Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Kirk Watson emerges from cave after 200 years of isolation

Jerry Stratton, July 24, 2015

Kirk Watson

“No one ever checks my id.” (Jeff J. Newman courtesy Globe/Zuma, CC-BY 2.0)

Former Austin mayor and Texas state senator Kirk Watson, after the Texas legislature voted to require physicians performing abortions to use “due diligence” in determining the age of abortion patients, said:

“I can’t think of another instance where we presume women are children,” Watson said. “I certainly can’t think of any situation where we presume a man is a child.”

Senator Kirk Watson either never drinks, or has employees to get him his alcohol. I’m over fifty years old, and I still get carded when the bartender is paranoid enough. More and more of them are today, and more and more the law requires them to be. In most states, “they looked older than 21” is not a defense if a vendor sells liquor to someone under 21. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission requires checking identification “of anyone who reasonably appears 26 years old or younger”. In Indiana, liquor sellers are specifically required to check identification of anyone “who is or reasonably appears to be less than forty (40) years of age.”

Given how difficult it is for young cashiers to tell the age of people over thirty, this means that anyone who doesn’t look sixty is going to get carded.

All of which of course ignores the fact that people age 18 to 21 are also adults, and are assumed children for the purposes of alcohol purchases; male or female, they aren’t even allowed to buy it, identification or not.

Watson also hasn’t been paying attention to what’s going on in college campuses today. When two people get drunk, and only the man is held responsible for the consequences, we are presuming that the woman is a child. Trigger warnings have rapidly become an assumption that both women and men are unable to face the world of adult ideas.

More and more on social media, we are presuming that women are children who cannot handle any political discussion without severe distress; and we are presuming that the adults—men—should treat them like children rather than adults.

But there’s a bigger point in what Watson said. It’s true, as far as I know, that we don’t require a presumption of childhood for most other procedures for which a child is required to have parental consent. That’s because a whole lot of the law still assumes common sense.

I don’t see where Texas law requires tattoo artists to check people’s ID when they get an obscene or offensive tattoo, for instance, even though parental consent is required by law. For the most part, we just assume that tattoo artists will display common sense. Unlike judges and abortion doctors, they won’t try to get around the law for political reasons.

We don’t require body piercers to assume their customers are under 18, either. We assume common sense. We don’t require body piercers to do a breath test to make sure their customers are sober. We literally assume common sense.

A person may not perform body piercing if the person suspects that the individual on whom the body piercing is to be performed is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

We can do that, because tattoo artists and piercers show more common sense than abortion doctors and judges do when it comes to abortion.

Plastic surgery also requires parental consent for those under 18, and while the requirement is listed everywhere on plastic surgery sites, I cannot find the controlling law. It relies so much on common sense that there’s no need to describe the law itself, if there even is one. It’s just common sense that surgery on minors requires parental consent. The standard among physicians is that parental consent is required for a minor to have informed consent for any surgery, but while there may be and likely is a law to this effect somewhere, I cannot find it. Everyone just relies on common sense.

Abortion is an exception in the laws and standards governing medical procedures. Normally, medical providers require parental consent for non-emergency treatment, but abortion is treated as an exception from this rule by abortion providers. And whenever legislators try to bring abortion back into the medical standard for parental consent, abortion doctors and the left try to skirt the law. If Kirk Watson had supported parental consent laws, his complaint that we shouldn’t have to require IDs might be more believable. But his real complaint appears to be that we are treating children as children, not that we are treating adults as children.

As it is, his argument that we don’t require identification elsewhere among adults is silly on its face. What we don’t require is common sense.

In response to Texas 2015: News from Texas in 2015.

  1. <- Democratic Confederacy
  2. Round Rock Redflex vote ->