A Philosopher's Blog

DNA Gathering

Posted in Ethics, Law, Philosophy by Michael LaBossiere on June 13, 2013
Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In some states, the police are allowed to gather DNA samples upon making an arrest-even before the person is actually charged (let alone convicted). As might be guessed, this has raised concerns from those who are concerned about privacy issues. However, there are those who regard the collection of DNA as a good idea and one that can help ensure that the guilty are punished and the innocent are set free.

One argument in favor of allowing the police to take DNA samples upon arresting a person is that the DNA information can be used in whatever investigation that might follow. Of course, the obvious counter to this is that the sample need not be taken upon arrest to be used in the investigation or trial. That is, the police can wait until the person is actually charged with a crime that legitimately involves a need for DNA evidence.

Another argument in favor of allowing the police to take DNA samples upon arresting a person is that this adds to the database of DNA. Even if the person arrested is not charged or found to be innocent, the DNA information will remain and it might prove useful in a later investigation. Not surprisingly, this same argument is used to argue in favor of mandating that everyone be included in the DNA database. Such a national DNA registry would be a great boon to police. For example, a person picked up for a traffic violation could be checked against the database and it could be found that he is a wanted serial rapist. Without the DNA information, the serial rapist would have been free to continue his crimes.

As might be imagined, the arguments in favor of such DNA sampling and database creation are countered with arguments against them.

One of the main arguments against taking DNA samples from a person who has been merely arrested is based on the claim that the police need a proper warrant to obtain evidence. Just as an officer cannot go through my computer or house without a warrant, she cannot go through my DNA. The main counter to this is that the police do take fingerprints and this practice is on a solid legal foundation. The debate then becomes one of analogy: is DNA more like fingerprints or more like the content of a person’s house or computer? The answer to this depends a great deal on the sort of data gained from the DNA sample.

If the DNA sampling merely provided data comparable to that provided by fingerprints (that is, just identifying the person), then a fairly solid case can be made that DNA sampling of this sort would be just as legally solid as fingerprinting.  However, if the DNA sampling provides more data, then it would seem to be more analogous to going through a person’s home and thus simply grabbing a DNA sample upon an arrest would seem to be on par with going though a person’s house just because she had been arrested.

Obviously enough, a DNA sample does potentially provide a vast amount of information about a person. However, the amount of information revealed would depend on the sort of testing used on the DNA. Thus, a key part of the matter would focus on how the DNA was used (and what was done with the actual samples).

Another argument against DNA sampling is the potential for the misuse of the information gathered. Obviously, there is the concern that the information revealed by the DNA will be misused by the police. For example, DNA samples are now used to make family matches and innocent relatives of criminals can find themselves targeted by the police.   As as another example, DNA identifications are not as reliable as people generally believe. This raises the concern that too much reliance will be placed on such evidence. For folks who worry about the government having a registry of firearms, the idea of collecting such DNA information should be utterly terrifying. There is also the concern that the data will be misused by those outside of the police forces. That is, that the data will become available to other parts of the government and perhaps even those in the private sector. For example, the DNA data gathered by the police could become available to insurance companies.

The gathering of DNA evidence is now fairly common and it continues to grow more common. One reason for this is that the companies that profit from DNA testing have effective lobbies that work rather hard to ensure that there will be a large market for their products. This, like the for-profit prisons, also raises concerns. After all, when such profits are involved, the public good is often ignored.

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62 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Whoever has power is inevitably going to abuse it. The only solution is to take the power away from them by shrinking the government.

  2. ajmacdonaldjr said, on June 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

    In the technological society efficiency drives everything. A massive database of DNA will keep us safer. A massive database of intercepted data content will keep us safer. But most of all: massive databases allow for greater efficiency.

    Here’s a few problems I have, which you didn’t mention:

    DNA and fingerprints evidence and matching require expert testimony, provided by the prosecution, in court. Contrary interpretations of both, by the defense, may be forbidden by the court.

    DNA can be planted at a crime scene in order to frame an innocent person for a crime (add to this, the above).

    DNA evidence requires persons to testify against themselves. We are our bodies.

