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Homeland Security Stole Michael Arrington's Boat 812

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, lives near Seattle and bought a boat there. He ordered it from a company based near him, but across the border in Canada. Yesterday, the company tried to deliver it to him, and it had to clear customs. An agent for the Department of Homeland Security asked him to sign a form. The form contained information about the boat, including its cost. The price was correct, but it was in U.S. dollars rather than Canadian dollars. Since the form contained legal warnings about making sure everything on it is true and accurate, Arrington suggested to the agent that they correct the error. She responded by seizing the boat. 'As in, demanded that we get off the boat, demanded the keys and took physical control of it. What struck me the most about the situation is how excited she got about seizing the boat. Like she was just itching for something like this to happen. This was a very happy day for her. ... A person with a gun and a government badge asked me to swear in writing that a lie was true today. And when I didn't do what she wanted she simply took my boat and asked me to leave.'"
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Homeland Security Stole Michael Arrington's Boat

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:22AM (#42979671)

    The government is creating a giant force of people with ill-defined powers who are itching to push people around for the sake of the fatherland. The current gun control push is to make the nation safer for these guys. We either get this government back into its Constitutional box or we will be the ones in the box.

  • LOL ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:23AM (#42979689) Homepage

    "It's just paperwork, it doesn't matter"

    So, a government functionary with a minor Napoleon complex who just wants to get on with the fun parts of the job then?

    This is what happens when you give stupid people that much power.

  • by BBTaeKwonDo ( 1540945 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:25AM (#42979733)
    As TFA notes, he will hire a lawyer and get it back. The only variable is when; my guess is that within two weeks, he'll be sailing around. However, if the government accuses the boat of being the proceeds of a drug transaction (very unlikely, since there was no cash or drugs anywhere around) it will take longer. But "stole" makes for a much better headline than the truth, "confiscated", doesn't it?
  • Re:No way... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:26AM (#42979749) Journal

    But this is not "news for nerds" by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

    Yeah, just close your eyes....

  • by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:27AM (#42979755)
    You don't get the point. It is about the gatekeeper's ego. If everything he described happened, then it would have made a lot more sense to make the corrections just because it is nice to be honest sometimes you know. She stole the boat because her attitude is like "if you don't do everything the way I want you to do it or if I sense even the slightest disrespect, I will F**K your things". That is what we face at airports too.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:28AM (#42979771) Homepage Journal

    I think Arrington overreacted and misrepresented facts, but whining is perhaps a bit strong.

    It wasn't DHS "stealing" a boat, it was them refusing to release it without a signature.
    We don't know whether the agent in question had the authority to make changes to the legal documents. If not, refusing to release it while the paperwork was redone might have been the only valid recourse.
    For those who suggest initialized amendments to the document, whether that is allowed depends on the type of document. DHS might not be allowed to accept amended documents. Their hands could very well be tied.

    What was truly disappointing was his speculations about the DHS agents feelings. That was very unprofessional, to say the very least.

  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Feyshtey ( 1523799 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:28AM (#42979773)
    It's only news because it's a rich person and his boat. When they utilize the new Homeland Security policy allowing them to seize any electronic device at the border without suspicion, and decide to hold on to your IPad or cellphone it will most certainly be your problem. And you will have enabled it to be so because you are so cavalier about a person's rights, so long as they have a different amount of wealth as you.

    Isnt it fascinating that it's abhorent to violate a poor person's rights, but its chiche to promote violating the rights of the wealthy?
  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:29AM (#42979793) Homepage Journal
    That happened to someone with a loud voice that is not so easy to intimidate don't mean that it not happens all the time, with a lot of things (maybe not as expensive in absolute numbers, but could hurt even more to the victim), to people with not so loud or that are easier to intimidate in some way.
  • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:30AM (#42979799) Homepage

    Exactly the point.

    So next time bring a heavyweight lawyer as a sidekick. I suspect that the DHS clerk was breaking more than one law at that moment.

  • by Omega Hacker ( 6676 ) <omega.omegacs@net> on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:31AM (#42979819)

    I'd tend to say that when the "confiscation" has no legal basis whatsoever, we can very accurately call it "stolen".

