    Watts spouts off with his side of the story all over the web. The government saved their side for the judge and jury and wins the case.

    Actually, the government did not save their side for the judge and jury. Perhaps you came late to this party, in which case you might not remember the allegations that were being slung all over teh tubes about my “assaultive”, “agitated” state, and my “choking” of a border guard. I had to put up with that shit for over three months before all those allegations were demolished in court by an independent witness and a passel of guards who, in the words of one juror, “couldn’t keep their stories straight”. I, in fact, was the one who felt constrained to not go into detail about specific circumstances — beyond simply denying the charges — precisely because I didn’t want to contaminate my day in court.

    “I suspect the officers became alarmed that Watts emerged from the car yelling”

    No yelling. No profanity. No raised voice. Again, this was established in court by my passenger. I said one thing: “I just want to see what’s going on.” After being attacked by Beaudry, I said something else: “What is the problem?”

    When all is said and done, Watts is not even injured.

    Well, except for the big purple and yellow bruise that sprouted across the back of my thigh. I may still even have the pictures.

    12 jurors heard the whole thing and decided Watts committed a crime. Watts has been convicted of a felony for his antics.

    Actually, 12 jurors heard the whole thing and decided I had technically broken the law when I didn’t immediately drop to the ground on command after having been repeatedly struck in the face. I’m also given to understand that they rejected most of the guards’ testimony outright, that none of them thinks I should do any time for such a trivial offence, and that at least one of them has already written to the judge expressing these sentiments.

    Dude, I understand you’ve got an investment here. I understand the inevitable bias that occurs when a family member is on the Job. But we are not talking about your son; we’re talking about a guy whose facebook photo shows a masked man in camo, pointing an automatic weapon at the camera. We are talking about a guy whose favorite pages include “We Hate Islam”, “Rush Limbaugh”, “CPAC”, and “The Heritage Foundation”. This is a guy who lied on the stand; say what you will about my attitude, the Prosecution wasn’t able able to dislodge one whit of my testimony, nor that of my passenger.

    What I stand convicted of, when all is said and done, is of not moving fast enough when told to hit the dirt, after having been struck repeatedly in the face. Not even the Prosecutor denied this. Yes, it is a felony. But it should not be.

    Don’t take my word for it. Take the jurors’. At least two of them have posted online: on the Times-Herald site, on boingboing, even here on the ‘crawl. You may still find yourself skeptical — but if so, I think that speaks more to your own bias than to the facts as currently known.

  40. Wow Fritz, quite the bully are you. Hound someone with baseless assumptions and big manly puff chest calling out statements of provocation and further lie laying.

    It is quite obvious that you have ties or connections to the wrongdoers, so you just got to weedle, pick, harrass and hound.

    There is one thing that I am certain of as it is all so easy to ascertain through cyberspace regarding you.

    You are definitely NOT a good human being.

    I don’t even have to meet you in the flesh to know this. It is in your scattershot words flung on Dr. Peter Watts’ personal blog that reveals it as clear as a raindrops on sunlit blades of grass.

    Dr. Watts should not have to justify himself to you. Not to anyone.

    Time and time again I am so utterly disappointed in the lack of quality in people who seem so easily devoid of integrity, honesty, honor, fairness and basic human values in treating others rightfully.

    Too bad for you, Fritz, for you are such a person.

    Hopefully, Fritz, you will one day be in shoes similar to Dr. Watts, and then others can can give you exactly what you gave.

  41. So….. in 1991, you wanted the police officer to provide a tutorial on your rights at the side of a deserted road at 2am…..

    After looking into Canadian conditional discharges it appears to be defined as:

    “a sentence passed in criminal court in which an individual is found guilty of an offence but is deemed not to have been convicted. Although a discharge is not considered a conviction, a record of an absolute or conditional discharge is kept by Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and by the charging police agency [1] and is purged from the individual’s police record after three years”

    It would appear that you had a record for 3 years.

    There was a finding of guilt, and a sentence. Michigan may consider that a conviction, but I highly doubt that would be a felony. It sounds like Michigan is just fishing on that one.

    I don’t think you’re a bad guy. The thing that does concern me is all of the venom from most of the posters who are treating this as an indictment of an entire profession and a country. You seemed to presented the incident as if you had mostly done nothing wrong or that your minor faults should not have been met with that response.

    The whole incident appears to have taken place between a guy who made a bad decision to disregard instructions and a guard who opted to escalate it to physical confrontation. I don’t think either of you were totally in the right. It takes two to tango.

    From what I gathered, you stated that following the scuffle you didn’t get on the ground fast enough and that was enough to convict. However, didn’t they initially tell you to get back in the car the second you got out? How many times did they tell you?

    You said something about a “flinch response” which I interpreted as them trying put their hands on you and you yanking your arm away.

