In a 100 Years, Who’s Going to Remember?

fostex-8-track-e1516227725568-225x300I’ve been recording bands and artists since my high school days, but I sold my recording studio back in 2010.  Recently, I was going through a box of wires (junk) and I stumbled across some old ADAT tapes, and reel to reel tapes.

Now, there’s something you should know about these tapes.  You cannot play them in an ordinary reel t0 reel machine, because these tapes were made especially for use with my old 8-track Fostex recorder.  Same goes for the ADAT tapes.  These tapes are, technically, VCR tapes, but they don’t work in a VCR, they only play on an Alesis ADAT multitrack machine.  I got a little sentimental when I ran across these old band recordings, but I just don’t have the equipment to play these tapes.

These band memories captured on ADAT and Fostex are lost forever.  Maybe forever is slightly dramatic, given the fact that I can pay a ridiculous ransom to some “vintage collector” and maybe, just maybe, these old units will work.  But, you get the point.  Technology has changed so much during my lifetime that I can’t even play the memories I once made.

This whole train of thought came from an interesting article by Robby Berman, Is There Going to Be a Big Hole in History Where the 21st Century Was?   His point is pretty simple.  At some point in the future, your kids will reach “an age when they want to know who their parents were, what they thought, and what they felt.  One day the kids will come across a trunkful of these intimate messages on USB thumb drives, hard drives, or solid-state drives–and have no way to read them.  The same will be true for the thousands of digital childhood photos we’ve been taking, and which they’ll be desperate to see.  Absent a trip to a hardware archivist or local museum, all this silicon might just as well return to its original form–sand–for all the good it will do.  Experts are concerned that this time, now, in the 21st century, may well be the future’s ‘digital dark age,’ with nothing ultimately left behind to tell our story for future generations.” [Berman’s article accessed 1/17/18]

Also, this lesson was taught to us by Cartman on South Park. [Episode 12, Season 10, “Go God Go”]  Cartman is a grade school child, and he could not wait for the release of the video game system Nintendo Wii.  He was three weeks from the release, and he couldn’t sleep.  In his desparation,  he decided to freeze himself and thaw out three weeks in the future once the Wii was released.  Naturally, something goes terribly wrong, and he ends up overshooting the Wii release by 500 years.  Cartman wakes up and is told “your family, your friends, everyone you knew has been dead for over five hundred years.”  To which, Cartman replies “I don’t care, is there a Nintendo Wii?”  The only Wii left on earth is located in a museum of technology–but as you may have figured out by the discussion above–Cartman is devastated to find that the future has nothing to connect the old Wii to.

And this brings me to one particular technological myth that needs to be cleared up. Many folks believe that the DMV will “forget” your driving record after seven years.   Nothing could be further from the truth.   The DMV never forgets, especially when it comes to Habitual Traffic Offenders.

Our real life example of the DMV’s elephant-like-memory comes from the case of Dolan v. Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. (Broward County Case No. CACE17-007958, FLWSUPP 2509DOLA).  Dolan’s license was suspended for five years as a habitual traffic offender on February 16, 2017.  The DMV instituted this HTO suspension because Dolan had three prior driving while license suspended (DWLS) convictions within a five year period.  No problems so far.  Why all the fuss?  Why would Dolan sue the DMV over this?

Well, the first DWLS happened in 1989.  The second in 1991.  The third in 1993.  Yes, the third DWLS happened over 25 years ago, and the DMV is just now getting around to suspending Dolan’s license for five years.   Yes, the DMV should have instituted this suspension 1993, and the suspension would have ended in 1998.  Yes, the Statute of Limitations runs on most felonies after 3 years. But, we’re not dealing with the criminal courts here.

Did I mention we’re talking about the DMV?  They are like their own little dictatorship, and the rules just don’t apply to them.

Dolan sued the DMV, alleging that the 25 year gap between when they should have  suspended his license, and when they actually got around to doing it, constituted a violation of his due process rights.   If our government had any sort of heart, any sort of soul, you would think that they would have given Dolan some relief from a suspension that was 25 years late.  But no.  The DMV actually paid a lawyer to fight Dolan’s request.  Your taxpayer dollars hard at work.

Reluctantly, the court sided with the DMV, because Florida’s HTO law “does not prescribe any time limitation or period in which the department may take action to suspend or revoke the driver’s license of an individual.” Id. quoting DMV v. Hagar, 581 So. 2d 214 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991).

Judge J. Rodriguez’s concurring opinion displayed the judge’s frustration with the DMV, stating that “at some point, as a matter of relevance, or constitutional due process, it is just too old.  The over-broad application by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of section 322.264, Florida Statutes, needs clarification by the legislature or a superior court.  As my mother, Estela, would tell me “don’t worry, in a hundred years no one will remember anything you did.” As it stands now, the Department would remember forever!”.  id.