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Journal: Cross-border travel 'security'

Journal by Chemical Serenity
Recently I travelled from Halifax to L.A. as part of a work trip. It was the first time I went south since the infamous 9-11 event... the delay caused not so much due to the concept of my plane being used as a 200 tonne projectile weapon as the stories that would filter back about the treatment we canucks get at the hands of american border guards, which seem to universally consist of rejects from more 'respectable' law enforcement pursuits. I've never personally had a positive experience with a U.S. border guard, perhaps due to them being promoted sideways into career-choking obscurity.

Anyways, the trip itself was uneventful... boring, even (aside from a deputy being beaten to death in the town I was staying in on the night I arrived). What struck me as odd was the relative thoroughness of the security and checkpoints heading south and coming back.

On the Canadian side, both in Halifax and Toronto, I had people check through my bags, had to remove my belt, they swiped little swab thingies to test for explosives, made me turn on electronics and so forth... a substantially more involved process than I had experienced in the past before getting on a plane. Naturally, I expected even MORE avid searching of my person and property when I got to the U.S. side of customs in Toronto.

Except, it didn't happen. The customs guard was perfunctory and disinterested, I put my carry-on through the xray, walked through the metal detector, and that was it. I've had more secure checks done on me at the front door of a local club on cheap shooters night.

Returning from L.A. was a similar situation, albeit in slow motion... I stood in line for an hour to get my boarding pass, checked my bags, waited in another line for an hour to get my 30 second wand wave version of security, and was inside LAX heading for starbucks.

Maybe I'm misguided, but wasn't there supposed to be MORE security on american flights since all this shit went down? Maybe I had heightened expectations, but it seemed like I was shunted through even faster than I had been before 9-11... at least on the US side.

Some people have mentioned that I don't qualify as a 'person of interest' to them... I'm white, I'm born Canadian as opposed to an immigre here from another country, I have a return ticket and my passport which basically only has "U.S.A." stamped in it a couple times. Makes me wonder what my reception would have been had I, say, taken a trip to spain in the last year, or maybe left for L.A. already sporting a tan.

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER

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