A 21st century virtual fence

Filed as News on September 22, 2006 8:15 pm

Yesterday I watched the CTV news; just to see what was happening in the world thru the eyes of one of Canada’s largest TV broadcasters. The one thing that struck me funny was the US building a ten meter high fence along the longest undefended border in the world. I became really quiet and sad as I listened and watched. It appeared surreal to me. It still feels that way. I feel like Canada did something wrong, like the US doesn’t like us anymore.

USA - Canada border fence.How can this be happening between two beautfiul and great Countries. The fence will begin in British Columbia stretching all the way though to parts of Ontario beginning again in areas of the New Brunswick / Maine border. I feel kind of choked-up. I haven’t been able to get this off of my mind. I have actually shed tears about this and still am.

Note – I will annotate each quote in the beginning for source.

CTV – The U.S. Homeland Security Department announced Thursday that it will be installing high-tech devices along the border with Canada as part of a multibillion-dollar plan to reduce illegal entry into the United States.

Under the new plan, Canada’s border with the U.S. will, within three years, be patrolled by cameras, sensors, unmarked planes and watchtowers.

While more people are apprehended along the American-Mexican border, U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar told reporters that Canada’s problem is more about border security than illegal immigrants.

“Ten percent of our apprehensions occur along our northern border with Canada,” said Aguilar. “The problem is border security…Being able to predict, deter, detect, identify, resolve and respond to any incursions along our border, north or south, is a criticality that we’re going forth with.”

One of the problems that we face on our northern border is the vastness and the greatness.

All people on Earth were once Nomadic – they travelled and lived with the seasons. Blogging in a sense and just having access to the internet crushes those borders down, although only virtually, the sense of one being worldly is growing. I already had fear about travelling to the US before this announcement. Today that fear has doubled. I hope that you, who read this is not scrared of me, I am not scared of you. Why should we be scared of eachother? We didn’t cause eachother harm.

CTV- Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Boeing spokesman Robert Villaneuva said the plan calls for a total of 1,800 surveillance towers divided between the southern and northern borders. When asked how the 1,800 towers would be divided, he responded, “It could be about 50-50.”

900 surveilance towers could raise fear in some. These towers are going to be up to 80 meters in height – that is 20 ;) 980 metres short of a kilometer.

CBC – Sound, motion and infrared sensors would pick up movements, Champ said.

The U.S. government also mentioned that radiation detectors and cameras could help catch people trying to sneak across the border.

Maybe they are not coming out and saying who the sneaky people are but I believe they are the Canadian Cannabis Crusaders :)

CTV – In the first step of the multibillion-dollar plan, the U.S. will implement the technology along a 45-kilometre stretch of border near Tucson, Ariz. This will be followed with similar security measures along the Canadian border.

A $67-million US contract was awarded to Boeing Co. for the implementation of the initial stages of the project.

I do not pretend to know lots about politics, terrorism nor another countries laws, customs, societal, moral or religious beliefs. I do know about the people I communicate with online and have met here in Vancouver (who are from all over the world). I would say close to 60% of you are from the USA. Ever feel like you are being pushed under the water with only your nose available to breath through? That is how I feel mentally right now in regards to the States. No longer will it be fun to travel across into an exotic land; yes, the United States has always been exotic to me. Anything other than where you physically come from is exotic especially through the eyes of a child.

The 21st century is about peace, sharing, respect, honesty, sincerity, knowledge and compassion for all human beings. I see technology being used in ways I had only dreamt about. We can all communicate now. Physically, this is becoming a probable impossibility in North America.

CBC – “What we are looking to build is a 21st century virtual fence,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters.

I believe he got his wording wrong. Virtual fences are colapsing everyday online as we all continue to talk to eachother. They are building a 21st century man-made metal masterpiece. All it does is hurt the innocent ones. All this will do is cause people fear. All this will do is separate further, nations who once travelled the seas together, escaping famine and tyranny, sailing to a new land where freedom was thought to exist.

I have to this day not understood how I am being offensive to the US. Why is the US being defensive to me.

In 1987 my family packed up our Truck and left in the midst of a Blizzard from New Brunswick travelling south-west, first to Ohio to be with family and then on down to Florida to vacation. I’ll never forget seeing oranges growing on trees in February. And I’ll never forget what happened when we tried to get back to our home. They stopped us at the St. Stephen / Calais border. The four os us weary from driving for 14 hours or so all had to get out of our truck late at night to have everything inspected by the the US border Guard. I was 14 and terrified. We had nothing to hide. We told them everything. I think my Dad had to pay money for something after he signed some papers.

