Camden. “Your coworkers all say you were a very kind person.”

Destry. “I guess so — I tried to be. It’s sure nice of them to say so.”

Camden. “How did you balance that kindness, in your own mind I mean, how did you see that as fitting in with the requirements of your job?”

Destry. “I don’t understand. Are you saying my job required me to be mean to my coworkers?”

Camden. “No, no, I was actually thinking more of the public — how you carried yourself, if you will, in relation to the people coming through.”

Destry. “Wait, wait. Okay. So my coworkers were saying I was kind to the travelers? Like, too nice? Is that the idea?”

Camden. “Well, didn’t you ever wonder if you had become perhaps a bit too accomodating? Like maybe you tipped the balance too far in one direction?”

Destry. “Sorry, no. Absolutely not.”

Camden. “Why not?”

Destry. “Look, I see where this is going, and it’s not only cheap, it’s nonsense. I’m not offended or anything, but that’s just the honest truth.”

Camden. “Okay, but if you don’t mind, though, let’s go there — just hear it out. The bomber crosses the border: turns out, luck of the draw, he has to go through you. The opportunity you had — you could have likely prevented 12/01 and all that followed from that, the opportunity was there. Hasn’t it ever kept you up at night, questioning why it was, for whatever reason, you didn’t end up seeing that opportunity or taking it, even by accident, on some kind of hunch? Perhaps that habitual skepticism would have served you better than habitual niceness?”

Destry. “I see it very differently. It isn’t my responsibility — whether in life or even just the way our legal code is oriented, it isn’t my responsibility to visit shame and suspicion on anyone without good cause. In fact I’m personally proud that I never did so.”

Camden. “Were there no red flags that would have aroused suspicion, legitimate suspicion, had you been more keen to find them?”

Destry. “People like to try and say he ought to have been detained, whether because of his travel record, or whetever. These people have no experience. The fact is it would have been a huge violation of protocol, not to mention his rights as a citizen.”

Camden. “You’re talking about civil rights for a mass murderer.”

Destry. “Well, I’m talking about civil rights for a person who at that time had never committed a crime in his life.”

Camden. “He was clearly planning to, though.”

Destry. “Look, what he did was horrible, but this is a free country. It’s not a crime for people to entertain horrible ideas here. A free country doesn’t detain people because they might commit a crime in the future.”

Camden. “But how can you play the protocol card in a case like this? ‘I was just following orders’ and all that. Don’t we rely on the independent judgment of our front-line officers?”

Destry. “The fact is I was doing both. You can do both. I mean, I used my own judgment, and I decided — correctly, by any reasonable standard — that he had every right to enter. I wasn’t consulting anyone. I wasn’t taking orders. I own that decision, and I know it was the right one. The kind of independent judgment you’re talking about is — well it’s just vigilantism, basically. That would be telling the security branch to treat our own citizens, every man, woman and child, as a possible threat and to harrass them in ways that give them no recourse. We saw how well that worked out for the States in the 20’s. It eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Camden. “Hang on, bring it back a bit. I’m not talking about bringing back the surveillance state. I’m just asking about your own individual approach.”

Destry. “You’re suggesting I should think like a surveillance state.”

Camden. “But don’t you see the simple objection? The other side of the issue — that if you had been more inclined to look with a critical eye, just by habit — would you have picked up on something, even just something gut-level that you couldn’t put your finger on, that would have led you to take a different course?”

Destry. “There wasn’t anything to pick up on, nothing behavioral, nothing in the travel documents. And as far as my gut goes, my gut told me that I personally knew very little about this man, that like everyone he probably had his own personal battles and stresses that I couldn’t know anything about, and that I ought to treat him fairly and kindly. And yes I do sleep easy at night knowing I followed my gut on that. In fact I’ll probably sleep even easier knowing my coworkers noticed I did that consistently.”

Camden. “A lot of people feel at least some of the blame lies on you — do you understand them when they say that? You don’t fault them for that, do you?”

Destry. “Look, I don’t fault anyone for the things they say or feel in the midst of immense grief, or from having — from knowing almost nothing about the situation without realizing it. But anyone who tries to approach it rationally, they really ought to realize what the choices are with regards to national security. Would you rather live under a threat from the outside, or from criminals, say, or under the constant skepticism of your own government? Would you rather the security branch read all your mail and treated you like a felon every time you travel, or would you rather we lived and governed by principles of decency and kindness? I mean, you’re right that I’m not the whole government, but that’s how I ran my booth.”

Camden. “In a sense, though, one might say that thousands of people are dead because of your principles of decency and kindness. So how kind were those ideals, really? In the end, how decent was it?”

Destry. “Yeah, look. If I had compromised my responsibilities in any way — you sound like you think I was just a happy face with a badge passing out vitamin water and waving people through. I never did that. If I had, in any way, this would be a totally different conversation, but I never did. The reality is that a decent, moral people who chooses to be governed by principles of decency and morality will always be a prey to cowards and monsters. That’s not something to be ashamed of.”