Hiking in a Police State

Looking back down the Beaver Brook TrailI hiked Mt. Moosilauke in New Hampshire this past Saturday with Greg. I put some photos up here and Greg has a more detailed account with more photos here. I would’ve kept this adventure to myself if it weren’t for what happened next.

On our way back, we were stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint on I-93, about 75 miles south of the Canadian border. During this unwarranted search, the agents asked about our citizenship status and our purpose for being in the Granite State. Mr. Nosy agent also took a good look around at the contents of our car. They were backed up by New Hampshire State Police, presumably to harass anyone who refused the search, as is every person’s right. Here’s a reactionary, xenophobic take on the same checkpoint and here’s a more reasonable discussion.

Convinced this was total bullshit, I did some searching when I got back and learned this has been going on throughout many of the border states. Claiming jurisdiction over anywhere within 100 miles of the US border, the Border Patrol routinely sets up these checkpoints, although usually in the states that border Mexico. Because as we all know, Mexicans are generally browner (i.e. scarier) than the Quebecois.

When the fuck did this happen? I have to be inconvenienced because the Border Patrol can’t do their job at the goddamn border? The fact that this happened in the “Live Free or Die” state would be hilarious if it weren’t so infuriating.

ATTN nosy Border Patrol agents: I’m visiting Montreal in two months. If you insist on searching me twice, I’m going to lay greasy poutine farts over all my stuff, particularly my luggage, my trunk, and naturally, my butt. Happy searching!

UPDATE: A commenter over at Universal Hub points to this Supreme Court case from 1976 that upheld this insane practice. But I’ve been a visitor to the White Mountains for over two decades and never saw this done before. Another commenter makes the reasonable assumption that it might be retaliation for NH’s refusal to comply with REAL ID.