Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pedophobic UK Police State

At least the critics are already harping on this one. It seems Scotland Yard has come up with a new way to turn the United Kingdom from a country where crime happens to a country where crime is the axis upon which their society functions and revolves. Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard, and ACPO spokesman, wants to register all children in the UK as potential criminals, rating them based on risk factors, genetic makeup (from DNA), and other supposed causes of conduct disorder and criminality ("the younger the better" he explains).

Under a Pugh society, every child, as young as five, would be DNA screened to identify potential future offenders, and dealt with (hopefully) appropriately to safeguard society from the "potential" harm they could "potentially" cause. Apparently the UK isn't strapped enough as it is trying to deal with actual criminals who are actually out harming society, apparently it has plenty of time to start going after people who haven't committed any crimes yet.

Thank goodness universal sampling is at current prohibited by logistical concerns.

Pugh's call for the government to consider options such as placing primary school children who have not been arrested on the database is supported by elements of criminological theory. A well-established pattern of offending involves relatively trivial offences escalating to more serious crimes. Senior Scotland Yard criminologists are understood to be confident that techniques are able to identify future offenders.

Readers of this blog may remember I wrote on a strikingly similar practice within the United States that is nowhere near universal or even talked about as being universally necessary, but is problematic nonetheless, the Mosaic2000 controversy. The word "pedophobia" was introduced as the explanation for this need to vilify youth, as stemming from an irrational fear of children. This commits all the same sins, but is being talked about in the UK as universally necessary. That's your first sign of trouble.

We've seen countless times how trivial misbehavior has been seen as criminal, with kids being suspended and even arrested for such behavior like pointing a breaded chicken finger at a teacher and saying "pow pow pow," and for farting during class (it happened again too!). If this is what they mean by "trivial offense" then I don't see the crime rate dropping in the UK any time soon, if the US and UK make for a good comparison. Now do these trivial offenses make the student a criminal or does actually doing a crime make the student a criminal? Under a Pugh society, both would. You don't have to be a criminal to be a criminal, all you have to be is alive. One you make a trivial mistake (as a young person), criminological theory states that you will be the next serial killer.
Chris Davis, of the National Primary Headteachers' Association, said most teachers and parents would find the suggestion an 'anathema' and potentially very dangerous. 'It could be seen as a step towards a police state,' he said. 'It is condemning them at a very young age to something they have not yet done. They may have the potential to do something, but we all have the potential to do things. To label children at that stage and put them on a register is going too far.'
Well said Chris. An issue related to stigmatizing youngsters is that normal childhood and adolescent behaviors, such as disobeying parents or the process of individuation (otherwise called "teen rebellion") could be reinterpreted as acts of pathology if a child should be labeled from such a young age as a potential criminal. These children's behaviors are stigmatized and attended to as if they were pathology, while the children exhibiting no signs or symptoms of such pathology are more and more ignored as trust in the "database" for locating criminals increases.

So why would they go so far as to stigmatize children under the pretense that doing such would make society safer? The article reveals the real answer:

Pugh, though, believes that measures to identify criminals early would save the economy huge sums - violent crime alone costs the UK £13bn a year - and significantly reduce the number of offences committed. However, he said the British public needed to move away from regarding anyone on the DNA database as a criminal and accepted it was an emotional issue.

It always comes down to penny pinching. In hard economic times it's easier to incarcerate, criminalize, and marginalize youth than to spend large amounts responding to their needs when they act out or resist authority. Furthermore, it's not entirely clear the plan would even reduce the number of offenses committed, seeing as it is much more common for a man of Pugh's age to commit a crime than the five-year-old he wants the DNA of, and by focusing all the resources, money, and manpower on ranking every child in the UK on a potentiality scale for criminality based on what their DNA says, aren't we forgetting those who are actually out committing the offenses?

Last week it emerged that the number of 10 to 18-year-olds placed on the DNA database after being arrested will have reached around 1.5 million this time next year. Since 2004 police have had the power to take DNA samples from anyone over the age of 10 who is arrested, regardless of whether they are later charged, convicted, or found to be innocent.

See, it has nothing to do with averting crime, protecting the innocent, or any of the age-old excuses. That's no surprise. If it did, it wouldn't continue to treat the innocent as if they were criminals. It seems the authorities are always ready to classify an individual as a criminal at the slightest move, and even before they've done any criminal acts (as a potential criminal), but when a person is innocent of a crime, they seem less vigilant about restoring that person's classification as an innocent human being. It has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. The governmental agencies in the UK simply want to shepherd their flock, "the younger the better."

It's time for some honesty in the UK. Terrorism has deeply affected the psyche of everyone in command, and they've discovered more and more ways of exploiting it to control, monitor, and subjugate their population than any other free country Earth. Those measures they haven't taken to yet, they are dreaming of each and every day, and they have no reservations against turning their own children into terrorists either. Of course, the majority of the British public knows better.

The question is, for how long will they be able to voice their dissent?

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