The US is missing out on tourism because people overseas read horror stories like this and scratch it off their want-to-go list. I categorise the US alongside wonderful places like Saudi Arabia, China, and Russia as a place where human rights aren't.
I'm a white male of Christian background, I'm not on any "lists" that I know of, and have no reason to be. I work with government departments in my home country and have multiple clearance checks, some of which are very thorough. I sail through airport customs checks in every country.
But clearly the US is number one mainly at being a police state. It's the world's richest third-world country. It's authoritarian to its core.
In our country we have state-local police, one branch of federal police that exists only to protect politicians and a few other special duties. That's about it for uniformed people with arrest powers. Oh, technically we have the Office of the Sheriff for enforcing court orders, and I think Border Patrol aren't technically Police. I don't even know. It doesn't really come up as an issue for law abiding people, irrespective of their skin colour or time of year. Oh sure, you hear the homeless drug addicts complain about "the pigs" loudly, but... yeah. They're bound to.
Meanwhile, allow me to list the US police forces or police-like groups that I know of the top of my head just by watching US-made television shows: State Troopers, Local and county police, Sherrifs, DEA, ATF, DHS, Military Police, FBI, ICE, Marshalls, Campus Police(!), Secret Service, and I'm probably forgetting a few.
This is why the black-lives-matter riots are still going on. Your nation's law enforcement is a militarised, authoritarian nightmare. For someone who doesn't like being "not arrested for 18 hours" for "looking wrong" and using cleaning products, it's a place to avoid, not visit.
One part that I found particularly odd: when they pulled him aside to question him, I tried to wait for him, but was told I needed to continue through a one-way, armored door with no window. I later found out that they asked him why his ticket said he was traveling with family when his family wasn’t with him. Fortunately, our mother was pretty far behind us in line, didn’t realize he had been pulled aside for questioning, and called for him to hurry up. I’m told that allayed their fears and he was released.
He came out of it pretty rattled. We had already been forced to stand in line for over an hour--which was taking a toll on our elderly grandparents, who weren't permitted to sit. He was visibly shaken and disoriented.
We eventually came to the conclusion that he looked a little too American. Cheap, university-student clothing (e.g., free sunglasses handed out by a university). They must’ve though he was trying too hard to fit in. He didn’t set off any alarms; he hadn't even made it to the security checkpoint yet. They pulled him out of the line.
I went to a fairly large university in the UK, about 11k people on a self contained campus. I think there was a designated police officer for the university. I don't recall any security guards per-se, but there was a "porters" who looked after the main building, and there were a couple of bouncers checking ID on the on-campus bars (to stop townies from getting in)
Is it not just normal police officers with perhaps some extra training on dealing with student matters?
As someone who has been in Saudi Arabia, China and the US, I can say that your view of reality is severely incorrect. I encourage you to visit the US before making this kind of statement. (Disclaimer: I'm European)
I do agree that the US border is the toughest. I assume much of that is because of how many people try to illegally immigrate to America (and how hard it is to get them out once they're in). America is perhaps the only country where pretty much everybody coming in is a potential future illegal immigrant. Some of it is perhaps indeed unreasonable but in no way does it represent the experience you'll have IN the country.
But again, never had a bad experience with them. Always opt out of full body scanners and that has never been an issue. It just always feels much more crowded and slower than other places. That's my biggest complaint.
Many countries essentially have the police forces you listed but they may just be a department in some bigger organization. The American setup is just much more decentralized.
BTW China and Russia have perfectly boring borders. Yet inside of China I did have some not-so-pleasant encounters with the police just for failing to register my address with them. And again look at how the Chinese police is structured. It's pretty boring like most places, yet it TRULY is an authoritarian country.
 which again just proves how not-authoritarian America is.
The border is horrible. It is something which I hated, one feels like cattle and is treated worse. The other one similar to that was in Russia.
The border authorities look all psychopathic and I wonder if they are selected as such.
The agriculture guys after you pick your luggage are ok.
As for the police inside the country, I had 3 encounters over 20 years and maybe 50 trips.
One was when I asked for some directions on Phoenix. This is the normal thing to do in France but here the lady was perplexed as of why I am asking her. Nice but really surprised.
The second one was on a road in the middle of nowhere in the SW. It was night, we were driving and ther was a single light on our lane. We slow down to a stop, look at the police car, no reaction on their side so we drive on. The car rushes after us, bright lights, the cop yelling at us with his gun out and my bowels almost giving up.
He asked for our papers, I asked if I can move my hands which were on the roof and I think he recognized an accent. He relaxed a bit, said yes and I proceeded to explain every move I was doing.
He had a look at the papers and let us go. My friend lightly peed himself.
Third one, a year ago. I am driving with my family entering Paso Robles. My gps tells me to turn left. I go to the left turn lane but it was the wrong one, the right one is 20 meters further down the road. Quick glance around and I drive forward, against the rules.
