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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

DNA Testing For Criminal Tendencies

For John, BLUFWe may think science can protect us from those who would become predators, but we need to show great caution in how we deal with data that purports to tell us who is naughty and who is nice.

In the Monday edition of The New York Times is an article titled "Seeking Answers in Genome of Gunman".  Researchers at the University of Connecticut want to examine the DNA of Newtown shooter, Mr Adam Lanzi, age 20.  Mr Lanzi killed 20 children and seven adults, including his own Mother.

If this doesn't call from the back of your mind issues from a Century ago, when eugenics was all the rage, you need to study more history.  The article, by Ms Gina Kolata, needed to get to paragraph 11 to note the connection, but it shouldn't be that remote in our own minds.  The article references to this book and provides information on recent studies.  It does not go back to Buck v Bell, the 1927 SCOTUS decision authored by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., legalizing forced sterilization.  It also does not reference the 1920 German book Life Unworthy of Life.  We all know where that ended up.

While I don't object to the examination of Mr Adam Lanza's DNA and its recording and storage, I am firmly against using that DNA, in combination with any other, to deny US Citizens of their rights under the US Constitution.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

Neal said...

And yet, look for mandates to surface calling this sort of an examination to be a "compelling interest on the part of society to protect itself." This of course would be quickly embraced in law requiring DNA registration of all newborns in the "national database" as well as post partum screening for "undesirable traits." My guess is that institutionalization would be the course of action for those possessing such traits, but then, a dignified infant death might surface as a "best practice."

George Orwell et al must be squirming in their graves.