Trouble brewing with background checks to sell coffee but not to sell guns
A friend is in a tight spot these days. With an extra mouth to feed, she's doing something she hasn't had to do since she was a teenager: sorting through want ads and filling out job applications.
The other day, she started the job hunt in earnest. First stop in the search — a coffee shop. It offers immediate and unfettered access to hot chocolate, whipped cream and cheese Danish. Downside? Nada. The manager greeted her and handed her an application. When she got to the part about previous work history, my friend stopped.
“You gonna check this stuff out?” she asked the manager.
The manager slightly raised a brow. “Yeah, usually.”
“Just to make sure you're on the up-and-up,” she added perkily.
“Why do you need all this information? About where I went to school? Where I've worked? Whether I've ever committed a crime? What if I have? What's the point?”
“Well, this is a business. If you've been accused of, say, stealing, then that's information I'd like to have.”
“Even if I have before doesn't mean I'd do it again. Also, even if someone has had a previously clean record, she could still take advantage of an open register, no?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess.”
My friend just turned and walked out of there. She later explained that if the Senate doesn't think a background check is needed to flag the violently mentally ill or those with criminal histories when they want to buy guns, then why does she need one to get a job at a coffee shop?
She walked to a preschool a few doors down. Perfect for her. Who doesn't love the idea of playing with children all day? It'd be like getting paid to have fun — unless you hate kids. Then, not so much.
Anyway, the day care center owner loved the friend's enthusiasm. When she got the application package, however, she saw she had to fill out several forms.
“What's this, now?” she said, rolling her eyes.
The day care owner peeked over to see she was pointing to a reference to clearance forms. “Right. Criminal history check, child welfare abuse records, the usual.”
“I feel like a broken record today. Why would you need all of this from me? An FBI check?! It's just past behavior, and not even an indication or predictor of what I might do in the future.”
That's when he gave her back a little bit of the attitude she was serving: “Look, if you're going to work with other people's children, we need to know you can be trusted.”
My friend paused to digest this, then replied: “So what we're saying is that it's important to protect children from violent predators who could abuse them in a school, or for a business to protect its bottom line from potential thieves. But a background check to prevent guns from getting in the hands of potentially dangerous people isn't worth the trouble? How can both of those things be right?”
“It's important for us to know that your record is clean and that you have no previous record of child abuse,” the owner said, going from frustrated to annoyed in a breath. “This is basic stuff, lady, and if you can't see that, maybe you need to fill out an application somewhere else.
“Like the U.S. Senate.”
Nafari Vanaski is on maternity leave with her daughter, Jolie Colette Vanaski, born at 4:28 a.m. April 21 at 7 lbs., 12 oz. Reach her on Twitter @NafariTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins’ competition among bottom six
- Latrobe woman charged with open lewdness
- Snyder seeks re-election as Fayette County Clerk of Courts
- Rossi: Pirates better with Maz on scene
- Easter Seals merger in Pennsylvania raises ethics concerns
- Rue21 plays to tough teen crowd with new store in Cranberry
- Cafe Con Leche helps Pittsburgh’s Latino community meet wider audience
- Few in Westmoreland County opposed to expansion plan for Mariner pipeline
- Officials plan software upgrade to Westmoreland County emergency dispatching system
- Roundup: U.S. Steel to idle Gary Works coke plant, displacing 300; Drager plans to close local operation and lay off 150; more
- Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates