A woman who sells alcohol for a living called me the other day to say that she likes the Maui County Liquor Control rule requiring all establishments to ask for identification before selling booze to anyone. “It cuts out discrimination,” she said, and I had to agree with her on that point. No one can ever bitch about favoritism to a clerk or bartender if everyone young and old, spry and feeble, has to reach into his or her wallet and pull out an ID card.
Of course, what piece of identification the customer pulls out is a matter of some concern. Members of LC’s Board of Adjudication are fond of telling licensees hauled before them on charges of serving minors that a State of Hawai`i drivers license belonging to someone underage always has displays in red bold letters the words “Under 21 until” and then the date of the holder’s 21st birthday. That’s all fine and dandy for locals who try to sneak a six-pack of malt liquor or a bottle of Jager past a weary clerk, but what about a tourist?
There are, according to a federal Homeland Security spokesman mentioned in an Aug. 1, 2006 Associated Press story, more than 8,000 different forms of legally acceptable identification. In fact, there are so many IDs—and so many fakes—that this year investigators with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) who were carrying counterfeit identification cards were repeatedly able to enter the United States through the Canadian and Mexican borders.
According to the GAO report, which was cited in the article, border agents at nine separate checkpoints “never questioned the authenticity of the counterfeit documents.” If U.S. border patrol agents are getting fooled by fake IDs, what chance to do local booze merchants have?