    The most disturbing to me is the need for expert testimony to verify DNA evidence in court. As a prosecutor, all I need to is have an FBI expert go to a print shop, have a poster printed with lots of DNA lines on it, have him produce it in court, say it implicates the defendant, present the experts credential, petition the court to disallow defense expert testimony, and I win my case: all with no real evidence. The whole thing could be fabricated and the jury would have no way of knowing. The prosecution doesn’t even need the DNA, just a convincing graphic and an expert to say it’s real.

    • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

      DNA and fingerprints evidence and matching require expert testimony, provided by the prosecution, in court. Contrary interpretations of both, by the defense, may be forbidden by the court.

      OK, something I know far more about than you do. And of course this plays into your conspiricy oriented thinking, so I know I’m wasting my time with you, but for the edification of others….There are a number of cranks out there who make money refuting the science of fingerprint technology. I’ve worked the technology, I’ve read the arguments. They are kernals of fact exploded into reams of incorrect inferences, fallacious thinking, etc. that is designed to bamboozle the layperson on the jury. This is why some defense tactics are forbidden. Contrary testimony by experts based on the quality of the latent print, to my knowledge, is permitted.

      DNA evidence requires persons to testify against themselves. We are our bodies.

      This is an argument that ignores the reasoning for why the 5th amendment exists in the first place. Plus it would apply to fingerprints as well as DNA. But that’s a whole other discussion. Basically, it does not violate the 5th amendment to use what a person has left outside his/her body against them. If someone tells a third party that they intend to kill someone, that conversation is admissible.

      The rest of this argument is equally applicable to fingerprints. Should they not be admissible?

  3. WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

    One reason for this is that the companies that profit from DNA testing have effective lobbies that work rather hard to ensure that there will be a large market for their products

    Again, Mike with his fear of someone making money overriding common sense. DNA identificaiton is in some ways a different animal from figerprinting and in other ways not so much. The question addressed by the courts recently had more to do with whether or not it was legal to do what is known as a latent search, which is far less likely to come up with a match when done with fingerprints than with DNA. There’s a whole world of interesting philosophical questions involved here, but Mike doesn’t see them as he is blinded by his political bias and hubris. Note also that DNA could be gathered latently rather than overtly via a swab. The swab just makes the process much easier.

    TJ, would you take away from government the ability of its various agencies the ability to perform searches of crime databases using fingerprints taken from an arrest? If say, that Cleveland guy who held those girls for over a decade had left a latent print at the scene of one of the abductions and was then fingerprinted weeks/months/years later for some crime that there was not enough evidence to convict him for, should the police be prohibited from searching that database?

  4. T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I think the police are out of control, too.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Here is the story of that raid:

      SWAT Team Endangers Child, Parents Charged With Child Endangerment

      Radley Balko|Feb. 27, 2010 5:16 pm

      SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family’s pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on.

      They found a “small amount” of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.

      So smoking pot = “child endangerment.” Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.

      Just so we’re clear.

      http://reason.com/blog/2010/02/27/swat-team-endangers-child-pare

      • T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:50 am

        I love the smell of critical thinking in the morning.

      • magus71 said, on December 10, 2013 at 6:21 pm

        So smoking pot = “child endangerment.”

        Arguing in front of kids equals child endangerment at Ft. Drum.

  5. ajmacdonaldjr said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

    “Technique has taken over the whole of civilization. Death, procreation, birth all submit to technical efficiency and systemization.” ― Jacques Ellul

    VIDEO – The Betrayal by Technology: A Portrait of Jacques Ellul -Full – French w/ Eng Subs – http://youtu.be/51IoQOJ0SfY

    Ellul’s Technological Society – SlideShare – http://www.slideshare.net/vitalist/elluls-technological-society

    “If man–if each one of us–abdicates his responsibilities with regard to values; if each one of us limits himself to leading a trivial existence in a technological civilization, with greater adaptation and increasing success as his sole objectives; if we do not even consider the possibility of making a stand against these determinants, then everything will happen as I have described it, and the determinates will be transformed into inevitabilities.” ― Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society

    The Technological Society, by Jacques Ellul – http://www.amazon.com/Technological-Society-Jacques-Ellul/dp/0394703901

    THE TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY, BY JACQUES ELLUL (.pdf) – http://monoskop.org/images/5/55/Ellul_Jacques_The_Technological_Society.pdf

