Thursday, May 16, 2013


This is actually happening:
Less than six months after the state Revenue Department began scanning driving applicants' personal documents into a state computer system, Missouri lawmakers sent the governor legislation Wednesday that would force the department to stop....

Republican lawmakers began pushing for the measure after learning about the new license procedures early in the legislative session. The push accelerated in March after a Stoddard County man filed a lawsuit challenging the state's new licensing procedures. They said that scanning documents, such as birth certificates and concealed weapons permits, were an invasion of privacy....

The bill passed the Senate 25-8 on Wednesday and the House earlier this week. It would prevent any future document scanning and would require the department to securely destroy any documents collected since September 2012....
All this scanning started in order to combat fraud involving undocumented residents. That's an effort you'd think right-wingers would support. But no:
The department began scanning documents shortly after a clerk in a St. Joseph license office pleaded guilty Dec. 11 in a scheme to accept false identification documents that federal prosecutor say resulted in Missouri licenses being issued to more than 3,500 people living illegally in the U.S.
Right-wingers were outraged -- and notice that what upset them was the government being allowed to retain copies of government documents.

Of course, the concern is all about one particular category of government document, as The Kansas City Star's Barbara Shelly explains in this blistering column:
It's a tough job, but today we will attempt to select the low-light of the great document-scanning "scandal" that the Missouri legislature has used as an excuse to avoid doing much real work this session.

Was it the "hearing" in North Kansas City, when a citizen worried that the sharing of the names of Missouri concealed gun permit holders with a federal agency would land her on a United Nations watch list? Cue the black helicopters....

This winding saga began when a citizen in Stoddard County went to renew his driver's license and a clerk insisted on scanning his conceal carry permit.

Paranoia reared its head. Lawmakers dropped mundane matters like health care, finances and economic development bills and hauled state officials into hearings.

It turned out that the Department of Revenue, as part of a cost-saving move, has begun digitally scanning documents needed for a driver's license, such as Social Security cards, birth certificates and concealed carry permits, and having the licenses processed by a private company. It was further discovered that the Missouri Highway Patrol had attempted to share the state's concealed carry permit list with a federal fraud investigator.

The names of concealed carry owners are a closed record in Missouri. But state law makes an exception for state or federal law enforcement investigations. So the sharing was legal, although technical glitches ultimately stopped the investigator from accessing the list.

Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, tried to tamp down the fires by halting the scanning of concealed carry permits. But the opportunity to rile up gun owners is too rich for Republicans to pass up....
Now it could be argued that it's inappropriate for the government to share this information with a private firm handling driver's license applications. But, um, which wing of American politics insists that all government functions can be handled more efficiently by private contractors? Hint: It ain't liberals.

No -- the real problem is that the list was shared with the evil feds. Who were investigating crime, but hey, that's not a sufficient reason for the sharing.

So now (assuming the governor signs the bill) there'll be no scanning of such documents anymore. But I bet the gunners' demands won't stop there.

Eventually, I imagine that concealed-carry permits and other gun documents will be like Snapchat photos -- it will be possible for another human being to view them, but they'll disappear after a few seconds. (Though there'll probably be a non-Snapchat provision in the law saying that if the viewer attempts to make a copy of the permit, the permit holder can respond with lethal force -- even if the viewer is a cop. Stand your ground and all that.)

Ultimately, I imagine that no human being will be allowed to file, review, or even touch any document relating to a gun permit, which will mean that all gun permits will be on the honor system -- technically, you'll still need supporting documents, but since no one will be allowed to see them, if you say you have them the government will just have to take your word for it.

One day, the sacralization of everything to do with guns will probably lead to gunner protests resembling the worldwide protests against mishandling of the Koran. You won't be able to mock a gun, or even a picture of one. You won't be able to put an image of a gun on the floor. Riots will ensue if you do.


Victor said...

Great piece, Steve. GREAT!

Pretty soon, we'll all have to pray for guns:
"Our Father, Who art armed in heaven
Hollowed be Thy bullets;

Thy kingdom is armed,
Thy will be done,
'cause who says "no" to a gun,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily ammo,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we shred to death those MFers who trespass against us;

And lead us not into gun-safety,
And deliver us from evil Liberalism.

And, of course, our new "Pledge of Allegiance:"
"I pledge allegiance to the guns of the United States of America, and to the Republican ideals for which they stand, one armed Nation under an armed God, indivisible - though with nullification - with liberty and justice for all Christian Conservatives. The rest of all y'all better watch your f*ckin' asses!"

Ten Bears said...

No Vic, it is I pledge allegiance to the banks of "America", and to the International Bankers who sustain them.

No fear.

PQuincy said...

This is not new...but rather more evidence that we are returning to a society of estates and status markers.

In 16th century Europe, politics and a lot of economics was handled by 'privileges' (literally, in Latin: private laws). If the king or a lord wanted to let one member of his following (those who had to 'hear' him, or those who were 'thrown under' -- sub-jected -- to him) be able to, say, run the village mill, he gave that person a privilege. No question of fairness: lords got to do that.

And they could give (or more often, later on, sell) privileges to whole communities, too. You could sell a village the right to have its own court. Or for a much higher fee, the right to make its own laws, and enforce them, without appeals. (That was an expensive privilege, but a goodie for the local bigwigs).

I know of a community -- up in the mountains where high-powered economic types now go each winter, in fact -- that in the late 16th century, asked to show its privileges establishing its self-government, responded that it also had the privilege, given to it by the king, that it did not need to show anyone, including the king, its privileges. This privilege, naturally, also covered the privilege of not having to show its privilege.

Trust us!

We are becoming feuda, again.

Glennis said...

I think riots require a great deal more vigorous physical activity than the people who will be the most outraged about this issue can manage.

Dark Avenger said...

Yes, it's a bit harder to cause chaos from a hoveround, even if you organize a fleet of them.