Monday, May 11, 2009



By : Dr. Carl J. See, Ph.D. (Occupational Psychiatry), M.D. (Sports Medicine); Chairman, The Safe Children Society; Deputy Fellow, The Institute for Practical Biological Application, Ltd.

Human genes reveal us. Modern medical science can now pinpoint genetic codes that define our personalities, propensities, proclivities, habits and inclinations. When genetic coding first arose as a scientific discipline, scientists could only identify DNA strands for simple attributes, such as hair color, eye color and shoe size. Now, researchers at several major institutes—including The Institute for Practical Biological Application, Ltd.—have discovered that DNA can predict much more subtle behavioral characteristics. Researchers at the institute recently found, for example, that a convicted murderer in Florida had a special gene. Comparing that gene to other murderers' genes, the researchers discovered that they all shared an identical, unique DNA code. Intrigued, the researchers analyzed gene codes from convicts who committed property crimes. They, too, had a unique DNA combination. Acting on these discoveries, our scientists declared that they had discovered “criminal genes” that define whether a citizen has committed—or will commit—crimes.

These discoveries should both impress and sober us. In brief, we have made a startling breakthrough with immense practical application. With continued research, our team will pinpoint genetic codes for all crimes, from major felonies to the pettiest misdemeanors. When we complete our work, we will have the power to exactly know whether our neighbors are potential killers, bandits, thieves, child neglecters, tax evaders or check forgers. Our research can even pinpoint whether a person will urinate in public, slap a police officer or park in a tow-away zone. Our society has a right to know—and to punish—everyone who violates the criminal law, no matter how trifling the offense. The Institute’s DNA research will make it possible to know precisely who will violate the law, as well as those who have already violated it. Our researchers have even discovered a subtle RNA strand change that occurs when a potential criminal becomes an actual criminal. If an observer sees this RNA strand change, it certifiably determines that the subject actually committed a crime. In short, science will both control potential crime and investigate crime that has already occurred. No longer will authorities worry about “catching the wrong man.” Now, DNA will tell the whole story, trial or no trial.

Despite these great advances, we must make legal and social changes to fully prepare our society for the benefits they will bring. First, we must obtain DNA samples from every living citizen in the United States. This is the only way we can assemble a reliable DNA database from which to make predictions and judgments concerning every citizen’s potential and actual criminality. With children, this will be easy. We can lobby Congress and State legislatures to pass laws that require all newborns to submit DNA samples at birth. With adults, we face a somewhat more difficult road. But we believe that all citizens have a right to know who is a criminal. To that extent, we believe that adults will voluntarily surrender DNA samples to law enforcement scientists. We also believe that most Americans will support legislation forcing unwilling adults to deliver DNA samples to responsible authorities. While we understand that some “privacy advocates” may disagree with this course, we note that DNA sampling is no different from fingerprinting or taking blood samples. The Supreme Court has held in several cases that such “biological screening” does not constitute a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. See, e.g., Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966). From a legal standpoint, there is nothing intrusive about taking a DNA sample. True, DNA samples reveal a person’s complete biological roadmap—including his tastes, hobbies, inclinations and future behavior—but that is not relevant as a legal matter.

Second, we must establish new law enforcement departments to analyze every citizen’s DNA code. Once the Institute assembles the final lexicon matching particular DNA strands with particular crimes, these new departments must assign every citizen’s DNA file a list of potential crimes. Following this work, the departments must determine whether there have been telltale RNA strand changes each file’s criminal DNA chains. If so, that means the citizen has actually committed a crime. This will require the department to alert enforcement authorities to track down and arrest the criminal. For all other individuals with criminal DNA chains, the department must refer the file to police authorities for monitoring and oversight. Additionally, the department must make its discoveries public. The public has a right to know who has criminal DNA. To that extent, law enforcement authorities must publish the names, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers of all individuals with criminal DNA. These publications must also list the crimes that each named subject will potentially commit. These measures will not only help prevent crime. They will also aid employers in screening out dangerous and unwelcome potential employees.

Criminal law enforcement is everyone’s responsibility. Although police forces and courts administer the criminal law, every citizen plays a role. Citizens created the criminal law by electing representatives to permanently enshrine their values. In that sense, every citizen has an interest in tracking down and punishing those who break their rules. That is why criminal cases speak for “The People” rather than individual parties. Moreover, crime affects us all. Crime impacts commerce, lowers wages and makes people afraid to go to work. When commerce suffers, all citizens suffer. Effectively investigating, tracking and punishing crime protects commerce. And when commerce functions properly, everyone can go to work and enjoy their lives without fear. DNA screening will ensure this result. All citizens just want to work and enjoy their lives. They want lawbreakers to suffer if they do not get with the program. To that extent, the Institute’s DNA discoveries will enable everyday citizens to live better lives.

