Spankings and Perspicacity

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. It’s all over the gaming threads now that The Lead Writer for Crysis 2 Has Been Convicted Of Assault. Last night some online journo asked for my reaction: this morning someone else wrote to ask how my imminent incarceration was going to affect the timeline for C2. I’m telling everyone who will listen that I was not and never had been the author of Crysis 2 (or of Crysis, or of Homeworld, or of Homeworld 2 — all variants that seem to be doing the rounds), and that — all together now — the allegations of assault were proven bogus.

The meme continues, unkillable. Now it’s appearing in other languages.

So, for not the first time on this blog let me try to set the record straight again: I am not writing Crysis 2. I did not write the Homeworld games. I have done contract work for both Relic and Crytek, but I have penned none of their titles (not that I wouldn’t like to, mind you). I actually do know the guy who’s writing C2; I’ve never met him in the flesh but we’re e-buddies of a sort, and I can tell you he’s a nice guy and a hell of a wordsmith. He’s just not, you know. Me.

So please: squash that hydra.

While I’m still in such a snarky mood, I think I’d also like to a say a few words in defense of “proudinjun”, the juror who’s posted here and elsewhere trying to set the record straight from a more objective distance than I can manage. I see that she’s taken a fair bit of heat for “caving”; that she lacked the courage of her convictions; that she should have hung the jury and be done with it.

I think the people who’ve been saying these things should cut her some slack.

Yes, the verdict sucks. Yes, I didn’t do anything wrong, and I’d rather have had a hung jury or better yet, an acquittal. But have any of you been following proudinjun around the web lately? Have you seen her posting against the trolls on the Times-Herald site, where the fact that she was actually there, that she saw all the evidence rather than just hearing it filtered through the keyboard of some pseudodjournalistic hack like Liz Shepherd — where her undeniable ringside expertise is derided and dismissed and shat upon simply because she doesn’t feed the trolls what they want to hear? And yet she keeps at it. Does that strike any of you as the behavior of someone who lacks (if you’ll forgive the expression) the courage of their convictions?

You expect nastiness from the trolls; but the forces of light shouldn’t be dumping on her. I don’t know what was going on in proudinjun’s head when she cast her vote. I do know what she’s said subsequently, though, and let’s be clear: she did not sacrifice her principles to peer pressure because she does not claim that I am innocent. She thinks that I did, in fact, have enough time to comply with Beaudry’s demands, and that by not doing so I broke the law. Sure, she thinks it’s a small offence, that it shouldn’t by any stretch be a felony that carries jail time, that the guards were actually guilty of much more egregious behavior than I ever was. But there’s this law, you see. And in proudinjun’s opinion, I did break it.

I am personally of the opinion that any law which criminalizes disobedience of “lawful commands” — without ever actually defining what a lawful command is, or what constitutes “reasonable time” for compliance — is a law probably designed to let the guys with the nightsticks charge anyone with anything at their own caprice. I think it’s a scary law, and an unjust law. I wasn’t trying to mount any kind of protest at that toll booth — I just wanted to get home and scritch the cats, you know? — but having learned the things I have over the past few months, if ever a law was in need of challenge 750.81d is definitely in the running.

But even if everyone agrees on that score (and obviously, everyone doesn’t), the best way to proceed is something reasonable people can disagree on.

Proudinjun had a shitty job, and made a tough call, and has since done her best to imbue a binary signal with nuance and context. She’s taken lumps in so doing. I really wish she’d gone the other way, but I don’t bear her any ill will. So maybe others shouldn’t either.

(Of course, if I end up with a three-year sentence I’m probably gonna be a lot less charitable to everyone involved, but let’s not go there just yet…)

Finally, for a change of pace, the perspicacity promised in the title. Scott H. Greenfield, a New York Defense Attorney, presents an interesting bit of metacommentary on his blog: my travails, by way of Cory Doctorow’s reaction to them, and the misapprehension that that reveals about the way the system works — and more to the point, the way the system is supposed to work:

The system didn’t fail Peter. The system worked perfectly. It’s the expectation that the system exists to satisfy some existential concept of justice that causes the dissonance. Putting aside the axiom that justice is in the eye of the beholder, the system doesn’t exist to serve justice. The system exists to maintain order.

Did you think otherwise?

Which, while insightful and doubtless true, begs a question:  if the system does in fact exist merely to keep us in line — if it is, in a word, intrinsically evil — then doesn’t choosing to work within the constraints of that system (say, as a criminal defense attorny) actually make you part of the problem?

—————

P.S. [Update 26/03/10] A note of reassurance to those who think I’ve gone soft in my old age by refusing to condemn the border guards a couple of posts back:  just to be clear, I didn’t let all of them off the hook, only those unfortunate red shirts who got caught up in their partners’ escalation.  Beaudry and Behrent, on the other hand — well, either they were having a really bad day, or they remain assholes of the Blood Royale.

Judging by Beaudry’s facebook page, I don’t think he was having a bad day.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Thursday March 25 2010at 04:03 pm , filed under Crytek/Crysis, Squidgate . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

137 Responses to “Spankings and Perspicacity”

  1. It’s always the damn principle of the thing with you, isn’t it?

    It’s why we like you.

  2. I tried Dr. Watts, when it first popped up on Kotaku, I tried…

  3. …doesn’t choosing to work within the constraints of that system (say, as a criminal defense attorny) actually make you part of the problem?

    I don’t understand. As a prosecutor yes, but surely not as a defense attorney?

  4. Just call me “Miss Abby Normal”, for once the border guards’ lies were exposed, my conscience would have demanded that the whole case against you, Peter, was tainted…and therefore not right in any way whatsoever…and respecting the Prosecutors’ side would have crumbled, for the evidence was suspect, having been tarnished with lies, therefore the Prosecutors’ side could NOT be trusted, period.

    It is just too easy for people to make excuses for their actions, choices and decisions. It is quite scary when such things profoundly affect the life of another human being.

  5. “…derided and dismissed and shat upon simply because she doesn’t feed the trolls what they want to hear?”

    This is the culture of which we are seemingly forced to live within.

    Unfortunately, it is not about what is right, fair, just and true.

    The most courageous souls are those who do stand for those things no matter what, always…

    “Blue see-saw moods…”

  6. I thought that your “previous” criminal record from Canada was going to have no bearing on the sentencing. Has something change about that?

    @Peter

    Does that imply that a defense attorney, working within the bounds of the law also part of the issue? If they tried to have the law appealed as is unconstitutional, or you know, insane, then they would be part of the so-called “solution” – but if they didn’t, then they’d simply be another cog, running the machinations of evil.

    At least, thats what it looks like to me :-/

  7. Hljóðlegur said: “…damn principle of the thing with you…”, therefore…”It’s why we like you.”

    This is true certainly for me, and I bet it is also true for the legions of Watts O’Philes (that’s a nod to your Irish). Of course there is the whole slew of colorful and choice terms, some of which I have never before heard, seen or read until coming on your blog. (Wonders if “dickass” is a Canadian cuss word) (Recalls some quite frankly explicit terms and word strings that would make virgin ears ring that exist in the “other blog” before it was moved).

    But that scary scrambler (pale yellowy cream centipede-leg-tentacly life form) was quite creepy yikes looking. Kinda reminded me a bit of one of the Cenobites in Hellraiser (Clive Barker’s). But not as weird, creepy, scary, screamy as that one with the human mouth instead of a beak.

    (We have some darn big centipedes over here, along with the 747 cockaroach that scare many people, so I can only imagine what a humany-mouth eyeless centipedetopus would do.)

    Would be quite lovely to see some of these ugly beauties on your blog, sorta like a parade of Creatures of the Universe pictorial.

    Happy Belated Ada Lovelace Day (24th)!

  8. I would never have imagined, the strength of your work aside, that you would be a guy that rumor and bogus news stories would circle ’round.
    I imagine you are feeling the same way.
    Now you just need to be given some bread to go with there circuses…

    On your closing point, I will give what I have to come to think of as the standard ecologists answer to any question: Well, that depends.

    One can operate within an intrinsically evil system in a way that attempts to subvert it, at various levels. Or one can simply play along, collect blood-money and pretend to be fighting the good fight.

    On a social level, the law has always existed to keep order as part of it’s primary function. It can do so in a manner that is just. Or not.
    In theory, our system to is supposed to maintain order -by providing a way for justice to be served-. This process is supposed to punish those who violate the social contract (represented by law) and defend the rights of the innocent at the expense of the guilty sometimes walking free.

    Clearly, this process has been subverted by the creation of laws that don’t reflect the nature of the social contract; laws that place citizens into roles of subservience, the questioning of which can result in punishment in the immediate and physical sense and in the long term judicial sense.
    I certainly don’t need to tell you these things; you already know them.

    I’m not sure when this sort of thing became dominant in American society. It’s always existed in one form or another, in the Jim Crow South, as Sodomy laws, and so forth. But it feels like at some point in recent history, the police slogan of “Protect & Serve” has come to mean “Protect ourselves & Serve our own interests” and not the interests of the public.

    We, the public, are the enemy, and the system is being shifted to keep us under control.

  9. You are good man
    Proudinjun should have stood their ground but wasn’t sure about their powers as a juror. Hey I’llnot hold that against them.
    It really is the judges fault and the fault of the c-j system in the US.
    Cartman lied and Cartman should be doing time for perjury.
    The judge erred by not tasking the jury correctly and should be fired.
    The prosecutor is persecuting rather than prosecuting and is an idiot.

    Apparently we as a country have 70B invested in the US. Until those primitives south of the border actually begin to act like a mature country we should ask for our investments back.
    Screw them and their reckless abandon. I for one will be asking that my retirement funds will not invest in the US, unless it is to buy real estate. That way more of that septic nation can become Canada.

  10. Hm, I saw the “crysis 2 writer” bit on some gaming blogs along with the other usual inaccuracies about the case and left a comment about corrections, but frankly, from an utilitarian perspective, if you’re mistaken for a game writer it could help raise this whole mess to the attention of a much larger potential audience that has shown a tendency to be vocal about things they perceive as injustices, so it might not be a totally bad thing.

  11. >>the allegations of assault were proven bogus

    I’m sure this could be easily refuted if the verdict was available online. is it not?

  12. I’m not sure that the people still pushing the “assault verdict” are going to be swayed by anything as silly as an authoritative source. I do have to agree with Mark that the idea of Peter Watts being the subject of wild rumors provides more than a little cognitive dissonance.

    In (thankfully) unrelated news, I point you to here, where SF/F author Richard K. Morgan (probably most known for the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy) cites Peter when responding to the survey question, “What do you consider the most significant weakness in science fiction as a genre?”

    Should I mention that he’s using Peter as an example of the market failing to reward the true talent in the genre? Nah, I’m sure everyone around here wouldn’t make wild assumptions from an off-hand comment.

  13. Too bad that lady caved in to groupthink.
    WHat is it about groups, such as within a jury, that steer
    people toward a conviction in the absence of hard evidence.
    Imagine if she said, “This law is poorly written, completely overreaching,
    and until they come up with a better law that doesn’t make it a felony
    to ask for clarification on police procedure, I vote not guilty.”
    Is that really so hard ??? The State wrote the law badly, hence, the State should suffer from the consequences of a poorly written law,
    not the defendant. Why don’t they have anonymous votes so that unanimity is not seen as a goal;certainly it should not be a goal for the jury.