    It just seems to me that there were several opportunities for you to diffuse this situation. You could have stayed in the car. You could have returned to the car when told. You could have not yanked your arm away. You could have gotten on the ground.

    Maybe the guard reacted the way he did because he has to watch videos like this during his training:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzcYdg786sc

    The last thing the cop said before he was shot was to get back in the car.

  42. @Fritz – The last thing the cop said before he was shot was to get back in the car.

    It’s a tragedy; the cop probably had 3 kids and a mortgage, and he was probably murdered by two citizens who weren’t half the man he was, even put together.

    I get that law enforcement is scared, and it should be – America is lousy with morons, addicts, and sociopaths with firearms, and Beaudry had no way to be sure that Dr. Watts wasn’t one. I’m not excusing his over-zealousness, but I do get his line-of-fire level of fear. He is primed by his training to see every citizen as a possible threat to his life, so he overestimates danger potential of every citizen.

    Officer safety aside, and the political issues inherent in a law that calls “failure to comply quickly” a felony aside, this is about social interaction and expectations and mammalian biology, I feel.

    It’s an evopsych/sociobio/anthropological bonanza:

    Ask yourself, how would this have gone differently if the gender mix of the participants were different?

    What if the friend in the passenger seat of Peter’s SUV were female and gorgeous? Or female and grandmotherly? How about female and looked like his kindly harmless cookie-baking wife? How would Officer Beaudry have perceived Peter then?

    Now imagine everyone is as they were, but Peter is female and 5’4″ and performs the same actions he did in the same order.

    Or imagine that every border protection officer in this scenario is female.

    Don’t you imagine this would have played out differently?

  43. That entire video is less than a minute. The cop had about 4 or 5 seconds between the time the second guy started to get out, telling him to get back in, and getting shot. Before the shooting, could that guy have been coming to ask a question about his constitutional rights?

    What could that cop have done to save his own life? Should he have shot the passenger after telling him to get back in for 3 seconds? He didn’t know if the guy was deaf, drunk or what. That cop never shot his weapon.

    I could see the size and gender factors playing a role. Even though Dr. Watt’s actions were not threatening when viewed in a vacuum, I understand that he’s over 6ft tall. Size alone could be seen as a potential concern. A person’s demeanor can change in a second. You also have to consider that nobody knew if he had any weapons on him or in the car.

    Not complying quickly enough probably doesn’t trigger a felony arrest in each instance. But if they have to mace someone to get compliance, they probably charge the person criminally to cover their asses.

    If he was just an innocent victim then why don’t these incidents happen several times a day?

    Dr. Watts likely contributed to this situation. He should have returned to the car the second he was told to. These officers would be doing a disservice to their families if they just allowed everyone to ignore instructions to stay in the car. You can see by the video what can happen if the police don’t control the situation.

    Blame should go all around here. Dr. Watts seems to minimize his portion of it.

  44. @Fritz

    …and maybe the officer in question should have chosen less dangerous workplace, especially if he feels being intimidated by a 6ft tall person asking ‘what’s going on here’, pray tell?

    Dear God, what’s next, kicking people in the face for looking the wrong way? I would expect that from a police force in some totalitarian (or even mildly authoritarian) country like, let’s say, pre-1989 Poland.

    I’m Polish, and I do remember quite a bit about the early eighties. I’ve heard exactly the same explanations and excuses for police brutality then and I hate to hear it now, from people living in supposedly free countries.

    Please do spare me the bullshit about noble American war-on-anything as a reason for such a behaviour.

  45. More from Fritz:

    So….. in 1991, you wanted the police officer to provide a tutorial on your rights at the side of a deserted road at 2am…

    Actually, simply answering my question would have been fine. What is it that you find so absurd about this scenario, Fritz? That the cops should be expected to know the law they’re enforcing, or that they might actually be expected to answer questions about that law from civilians?

    After looking into Canadian conditional discharges it appears to be defined as:

    Now that‘s a telling comment, given that on March 20 you wrote, completely unprompted, about “some quirk in Canadian law such as a conditional discharge…” Obviously you knew about such things before I ever brought them up. So why this sudden implied naiveté on your part, this recent need to go and do “research” on this strange and quaint Canadian custom as though you’d never heard of it before?

    Given your evident unfamiliarity with that term so recently, its remarkable you just happened to mention it out of the blue almost a week ago. Someone feeding you intel, Fritz?

    It would appear that you had a record for 3 years.

    Not according to my lawyer at the time. The fact that the court maintains records for three years is irrelevant; they keep records of every case brought before them, acquittals and convictions alike. (Unless you’re claiming that everyone who’s ever been charged has a record, regardless of whether they were convicted or not — which, even if it were true, I guess wouldn’t surprise me all that much…)

    …didn’t they initially tell you to get back in the car the second you got out?

