There's a bar in Logan, Utah, called The White Owl. It's quite a popular place. Of course, there aren't that many bars in Logan, Utah, so anyplace with booze is likely to be popular. Anyway, underage kids like to get in to the Owl, and the Utah State Liquor control people like to bust young people trying to get into the Owl. Now, I'm in favor of keeping young people from the inside of bars. Let's make 'em get their liquor in the old-fashioned way, by raiding dad's cabinet.
The point of this whole essay, though, is a recent escalation in detection by the White Owl. Seems like every time the state catches someone inside the Owl and underage, they jerk the bar's license for a time. No booze, no profits. So, the Owl has a very real interest in keeping kids out. Recently, they installed a sophisticated scanner that can pick out phony ID's.
You'd think that the liquor control people would applaud this. After all, the Owl is doing all it can to help keep kids out of the bar (at gunpoint, but they are doing it). This is, however, not the case. See, the state loves to run sting operations. That is, they find some underage kid and get them to try to infiltrate the Owl. Then, if the kid get in, the cops have the Owl cold and can shut 'em down again. The cops don't like the new scanner because -- get this -- it makes it harder for their moles to make it into the bar.
The cops seem to have forgotten the whole point of the legal system, which is to keep underage people from drinking. Instead of keeping their eye on this simple goal, the cops have allowed things to evolve into a contest between the cops (getting kids in) and the Owl (keeping kids out). And in this escalation the targets for the system, the poor dumb teeners who want to get drunk and act grownup, are completely forgotten. They stand on the sidelines, puzzled and stupid, while the law and the bar duke it out to see who has the best technology or the smartest spies.
I realize that, given freedom to do so, many bars would serve liquor to kids in diapers, but still, in this case, the state liquor control people really need to back off, re-evaluate what they are doing and why they are doing it, and perhaps, just maybe, get real?