  14. Mike Tevee said,
    “Too bad that lady caved in to groupthink…
    …Imagine if she said, “This law is poorly written, completely overreaching,
    and until they come up with a better law that doesn’t make it a felony
    to ask for clarification on police procedure, I vote not guilty.””

    Judging a juror for caving in to “groupthink” as you put it, is a little presumptuous. Especially considering scientific evidence shows that the majority of us would do the exact same thing under her circumstances.

    Ever heard of the Milgram Experiments? Completely normal people that in their mind electrocuted someone near to death. All because someone standing next to them was just telling them they should continue. No gun to the head, no nothing. Just one figure of authority passing out orders.

    It’s human. No jury wants that kind of responsibility, no matter how upsetting or distasteful they find the law. They don’t want to take the matter of enforcing border security into their hands and start deciding how peace should be maintained.

    People like order. Read the rest of that lawyer’s blog post, he makes a lot of really good points about the legal system. You can’t expect magic out of it, same reason people can sue each other for ridiculous things and get away with it. The system is there because people like rules, regardless of whether or not they agree with the rules.

  15. ‘I am personally of the opinion that any law which criminalizes disobedience of “lawful commands” — without ever actually defining what a lawful command is, or what constitutes “reasonable time” for compliance — is a law probably designed to let the guys with the nightsticks charge anyone with anything at their own caprice.’

    That is, as you infer, not a bug – it is a feature.

    Not so long ago, I read (I can’t remember where, or I’d source it – at a guess, I’d say it was probably Glenn Greenwald on Salon) a discussion of how, if you drive strictly at the speed limit and obey all traffic laws, you can be pulled over on suspicion – because that’s the police profile for a drug smuggler. In other words, the police have been given carte blanche to pull you over at any time, without cause, and search for something to charge you with.

  16. AAAAARGGGHHHH!!!! Now I’m “narrative designer” for the “Big Mutha Truckers” series! I don’t even know what that is!

  17. @Peter

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mutha_Truckers

    Picturing you having narrative design on a video game and coming up with this, is quite possibly the best thing I have ever heard. My day has officially been made.

  18. OK, you’ve crossed the border of acceptable writing here. “Begs a question”? Your assault on petitio principii is no doubt the true reason for your conviction; 3 years is not enough!

    (But good luck on the bogus charge anyway.)

  19. The next iteration is bound to be narrative designer for Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing.

    Maybe people figure that, if they’re going to claim you have been found guilty of assault, they may as well toss in some crimes against humanity like this?

  20. @ Peter AAAAARGGGHHHH!!!! Now I’m “narrative designer” for the “Big Mutha Truckers” series!

    I thought that was Bill Brassky.
    Yes, let’s raise glass and toast Brassky! Why, I remember when he ran the Michigan Port Huron border in a monster truck! Had a loada hookers in the back, the entire Green Bay football team in the front, and there he was, lighting firecrackers and holding them in his teeth until they got close to the fuse, then spitting ’em out the window!

    *general cheers*

    hee hee. “Big Mutha Truckers.”

  21. @Peter

    Despair not, Mr. Watts! Every cloud has a silver lining, for instance…hm….errr…hmmm….
    Well, at least they aren’t blaming you for the Command and Conquer 4 storyline.

    P.S.
    On a more serious note, you should try getting into the gaming industry. It needs good writers (see: Command and Conquer 4 :-(…Or perhaps don’t ), and now you have accreted some impressive cred in the field, it seems…

  22. @Peter: “if the system does in fact exist merely to keep us in line — if it is, in a word, intrinsically evil”

    People do need to be kept in line. Just think about how much worse off Somalians are, with no such system to keep them (and their warlords) in line…

  23. @Gabor Varakonyi: Yes, I agree, order is not intrinsically evil, unless you’re an anarchist..

  24. @Gabor Varkonyi
    The system that exists merely to keep people in line is evil. A non-evil system should provide certain other things, like, you know, “serve justice” and somesuch 😉

    As for Somalians – they have a weird sort of “order” and the system for maintaining it. The parties defining this order and maintaining it are the ones we call “Warlords”. And Somalian Warlords do keep the average somalian “in line” – verily so (by taking all the humanitarian aide and money for themselves)

    Fucked up order of things is still order.

  25. Alright, I admit I do not know a whole lot about these games, although I had to learn to play some so I
    wouldn’t look like a doofus aunt to my three nephews. I mean, how hard could Mario Party One through
    Seven, Pikman, Monkeyball, Harvest Moon Magical Musical Melody, Harry Potter, Animal Crossing,
    Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi’s Haunted Mansion, among many, many others, be?

    (I will neither admit nor deny that I did indeed learn to and actually did play the aforementioned kiddie
    games in order to provide my three brainy nephews with endless entertainment of losing to them.
    Perhaps I better plead the 5th and end here.)

    Seriously, it can be quite the humbling experience when my eldest nephew, at the age of three, was teaching me, his adult aunty, how to play gamecube games. Such a patient sweetheart he was, when I messed up, he would just say, “that’s ok aunty, you’ll get it, you just need lotsa practice”.

    01 said: “Despair not, Mr. Watts! Every cloud has a silver lining…”

    Actually, it may very well be that here, “every silver lining has a cloud…”, because of the wacky wonkified Watts’ World storm that has been created…

    Godly Particles and Nerdy Dream Skinputtery

    Large Hadron Collider to start hunt for ‘God Particle’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8582778.stm

    Sensors turn skin into gadget control pad
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8587486.stm

  26. @01: OK, compare Somalia before 1991 (when there was a system to exploit them and keep them in line, to benefit the clan of the president), and after 1991, with the lack of that system. I think pre-1991 Somalia compares pretty favorably with post-1991 Somalia.

    The same is true of Zaire vs. Dem. Rep. o. Kongo, Afghanistan before the civil war, etc.

  27. In other words, order is itself a service. And a quite important one.

  28. In other words, order is itself a service. And a quite important one.

    Citizens of orderly places don’t truly appreciate all that order has to offer.

  29. @Gabor Varkonyi

    I don’t deny that it’s “important”.

    But I don’t think it’s sufficient to consider a system “good”.

    Just “merely order” is not enough (North Korea has “order” by the truckload, methinks)

  30. @01: “North Korea has “order” by the truckload, methinks”

    Except for famine years, ordinary North Koreans have a pretty high chance of survival. Now imagine North Korea with warring warlords. (These warlords do have these bad habits of warring…) So Norht Korea still compares favorably to say nineteen-twenties or thirties China. Even though, admittedly, North Korea is probably THE single worst country with order.

    On the other hand, North Korean society almost collapsed in the early nineties (when Soviet aid stopped), and – though information is scarce – it seems order also sort of collapsed. Meaning, there’s probably a pretty high crime rate and much less order than most people imagine. It’s not really order when it’s just the cities, nuclear facilities, dictator’s palaces and border zones that experience it.

    So ceteris paribus having order is probably always better than not having order. At least for most people, that is – for the really strong and leadership types it might be worse. They might be able to thrive and become warlords or members of their entourage or militias. For the rest of us – it’s better to have order. Simply higher chances of survival.

  31. Order is necessary, but not sufficient.

  32. @Gabor Varkonyi

    “For the rest of us – it’s better to have order. Simply higher chances of survival.”

    I find it slightly peculiar that you reiterate this point despite the fact that no one here seems to claim the opposite…

  33. “Alright, I admit I do not know a whole lot about these games, although I had to learn to play some so I wouldn’t look like a doofus aunt to my three nephews.”

    Bwahahahaha.

    Sorry, trying to imagine it…

    xoxoxo

  34. @Anonymous who said in response to my admitting that I was a doofus: “Bwahahahaha.”, and then to soften that blow: “Sorry, trying to imagine it…” :)

    It’s quite alright. I laughed at this often. Nothing like having three nephews, all under the age of six at the time, having to be patient and understanding with their favorite (alright, only aunt) in playing video games.

    I was amazed at their eye hand coordination and ability to not fall off platforms, while I often did.

    In my defense, I was self taught. Ok, so my nephews made sure I got some kiddie videos so I would practice and learn. But most importantly, it was so much fun to be a kid again and not care about such silly things as competition.

    For some reason, my nephews always chose some character named Princess Peach for me to be. Also, all three wanted to play with me no matter what display of ineptitude they most surely noticed, and experienced. Bungling? Clumsy? Definitiely. Hey, I helped them with their homework, ok?

    I actually was interested in that Elder Scrolls Oblivion Game, of which one of my nephews asked for. But I don’t think that type of game is particularly “appreciated” on here, being fantasy role-playing, and all.

  35. Unrelated to the court case of convicted murderer and rapist of handicapped (mental i heard, syndrom of Glenn Beck?) border officer Beaudry; Peter Watts, game designer for casual facebook games at FarmVille Games, but someone misrepresented anarchists in this discussion and I have to set the record straight so there is no confusion.

    Anarchists don’t oppose order or even a form of government, they just oppose government in centralised power. It’s a system of social local empowerment akin to local cooperative and executive democracy (the good forms are anyways), not some rabble of random chaos. That would make it pointless, we leave that to religion.

    I hope that misunderstanding is out of the way now! So dangerous, all this misinformation. 😉

  36. Mirik said: “not some rabble of random chaos. That would make it pointless, we leave that to religion.”

    That made me really, laugh. Sorry. :)

    @Anonymous ~ I forgot to add to that post above the following:

    XOXOXO

    My kisses and hugs are bigger than yours… :)

  37. “AAAAARGGGHHHH!!!! Now I’m “narrative designer” for the “Big Mutha Truckers” series! I don’t even know what that is!”

    On the bright side, by the end of this ordeal your game development resume is going to be pretty impressive.

  38. @Gabor Varkonyi:

    You’ve tried really hard to sound intelligent, and it shows.

  39. Also: re “People do need to be kept in line.” :

    What people “NEED” is to be provided with equal opportunities to the resources that allow them to look after each other and be constructive, contributing members of society.

    Honestly…

  40. Beaudry’s Tales and other Pinocchio Moments

    Peter said: “Judging by Beaudry’s facebook page, I don’t think he was having a bad day.”

    Whether he was having a bad day or not, it certainly does not negate the fact that he was primarily responsible for getting the ball rolling with his lies.

    I clearly remember a picture of him, on the Times-Herald News Website, that showed him “testifying” the
    “trooth”, and I believe it was around or on the 22 of December 2009. (I still “see” this picture in my
    memory.)

    He was in a chair with his arms up about his head and neck, his face turned left, and he was “reliving”
    the “choking incident”, demonstrating with his arms no less just how it happened. But this was a lie.

    You cannot find this article unless you pay to extract it out of archives, but somehow I wonder if that
    would even resurrect it.

    To think that back then he had lied and even acted out this lie, only to be shown months later in court,
    the liar that he is. The fact also remains, despite your being all warm and fuzzy with giving “others”
    slack, :) , that those others who knowingly went along, whether border guard or some other player,
    could have stopped this ball rolling and nipped the lies in the bud from the get go…

    Peter said: “…reassurance to those who think I’ve gone soft in my” more mature, wiser and ever evolving state of being in my life thus far on the face of this planet “by refusing to condemn the border guards a couple of posts back: just to be clear, I didn’t let all of them off the hook, only those unfortunate red shirts who got caught up in their partners’ escalation.”

    Words changed in the above quote to a much more humanly descriptive and kinder treatment of the self…

  41. @01: This means we all agree that order in itself is intrinsically good, and nobody disagrees that a system which only provides order (and nothing else) is intrinsically good. Maybe not as good as some better systems that provide many other things, but still good. And not at all intrinsically evil. Which was my original remark.