    “In the midst of increasing mechanization and technological organization, propaganda is simply the means used to prevent these things from being felt as too oppressive and to persuade man to submit with good grace. When man will be fully adapted to this technological society, when he will end by obeying with enthusiasm, convinced of the excellence of what he is forced to do, the constraint of the organization will no longer be felt by him; the truth is, it will no longer be a constraint, and the police will have nothing to do. The civic and technological good will and the enthusiasm for the right social myths — both created by propaganda — will finally have solved the problem of man.” ~ Jaques Ellul, “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes”

    “Again I want to emphasize that the study of propaganda must be conducted within the context of a technological society. Propaganda is called upon to solve problems created by technology, to play on maladjustments, and to integrate the individual into a technological world.” ― Jacques Ellul, “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes”

    “Propaganda begins when dialogue ends.” ― Jacques Ellul

    Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes – http://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Formation-Attitudes-Jacques-Ellul/dp/0394718747

    Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Jacques Ellul (scanned .pdf) – http://monoskop.org/images/4/44/Ellul_Jacques_Propaganda_The_Formation_of_Mens_Attitudes.pdf

  6. T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I was at a conference last week at which several Europeans were present. Even they have noticed that we are not particularly free any more. One Italian guy asked me why there are so many rules in America. I explained to them that we are really to the left of every government in Europe.

    • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

      OTOH, Italians have problems keeping their buildings standing and dams from collapsing, etc. The Romans built stuff that has lasted, and in many cases was still functional, for 2000 years. Accounting for the technolgy of the times vs. how much easier it is to build things today I doubt much of modern Italy can live up to that reputation. Probably be overrun by the Muzzies before long anyway. Witness how many Italian women lined up to be drooled on by Khadaffi. They could stand to implement a few more rules.

  7. T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Turns out this story was big news in Germany, and I had missed it completely:

    (CNN) — A Kentucky mother stepped outside of her home just for a few minutes, but it was long enough for her 5-year-old son to accidentally shoot and kill his 2-year-old sister with the .22-caliber rifle he got for his birthday, state officials said.

    The shooting that took the life of Caroline Sparks in southern Kentucky has been ruled an accident, Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory said.

    “It’s just one of those nightmares,” he said, “a quick thing that happens when you turn your back.”

    Young children in the area are often introduced to guns at an early age, Gregory said.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/01/us/kentucky-accidential-shooting

    • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Not following the last couple posts relevence to DNA gathering/identification.

      • T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        Point is that we need to think carefully about the kind of society we are creating. Do we really want Big Brother watching us? Who is watching Big Brother? I don’t trust any of them.

        Do you really think the police can be trusted with DNA databases? What if they get hacked?

        • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

          And what about fingerprints? What about my medical records in my doctor’s office? What about my financial records the IRS has? Do I trust the gov’t over anyone else? Sometimes, most times not. See my other post above. What are your specific concerns, data being hacked? 5th amendment issues? What if, after a DNA search is done and nothing comes up, the DNA must be destroyed and any records purged? We do that with fingerprints to some extent. So many issues here, but no sane, critical thinking being done to weigh the positives against the negatives.

          • T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

            I am happy with probable cause and search warrants. What I object to are random searches and indiscriminate snooping on innocent people.

            • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

              But now you’re venturing into the safe Mikey land of non-specifics. Fun to think there but the real world has to operate on realistic rules. Is using fingerprints from an arrest an indiscriminate act of snooping? The arrestee might be innocent, or might not, but it’s not like the police are stopping people indiscriminately and taking fingerprint samples. How is this different than DNA? I mean there are numerous ways it is different but for identification purposes, not so much.

            • T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

              Is using fingerprints from an arrest an indiscriminate act of snooping?

              Yes. An arrest means nothing.

              Example:

              A teenage girl puts two household chemicals in a water bottle at school to see what might happen. There is a small explosion. No one is hurt. She is expelled and charged with weapons possession.

              http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57582330-71/schoolgirl-tries-science-experiment-arrested-for-felony/

            • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm

              Not following you. How is it indiscriminate? An arrest means there was probable cause to detain. Don’t understand what the chemicals in a bottle of water have to do with finger prints? An unreasonable arrest is a different matter and in itself lies the intrusion into one’s liberty, not the prints themselves.