  • by hessian ( 467078 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:31AM (#42979829) Homepage Journal

    Guess what happens when the victim isn't rich?

    We never hear about it, and the agent seizes his boat and profits.

    Corruption is a very real threat!

    So what if this guy is rich? The point is that if they'll do it to rich people, they'll do it to anyone, except little people have no ability to retaliate.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:32AM (#42979841)

    He writes:

    itâ(TM)s to highlight how screwed up our government bureaucracy has become.

    If true (we should hear the other side), it's nothing new in the history of governments or the United States. Not that it shouldn't improve, but the good old days never were.

    That's the essential point to understand that if you want to improve things: The problem isn't current bad apples or lack of morality or a temporary increase in corruption; it's the universal, eternal nature of humanity and their institutions. Ignoring that fact is like designing a bridge and ignoring gravity. There are solutions, such as transparency, but it's not a matter of replacing the current 'bad' apples with a new batch -- they will be human too.

  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:33AM (#42979857) Homepage Journal

    I care. Not because the guy is rich and I worship CEOs, but because this is another example of some governmental lowlife taking property.

    As much as I am FOR regulations of corporations I am against misuse of regulation for petty reasons.

  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:34AM (#42979859) Homepage

    Yep, they've been doing this for many, many years. Since the RICO act, in fact.

  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:35AM (#42979881) Homepage
    And when they then take the boat and don't give it back because you falsely swore to the authenticity of the import paperwork, then what? Yeah, it's only paperwork. It doesn't matter. Until it does. And if you don't think that this could happen, look up civil forfeiture, which is an even worse abuse.
  • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:35AM (#42979885)
    >Just fill out the paperwork, and get on with life. Don't upset the pencil pushers. They're goons with badges and guns.

    This way lies fascism.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:35AM (#42979889)

    Re: gun control have a look at a few quotes.


    One of my favourites, due to it's simplicity and honesty (rare for a politician) is

    "Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal."

    Janet Reno
    U.S. Attorney General

  • Re:No way... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:36AM (#42979911)

    Having opinions isn't an abuse of power. Acting on them (which he hasn't done) is.

    Also, restricting human liberties is possibly a bigger abuse of power, if inconveniently decentralized. But good on you for having an opinion.

  • Re:No way... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:38AM (#42979929)

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by therealkevinkretz ( 1585825 ) * on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:38AM (#42979933)

    What an assholish thing to post. The guy earned his money - you're somehow more okay with his property being seized because you're envious of it? Grow up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:38AM (#42979937)

    I always thought the fanatical left was completely hypocritical that they bashed the Bush administration for liberty violations by federal agents but now they are Obama constituents and are completely silent.

    Oh well; who needs those stupid ethics and morals anyway?

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:39AM (#42979945)

    He did try to fix it, and the DHS agents acted like morons.

    Says who? If the customs agent wrote a blog, would it say the same? What if she wrote her blog first and it was posted to Slashdot as "Arrington acts like and a**hole, gets yacht confiscated"? Do we just believe whichever side gets posted to Slashdot first?

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:40AM (#42979973)

    And if the customs agent doesn't have the authority to amend the paperwork then and there, what happens?

  • Re:Cry me a river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:40AM (#42979977) Homepage

    This is the story of a bureaucrat doing their job and inconveniencing someone as a result, not a violation of a basic human right.

    How do you arrive at that conclusion?

    The DHS agent didn't care about the error and told me to sign the form anyway. "It's just paperwork, it doesn't matter," she said. I declined.

    This is a story of a bureaucrat acting like a fucking idiot and asking someone to sign incorrect paperwork, and then acting like a miserable old cow when he tried to resolve the problem.

    Sorry, but if DHS is that incompetent and behaves that much like assholes, that's a major problem.

  • Re:No way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:44AM (#42980021) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure this has everything to do with DHS and nothing at all to do with the fact that every imaginable authority organization has had people who abuse their power since the dawn of time.

    Well, that's one way to rationalize your feelings of powerlessness. "I'm not a pussy, I'm a cynic!"

