Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Papers, Please

 

When I was a kid, the copy of The Hunt For Red October we recorded off the TV was one of my favorite movies. My dad was a submariner, and while he had served on missile boats instead of fast attack ones like the American sub Dallas, he was able to give the perspective of someone who’d actually been there and done that in his commentary on the movie. (E.g., when Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was, “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”)

In the middle of the movie, there’s a quiet scene where the defecting Russian captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) and his first officer Vasily Borodin (Sam Neil) are discussing what life will be like in America.

“I would like to live in Montana. Will they let me do that?”
“I would think they’d let you live wherever you wanted.”
“In that case, I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman, and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck … or possibly even a recreational vehicle. And I will drive state to state. Do they let you do that?”
“I suppose.”
“No papers?”
“No papers. State to state.”

The first time I saw the movie, at around ten or eleven, my parents patiently explained that in the Soviet Union, we would have had to get the state’s permission to visit our grandparents or cousins who lived out of state. That being in America meant we didn’t have to have things like travel papers, and freedoms like that were why Marko and Vasily and the other officers were willing to risk their lives to come to America.

Yesterday, I got my travel papers that allow me to leave my house to go to work.

To Law Enforcement & Emergency Services Personnel:

The bearer of this letter is employed by [company name] of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia in an essential capacity – providing transportation and logistics services to maintain and inspect infrastructure for hospitals, medical center campuses, public buildings and the like. Both President Trump’s National Emergency Orders and state and
local stay at home orders exempt essential service businesses.

This letter verifies the essential nature of the bearer’s duties and is not intended in any way to encroach upon the authority and laws of state and local governmental authorities. This designation is only meant to address travel to and from work assignments. If you need to verify the bearer’s employment and that he/she is currently on assignment with [company name], please contact our office …

Near the end of the movie, Vasily Borodin is shot by a KGB officer trying to stop the defection. As he lies dying, he confesses “I would have liked to have seen Montana” — his idealized land of freedom, where no one could demand proof of permission to go where you pleased.

I would like to be in Vasily’s Montana.

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  1. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I go to work every day, and will continue to do so, without being stopped by a policeman (even though we are also under a state “shelter-in-place” order). It was gratifying to see our parking lot full of cars when I came in this morning.

    I am counting my blessings that I was fortunate enough to have been born in America. 

    • #1
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:01 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    How does anyone even buy groceries? Are police actually stopping vehicles and asking for “papers”?

    • #2
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:09 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    cdor (View Comment):

    How does anyone even buy groceries? Are police actually stopping vehicles and asking for “papers”?

    Under the order, you’re also allowed to buy essentials at the few retailers declared essential.

    I haven’t heard of the police stopping cars to ask for papers — heck, in other jurisdictions, they’ve decided not to arrest people who aren’t committing felonies to keep themselves safe. (Annoys my dad to no end when cops act that way; when he was a cop (before his navy career; yeah, Dad’s resume is almost as eclectic as mine) he did not place getting home safely above his duty to protect the populace.) I’ve also heard in California that the cops are finding time to check whether non-essential businesses are actually closed, though. It really seems to come down to the character of the executives and police chiefs.

    But just the fact that companies are drafting such letters just in case their employees get stopped is bloody terrifying. It’s like we’re being ruled by Soviets without even electing Premier Sanders.

    • #3
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:16 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Stina Member

    I can still go out for groceries even though my husband now has papers, too. I can’t figure this out. It’s a lot of words seeming to amount to not much different for me.

    The biggest difference seems to be my kids are around more and the education site I use has more resources.

    I miss my friends, but they are holed away because of pre-existing conditions in their families. My mother is working, which is weird because I think we were avoiding eachother because of these orders, but now she is working instead of spending time with grandkids on their extended vacation?

    It’s just a lot of inconsistencies that don’t match the words being said.

    • #4
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:20 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker: When Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”

    Some clarification. I was stationed on the Phoenix (SSN-702). It’s almost a carbon copy of the Dallas (and I’ve been on that boat too). Doing an emergency blow does not create a new emergency unless you re-submerge and then have to do an emergency blow again. I think this was the gist of what your father meant.