  42. My Saturday afternoon reading on this breezy, sunny, happy Hawaii day ~

    The system exists to maintain order…as human history shows…

    “…[a]round A.D. 900…small-scale feuding…in the American Southwest…was replaced by political violence…brutal executions and possible cannibalism of whole families, women and children…

    “Archaeologists…suggest these killings were used by emerging elites…to eliminate political opponents and maintain order.”

    “…[t]his conflict was spurred by changing rainfall patterns and by the ‘socialization of fear’ by emerging elites…”

    “13th Century Women’s Movement: How a new religion and its distinctive pottery brought peace to the Southwest.” By Todd L. VanPool

    Archaeology, Vol. 63 No. 2, March/April 2010 (Salado Pottery)
    A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, at p. 44.
    http://www.archaeology.org/1003/abstracts/womensw.html

    Political violence and the socialization of fear to maintain order by elites…why this exists in today’s world…seems humans still have a ways to go…

    p.s. There is also a terrific article entitled “Should We Clone Neanderthals: The scientific, legal and ethical obstacles” by Zach Zorich (pp. 34-41)
    http://www.archaeology.org/1003/etc/neanderthals.html

    Perhaps we should. Maybe Neanderthals would be better humans than homo sapiens…

  43. @Gabor Varkonyi

    No, I can not agree on that any system that provides only order (and nothing else) is intrinsically good. Order is necessary, but mere order is direly insufficient for a system to qualify as “good”, and a system that merely sustains some kind of relatively safe biological existence in its constituents is not, IMHO, good enough to be called “good”. We aren’t surviving in a postnuclear wasteland, you know. Not yet 😉

    Also, a system that supplies “order” through disproportionate violence and wanton disregard towards the lives of “simple” citizens is definitely not good, at least according to my expected standard of living.

  44. In more “the world has gone crazy” news, Peter has been referred to as “gleefully excited“. To his face, even. Remarkably, it’s completely unrelated to either the conviction or being the narrative designer for Big Mutha Truckers.

  45. Thanks for the “gleefully excited” link, the cheerier stuff helps soothe and calm after reading tripe from trolls and troll-minded people (esp on previous post which left me FUMING)…

  46. Here Leona, a cute and cuddly picture ~

    Peter and a little racoon:
    http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2010/03/update-on-dr-peter-watts.html

    I was wondering, does not each and every poster have their own “identifier square” that is attached to their particular name-email address-computer?

    I was just wondering why the “greyish blue square with the central white diamond and the four grey blue squares surrounding it” is the same for all of the following posters above, Brainbread, Falka, Logically Enough, 01, 01, 01, 01, AND Anonymous ~ does this mean that someone is posting under multiple identities/personalities? Or are multiple people posting under one computer identity?

    Then there is an 01 with a brand new rust colored square.

    I am a bit pissed because I am responding to postings by someone named 01 on here, thinking it is one singular person, and then someone identifying themself as Anonymous, and then I see the same square identifier with such trollish postings by Brainbread, Falka and Logically Enough…

    (I started to notice this a while back when I got Allister01 confused with 01 because I thought Allister was going by 01 instead.) I can’t believe that the square indentifier is that similar in visual exactness that it is a matter of tiny subtle differences which would separate the aforementioned posters as being singular, separate posters.

  47. @keany
    Nope, I am fairly unique as far as I know, and am definitely not sockpuppeting.

    My explanation is that the square shtick is unreliable.

  48. Oi, misspelled your name. Anyways, lo and behold, I has a brown square now!

    I guess it’s just a cosmetic gimmick, not an ID…

  49. @keanani

    Clever deflection play. Although not clever enough! Some of us have figured out that you’re one of Peter’s multiples.

    Too easy, but better luck next time. 😉

  50. @keanani – I am not a multiple personality (to the best of my knowledge, anyway).

    My posting was not intended to be trollish – I take exception to the use of to “begs a question” in the comment by Dr. Watts. The phrase “begs the question” should refer to a logical fallacy (petitio principii), but it increasing used to mean “that raises an interesting point”.

    I, for one, fully support Dr. Watts in his border-crossing issue, and hope that his sentencing goes as well as possible.

    In summary, fuck off keanani.

  51. I am confused. What’s going on?

    Do you like alliteration? 😉

  52. @everyone. Ok my bad. I wrongfully believed that each and evreyone of us had our very own “identity square” that helped all of us see and visually identify ourselves in some sort of semblance of safety that indeed we are speaking, communicating and interacting with the same person behind the square.

    Swell. Sorry. Alright then. Cripes, I don’t know why I keep seeing things beyond what is really there.

    Also, I do not think the Peter wants to be associated with my posts, in my humble opinion. So, certainly not on that score. :)

    It’s not like “I see dead people” the sixth sense sorta ability. Sorry 01. :)

    I guess I wonder why my square is always the same and others are able to be chameleon-like. Oh well what a bust. But that’s ok. Soemone has to be a bit clownish on here once in a while.

  53. Peter, you broke the law. Whether you were an asshole, whether the border guards were assholes, whether they had a bad day, whether you wanted to go home and scratch your cat — all of that is of secondary interest. There’s a law, and you broke it.

    You’ve got a Ph.D., so in terms of raw I.Q. you are not a stupid man. To the contrary, you are too smart for your own good. Common pitfall of being really smart is the inability to deal with the simple person, the simple situation, the simple rule. It wasn’t about the Larger Scheme of Things that day. It was about a simple law being enforced by simpler people than you.

    At no point, either that day or afterwards, did you ever really entertain the idea that this was never as complicated as you made it out to be. Juror “proudinjun” made it clear. They weren’t there to decide who they liked better, or to decide the fairness of the universe. They were there to render a simple verdict in a simple case about a smart guy who broke a simple law.

    Freud told us that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a law is just a law. This was one of those times. All the Canadian’s words, and all the Canadian’s men/Couldn’t put Peter’s case back together again.

    As hostile as I am, I hope you get off with nothing more than a fine. But in light of your previous scrape with the Canadian police officer, I think you’ll do time. For your sake, I hope it’s in the county lockup and not a Michigan state prison. And I hope you can make a living without ever entering the United States again, because convicted felons generally have a pretty hard time getting in here, especially lately.

  54. Still not admitting you’re Watts, eh?

    Very well, we will go along for now. :)

  55. The Kafkaesque servility displayed by certain trolls is, well, Kafkaesque.

    Sweet Cthulhu, land of the free…

  56. Yeah, of course anyone who doesn’t fall to their knees worshipping Peter Watts is a “troll.” The “troll” label is the last refuge of Internet groupthinkers, here too.

  57. @Oh Really: “Yeah, of course anyone who doesn’t fall to their knees worshipping Peter Watts is a ‘troll.””

    No, not at all Oh Really. Please, be reasonable. I would not wish to believe that your words are indicative of your harboring jealousy of Dr. Watts. Certainly, there are a few who may have decided that anyone taking the opposite side of Dr. Watts may be or is a troll. But that is not what it is, truly.

    It has to do with those posters who continue to attack Dr. Watts no matter what, without being fair, reasonable and balanced. It can be seen in the snarcastic wording and stance in every one of their posts.

    You are taking the angry-I-take-this-personally stance that may make others wonder why. You are not Dr. Watts, so you must be one of the others involved, then?

    We all find ourselves whipping up heated debate and firey exchange of words, but what really matters is if any one of us is able to let it go and move on, as in, not to let it eat at us in any way as to continue to harbor anger or some need for continued retaliation.

    I have already forgiven Fritz and his swiping denigration at the way my own particular mind works. I will not apologize for being a deep, introverted, very right-brained human being who is quite the minority in so far as being lefthanded and creative, artistic, sensitive and prone to all emotionally moments, but that is what it is. So I have actually had much of my life being a bit of an outsider for just being me. What I was born as, and what is inherently just the way I am naturally. So Fritz took his swipe, and it stung for a moment then it dissipated. It is certainly nothing new. My own father tried his darndest to change me into what I was not.

    I have had enough experiences by the bullying tactics of some males throughout my life thus far, starting with my childhood days…and it is, unfortunately, a part of life for many females. It is not at all about dragging a ball and chain of emotional baggage to the end of one’s day, it is about how you deal and evolve from there. I believe that any and every bad thing that has happened to me has actually made me a better person.

    I am, and will always be, one to forgive the boo boos of other human beings that are not of anything close to evil, despicable or vile. You certainly have your right to your view and opinion, it is really just the way that we express and present it that may cause others to take a stance that marks us as something not nice.

  58. @Hljóðlegur who so cutely remarked : “Still not admitting you’re Watts, eh?”

    So funny. :) I admit that I am not Dr. Watts. Seriously, you have been on his blog much longer than I, and for Pete’s sake, how could anyone believe that Peter would get all moody and emotionally with such obvious right-brained scattershot “as Fritz declared”, ramblings, making questionable declarations of seeing what is not there, and going on and on trying to make a point…no way that could happen, anyone reading Peter’s writings could ever mistake me for him.

    He is the one most clearly utilizing most of his brain. As for me, I really don’t know what percentage it could possibly be. I am not so sure if I really want to know, but despite evidence to the contrary, my brain is working pretty good. I think. Sorta. :)

    Sometimes I wonder if I need to give everyone a break from me on here.

    @01 yet again ~ So sorry! :)

  59. I take none of this personally. I’m like anyone else who posts to the Internet: A guy with an opinion who is all to happy to express it when it’s easy.

    Now, as dismissive as I am of Peter and his case on the merits, I think it’d be sad to see him carted off to jail. But if it happens, that will be his doing. Aside from the incident itself, I have no doubt that he could have handled this easily by pleading to a misdemeanor. I don’t know that for a fact, but it’s such common practice in things like this that it’s a rebuttable presumption.

    Going forward, I have some advice for Peter. He’s not going to take it, but I’m still going to give it. He should write a thorough and groveling letter of apology. He should hand it to his lawyer, and have his lawyer show it to the prosecutor, and ask if they’ll agree to recommend a fine rather than jail time. If the prosecutor agrees, and the judge agrees, then as a condition of the agreement, Peter should publicly release the letter, and agree not to blog or speak publicly about the case.

    Peter Watts, you are not Nelson Mandela. You are a guy who got pissed off at the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Nothing more. If you don’t do a 180, you’re probably headed to jail. And you know what? Jail sucks. And if that jail turns out to be a Michigan state pen on account of this being a felony, jail could be hazardous to your health. A county lockup could be pretty nasty too. Depends on the county.

    Like I say, I don’t expect you to take my advice. You didn’t take my original advice, which was to plead to a lesser charge. That advice was a no-brainer, just as this advice is. If you’re as smart as that Ph.D. implies, you’ll put the crow in the microwave, heat ‘er up, and get your knife and fork ready. It beats the alternative. Honest.

  60. @Oh Really: “Yeah, of course anyone who doesn’t fall to their knees worshipping Peter Watts is a ‘troll.””

    Not automatically, but if you don’t support Dr. Watts, what are you doing at his blog? No need to kick him while he is down, is there? (Even if you think so, I think they took care of that at the border.)

  61. The stone idol speaks

    > You are a guy who got pissed off at the wrong people, in the wrong
    > place, at the wrong time. Nothing more. If you don’t do a 180, you’re
    > probably headed to jail. And you know what? Jail sucks. And if that jail
    > turns out to be a Michigan state pen on account of this being a felony,
    > jail could be hazardous to your health.