  • by cenerentolo ( 2817897 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:44AM (#42980025)
    exactly, this has newsworthiness for a few reasons, two of which i will expand upon.... IF a rich guy can be treated like this, guess what? if youre not rich, YOU ARE GONNA GET IT WORSE.... secondly, it is cause the guy is also a celeb in the geek world, so geeks care about him in the same brainspace that they will occasionally pick up something about steve job's illeg. child.
  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:45AM (#42980029)

    Both of you are a little selfish, aren't you? "Oh, he's got money so he's got no right to complain."

    This is a bureaucrat fucking up the paperwork, refusing to fix it, then seizing the opportunity to take someone else's toy for a ride. That flagrant abuse of power is a problem with integrity.

    In a country where the constitution was deliberately crafted around the idea of protecting citizens from governmental abuse and seeking to empower the citizens with means to call their government on any and all abuse.

    Integrity problems in government ought to have you up in arms, it's your job as American Citizen[tm]. No matter what the cause is. So git off yer arses arriddy, ye lazy bums!

  • Re:LOL ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:49AM (#42980075) Journal

    "It's just paperwork, it doesn't matter"

    So, a government functionary with a minor Napoleon complex who just wants to get on with the fun parts of the job then?

    This is what happens when you give stupid people that much power.

    This is what happens when you give anyone power without having balance and checks to keep them in line.

  • Re:so what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:51AM (#42980105) Homepage Journal
    I don't want to see such disparity that some people can afford private boats either.
    Just so you are aware, the vast majority of boats are owned by lower and middle class people. Boats tend to be a money sink which a lot of the wealthy avoid unless they just really have so much money that they don't care.
  • by BetterSense ( 1398915 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:51AM (#42980107)
    Dealing successfully with the ironically-named 'justice system' (where 'successfully' is defined as 'minimal loss of wealth/immediate freedom/future earning potential/continence' is based on two key factors:

    1) Do not appear to have anything confiscatable
    2) Flatter their ego

    Stupid people care about the law. They think that if they obey the law, they will be ok. The fact is, the law really doesn't matter. Cops don't know the law, they just enforce it. The most important thing is to not get involved with the police, and if you do, to not get arrested. If you get arrested, you have already lost.

    The law only matters after you are arrested. But even then, you will end up plea-bargaining to an unrelated charge anyway. The idea that you will stand up before a judge and he will see that you were in compliance with the law and you will achieve some kind of 'justice' is pure naivete. Even if the case is dismissed, you lost.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:53AM (#42980117) Journal
    but it's not a matter of replacing the current 'bad' apples with a new batch -- they will be human too.

    We don't want to "replace" the current crop of losers - We want to burn down the whole fucking orchard.

    The security theater has gone on for about 11 years too long now. End it.
  • Re:No way... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:53AM (#42980121) Homepage Journal
    "... stuff that matters."
  • by stimpleton ( 732392 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:53AM (#42980135)
    He'll get his boat back. More worryingly this was the third attempt at delivery. It broke down *twice* before and had to return to the manufacturer when attempts were made to deliver. A bigger entity really does not want him to have his boat! Boats breaking down is serious. You evade storms in a working boat.
  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:53AM (#42980137)

    It "no big deal" until the IRS or the boat licensing authority gets ahold of that slip and it doesn't MATCH EXACTLY... Then he gets accused of defrauding taxes and such. A COMPANY has lawyers that can defend that type of clerical error. YOU don't.

    To be totally fair, this is over dramatized. Obviously, without the paperwork, she can't clear the boat. So that means lock it back up until the correct paperwork is redone... And you go to the bottom of the queue for wasting her time.

  • Re:DHS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @11:59AM (#42980223)

    they exist because of scared soccer moms who think that perceived security is worth anything, as long as their snowflakes are 'kept safe'.

    really, that's it. fear controls and every leader since the beginning of time knows that.

    you can get anything if you keep the population in perpetual fear.

    that's it. it security theater for most of us who see this. it was never meant to be anything real. no one in upper levels truly would believe this is an effective thing; BUT they also would be hung upside down if some 'thing' happened and they didn't show that they did 'all they could' to stop it. so, its an excuse, too, a CYA move.

    no thinking person believes the BS; but thinking people are not in charge...