    Once you’ve done an emergency blow, the first thing you do is start up the air compressors to refill the emergency blow air tanks. Performing such a blow is a periodic testing requirement. We usually did ours in conjunction with a flooding drill on our way back into port. We’d run the drill, do the blow, then rig for surface and station the maneuvering watch. It’s actually kind of fun when you aren’t on watch. The best place to be was the forward compartment middle level, all the way forward. Once the boat broke the surface, you could feel yourself lighten as it sank back into the water. It’s fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOqalX5FJ2c

    And now it’s time for Stad trivia! I went to nuke school and sub school with one of the actors in the movie. I haven’t seen or spoken with him since, so don’t expect me to get hired as an extra in Hunt for Red October 2 . . .

     

    • #5
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:21 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
  6. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    Stad (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker: When Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”

    Some clarification. I was stationed on the Phoenix (SSN-702). It’s almost a carbon copy of the Dallas (and I’ve been on that boat too). Doing an emergency blow does not create a new emergency unless you re-submerge and then have to do an emergency blow again. I think this was the gist of what your father meant.

    Once you’ve done an emergency blow, the first thing you do is start up the air compressors to refill the emergency blow air tanks. Performing such a blow is a periodic testing requirement. We usually did ours in conjunction with a flooding drill on our way back into port. We’d run the drill, do the blow, then rig for surface and station the maneuvering watch. It’s actually kind of fun when you aren’t on watch. The best place to be was the forward compartment middle level, all the way forward. Once the boat broke the surface, you could feel yourself lighten as it sank back into the water. It’s fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOqalX5FJ2c

    And now it’s time for Stad trivia! I went to nuke school and sub school with one of the actors in the movie. I haven’t seen or spoken with him since, so don’t expect me to get hired as an extra in Hunt for Red October 2 . . .

     

    He was referring to how in the movie, Dallas is so far out of the water than the ballast tank vents were above the surface. He was saying that you have to get enough air pressure back in those tanks before they fill completely with seawater. “Emergency” might not have been the word he used (I’m not going to claim I remember a 25 year old conversation verbatim!) but the gist was that it’s a dangerous enough procedure that you don’t do it unless you really have to and if you mess it up, things can go really bad, really quickly.

    • #6
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:31 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. OldDanRhody (this comment has … Member

    • #7
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    • #8
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:00 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  9. Stad Thatcher

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker: When Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”

    Some clarification. I was stationed on the Phoenix (SSN-702). It’s almost a carbon copy of the Dallas (and I’ve been on that boat too). Doing an emergency blow does not create a new emergency unless you re-submerge and then have to do an emergency blow again. I think this was the gist of what your father meant.

    Once you’ve done an emergency blow, the first thing you do is start up the air compressors to refill the emergency blow air tanks. Performing such a blow is a periodic testing requirement. We usually did ours in conjunction with a flooding drill on our way back into port. We’d run the drill, do the blow, then rig for surface and station the maneuvering watch. It’s actually kind of fun when you aren’t on watch. The best place to be was the forward compartment middle level, all the way forward. Once the boat broke the surface, you could feel yourself lighten as it sank back into the water. It’s fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOqalX5FJ2c

    And now it’s time for Stad trivia! I went to nuke school and sub school with one of the actors in the movie. I haven’t seen or spoken with him since, so don’t expect me to get hired as an extra in Hunt for Red October 2 . . .

    He was referring to how in the movie, Dallas is so far out of the water than the ballast tank vents were above the surface. He was saying that you have to get enough air pressure back in those tanks before they fill completely with seawater. “Emergency” might not have been the word he used (I’m not going to claim I remember a 25 year old conversation verbatim!) but the gist was that it’s a dangerous enough procedure that you don’t do it unless you really have to and if you mess it up, things can go really bad, really quickly.

    Even if the MBT vent valves were above the surface, they remain shut. Now, the only time they are opened is to submerge, or to let residual air escape when trimming the boat. Now, the bottoms of the main ballast tanks are open to the sea, but there would hardly be any seawater incursion even at a steep angle because there isn’t enough time. The boat gets back to horizontal pretty quickly. The most dangerous thing about an emergency blow is the potential to hit another ship. This is why we would come to periscope depth and make sure the area was clear for miles before doing the exercise.

    I know what you mean about 25 year-old conversations. My wife doesn’t remember any of the times she told me I was right. In fact, she tells me I’m the one who doesn’t remember correctly . . .

    Update: This guy’s web site does a great job explaining this stuff:

    http://www.rickcampbellauthor.com/styled/index.html#topic6

    • #9
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Roderic Coolidge

    During WWII my mother remembers that her father had to have special permission from the government to buy more than the allotted amount of gasoline and tires for his car, which he used in his job as a journalist. There were restrictions on sugar and coffee, and various other things, too. All of those restrictions disappeared when the war ended. 

