Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

when did showing identification become big-brother?

Prop A removes the mandatory identification requirements the Missouri State Highway patrol needs to keep Missourians safe.  The casinos, who wrote Proposition A and have a financial incentive to pass the proposition, have suggested that presenting identification at a casino somehow leads this country into a big-brother type nanny state. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the casinos, the very industry that has perfected the ‘eye in the sky’ to monitor and watch every movement you make, is viewing any issue through a big-brother lens.  However, I hardly see how showing identification qualifies as governmental paternalism.  We routinely show identification with no harm or consequence.  We show it to buy alcohol or tobacco, to watch a movie, to cash a check or to rent a car.  This is commonplace and second nature.

More importantly however, Missouri casinos represent a level of danger that justifies the need to show identification. Last year the Missouri State Highway Patrol was granted funding for the purchase of tasers to be used in the casinos.  The Highway Patrol said they were needed, “to quell violent situations that sometimes erupt as gamblers are drinking alcohol and losing money.”  They said there were significant instances where officers had to use force to deal with these violent situations.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol also lobbied the House and Senate to keep the mandatory identification requirements and player cards which Proposition A removes.  They pointed to 1,682 criminal investigations at the casinos just last year.  The Highway Patrol showed that they were able to solve 1,611 or 95.78% of the cases because of the identification requirement. Examples include: 303 crimes involving theft or stealing, 215 crimes involving ID theft, forgery and counterfeiting, 29 crimes involving sex offenses, drugs, assaults.  They also apprehended illegal aliens, bank robbers, a child sex offender, a rapist, and a murder suspect.  A vote for Prop A removes these key law enforcement tools and places Missourians in danger.

The unfortunate reality is that Missouri no longer enjoys the historic two-hour riverboat cruises up and down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers sold as family fun that was originally authorized by the voters.  We instead have full casino buildings that bring with them a level of danger that warrants tasers and has lead to the violent crimes listed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. There is no harm to showing identification before you enter a casino, but there is tremendous risk and danger if you don’t.