Saturday, May 07, 2011

UMD fake ID incident poses question: why would a "good kid" do this?

A University of Maryland student, said to be a straight-A student on scholarship, now 20, has been indicted for making bogus Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania driver’s licenses in his dorm room, and charging up to $175 a card.  NBCWashington has a story here.

The operation required the acquisition of various kinds of equipment for printing holograms and for encoding.

An obvious question, from the viewpoint of a (former) substitute teacher, is, why would a “good kid” do this?  (I must add, there is an indictment, but not a conviction yet.)  It’s disturbing. Maybe there is a viewpoint that “no one is harmed” and it’s “beating the system.”  There have been stings and arrests in the past of fake ID rings in the District.

When I was substitute teaching, in fact, I saw persons whom I knew to be less than 18 (not just 21) on two occasions in bars – I knew the ages because I could see the birthdates on the class rosters that I checked during assignments.  I did tell one establishment after the fact about the incident on a subsequent day.  I did not tell the school systems.

In one of my screenplays, the possibility that a kid could print his own fake-id (and implicate someone else for participating, however tangentially) figures into the “plot.”

An episode of the WB series “Everwood” showed the teenage piano character Ephram (Gregory Smith) getting a fake ID and then getting into trouble in a bar.

There have occurred very rare, but horrific and tragic, cases of “good kids” doing even much worse, such as Philip Markoff with Craigslist (Movies blog Jan. 3).


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