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Fist Fights No Way to Settle Fender Benders


Loved Nick Welsh’s last column; I feel fortunate to have a reporter who researches tirelessly and favors no man in his quest for truth while at the same time cracking me up. Larry from Strawberry Hill is a hoot; thanks for sharing his latest quest for the American way while he fudges the truth-and-justice part.

The rush to get Mexican nationals an ID card is an interesting drama. Hard not to notice the ever lengthening teller lines at Wells Fargo and Bank of America since both institutions began accepting taxpayer ID numbers or the Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad card to open accounts. Credit cards, loans, and, most importantly, sending money to Mexico is now easier and cheaper than ever.

Wells Fargo and BofA love the taxpayer ID: Just get a job, claim whatever amount of dependents, make up a Social Security number that doesn’t raise any red flags, and you are a golden credit risk. No photo, no credit, no Patriot Act, no problem.

The Consular card is so pre-Unabomber. Since there is no centralized database in Mexico, it’s about as alta seguridad as my Santa Barbara Public Library card, but hey, at least there’s a photo. Speaker Pelosi claimed racism of those not accepting the Matricula Consular as ID. The FBI sees it otherwise but is conspicuously silent on the subject. I am staring at a seven-inch stack of paper and a retinal scan to save half a point on a mortgage; to ship money out of the country, there’s a drive-thru.

I truly have no problem with any of this until the questionably documented get behind the wheel. Get hit once or twice, check your uninsured motorist coverage, and you begin to experience a Lou Dobbs moment. I dream of a life without a DMV, avoiding license renewal, registration, the cost of insurance, etc., but fistfights are no way to settle a fender-bender.

Tow ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out. If we can bus drunks from Isla Vista to downtown S.B. and make an honest dollar doing so, we can certainly do the same for the unlicensed. I will roll the dice on tubercular Mixtecs in our midst and choose my visits to the emergency room wisely, but I have to draw the line on highway safety. Show me that a stinking badge is on the job, and we’ll all sleep easier at the switch.

P.S. I have won many bar bets on the line from Sierra Madre. For some reason the bandit uses perfect English in the final clause. “We ain’t got no badges, we don’t need no badges, we don’t have to show you any stinking badges.” Perhaps he took Obama’s path to citizenship rules to heart.

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