This CNN article describes a strange (and to me unsettling) movement in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to randomly take DNA samples from huge quantities of men as part of an effort to catch a local serial killer. So far,

More than 1,000 men have been swabbed, picked to "volunteer" for the tests based on tips or information generated in the investigation. Defense attorneys in Baton Rouge have said some of their clients have agreed to the testing to avoid speculation they could be the killer.

[Representative] Welch wants as many men as possible swabbed. She said she's paying to have DNA samples taken from her husband and son to clear them although no one has suggested they are involved.

This is disturbing to me for many reasons. The only thing preventing this sort of wide-spread DNA testing for every difficult-to-solve crime is the fact that DNA testing is expensive and takes a significant amount of time. There are only a limited amount resources available to do this testing, and so it isn't feasible to test every single man every time there's a rape. (Wouldn't that be sexual profiling, anyway?) However, it's only a matter of time until police have handheld DNA equipment that can compare fluid samples and return matches in minutes or seconds... what then?

Will police be enabled to pressure everyone they come across into submitting to a DNA test or risk speculation that they are guilty? Or will everyone simply be required to submit DNA to a central database? How long until there are machines that scour the streets for dried spit, compare the DNA to the database, and then mail you a ticket? It might sound ridiculous, but I get the very strong impression that this is exactly the world that some people want to create.



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