At best, the law and its sanctions stood. If they wanted to be known as 21 years of age (and they were not, as of the time of the hearing) then the license they could have enjoyed from the age of sixteen and a half years would just have to wait until the 21st year they claimed.
Of course, one could not help but try to convey a little regard for the law. Sure, “It’s the law! That’s it” would suffice. I would forego that. I would cite the mischief that I recognized. I would try to equate it to their credit cards and the age of rampant identity theft. One day, as I noticed one of America’s future water-walkers, supported by the perfect couple parents, exhibiting all the signs of boredom; counting ceiling dots, inventorying fingers, I suggested that this appellant might have friends who had jobs in restaurants, inns or pubs. The reaction that I hoped for suddenly happened. I suggested that it might be wise to consider what a bogus ID carrier, after being served, could cost his friend, the employer of his friend and a number of other people as well. And appealing to responsibility, awakening it, for friends, colleagues and fellow travelers could be a solution for fellow citizens and our government as well.
Just stepping back to the experience I cited above were offenses committed by the state itself.
In the 80’s the Dukakis Administration issued bogus social security numbers for a couple of groups of immigrants to facilitate their obtaining pay-outs. Were they for the purpose of employment there existed a mechanism. But that wasn’t the case. This was pure state-sponsored welfare fraud.
Underneath this was the fiscal and political advantage that the Governor gained at the time - more employment slots for case workers were sponsored (think payrolls, state employee union endorsements, [try to lay off a state employee]). This became a major debacle after a while when some of the recipients of largesse faced scrutiny in legal affairs; insurance and commercial licenses. The state was complicit in material misrepresentation. Not only was Massachusetts culpable for this as there were similar practices in other states as well. Florida, North Carolina and Texas to name but a few were more egregious in their failure of due diligence in issuing false identity papers. Some even had networks of blind-eyed officials who, together with a cadre of bottom-feeders were issuing licenses for exorbitant fees. (By the way, I don’t consider those that paid them were victims.)