Mushing Bulletin # 99 – Securing the Borders

Our experience with U.S. Customs and Border Protection the other day has caused me to focus on the matter of international boundaries. Gino compounded the problem by giving me an issue of Canadian Geographic containing an article entitled Borderlines, Between Buddies. The article is about Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont which form a single town, founded in the 1700’s, divided by the U.S. – Canada boundary.

As you can imagine, managing this kind of an arrangement is child’s play for the mavens at U.S. Homeland Security. Flexibility is their middle name. Yup, the old Department of Homeland Flexibility Security.

It’s no big problem that the library straddles the boundary such that the circulation desk is in the U.S. and the library stacks are in Canada. Or that the reading- room is divided in half by the boundary. Or that the adjacent Opera House has its stage in one country while “most” of the audience sits in the other.

Nooooooo big deal.

Close down a few side streets, impose a few passport requirements, lock the back door to the library, replace the regular agents who have lived in the area for years with some new energetic enforcers (Motto: “Our goal is to gain operational control of our nation’s borders!” Kinda sends chills up and down your spine doesn’t it? Not just “control” but “operational control”!). As the article says, they have managed to “Really enrage the locals”, many of whom are dual citizens. Small price to pay to get the library and opera house under control.

I think we need to build one of those ten foot high fences topped with concertina wire like they have on the southwest border. Build it right through the middle of the library reading room. What harm can a little concertina wire do to the Dr. Seuss Story Hour?

People, without any justification whatsoever, are crossing into the U.S. with Canadian versions of the Encyclopedia Britannica! The next thing you know it’ll be a foreign publication like the Oxford English Dictionary with all that suspicious small print and accompanying magnifying glass to read it!

Magnifying glass! You could start a forest fire with a magnifying glass! A magnifying glass is to a bazooka what marijuana is to cocaine. It’s the starter-weapon of choice among terrorists.

Now, in fairness to the Homeland Security agents, the library has been used for some nefarious purposes. During the Vietnam War, draft-avoiders who had moved to Canada used the library as a rendezvous-point with their families. The families stayed on the U.S. side of the reading room while the draft-avoiders stayed on the Canadian side thereby avoiding capture by U.S. Border Patrol agents. Nothing is more frustrating than having a draft dodger within sight but out of reach. Talk about a deliberate poke in the eye!

There were also reports of “drug mules” going in the front door of the Opera House (presumably after purchasing a ticket to La Boheme or Don Giovanni) and out the back door into Canada. These are obviously, heavy duty “mules” of the opera-appreciating sort. How long can it be before these mules are driving drug-crammed SUV’s right through the opera house?

A Canadian guy named Steve (Last Name Unknown) lives on the Canadian side of Canusa Street and his good buddy lives on the U.S. side. They visit each other’s houses routinely to shoot the bull and have a beer. Since the new agents arrived, they do so only after dark but that may come to an end after the new night-vision cameras are installed to cut down on such lawless street-crossing.

And here I’ve been worried that our priorities are screwed up and we might be wasting money on senseless paranoia instead of focusing on real threats.

The One-Man Pit Crew

P.S. Snowed most of the day but not much accumulation. Probably had seven inches or so over the last few days. Temperatures have been in the mid-twenties but are supposed to dip down in the negative numbers tomorrow with brisk winds. I’ll be the one in the warm car reading a book at the trail-head.

Healthy Recipes


Mushing in Ocean City MD