            • T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm

              A cop can arrest you because he doesn’t like the way you look. Means nothing.

            • WTP said, on June 14, 2013 at 1:59 am

              I understand that. But that’s a problem with arrest powers, not with the application of fingerprint, or other ID, technology. A cop will also find himself in hot water for doing so, eventually. Where is the intrusion onto other people’s rights by the technology itself? See my hypothetical above to you in regard to the Cleveland kidnapper.

        • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

          And getting back to Big Brother. In 1984, IIRC, Big Brother is able to get away with the things he does because he has seized control of the language. “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

          Trying to find more on this subject, but ran out of time. In a completely different context, consider this advise from Orwell on how TO write:

          i.Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
          ii.Never use a long word where a short one will do.
          iii.If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
          iv.Never use the passive where you can use the active.
          v.Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
          vi.Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

          http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit/

          and think about much of what you see written here.

    • WTP said, on June 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      But if you wanna discuss news in Germany…

      The University of Leipzig has voted to adopt the feminine version of the word for ‘professor’ as its default. In German, professorin refers to a female professor while professor is the male equivalent. Under the new measures, written documents will use the term Professorinnen when referring to professors in general. A footnote is to explain that male professors are also included in the description. Physics professor Dr Josef Käs suggested the change as a joke because he was becoming weary of extended discussions about gendered language. To his surprise, the university board voted in favour of the idea.

      http://www.thelocal.de/education/20130605-50095.html

      A subject right up Mike’s alley. Or should we say Mickey:

  8. T. J. Babson said, on June 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Here’s some critical thinking:

    The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that human genes cannot be patented, a decision that is likely to shape the future of medical and biotech research.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-rules-human-genes-may-not-be-patented/2013/06/13/9e5c55d2-d43d-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

  9. T. J. Babson said, on June 14, 2013 at 7:33 am

    TJ, would you take away from government the ability of its various agencies the ability to perform searches of crime databases using fingerprints taken from an arrest? If say, that Cleveland guy who held those girls for over a decade had left a latent print at the scene of one of the abductions and was then fingerprinted weeks/months/years later for some crime that there was not enough evidence to convict him for, should the police be prohibited from searching that database?

    I don’t have a problem with keeping a database of known criminals. These people have broken the law, and statistically are likely to break the law again.

    What I object to is the random collection of information on innocent people. If you are a person who has never broken the law there is no reason for your local police department to have a dossier with your name on it.

    • WTP said, on June 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Databases on innocent people are not kept indefinitely. After some period of time, and I forget what the triggers are but there are several based on numerous factors, arrest records are purged. Even juvenile and other records are purged. There are numerous other reasons, but innocent people are not routinely tracked, legally anyway, by the feds.

      So back to the origin of this issue, DNA, are you OK with treating DNA like fingerprints, at least in regard to the context of arrests and criminal searches? Are you OK with running fingerprints from an arrest through a criminal database to verify identity and check for outstanding warrants, etc?

  10. ajmacdonaldjr said, on June 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

    This is another database of innocent peoples, just like the NSA’s database. It’s more efficient this way. The Bill of Rights be damned. Our government is treasonous. This is exactly why the Fourth Amendment was written. There are no reasons or excuses for the government. The people running it are criminals.

  11. T. J. Babson said, on June 14, 2013 at 9:58 am

    “So back to the origin of this issue, DNA, are you OK with treating DNA like fingerprints, at least in regard to the context of arrests and criminal searches? Are you OK with running fingerprints from an arrest through a criminal database to verify identity and check for outstanding warrants, etc?”

    So the idea is to arrest somebody first, and then look through the databases to see if maybe he committed a crime?

    • WTP said, on June 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Yes. But legally the cops need to have a reason to make the arrest. I’m no expert on that end of law enforcement, but I am a bit familiar with what is involved. Magus, and hope he’s keeping his head down over there, could ‘splain those details much better than I could. Putting the bad-cop scenario aside for now, do you see anything wrong with running prints from an arrest through a database? Assuming that you don’t hold the person any longer than it takes to determine if/what to charge them with. Meaning that once they are cleared for the reason of the arrest, the police do not hold them any longer whilst waiting for the search to complete. Though, there are some other interesting issues we could get into involving searches of prints from unsolved crime scenes, which today take prohibitively long to perform but could one day be done in the time it now takes to process and identification confirmation.

