The Canadian was being forthright and truthful. He did not know what stores he was going to shop at. He reacted with astonished disbelief at the incredibly stupid question the guard asked him. The guard escalated a simple human reaction into a conflict. The escalation got increasingly bizarre, and the Canadian pointed that out to the guard.
The Canadian did as he was asked. He also asked WHY, but he complied nonetheless. He got out of the car. He went to their offices. He sat down. He attempted to help calm his wife. He answered their questions. He also asked them questions, and the most frightening answer was that this was the U.S. and the border guards don't need a reason for what they do. Also frightening was the expectation that when a border guard gives and order, he expects total and immediate compliance. Didn't matter how inane or stupid the order. No discussion. No comments. Submit and they'll let you know if you are free to go. Police state.
The border guards lied to him. I call BS on the claim of catching three terrorists a day. Unless the Canadian and his wife were two of them.
What the Canadian didn't understand is he was dealing with people who, once they escalate a conflict, cannot back down and admit a mistake. People in uniform, from building inspectors to police to military to border guards all do the same thing: never let a civilian get the upper hand, even if the civilian is right. Dominate. Ticket. Shackle. Jail. Let the courts sort it out. No skin off their noses.
So was the Canadian stupid? I suppose. He took on the unlimited power of the border patrol and the Patriot Act by openly showing his distain. Foolish...unless...unless...maybe, for a few moments, he was being fully human and insisted on being treated as such. Maybe he was smarter than the whole bunch of us lemmings who passively accept arbitrary power. Maybe we all need to spend time in jail for talking back to The Man. Maybe that will be the new mark of honor in the Brave New World we are entering.