    Refreshingly honest, in a chilling kind of way.
    Customarily facts of life like this are explained in locked
    rooms, away from cameras and spectators, no?
    However, I get where you’re coming from.
    Nothing like a sobering example to remind the civvies of whos who and what’s what. And of course questions and complaints could be “hazardous to your health”.

    It’s a fucked up world view, but hey who said the world is perfect?

    The men and women in uniform who have any shred of conscience and honour should hang their head low in shame

  62. @ Logically Enough, someone ought to tell Peter the truth about his situation, if it’s unpopular on this blog. What comes next is up to Peter.

  63. Offhanded mention of kafkaesque: insufficiently literate so googled; cyber-trajectory endpoint is http://www.kafka-franz.com/KAFKA-letter.htm. WOW. Should I be forwarding this link to my brother’s father? Oh wait… self-ostracised individuals are not so easily pinged with urls. Interestinger and interestinger, this kafka guy…

    @Oh Really: it’s okay to admit when you have the hots for someone online and follow them to their blogs to give them advice. Really, it’s okay. We’ll all understand… You’ve even put up with accusations of trolling to COME BACK with even more input. If this isn’t love, I don’t know what is…

  64. @keanani : thanks for the pic :-) made me smile.

    I’m sorry LE told you to eff off (cmon, logically! it’s a bit harsh?!) But it made me think: do you have a blog? Because to be brutally honest you are using Watts’ blog’s comments section as your own blog of sorts, and it’s a bit much. You have lovely insights and a unique style of writing – so please don’t disappear from on here… but if you put up a url with your extended viewpoints, we’ll come read you! :-)

    PW (and fans) won’t say anything cos they’re polite. I’m just… blunt / stupid / both.

  65. Unrequited love. Oh yea, that makes sense. But to this crowd, all kinds of crazy shit makes sense.

  66. @Oh Really

    Ummmmm… Then what are you doing here, exactly? Especially for extended periods of time?
    You expressed your enjoyment and support regarding the police state-like features of modern US. “OMG we live in post-9/11″ and all that stupid security theater fearmongering”. We understand your position.

    We also understand your amusement in regards to the concept of principles, which you so eloquently expressed in your “Not Nelson Mandela” remark.

    We, however, share neither your support to modern US law enforcement and security approaches, nor your amusement.

    Why do you keep coming back, huh?

  67. @ Oh Really

    The public at large will continue to protest this marked injustice. Academics, writers, SF fans, ordinary concerned citizens will have their voices heard on this matter. Count on it.

    There is also an international angle to this story. Canadian public opinion is largely devoid of authoritarian types such as yourself who glory in the punishment and suffering of a good men at the hands of an unjust law.

    If you want a quick sample of the public’s sentiment peruse the comments to the two Globe and Mail stories covering the incident. The thumbs up and down indicators will give you a sense of the general mood among Canadians.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/canadian-sci-fi-author-convicted-of-assault-in-border-inspection-case/article1506064/?cmpid=tgc

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadian-sci-fi-writer-peter-watts-arrested-during-border-inspection/article1398731/

    Note the evolution of the sentiment as we pass from arrested/accused to convicted. Extrapolate this to the kind of story and comments that will appear if this evolves to “is jailed”.

    One point of agreement. The Peter Watts incident is not some kind of cause celebre. In and of itself, it is about the unfortunate experience of one particular Canadian traveler crossing the border. In and of itself, it does not represent a larger issue. That is not to say that it will not evolve in that direction. The longer this thing continues in the public spotlight, the more it will transition from a private question to an public one, with international ramifications.

  68. rm3154 says: In and of itself, it does not represent a larger issue.

    See, I think it is in fact an exemplar of the larger issue: is American law enforcement running amok because the post 9/11 atmosphere lets them? I just have to disagree.

    No disrespect to Mr. Watts, of course, but his ordeal is not the larger issue. That the legal conditions exist where it’s okay to brutalize your average idiot for not obeying commands, and the courts back up the right of law enforcement to do this is the issue.

    Because if this idiot can get arrested for not obeying commands, then any idiot can. As your average idiot, personally, I have to object. As an average idiot, so should you.

    Unless you all think that this isn’t going to happen to you because you’re more savvy, because you’re too smart to inadvertantly push too far with an officer? To anyone here who feels that way, may I remind them politely that Dr. Watts probably thought the very same thing?

    The condition where the police have too much power never happens all at once; the incroachment is generally gradual, which is why the citizenry doesn’t wake up to it until it’s too late.

    The longer this thing continues in the public spotlight, the more it will transition from a private question to an public one, with international ramifications.

    Write your Congressman or the Canadian equivalent. Representatives and Senators do pay attention to voter email and letters – they have staff people who do nothing but deal with constituent letters. If you feel this is a policy issue, make your voice heard!

  69. @keanani – My apologies for my language, @Leona was right in pointing out it was harsh.

    @Oh Really – Dr. Watts really has very limited control over what happens from this point. I hope he follows his lawyer’s advice to minimize his pain rather than comments from a random commenter.

  70. See, this is what happens if I don’t post for a few days. I come back and keanani has decided I am an e-clone.

    @Oh Really

    See, I can empathize with you a little. You came on here, and your advice isn’t actually that bad. The letter of apology may work, and it’s definitely the “screw your pride and just get out of this” approach.

    Still, you had to expect the treatment you’ve gotten thus far. You are coming into something that could probably be considered a fan meet-up site, that has already been trolled by multiple loons (famous ones even). You have to see it coming that you’re going to be treated with a fair amount of hostility off the bat.

    Your points are valid though, so maybe just try approaching it a little softer in the future. It’s not fair that you should have to sugar-coat your opinion I know, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

  71. Welcome back, oh@really. We’ve missed you.

    Actually, I’ve missed your whole species. I figured the trolls would have descended like vultures on a carcass in the wake of the verdict, but up until a couple of days ago the closest we got here was some dude named Fritz in the Bahamas. (In fact, a couple of law-and-order types who were initially lined up against me actually came over to my side, as the facts came to light.) But then I head off for a chunk of the weekend and have, you know, a life — only to come back and find that you’ve strafed the ‘crawl with no less than ten messages in a single day, all saying pretty much the same thing. I know you don’t like the t-word, but dude, multiple redundant postings are one of the defining traits.

    Hostile. You admit as much. Not really sure why you should be, why you seem to be taking this so personally. At first I thought you might have some connection to the case itself — but not only are you on the wrong side of the country, your ignorance of the facts is inconsistent with even a second-hand pipeline (case in point, your constant harping on my refusal of an offer that was never actually made). You’re aware that the jury disbelieved the testimony of the guards pretty much wholesale, that at least a couple of them regarded me as the real victim of the piece — at least, you cherry-picked quotes from those passages, so I assume you at least read the rest. You read that the guards were belligerent and sarcastic from the get-go, and that I did nothing that could be construed as aggressive. By now you even know the answer to the long-standing mystery of why I got out of the car in the first place, what questions I thought needed answering.

    You’re happy to dismiss all of that because standing still when told to jump constitutes a felony in your country, even when the tell-er has just hit the tell-ee several times in the face. A law was broken, you say. It doesn’t matter whether that law equates standing stock-still with armed assault, whether the law is just or unjust; we obey only because it is law, and if we break it — even passively, nonviolently, in the face of provocation — we ask for whatever we get. (Of course, you’re also fond of reminding me of the “hard time” I’m likely to do on account of a “previous felony conviction” — which, also under the law, does not exist and never did. Your fondness for technicalities seems a bit one-sided.)

    But I don’t think this really is about the law, per sé. You’re far too invested for this to be any kind of academic exercise for you. What’s powering your particular hard-on is me personally, or at least that part of it you think you see here online. And what you see, as you’ve told us repeatedly, is an arrogant sonofabitch who thinks he’s better than everyone else.

    You can trawl the web for the thoughts of those who’ve actually met me face-to-face, acquaintances casual to intimate, and they’ll put the lie to that soon enough. You can go back through this blog, scan the post in which I bet that I can’t get more than half a dozen people to show up to a reading, the comments in which people complain that I don’t pimp myself enough, to at least raise doubts. But your opinion has a sharper focus, I think; it’s cops I have a problem with. It’s authority figures I think I’m better than.

    And with all due respect, dude, I think you got it backwards. I don’t think I’m better than these guys, I don’t think I’m better than any individual person unless I’ve seen actual evidence to the contrary — but neither do I think that they’re better than me. I treat them as equals. I try to treat everyone as equals — I’m treating you as an equal right now, by writing this response, by not rising to the bait, by treating you as if you’re not a troll even though some would say the evidence is pretty conclusive.

    When I taught at university, my students thought I rocked at least partly because I treated them as equals; they weren’t used being treated that way by an authority figure. Of course I treat my friends as equals, but then, so does everyone. And cops? I treat them as equals too; I will joke, I will make eye contact, and if something doesn’t make sense I will get out of the car and ask about it — because that is how I treat equals.

    I know you think that’s stupid. A lot of people have told me that the only sane way to deal with LEOs of any stripe is the way you’d deal with biker gangs and grizzly bears; not as peers but as masters. They get to shit on us and we have to take it; it sucks, but that’s the way it is. They’ve got the guns, the law, the weight of the whole system on their side. I would rather not do that. I would rather look them in the eye.

    Some of them don’t like that much. But that means that they’ve got a problem with me, not the other way around.

    oh@really, you’ve called me an idiot on more than one occasion here. Asked if I had rocks in my head, asked if I was twelve. Who knows, maybe I am; vast numbers of people would agree that treating cops as equals is the surest way to get your head kicked in, the equivalent of trying to pet a grizzly bear on the muzzle. That’s not arrogance, though. Maybe it’s stupidity; maybe it’s just pathological naiveté. But I have met some pretty decent cops along with the thugs; I have met border guards with whom I could share a joke. (I met one or two of those even this time around; if you’d read my recent postings with more of an open mind you might have noticed that).

    It’s not cops I have a problem with. It’s assholes.

    Please stop being one.

  72. Hey Peter,

    The Ottawa Citizen jumped on the wire-service “convicted of assault” bandwagon. I complained and am trying to get it fixed. Can you recommend an accurate source for them to cite?

    Yes, its kinda ridiculous for you/me to have to do this. On the other hand, this might fix it in one paper, at least.

    Thanks and hang in there!

  73. @Allister01, fair enough on the “what did you expect” comment. I have only a partial rebuttal, and it’s that the righteousness on this blog is thicker than dried maple syrup, so you kinda-sorta have to use something caustic to get through. Or so I tell myself.

    @Peter, you didn’t disappoint me. You still fail to grasp the essential simplicity here. It’s not about freedom vs. tyranny. It’s about your misjudgment of the situation from start to finish, including the aftermath. Everything about this case just screams “entitlement” and “immaturity” on your part. I realize you don’t want to hear that, but it’s true.

    You’re a victim? You’re not guilty? The cops were assholes? Trust me, Peter, where you’re going, most of the people think they were screwed by da man. Have fun.

  74. Sigh. Well, I tried.

    One more time, before you’re outta here: the jurors said I was a victim, o@r. The jurors regarded the cops as assholes. Not just me. If your strategy is simply to keep shouting the same bullshit lines and ignoring facts that contradict your cherished beliefs — well, I understand that’s pretty common town-hall politics down there, but up here it’s a waste of bandwidth.

    Time to weed.

  75. @Oh Really

    And what’s the point of “getting through”, I must inquire?