  12. T. J. Babson said, on June 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Three felonies a day, WTP. That is how many laws people break without even being aware of it. So if a cop wants to arrest you he will find a pretext.

    • WTP said, on June 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

      Heard this before and while 3-a-day sounds like BS to me, I wouldn’t doubt 3 a month. And yes, I agree and have been saying for years that we are legislating ourselves into anarchy. But that is a different issue than using DNA, or fingerprints, for identification. But these sort of problems go beyond the cop-on-the-beat scenarios that identification technology addresses. This very serious problem of government making so many things illegal that they can arrest you for failing to pick up your dog’s poop is not a product of trying to solve the real common crimes for which ID technology is overwhelmeingly applied.

      Again, I wish M was here to discuss the practicality of on-the-beat police work. I do not see where prohibiting law enforcement from using DNA or fingerprint technology would affect this 3-a-day problem in any meaningful sense.

      • T. J. Babson said, on June 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

        There is also the flip side where the defense can prove innocence of a convicted felon using DNA and the prosecutor won’t go along.

        Many prosecutors are out of control as well.

        I guess I am one of the people Peggy Noonan is writing about:

        I feel that almost everyone who talks about America for a living—politicians and journalists and even historians—is missing a huge and essential story: that too many things are happening that are making a lot of Americans feel a new distance from, a frayed affiliation with, the country they have loved for half a century and more, the country they loved without every having to think about it, so natural was it. This isn’t the kind of thing that can be quantified in polls—it’s barely the kind of thing people admit to themselves. But talk to older Americans—they feel they barely know this country anymore. In governance its crucial to stay within parameters, it’s important not to strain ties, push too far, be extreme. And if you think this does not carry implications for down the road, for our healthy continuance as a nation, you are mistaken. Love keeps great nations going.

        Some of the reaction to the NSA story is said to be generational. The young are said not to fear losing privacy, because they never knew it. The middle-aged, who grew up in peace and have families, want safety first, whatever it takes, even excess. Lately for wisdom I’ve been looking to the old. Go to somebody who’s 75 and ask, “So if it turns out the U.S. government is really spying on American citizens and tracking everything they do, is that OK with you?” They’ll likely say no, that’s not what we do in America.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324188604578543721259199626.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

        • WTP said, on June 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm

          Yes, this is true. But be aware, in some very rare instances, even DNA evidence has limitations. See

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics)

          Everyone wants a litmus test. Few want to think for themselves.

          But in the context of critical thinking, re “So if it turns out the U.S. government is really spying on American citizens and tracking everything they do, is that OK with you?” …The number of people who truly believe this is completely possible make for a tempting, tasty meal for the mountebanks and charlatans that make up the political world. There is no way they can monitor every thing ever person does. The greater threat to your privacy is from the technical sphere, but the citizen with both an axe to grind and the connections to exploit those 3-felony-a-day opportunities. 1984 was less about technology than about working the humans.

          • WTP said, on June 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm

            The greater threat to your privacy is NOT from the technical sphere…
            doh!

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm

          I must be old-we should not be engaged in top secret police-state style data collection. I’ll need to provide a full argument, but that sort of thing seems to be inconsistent with our core professed values, such as privacy rights.

          I am fine with probable cause investigations-that is rather a necessity for police and security work. But broad scooping of private data by the state smells of the road to tyranny.

  13. T. J. Babson said, on June 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    The question is not whether you are paranoid, but whether you are paranoid enough.

  14. T. J. Babson said, on June 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    The Internal Revenue Service is collecting a lot more than taxes this year — it’s also acquiring a huge volume of personal information on taxpayers’ digital activities, from eBay auctions to Facebook posts and, for the first time ever, credit card and e-payment transaction records, as it expands its search for tax cheats to places it’s never gone before.