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:01PM (#42980241) Journal
    On slashdot, if there's a confrontation between someone from the government and a rich guy, who do you think people will believe?
  • Re:DHS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:02PM (#42980267) Journal

    I dont remember the last time we had a dept that was so pathetic, inefficient, useless, corrupt and annoying as the Dept. of Homeland Security.

    The DEA.

  • Re:No way... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:04PM (#42980293)

    But this is not "news for nerds" by any reasonable stretch of the imagination.

    Unless it happened to you.

    Secretary Janet Napolitano oversees the third largest Cabinet department and leads our nation's efforts to secure our country from terrorism to natural disasters.
    http://www.dhs.gov/about-dhs [dhs.gov]

    Arrington is an interesting person but it's a stretch to say the he's either a terrorist or natural disaster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:04PM (#42980297)

    So in America, it is now considered normal that you only have rights if you can and do afford to always have a lawyer besides you?

  • Re:No way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:06PM (#42980339)

    Arrington is an interesting person but it's a stretch to say the he's either a terrorist or natural disaster.

    Unlike the DHS.

  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camg188 ( 932324 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:09PM (#42980373)
    Incidents worse than this have been happening for years under asset forfeiture laws for certain felony crimes.
    It makes one want to become a Libertarian.
  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Feyshtey ( 1523799 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:10PM (#42980379)
    And my point is that BOTH should be news. And that in no case should the violation of a person's rights be casually dismissed for any reason, including how much or how little money that person might have.

    As soon as we choose who are worthy of protection under the law and who are socially acceptable to victimize we are doomed to fail as a culture.
  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Feyshtey ( 1523799 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:12PM (#42980405)
    Or Germany....

    THAT is why you stand up to them.
  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:12PM (#42980411)
    I understand your argument from a moral and ethical perspective; no one ever said that Karl Marx lacked a conscience. The problem lies in implementing a system that enforces "equality" on everybody; it's the enforcing part that the rest of us have a problem with.
  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:14PM (#42980437) Homepage

    It's a customs declaration, same as everybody fills out when entering the country with something valuable. You tell the government you have it and that you bought it, and you state its approximate value in USD. The government doesn't want to know its value in florins, or rubles, or Canadian dollars. The value does not have to be exact, as it's only needed for statistical purposes. Even if knowingly misrepresented, I have yet to meet a government agency that is unwilling to correct paperwork after the fact.

    I expect that much everybody the DHS agent deals with understands this, and doesn't care enough to make a big deal of it. When some guy starts insisting that the government should rebuild its procedures to compute value using a foreign currency, the agent smiled cheerfully, explained that the boat can't be released without the proper paperwork, and likely tried to restrain the laughter at the guy who thinks the world should bend to his will.

    Well, Mr. Arrington, congratulations. Your high moral standards and obsession with accurate reporting have inconvenienced your government and cost you a few weeks' time with your precious new boat while new papers are filed. At least you can post your story online and get some sympathy from faceless strangers.

    Anecdotally, I just received notice from the IRS that I've just finished an audit for 2010. I had rounded a few numbers on my 1040, and they didn't get third-party papers corroborating a deduction, and they thought I was worthy of closer scrutiny. Fixing it took a few hours on the phone, a trip to my accountant, and a signed letter attesting that I really did do what I said I did. Apparently I'll soon be getting a second refund check.

    The government is not out to get you, the hapless individual. The government is out to get all the other assholes who screw over the system, and you just happen to have aroused suspicion. Once you're under suspicion, you have two options. You can be offended and return the offense, approaching every interaction as though you were going to battle, or you can convince the government that you're not the criminal they're looking for, but merely someone who deviated a bit too far from their expectations. The latter's really not that hard, and can help to stretch the bounds of their expectations.

  • Re:Just sayin'.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:14PM (#42980443)

    Whether he was a dick to her, or vice versa, is entirely irrelevant. There are only four facts that are relevant in any way, and they're all binary:

    1) Was the information on the form incorrect, yes or no?
    2) Did she tell him to nevertheless sign a form with incorrect information, yes or no?
    3) Did he refuse to swear that information he knew to be false was true, yes or no?
    4) After that, sis she seize the boat, yes or no?

    She doesn't have to like him and he doesn't have to like her. If the answer to all four of the above questions is "yes" then she is entirely in the wrong needs to be slapped down... ideally terminated as unfit to serve the public in any capacity.

