Yesterday I was flying from Mexico to Canada. There was a stopover in Houston. I assumed I'd stay safe in the Transit area, the current version of a cathedral where the swine can't put their hands on you. Nope. ALL passengers, including those who were only in transit to other countries, had to go through "security." That turned out to mean giant hangars with lines that wound for acres--hectares if you prefer, square miles if you're that way inclined. All for the chance to be slapped around by surly ex-vets who would be otherwise unemployable, but now get the chance to insult thousands of people every day, partially satisfying their lust to kill.
No one told me why transit passengers like me had to go through this. We just did. I realized for the first time that the remarkable orderliness of the ordinary Mexican, which I'd been seeing, and marveling at, in Mexico City, also makes Mexican visitors and immigrants the perfect prey for these petty sadists. It's not exactly "racism," though; as always, it's power, and finding my old pale face in the supplicant position after moving slowly forward for over an hour, the ex-Sunni Triangle gunner in the black uniform was just as happy to work out on me. "You wrote 'In Transit,' he said. "They told us to write that on the plane,' I whined. "Jesus," he sighed. "Where-are-you-going?" [As if speaking to an idiot.] "Oh, ah, Vancouver." "Then you write, "In transit TO VANCOUVER." Big, weary sigh at the stupidity of it all. Stamp, stamp, "Exit to the left." Reduced to infantile groveling, it was a momentary pleasure to me to look back at the huge, unbelievably huge, crowds of those who had not yet been kicked in the face and would miss their planes by even bigger margins than I had. That's what this stuff does to you.
Of course it was an illusory escape. That's the nature of these Hells. It was time then to line up in another hangar for the TSA search. TSA is very, very different from the ex-vets in the Border Service. They get paid much less, and there's a racial distinction too. Border is almost all white or Hispanic vets, who would never find a job paying a third of what they get for hassling travelers. TSA is almost all African-American, and though some are surly in their own right, they're unarmed and don't have the "I have killed many" ethos of the Border guys.