    The IRS, under heavy pressure to help Washington out of its budget quagmire by chasing down an estimated $300 billion in revenue lost to evasions and errors each year, will start using “robo-audits” of tax forms and third-party data the IRS hopes will help close this so-called “tax gap.” But the agency reveals little about how it will employ its vast, new network scanning powers.

    Tax lawyers and watchdogs are concerned about the sweeping changes being implemented with little public discussion or clear guidelines, and Congressional staff sources say the IRS use of “big data” will be a key issue when the next IRS chief comes to the Senate for approval. Acting commissioner Steven T. Miller replaced Douglas Shulman last November.

    http://money.msn.com/credit-rating/irs-tracks-your-digital-footprint#scpshrtu

  15. T. J. Babson said, on June 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This PNAS paper looks really interesting (and I am hoping Mike will blog about it someday).

    Concepts and implications of altruism bias and pathological altruism

    Barbara A. Oakley
    Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/06/04/1302547110.full.pdf

    Both altruism and empathy have rightly received an extraordinary amount of research attention. This focus has permitted better characterization of these qualities and how they might have evolved. However, it has also served to reify their value without realistic consideration about when those qualities contain the potential for significant harm.

    Part of the reason that pathologies of altruism have not been studied extensively or integrated into the public discourse appears to be fear that such knowledge might be used to discount the importance of altruism. Indeed, there has been a long history in science of avoiding paradigm-shifting approaches, such as Darwinian evolution and acknowledgment of the influence of biological factors on personality, arising in part from fears that such knowledge somehow would diminish human altruistic motivations. Such fears always have proven unfounded. However, these doubts have minimized scientists’ ability to see the widespread, vitally important nature of pathologies of altruism. As psychologist Jonathan Haidt notes, “Morality binds and blinds.”

    I have often regarded excessively polite drivers as pathological altruists. When you have the right of way you should take it–by being “polite” you are likely to cause an accident.

    • Anonymous said, on June 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      When you have the right of way you should take it–by being “polite” you are likely to cause an accident.
      Bingo. In a more comprehensive scope, charity should always be given with the understanding by the receiver that he is in debt to his benefactor. Not necessarily materially, but morally.

  16. WTP said, on June 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    ah..those Anonymouses are me. Not sure why my cache cleared.

  17. T. J. Babson said, on June 15, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    More evidence that an arrest means nothing and that one should not lose rights because of it.

    When 8th grade Jared Marcum got dressed for school on Thursday he says he had no idea that his pro-Second Amendment shirt would initiate what he calls a fight over his First Amendment rights.

    “I never thought it would go this far because honestly I don’t see a problem with this, there shouldn’t be a problem with this,” Jared said.

    It was the image of a gun printed on Jared’s t-shirt that sparked a dispute between a Logan Middle School teacher and Jared, that ended with Jared suspended, arrested and facing two charges, obstruction and disturbing the education process, on his otherwise spotless record.

    Jared’s father Allen Lardieri says he’s angry he had to rush from work to pick his son up from jail over something he says was blown way out of proportion.

    “I don’t’ see how anybody would have an issue with a hunting rifle and NRA put on a t-shirt, especially when policy doesn’t forbid it,” Lardieri said.

    (READ MORE: Questions remain unanswered for 8th grade student arrested over shirt)

    The Logan County School District’s dress code policy prohibits clothing that displays profanity, violence, discriminatory messages and more but nowhere in the document does it say anything about gun images.

    “He did not violate any school policy,” Lardieri reiterates. “He did not become aggressive.”

    Now, Lardieri says he’s ready to fight until the situation is made right.

    “I will go to the ends of the earth, I will call people, I will write letters, I will do everything in the legal realm to make sure this does not happen again,” Lardieri said.

    Logan City Police did confirm that Jared had been arrested and charged today.

    http://www.wowktv.com/story/22020264/8th-grade-student-arrested-over-gun-t-shirt

    • WTP said, on June 16, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Yeah, saw that. Color me indifferent. When my parents sent me off to school I wasn’t allowed to wear t-shirts with messages on them unless it was some sort of rally day or such. Even our team shirts we wore on meet days had a collar. And the father’s feigned shock of “I don’t see how anybody would have an issue…” reminds me of some of Mike’s naïve statements. I support the 2nd and 1st amendments, but not interested in taking that beach/hill. It just smells of victimization shopping.

