DNA testing: Why not just trash the Fourth Amendment?

May 06, 2012

I found Dan Rodricks' commentary regarding DNA testing and the recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling ("DNA: Why wait for an arrest?" May 3) to be quite interesting. He states at the end that he can't think of a good argument against his position that we should all give DNA samples to the authorities whether we have been accused of a crime or not. Well, Dan, I've also thought about how useful having a large repository of DNA can be. Unsolved crime and a city mayor on your back? No problem! We'll just take some DNA from our bank, plant it at the scene, and say that it was left there.

DNA evidence would surely trump any factual alibi, so no problem, case closed, someone (whether guilty or not) now behind bars, and the mayor's happy. Don't believe it could happen? Think again. Planting "evidence" is not unheard of.

Also, why stop at trampling our rights defined in the Fourth Amendment? The government has already trashed the First and Second Amendments, not to mention giving the 10th.

Of course, we could simply scrap the whole Fourth Amendment and allow the government to enter our homes and search them whenever they felt like it, all in the name of proving our innocence. If we have nothing to hide, why should we not give them free reign and not require things like probable cause and warrants? Our government could also save a ton of money if we did away with the Third (prohibiting the forced quartering of troops), since they could simply tell us that we're obligated to provide food, shelter and clothing to soldiers in our homes, thus saving the cost of the government providing the same.

"The people" aren't happy with how a trial ended and still want blood? No problem, just rescind the Fifth Amendment and allow the government to keep trying someone for the same crime until they get their desired outcome.

It seems to me that perhaps people need to give this a little more thought before offering to give up these rights. We seem to forget that "the people" granted limited rights to the government, and that all others are reserved to us, as opposed some current thought that the government granted us these rights and therefore has the power to ignore them and take them away.

Ed Roth, Ellicott City

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