  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crypticedge ( 1335931 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:20PM (#42980529)

    The thing is, this person is in one of the best positions to fix the problem. He can draw attention to an issue that affects more than just rich people, but the poor people it affects don't have the money or ability to draw attention to it.

    In a sense, this happening to him is a blessing to all of us, because it can end up being one more nail in the department of illegal detainment, theft and torture.

  • Re:so what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:22PM (#42980545) Homepage Journal
    All people have a right to their life, liberty, and property. If a government is corrupt, and thus gives preference to the wealthy, that doesn't mean we should abandon the idea of human rights and become basement Marxists like you.
  • by Quimo ( 72752 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:25PM (#42980591)

    I think regardless of how in the right the DHS rep is they handled it poorly. If they don't have the authority to change the form fine. If they must seized the boat fine. Explain the the gentleman why you are unable to make the changes and why you must seized the boat. Then let them know what the next step is to get things sorted out. Most people are fairly forgiving of inconveniences if they know why they are happening.

    This just smacks of a functionary that enjoys being a pain. As for the DHS agent this is probably not going to go well for them. Even if it doesn't cost them there job it will probably result in a demotion.

  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:28PM (#42980643)

    What I don't understand is why he didn't just make a note on the document then sign it.

    "Oh, hang on."

    *writes CDN and initials it*

    "there we go!"


    I do that all the time for things that are worth far more than his boat.

  • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:32PM (#42980697) Homepage Journal

    No, it's OK to temporarily seize his boat because there was an error on his paperwork (clerical or not).

    An error put there by the same people who seized the boat. How... convenient.

    Now take off your fucking blinders.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:38PM (#42980799)

    I'm sorry, but that's bullshit.

    By your reasoning the only way for the government to be OK is to not have any law enforcement or courts at all. Because there'd be no point in having them if they can't arrest or prosecute anybody.

    Yes, plea-bargaining is a problem, but you make it sound like everybody is equally likely to be in that position, when the reality is that if you're not around criminals, it's unlikely that this will even come into play. Stay away from organized crime and the likelihood of ending up like that goes down drastically.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:41PM (#42980839)

    Yes, it is the universal, eternal nature of humanity. That is why the people who wrote the U.S. Constitution tried very hard to limit the powers of the government. The more powerful the government gets the more likely this sort of thing is to happen and the harder it is to get this type of abuse corrected.

    I agree that limited government is one tool to minimize the harm of institutions, but I'd balance it out a little ...

    If not government, who will restrain humanity's instincts to kill and cheat each other? To whom would Arrington appeal to get his boat back? I think that's the primary irony and challenge of society: To protect ourselves against humanity and its institutions, we only have more humans and institutions.

    Also, the Articles of Confederation had even more limited government than we have now, but our ancestors found it too ineffectual. The Framers goal was to create a more powerful central government, though still limited.

    Finally, the Framers were just as human -- petty, corrupt, selfish, dumb -- as we are. The Constitution isn't scripture handed down by gods, but the flawed work of people like our current politicians and society. As someone said, 'we are the ones we've been waiting for.'

  • Re:Parity? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:43PM (#42980855) Homepage

    Since the Canadian and US Dollars are almost the same, the diff was what 10 pence?

    They are close. But still not insignificant. And it's going to depend on what date the sale was as to who it's significant to.

    The boat is likely $1m+. It's been in the works since 2011 and usually cheap boats don't take a year to build. Large, highly customized, high end expensive boats take over a year to build. With current exchange rates, The difference for a $1m boat is around $25k. Seattle's use tax rate is .095, plus an additional .3% for vehicles/boats, and .5% excise tax. So that's an extra $2500 in taxes and fees. Yeah it's only a small fraction of the total cost, but I don't think most people want to spend $2500 just because some agent didn't write $#CAD on the form.