      This is what kills any conservative political momentum. I used to blame the media for seeking out these stories when their boys are on the ropes, but to some extent conservatives are adamant about shooting themselves in the foot. Especially lately. Not long after the scandals mount, the conservative blogs start to light up with abortion chatter, anti-gay nonsense, and extreme NRA sloganeering.

    • WTP said, on June 16, 2013 at 7:59 am

      But also to be clear, that he was arrested is absolutely ridiculous and a blatant violation of his rights. Suspended, sent home, told he must change his shirt, etc., while something with which I would also disagree, should be as far as something like this should ever go. Unless, of course, he became violent or broke some sort of law in the process. But that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 16, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Read carefully. The kid talked too much. Now he faces a year in jail.

      WTP, why would you want to give these clowns even more power?

      Suspended and arrested after refusing to change his NRA shirt. Today, 14-year-old Jared Marcum appeared before a judge and was officially charged with obstructing an officer.

      A $500 fine and up to a year in jail, that’s the penalty that Jared could face, now that a judge has allowed the prosecution to move forward with it’s obstructing an officer charge against him.

      “Me, I’m more of a fighter and so is Jared and eventually we’re going to get through this,” Jared’s father Allen Lardieri said. “I don’t think it should have ever gotten this far.”

      The Logan County Police Department initially claimed that the at-the-time 8th grade Logan Middle School student was arrested for disturbing the education process, obstructing an officer and Lardieri says that officers even went as far as threatening to charge Jared with making terroristic threats.

      “In my view of the facts, Jared didn’t do anything wrong,” Ben White, Jared’s attorney said. “I think officer Adkins could have done something differently.”

      Prosecuting attorney Michael White refused to respond to any questions, as did Logan Police.

      We obtained official court documents from both sides of this case. On one hand, the arresting officer from the Logan City Police Department, James Adkins, claims that when Jared refused to stop talking, that hindered his ability to do his job, hence, the obstruction charge. On the other side, Ben White points out that nowhere in the arresting officer’s petition, does it mention Jared ever making any threats or acting in a violent manner.

      “Every aspect of this is just totally wrong,” Lardieri said. “He has no background of anything criminal, up until now and it just seems like nobody wants to admit they’re wrong.”

      Ben White says he will continue working to have the charges against Jared dismissed. If that doesn’t happen in the coming weeks, Jared will be back in court on July 11th.

      http://www.wtrf.com/story/22587338/14-year-old-at-the-center-of-nra-t-shirt-controversy-now-facing-possibility-of-1-year-in-jail

      • WTP said, on June 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        As I said, putting the kid in jail, making this a police matter, is ridiculous…so I’ll add stupid, crazy, delusional, foolish, imbecilic, etc. do you get my point? The problem is the law, not the enforcement of such. I don’t see the connection between using DNA as a means of identification having any relevance here. A police force having the power to make an arrest is necessary for a functional legal system. Are you familiar with the adage, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face?

  18. ajmacdonaldjr said, on June 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    The only thing worse than stepping in dog poop is knowing there’s pretty much no way to track down the guilty pet owner.

    That’s where PooPrints comes in. The service, created by BioPet Vet Lab in Tennessee, can be purchased by entire housing complexes or housing developments that are willing to make pet DNA swabbing a requirement for residents….

    Dog Poop DNA Test Could Be The Solution To Discourteous Dog Owners (VIDEO) – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/dog-poop-dna-test_n_3281695.html

  19. WTP said, on June 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Now here’s an invasion of privacy to be outraged about. So where’s the outrage?

    • T. J. Babson said, on June 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      I’m outraged. Have been for some time now. Hard to believe this is the same country that won WWII.

      • WTP said, on June 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm

        I doubt that the people who won WWII would have been very concerned about NSA “snooping”. Especially the extremely limited scope and restrictions that have now been revealed. Fighting fascism required perspective and a realistic understanding of the world they were living in.

        You gonna address Mikey’s bs reply on profits? I am curious, do you still think he’s socialist light?

        • T. J. Babson said, on June 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

          Extremely limited? Surely you jest. I think the NSA is recording every single email and phone call and storing it. Then, if they want to access it later they are supposed to get a court order.

