Inhuman Swill : Police

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I've mentioned here before, I think, that I'm in the process of applying for a pardon from Canada for my mischief conviction of almost 22 years ago. Really, "in the process" is perhaps putting it too strongly. I'm hung up on one particular step in the process, which is heading down to my local police station to be fingerprinted. I keep finding excuses to put this off—or not even bothering to find excuses. Maybe this isn't surprising, given the way my back prickles—even today, when I haven't done anything—every time I'm out walking and a police car cruises slowly past me.

I have to get over, though, if there's any prayer of making it to Montreal next year for Worldcon.

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The police were inspecting bags at the 30th Avenue subway station in Astoria this morning. Little table set up off to one side of the turnstiles. Maybe this makes some people feel safe (particularly people who don't ride the subways), but it only makes me feel as if there's danger near, and as if I myself am under suspicion. And I resent feeling that way in America when I'm just going about my own business and doing nothing wrong.

As I walked past the makeshift inspection station, heart in my throat, trying to look casual, I rehearsed in my mind what I would say if the police asked to look in my somewhat lumpy shoulder bag (which, by the way, contains nothing more incendiary than books, magazines, and a bunch of mix discs from last night's CDMOM):

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'd rather walk."

I didn't have to, but I don't like the fact that I might have had to. And for what? For the sake of discouraging some theoretical bomb-carrying terrorist from boarding the train at 30th Avenue and forcing him to walk two blocks to Broadway instead? Ooooh, I feel so much safer now, and it only cost a few pennies in civil liberties.

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