    Also, I am not certain that the term “entitlement” means what you believe it means.
    What you do seem to think is that a citizen is not entitled to asking questions to law enforcement or any simple human interactions. I find this attitude consistent with some ugly police state like China (because even Russia isn’t quite that bad)

    Also, you seem to believe that its “immature” to expect law enforcement to behave in a friendly manner consistent with normal human interactions. You expect them to be “tough” and threatening, and consider such qualities in LEA personnel a good thing.
    I consider such qualities to be telltale signs of a monobrow-wielding thug.

    Off course, it may be “sane”, from self-preservation POV, to treat people who have attitude and expectations of thugs as such – that is, as dangerous animals with a very short temper, and thus, it may be sane, from self-preservation POV, to treat US law enforcement personnel as dangerous animals with a very short temper. But you see, it stands to reason that LE agents are there to protect the citizen, and thus should not be a the kind of people who should be approached with fear and trepidation. And some people might take that on principle, and stand to challenge the ridiculous, “tough” attitude and the unjust laws empowering said attitude. Because, you know, that’s how societies evolve.

    But I guess you consider having “principles” immature and fruitless by definition. Or perhaps, you consider having these particular kind of principles ridiculous, because like Gabor Varkonyi above, you actually support the “tough” law enforcement and the police state it brings with it, due to being a kind of coward who, terrified by various enemies (both real and imaginary) hopes to find safety in police state’s iron embrace.

    “Oh Really,” it’s really good to be far away from you and the kind of law-enforcement policies you seem to favor.

  76. Could part of this rest on what is salient to different minds? May I venture a guess?

    Oh Really sees conditions as they currently stand, and accommodates them in a workaday sort of way – ie, under current Michigan law, cops may beat and arrest citizens for failing to obey, so one should obey. This is the higher good, he feels: to recognize practical realities and work with them as they exist now.

    Dr. Watts also sees conditions as they currently stand, but does not accommodate them as immutables. This is the higher good, he feels: to recognize more abstract realities such as justice and individual rights as being paramount, and to act in accordance with them, with the knowledge that the future always changes the conditions.

    These two PsOV might not be reconcilable?

    If we have a difference in where a person feels the “reality” or deeper truth lives, and how heavily “now” is weighted versus the future.

  77. Law enforcement has always attracted the best (those that truly want to serve and protect) and the worst (those that like authority for its own sake) of people. In a progressive society, steps are always being taken to weed out the latter, but it is always a situation of playing catch-up because it is difficult to identify these people until they do something.

    Unfortunately, since 9/11, American policy, and Canadian policy to a lesser extend, have not only attracted a greater number of thugs to this profession but have also enabled them. The American policies were, supposedly, enacted to protect the American way of life and freedoms. How changing the American way of life and stomping on their freedoms achieves this goal is something that I have never understood.

    In Peter’s case, could all of this been avoided by him taking a submissive attitude? Did he mis-judge the situation? Almost certainly. And if he were given the chance to do it all again, I think even Peter would admit that he would do it differently.

    No one argues that police officers and border guards should not defend themselves and others when necessary, nor that they should not be given the tools to do so. However, hitting, clubbing and pepper spraying someone who never lifted his hands or tried to run away does not sound like reasonable use of force to me.

    @oh Reilly said that “Everything about this case just screams “entitlement” and “immaturity”…”. In this, he is absolutely correct. Where he goes wrong is ascribing these traits to Peter, and not to at least one of the border guards. Apparently, Beaudry feels that he is entitled to assault someone who poses no real or perceived threat, and is entitled to lie under oath with no repercussions. The sad thing is, he does not see anything wrong with this.

    @ Oh Reilly’s logic simply does not hold water. He states that this isn’t about freedom versus tyranny and that Peter used poor judgement throughout. But what is the difference between freedom and tyranny? In one, authority is respected due to their actions and through example; under tyranny, authority is feared due to their actions. So mister Oh Reilly, what emotion do you think Peter now has towards American border guards, respect or fear?

  78. found this via the borderfail blog

    http://borderfail.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-kill-border-town.html

    A couple of stories there. First we have a Canadian couple detained, interrogated and harassed for taking the wrong turn.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/03/18/ns-illegal-border-united-states-quebec.html

    Then there is Buzzy Roy, an american pharmacist and local councilman who has been busted for buying a pizza in Canada.

    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100314/NEWS02/100313008/Arrest-and-new-border-crossing-rules-irritate-Derby-Line

    Peter and Buzzy: the new face of the enemy within

    check out the video coverage via the blog link above

  79. Fun stuff for cat lovers ~
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT2NOQ0P4t8

  80. Kudos to “Oh Really” for breaking the unwritten rule of the tribal internet with fearless dissent. Anti-kudos to those stomping on him, including Peter. Funny about dissent. People love the idea until the dissenter dissents against the wrong people. “Eh?”

    [Blogmaster’s footnote: Actually, if you wander back through the comments on past postings you’ll see that dissenters get way more airtime on this blog than they do on most. That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t get to call them on it when they’re being idiots, though. Take your inaugural comment, for instance — you praised someone for vocal disagreement, then decried those who vocally disagreed with him. You might want to sharpen those thinking skills before you play again. PW.]

  81. Peter, thanks for the defense on my behalf. I find you to be a very gracious man, considering I’m one of the twelve that put you in this predicament. I’ve been reading the comments, and just had a few thoughts…

    Oh, Really, why don’t you quit picking at a festering wound? You have had no personal contact with Dr. Watts. You have no idea what transpired, no benefit of evidence as you spew your poison, and no clue as to what happened that December day on the border. If you’re getting your information from the Times Herald, their reporting is skewed and incorrect. Get a grip, research the situation before you spout your hate and intolerance. The world would be a better place, dude.

    As far as the proceedings and the constitutionality of such, I’ve pondered a few things long and hard before posting to this blog again. What is a fair and impartial jury of Peter’s peers? We have a gentleman from a large city with a PhD and several novels under his belt. His jury consisted of several ex-military men, a bar owner, a daycare provider, a security guard, a public school worker, a postal worker, etc. I believe the highest education level for any of us was a Masters degree. We had a couple people with lesser degrees, some with no college whatsoever. Peter is an academic. Does that constitute a jury of his peers? I know we did the best we could, we were as thorough as we could be with the evidence we had to work with, but a jury of his peers? I don’t think so. How could the average Joe possibly try to put themselves into the mindset of an academic? I’m not trying to belittle anybody here, and I honestly hope that nobody takes offense, but academics are built a little differently than the common Joe. I’ve observed, from reading different posts on several sites, that people of higher intelligence have a tendency to ponder things a bit more than a layperson. They ask questions, they reflect on the answers, they debate and rebut, they analyze. Could this be why Peter’s response time was slow on that fateful December day? I don’t know. I know Peter was treated atrociously that day, and continues to be victimized by misinformed pseudo academics on his own site. I’ve never represented myself as anything more than what I am, an average person that had to pass judgment on an extraordinary situation that I was ill equipped to deal with. Was I wrong? That’s open for debate, and has been debated. I hope for the best for Peter, and will support him in any way I possibly can.

  82. proudinjin,
    Did you know you could vote Not Guilty if you thought the law was
    poorly written or the officers’ conduct or credibility diminished the
    guilt of the defendant; it is called Jury Nullification.
    Seems like a good case for it. Why did none of the jurors
    utilize this mechanism, irrespective of who has what type of
    academic degrees? This guy is a convicted Felon now. Over peanuts.
    It’s not like OJ’s jury, which let him free
    based upon Fuhrman’s racist past, and other factors, were a bunch of rocket
    scientists.

  83. Yet more fun stuff for cat lovers ~

    Cat Hamlet:
    http://www.flixxy.com/cats-hamlet.htm

    Scuba Cat:
    http://www.flixxy.com/scuba-diving-cat.htm

    And a little astronomy for those of us science deprived and going through withdrawal:
    http://www.flixxy.com/astronomy-hubble.htm

    Finally, we know dogs drink from it, but cats do something else:
    http://www.flixxy.com/cultural-cats.htm

  84. At the time, I was not aware of jury nullification. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, any mention of jury nullification by the defense counsel or the judge is cause for a mistrial. Had I known, I would have nullified the jury. And, by the way, I am all too aware of the consequences Peter will have to suffer due to my ignorance of the law. All I did was follow the instructions set forth by the judge at the beginning of our deliberations. I do not agree with the statute, but, as written, he did obstruct by non-compliance. The statute is too ambiguous. I’m doing what I can to support Peter in his upcoming sentencing, and hope to help him avoid jail time.

  85. Yes, Peter, I decried those who stomped on “Oh Really” for dissenting. There seems to be enough “decrying” here to go around, no? I am one of the rare birds on the internet. I think there ought to be one standard, i.e., what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. “Oh Really” is somewhat sharp-elbowed, but not even as much as you and your supporters. Because he is a dissenter, he (and now I) is held to a standard of civility far above your own. This is what I mean by the tribal internet.

    “proudinjun,” you voted to convict Peter. Anything else is kind of interesting, for those who are interested, but as a matter of substance is mere crumbs swept from the table. But I am here so I am interested for the moment. Please describe the people and the deliberations, and as you do so distinguish between your own opinions of Peter and those held by all of the others.

    Obviously, there was a unanimous guilty verdict. From what you wrote and what a different juror was quoted writing, there seemed to be some sympathy for Peter and antipathy to the police. How many of the 12 would you say were sympathetic to Peter, and how many of the 12 would fall into the “Oh Really” camp or harsher?

  86. “Yes, Peter, I decried those who stomped on “Oh Really” for dissenting. There seems to be enough “decrying” here to go around, no? I am one of the rare birds on the internet. I think there ought to be one standard, i.e., what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”

    Being a citizen of a “decadent” “socialist” European country, I am not sure I can properly grasp what you mean to convey with your witty metaphor.

    Would you care to elaborate, so that we can avoid misunderstanding?

    “Oh Really” is somewhat sharp-elbowed, but not even as much as you and your supporters. Because he is a dissenter, he (and now I) is held to a standard of civility far above your own. This is what I mean by the tribal internet.”

    Excuse me, but as far as I can judge, both Oh Really and you are being treated in a rather civil manner.

    Unless you believe that not agreeing with your position on the issue is somehow inherently uncivil.

  87. In response to Ultimate Tomato: From views expressed in the jury room, all 12 were sympathetic to Peter. I don’t recall anybody expressing any “antipathy” to “the police”. I believe I said I was not in agreement with the statute of which he was convicted of. Please don’t put words into my mouth. And yes, you, too, are entitled to your opinion.

  88. @Ultimate Tomato ~ Sorry, but it is the attitude that you (yes, in your post above) and some others who are, to put it bluntly, “against Dr. Watts” that can and has been so grating, villifying and quite uncivil in tone, usually sarcastic and rather “uppity”, as if you are talking down to others that comes across readily.

    The ugliest, most demeaning and vile cyberwords have come mostly from “dissenters”. The anger and rage that emanates from those who cannot see beyond the narrow confines of a rigid view has been mostly inherent in those who have and continue to beat upon Dr. Watts.

    I find that a few of the dissenters seem to be lacking compassion, empathy and just basic humanity in the way they go about pummeling Dr. Watts, that quite frankly has brought out the sledghammerring pit bull in me.

    Those of us who support Dr Watts or take his side do so for our very own singular reasons. We are not the same nor do we have any sort of tribal or pack mentality. Please do not presume this or proceed to infer this. I know absolutely no one on this blog. No one is my friend on this blog. My own mind is swayed by what I know, have read, believe, glean and feel, based upon my own choices, experiences and decisions.