    No. Not according to Marcus’ testimony, anyway. A few seconds passed.

    How many times did they tell you?

    Again according to Marcus, twice. And according to his testimony, I got back in pretty damn quick.

    Look, Fritz, you’re just repeating the tired old lines the cops were publicizing immediately following my arrest. The fact is, the very first words out of the very first officer’s mouth were sarcastic and belligerent; I did not initiate hostilities, nor did I escalate them. Yes, I could have done everything faster. I could have cringed more. How fast is fast enough? Does the fact that I didn’t use honorifics like “sir” or “ma’am” increase my culpability? And if any of that stuff was actionable, why wasn’t I charged with it? Four guards were involved: why limit the charge to a 20-second interaction with one guy who, by his own admission, charged in without being called, and without knowing what was going on?

    Maybe the guard reacted the way he did because he has to watch videos like this during his training:

    Oh, dude. Do you really want to go down this road? Do you really need to be linked to all those other Youtube videos showing cops pulling a gun at a snowball fight, cops tasering a Polish immigrant to death, cops beating up some innocent Jamaican dude (who actually hung around the scene of an altercation in which he’d played no part, simply to offer his services as a witness) and then charging him with assault? Do you need to be reminded of the documented cases of cops repeatedly tasering a 16-year-old with a broken back, of the Starlight Tours that turned people into corpsicles on the outskirts of Saskatoon, of the Toronto PD beating the shit out of homeless people, then shaking down restaurant owners in the theatre district to pay off their mob debts?

    Do you really want to see who can come up with more links?

    And then Hljóðlegur said:

    I get that law enforcement is scared, and it should be — America is lousy with morons, addicts, and sociopaths with firearms, and Beaudry had no way to be sure that Dr. Watts wasn’t one. I’m not excusing his over-zealousness, but I do get his line-of-fire level of fear. He is primed by his training to see every citizen as a possible threat to his life, so he overestimates danger potential of every citizen.

    And you know, I hesitate to say this — as you all know, I’m very reluctant to be politically incorrect — but there are real problems with this necessary-paranoia argument. Law enforcement actually isn’t as dangerous as most people make it out to be. Taxicab drivers have three times the on-the-job fatality rate of cops; the leading cause of those fatalities is homicide. Being a cabbie is the fifth most dangerous occupation in the US, according to a 1997 paper out of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (citation deets on request). Law enforcement of any kind doesn’t even make the top ten.

    So while recognizing that yes, a cop definitely faces more risks than your average dentist or running-shoe salesman, the question remains: If a cabbie were to leap out his car and mace you for approaching him, how much slack would you cut him because Hey, he’s got a really dangerous job and for all he knows you’re out to kill him?

    Whatever your answer to that, divide by three. That’s how much weight we should give the Dangerous Job argument when applied to LEOs.

    And then Fritz comes back with:

    If he was just an innocent victim then why don’t these incidents happen several times a day?

    And I gotta say, man, are you claiming they don’t?

    Maybe you don’t hear about it every day. That’s because not everyone who gets singled out happens to have friends like Cory Doctorow and Joe Scalzi who can boost the signal into the stratosphere. In that sense I am supremely lucky, and extremely unusual; but surely you can’t believe that every such incident gets anywhere near this much publicity, gets any publicity at all most of the time. Well over a thousand people contributed to my defense fund, and you would not believe how many of them appended their own personal horror stories of abuse and intimidation at the border. Fritz, every indication I’ve seen is that this kind of thing happens all the time.

  46. @Fritz: What could that cop have done to save his own life?

    Nothing, if he was alone. He was out-numbered and out-gunned.

    Blame should go all around here. Dr. Watts seems to minimize his portion of it.

    And so did Officer Beaudry. Which is sort of my point. This event was a group effort, and would not have occurred with different players.

    I could see the size and gender factors playing a role. Even though Dr. Watt’s actions were not threatening when viewed in a vacuum, I understand that he’s over 6ft tall. Size alone could be seen as a potential concern.

    So we agree on some of this – the size and gender of Peter, his friend, Andrew, and the other officers helped detemine the outcome.

    May I offer a reason why this is true?

    Policing is a job that relies on primate dominance and submission behaviors to work – the uniform signals the citizen that the person wearing it artificially, totally, and automatically has dominance.

    This is important because among primates, because uncertainty about the relative placement of one primate versus another in the ranks causes them to sort it out, mostly by shrieking, waving arms, sometimes hitting, often by getting other animals with whom they have alliances to come help do a threatening display. Ever watch films of chimps? It’s very interesting, and very human.