Sound and light signal, I see a big police car behind. A young cop walks to my car and asks me jhghjhffcjjhgvbk (this is what I understood). I ask him to please repeat slower, to what he glances inside the car, sees two kids grinning in the back, us in the front and says "you are free to go, have fun and drive carefully"
So it is a mixed bag, based on three data points.
I could be describing New Zealand, or Canada, or Belgium, or Finland, or any number of western countries.
Anecdote: I once ventured into a post office in central New Orleans (the touristy bit) in the search of some stamps. The post office happened to be located inside a courthouse, with airport-style security to get in. When I started to take off my backpack so I could put it in the X-ray machine, I was greeted with very agitated shouts of "KEEP YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM SIR!" because -- I realized afterwards -- the armed security thought I was going to shoot up the place.
And please, if you haven’t been here, why are you making all these statements about this place you’ve never seen?
It feels very aggressive and critical of the country where I live.
It is basically hate speech.
I also know of the Rodney King Riots, just to name another similar incident off the top of my head.
I live in Australia. Name one incident with our police that made the national news in the US, off the top of your head. (Using Google is cheating!)
When I turn on the evening news here, I see US police violence against our journalists: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/channel-7-journalists...
I see our citizens being outright murdered by police, despite being white and blonde: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Justine_Damond
The last local police killing that I'm aware of was this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindt_Cafe_siege
There was also some incident in the last year or so that looked like suicide by police. I felt bad for the officer involved, and apparently they had to get counselling because they were so distraught afterwards.
Meanwhile we're hearing about US police forces killing people roughly weekly during the protests against excessive police violence.
It's flabbergasting that you think these facts are hate speech. This criticism is warranted. Certainly, many hundreds of thousands of your countrymen agree, loudly.
I’ve been harassed by police in other contexts when they followed protocol incorrectly and tried to cover their asses. Lawyers tend to sort that out quickly, but what about people who can’t afford lawyers?
At the same time, I’ve had police officers help me and my family, and I’ve generally gotten along quite well with law enforcement. But in all these situations, they weren’t acting as LEOs; they were acting as social services.
What might be entirely coincidence, but I found interesting, was that this was a JetBlue flight from JFK. The one time I triggered the explosives detection machine was a JetBlue flight from JFK. I had almost nothing special - a carryon I've used many times before, with clothes and toiletries. I also had two small fossils I bought from the Evolution store in NYC, which the TSA agent seemed especially interested in retesting.
In my case though, I just had to deal with a thorough search of the carryon, confusion from other TSA agents (something like "oh, you searched the carryon? That wasn't necessary" from one agent to another) and listening to the main TSA agent wax poetic about how evolution is a lie and how climate change is a hoax.
Not sure what specifically their explosives test is testing for, but when I realized what I’d done while waiting in the security line the scenario that played out in my head definitely included them picking up on a wackload of gunpowder residue.
I can only assume they're checking for deflagrating explosives (TATP, ampho, etc).
If America didn't police the world, China would, and we would still have Soviet Union, and probably Taiwan would not be on the map.
In my opinion, we can accept that reality is very severely non-optimal while still trying our best to avoid the problems that reality causes. Or in the words of Hunter S. Thompson (maybe misattributed): 'Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.'
A flight attendant approaches the student in economy class and offers them a free upgrade, presumably because he is perceived to be of an important profession. Completely ignoring the ridiculously qualified, well-traveled, multiple language speaking, highly cited professor. They were quite salty but it made for a good story over some beers!
You forgot about wearing glasses. For some reason Airport security sees no danger in people wearing glasses. Shaving, wearing bland clothes and glasses (fake, because my vision is fine) are part of my travel strategy. And i am not joking.
I remember a while back I believe it was New Zealand that wanted the ability to search your devices for BitCoins. I believe at least in the UK it's a criminal offense to not provide the password to your encrypted device. Unless things change I'm sure this will just get worse.
I remember the first time I was flying to the US, I was adviced by multiple people in the days leading up to the flight, to get rid of my beard, because it made me look Muslim. From all the stories, it's probably a good precaution to take. Stuff like this and complying to authority in a polite way even though all human instinct tells you to be pissed is normal.
This kind of alarmist sentiment is meaningless without elaboration. It could equally be a marxist criticism of wage-slavery as it could be a neo-liberal critique of the surveillance state.
Worth just reminding everyone that those rights exist whether the powerful of the day want to undermine or uphold them; they exist everywhere in the universe including airports. They exist for all people regardless of their religion or ethnicity.
We’re not fooled into forgetting about these immutable rights just because someone acts as if that they have the authority to negate them. They most certainly do not.