    It is one thing to dissent, which would be lovely if it was indeed respectable, and at least polite in a way that conveyed nothing of the sort that the attacking posters and those who seem to change their username or interchange personas to attack such that it is hard to know whom one is speaking to. Just as the Times-Herald had a bunch of mean-spirited folks, it is here that I have seen the same, and quite often it is not at all civil, but infused with sarcastic, sneering mockery, and quite demeaning from the get go.

    The tribal lumping applies to you also, but of course.

    I am my own person, and what I say or express is mine, and mine alone. I do not care to a part of any tribe or pack. Please do be careful how you word your statements and choose thoughtfully what it is exactly you are intending to mean.

    That is what I intend to do.

    The bullying on the Times-Herald may have primed me to be defending to a strong degree over here. But I am not one to hold grudges or harbor anger at anyone no matter how pissed I may have gotten with their particular words or statements. I have seen and experienced enough injustice in my life thus far to have the stance of taking the side of what is right.

    I have had to learn to stand up against some of the same mentality as evident here in my own life. It is one thing to express an opinion that your belief is that Dr. Watts should have obeyed, period, in a tone worthy of civil discourse. It is quite another to demean and denigrate him, as well as those of us who “take his side” in an attempt to diminish, ridicule and slur us as less than the human beings that we truly are. This has been a thread quite evident throughout many of the “dissenters’ postings”.

    You certainly have the right to your opinion and view. It is how you express it and how it comes across that may trigger something of which you feel you do not warrant.

  89. Speaking of assumptions, people here are assuming that I share “Oh Really’s” views on all of this. Actually, I’m undecided. I think both sides have good cases to make. I could almost literally flip a coin to decide where I come down on it. I suppose that seems callous in light of the danger Peter is in, but I can’t affect that with a coin toss or anything else.

    I’m only on “Oh Really’s” side when it comes to his being a dissenter. I see contrary voices constantly shut down on the Internet. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but from what I read in the prior comments from Peter it sounds as if he kicked “Oh Really” out of here. Is that correct, Peter, or am I assuming things?

    @01, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is an American idiomatic expression meaning that if you treat one person in a particular way, you should treat everyone else the same way. A similar saying is, “If you can dish it out, then be ready to take it.”

    From my reading of this blog, Peter and others here excoriated “Oh Really” for expressing his views in terms that were no harsher (and actually quite a bit milder) than others here, the difference being that “Oh Really” is against Peter and the others are for him. This is what I mean when I talk about the tribal Internet. There is relatively little true exchange of views; most sites are more of a mutual admiration (or hatred) society.

  90. Something else to say is that I think “O’Really” has had a pretty darned high signal-to-invective ratio. A lot higher than Peter and his friends, to be honest about it. To call you histrionic would be pretty accurate, and I hope more neutral than some of the terminology “O’Really” used. I can’t blame O’Really for that wisecrack about Peter not being Nelson Mandela.

    But I invective is always fluff anyway. Peter and his friends make a good case that the border police were on a hair trigger, and were too quick to escalate. O’Really makes a good case that Peter broke the law and ought to pay the price. On debating style, I tilt toward “O’Really,” who in this forum is the underdog, but on substance (which is all that actually counts with me), it’s a toss-up.

  91. huh. it’s kind of hard to imagine the dissenters here being shut out here since they seem to have the run of this particular comment thread. (and dr. watts is more forgiving actually on his website: other places would probably have had them disemvowelled and ejected already at first go.)

    and ironically, i’m not particularly sympathetic to their cries of being shouted down since most of their arguments are anti-sympathetic in general because “the law is the law.” blech. why bother sparing a single tear, yes?

  92. @Tomato

    From my reading of this blog, Peter and others here excoriated “Oh Really” for expressing his views in terms that were no harsher (and actually quite a bit milder) than others here, the difference being that “Oh Really” is against Peter and the others are for him.

    Um, no.

    OhReally has expressed and debated his opinions numerous times here. The problem is, “exchange of opinions” doesn’t mean people have to reach any kind of agreement.

    So, there was no agreement. Upon seeing that people do not agree with him, OhReally proceeded to restate his opinion (with increased amount of vitriol). I honestly have no idea what exactly he hoped to achieve by doing so, but eventually, people got tired of having someone systematically restate an opinion that is, as Hljóðlegur put it, “might not be reconcilable” with that of their own. Further information exchange was not deemed beneficial for any party involved :)

    “There is relatively little true exchange of views; most sites are more of a mutual admiration (or hatred) society.”

    Thing is, some views are irreconcilable. Exchange of views between people who have irreconcilable views is a futile endeavor. And if you happen to honestly believe that people can come to agreement on all important issues if they just sit down and listen to each other, I have a bridge to sell. It’s in good condition, btw.

    O’Really makes a good case that Peter broke the law and ought to pay the price
    and here, mr Tomato, we have encountered exactly the kind of opinion regarding which you and me will not be able to reach a common ground.
    You treat law as fundamentally sacred construct which should be respected even if a given law is poorly written or even downright authoritarian in intent or effect (and if one dareth to challenge a law, one should only do so through a very complex and bureaucratized process that takes years to start up.)

    I treat laws as human constructs, as faulty and malleable as humans who craft laws, and believe that “tough-on-them-bastards” laws that are consistent with certain types of state I consider unacceptable ( “police state”, dictatorship/any other kind of authoritarian rule, etc) should be challenged and short-circuited wherever encountered, and have nothing but sheer admiration for people who risk their well-being to drag those legislative abominations into the light, let alone actually manage to short-circuit them somehow or even take them down (For instance, attitude like that of Philip Zimmermann is a good example of what I find deeply admirable)

    And if after reading this you get the urge to lecture me regarding the need for harsher laws in order to prevent civilization’s collapse at the hands of “zeh teristsTM and zeh drugz dealerzTM” , I kindly advise you to refrain from doing so and spare the bandwidth.

  93. Interesting how the respect for the law that the likes of O@R spout here doesn’t extend to, y’know, paying attention to what members of the jury actually say. Their attention to the actual evidence on the table is *at least* as selective as they accuse Peter’s of being.

  94. @01: “like Gabor Varkonyi above, you actually support the “tough” law enforcement and the police state it brings with it, due to being a kind of coward who, terrified by various enemies (both real and imaginary) hopes to find safety in police state’s iron embrace”

    I don’t support the police state. I just think that it’s still better than no order. In other words, I don’t think it’s inherently evil. It’s just not the best solution.

    BTW what they have in the US is very far from a real police state. Like Hungary (my native country) before 1988. Which was already a very much watered down version of Hungary in the early 1950s. Which was still very liberal compared to the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Which was still better than the Russian civil war in 1919.

  95. @Gabor Varkonyi

    Okay, we can agree that we follow different definitions of “evil” as far as forms of social organization are concerned.

    IMHO, comparing Somalia and an average police state is like comparing AIDS and colorectal cancer.

  96. Tomato, there are things that dissenters do, and things they don’t do. Dissenters go against the flow, point out flaws in prevailing opinion; they also consider counterarguments, adapt to accommodate new input, get specific when that new input contains some hidden assumption or factual error. Dissenters argue, which is to say they engage in debate with the aim of constructive resolution.

    Then there are these other creatures. They don’t argue; they reflexively contradict (there’s a Monty Python sketch you might want to check out if you’re unclear on that distinction). They repeat themselves endlessly, strafing the arena with redundant iterations of the same post. They have a fondness for pejorative words. It doesn’t really matter what those words actually mean, because these creatures never actually bother to defend their use; all that matters is that they’re negative and inflammatory. Oh Really was especially fond of “immature” and “entitled”, but “racist” or “elitist” would work as well. Any general all-purpose slur will do, just so long as it can be dropped into any sentence at a moment’s notice.

    These creatures are not dissenters. They are trolls.

    Ever since this story first broke back in December, there’s been any number of sites — boingboing, Making Light, Whatever— that unapologetically disemvowelled or nuked comments about me that they regarded as trollish. I don’t generally do that here; go back over past comment threads and you’ll see me described as braindead, an arrogant moron — if you look really hard you’ll even find the occasional heartfelt wish to see me ass-raped in jail. I tolerate trolls more than most — partly because I don’t want to be overly censorious, partly because I keep hoping that if I actually reason with these creatures, treat them with a respect they probably don’t expect, then just maybe they’ll stop trolling and start actually arguing. Because as many of those assembled here will attest, I love a good argument.

    But even here, there are limits. When all is said and done, this is my place; and while I may ask you repeatedly to please stop tracking mud across the floor, if you keep on doing that there will come a time when I kick your nasty ass off my blog and all the way back to White Salmon where it belongs. Oh Really had the run of this place for almost four months. He said whatever he liked, and I never shut him down. Right up the end — especially at the end — I tried to engage. I told him why I disagreed, I backed my position up with chapter and verse, I explained where I was coming from and why. He didn’t rebut any of the points I raised in that comment. He didn’t even address them. He just threw “immature” and “entitled” at me again, like mud against the wall.

    It wasn’t an argument. It was tantrum, it was an eight-year-old with his hands clapped over his ears going “LALALALALA”, it was a sixties-era ELIZAbot caught in a program loop. Damn right I locked him out. Should’ve done it months ago.

    And now we come to you, Tomato, and I see you like the word “histrionic”. I find this odd; after all, blogs all around teh tubes have described my reaction to the verdict as “calm”, “reasonable”, “incredibly gracious”. You don’t provide examples of histrionics on my part (you do agree with Oh Really that I’m not Nelson Mandela, but of course, I never said I was). You just sling the word, as though you don’t know what it means. Or maybe as though you don’t care, just so long as it’s pejorative. Like “immature”. Or “entitled”.

    So, who knows? Maybe you’re a skeptic; maybe you’re a troll; maybe you’re still in search of your identity. As long as you argue instead of contradict, as long as you engage instead of strafe, you’re welcome here.

    But again; while the limits here are looser than you’ll find most places, they do exist.

  97. Peter,

    I have been following this story and am sorry for your situation.

    I would like to hear more of your thoughts re: countersuits.

    You have written that a countersuit would hinge on your acquittal, but in your “Guilty” post you said the “failure to comply” conviction was for actions that occurred AFTER you were assaulted by Beaudry.

    This seems like a slam-dunk case with basically no downside to you and a huge potential upside. There is apparently video evidence and now a court transcript that, by your account, would make an airtight case. It is common for prosecutors to be paid from settlements so it wouldn’t cost you anything out-of-pocket. You might have to go to the location of the trial for a few days–certainly no longer than a week–but since you’re a writer I imagine that isn’t too much of a hardship.

    I suspect millions of Americans would LOVE to get beat up by a border agent with the video camera rolling and the agent admitting to it in an official court transcript. I imagine it’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in punitive damages. I don’t understand your reluctance to pursue this.

    -Tom

  98. Peter, you and your friends will call me a stupid Nazi dupe, so I went first. You are so fucked. Peter, you forgot that you were a guest here. You acted like the pathetic little asshole that you are, and now you will be a “guest” here for much longer. Enjoy your stay. I’ll be laughing my ass off when I read about your sentence. You want hostile? You got it.

    Sorry for my bluntless. Yeah, real sorry. We’re like that here in Nevada. You want to put on your phony airs? A loser is a loser where I’m from.