In 1993 I drove from Fredericton NB to New York City with three of my classmates in College to attend the International Surface Design Trade Show, Surtex. I have not travelled physically to the States since then. The experience we had coming back to Canada is etched in my mind forever and this was when crossing the border was common for short visits. Everything was taken out of our van and searched. We all had to sign papers etc. I couldn’t stop shaking even when my gut kept yelling silently “Jessica, you didn’t do anything wrong”.

In July, 2005 I was working as an art director for a very known magazine here in Vancouver. Then someone’s phone rang “We are being raided by the DEA! GET OUT!”. I didn’t even know what the DEA was. I went into shock gathering hard drives and running down 6 flights of stairs to the street below only to be met with a protest beginning. Then I put 2 and 2 together; realized the DEA is the USA. I couldn’t understand why the US was taking all my friends away. This is Canada. Why is another country invading us. That instant I developped PTSD. We ran into the streets blocking traffic yelling “Go a-way, D-E-A”. Then I got word that the Vancouver Police was working with the DEA. That day any fear I felt vanished. My soul left my body and I was numb for months afterwards and in complete denial about what had happened.

I had begun writing a post about garden blogs today because it is coming to that time of year where we celebrate Thanksgiving and harvest time with family and friends in both the United States and Canada. The more I wrote the more I could not stop thinking about this so called fence. I feel even more separated as an individual and now as a whole country from my friends to the South. I can only imagine what it feels like to be bombed. I know what it feels like to be searched. I know what it feels like to be watched. Soon I will know what it feels like to be physically blocked out.

You know what though technology is leading the way in education, innovation and teaching us that we are ALL the same. All this war on terror has done is make the ordinary citizen feel terror. Terrorists cannot be stopped or eliminated. They create terror – it is in their nature. And all fear does is give them much more fuel to play with.

I think many Canadians are scared today. so scared that my Mom will not fly through the States on a much shorter route to reach Vancouver from NB to visit me. So scared that my two friends would not travel through the States driving from Vancouver Fredericton en route to live in Vancouver. I don’t believe that we are scared of the citizens of the US. I am not. But maybe we are scared that we won’t be able to get back home.

So today I am thankful that I can talk to you all regardless of where you live. And today I am thankful for being alive and being able to feel again. I am also thankful to be able to express myself without fear online.

Edit – corrected the name of a city clearly shown with a strike through Vancouver.

Next week I will be finish my post about gardening. Until then I also blog here.

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  1. By Martin Neumann posted on September 23, 2006 at 9:06 am
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    Jessica … it’s sad what’s happening – I guess that’s the West’s reaction to terror – we seem to be copiing by becoming a more closed, paranoid society – and that’s sad!

    Sometimes you have to wonder if the terrorists are winning? I mean, they play on the fear factor and they’ve made the world a more fearful place since 911.

    You wonder where will it all end? Will life be the same as before?

  2. By Jessica Doyle posted on September 23, 2006 at 4:06 pm
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    I don’t believe life will ever be the same. Everyday life changes but our memories live on. I think you are right Martin, it makes me sad too more than anything.

    If the US and the rest of the world had responded rather than reacted perhaps it could be different now. We are all watched soooooo much now that pretty soon there won’t be enough people to watch all the footage/video. I guess that is when robots will watch all the collected data and decide what to do. I just hope LOL, that whoever programs these robots has a decent sense of humour and a love for humanity. :)

  3. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on September 23, 2006 at 11:24 pm
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    Sure .. 10% of us Canucks are illegally entering the USA now – to shop .. it used to be much different in the good old days like 50% – when the Canadian Dollar was worth more than the US Dollar. But – I bet in the past 3 years it was a negative percentage – given the high foreign exchange rate between USD and CDN. Often – here in Winnipeg – we would see busloads and busloads of elderly US citizens flocking to our Walmarts and Safeway stores just for shopping excursions. And let’s not mention prescription prices ..

    80 meter high towers? 10 meter high fences? The axis must be shifting.

  4. By Tony Hung posted on September 24, 2006 at 9:34 am
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    I’m not sure if this is the best use of their money either; I expect that these fences will be a white elephant that will come back to haunt whatever administration is in office.