And to be fair to some of the TSA employees, their jobs look really sucky. Add to that a sense of power (because obviously they have the power to ruin your trip and perhaps your life if it causes you to end up on the no-fly list), and you've got a volatile situation.
The 1% management fee gives most employees like a normal tech salary, which after cost of living and taxes is pretty slave.
Agree on all the law enforcement spaghetti fucking up of course but this would never happen to an actual wealthy person.
I mean, airports are such hostile places, it feels like you're just a chunk of meat going through a meat grinder. As others here have remarked, it wasn't always like that, but then again, people haven't been flying that often, so maybe scale has something to with it as well.
Terrorists want to strike fear into normal citizens so that they ask for revenge - and more protection. Which results in draconian measures that paves way for authoritarianism which leads to more recruits for the terrorists (on all sides). And so a vicious circle takes off. We are being played, essentially.
In some distant future maybe this logic could be taught in primary schools, so that society could be forever inoculated. Sadly such a vaccine seems a long way off.
Even more funny: As a totally "aryan" looking dude without any political involvement i would not even have problems getting there.
> In the United Kingdom, there have been tensions between the Khalsa Sikhs and the non-Khalsa Sikhs. Many Sikhs in Britain have insisted on their right of not conforming to the Khalsa norms while maintaining that they are truly Sikh. On the other hand, some of the Khalsa Sikhs think of the non-Khalsa Sikhs as having abandoned the Sikh faith altogether.
Anyway, for reference, the five K:s are: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb for the hair), Kara (an iron bracelet), Kachera (100% cotton tieable undergarment, not an elastic one) and Kirpan (an iron dagger large enough to defend oneself).
Also Firefly, though.
I also found the post to remarkably free of arrogance or "victim-posing", I don't think I'd be able to restrain myself that much if I had the same experience.
Where did you study these statistics? And how do you know what "people looking lik you" is given that the author didn't post his/her photograph?
> Can't stand the arrogant victim-posing tone of this article.
Is there a different possible explanation for why you can't stand it? Perhaps something more internal to yourself?
Ramadam 2001 started on Nov 16th
The deadliest mass shooting since the Greenwood Massacre 100 years ago was the Las Vegas one in October 2017, committed by a white male. Ramadan was in June that year.
Indeed the vast majority of mass shootings in the developed world are committed by white Americans.
The Las Vegas mass shooter had absolutely none of those but yeah just keep making things up.
Before that another white american male in Poway (and an attack on a mosque earlier than that), another in the Pittsburgh synagogue, the Blaze Bernstein shooting, and if you don't include the ones where nobody died - the mail bombing attempts aimed at people like Obama and Biden
One thing all these terrorist attacks on american soil have in common? The perpetrator was a white american male.
This doesn't mean that all white american males are terrorists, but if we were to take the attitude that many have towards Muslims, white american males are at best supporters of terrorism.
I do not see why you introduce the race issue here. All the terrorist attacks in the USA after 1995 (last unabomber kill) have been performed by far-right extremists, and this includes islamists and american conservative nationalists. Terrorism in america is clearly a matter of politics, not of race.
The gist of the article is that the person was selected for this treatment because he wasn't white
The gist of the post was that's fine, because all terrorists are brown
The accuracy is that if you wanted to select people based likely to commit a terrorist attack in the US on appearance, you're looking for
Clearly I don't think that means all White Male Americans are terrorists, but that highlights the absurdity of the anti-muslim movements that balooned 20 years ago and are still prevalent in western discourse.
It's also worth bearing in mind the rather low number of terrorist attacks that involve planes.
The current trend is for rightwing, white supremacy/incel extremism, so TSA racial profiling is dangerous because they might accidentally let a Nazi with guns on a plane, but grandparent commenter is not wrong, that the TSA are myopic...
>“In 2018, far-right terrorist attacks accounted for 17.2% of terrorist incidents in the West. By contrast, attacks by Islamist groups accounted for 6.8% of attacks, and attacks not attributed to any group accounted for 62.8% of incidents in the West,” the report has found.
Have you read a single recent history book about the 20th century?
I just said that islamists are right wing extremists, and they do themselves say it so. Their main fight is precisely against the left-induced degeneracy of society.
> biggest terrorist attacks on US soil,
What you said, "during ramadan terrorist attacks are up significantly", does not line up with the source you asked to look at. Also what does "looks Indian, Pakistani, or anything between middle east and India." even mean? You do realize the spectrum of that population range envelopes the entirety of the human race.
Ah yes, let's pretend you can't tell someone is from south Asia or Caucasian.
First of all, you previously included the Middle East. And yes, I would not be able to determine ethnicity with certainty given the significant variation. Would you define Jason Mantzoukas as Caucasian? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JtamJmtc0g
Its not about the way people look, its about their belief, Islam prohibits very seriously about blasphemy and that's why even the intelligent people can not help but comply. The same is not true about other religions.