    • #10
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:16 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker: Yesterday, I got my travel papers that allow me to leave my house to go to work.

    Our governor just issued a dictate instructing law enforcement to disperse groups of three or more people. Are they going to come to my house and tell me, my wife, and two of our daughters to break it up? Chilling . . .

    • #11
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Unsk Member

    Rejoice Comrades!, Communism is just around the corner,

    Thanks to our dear Comrade Mayor Eric Garcetti here in LA, those Kulaks violating quarantine may have their power and lights turned off, particularly if they own a business, and they will be implementing drones in the to watch our every move. 

    • #12
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:26 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. cdor Member
    cdor Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    How does anyone even buy groceries? Are police actually stopping vehicles and asking for “papers”?

    Under the order, you’re also allowed to buy essentials at the few retailers declared essential.

    I haven’t heard of the police stopping cars to ask for papers — heck, in other jurisdictions, they’ve decided not to arrest people who aren’t committing felonies to keep themselves safe. (Annoys my dad to no end when cops act that way; when he was a cop (before his navy career; yeah, Dad’s resume is almost as eclectic as mine) he did not place getting home safely above his duty to protect the populace.) I’ve also heard in California that the cops are finding time to check whether non-essential businesses are actually closed, though. It really seems to come down to the character of the executives and police chiefs.

    But just the fact that companies are drafting such letters just in case their employees get stopped is bloody terrifying. It’s like we’re being ruled by Soviets without even electing Premier Sanders.

    Well, all we can do right now is breathe slowly and work with the rules…at least for a few weeks. You be well Amy. I hope your current job works out. I didn’t know you moved, but I should realize perpetual moving is a little bit of your M.O.

    • #13
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:42 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce Caward Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker: When Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”

    Some clarification. I was stationed on the Phoenix (SSN-702). It’s almost a carbon copy of the Dallas (and I’ve been on that boat too). Doing an emergency blow does not create a new emergency unless you re-submerge and then have to do an emergency blow again. I think this was the gist of what your father meant.

    Once you’ve done an emergency blow, the first thing you do is start up the air compressors to refill the emergency blow air tanks. Performing such a blow is a periodic testing requirement. We usually did ours in conjunction with a flooding drill on our way back into port. We’d run the drill, do the blow, then rig for surface and station the maneuvering watch. It’s actually kind of fun when you aren’t on watch. The best place to be was the forward compartment middle level, all the way forward. Once the boat broke the surface, you could feel yourself lighten as it sank back into the water. It’s fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOqalX5FJ2c

    And now it’s time for Stad trivia! I went to nuke school and sub school with one of the actors in the movie. I haven’t seen or spoken with him since, so don’t expect me to get hired as an extra in Hunt for Red October 2 . . .

     

    You are awesome.

    • #14
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Hartmann von Aue Member

    So, here in Bayern, you are not allowed to go on walks with anyone who is not a member of your family. No picnics or barbeques, either (Germans are nuts about the latter, if you did not know- better than southerners even), and you have to maintain 1.5m distance from other people in line at any of the stores that are still open (drugstores, grocers, chemists, specialty food stores, supermarkets in the Walmart mode and that is about it.). And yet, last I checked, public transportation is still in operation…. 

    • #15
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  16. Hartmann von Aue Member

    The creepiest thing I’ve seen is a report in Die Welt online that some people are ratting out their neighbors for violations of the curfew. No kidding. For going on walks. Or driving to places that are “non-essential”. The ghosts of the NSDAP and SED are apparently out there and still at work in some people. 

    • #16
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  17. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce Caward Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Going through my normal routine here in NJ on our just-about-to-be-opened hotel, I notice that everybody – that’s 100% – of the people I interact with, are observing the normal, rational practices of social separation. Some are strict and scared, some are eye-rolling but complying.

    But everybody is complying. This is without a policeman’s gun to their head, they are doing it because it’s a good idea, and social pressure and social responsibility is enough of a cumpulsion to get everyone to be a team player here. Gestapo tactics are not necessary.

    Sadly, this is a time, an opportunity, for the worst instincts of the control freaks always lurking in our midst to come to the fore. Some cops, almost all media people, every noodge with his car covered in bumper stickers. They are now emboldened with a righteous cause.

    I can’t watch the news. I just can’t. These people make me sicker than the virus might eventually.

    • #17
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:28 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  18. John Park Member

    Re #16 Stasi veterans @hartmannvonaue ?

