Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Strange Mail from the Police

No one really wants to open their mail box and find a letter from the police. "What have I done?" I think to myself - a motor vehicle infringement? Some camera set up in some occult location? I got a parking ticket in Ottawa almost a year ago, but I payed it. What could it be?

"You have a guilty conscience," says my wife.

"I have many reasons for that." I think to myself.

I opened it. It was just a letter in regard to the background check I did so that I can participate in my children's school event, class trips, etc. I had filled out a form last Fall about this. What was this, an update?

No, it seems that because my gender (of which there are only two, I assume) and date of birth match a pardoned sex offender I must submit my finger prints to their database.

Okay, sure, no problem. I have nothing to hide...

WHAT!? BECAUSE MY GENDER - OF WHICH THERE ARE ONLY TWO - AND MY DATE OF BIRTH MATCH THAT OF A PARDONED SEX OFFENDER I MUST SUBMIT MY FINGER PRINTS SO AS TO CONTINUE TO BE CLEARED FOR GOING ON MY CHILDREN'S CLASS TRIPS.

So, in a nutshell, I won the 1 in 730 fingerprint lottery. How so? Well, you have 2 genders to choose from, and 365 days on which to have a birthday. 2 x 365 = 730.

Let me just see what the logic is here:

1) I am a man.

2) I was born on the particular day of the year some 'pardoned' sex offender was born.

3) Therefore, I must submit to fingerprinting.

I have studied logic. I have watched hundreds of episodes of the Law and Order franchises. I don't get it.

Is it that they have lost track of this 'pardoned' sex offender. They don't remember his name, what he looks like, but they do remember his birthday, and so, it makes perfect sense to track down everyone who fits into that category? That's how they tracked down bin Laden, right? By checking out every birthday party in the Middle East until they got his?

I got to tell you, that is the weakest pretext I have ever seen for Joe Law to add me to his database. If they had just come out and said it is now the law that all men who volunteer to work with school children must be fingerprinted, I'd be, like, "Cool. Fingerprinting. Let's do it." But, on principle, this has to be dealt with in a more public and stinky way.

Am I offended? Just my intelligence. I think I will call the local OPP detachment to ask them about this, and then call my MP, Cheryl Gallant, to let her know about this 'funny' little incident. I will keep you posted.

When you think about it, there is not just one sex offender out there. There must be hundreds, perhaps thousands in their database. So, with 2 genders and only 365 days from which to choose, I am guessing everyone must get a letter like this who signs up for class trips, except, of course, for perma-lucky guy who was born on February 29th.

Further irony. I filled out the form last Fall, went on a class trip with my kids in April and this letter dated June 3rd says my check could not be completed. Too late, I have already gone. That makes me feel really secure about who is being let around my kids.

The letter says that because of this match of gender and date of birth a more thorough background check must be done to confirm my identity. Because, as you all know, no criminal bent on concealing his real identity would be so clever as to change his date of birth.

Or, is it that my date of birth is a particularly bad one? It is, after all, particularly close to Halloween. But I can't help but think that it's more a matter of this: criminal X likes french fries, I like french fries, so chances are greater that I might be a criminal...




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