    I’d bet you that Peter wouldn’t have gotten such harsh treatment if he had performed the same actions, but was a short woman, because the dominance ranking would have pre-sorted itself when “she” got out of the car.

    Females and shorter people are afforded less dominance. So her questioning would have looked less threatening not just because females in this culture are less violent, but because the officers would not have felt their dominance was too near “hers.” So. No need for a “fight” to settle who’s the top ape.

    Conversely, a middle-aged man who does not offer the expected signals of submission to a female officer who stops his car lets his dominance get dangerously close to that of the officer. Especially if she is an age to be his daughter, this will confuse the signals about who has rank.

    Compounding this, the man, whose physical size was masked by the car, then gets out and stands to his full height and still refuses to give verbal (and probably visual) signals that he understands his lesser rank. In the primate world, you make yourself look as big and strong as possible in dominance sorting. This helps avoid accidental fights to the death. Unfortunately, it could also make Peter simply standing there being very tall an expression of rank. As you pointed out, “a potential concern.”

    So the cops have the uniforms and guns and the dominance that signals, but Peter has the dominance that comes with shear size, and neither side has an excuse to back down from what nature dictates they do – decide whose rank is higher.

    Finally, had there been more females in the mix, this might have never happened, because, definitely among North American men, the presence of a middle-to-high-ranking female defuses things. You have relatives in law enforcement, so you know they’ll send a female officer into situations where a male officer would looking threatening.

    If he was just an innocent victim then why don’t these incidents happen several times a day?

    I think it’s because the dominance sorting is usually done smoothly without incident when people promptly give the submission signals. They figure, hey, who wants the hassle of officers rummaging through my belongings? The car is mentally an extension of ones person, and you tend to want to prevent strangers from putting their hands into your person.

    Just my thoughts here, mind you.

    Hope no one is offended by my comparing the people involved to chimps. I consider myself subject to the same unconscious chimp-like dominance-sorting behaviors, so I’m not pointing a finger here.

  47. @Fritz
    You ask:
    ” If he was just an innocent victim then why don’t these incidents happen several times a day?”

    Why do you assume they don’t? The scenario much more common than most people realize: LEO “overreacts” (a PC euphemism for police misconduct), then the victim gets charged with assault/obstructing/resisting in hopes that the person is scared sufficiently to cave in and plead to the least of the charges. If they do, mission accomplished: any evidence of police misconduct gets swept under the rug. If they don’t, there still is the option of manipulating the court and the jury. It is common knowledge that police perjury is pervasive; if in doubt, read the Mollen report or Dershowitz testimony. If anything changed since then, it was not for the better.

  48. Hey Peter,

    In the interest of fairness and accuracy I called the court clerk’s office Wednesday and asked them what you were convicted of. The actual charge you were convicted is listed in the court records as assault on a police officer. The computer display is “Police Officer-Assault.” I asked if there was anything else to that. She replied, “that’s it.” You may want to ask your lawyer to have that changed because that is where the news people are picking that up.

    Maybe that is the short title of the law?

  49. P.S. I do consider it a failing that only one of those in the media writing about you contacted you. However, if read from story to story, you will find that it went out over the wire services and was rewritten for their publication. Many of those stories went straight off the wire and on to their sights or presses with no changes at all.

  50. Oh Yeah…

    No Facial Hair = Clean shaven
    None = Unable to grow any.

    At least it is if I’m remembering right.

  51. I find it absurd that you think the police should debate with you on the side of the road, or on a bridge with cars whizzing by. If they violate the law during their encounter, there are mechanisms you can use to seek redress after the fact.

    I asked my son how the media can state that you had a conviction in 1991 and you could claim to have no record in Canada. He said that both could be true and that it could have been a conditional discharge. It appears that Canada is similar to some other countries in The Commonwealth. Once you confirmed that it was, I looked it up.

    So for all of the people who have posted about how evil America is, (a country I love to visit), I guess they should also avoid Canada ((a country I also love to visit) it’s great being retired) as well. It seems that they have the same abusive thuggish cops who convict authors for merely asking a question.

    So, just to spell it out, if you received a conditional discharge, you has been found guilty of a crime.

    I wonder if you would have received the same donations had you mentioned that you had been found guilty of a similar violation in 1991. Did you learn nothing from the 1991 incident?

  52. I think I found the Canadian law.

    Offences relating to public or peace officer

    129. Every one who
    (a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,
    is guilty of
    ….
    (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
    (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Apparently, you get two years in prison for doing the same thing in Canada. Canada is such a police state. Go there at your own peril.

  53. “Hope no one is offended by my comparing the people involved to chimps. I consider myself subject to the same unconscious chimp-like dominance-sorting behaviors, so I’m not pointing a finger here.”

