970: The Important Field

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The Important Field
I hear in some places, you need to fill one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting to see who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.
Title text: I hear in some places, you need to fill one form of ID to buy a gun, but two to pay for it by check. It's interesting to see who has what incentives to care about what mistakes.


It is very common that online input forms demand that one's email address is typed twice, and also quite common that pasting into the second field is disabled, so that there is no escape. If a form asks for some information that is really much more crucial, and this standard routine thoughtlessly isn't used for those fields too, it would comically seem that the form-makers consider your email address to be hideously important, maybe even more important than the location where a missile is programmed to land. In the comic, the impression is that it is less important that the wrong city is not accidentally wiped out, than that the boss knows who to blame afterwards.

The title text suggests a real world parallel to this. Randall has heard about differing priorities of identifying who is purchasing a firearm (the state/locality requires one form of identification) and ensuring the payment (the store requires two forms of ID, to properly document the person, in case the check is fake or is rejected by the bank). The point is that people often care a lot about money, but a gun in the wrong hands is a potential disaster bigger than a few hundred missing dollars.

This is the only comic so far to feature Green Hat. It appears that the green hat means that he is part of the military.


[Green Hat sitting at a computer.]
Computer: Welcome to the missile launch interface!
Computer: Enter the target's coordinates.
Type Type
Computer: Enter your email address for our records.
Type Type
Computer: Enter your email again, to ensure you typed it correctly.

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I never realized his hat was green until I read this page 04:22, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

In order to purchase a firearm in the United States from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) you have to submit an official government photographic identification card (State ID or State Drivers license usually suffice), complete a Form 4473 Firearms Transaction Record to include such personal data as name, address, height, weight, ethnicity, age, birth date and Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number and submit the previous personal data from the Form 4473 to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which is administered by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and receive a "PROCEED WITH TRANSACTION" from the NICS in order to take possession of the firearm.

To pay for your firearm with a check you only need show two forms of identification one of which may just be your Social Security Card.

To take possession of the firearm actually requires more stringent checks on identity than to pay with one by check.

But other than that you're right. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please enter your name and address, so we know who to blame when New York disappears. Davidy22[talk] 04:22, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

How can a law-bound society write laws about guns when the all-embracing laws cannot first be rescinded?

The USA has much the same life problems that Iran once had -which probably lead to Iran's defeat at Gaugamela (Mosul.) I doubt Darius III's officers had e-mail addresses to worry about, none the less if their aristocracy were bound by bureaucracy at the wrong time and place, that would have been it.

Something else that is probably beyond emails:

"The Iraqi government is planning to retake the city with the help of the peshmerga, Sunni tribes, and US-led coalition air support."

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 19:29, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Why are the words "has heard" italicised in the explanation? 03:34, 7 April 2019 (UTC)