Because knowing who is on a bus is clearly more important
Posted by aogMonday, 03 May 2010 at 20:59
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Senator Dick Durbin calls for a national ID card — all the GOP would have to do to spike this is require using the ID to vote. If there’s one thing the Democratic Party can’t permit it’s making sure only valid voters actually vote.
P.S. As others have noted this follows on the heels of massive outrage over requiring ID in Arizona.
Tuesday, 04 May 2010 at 04:39|
I’ll do Durbin one better - I believe that every American citizen, resident alien, and visitor to U.S. shores should be required to submit fingerprints and a DNA sample to populate a national database.
Now, in my romantic youth, possibly as a result of reading too many Harry Harrison novels, I was very strongly ag’in such a thing. And there are many here among us, who feel that a universal ID database would somehow give the gov’t too much power for mischief. Pre-War on Drugs, pre-War on Terror, I’d agree with them.
However, over the past decades we’ve all seen the stories that made the national press: Cops in LA planting guns in a restaurant owner’s establishment; small-business owners convicted of conspiring to grow a thousand acres of marijuana for selling lamps; officers of various agencies choosing whom to target based not on the relative repulsiveness of the target’s supposed crimes, but rather on the attractiveness of the target’s soon-to-be-seized property - guilt or innocence moot; dozens of people sent to prison for drug-related crimes, based on the false testimony of an undercover agent who could produce no written notes, audio recordings, video surveillance, or even corroborating testimony from other officers or agents…
Given the nature of such things, we can safely assume that there are also hundreds of similar cases that didn’t get any exposure.
And that’s just the War on Drugs. Add in the warrentless, no-knock, no-phone-call-or-lawyer provisions of the War on Terror legislation and policies, and it quickly becomes apparent that a “national DNA database is a slippery slope to Hell” position is at best a thought that hasn’t been revisited since Farrah Fawcett was a pin-up star, and at worst is naïveté.
Having access to somebody’s fingerprints and DNA is not necessary to destroy their life, if corrupt officials decide that they need a patsy, or well-intentioned authorities make an honest mistake.
Therefore, since the downside to such a universal database is already existent, only GOOD can be realized from actually compiling the database, and using it to solve and deter crimes.
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 at 04:23|
Your argument strikes me as being very similar to that used by gun-control advocates, when they claim that firearms won’t help the ordinary citizen avert crime, as they’re simply likely to be seized by the criminals and used against the former holder. But if that’s the case, then why do police officers carry firearms?
Similarly, if databases are ineffectively populated and maintained, and ripe for abuse and fraud, then you must be strongly opposed to the FBI’s existing fingerprint database, yes? And if databases aren’t worth the effort to construct and maintain, then why has Oracle grown so strongly over the past decades?
How would gaining access to a fingerprint and DNA database help criminals to acquire authentic ID more easily than they now do? Will they somehow forge fingerprints, or construct DNA out of amino acids, to spoof DMV clerks?
But why would they go to all of that trouble, when all that a common criminal needs for a new ID is access to credit records, WHICH ALREADY OCCURS.
So, again, the downsides that you’ve mentioned ARE ALREADY COMMON. Not populating a universal fingerprint and DNA databese will do NOTHING to stop that which already occurs - it merely stops society from enjoying the upside to such a system. For instance, you mention the damage done by simple incompetence - do you believe that there aren’t incompetent lab techs RIGHT NOW misanalyzing DNA, fiber, hair, voice recording, handwriting, polygraph, and forensic ballistics evidence???
Since incompetence in criminal investigations already exists, I’m puzzled as to how you believe that more people would be hurt in a world where everyone’s vital identifiers were on file.