Thursday, June 30, 2005


Did I mention?

My German host at U of Boogie, a law professor, told me that when he traveled in the U.S. a couple of years ago (post 9/11), he told his American hosts that if he went missing for more than 12 hours, would they please make urgent inquiries to federal authorities about whether he was being detained incognito.

So that's the deal. You know how travelers tend to have a heightened perception of local dangers in their travel destinations? "If you go to New York, you'll be mugged or shot on the subway." "If you go to Italy, you'll be kidnapped." "If you take the train from Krakow to Prague, you'll be knocked unconscious with chloroform spray and robbed."

For well-informed Europeans it's, "If you go to the United States, you can be arrested and detained indefinitely in secret." How's that for a perception of the world's leading democracy?



Really, I'm so proud.

Please tell me the number of cases where someone has come into the US and been detained indefinitely. Please also tell me the total number of foreigners who have traveled here since 9/11.

Divide the first by the second, and if that number is any larger than 0.0001, I will vote Democratic in the next election. If it is not larger than 0.0001, please send the relevant stat to your colleague, so he can help the other "well-informed" Europeans dispel this notion.

Thank you for your time.
Bryan: I don't think Oscar meant to suggest that Europeans are "well informed" on this point. That aside, your comment is disturbing. Exclusive of Canadians and Mexicans, about 20.3 million visitors came to the US last year. Do you really think that the US ought to "indefinitely detain" two thousand people per year? (This would be probably closer to 4K/yr with Canadians and Mexicans included.)
John, I was just throwing out a number. I think 1 in 10000 is rare enough that the average European probably should not be too concerned about being detained. As far as what the number should actually be, I have no idea, I was just trying to suggest that the fear is not a rational one.
I lived in Italy all of 2004 and I was never Kidnapped nor did I think I would be.
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