    The fact that Humans and Chimpanzees are both primates, should hopefully diffuse any potentiality for offense. I read many books about Primates, especially Chimps and Bonobos, as a child, and Jane Goodall’s “In the Shadow of Man” is a good start. Besides, the fact that Chimps are toolmakers has elevated them to even closer cousiny human relations.

  54. At this point it’s pretty clear that Fritzy here is some kind of troll. He might be motivated by political sentiment, or personal issues — doesn’t matter The internet perturbs communication and some individual become “distorted” as a consequence. The cleverer trolls make nice and draw you into a conversation and then turn around and bite you. The name of the game is to keep the fun going. It might be tempting, but I for one will not dignify this particular line of BS with a response.

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=do+not+feed+the+trolls

  55. Fritz yet again continuing to attack Dr. Watts (treating him as if he is not human, just like those border guards) by snarcastically asking: “I wonder if you would have received the same donations had you mentioned that you had been found guilty of a similar violation in 1991. Did you learn nothing from the 1991 incident?”

    Oh cheese wiz Fritz, come on, get a life. Get a backbone. Enough already with this, “this is so personal to me, what happened to Dr. Watts, that I just gotta continue to hound, harrass and attack him”, to the end of time and beyond this planet.

    I will answer your question, troll or not be you. Yes. I would still help Dr. Peter Watts.

    Why in the world would I, in your mind Fritz, help a stranger with, oh my god, a 1991 “possible baddy act” that should automatically mean the Dr. Watts of the here and now, is still the same man he was so very long ago, and therefore, without any human qualities, of which so many of us prize and strive to possess ourselves, that being, forgiving other humans for their boo boos, cause hey, I thought that was what made us human, to forgive and not continue to hold a scarlet letter over others, as if any single one of us has never done anything bad, questionable, stupid, reckless, dumbass, mentally warped or bumbling, ever…

    Well excuse me for even believing that it was ok to be and act human, my goodness Fritz, you go right on ahead being the automatronic robotic borg-like humany replicant you seem to expect others to be, where there is no room for being human at all. Apparently resistance is indeed futile in your mind for those of us who dare to have backbone where summoning courage and having a conscience are terribly, highly valued.

    Your continued questioning and attack upon Dr. Watts is so evidently personal and bothersome to you that you feel some sort of beyond belief need to continue to whack and hack at Dr. Watts. Why don’t you muster courage and reveal the imperfections your very own life and human heart and soul? Since you are so intent upon lobbing rocks at Dr. Watts for this yourself.

    Here. Two notorius Hawaii Cases, involving police and police slow to bring real bad humans to justice. I lived on the Big Island when both of these horrors occured. It took the continued vocal outrage of ordinary citizens to bring the killers to justice.

    Crime and Police Coverups

    Yvonne Mathison
    http://damontucker.com/2008/12/03/hilo-betrayal-on-the-big-island-today-on-tv-hawaii-police-officer-mathison-murder-case-against-his-wife/

    http://s2.excoboard.com/exco/archive.php?ac=t&forumid=124593&date=10-05-2006&t=813627-1

    http://archives.starbulletin.com/96/08/05/news/story4.html

    Dana Ireland
    http://karisable.com/crdanai.htm

    http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/?tag=dana-ireland

    http://archives.starbulletin.com/1999/07/21/news/story1.html

  56. Did you learn nothing from the 1991 incident?

    Hljóðlegur: *raises hand* Objection!

    Judge: Grounds.

    Hljóðlegur: Asked and answered, your Honor.

    Judge: Granted. Fritzy will refrain from troll-y rhetoricalisms.

  57. Peter says: And you know, I hesitate to say this — as you all know, I’m very reluctant to be politically incorrect — but there are real problems with this necessary-paranoia argument

    Hahahahaha. Let me clarify. I understand the paranoia; i can imagine it. I’ve known a few officers of the law and had them describe how they navigate their jobs, so I feel I have some dim idea of their POV.

    Understanding their fear and excess vigilance doesn’t validate macing you. I hope you don’t feel the need to jump from me empathizing with their feelings to me justifying their actions in a legal or moral sense; one is a perception and the other is a judgement.

    I already have a very good idea of the emotions that go with being squeezed through a gate studded with uniforms empowered to hassle, hurt and arrest me. Seeing it from the officer’s view is more of a stretch, but every new POV adds more data.

    Peter says: Being a cabbie is the fifth most dangerous occupation in the US … Law enforcement of any kind doesn’t even make the top ten.

    That being a cabbie is more likely to get you murdered may be true, but I don’t see how it follows logically from that idea that cops should not have feelings about their enhanced probability of getting randomly shot at work just because there are more dead cabbies. Both cabbies and cops should keep in mind the danger.

  58. Fritz wrote:

    I think I found the Canadian law.