    And, as a fellow Canadian I feel the strange need to say “Yea! Go Canada!”

    Great post Jessica. ;)

    Cheers
    t @ dji

  5. By Big Roy posted on September 25, 2006 at 10:06 am
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    As an American I feel the strange need to say “Wow, What a Post�

    I didn’t realize The Blog Herald had such animosity toward America. I saw a hint of it in another post awhile back. I thought it was just an aberration, I guess not.

  6. By Evan posted on September 25, 2006 at 11:00 am
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    Listen, it’s not you… it’s us – we’re just not ready for this level of commitment yet.

  7. By Jessica Doyle posted on September 25, 2006 at 3:07 pm
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    I don’t tend to watch mainstream news much on TV simply because my reaction to what I see and hear tends to be fearful. It is not a fear of being in the United States, it is a fear of what could happen travelling, and hence stopping at the border from point A to point B and back again.

    Fear is not animosity. Fear is an instinctual emotion.

    Instinct – An inborn pattern of behavior that is characteristic of a species and is often a response to specific environmental stimuli…

    When I watch mainstream news I feel fear. The stuff they broadcast is fearful to me. Perhaps others could feel joy? Emotion is not wrong or right, it just is. And mainstream media has learned to edit, just right, perfecting both visuals and sound to get the most reaction out of the viewer rather than a response. On the internet we all have the ability to respond.

    I responded to this news by writing a post. I don’t feel so scared anymore. We are all citizens of the world. The only thing separating us all is physical location.

    Lesson to me – don’t watch the news on TV ;)

    No feeling is final.
    – Rainer Maria Rilke
    20th century German Poet

    And that my friends is hopeful.

  8. By toto posted on September 25, 2006 at 5:27 pm
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    How lame !
    Canada and US are close friends, isn’t it ?
    In Europe we aren’t parano like that !

    Fences, even virtual, aren’t the good solution, whatever are the suspected problems.
    The best solution for anything (drug, terrorism, custom, …) is secret services efficiency, police collaboration and so.

  9. By Big Roy posted on September 25, 2006 at 6:57 pm
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    Jessica I’m on your side in this. I think it’s great The Blog Herald is willing to stand up for what they feel and risk alienating perhaps millions of people in America.

  10. By franCk posted on September 26, 2006 at 1:05 am
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    “80 m that is just 20m short of 1 km” – well just another proof that metric system still has a long way to go in North America :-)

  11. By Chad posted on September 26, 2006 at 7:28 pm
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    Big Roy – you are an idiot, sorry but your comments lately are troll-like to the extreme.

    I love it when people bitch about something (like a blog) yet keep coming back.

    I’ve never seen The Blog Herald as being anti or pro anything – but I guess it’s what you want to see.

  12. By Adam posted on September 29, 2006 at 9:10 am
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    Maybe Canada should plant the world’s longest line of trees right along the inside of the border to hide the nasty looking fence.

  13. By Cory posted on October 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm
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    I think Adam has a wonderful idea. What a statement that would make!

    Jessica, being from Fredericton and knowing only living in the Maritime provinces I guess I have a rather limited view on the rest of North America and the world. I see only freedom and friendly friendly people on a daily basis so it is sometimes hard for me to grasp the overall picture of what something like this fence represents. I merely see the paranoia that is becoming synonomous with the U.S. I live in a place where there is no need to lock my doors even when I leave for the weekend BECAUSE I trust my neighbors to look out for things. If I were to put up a 10m fence around my yard and install cameras my neighbours would no longer check on my house and question any activity surrounding it. Why? I decided to go next door and run the question by them to see what the possible answer would be. I was not at all surprised to find out from them this:

    “Dont you trust us? What did we do wrong that you would feel the need to put up such a monstrosity? You wouldnt need us to CARE about what happens with your house. You have it covered yourself. You just excluded us.”

    Now was that answer a surprise? No.

    Even if the U.S. had good intentions with an idea like this, it still alienates people. It still envokes emotions. It still makes people feel unwelcome.

    Thats ok though. I live an hour away from a border and I wont be making the trip anytime soon. Not that I dont like the neighbours, I just dont like the things my neighbours do.

    The next question to be raised is:

    Is the fence to keep people out or keep people in?

  14. How many meters make a mile? at Jessicadoyle.caOctober 2, 2006 at 10:37 pm