A Border Patrol checkpoint. Photo by Quinn Dombrowki.
Ignorance of the law excuses no one… except perhaps kids who can barely go on a camping trip without chaperones, let alone know the ins and outs of the laws governing border patrol and federal properties. Heck, we’re willing to bet that many of us are unaware that it’s illegal to take photos while on federal land.
Apparently, one US-Canadian border patrol officer thinks age does not matter because when a Boy Scout from Iowa, on his way with the rest of the kids in his troop and their troop leader, Jim Fox, to Alaska for a wilderness trip, snapped a photo of him while re-entering US soil, he went out of his way to teach them a hard lesson.
Instead of confiscating the camera and educating the boy – because after all it would be a little hard-pressed for anyone to think that this Boy Scout from Iowa is some sort of a spy working for enemy states – he allegedly brought it upon himself to detain everyone in the van, all nearly two dozen of them, and subject them and their belongings to search and inspection. To top it off, this said agent also allegedly told the boy that he would be arrested, fined $10,000, and locked up in prison for 10 years.
And if that wasn’t enough, this officer allegedly pointed a loaded gun at another scout after he tried to reach for his suitcase without authorization.
If you feel like somewhere along this chain of incidents, somebody overreacted or got just a tad overzealous with his job, then you’re not alone.
We cannot confirm whether the events of that day, as described by the scouts themselves, are accurate – the US Customs and Border Patrol issued a statement insisting that based on the video footage of the Boy Scout troop’s inspection, the officer never un-holstered his gun and nothing happened that was out of the ordinary – but if the incident really did take place, then we fear for everyone crossing our borders, both Americans and non-Americans.