    Offences relating to public or peace officer

    129. Every one who
    (a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,
    is guilty of
    ….
    (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
    (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Apparently, you get two years in prison for doing the same thing in Canada. Canada is such a police state. Go there at your own peril.

    ——

    So, by your logic, if a cop pulls you over and you ask a question (or, horrors, two) about why, that legitimately constitutes obstruction? You really think it’s “absurd” that someone would ask a cop for an explanation of his legal rights, at 2 am or otherwise? Are you serious?

  59. It’s not about asking questions. It’s failing to comply with a lawful order and preventing the cop from performing their duties.

    Sir, turn off the engine.
    Show me the law that says I have to do that.

    Sir, keep you hands where I can see them,
    Why? Do I have to?

    Don’t reach for the glove box.
    Why? What law says I can’t?

    Do you see where this is going? It’s not about the questions. It’s failing to follow lawful orders.

    What is with the statistical analysis between cops and taxi drivers? Does Dr. Watts think it means a hill of beans to the individual widows about the occupational hazards when they get their spouse back in a box? That’s just a bit too much like a sociopath for someone to fail to identify with people by dismissing them with a vague statistic. Talk about heartless.

  60. This whole discussion became so utterly absurd! It makes me think of some video in which Professor Richard Dawkings is trying to explain evidence based reasoning to a dogmatic creationist goon.

    @Peter: I find your attemps at trying to actually reason with the goonsquad of the sadistic authoritarian borderguard in question admirable. But please sir, don’t waste your time.

    Quite honostly, if someone needs to get out there more eloquent and intelligent family members to argue someone on the internet, you must realize the fight can only be lost due to the fact that you can only waste time trying just that. For them it’s “the longer I am not convinced of the obvious in the face of reason and evidence, the more in doubtful will become your claims”.

    You can still choke in a diamond is all I’m saying. :)

  61. Fritz again:

    It’s not about asking questions. It’s failing to comply with a lawful order and preventing the cop from performing their duties.

    Sir, turn off the engine.
    Show me the law that says I have to do that.

    Sir, keep you hands where I can see them,
    Why? Do I have to?

    Don’t reach for the glove box.
    Why? What law says I can’t?

    Do you see where this is going? It’s not about the questions. It’s failing to follow lawful orders.

    —–

    As far as I can see, your reading here means that asking questions is automatically obstruction of justice. So, if question=obstruction, then it IS about the questions. Why SHOULDN’T I or anyone be able to ask a police officer why he or she is issuing a particular order? Where do you think we live, China?

    As for your remark about taxi widows, I’ll just ignore that obvious trolling.

  62. Fritz said: “Do you see where this is going? It’s not about the questions. It’s failing to follow lawful orders.”

    You know Fritz, there were cases where females followed the orders of some cops like obedient
    humans as you are so obviously “trying to beat a dead horse to death with point out” over and over and
    over again, as if no matter what comes hell or high water, what Fritz says just has to be…

    I remember seeing something a few years back about a real cop who pulled young women over and
    made them get out their car, get naked, and he raped them, then made them walk along the road,
    naked, raped and beat up…this happened on the mainland, but it was scary and police were telling
    women that they had the right to refuse doing what the cop said if they were not sure that he was indeed
    a cop or something felt not right. The police further advised that women finding themselves in such a situation should not comply and should go the nearest police station.

    So what Fritz is telling all of us is that we should potentially risk our lives and do whatever a person in a
    cop uniform with a badge says no matter what. This is the kind of mentality that unfortunately has gotten
    people raped, beaten, abused and murdered.

    Fritz, I am a woman, and as such, from my viewpoint, you have got such a “hard-on” for Dr. Peter Watts
    and his life, that you can’t just let it go, it is as if you are “obsessed” with dictating what Dr. Watts should
    or should not have done as if you were in Dr. Watts’ shoes and have lived his life thus far.

    You have crossed the line of fair, reasoned, rational and balanced debate and entered the realm of
    obsessive forcible dictation that smacks of a mentality that so engenders what is wrong with the
    unbridled culture of power and associated violence threatened control, that we humans are indeed
    losing our humanity…

    You are so blinded by your “taking it personally”, that Dr. Watts was wrongfully abused and treated by
    people with badges and power, instead of having backbone and a conscience, so you just have got to
    stick it to him by making something manini (Hawaiian for small, miniscule) into something that you hope
    to blow up into some sort of twisted incident in order to make it seem other than what it truly is…how
    terribly small minded of you.

    Your ongoing campaign of trying to stab at Dr. Watts has forced him to reveal what that other incident
    was, which he most certainly did not have to, but he did in order to hopefully, make you stop. But no
    such luck. So no matter what, you will continue with your obsessive hard-on in order to try to further
    harm, abuse and embarrass Dr. Watts.

