Letter: Are ID ‘rebels’ really dumb?

Before you start criticizing those who do not agree with the requirements set by the federal government regarding ID standards and who is “dumb,” we should first set some “dumb” standards regarding the federal requirements.

In the marine industry, a Federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential is required for people to work aboard vessels. Getting the card requires a federal background check. It has my picture and a biometric chip holding all sorts of information about me, and can be scanned to be sure that I am who I say I am. To get the credential, I use some combination of a driver’s license, Social Security card, birth certificate or passport for verification. You have to visit an issuing center to apply and then return to pick it up. This is a high-level security card.

Except, there are no scanners, after 10 years in the testing. There is no information on the chip and no one but the United States Coast Guard accepts them. Most airport security screens will accept it, after numerous insistent TWIC holders have held up the security lines demanding acceptance. However, it will not get you on the White House tour or most other government installations. For that, you need a driver’s license.

The card is expensive and is made by only one vendor on special paper, coded and numbered so no terrorist can possibly reproduce it. Or course as soon as they hit the ground fakes were showing up everywhere.

I suppose as soon as the scanner vendors get the development price to a level where they can make the proper financial return, employers will be paying extreme amounts of money for a device that every supermarket currently uses to check you out.

It has literally taken an act of Congress to get TSA to admit these cards can be sent securely at home, like a passport, one of the supporting documents for the card, by of the United States Postal Service and avoid a wasted day traveling long distances to a center to pick them up.

This is Alice’s Restaurant revisited 40 years later. This is dumb.

So don’t be so fast to criticize those who have a problem with the feds telling us how to make a driver’s license. When that special numbered paper is found in only one federally authorized location for purchase and the cost of the license goes up, you will be back here screaming again, because this is all about the money.

z. David deLoach

transportation consultant

Port Allen