          This is something the U.S. public should have voted on. This should not be done behind our back.

          http://blog.rubbingalcoholic.com/post/52913031241/its-not-just-metadata-the-nsa-is-getting-everything

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm

            Quite so-the NSA is gathering “mega” data while claiming that they only look at the meta data without a specific legal authorization to dig deeper. To use an analogy, this would be like the state having someone go through your house and belongings while promising that the person will only make a general report about your stuff, unless he gets an authorization to talk about everything he pawed through.

            One of my worries is that the data is there and the barrier to getting into it is very low-thus making abuse easy. Also, I am not a big fan of mass snooping. Plus, you know, the constitution.

          • WTP said, on June 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

            There is nothing that the agent stated here that said that a warrant did not need to be part of the process. Surely a warrant will be provided for an ongoing criminal investigation. Yes, they are storing the data, though as you (hopefully) and I both know it is in an organizations’ best interest to purge data it does not need to perform its mission.

            As for Mike’s analogy, it’s BS.

            To use an analogy, this would be like the state having someone go through your house and belongings while promising that the person will only make a general report about your stuff, unless he gets an authorization to talk about everything he pawed through.

            It’s not like that at all. No one is intruding into your personal space. And implicit in Mike’s analogy the acting agent would be consuming and processing all that he sees. Not surrendering my previous position, but to make Mike’s analogy a little clearer, it would be as if you were SUSPECTED of a crime and the FBI went through your garbage. And even then it would be limited to doing so with tunnel vision, or like looking through a paper roller tube.

            As for Mike’s constitution, it never seems to include people’s rights to property nor the profits. The constitution is simply a tool for Mike to get what he wants. If he is so concerned he could run one of his rants directed this time at his BFF Barry.

  20. WTP said, on June 23, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Here’s some government intrusion that ticked me off at 2 AM last night. Where’s the outrage at the gift controlling my phone? Why did this need to be shoved down my throat rather than just giving me the option? The thinking of people who make such decisions is scary.

    Now, AT&T is pushing out an update that enables governmental and Amber alerts on iPhone 4S and 5 phones runing iOS 6.1 or later. When the update comes, you’ll see a notification on your iPhone’s screen that reads:

    Carrier Settings Updated
    New settings required for your device have been installed.

    Your only option is an OK button – this is not an update you can decline.

    http://blog.chron.com/techblog/2013/06/iphones-on-att-get-mandatory-government-alert-update/

  21. Oliver. said, on December 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I live in the UK, which doesn’t worry about trivial little matters, like whether taking somebody ‘s DNA will hurt their feels or violates some abject moral code. Here, when you are arrested for anything, your DNA and prints are taken. You can argue all you want; it won’t make a difference, as no one cares- the State comes above the whinings of random subjects.
    There have been many cases where people have been arrested for some crime they did not commit, and when their DNA is taken, it has been found to be the same DNA of a criminalwanted for a serious crime. Or they have gone on to commit a crime after being released. The database of DNA has solved crimes. If I had my way, not only would the presence of surveillance cameras increase, though also everybody would be forced to submit to a DNA test and sample, so the State, in its wisdom, can solve any crime or exonerate you for any crime, of which you may be a suspect.

    It must be awful to live in America, where the tyranny of liberty subjugates people to a land of crime and decadence.

    You really have to appreciate the Virtues of the State when you compare European countries, which don’t concern themselves with negative liberty, in contrast to the decaying land of America, unfree and enchained through its pathological obsession with freedom and individualism, and, of course who could forget this, capitalism and military grade weaponry?

    The great Britain always > America.

    • magus71 said, on December 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      “The great Britain always > America.”

      Excerpt in 1776. When we whupped your ass.

      • WTP said, on December 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        And to some extent 1814 when we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip’.. Not to mention a playing a few somewhat more recent requests. You know, over there, over there? Sprechen sie deutsch?

        Something to consider in regard to DNA testing is chimerism.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics)

    • T. J. Babson said, on December 10, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      “It must be awful to live in America, where the tyranny of liberty subjugates people to a land of crime and decadence.”

      I think Lee Rigby would beg to differ.


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