Entrapment, American Style

freedom       2003-05-12 
In the usual "soccer parent" rush I quickly ran into the local convenience store to pick up a couple of bottles of water before our oldest daughter, Sarah's, senior soccer game and award ceremony. My attention was suddenly drawn to the young man in front of me as he asked for a pack of cigarettes.
I didn't find this unusual until the cashier asked for his driver's license and then replied, "Sorry you are too young to buy cigarettes." Then suddenly, a short guy with a crew cut standing directly behind the boy puffed his chest out, held up a badge and stated in a loud voice to show his authority, "I'm with the ‘blankety-blankty’ government enforcement division. Ma'am, you did the right thing."
I was directly beside him making my purchase with the next cashier and without thinking I said far too loudly, "What a police-state we live in. Does it give you a lot of job satisfaction to use underage kids to entrap and harass minimum-wage store clerks for a living?" As soon as I said it, I knew I'd made a mistake as he was a law enforcement official of some type and my current drivers license expired back on May 15, 1999. The entire convenience store turned quiet as everyone looked on and the petty bureaucrat in his harshest tone warned, "You'd better mind your business, buddy."