There Is No Broadcast With This Editorial.
Anne, Stryker, April The Cat & I are Hunkered-Down for the Night at a Gorgeous RV Park (Endless Caverns) in the West Virginia Mountains.
And after Driving for Two Full Days, and after being Interrogated at US Customs for Almost an Hour, because Anne and I were Crossing into America with Firearms, I’ve got to tell you – That for a Getting to be an Old Guy like Me – ANNE & I ARE WIPED.
Worse Than Being Exhausted . . . I Was Made To Feel Unwanted – Like A Nobody.
I Understand . . . Anne and I are Not Americans. And In-Spite of our Gratitude & Love for America and all that America has done for the World & America’s Laws & Culture – And As Much As Anne & I Have An Absolute Affinity For The USA, this is the First time since I’ve been Crossing the Border on my own, Since 1966, that I was Made to Feel as an Outsider & Usurper.
To US Customs & Immigration – I Was Invisible & Suspect.
The Border Agents Weren’t Rude Or Disrespectful . . . They Were Nothing – They were All Business, the Type of Treatment Generally Reserved for people who were Unwelcome or Suspect.
The Moment I Entered The Border Office To Hand In My ATF Forms – I was Treated as if I was Invisible – No Smile, No Greeting, Not even any Recognition of my Presence. And when I wasn’t being asked just a Few Terse Questions . . . the only Verbal Contact I Received from America’s Custom Service was – AN AUTHORITATIVE DEMAND TO SIT THERE!
So I Sat There, While Anne Waited In The F-250 With Stryker For Almost An Hour.
I Understand . . . THAT US CUSTOMS OWES ME NOTHING, Including Entry into the United States of America. I also understand that the US Border Service has a Huge Load on their Shoulders with what’s Happening on the Southern Border, and what is probably “Happening” along the Canadian Border too . . .
But That’s Not An Excuse to Treat Someone as if he or she Doesn’t Matter, or is a Suspect of Sorts, ESPECIALLY SINCE “EVERY” “I” WAS DOTTED & “T” WAS CROSSED . . . in all Aspects Respecting American Laws.
Anne Detailed Every Facet Of Our Firearms Permit Issued By The ATF.
Anne had Originals of all the ATF Permits, with Copies of the Originals. Every Make, Model & Serial Number of all the Firearms which were Detailed by the ATF . . . AND WE HAD OUR PRECIOUS NEXUS CARDS (Most Favored Traveler Status) – And I Was Still Treated Like Something The Dog Dragged Home.
It Wasn’t Humiliating . . . But It Was Very Disconcerting.
For almost an Hour, the Agents were Asking each other Questions about whether Anne and I were Breaking the Law, which seemed to me, that they didn’t know, even though it was the ATF who Issued Anne & Myself the Permit to Bring our Guns into the USA.
Finally . . . One of the Border Agents Asked me if we I had ever Transported Guns BEFORE – into the USA, to which I responded . . . “This Was Our Fifth Year”, which made me Wonder what kind of BS Records they Kept. And then I was Commanded To Sit Down Again.
I Know They Called The ATF, because I heard them Discussing it. I know they Googled Anne & Myself. And I know they Verified Anne & Myself through Various Criminal Directories, WHICH IS ALL OK, because they’re Doing their Job and Keeping America Safe.
I Assume the Agents checked-me out through Facial Recognition, but if they Didn’t, they have our Retina Scans & Fingerprints on Record, WITH A FULL HISTORY OF WHO ANNE AND I ARE.
I Was Not Happy . . . But I Understood, and I Can’t be Angry or Disappointed in the United States for the Way I was made to Feel at the Border – So Nothing Has Changed In My Outlook – But One Thing Really Did Piss-Me-Off.
The US Border Agents Had many Phone Conversations About Anne & Myself . . . One Of Which was with the NY State Police, to Inform the NY State Police that Anne & I were Travelling through their State with Firearms, giving the NY State Police our Names, Profiles, License Plate Numbers (F-250 & RV) all the Makes, Model & Serial Numbers of our Guns.
And Upon Leaving The Border Station . . . We were Advised by US Customs, that if we were to Sleep in NY State, we would have to Turn In Our Guns to the Closest State Trooper Station, and leave the Guns there until we Left the State, or we would be Breaking the Law – AND WE WOULD BE ARRESTED!
How’s That For A Welcome To America?
If it was so Important for US Customs to Inform NY State Police about our Guns, while Crossing NY State . . . What About All The Other States We Would Be Crossing On Our Way To Texas? Don’t All The Other States Matter As Much?
Needless To Say . . . Anne And Stopped Once in Watertown NY, for Gas and a quick Bite – And We Didn’t Stop Again Until We Saw The Sign . . . WELCOME TO PENNSYLVANIA.
In the Past . . . The US Border Agents Read The ATF Permits, checked our NEXUS Cards, looked at a few of the Serial Numbers on the Guns . . . Chatted up a Storm about Guns, This & That – And Always Wished us a Wonderful Winter in the USA. And Never Once, did they ever Forget to Warn us about NY State Gun Laws, and Remind us of our Constitutional Rights to Transport Legal Firearms Anywhere through the United States of America.
Anne & I Are Thrilled To Be Back In The USA . . . And if Stryker & April The Cat Could Speak or Write, they Would Say the Same. But this time, because of how I was Treated, or not Treated at US Customs – It Doesn’t Quite Feel The Same. But I’ll Get Over It.
I will Read all your Comments & Emails while on the Road during Rest Stops, but it is very Doubtful that I will have Either the Time or the Energy to Respond.
And If Possible, I will try to Write at least a Couple More Editorials Between Now and When we Arrive In Austin Texas On November 5th.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov