The immediately preceding post, another Annals of the Security State installment, is very long.
Here is the TL;DR version, just for the record, for anyone who can't wade through the original.
A pilot who was doing absolutely nothing wrong -- had broken no rule, had received no warning, was behaving exactly the way a motorist would on a regular highway or a boater might do on a lake -- landed at night in fully legal fashion at a small airport in Texas. And at that point his plane was surrounded by armed security forces who directed spotlights and strobe lights into his eyes and pointed their guns at his head. The situation was so threatening he thought he was being robbed by a drug gang. But these were the Feds.
During my engine/turbo cool down period I was blinded from the front right and left with white lights. I just covered my eyes and sat there.... I figured at this point that I was being hijacked by drug dealers who were going to steal my plane....
When they lowered their flashlights I could see they had long guns (one had a carbine and the other looked like a shotgun)....
Once I got the plane shut down I was ordered out of the plane with a shotgun pointed at my head and patted down. It was pretty stressful.
This account is worth reading. And in the end, they determined, again, that he had done nothing wrong.
To be clear, I am not saying that the pilot population is being singled out for stop-and-frisk treatment. I am saying that this is another window into what the open-ended War on Terror and War on Drugs have wrought.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
is a staff writer for The Atlantic
and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the 2018 book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,
which was a national best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.