  99. Hi, Stupid.

    Actually, I didn’t want hostile (or stupid nazi dupes either, for that matter), but I got it anyway.

    Welcome to the crawl. Please stop tracking mud across the floor.

  100. We’re like that here in Nevada.

    I pity Nevada.

  101. more links and snippets

    > So, Canadian sf writer Peter Watts got worked over at the border, was
    > found guilty of obstructing the border cops, and is now awaiting
    > sentencing. It sucks, truly, but nothing I can do, except post about how it
    > sucks, for what that’s worth, which isn’t much.

    from http://zoneseek.blogspot.com/2010/04/peter-watts-dive.html

    I share the sentiments. Not much anyone can do either at this juncture.
    Trawl the news and blog feeds, write to elected officials and papers, share the story, worry. It’s not much, but one hopes it helps.

    As a small silver lining, we have comments like

    > I read a bit of Starfish, but then other things in life intruded.
    > Now with Watts waiting on the judge’s gavel, I brought the files
    > back up and read them. And damn, they’re amazing.

    That’s the normal. One really just wants to go back to the normal.

    Next snippet….

    Opinions about Stephen Harper, current Canadian prime minister are mixed, but let’s focus on the message and not messenger

    > “We share all the same security concerns as our American friends,”
    > Harper said.
    > “I think we have to keep making the point to our American friends
    > that it’s essential that our borders be bridges between us and
    > not barriers.”

    from “PM concerned about border security after N.S. couple nabbed in U.S.” , Canadian Press

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gB4QRBZB5_uNBI4MW43_MwupuIJw

    What do these kinds of incidents accomplish? Who benefits here? I see no winners, only losers. Peter Watts may be a loser, but he’s not the only one. When the US authorities start to collar and harass harmless civvies for the offence of being in the wrong place and asking the wrong question, then, in a broad sense, everyone loses.

    Next snippet, again about Stanstead

    from “Stiffer rules infuriate Quebec border town”, the Globe and Mail, March 29

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/stiffer-rules-infuriate-quebec-border-town/article1516454/

    > All Clarence Rolleston wanted was a snack at McDonald’s after
    > church. Instead, the 83-year-old Canadian pensioner and his wife
    > were photographed, fingerprinted and threatened with a fine of up to
    > $5,000 (U.S.).

    The Stanstead/Derby Line crossing is sure keeping the CBP busy. Earlier we had the story of Buzz Roy, the American pharmacist and town trustee who was arrested for crossing the border to buy a pizza, and now this.

    However, the point of this snippet is the G&M comments section and the thumbs up/down tallies.

    The commentary on this blog and at the G&M have just a few basic forms. Here’s oneargument I haven’t seen on rifters, yet.

    >Not good enough to share a border openly, but good enough to
    > keep troops in Afghanistan?
    > After all, we weren’t the ones attacked yet over 140 of our military
    > died over there.
    > It’s about time they reconsidered their position in respect to Canada.

    A bit of background for the US readers. The Canadian mission in Afghanistan goes back to 2002. In 2005 the Canadians took command of Kandahar province. A total of 141 Canadian Forces personnel have been killed since the mission began.

    The Canadian troops are scheduled to pull out in 2011, but the US has formally requested that the Canadians maintain their presence.

    Now back to the above G&M comment.
    Thumbs up: 132
    Thumbs down: 3
    I don’t think the Canadians will stay.
    Whatever one’s opinions about the conflict, perhaps we can all agree that

    Needlessly pissing off one’s allies is counter-productive

    So we come to our big conclusion, the meaning of it all.

    Question: why should Peter Watts go to jail?

    Argument: Peter Watts is a non-violent, contributing member of society.
    Incarceration of such an individual is a waste of resources. There is no deterrence value. Jail time will just piss people off, and garner him sympathy.

    Response: you are all missing the point. Peter Watts should go to jail so that our Canadian guys and gals can finally come home.

    The good of the many outweighs the good of the few.

    P.S. interpret that last bit however you see fit

  102. While I realize it isn’t unique to this blog, I have to say that I’m fascinated by the apparent belief of the trolls that they are “speaking truth to power”. With all due respect to Peter, the only reason that Peter is a “power” here is that it’s his own blog. Sneaking into my backyard and taking a crap on my lawn doesn’t make you a daring rebel fighting against “the man”; it makes you an asshole.

    Of course, there’s also the irony of these people belittling Peter for their belief that he was inadequately subservient while being a guest of the USA by becoming a guest on this blog and being actively hostile.

  103. Stupid Nazi Dupe said “Peter, you forgot that you were a guest here. ”

    Remind me never to accept an invitation to be a guest in his house. I have this vision of sitting down to dinner and being beaten for not passing the gravy fast enough. I do not know this person at all, but from the few words that he has graced us with I feel fairly confident that he believes the following:
    Better dead than red;
    Public health care will result in death panels;
    The 9/11 hijackers entered the US through Canada;
    The US single handedly won both the first and second world war;
    Intelligent design explains biological diversity.

  104. Stupid Nazi Dupe is a fascist apologist. I’m with Anony Mouse on this one. And since he is from Nevada, I’m going to suggest that higher-than-normal levels of background radiation got him while in the womb and mutated some of his higher thought processes, thus leading to his repellent value system.

  105. True enough, RedIndianGirl. It’s the radiation. I glow in the dark. Lots of us like that. Never trust a Nazi who glows in the dark. Where Peter’s going, they don’t need night lights.

  106. True enough, RedIndianGirl. It’s the radiation. I glow in the dark.

    Well, that’s some good news right there…

  107. man, the quote tags, they do nothing :(

  108. ah there
    silly me.

  109. @Tom,

    This is my understanding: generally speaking, it’s very difficult to get a judgment against LEO’s of any stripe in cases like this, because they can always claim that they were acting in the course of their duties and those duties, by definition, include the use of force.

    In this particular case, the transcript certainly establishes that contrary to allegations, I was not violent or aggressive in any way. And it contains Beaudry’s own admission that he struck me repeatedly in the face. But he characterised that as a distancing maneuver; after he had “somehow” found himself in the car, he felt “choked” and had to hit me in the course of escaping the vehicle. The choking thing was contradicted by both me and my passenger (and under cross even Beaudry admitted that I’d never had my hands on his throat; he’d just felt constricted by something pulling on his jacket), but he still described his moves as essentially defensive.

    It was easy enough to establish that I never tried to assault anyone; but were I to launch a countersuit, the burden of proof would be on me to prove that Beaudry did not believe that he was acting in self-defense. That goes to establishing state of mind, which would be tough enough even if I’d been acquitted; and since Beaudry was dealing with someone who was technically commiting a felony, his alleged fears for his safety would have that much more credibility.

    The video wasn’t much good for anything except establishing timelines — remember this was a toll booth a couple of kilometers from the border, not a permanent checkpoint, so there were no crisp closeups or full-motion vid. There was the car: there were pixels showing my head rising above the level of the car’s roof, and going down again; there were little army-ant-like figures swarming about. It was good for establishing that I was only out of the car for a matter of seconds before everything turned to shit, but it didn’t show anything that happened inside the vehicle.

  110. Technically, it isn’t that hard to clean up those videos.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUFkb0d1kbU

  111. New Boingboing article. Also, the old Nazi fucktard has a new post. Guess he thinks he’s untouchable.

  112. Order isn’t evil. It’s order. The alternative is generally chaos because while some people are genuinely looking for genuine discourse, a goodly number (majority? minority?) are looking for gain.

    So in a ‘security’ situation, we give strong authority to some folk, who ‘should’ be trained but often aren’t. I’d love to live in a society where all exchanges are civil and open. But that ain’t this one. Hell, this ain’t even the right species for that.

    So we compromise. Like the man said in the Simple Justice blog

  113. Order isn’t evil. It’s order. The alternative is generally chaos because while some people are genuinely looking for genuine discourse, a goodly number (majority? minority?) are looking for gain.

    Again, nobody claims the opposite.

    And once again I would like to point out that there is no reason to believe (as in “no hard evidence”) that “tougher” laws and “hard compromises on civil liberty” grant any worthwhile increase in security.
    “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither”, as a certain American historical figure had said.

  114. @Peter Watts, on April 1st, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for the reply. It does sound like you are in a corner. On the other hand, it seems like these justifications could be used in any police brutality case, yet such cases are still brought to court and I assume occasionally won. Have you reached out to any prosecutor familiar with such cases, or vice versa?

  115. proudinjun please take a breath and maybe live your own life. You are way too into this case. In the end the only people that know the truth are the border officer and Dr. Watts. You were on a jury that is it. You can write a hundred letters to the judge, it won’t make a difference. Should he be punished for his actions…maybe. Should he get a reduced sentence…probably. Should you get your own life and stop living off others….definitely. Get a life!

  116. Holy cow. It is very noble of Peter Watts not to simply delete these trolls. It is also very instructive for the rest of us. And a good laugh, if it wouldn’t be such a serious matter.

    Again I don’t understand. Where are these haters coming from? And why Peter Watts? With all due respect -and he has proven that he deserves A LOT in this affair- outside the community of science fiction few people will know who he is.

    I also don’t understand why these border crossings so often result in violence on the part of the “guards”. I live in Europe and in case you don’t know (forgive the sarcasm): we have A LOT of borders. Things like this never seem to happen.
    (Truth be told: there have been some problems with illegal immigrants and forced transportation back to their country of origin, but those are obviously not similar cases.)

  117. holy crap, you actually got convicted. I haven’t been able to follow the story, sadly, there’s a few others pretty much dictating economic demise for many, and in particular for my line of work being dollar-exchange related. This is the first time catching up since probably January.
    Sorry to hear it. Damn American “justice” system is evil. That’s why I think I’ll probably never go there ever again. Was a time, 1990 or so, I didn’t feel any such danger or problems. Not counting on the future being bright in this regard.
    Wish you well. Hope there’s a way to appeal. Assault indeed. What a fucking disgrace.

  118. I’m only going to comment briefly because it’s very late and I am tired. My nephew is in prison in Nevada for aggravated assault on a police officer. He is seven months away from finishing a three year term, which was reduced to two years from good behavior.

    Because he has a fair amount of time on his hands, I printed out a bunch of the stuff in these threads and mailed it to him, asking for his comments. I got a thorough answer from him, and it’s not in favor of Peter Watts. Sometime this weekend I will post his answer in its entirety, because it made for interesting and insightful reading.

  119. Hi “Stupid Nazi Dupe” (you chose the name, pal). In case you don’t recall we had one of your fellow Americans here as a guest (I think that would be Ann Coulter). She definitely crossed our legal lines. We sent her home, no beating. Wasn’t that polite of us? You sure don’t know how to treat a guest, much less invite them. Don’t you feel ashamed of your failure of a country, or do you feel proud for doing the most wrong possible at all times and cheering it on? Do you think visiting Americans should get random beat-downs and convictions in Canada? Believe me, we have RCMP officers willing to do it, especially at one particular Vancouver airport (well, used to be, now one of them is in Toronto). So please, if you like this treatment, you’re welcome to come ask for the same. Remember, the safeword is FLǕGGȦ∂NKđ€ČHIŒβǾLʃÊN not “stapler”.

  120. Val said

    The Ottawa Citizen jumped on the wire-service “convicted of assault” bandwagon. I complained and am trying to get it fixed. Can you recommend an accurate source for them to cite?