    But guess what, Fritz, it backfired. It is you who is being revealed to be the “baddie” here. Your lack of
    fairness and balance coupled with your narrow-minded view has only marked you for the not so good
    human being.

    I could give a rats’ patootie about the “1991 incident”. Knowing about it now, or before, would not have
    factored at all whatsoever in my opinion of Dr. Watts. I would still have helped him.

    That is the fine line difference between you and I. That is my ability to see between the liminal spaces
    and know more than your rigid “this” or “that”, only.

    I can only hope and pray that you are not in any position of power over others such that they have to be
    subjected to this uncompromising, narrow-minded obsessive rigidity.

    I have an absolute zero tolerance for bullies and the tactics utilized by those in power who are bullies
    hiding behind the veneer of authority.

    So what if Dr. Watts in 1991, while riding his bicycle, being stopped by a cop, and asked a question. So
    what.

    Really Fritz, if you spent as much obsessive energy on issues and causes that REALLY mattered, like
    making a stink about the mass rapes of females in the Congo, or perhaps the ritual killing of children
    accused of being witches (Africa), or the human trafficking and sexual enslavement of women and
    children in Cambodia, India, Europe, the U.S., among many other countries, or perhaps you can take a
    stand at how African Albino Human beings are being hunted down like wild game and their limbs
    hacked off for ritual ceremonies, even little babies snatched from their mother are limb hacked while still
    alive, or perhaps you could stand up for non-humans and protest the ongoing trajectory of inevitable
    extinction of fauna and flora, or the creeping violence and atrocities that Ciudad Juarez and now many
    U.S.-Mexico Border towns are experiencing, or the ever increasing homeless population…

    …instead of this baseless, obsessive gotta stick it to Dr. Watts in this most patently clear and obvious
    exercise of payback-retaliation-revenge mentality because you can’t admit that yes, some cops and
    border guards, being humans too, make mistakes, can be bad despite the badge, are abusive and do
    wrongful things too.

    Fritz bleated: “That’s just a bit too much like a sociopath for someone to fail to identify with people by dismissing them with a vague statistic. Talk about heartless.”

    Actually, I see it is you, Fritz, being the “sociopath”, with you obsession with Dr. Watts and ongoing campaign to discredit him with your twisted statements and cyberspit vehemence.

    You really have absolutely no clue as to what “science” is, what being a “scientist” is, what it is about, do you? Are you just that much of an ignoramus not to know that anyone studying science would have to be able to “speak statistics”? It is hard for ANYONE to identify with others when any one of us has not walked in their particular shoes.

    I for one, am so tired of having to sift through the redundant, broken record trash posted by the likes of Fritz et. al, just to get to the more rational, fair and balanced discussion and debate.

    Fritz, you are certainly a coward. You attack Dr. Watts from the safety of hiding behind your computer, while Dr. Watts is visible. At least have the backbone, if you are going to continue this obsessive ugly attack upon Dr. Watts, on HIS PERSONAL BLOG, to at the very least, identify yourself in some way out of fairness and un-sociopathic hiding, so that you can at least appear to be human and not the troll you are so easily identified as.

  63. @keanani

    You are incredible. I have never heard such rambling nonsense in all of my days.

    So you think that perhaps the good doctor was concerned that the female border guard was an impostor intent on raping him and therefore disregarded her commands….. ?

    You shouldn’t have held back on that pearl of wisdom for so long. The defence could have used that at trial.

    It is readily apparent that you have all gone loony. You’re fixated on the believe that this was a random attack by some jack booted thugs who ran amok. You adhere to that belief without any doubt despite a shockingly similar episode in 1991 that also allegedly resulted in a finding of guilt by a separate Canadian court of law. It must be a conspiracy.

    So. What have we learned? If you want the police to explain to you what your rights are before complying with their commands just insist on it and they will be read to you from a little card. Right to remain silent, have an attorney present at questioning etc etc. Personally, I would choose another course of action.

    I am afraid that this is my last interaction with you chaps. I know that by ending my participation in this forum, you will all become so very melancholy and despondent. Try to press on without me. God Bless.

  64. @Fritz who made a last ugly swipe: “You are incredible. I have never heard such rambling nonsense in all of my days.”

    That’s ok Fritz, your opinion is not my reality. You can’t even be honorable and see that each and every one of us is a unique individual. That we all have inherent rights that trumps any power-triping forcible authority. Your continued denegration and demeaning attitude speaks volumes more than any meant to harm me cuts as to my own particular life’s experiences and way of expresisng myself. Good on you Fritz, for being the ugly bully human that you keep presenting yourself to be.

    You can’t even discuss the truth that bad things happen to innocent people by some bad apple cops and instead you just dismiss it with your usual inherent way of being. To each their own.