DNA testing is not an entirely new idea. For several years now, authorities have used DNA evidence to link defendants to crimes involving bodily fluids, hair or skin particles. But now we can do so much more than link defendants to crimes. Today, DNA reveals not only who committed a crime, but also who will commit a crime. It also does far more than merely identify defendants. It provides a complete readout concerning a person’s character and personality. We believe that effective crime control depends not only on good identification, but also on properly understanding people’s character. As mentioned, law enforcement is everyone’s responsibility. Criminals do not belong among law-abiding people. To that extent, decent people must know who has bad character before they cause harm. When our reforms come into force, law-abiding citizens will know whether their neighbor ever forged a check, parked improperly, abused a child, committed a lewd act, lied under oath, pickpocketed, beat a dog or stole welfare benefits. They will even allow law-abiding citizens to “watch out” for people with DNA likely to lead to public urination, vandalism, domestic violence, lying on employment applications or resumes, unruly behavior, criminal tardiness, petty theft, trespassing or downloading child pornography. DNA does not lie. Good citizens deserve to know who the bad citizens are. For the first time in history, criminals will not be able to hide. Both good citizens and law enforcement officials will know exactly who and where they are at all times, even before they commit offenses.

In view of these benefits, it is remarkable that “civil liberties advocates” raise objections to the Institute’s work. According to these critics, there is something “sacred” about “privacy.” They say that a person’s personality and spiritual characteristics are internal matters that no one has a right to know. They also say that government has no right to make assumptions about whether a person is a “potential criminal,” and the Institute’s research will eviscerate the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

We strongly disagree with these objections for several reasons. First, the Institute’s DNA research does not make “assumptions” about potential criminality. It establishes scientific fact. When a person has a gene for public urination, he will commit the offense as a genetic matter. There is no “assumption.” An assumption is a belief in facts without personal knowledge. The Institute’s research does not assume; it establishes fact. Through scientific reasoning, observation and logical conclusion, it pinpointed genes that invariably lead to criminal behavior. This may dishearten criminals, but a fact is a fact. Criminals are criminals because their DNA proves it. Unlike the law, there is no disputing science.

Second, we must point out that advances in science necessarily force retreat from outdated social customs. While our Constitution may allow for fair trials and “presume innocence” for all criminal defendants, those guarantees arose at a time when science did not provide the means to precisely know who committed crimes. To that extent, the “presumption of innocence” is a superstition from an earlier, unenlightened age. Now, it would be asinine to presume a person innocent whose DNA conclusively proves to be a criminal. If the subtle, telltale RNA strand shift is present in a suspect, there is no doubt about his guilt. Although this result may infuriate civil libertarians, it is the necessary consequence of scientific advancement. We no longer need “trials.” Either the suspect is a criminal by DNA or he is not. In that regard, the guilty will no longer go free by exploiting foibles in human sense and emotion, and the innocent will not have to fear wrongful conviction. All law enforcement will begin and end at birth—at the moment the authorities obtain a citizen’s DNA sample. After that, it is merely a question of matching the DNA code to the person’s potential crime list.

We are not willing to allow “privacy” to jeopardize our interest in law enforcement. For too long, “privacy” has imposed a cripplingly high cost on society. “Privacy” has freed drug dealers, pimps, hoodlums and mass murderers because the law could not assemble the empirical evidence it needed to convict them. Society does not approve these results. Rather, society wants to see its laws enforced, not flouted. We are glad that science now offers a way to solve the age-old “privacy” dilemma. For the first time in history, we can now live in a completely crimeless society. Through modern genetic science, we will all know who the “bad people” are; and we will all know who “did it” if there is ever a doubt. We believe that great benefit outweighs any burden we shoulder by compromising “privacy.” The public has a right to know what lies in everyone’s DNA. We have a duty to protect our children. DNA testing will tell us who is a potential car thief, income tax faker or prescription drug peddler. This knowledge will keep us all safe from bad people. Science truly can lead to a better society, even if it forces us to abandon comfortable, outmoded customs like privacy. In short, we want security and knowledge, not insecurity and ignorance.

We have a great opportunity to decisively root out crime. Let us ensure that science and knowledge advance, no matter what ancient traditions say about it. Let us begin mandatory DNA screening for all crimes now. Our children depend on it. You want them to grow up in a safe society, don’t you? Of course you do.

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Rishi Singh said...
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