    Sorry it took so long to answer this, Val — your question got lost in the blizzard of responses. Anyway, it’s not a hopeless task- Macleans, at least, updated their story in the face of reader feedback to explicitly disavow the assault thing (http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/19/peter-watts-convicted-of-assault/), but it took them several days. The problem is that the statute itself includes assault as one of a number of offenses. I was never convicted of assaulting anyone, but I was convicted under the umbrella statute, and because of field/space limitations in the online form the offense itself — “Assaulting, battering, resisting, obstructing, opposing person performing duty” — gets truncated to ASSAULT-OFFICER. And even when the paper does spell out the actual statute at greater length, they generally stick an “and” in there rather than an “or” (“Resisting, obstructing, and assaulting”).

    Of course, Paper Zero for this bullshit is the Port Huron Times-Herald, which was the only outlet to actually have someone in the courtroom. Proudinjun actually called them up to urge a change in their online reportage; their response, apparently, was that as long as the online court-docket record read “assault”, that was what they’d go with.

  121. No worries about the delay. I understand you are…like….busy these days.

    The PH Times-Herald folks sound like jerks. I’m sad to see so many Canadian papers took that piece unquestioned, but I’m not surprised. The Citizen story looks like a cut-down version of the one that ran in the National Post. They are both Canwest papers and it’s a wire story. I expect it showed up in Canwest papers all over the country. I’ll keep trying to fix it, but I don’t know if they will change the online stories after this much time.

    I think complaining is worthwhile, though. You didn’t assault anyone. They are damaging your reputation every time they say you did. I expect another round of stories after the 26th. It would be nice to see a bit more accuracy..

    Take care,

    I’m off to drill ice/catch fish.

  122. Uplinktruck (who was at trial for part of it) posted to his blog.

  123. In response to Roger:

    I appreciate the fact that you’re following this case so closely. Noticed that you posted on April 2. A friend of mine let me know that you decided to take a shot at me on this blog. I, personally, haven’t been on here since March 30. Get a life? Why don’t you. My intent on this site was to inform interested people as to what happened in the deliberations. I wanted to provide facts, not speculation. Get over yourself. You have no idea who I am or what I’m about, so shut your cake-hole.

    On a happier note, congratulations on the Hugo nomination, Peter!!!

  124. Sorry proudinjun,

    Seem to have struck a nerve there. Just because I haven’t posted sooner doesn’t mean I haven’t followed the case. Maybe you should have done more research and relaxed a bit before you started posting. We know what happened…12 jurors made a decision not based in reality…got it thanks. I appreciate the grown up response typical of Americans…if you don’t agree with me you don’t have an opinion. Thank you for proving a point that the American justice system would be unable to find of jury of peers if they all have the intellectual makeup of a 3 year old.

    By the way…I now have a very clear idea of who you are.

  125. more border madness

    Errant N.B. family shown no mercy at border

    Follow the link for the story and video reportage

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/03/31/nb-border-problems-428.html#socialcomments

  126. @ proudinjun

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and recollections. All the best.

  127. I wonder if Peter will write a stirring manifesto to freedom while he’s in the clink. Who knows, maybe he could send it to the creators of “The Simpsons” and they could have one of the characters read it. Or “South Park.” By the way, Peter, did you know that in Germany, when someone is sent to prison they say that he’s “going behind the Swedish curtain?” This is because the steel in German jail cells is (or used to be) made from a special high-strength alloy that came from Sweden.

    I thought you might want to know some jail trivia, seeing as how you so badly wanted to be sent there. You’re a Ph.D., so obviously your behavior can’t have been just the sort of dumb mistake that some loudmouthed prole from, say, Ohio would make, right? You wanted to be sent to prison, so enjoy yourself.

    [Actually it was part of a clever research project by me and my Ph.D. buddies, designed to elicit spontaneous feedback that we could use to derive a spatial map of mean intelligence throughout the states. It’s early days yet, but preliminary results indicate an elevated Retard Ratio around Portland…

    —PW]

  128. In response to Roger:

    I have no problem whatsoever with people having an opinion. Your posting was not an opinion, it was a personal assault on me. I should have relaxed and done research? Research on what? How to respond to some blowhard telling me I’m obsessing, and to get a life? HHMMM… Where do I research that? Like I said, I was just trying to inform INTELLIGENT people of what transpired, and give them an idea of what the mindset was of the jury. You may not agree with our judicial system, but it’s all we have. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And no, sir, you are clueless as to who I am. Maybe, if you were a little more compassionate and HUMAN, you would take into consideration that I don’t agree with the statute that Peter was convicted of, and that I am not comfortable with it. But, obviously, you are too busy stereotyping Americans as the world’s bullies, and we all have the mindset of a three year old. I feel sorry for you and your narrow view of the world. Take all the shots you want to at me, if it makes you feel better. I’m comfortable with who I am, and your “opinion” won’t sway my convictions. Have a fine day, sir.

  129. @rm3154

    You’re welcome, and thank you for your kindness. The best to you, as well.

  130. Not your Ph.D. buddies, Peter. You. Only you. And yeah, I am a retard. Very, very retarded. Yet here I am, roaming free while you, the smartest dog on the block, will soon be in jail, being told when to get up, what to do, what to eat, and when to go to bed? Funny how that retard thing works. I’d rather be stupid and free, myself.

  131. And you are, Ralph. You really are.

    Run along now. For while you do seem to be exercising your stupidity to its fullest, I’m certain you have better things to do with all that precious freedom than publicly obsess over the fate of someone you’ve never met and barely heard of. At the very least, there must be Tea Party meeting in your neighborhood, or a picture of Obama that you haven’t yet graced with a Hitler mustache.

  132. To the moon, Ralph….

    Oh, wait, we’ll not be going there again any time soon because we’re broke. China will, though. Thanks neocons for breaking the bank on that whole “let’s invade a brownskinned country because they did not attack us on 911 but most people are too fucking dumb to vote in our own best interests” thing.

    Meathead…

  133. Mr. Watts, first, allow me to express my most sincere support and condolences.

    Second, on a much more lighthearted note, I would like to point out that uncanny twists and perturbations your story has experienced in the so-called blogosphere and the sheer prominence the most inane twists have acquired, are somewhat reminiscent of what Anemone did to the story of one Lenny Clarke.

    At least you aren’t paraded as the bringer of apocalypse … at least not yet 😉

  134. I’ve been following the story and I would like to know if you plan to sue the US department that brought these bullshit charges against you? They deserve it. It’s certainly not your responsibility to take on the task of admonishing them but they should not be allowed to get away with this. It’s an injustice. For all that certain quarters of the US talk about freedom and what-not it’s just a smokescreen and behind it they’re letting bullies get away with acting out their fascist fantasies.

    And then these antisocial personality disordered retards get on your blog and start projecting all their own bullshit at you, making out that they have no idea that they are the ones guilty of the “entitlement” sin that they see in so many of the individuals with whom they come in contact.

    All of which leads me to suspect that perhaps O Really is really someone much closer to the matter in question than the lame pseudonym might indicate. If you’ve got a tracker working you can check it for ISP numbers and other interesting information. Add cyberstalking to your complaints and sue that antisocial waste of space!

    I know it’s easy for me to yell “GET ‘EM!” and another story altogether to actually undertake the venture. I just hate unfairness.

    (btw trolls, I won’t respond if you reply to me. You’re all the same with all the same crazy arse-about-tit arguments and insults and nothing constructive to offer. You’re all boring and too tedious to be worth the engagement.)

  135. Hi Soliloquy

    In terms of countersuits, I laid out my understanding on that score further up this thread, at

    http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=1214#comment-20041

  136. Dr. Watts

    I am hopeful that the judge will be lenient. I’ve been following your story since the original event, and if it’s any consolation it has spurred me into an unprecedented degree of activism (for me). I’ve made your plight known to everyone I know, I made contributions to the EFF and the ACLU, and have contacted my azzwipe MP for all the good that will do. I’ve called off two trips to the US for medical conferences (with letters to the organizers and hotels outlining my reasons), and I will never visit the US voluntarily again. I bug the hell out of family friends and colleagues who are planning to visit the US to make them aware of what’s going on. All my hobby stuff now comes from Europe or China. Oh, and I sacrificed a goat to Huitzilopochtli on your behalf.

    Law enforcement, particularly the Border Patrol and ICE are absolutely out of control in the US, and I’m afraid we’re not far behind. The (unconstitutional) authority to perform unwarranted searches of ANYONE within 100 miles of the US coastline or border essentially establishes a police state for 2/3 of the US population, but very few Americans seem to care (too busy getting Sarah Palin’s autograph). And as you know, the agents are not being trained to view anyone as more than a potential threat, much less as a human being.

    Hang in there and best of luck

    Keith in Calgary

  137. Dear Keith,

    I wish I could agree that it’s a teabagger / republican / conservative / authoritarian problem, but unfortunately there are too many people on the Left and even in the Middle too afraid (as George Carlin might say) of losing 20 square feet to store their Lexus (or Prius, or …) that they will merely throw money at a problem and forget about it, say to themselves that they did their part while things continue to deteriorate and settle for phony and/or shortterm solutions to economic, security and environmental problems. I cite for example:

    1) Killing of two top al Qaeda in Iraq leaders. Yes, shortterm we’ve dealt them a blow and it will take them time to recover. In the meantime, recruiters will use their deaths as a marketing tool, because when your enemy *wants* to die and you’re handing him exactly what he wants, he wins in the longterm. Those two will be rockstars to the as yet uninitiated youth of Iraq and elsewhere. Best case scenario for the US: we get out before they can do that.

    2) I was as moved as anyone by the incredible outpouring of donations to the people of Haiti. In this economy? It speaks volumes about the true character of the citizens of the US. For you see, even an overzealous LEO probably *thought* he was helping… But now someone else is going to probably pay the price for inadequate training (Mr. Miyagi—or was it Confusius?— said there’s no such thing as a bad student, only bad teachers), policy (note the addition of a sign; that’s an improvment. Realistically, it takes time to implement changes and the new administration was not quite in a year, the Secretary even less), or a mistake (everyone makes them, even cops and soldiers… Just sucks when fear of criticism, terrorists, drug dealers, and/or lawsuits trump common sense). But back to Haiti, two days after the earthquake, we sent in mercenaries to keep order. Certainly, societies in chaos need order, but starving and thirsty people also need food and water. I am hopeful that there were as few mistakes in that regard as possible (and, yes, a few bad apples do try to take advantage of natural disasters, whether it’s phony charities or local criminals), but see both sides of that coin.

    3) Hard for me to criticize environmental efforts this close to Earth Day. I want to see the good that can and I’m sure will come of it, but at the same time, there’s a growing pile of garbage in the middle of the ocean, approaching land like (hope people won’t think too much of the analogy… I do seem to have a tendency to exaggerate for dramatic effect), Alan Moore’s Black Freighter. I say that with what a great man not so long ago referred to as “gallows humor”. Life is hard, bad things happen, but we have to laugh at it sometimes or we die or lose out wits. To me, the smallest act of kindness, even a quick friendly smile in the local grocery store, at the right time, will eventually overcome the “lizard brain” *every* time… (that is *not* an exaggeration… Stop rolling your eyes… Yes, YOU! Yes, you too. And even you. Sure me too… HELLO?!? How do you think I figured it out? Guilty as charged.) Even (or especially?) when the lizard brain actually has a reason to be doing the taking. You know, “Fear is the mindkiller”… “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”… “Paranoia, big destroyah”. It’s not limited to “authoritarians” (or perhaps more accurately, we ALL have a little authoritarian in us, whether we recognize it or not… I’m no damn exception).