    • #18
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Misthiocracy held his nose and Member
    Misthiocracy held his nose and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think you should post that story to Facebook. I would love to share it.

    • #19
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Misthiocracy held his nose and Member
    Misthiocracy held his nose and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Meanwhile, on Airstrip One…

    • #20
    • March 26, 2020, at 11:12 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    Misthiocracy held his nose and (View Comment):

    Meanwhile, on Airstrip One…

    The lights are going out…

    • #21
    • March 26, 2020, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. kylez Member
    kylez Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The shrinking of longcats is important work, glad they let you continue.

    • #22
    • March 26, 2020, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Nerina Bellinger Member

    Misthiocracy held his nose and (View Comment):

    Meanwhile, on Airstrip One…

    This is insane.

    • #23
    • March 26, 2020, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Welcome to the “new” new world Madam…

    • #24
    • March 26, 2020, at 1:03 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Hang On Member
    Hang On Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEPhxiE5XvE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzGjS7dEyxw

    Will it come to this?

    • #25
    • March 26, 2020, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Stad Thatcher

    Bruce Caward (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker: When Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”

    Some clarification. I was stationed on the Phoenix (SSN-702). It’s almost a carbon copy of the Dallas (and I’ve been on that boat too). Doing an emergency blow does not create a new emergency unless you re-submerge and then have to do an emergency blow again. I think this was the gist of what your father meant.

    Once you’ve done an emergency blow, the first thing you do is start up the air compressors to refill the emergency blow air tanks. Performing such a blow is a periodic testing requirement. We usually did ours in conjunction with a flooding drill on our way back into port. We’d run the drill, do the blow, then rig for surface and station the maneuvering watch. It’s actually kind of fun when you aren’t on watch. The best place to be was the forward compartment middle level, all the way forward. Once the boat broke the surface, you could feel yourself lighten as it sank back into the water. It’s fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOqalX5FJ2c

    And now it’s time for Stad trivia! I went to nuke school and sub school with one of the actors in the movie. I haven’t seen or spoken with him since, so don’t expect me to get hired as an extra in Hunt for Red October 2 . . .

     

    You are awesome.

    Words I’ll never hear from my wife . . .

    • #26
    • March 26, 2020, at 2:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    Hang On (View Comment):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEPhxiE5XvE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzGjS7dEyxw

    Will it come to this?

    That’s just bizarre. Are they intending to teach people to run away from them?

    • #27
    • March 26, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  28. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Roderic (View Comment):

    During WWII my mother remembers that her father had to have special permission from the government to buy more than the allotted amount of gasoline and tires for his car, which he used in his job as a journalist. There were restrictions on sugar and coffee, and various other things, too. All of those restrictions disappeared when the war ended.

    An economic analyst for the Hoover Institute likened current restrictions to previous times when citizens acknowledged the American founder’s admission of greater executive powers during emergencies and “clawed them back” when the crisis passed. Needless to say, American politics was permanently changed after WWII. 

    In an article about the Stay-at-Home order around Houston, one sheriff or deputy told journalists that they would exercise prudence by focusing on willful, flagrant, and repeated violations. He proposed an example of a business bringing 50 employees together in proximity as opposed to, say, one jogger on a park trail. 

    I’ve hesitated to travel for sone park photohraphy these past couple days. But our local police might shrug at such outings. 

    On the flip side, I’m helping a teacher transition to online instruction in one-on-one meetings. When she mentioned that someone she knew contracted COVID-19, I had to ask if she had been near the person. Sometimes the number of people gathered is as irrelevant as the location.

    • #28
    • March 26, 2020, at 4:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Headedwest Coolidge

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy held his nose and (View Comment):

    Meanwhile, on Airstrip One…

    The lights are going out…

    I am never going to enjoy an English police procedural tv show or novel again. When the DI is investigating a murder, I will forever wonder why he has time to do that when he has to follow hikers on a map or patrol facebook or twitter for PC violations. I consume tons of police procedural novels, but I have actually stopped downloading English police novels because I know that murder is way less important to them than unauthorized walking or expressing a non-approved opinion on the Internet.

    • #29
    • March 26, 2020, at 4:40 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):
    It really seems to come down to the character of the executives and police chiefs.

    Government of laws, not of men… Yep, you bet.

    Any bets on how long it is before “its not mandatory, but” Real ID is made a legal requirement if you want to cross a state line?

    • #30
    • March 26, 2020, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.