  • Re:No way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:50PM (#42980953)
    No, it isn't. It is a case where LOTS of people are abusing their power. This agent is not working in a vacuum. She is working in a framework that was designed by other people who also abused their power. She is supervised by people who are abusing their power. If the boat is returned promptly returned with an apology and the agent fired, then you can legitimatly claim that she was working alone, outside the authority of her position. Until that time, claiming that she was a rogue agent not supported by the full force of the government is nothing but a poor rationalization.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @01:06PM (#42981175) Homepage Journal

    So he is free to hop onboard right now and sail away? No? Then it IS theft.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @01:10PM (#42981209) Homepage Journal

    Mo. he asked that an error on the document be corrected since he was required to swear that the information was correct to the best of his knowledge and it was not. Any reasonable government agent would have struck USD and written in CAD and asked him to sign that rather than gleefully confiscate the boat.

  • by BobSutan ( 467781 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @01:10PM (#42981217)

    Name names. This thug needs to be held accountable for her abuse of public trust and power.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @01:35PM (#42981527)

    How would gun control make a difference? Are you proposing that when the customs thug takes your boat, you should shoot them and drive it off into the sunset? Because the government has a lot more guns than you, and a police force highly trained in their use. Unless you are planning on holding a full-blown revolution and storming Washington, your guns aren't going to protect you from the government.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @01:37PM (#42981551) Journal

    Not in this case. The agent is the one that filled in the form by copying the invoice data over in the first place. If she had the authority to do that, she has the authority to either correct it or scrap it and do another one.

  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deadweight ( 681827 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:00PM (#42981769)
    If DHS steals a rich person's boat, they can get another. If they steal MY boat, that is pretty much most of my net worth gone. So GO RICH PEOPLE - Get as much publicity as you can if DHS abuses you. It will make it better for me too!
  • Re:No way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:04PM (#42981795)

    Pretty sure most of the states are going to beat him to it.

    Hmm, it's almost like a majority of the population is ok with it.

    Damn politicians, bending to their whims.

    Does not matter. Passing laws, enacting regulations, issuing EO's does not trump the Constitution. It's no different than if the government passed a law or regulation that authorized DHS to conduct random no-warrant, no-probable-cause house searches, or passed laws restricting the right to vote based on skin color.

    If the majority are in favor of restricting/altering the 2A , then it shouldn't be any problem to follow the established procedure to amend the Constitution. The simple fact that none of the anti-gun people will even attempt to start the amendment process is proof that they don't think the majority agrees with them.

    Once it's OK to "go around" the Constitution on the 2A, then that opens the door to the rest of the Bill of Rights being neutered. Either the Constitution is valid or it is not. There is no middle ground.


  • by j00r0m4nc3r ( 959816 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:05PM (#42981807)
    Maybe he meant the United States Power Squadrons [wikipedia.org]
    They are mortal enemies
  • Re:No way... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:09PM (#42981861) Journal

    Can you show me where the Constitution says there can't be limitations on the arms that you have a right to bear?

    The right to bear is not being infringed. Only the definition of arms.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:18PM (#42981965) Homepage

    Personal property rights are not just "the rights of the rich".

    You are an idiot.

    Tolerating injustice because you don't like the victim is how this nonsense starts. Sooner or later, the victim will be someone more sympathetic. By then the abuse will be entrenched.

  • Re:so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jammer170 ( 895458 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:22PM (#42982001)
    Then why didn't the agent simply tell Arrington to do so? She should be far more familiar with the paperwork and process than he is. His suggestion was not unreasonable, but the agent's response sure as hell was.
  • Re:No way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:24PM (#42982023)

    Oh, wait... you were talking about the DHS agent? No. She didn't abuse her power. She, as he insisted, followed the letter of the law. No paperwork, no boat.

    It wasn't *his* paperwork that was wrong, it was the US Government's paperwork. As an agent of the Government, it should be incumbent upon her to help correct it. Or rather than seizing the boat, why didn't she just turn him around and send him back to Canada to await corrected paperwork.

  • Re:No way... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:55PM (#42982421)

    Can you show me where the Constitution says there can't be limitations on the arms that you have a right to bear?

    The right to bear is not being infringed. Only the definition of arms.

    Can you show me where it says that they can't modify the definition of "the People" to only include those in or approved by the government?

    Sophistry is sophistry.

    "It depends on what the meaning of "is", is."

    "Freedom is slavery."

    "Ignorance is strength."

    "War is peace."

    Why not amend the Constitution if most people are in favor of restricting/altering/abolishing 2A Rights?


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