Sunday, March 16, 2008

DNA samples of poorly behaved children

This is as inevitable as the rising sun ...
Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters:

... British police want to collect DNA samples from children as young as five who 'exhibit behavior indicating they may become criminals in later life'. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers argued that since some schools already take pupils' fingerprints, the collection and permanent storage of DNA samples was the logical next step. And of course, if anyone argues that branding naughty five-year-olds as lifelong criminals will stigmatize them, the proposed solution will be to take samples from all children.'...
More from the original Guardian article:

Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain's most senior police forensics expert.

Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

'If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,' said Pugh. 'You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won't. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.'...

Since black American males are over-represented in prisons, a future US version of this UK proposal could use the cord blood of all pigmented children*.

Or maybe we'll just do some SNP profiling of cord blood. People like Craig Venter, who exposed his oppositional-defiant traits when he published his entire DNA sequence, would be definitely entered in the registry. Why, we could probably have locked him up long before he sequenced (a version of) the human genome.

We could brand 'em too, or make them wear some distinctive clothing. That way we'd all be warned of their dangerous nature. We could watch 'em day and night, so the first time they blinked we'd pounce and lock 'em up. Then we'd lock up the siblings, because you just never know.

Or maybe we'll turn aside before we go over the abyss? Nahhhhh.

* Note -- this is what's known as satire. I am not actually in favor of this proposal. Just to be clear.

1 comment:

alanbooker said...

I read the same article a few days ago. What can one say?

Common sense has been thrown out of the window without the realization that mindless political and economic imperatives have skewed thinking, if that’s what it can be called, to a new level of absurdity.

Regarding Swift’s suggestion

I am reading A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

The content provides an interesting backdrop to the development, or lack thereof, of ability to differentiate between what’s good for the people rather than what’s good for some people!

It appears that relative to most issues what one would call change is in fact just window dressing; mankind’s struggle has been raised out of the mud, for most, to find itself lost in the wilderness of greed and materialism.

That the material world that might easily be taken for the only reality is understandable, alas every thing that can be taken from one appears to be the ultimate goal for many whereas that which cannot has faded from view.

Regards, Alan