MASON MARK (.COM)

mundane American hero

2009-04-18

YouTube has a very depressing video of an American standing up for his commonplace civil rights[1], in a reasonable and composed manner, when his vehicle is stopped at a "checkpoint".

porkish_humanoid.jpg

There a several things about this video to make a real American cringe:

First and foremost is that fact that you yourself would not bother to stand up for American principles in this way, because it would be too inconvenient[2]. 99% of people (sadly, myself included) would just allow the cops to perform a warrantless search with no cause whatsoever. But: that's obviously how police-state creep begins. (I mean, has begun.)

The "our justification for the search of your vehicle is that you won't let us search your vehicle" line of reasoning is disturbing.

As a summary of post-9/11 America, the smirky and insincere "right now, I'm pretty sure you're a terrorist" line from the Border Patrol agent, when he fails to come up with any logical response, is too pithy for comfort.

The fact that it takes 28 minutes to watch. (It's too boring and tedious to watch alone, so it is best absorbed by leaving it in the background while doing other things.)

Finally, there's the fact that in America now, the situation depicted in this video is probably commonplace, and altogether unsurprising (except perhaps for the fact that this citizen actually does not instantly capitulate).

UPDATE: I think I've identified the previously anonymous hero! According to KSWT 13 News the guy is Steven Anderson. Looks like we can definitely add "and Christian nut job" to our "American hero" description. But the one doesn't preclude the other, of course. (It does make it substantially less cool, but... this is a serious issue, not a fashion show. And of course, Christians and other reality-averse people can still serve a useful social function, as apparently is the case with this guy.)


[1]: I mean 'civil rights' in the normal sense of the word, as in "the right to drive down the street within your own country and not be detained, swarmed by uniformed authorities with weapons, and searched without reasonable cause", not whatever the minutiae of the laws of this particular state and the nation happen to dictate. It wouldn't surprise me if this guy didn't actually have the rights he asserts here -- although that would make this video even more depressing.

[2]: Ha ha, yes, convenience is certainly another cultural American ideal -- one that I prize, even -- but it's obviously not one to be valued above liberty and personal freedom.

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