    Go, stay, be the rigid mean spirited mind that you are, who cares. It is quite obvious that you just don’t get it and never will. Your exaggeration, the above statement aimed at me, for you know that it is an exaggeration meant to make me cower, is nothing more than illustrating the coward that you are. You just cannot see both sides and come to a fair, balanced and reasonable discourse in finding the truth.

    You can only truly speak for yourself Fritz. You usage of what have “we”, learned is really only about what you want to again force upon the rest of us. You really only have the right to say, honestly, what “I” have learned, that being you Fritz. I really do not care if anyone thinks, feels, believes or slurs me as a rambling person. At the very least I have the honor, integrity, courage and forthrightness to be so, whether I am or not. At least I remain true to myself in the face of bullying, by one such as yourself.

    Go forth, indeed, the “chap” that you are, and don’t worry, I won’t at all be embarrassed or ashamed to ramble on about anything and everything that I see fit in my freedom of self-expression and communication. I am absolutely fine with beng me. I won’t do otherwise, even in the face of cyberbullies such as yourself.

    God Bless yourself. What a hypocrite.

  65. One more thing Fritz, for I have decided that I have wasted so much time and effort in trying to help you see, understand or even to break free from your narrow-minded, rigid, bullying mentality and emerge as a reasonable, goodhearted human being capable of discussion without resort to abusing others. We can disagree reasonably, but you are not one to do that.

    You cannot seem to see beyond your own flesh. You are not in the shoes of anyone but yourself. The fact that I made a stream of consciousness type lisitng of things off the top of my head that bothers me about the world we live in, terrible things…and then you merely dismiss it as if it is nothing, denigrate it as rambling, and then twist what I said to yet again say things that only you have in your head but attempt to place inside Dr. Watts’ head, is beyond belief.

    The very fact that after denigrating me, as a human being, as woman, you just cut and run, yes, just cut and run, and gave up, dismissing it all, because it is exactly as it is revealed. People who do not stand their ground and instead dismiss and denigrate others as a parting shot are revealing clearly that they cannot admit that they are wrong, or at the very least come to a reasonable and rational midpoint that allows for meaningful discussion and fair give and take on both sides.

    You cannot be reasoned with to rationally discuss and debate the issues. You played the taunt, slur, demean, denigrate, bully, dismiss and snarkastic methodology tactics angle from the get go. Therefore you yourself made yourself subject to anything that you got on this blog.

    The same goes for me. I am not the type of soul to want to put myself out there and take whatever may come my way, but I face that fear and do it anyway. At least I have the courage not to fold and wither, even in the face of pointed denigration of my particular way of being, my way of communicating and how I see fit to illustrate my points and arguments. That is what differentiates me from you, I continue on, I carry one, despite the bullying, demeaning and denigration by those such as yourself.

    May you one day find yourself on the path that takes the higher road and the rest of your journey that is your life illuminate all that is good and beautiful in this life, today and always.

  66. Peter, I posted once that you should get the record straightened out, as Uplinktruck mentioned above. Further, this being teh intarnets and all, there will always be obsessive trolls like Fritzy boy above. Fritz will carry on trolling until you admit that he’s Right(TM), whererupon his worldview of brave white men fighting to save their country from thugs abusing their freedoms (lol, irony) will be reinstated and he can go back to watching spankwire.com with his son when the missus ain’t around.

  67. May you one day find yourself on the path that takes the higher road and the rest of your journey that is your life illuminate all that is good and beautiful in this life, today and always.

    Turned unto him also the left cheek, eh? I like it.

  68. Glad this mess is being cleared away. Maybe two years in the can will allow you to finish the novel you been working on! I’m getting extremely anxious! :)

  69. I’m at the point where I skim comments to save my blood pressure from trolls. But considering how Democracy Now! (my main news source, lefty as they come) covered Canadian border guards detaining Amy Goodman to find out if she intended to criticize the Olympics on a speaking tour she had in the country a few months before, I’m surprised they haven’t covered what has happened to you, although mistreatment by ICE and the TSA is par for the course in their newscrawl (see the story of Hiu Lui Ng, and others).

    I’ve been reading about much worse things than what happened to you for a while, and I’m hoping this will be a wake up call for folks in sf who don’t pay enough attention to these things.

    So, yeah. Maybe you should talk to Amy Goodman, if it is legally advisable.

  70. Hope I’m not repeating what someone said way above- I skipped some nastiness.

    But- is that seriously a real Facebook page? I’m amused and frightened all at the same time. Really?

  71. @V:

    “Canadian border guards detaining Amy Goodman to find out if she intended to criticize the Olympics on a speaking tour she had in the country a few months before”

    Two weeks, actually.

    You should also check out The Nation:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100104/stevens